by Lang Whitaker

The weather outside is frightful here in NYC today, to say the least. Really, it’s snowing like a scene out of Medellin outside. But we’re still here, grinding, trying to get some stuff done before we break for the holidays.

A few quick notes before we get dirty…

• Quote of the Year thus far comes from Tim Thomas:

“Who gives a —?” — Tim Thomas, on Stephon Marbury showing up at the Knicks game in L.A.

• The Toronto Sun is mad as heck and they aren’t going to take it anymore…

“For reasons that defy all logic, people have tried to compare Bargnani to Nowitzki. Maybe it’s the European connection, the colour of their skin, the fact each can put the ball on the floor and extend their offence as seven-footers. It’s really an exercise in futility to even attempt to group the two because Bargnani is never going to earn league MVP honours.”

Hey, hey you! How dare you compare a seven-footer from Europe with range to another seven-footer from Europe with range! I’m just guessing here, but why are people comparing Dirk to Bargnani? It’s probably all three reasons given in the article! Doesn’t mean it’s a good or bad comparison, but those are three relatively important things that they have in common (well, the first and third are important, but especially the third). And does this mean we’re only allowed to compare MVP’s to other MVP’s? Canada confuses me.

• Michael Curry is emerging as one of my favorite coaching quotes now that Sam Mitchell is on the chilling list. Check out Coach Curry’s explanation to those who don’t understand why Curry has to mix and match his lineups at the end of games (and why Rip Hamilton got benched in the fourth the other night)…

“We said at the beginning that we looked at Rodney Stuckey and Antonio McDyess as starters. So if you look at it like we have seven starters, two guys are not going to be on the court down the stretch. That’s just the way it’s going to be. I don’t want it to be a story every time one of those guys doesn’t play down the stretch. We have a deep team in certain areas and because of that we will have a quality guy who’s not on the court.”

OK. So if you look at it like Detroit has seven starters, then yes, two guys will not be on the court AT ALL TIMES. Hopefully Coach Curry understands the NBA only allows five players on the court at any given time. But if you look at it like they have seven starters…then you’re not looking at an NBA team, I guess. Although that would be pretty awesome if they tried to start a game with seven dudes one night. If Curry tries that he’s definitely getting my vote for Coach of the Year.

• And finally, not sure what they’re smoking in Oklahoma City, but it must be good stuff

Sam Presti and his fellow NBA general managers are clearing salary cap space for the free agent class of 2010, which includes stars who will visit Oklahoma City this weekend.

It’s doubtful the Thunder can sign Bosh, James, Dwyane Wade or Amare Stoudemire. But you never know. Presti is clearing about $40 million of cap space for the 2010-11 season.

But you never know? Hey guess what? I know! The Thunder aren’t signing any of those dudes.

Anyway, let’s get it Dirty up in here. This is the new table thingy, and I don’t think it’s quite as functional as the previous table system we used. But it is what it is. Dirty…


RANKPREVIOUSTEAMRECORDCOMMENT
1.1.Boston Celtics24-2From the Boston team notes on Yahoo: The Celtics got to chat with Olympic swimming hero Michael Phelps earlier in the week. “It was good to meet him,” said F Paul Pierce. “He’s a great Olympian. We always respect great athletes. He’s one of our peers of our generation. We can say down the line to our kids that he was one of the best while we were playing.” Not all the Celtics were up on their recent history, however. G Tony Allen kept asking, “Who is he?”
2.2.Los Angeles Lakers21-3The Lakers coasted to a win over New York a few nights ago, and now they start a 4 games in 5 nights stretch. Should be telling…
3.3.Cleveland Cavaliers21-4Sorry Cavs, I can’t bump you any higher, especially after how bad you guys looked against Atlanta earlier this week. I had flashbacks to the 2007 Finals after that game.
4.5.Denver Nuggets17-8They’ve got Cleveland tonight, then a back-to-back next week with Portland.
5.9.New Orleans Hornets15-7They’ve won 10 of their last 12 and they look like they’ve finally shaken whatever it was holding them back earlier this season.
6.4.Orlando Magic20-6Stan Van Gundy is blaming USA Basketball for Dwight’s knee injury. He played for them for what, a month? He’s played for Stan for over a year now. Just saying.
7.8.San Antonio Spurs15-10And they’re back! Anyone see Popovich the other night with the mic on during the ESPN game? Really interesting stuff…which I can’t find on YouTube. Never mind…
8.7.Houston Rockets16-9This week Houston had Artest, T-Mac and Shane The Defense Machine all healthy at the same time for the first time this season. I hope someone took a picture, because that will probably last longer than Houston’s health.
9.6.Portland Trailblazers17-10B-Roy’s 52 was nice, but I agreed with TNT’s take on it (and I’m paraphrasing here):
EJ: The Suns were playing their new offense tonight…
BARKLEY: And their old defense!
10.13.Atlanta Hawks15-10Who says it’s not a rivalry?
11.12.Detroit Pistons14-9BTW, Rasheed has 5 technical fouls in his last 7 games. He’s ba-ack!
12.14.Utah Jazz16-11It’s always great when the owner of a team can say of one his players, “It’s one of the top 10 stupidest things I’ve heard an NBA player do in 20 years,” and then talk about how he wants to re-sign the player. Hey Utah, remember how you signed Boozer? Yeah.
13.11.Phoenix Suns15-11Last night was the eleventh straight game in which the Suns have given up more than 100 points. So that commitment to defense thing is really taking hold.
14.10.Dallas Mavericks14-10Jason Terry is averaging 25 ppg over the last dozen games. He’s taking back The Jet from Kenny Smith.
15.15.New Jersey Nets12-12Check out Sussman’s report about sitting courtside in Salt Lake City.
16.21.New York Knicks11-14Shake and Bake! True story: Nate Robinson is obsessed with Talledega Nights lately. Just saying…
17.16.Miami Heat12-12Dorell Wright is still out after having knee surgery to remove “loose bodies” from his knee. Miami’s nightlife must be off the heezy!
18.17.Philadelphia 76ers11-14Our man Sammy Dalembert has play 6 games in the last 16 days for a total of 135 minutes and 12 seconds of burn…and he’s totalled 0 assists! That’s almost impossible. My favorite stat of the year by far…
19.19.Toronto Raptors10-15Unrelated but awesome: “This is for Gene Chizik! This is for Gene Chizik!”
20.20.Chicago Bulls12-13Weird injury note of the week: After being hit in the head in his previous three games, Tyrus Thomas is out tonight against Boston.
21.18.Milwaukee Bucks11-16Zzzz….
22.23.Charlotte BETcats8-18Raja Bell is so effective these days that he got tossed the other night with only one technical foul. That takes talent, folks.
23.24.Memphis Grizzlies9-16Darius Miles: “I came from this murder capital (East St. Louis, Ill.) and when I got to the NBA, you heard nothing bad about me.” Um…OK.
24.22.Indiana Pacers9-16Completely unrelated but great link.
25.28.Los Angeles Clippers7-18Someone on the Clips needs to give this to Baron for Christmas in honor of his Jenny Craig diet success.
26.25.Golden State Warriors7-19Amazing: The Warriors have given up 119 or more points in seven of their last 10 games.
27.26.Sacramento Kings7-19So the Kenny Natt era is working out well…
28.29.Washington Wizards4-19So the Ed Tapscott era is working out well…
29.27.Minnesota L-Wolves4-21So the Kevin McHale era is working out well…
30.30.Oklahoma City2-24So the Scotty Brooks era is working out well…