61. Still Vinsane after all these years
At age 29, Vince Carter rehabbed his rep and made the "SportsCenter" Top 10 his personal showcase with a series of stupendous slams and spin moves. As the original Human Highlight Film was elected to the Hall of Fame, VC remade his claim to fame as well. -- ESPN.com
62. Still gold in dem hills
They didn't pull the trigger on a Ron Artest trade. They did extend the league's longest playoff drought to 12 seasons. Add it up, and you won't believe what else the Golden State Warriors did: establish a club attendance record for the fourth successive season. Can you say Best Fans In The NBA? -- M.S.
63. Who says Americans can't shoot?
The reigning Sixth Man of the Year hasn't had the kind of sophomore season he expected -- he's had trouble holding down his spot in the lineup, for starters. But Ben Gordon's 9-for-9 extravaganza from 3-point range to beat the Wizards and practically lock up a playoff spot for the Bulls was as good as it gets. -- ESPN.com
64. Playoff seeding matters
The NBA won this year's Horse Out of the Barn award by belatedly reconsidering its playoff seeding approach -- after it was too late to stop a Dallas-San Antonio showdown in the Western Conference semis. Although any semi-rational 5-year-old could have seen this coming from a mile away, it apparently didn't occur to the league (until now) that two of its best teams could meet in an early round if they were in the same division. -- J.H.
65. Peja Vu
Indiana got rid of Ron-Ron, but it sure seems like it's the same team with the same problems. Before they acquired Peja Stokakovic for the inactivated Artest, the Pacers were 21-20. Since the trade, they are 18-21 and "team chemistry" remains Topics A, B and C3H5(NO3)3. -- ESPN.com
66. Dancing Fatties
One popular in-arena entertainment trend is something the Mavericks started and everyone else is ripping off -- groups of overweight men in ripped T-shirts doing dance numbers at center court. Can we ban this? It gets real old real fast. -- C.S.
67. Dallas' other 'Boys
Josh, Josh, Jason and Jerry. Devin, Darrell, D.J. and Desagana. Erick, Adrian, Keith and Marquis. These semi-anonymous types hardly sound like the makings of an NBA powerhouse, but with Coach of the Year Avery Johnson and MVP candidate Dirk Nowitzki leading the Dallas Dozen, the Mavs made a serious run at winning the West. -- ESPN.com
68. Party like it's 1988
At least they are in Washington and Denver. That's because 1988 is the last time the Wiz were a playoff team in back-to-back seasons ... except they were called the Bullets back then. And it's also because 1988 is the last time the Nuggets were division champions ... except that their division (the Northwest) didn't exist in the old four-division format. -- M.S.
69. Do we get a vote?
Lost in the hoopla surrounding the first game played in New Orleans since Hurricane Katrina, and the NBA's vowing to send the Hornets back once the city is on its feet, is the fact that the players and coaches are privately saying they'd rather stay in Oklahoma City. -- R.B.
70. Stern's sidekick
Stepping down after 30 years in the league office is deputy commissioner Russ Granik, a class act whose wit and wisdom will be missed. He deserves a big cheer when he announces the first pick of the second round on draft night June 28. -- C.S.
71. The Curse of Chris
It was a bad year to be a high draft pick named Williams. Based on their early returns, it will take Marvin (No. 2, Hawks) and Deron (No. 3, Jazz) years to live down the fact that they're not Chris Paul. If they ever do. -- ESPN.com
72. Nate and Bassy
When he played, Portland coach Nate McMillan was the kind of big point guard who played defense first and moved the ball. Sebastian Telfair is the kind of small point guard for whom getting to the hole is the goal. That's one reason the young Blazer is coming off the bench and seems destined to have rocky times and/or get traded. -- ESPN.com
73. Get into my Car
With game-winner after game-winner, Carmelo Anthony became a superstar without being an All-Star. During Denver's wreck of a regular season, 'Melo was a steady pair of headlights, leading the Nuggets to a division title. -- ESPN.com
74. The B.C. era
When is a season successful for a team that starts 1-15 and fails to reach the 30-win mark? When it unexpectedly lands the first big-name GM in franchise history (Bryan Colangelo) and prompts its superstar-in-training and free agent-to-be (Chris Bosh) to say: "That convinced me a lot." -- M.S.
75. The Class of '03 is one for the ages
We already knew the 2003 draft class was good. But this year they took it to another level. LeBron James and Dwyane Wade challenged for MVP honors, Carmelo Anthony led Denver to a division crown by making several game-winning shots, and Chris Bosh rose to prominence as an All-Star in Toronto. Even human victory cigar Darko Milicic got in on the act, showing flashes of brilliance after a midseason trade to Orlando. -- J.H.
76. Another Hollywood remake
Who knew Kobe idolized Uma Thurman? The world did after it was revealed that Bryant is known as Black Mamba in his inner circle. That, of course, was the character Thurman played in Tarantino's "Kill Bill" martial-arts movies. -- R.B.
77.Offense is only half the game
Two of the league's best offensive teams, Seattle and Toronto, were nonetheless horrible thanks to their complete and total inability to stop the opponent from scoring. Seattle was fourth in the league in offensive efficiency while Toronto ranked fifth, but the two clubs both finished well out the money thanks to the two worst defenses in basketball. Fittingly, neither team has a D anywhere in its name. -- J.H.
78. Every dog has his day
Those lovable doormats called the L.A. Clippers forgot to follow the script this year. With a career year from Elton Brand and the acquisition of Sam Cassell, L.A. had its first winning season in 14 years, won its most games since it won 49 as the Buffalo Braves in 1974-75, and even started drawing a few celebs to the crowd. -- J.H.
79. Not built for prosperity
After he survived eight seasons on non-guaranteed contracts, the Sonics handed Rick Brunson a $1 million guaranteed deal last summer. Four minutes into his Seattle career, he tore the fascia in his left foot and missed the next three months before being waived and picked up by Houston. -- R.B.
80. Mellow Red? Not yet
Looks like Red Auerbach will need another 88 years to soften. After surviving a week in September when he was thought to be near death, Red returned to the Celtics' home opener on Nov. 2 and resumed his jabs at Phil Jackson, his rival in the record books: "Phil obviously is a good coach; you don't win that many games without being a good coach. One thing, though. He's been very fortunate. He picks his spots. That's all I can say. Larry Brown doesn't pick his spots. He's a great coach." -- ESPN.com
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