[caption id="attachment_591" align="alignright" width="300" caption="Photo Credit: Harry How/Getty Images "][/caption]


There are eleven games on tap in the NBA today, starting this afternoon, in honor of MLK Day, and there are twenty-nine basketball games scheduled for the next three days, so there’s no time to waste.

Lakers Finding Their Rhythm. It isn’t just the fact that Kobe’s on a tear right now—he is—but this talk of the Lakers coming together has more to do with the team as a whole than Mr. Bryant dropping 40 points or more four games in a row.

LA’s defense looks much better because Matt Barnes is living it up as a starter, and the artist formerly known as Ron Artest is finding his groove coming off the bench. Every player is learning their role in the new system and currently thriving. What more could you ask for this early in the season?

Two Up and Two Down: There are two teams out west on the way up, gaining momentum and looking quite impressive, Oklahoma City and Dallas, and in the east, there are two going the exact opposite direction, as of right now, Miami and Boston.

Rolling Thunder. OKC has the best record in the west—thanks to a six game winning streak, which appears to have no end in sight. There is also more to this team than meets the eye, for Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook may get all the love and attention, but if you turn your back for one minute, you’ll have James Harden netting 24 like he did to the Knicks on Saturday, as a reserve.

Big D Revival. The wheels appeared to be falling off in Dallas, as the season got going, yet all those that jumped ship, we find them fighting over who will drive the bandwagon. The Mavericks are playing as one now, and everyone’s contributing—even Vince Carter at both ends of the floor.

The real shocker is that during this winning streak, currently at five, but they play the Lake Show tonight, Jason Terry led the team in scoring, from the bench, during Dallas’ last three victories.

The Sagging Heat and Celtics. If the Heat’s three-game losing streak has taught us anything, it would be their flaws; this thing may have no further impact on Miami’s season than this, but it isn’t nothing. They mismanage late-game situations, blow big leads, and head coach Erik Spoelstra doesn’t seem to be doing anything about it.

Boston looked like all they needed was to get Paul Pierce back and everything would be gravy—not so much. The Celtics don’t have any fire in them, and this current four-game skid isn’t going to get any better if their only answer is to lean heavier on Rajon Rondo.

Random Observations. Remember when the Suns @ Spurs was can’t-miss television? You couldn’t pay me to watch those two play now. Well—maybe you could.

An NBA record in foul shots results in Dwight Howard scoring 45 and collecting 23 boards; Ricky Rubio enters the starting lineup for the T-Wolves, and, in two starts, he’s gone for 12/6/9 and 18 and 12 dimes; Deron Williams dropped 35 and 14 helpers against the Nash-less Suns last Friday, looking like an All Star once again.

ESPN’s got an afternoon delight for us of the Bulls @ the Grizzles; then, there’s a TNT doubleheader for us, further into the p.m. cycle, of OKC/BOS and DAL/LAL. Enjoy…

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