by Lang Whitaker

So on Friday night I went out to Jersey for the Hawks/Nets game. I spend a while in the Hawks locker room talking to Marvin Williams, who you may or may not have noticed has gone from a midrange shooter (last season he hit one three-pointer all year) to the second-coming of Mike McGee (he’s 11-for-17 this season and shooting a ridiculous 65-percent). I told him it was nice of Josh Childress to leave behind his jumper for Marv to use, and then we started talking about summer school, because Marv spent a chunk of his summer in Chapel Hill, where he’s working on finishing his degree at UNC (his major is African-American studies). Marv said he’s somewhere in the middle of his junior year and he’s actually taking an online class right now. I couldn’t figure out how you could take the final exam and not cheat on it, but Marv said when it comes time for the finals you have to go to a school somewhere and take the test with a teacher watching — he said he has a test coming up at Georgia Tech, actually.

As for the game, the stands were actually pretty packed, the crowd was into it, and the Hawks looked exhausted. It didn’t help that Josh Smith was out and Zaza Pachulia was playing with one arm, but what really didn’t help was that Vince Carter and Devin Harris combined to shoot five more free throws (23) than THE ENTIRE HAWKS TEAM COMBINED (28). I can live with the home team getting some calls, but this was ridiculous. But honestly, I don’t think it mattered too much because the Hawks looked gassed.

Khalid and I were sitting next to YES Network sideline reporter Michelle Beadle, who began the game by announcing an online poll to find a nickname for Brook Lopez. She didn’t like any of my suggestions: Brook Lo-Pez Dispenser; Brook “Shields” Lopez; etc.

Anyone got anything better?

I wanted to run though some reader mail and other assorted links today:

• Two different people have sent me Mr. Ping Ping links recently, but both links they sent were along were actually old news, links to stuff about Mr. Ping Ping meeting that giant woman a few months ago. I wrote about it then, but for some reason the story has resurfaced recently, hopefully exposing more of the world to the glory that is Mr. Ping Ping.

• A friend of mine sent along this link to a We Are The World game. I got 33 out of 38. I swear. Hey, I loved the ’80s.

Oh, and a tip: You can type in only last names if you’re unsure of the first names.

• Reader Ken writes…

Ok Lang,
You absolutely have to comment on what KG did in the game against the Raps. In the third quarter, he decided to go KG (a.k.a. certifiably insane) as he always does when the Celtics are mounting a comeback, except this time he took it to new heights. He followed Calderon as he was bringing the ball up the floor, wagging his finger RIGHT in Jose’s face and yelling trash at him the entire time up the floor and into the frontcourt. And I am not exaggerating when I say RIGHT in his face, his finger was literally inches from picking Calderon’s nose.

Somehow this type of ridiculous unsportsman-like behavior does not garner a technical foul, yet under the NBA’s new rules from last season, tossing your own sweatband at your bench in frustration with yourself is an automatic tech. Does that make sense? When he finally got into the frontcourt, Calderon was looking at the refs, holding his hands out, bewildered that they didn’t do anything. I’ve watched a lot of Boston games this season, and have seen them get a lot of seemingly “special treatment” from the refs when the game is turning in their favor. I’m not even a Raptors fan, but it was incredibly frustrating watching the tides turn in this game in Boston’s favor after being down to Toronto early. Not to say there is some kind of conspiracy, but the KG fiasco just proved to me that something was definitely suspect with the way this game was being called.

First of all, Ken, the incident you speak of can be viewed here. For a guy who’s been getting votes as the Sportsman Of The Year, KG certainly seems to have regular lapses in sportsmanship, and I don’t mean only the taunting and woofing. One thing he always does is attempt to block every shot, but particularly after the whistle blows. He started it last year, and the rest of the Celtics picked up on it, and now the whole team does it after every blocked shot. I understand the thought process — it’s about domination(!), about always having the upper hand(!) — but it’s also more than a little childish, not to mention dangerous (when is KG or someone else going to land on an unsuspecting player who happens to be standing near the rim after a big play?).

But at the end of the day, here’s the thing: KG can’t get away with all that stuff if he’s on a losing team. Right now, he’s on a winning team, so he can get away with it. Don’t like it? Beat the Celtics. It’s tough, I know, which makes it frustrating. Still, easier said than done, right?

• I found this link this morning via either SI.com or some other site. Either way, cheerleaders in boy shorts are pretty great.

• This email comes from reader Dayren, who writes…

Hello Mrs. Whitaker,

I was wondering where your puppies were located. I am interested in possibly purchasing a puppy from you. I am 15 years old, and have recently lost my dog who was a west highland terrier, after 16 wonderful years together. and 1 spent completely with my parents before I was born. Every day i sit and stare at your site…watching the puppies sleep, walk..and more. If it would be possible to tell me a little about your puppies that would be great!!

Thank you,
Dayren

Well, Dayren, first of all, I’m not a “Mrs.,” unless you meant to email my Mom or Wifey or something. Then again, they know about as much about the Puppies as I do.

I assume you are referring to this post. Wifey sent me the link to that webcam a week ago, and I posted it because I thought it was strange and weird and funny. I have no ideas where those puppies are or who owns them. And as much as I’d like to make fun of your email, even I’m not cynical enough to go there.

Next!

• A reader writes…

Nihao. So you are Hawks fan, this is good. But when will you put Hawks on cover of Slam? I would like to see articles on Al Horford the most, but also Acie Law. A cover that features the Hawks would be ok.

Yes, I am a Hawks fan, but even I’m not crazy enough to put the Hawks on the cover of SLAM, at least not yet. Having a 6-3 record is exciting, but finishing the season with a .667 winning percentage probably wouldn’t guarantee the Hawks a cover. Also, we gotta get Acie Law needs to get into the games before he gets into SLAM.

• Linkstigator Albie1kenobi writes…

I just picked up an iPhone this past weekend, and added Slamonline as a short cut on the home screen, but it was only a thumbnail version of the site. Do you guys have your own logo? Should get your art and web dept to get an icon included. Here’s an online tutorial on that. It seems very simple. Look forward to seeing that SLAMonline icon. Make it happen!

Actually, Albie, we’re immersed in a redesign right now, but there’s a simpler solution I read about when I bought my iPod touch. When you’re on a page and you want is as a shortcut on your home screen, zoom in on whatever you want the icon to be — for instance, you can zoom in on the SLAM logo, or a photo of whoever’s on the homepage, whatever. Then, while still zoomed in, set it as a shortcut, and whatever’s on your screen becomes your icon. You are welcome.

• Finally, I got this email from our columnist Jake Appleman on Halloween afternoon and have been meaning to share it with the world…

sorry to bother as i know you guys are deep in production, just wanted to know if anyone at xxl had a fake dookie chain i could borrow my office costume party, which is located only a few blocks from the Dome. i’m trying to pull off a combination of john mccain and big daddy kane, aka grand daddy cain (mc cain). i could run in and out quickly any time after 6:30. if this isn’t feasible, i totally understand.

Surprisingly, it wasn’t feasible.