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Internet trolling requires a deft touch -- just the right amount of humor and truth so as to avoid being over-the-top mean.

And so we present to you a perfect example, as posted -- well, actually, reposted -- to Instagram and Twitter by Denver Nuggets guard Ty Lawson on Sunday. This image seizes upon two widely held opinions (or facts, depending whom you ask): 1) the Cowboys are bad at defense and 2) James Harden is bad at defense.

Caption: "Cowboys defensive coordinator #Rp"

That "#Rp" is an acknowledgment that this is not a Lawson original; as we see on Twitter, it seems to have come from Instagram user @vtdvito (whose account is private).

But Lawson has clearly popularized the image. Harden has yet to respond on social media but probably can fire back with an image from Spain, where the Houston Rockets guard is poised to win a FIBA World Cup gold medal with Team USA.

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AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill

What's up in Western Conference?

If the Minnesota Timberwolves were in the Eastern Conference -- like, say, their neighbors the Milwaukee Bucks -- they'd be fourth, with an 11-12 record. Instead, the Kevin Love-led team is in the West ... where it's 11th. And just half a game out of 13th. Tough conference, eh? Which teams will come good?

Which team will win the Northwest Division?

  •  
    37%
  •  
    59%
  •  
    4%

Discuss (Total votes: 6,790)

  • Which team will win the Pacific Division?

    •  
      73%
    •  
      27%

    Discuss (Total votes: 6,402)

  • Which team will win the Southwest Division?

    •  
      77%
    •  
      19%
    •  
      4%

    Discuss (Total votes: 6,290)

  • Which team will win the Western Conference?

    •  
      8%
    •  
      25%
    •  
      40%
    •  
      17%
    •  
      10%

    Discuss (Total votes: 73,130)

  • Which of these teams has the best shot at making the playoffs?

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      27%
    •  
      10%
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      28%
    •  
      35%

    Discuss (Total votes: 21,145)

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Five teams that reached the 2013 NBA playoffs have started the new season with less-than-stellar results -- and in the Knicks' case, a serious dose of bad luck thanks to Tyson Chandler's leg fracture. It's still early, but Denver and Memphis seem to have taken a step backward from last season. The Bulls are still getting used to playing with Derrick Rose, who's not yet back at MVP strength. And questions remain about what the Lakers will look like when Kobe Bryant returns. Our 5-on-5 panel has measured the panic meter for all five franchises. Now it's your turn. Vote below!


Everybody hurts

Losing Tyson Chandler leaves the Knicks without their defensive anchor up front and few good options in his place.

SportsNation

How worried should Knicks fans be?

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    49%
  •  
    43%
  •  
    8%

Discuss (Total votes: 2,074)


Work in progress

The Bulls are still getting accustomed to playing with Derrick Rose after going an entire season without the former MVP.

SportsNation

How worried should Bulls fans be?

  •  
    22%
  •  
    50%
  •  
    28%

Discuss (Total votes: 2,046)


Mountains of difficulty

The Nuggets added coach Brian Shaw but have yet to show they'll overcome the loss of Andre Iguodala to free agency and Wilson Chandler and Danilo Gallinari to injuries.

SportsNation

How worried should Nuggets fans be?

  •  
    55%
  •  
    36%
  •  
    9%

Discuss (Total votes: 1,939)


This bears watching

Zach Randolph is off to a slow start, and the Grizzlies' defense has yet to match the standard it set last season.

SportsNation

How worried should Grizzlies fans be?

  •  
    30%
  •  
    52%
  •  
    18%

Discuss (Total votes: 1,900)


Good enough?

The Lakers are 3-3 but have looked overmatched at times -- and Steve Nash is still hobbled. Is there enough depth to surround Kobe for a playoff push?

SportsNation

How worried should Lakers fans be?

  •  
    44%
  •  
    29%
  •  
    27%

Discuss (Total votes: 2,007)

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Garrett W. Ellwood/NBAE/Getty Images

NBA 5-on-5: Denver Nuggets

Denver experienced a lot of turnover in the offseason. New coach. New GM. And two of its best players left. How will this new-look team do this season? Will it continue to rebuild? The NBA 5-on-5 guys had their say, and now it's time for SportsNation to weigh in.

What grade would you give the Nuggets' offseason?

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    9%
  •  
    32%
  •  
    35%
  •  
    16%
  •  
    8%

Discuss (Total votes: 3,644)

  • What is the biggest question facing the Nuggets in 2013-14?

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      29%
    •  
      36%
    •  
      35%

    Discuss (Total votes: 3,510)

  • Who is the Nuggets' most intriguing player?

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      43%
    •  
      32%
    •  
      25%

    Discuss (Total votes: 3,556)

  • Which of these bold predictions by the 5-on-5 panel is most likely to come true?

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      15%
    •  
      18%
    •  
      14%
    •  
      53%

    Discuss (Total votes: 3,399)

  • Prediction time: How far will the Nuggets go this season?

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      22%
    •  
      54%
    •  
      17%
    •  
      2%
    •  
      5%

    Discuss (Total votes: 3,473)

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The Houston Rockets won the Dwight Howard rally this offseason. Now, according to Bradford Doolittle's WARP-based calculations, the James Harden-led team also wins the title of best backcourt in the NBA. These rankings aren't without controversy, though; the Stephen Curry/Klay Thompson Golden State Warriors didn't crack the top 10. Do you agree with the analytics? Click on the images below to set your rankings!

Best NBA backcourts

Clippers

Clippers

Chris Paul, J.J. Redick, Jamal Crawford

Heat

Heat

Dwyane Wade, Mario Chalmers, Ray Allen

Lakers

Lakers

Kobe Bryant, Steve Nash, Jodie Meeks

Mavericks

Mavericks

Jose Calderon, Monta Ellis, Devin Harris

Nets

Nets

Deron Williams, Jason Terry, Joe Johnson

Nuggets

Nuggets

Ty Lawson, Nate Robinson, Evan Fournier

Pacers

Pacers

Paul George, George Hill, C.J. Watson

Rockets

Rockets

James Harden, Patrick Beverly, Jeremy Lin

Spurs

Spurs

Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili, Danny Green

Thunder

Thunder

Russell Westbrook, Thabo Sefolosha, Reggie Jackson

Timberwolves

Timberwolves

Ricky Rubio, Kevin Martin, Jose Juan Barea

Trail Blazers

Trail Blazers

Damian Lillard, Wesley Matthews, Mo Williams

Warriors

Warriors

Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Toney Douglas

Wizards

Wizards

John Wall, Bradley Beal, Glen Rice Jr.

Your Rankings

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