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Thursday, April 18, 2002
Updated: April 19, 1:36 PM ET
What's hot, not for 2002 NBA playoffs

By Dan Shanoff
Special to Page 2

If you're not pulling for the fun-'n'-gunning Kings or Mavs to uproot the Lakers in the West, then take on the East's Swamp Dragons in the Finals, well you either have no sense of humor -- or you're the kind of fan who roots for Microsoft.

Regardless of your rooting interests, the NBA playoffs offer a good two months of intensity not seen yet this year, benches shortened to "playoff depth" and probably more than a few game scores with combined point totals below 150.

The point is, before the action heats up, you know what you're really looking for is a few good talking points with which to impress your co-workers, your friends and that hottie you plan on meeting at that party this weekend. Page 2 wants to help, and so we offer our annual Hot 'n' Not List for the NBA playoffs:

What's Hot, What's Not: 2002 NBA playoffs
Category Hot Not
TV guy-as-coach Kenny Smith Tom Tolbert
Conference Western Eastern
"Oh sure, I always liked the ..."
Nets

Raptors
First-round series Blazers-Lakers Hornets-Magic
Coach on hot seat
Isiah Thomas

Nate McMillan
NBA's
"He Hate Me"
Wally Szczerbiak
(Timberwolves)
Kevin Garnett
(Timberwolves)
Rookie due for national break-out
Richard Jefferson

Gerald Wallace
Home court Arco (Kings) Continental Arena (Nets)
Mr. Clutch
Steve Nash

Chris Webber
Blazers hot-head Bonzi Wells Rasheed Wallace
No. 1 fan
Tyra Banks

Tobey Maguire
Off-court rumor Will MJ return? Will Drew Gooden go pro?
Player to watch
Tracy McGrady

Antoine Walker
Jersey
Ben Wallace

Jamaal Tinsley
Fire-up-the-crowd music
Tweet

R Kelly
Functional accessory Two contrasting-color headbands Calf sleeve
Sleeper
Charlotte

Minnesota
"He's due" coach Don Nelson Rick Carlisle
Three-point ace
Jon Barry

Nick Van Exel
X-factor Raef LaFrentz
(Mavericks)
Keith Van Horn
(Nets)
Unemployment-line sighting Tim Floyd Brian Winters
Designated thug
Kenyon Martin

Rick Fox
Strategy trend Run at the Lakers Wacky "Shaq Zone-D"
Impact sub Bobby Jackson
(Kings)
John Amaechi
(Jazz)
Payback time New Jersey over
the rest of the East
Blazers over Lakers
Subject to
mull over
Drug-investigation-
as-distraction
Shaq's retirement
Fun for
lottery teams
Listening to Sir Charles Waiting on pingpong balls

Dan Shanoff is a regular contributor to Page 2.