Sons of Frank-enstein
|THE WEEK IN PREVIEW|
Only four games are scheduled, but TNT is showing two of them in another one of its Monday cameos, starting with the return of Ricky Davis to Cleveland in Celtics at Cavaliers. San Antonio at Houston is the second half of the TV doubleheader, and it's not simply a Tim Duncan vs. Yao Ming showdown. It's also the Spurs' last game before the All-Star break, as part of a wacky February in which the Spurs will go more than 20 days between home games because there's a rodeo and stock show in town. After this short trip to see the Rockets, the Spurs don't play again until Feb. 18 in Toronto. For satellite viewers, meanwhile, Memphis at Denver is a sleeper matchup as the jockeying for seeds Nos. 6-8 in the West continues.
Busy week for Charles Barkley, who is sure to complain that TNT is showing two more games before Thursday: Detroit at New Jersey in Lawrence Frank's toughest test yet, followed by Toronto at Phoenix in a pairing that looked a bit more intriguing when the schedule was made back in the summer. Sacramento at Milwaukee is more of a gem, given the Bucks' current 15-1 run at home, and New York at Dallas is a good gauge for the Knicks' recent upturn.
The Lakers complete a seven-game trek of their own on ESPN in L.A. at Houston, which inevitably breaks down to Shaq vs. Yao. Sacramento at Detroit is the other standout game, although both teams will have traveled Tuesday night as part of back-to-back obligations, which could affect the quality. Proud Floridians, meanwhile, will undoubtedly prefer Miami at Orlando ... OK, maybe not.
The three-game lineup that takes us into All-Star Weekend is a modest lineup: Boston at Chicago, Denver at Portland, Toronto at Seattle. Beyond listing the games, there's not much more to say.
With the Rookie Game moved to Friday, and with LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony scheduled to be teammates on Team Rookie, the weekend should get off to a quality start. Hopefully, we don't have to sell you too hard on All-Star Saturday or the game itself Sunday ... although we're just as disappointed with the dunk-contest field as you are.
|Lawrence Frank won his first seven games as the Nets' interim head coach.|
It's true. With five games against fellow Atlantic Division tenants, New Jersey's schedule hasn't been the toughest since Lawrence Frank took over as the first coach-ballboy in NBA history.
Don't discount the fact that the first four games were roadies, and that all seven of the Nets' wins under Frank have been easy, comfortable victories.
The convincing nature of the Nets' renaissance has also made Frank the first coach in NBA history to win each of his first seven games by 10 or more points. Only three other first-year NBA head coaches have had streaks that long, but none to start their coaching careers.
Red Auerbach won 10 games in a row by 10 or more points with Washington in 1946-47. Mike Dunleavy won eight straight by 10 or more in 1990-91 with the Lakers. Chris Ford won seven in a row in Boston that same season.
Frank's streak has taken the Nets into the top six of ESPN.com's NBA Power Rankings and keeps them in the spotlight with San Antonio, Memphis and New York after a week where several teams jostled for our kudos.
Memphis Grizzlies. This might be the toughest pick we've had to make in this category so far, with no less than five teams going undefeated in the past seven days (Houston's the fifth). Yet with the Nets, Spurs and Knicks mentioned prominently in other sections of this cyberspace ... why not the Grizz? Going into Minnesota and winning a nailbiter Sunday was a stirring way to set the new franchise record for victories. With 32 games left on the schedule, no less.
- Is it just me or does Mark Madsen look like Gary Lineker?
STEIN: It's not just you. Good shout, Dan.
"I think it's what you do, not how old you are."
—Knicks coach Lenny Wilkens, trying to keep pace with Memphis' Hubie Brown ... and making us look bad with a 9-3 record since taking over for Don Chaney.
|Sunday, Feb. 8, Toronto at Golden State|
|Golden State Warriors||12||1-13||0-3||9||2|
PLAYER TEAMS OPPONENTS Marbury (2003-04) Suns, Knicks Clippers Drexler (1994-95) Rockets, Blazers Clippers Chamber. (1964-65) Sixers, Warriors Lakers, Bullets, Royals