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It certainly wasn't supposed to happen here. Not how they did it, either.The Suns, after all, are universally regarded as the toughest team to adjust to on the back end of a back-to-back set because no one else plays this way and no one else has Steve Nash. Presumed to be worse yet is playing them on the back end of a back-to-back set that comes at the end of an extended tour of the Western Conference.
Dwyane Wade is on fire over his last three games, averaging just under 33 ppg and eight assists, all while sinking 55 percent of his shots from the floor.
Marc Stein is the senior NBA writer for ESPN.com. To e-mail him, click here.
Dimes Past: November 28 | 29 | 30 | Dec. 1-2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8-9 | 10
LeBron James, out of action with a sprained left index finger, could return to action when the Cavaliers host the Pacers on Tuesday. The five full games he missed were an unmitigated nightmare, all losses for the defending East champs.And it appears James is well beyond the point where he could sit like some clipboard-toting apprentice QB, with little left to soak in about the NBA game. "It's not good for me," the AP quotes him. "It's not like I'm learning anything from watching. I don't learn nothing from watching. It's tiring. I could really fall asleep on the bench if I wanted to."
Low Five: How Cavs Did In Games Without LeBron
|Good News||Bad News|
|NBA rank of LBJ's 30.7 ppg avg: 1st, still||Highest total in his absence: 24, by Daniel Gibson|
|Still "only" 5 1/2 games behind Detroit||Average margin of defeat in five games: 12.4|
|Eric Snow gets chance, 17.3 mpg average||Makes 1 of 9 FGs|
|Held Nets center Jason Collins to 7 points||That's his season high. Held scoreless 14 times this fall|
|Larry Hughes returns, scores 22 Saturday||Has missed 70 games in Cavs career|
|Anderson Varejao's return imminent||Only his hair is in midseason form|
|Wise LeBron offers recovery tips for finger||Business LeBron can't operate tiny cellphone|
I've been hearing for nearly five years that Travis Outlaw can be something special. If you're scratching your head right now and saying, "Who?!" it's completely understandable.Since being drafted directly out of Starkville (Miss.) High School in 2003, Outlaw has been a mostly ho-hum, occasionally spectacular reserve for the Portland Trail Blazers. Ridiculously athletic at 6-foot-9, Travis Outlaw has been a frustrating small forward, teasing us with the occasional high-flying slam but failing to consistently deliver year-in, year-out. But that appears to be changing. Over the past six games, Outlaw has been outstanding. Consistently outstanding. • See the Chris Broussard blog
-- Andrew Ayres
The ESPN Conversation rolls on after Madison Square Garden and New York Knicks coach Isiah Thomas reached an $11.5 million settlement of the sexual harassment case brought by a former team executive.A sample: Am I the only one that wonders how he can still have a job after being found guilty of sexual harassment. Plus he gets to be bad at his job. Where do I sign up to be an NBA coach?
AP Photo/John Raoux
Hawks guard Joe Johnson (2) laughs with teammates Anthony Johnson (8) and Josh Smith after taking control in the final minutes. Atlanta topped Orlando, 98-87.