It's true. With five games against fellow Atlantic Division tenants, New Jersey's schedule hasn't been the toughest since Lawrence Frank took over as the first coach-ballboy in NBA history.
Don't discount the fact that the first four games were roadies, and that all seven of the Nets' wins under Frank have been easy, comfortable victories.
The convincing nature of the Nets' renaissance has also made Frank the first coach in NBA history to win each of his first seven games by 10 or more points. Only three other first-year NBA head coaches have had streaks that long, but none to start their coaching careers.
Red Auerbach won 10 games in a row by 10 or more points with Washington in 1946-47. Mike Dunleavy won eight straight by 10 or more in 1990-91 with the Lakers. Chris Ford won seven in a row in Boston that same season.
Frank's streak has taken the Nets into the top six of ESPN.com's NBA Power Rankings and keeps them in the spotlight with San Antonio, Memphis and New York after a week where several teams jostled for our kudos.
Team of the Week
Memphis Grizzlies. This might be the toughest pick we've had to make in this category so far, with no less than five teams going undefeated in the past seven days (Houston's the fifth). Yet with the Nets, Spurs and Knicks mentioned prominently in other sections of this cyberspace ... why not the Grizz? Going into Minnesota and winning a nailbiter Sunday was a stirring way to set the new franchise record for victories. With 32 games left on the schedule, no less.
Male of the Week
Tim Duncan. San Antonio had a 3-0 week, all on the road and including a massive victory in Sacramento on Friday night. Duncan? All he did was average 30 points, 15 boards and three blocks while shooting 57 percent from the floor, although the free throws -- bend your knees, son! -- are still way shakier than they should be.
E-Mail of the Week
- Is it just me or does Mark Madsen look like Gary Lineker?
STEIN: It's not just you. Good shout, Dan.
Speak of the Week
"I think it's what you do, not how old you are."
—Knicks coach Lenny Wilkens, trying to keep pace with Memphis' Hubie Brown ... and making us look bad with a 9-3 record since taking over for Don Chaney.
Line of the Week
Couldn't resist this one, and not just because my editor Joey Lags is a diehard Warriors fan. I had to pay tribute to Sunday's two-point fourth quarter by Golden State because I was in attendance at the Fabulous Forum in 1997 for the NBA's first two-point quarter. I still have the third-quarter box score from that famous Lakers-Mavericks clash -- Dallas would have gone scoreless if not for two Derek Harper free throws -- and I even laminated it for posterity.
Stat of the Week
With 42 points against the Clippers on Sunday, New York's Stephon Marbury became just the third player in NBA history to post two 40-point games against the same opponent with two different teams in the same season. Clyde Drexler and Wilt Chamberlain are the other two.
PLAYER TEAMS OPPONENTS
Marbury (2003-04) Suns, Knicks Clippers
Drexler (1994-95) Rockets, Blazers Clippers
Chamber. (1964-65) Sixers, Warriors Lakers, Bullets, Royals
Stat of the Weak
That's how many teams, in a 29-team league, are averaging less than 90 points. Last season, there were only two teams that averaged less than 90 points. Happy zoning!