By Will Perdue
How LeBron is better than MJ
LeBron James came into "the House that Jordan Built" on Thursday night and showed Bulls fans why he just might be as good as or better than Michael ... some day.
In the Cavs' 108-100 victory over the Bulls, LeBron displayed his MJ 2.0 game, totaling 37 points along with five rebounds, six assists and four steals.
In his third NBA season, James appears to be a newer, bigger, heavier, stronger version of Jordan.
James is overpowering NBA opponents with his size and speed.
Guards can't check him because he's too big. When LeBron posted Chris Duhon in the fourth quarter, Duhon simply fell to the floor.
The Bulls even tried to defend James with center Tyson Chandler. He rocked Chandler off balance, then rose up and nailed a jumper. He's one of the toughest covers in the league.
LeBron is shooting more, making more and winning more this season. He's the only player in the NBA to average more than 25 ppg and shoot over 50 percent.
For further evidence of his more mature game, have a look at John Hollinger's Player Efficiency Rating (PER). LeBron has a league leading 29.27 PER.
His True Shooting Percentage, which takes into account 2s, 3s and free throws, is above 60 percent.
And the Cavaliers at 15-9 have the fifth best record in the NBA.
Bulls assistant Johnny Bach told me that the one big difference between Jordan and James is that MJ displayed more tenacity on the defensive end.
When MJ didn't want to be screened you couldn't screen him. Jordan would push his man away from the screener or beat his man over a screen. LeBron will occasionally still get picked off by defenders.
And LeBron might not have as good a mid-range game as Michael did at this stage of his career, though he probably has better range. LeBron's 3-point shooting has improved significantly this season.
One area where MJ and LBJ are similar is their leadership. Like Michael, LeBron holds himself accountable and responsible for the Cavs' performance.
If things continue the way they have been for Cleveland this season, LeBron will be able to take credit for their success as well.
During the Cavs' big fourth-quarter comeback, LeBron James capitalized on a steal by shielding Bulls forward Andres Nocioni from the ball and finishing with a one-hand flip layup.
David: If you're Donnie Walsh, what would you do [with Ron Artest]?
Chad Ford: I don't know exactly what he has on the table ... so this is just speculation. But here are three deals I think are plausible that I'd do if I were Indiana:
Artest to Minnesota, Wally Szczerbiak to Cleveland and Luke Jackson and Drew Gooden to Indiana. Minneosta wants him, the Cavs could use the shooting and the Pacers have always like Jackson and could use Gooden as a nice trade asset.
The Sonics were 19-5 and the surprise of the league at Christmastime a year ago, and now they're 11-13 with the league's most porous defense.
The Sonics also rank last in rebounding, and they've already had three three-game losing streaks, matching last season's total.
Asked about Bob Weiss' job status a week ago, general manager Rick Sund was not exactly oozing warmth.
"You support your coach and you work with your coach at all times until he is no longer your coach. You don't put a timetable on it."
After home games against Dallas on Friday and Boston on Dec. 26, the Sonics will play seven of their next eight on the road.
The most winnable game in that stretch is at New York Jan. 8, two nights after playing at Detroit.
Could Jan. 7 be Weiss' day of doom?
Thursday, Dirk Nowitzki's picture-perfect jumper was on target to the tune of 37 points on 14-for-23 shooting. In the fourth quarter, Nowitzki poured in 14 to lead the Mavs from behind over the Kings on the road.
Quote of the Day
-- Royce Webb
Rey (Maryland): Hey, Carlos, thanks for representing our island. Is it too difficult to get going in a game in the amount of minutes you're playing?
Pistons guard Carlos Arroyo: Yes, definitely it is. Sometimes the [substitutions] are so inconsistent. I don't know when I'm going in the game. It's obviously very uncomfortable.
Last month, Damon Jones became the first player in Cavs history to score as many as 15 points in a game, all on 3-point field goals.
On Thursday night, he did it again.
Jones' last nine field goals have all been 3-pointers. Going back to Dec. 6, Jones has scored 27 field goals; two were layups, the other 25 were all from 20 feet or further.
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Evan (Miami): How do you like your role on the Heat now?
Heat forward James Posey: My role has changed from team to team, but that's something you have to accept. That's all you can do. I'd rather slash to the basket, but that's not what they want me to do. They want me to spot up.
As a young coach, I had the incredible experience to coach in Puerto Rico during the summers of 1983 and 1984.
During my second summer I met Phil Jackson. He was coaching out on the furthermost reaches of the island, in a tiny beach town called Quebradillas. I've read in many biographies that Phil coached in Puerto Rico, but never has there been any mention that he got fired from his first head coaching stint there.
Little did the owners of that Puerto Rican team know they were firing a future Hall of Fame coach.