My pick for MVP is the big man in Dallas. Here's my picks for each of the NBA's six divisions . . .
The best of each division
I take him over LeBron -- as great as LBJ is, the game is about the business of winning. Everybody talks about the loss of Ben Wallace, but the Pistons are still doing it the most in the East, and Billups is a big reason why.
As for his recent shoulder problems, when you get to be 33, when you get injured that's always a concern. He's played as well now as he had been -- in the second half against the Lakers on Sunday, he looked particularly good with his playmaking.
Runners-up: Kevin Garnett, Okur and Boozer.
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Kobe Bryant talks with legendary boxer Muhammad Ali and his wife Lonnie Ali before the Suns played the Lakers. Ali, who lives in the Phoenix area, received a standing O when introduced. More applause came when he left late in the third quarter.
In Friday's Daily Dime there was a picture of Dirk and LeBron that had me in it as well. At the beginning of the NBA season I made a bet with my friend that I would be in the Dime before him. I guess I was in the right place at the right time to have a picture of me posted on the Dime.
However my friend thinks the bet should not count because it was a picture I was in and not a comment of mine that was on the Dime. It would be great of you guys that write up the Dime could post this comment on the next Dime so I can make my friend shut up and pay me.
You have to look hard for silver linings in the land of the purple and gold these days.
I might have one, though:
Giving up an agile, imposing 19-year-old who's progressing at a promising rate and also happens to be a 7-footer -- in a swap for a point guard who's still churning out the triple-doubles but who's also soon to be 34 -- is a move that screams Win Now.
Yet with Lamar Odom sidelined indefinitely with a shoulder injury and Luke Walton still out as well, Kidd wouldn't have been able to help the Lakers win anything significant now even if he is "an assassin like Kobe," as one L.A. insider puts it.
Suns beat the Lakers
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images
The output of Michael Redd (52 points) and Ben Gordon (48) in Sunday's 126-121 Bulls win over the Bucks equaled the single-game record set by Wilt Chamberlain.
Quote of the Day
-- Andrew Ayres
The Mavericks have won 50 of their last 55 games after starting the season 0-4. They are only the second team in NBA history to win 50 of 55 games within one season: the 1995-96 Bulls also won 50 of 55 games at one point. (By the way, no team in the history of either Major League Baseball or the NHL has ever won 50-of-55 in one season, either.)
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A year ago at this time I was making a case that Tony Parker deserved serious consideration for the MVP award, which may have been a bit of a stretch, but not a huge one at the time.
Fast forward to today, Sunday, March 4, and there is no reason to look for a worthy alternative, as I did a year ago.
As of now, Dirk Nowitzki is the NBA's Most Valuable Player, hands down. Steve Nash was his equal a month ago, but Nowitzki has separated himself from his old best buddy as the Dallas Mavericks have strung together a team-record 15 consecutive wins. Nowitzki has scored 30 or more points in 12 of the past 27 games, shooting a shade under 52 percent over that span, and the Mavs have gone 16-0 when he has reached 30. Nowitzki also has already eclipsed last year's total of 35 double-doubles, notching 36 and barely missing a 37th as he had 24 points, nine rebounds and seven assists Saturday night vs. Orlando.
March 5, 1996
-- Peter D. Newmann