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Lakers to .500, Clips’ Streak is Over and the Nets Are in Transition

Mike D'Antoni

Has D'Antoni gotten the Lakers' ship righted now that they've reached .500?

The Los Angeles Clippers 17-game winning streak came to a grinding halt tonight in Denver by the score of 92-78. As is the case with all streaks, they all come to an end and perhaps we should have seen this coming with the way the Nuggets have played defense recently. They’ve given up 85 or less the last three games.

P.J. Carlesimo

According to Nets' GM Billy King, Carlesimo is the Nets' man right now.

A week ago at this time the Brooklyn Nets were coming off a rather embarrassing loss to Boston on Christmas Day followed by another lackluster loss in Milwaukee a night later. The storm clouds were obviously gathering as a top team official tweeted “Nets’ fans deserve better than this.” In the eyes of the ownership Avery Johnson was not getting it done so he got his walking papers and the team elevated assistant P.J. Carlesimo to head coach. The Nets are 2-1 with him in charge although those victories were against Charlotte and Cleveland so the jury may be out awhile.

One thing is certain in the Nets’ coaching situation and that is that Phil Jackson will most definitely be getting a call. General Manager Billy King says that Carlesimo is their guy right now but if Jackson were interested I have to believe the Nets would pounce.

This Week in the Association… The Lakers may have reached the .500 level but if the season ended today they be watching the playoffs. They currently sit in the 10th position… Ironically, the Clippers would be playing the Nuggets in an opening round series in a 2-7 match-up… Orlando is in the 10th spot in the Eastern Conference but they’ve lost six straight. I still think they can contend for a playoff spot if they can hang in there long enough… Congrats to the Charlotte Bobcats who ended their 18-game losing streak with a 91-81 win over Chicago. Despite the long spiral downward, they still have a better record than the Wizards… I find it amazing that the Houston Rockets give up more points per game (103.8) than any other team in the league yet they’re in 3rd place in the Southwest. That’s probably because their second in the NBA in scoring per game at 105.8.

Games I’m Watching this Week

Brooklyn at Oklahoma City – Alright P.J. you beat the Cavs and Bobcats since becoming the coach of the Nets. Now you go into OKC to face arguably the best team in the NBA so let’s see what you got. My guess is that the Nets will play hard and will play well but it won’t be enough to beat the Thunder at home.

San Antonio at New York – One of the best teams in the West plays at one of the best teams in the East and from the sounds of it, San Antonio will bring everyone with them unlike their trip to Miami. Amar’e Stoudemire returned to the Knicks line-up for the first time this season last night and scored six points in about 17 minutes of play. Caremlo Anthony’s 45 points couldn’t keep the Knicks from falling to Portland however for their second-straight loss. The Spurs are coming of a dismantling of Brooklyn and I expect them to pull out a close on at the Garden.

LA Lakers at LA Clippers – The Lakers certainly don’t have to travel far for this one. The Clippers will play tonight in Golden State in an effort to get back on the winning track while the Lakers are off until the two rivals hook up on Friday. Kobe Bryant is averaging 30.1 points per game right and recently claimed to “be having one of his best years ever” in an interview. More than anything, I believe some stability under Mike D’Antoni and the return of Steve Nash and Pau Gasol have helped the Lakers get back on track. I have to believe the Lakers will be amped up for this game in an effort to keep their roommates in check in LA. Take the Lakers in this one.

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