Mike Lupica makes a pretty strong case that Stan Van Gundy is a better coach than Pat Riley. Marc Stein suspects Van Gundy may have been better, too, and adds "you have to wonder if Riley's famously grueling practices are really what Shaq, Zo and Wade need." By the way, I 100% agree with Stein about the Heat's chances of success: they'll do well, but with so many ball-hungry players they will not win the East (barring major injuries to Detroit etc.) Magic Johnson says the Heat players are in for a rude awakening.
John Canzano wonders if the Blazers cut a deal with Ruben Patterson--he gets enough playing time to showcase his wares, and in exchange he will opt out of his contract at the end of the season if he's still a Blazer.
The Rockets were fined for going to Vegas. The league says giving the trip to the players was a violation of the salary cap. Why are NBA teams so obsessed with Vegas? I wonder if the casinos are comping team trips there to get the NBA lovefest rolling in advance of getting their own team. The T-Wolves got in trouble for going there earlier. I remember Mo Cheeks surprised the Blazers by having the team plane touch down there for a surprise visit when the players thought they were going to Salt Lake City for a couple of days.
Two fouls and two buckets in seven minutes as Qyntel Woods returns to the court.
Neal Pollack: "The TNT halftime bump featured Mehmet Okur and Smush Parker, for god's sake. Meanwhile, I saw about a dozen commercials advertising the drama of the NBA, 32 teams, only one champion, blah de blah blah. But that doesn't mean anything when the star of one also-ran (Kobe) is trying to fake the star of another also-ran (Kirilenko), out of his shoes, and the result is a missed jumper 22 seconds into the shot clock. Chris Mihm doubling down on Matt Harpring hardly feels legendary to me."
All today's hot NBA stories could come together nicely if Pat Riley would indeed trade for Ron Artest, as has been rumored. The Heat could start Ron Artest, Dwyane Wade, Shaquille O'Neal, and anyone and be scary.
A smart look from Mark Monteith at the challenge of trading Ron Artest. Some names: Al Harrington, Peja Stojakovic, and Jerry Stackhouse.
What they're saying on talk radio in Miami.
The final word on the Riley mess: read Dan Le Batard today.