Every team confronts at least some adversity during the long NBA season. To illustrate a few of the hurdles faced in running a team, let's look at five coaches and five different challenges/dilemmas each now battles.
1. Sam Mitchell, Toronto Raptors
2. Scott Skiles, Chicago Bulls
3. Isiah Thomas, New York Knicks
No easy answers here, but the great thing to remember about basketball is you start fresh at 0-0 each game. Marbury can be the star, but he can't hesitate, can't be afraid to make mistakes. Marbury (notwithstanding his 2-for-13 FG in Tuesday loss to Bulls) has the talent to do it.
4. George Karl, Denver Nuggets
When George first joined us in Denver, he loved the quality and quantity of players and talent we had. But one of problems with talent is dividing up the minutes. When you have fewer choices, you're not fighting the urge to experiment, because of your limited options.
Injuries have solidified the lineup because it has taken the guesswork out. Eduardo Najera and Reggie Evans (averaging 8.7 rpg in 18.9 mpg) have stepped up big time, guys who rely on energy and dirty work. Even though the talent loss is huge, in some ways it has helped the Nuggets.
5. Don Nelson, Golden State Warriors
An example of Nelson meeting the challenge is Monta Ellis -- a very talented young man who has never really flourished in part because he wasn't in the right system. But giving him a lot of freedom, and opening up the game, Nelson now has an emerging star (17.7 ppg) on his hands.
ESPN analyst Kiki Vandeweghe, who was the Nuggets GM for five years until last spring, played 13 NBA seasons, averaging 19.7 ppg for four teams from 1981-1993.
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Jose Calderon's fancy footwork helped the Raptors earn their first road win, in a tough spot, too: Oklahoma City.
Ben Wallace had his best game of the season Tuesday. He made Bulls coach Scott Skiles and GM John Paxson look like geniuses, like they'd perfected the "wag the dog" theory. Afterwards, he didn't say much, wasn't much to say. He just, for the first time showed the Bulls fans why he's a better fit for the franchise's future than Eddy Curry. Headband or not.
But it was Skiles, who in the end, once it was over, put Headbandgate to rest -- by saying nothing about it. In the postgame all he talked about was Ben's energy. Talked about his center in the context of those like him in the game's history and how few of them there have been like Ben.
For that reason -- for the fact that Skiles took the high road and the Ben Wallace returned -- for the first time this season in the United Center, the Bulls' locker room smelled different: it smelled like winning.
-- Scoop Jackson at the United Center
PARITY PARODY: With the Bobcats winning in Jersey, the Grizzlies winning in Denver, the Raptors winning in Oklahoma City and the Bucks beating the Lakers in L.A., all on Tuesday night, it's clear that the longer this season goes, the goofier it gets. -- Royce Webb
CONGRATULATIONS! The Celtics are now all alone in first place in the Atlantic Division, and hold the third seed in the Eastern Conference playoff race, thanks to their spectacular 5-8 record. You go, Green.
GOOD CLIP: Shaun Livingston showed what a productive player he can be in the first quarter at Sacramento. Scoring off of drives, runners, and even perimeter shots. Plus crisp passes and good activity on the glass. He was the best player on the floor. It can serve as a nice reference point for when he is coasting through a game. -- David Thorpe
PAU SUB: I know how much the Grizz miss Pau Gasol, but his injury opened a door for Lawrence Roberts to prove he is an NBA player. He has. -- Thorpe
Circus leaves town ... or did it?
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images
Stephon Marbury missed 11 of his 13 shots Tuesday in the loss to Chicago. "I don't have the ball as much as I normally do . . . I'm used to having the ball. It's an adjustment. You have no choice; we have to make the adjustment."
Quotes of the Day
-- Andrew Ayres
David (Seattle): What are the odds Jerry Sloan finally wins Coach of the Year this season?
Marc Stein: Better than they've ever been. Reason being: People are talking about this so much. Not only is Utah off to an insane start, two straight losses notwithstanding, but I read about Jerry's COY drought every day. His campaign started earlier than anyone else's. Fact is, though, that he deserves one of these before he retires. He's one of my favorites. He's been doing it the same way for two decades and there's nobody else like him.
The Wizards defeated the Hawks 96-95 on the strength of Caron Butler's old-school three-point play -- a driving layup followed by a free throw -- that broke a 93-93 tie with 1:04 to play.
That final free throw made by Butler was his 15th in 15 attempts during the game. Only three other players in NBA history have been perfect from the line, with 15 or more attempts, in a one-point win: Detroit's Richard Hamilton (20-for-20) in 2004; Washington's Jerry Stackhouse (15-for-15) in 2003; and Chicago's Chet Walker (16-for-16) in 1971.
• Denver F Nene was inactive for the ninth straight game with a right knee contusion. Nuggets coach George Karl thought he'd be ready in the next few days.
-- The Associated Press