Brook Lopez looks great, you guys. (Getty Images)
A look around the league and the Web that covers it. It's also important to note that the rotation order and starting nods aren't always listed in order of importance. That's for you, dear reader, to figure out.
C: The Brooklyn Game. I am on record as fully on-board with how ridiculous the faces that Brook Lopez makes are, so I'm glad that Devin Kharpertian found a whole bunch more to make jokes about. It's also worth noting, though, that Lopez was probably the biggest All-Star Game reserve snub in the non-Stephen Curry division. (Here are two arguments in agreement.)
PF: Hoopsworld. As we approach the Feb. 21 trade deadline, Alex Kennedy has an important palate cleanser/mental corrective/informative head's up regarding how trade talks actually tend to happen. Basically: Take deep, cleansing breaths, everyone.
SF: ESPN the Magazine and Sports Illustrated. Pablo S. Torre describes the exorcism of the New York Knicks in a way that has me wanting to sing hymns, while Chris Ballard details the alternating optimism and concern surrounding Carmelo Anthony in a way that has me breathing into a paper bag. These are two stellar, stellar pieces of sports journalism.
SG: Living and Dying by the Jazz. Sometimes, living a fairy-tale life isn't quite what it's cracked up to be. Just ask Alec Burks. (Seriously, it's not Alex.)
PG: TrueHoop. Kevin Arnovitz explains why the San Antonio Spurs' starting five — Tony Parker, Danny Green, Kawhi Leonard, Tim Duncan and Tiago Splitter — is hammering opponents, both offensively and defensively. Whenever Arnovitz digs into five-man-unit data like this, and pores over tape, we all get smarter.
7th: Gothic Ginobili. Back in early November, Alex and Aaron had a "strangely prescient" chat about the Los Angeles Lakers and their prospects that resulted in the revelation of a staggering stat that, as it turns out, could offer an actual, honest-to-God reason for the Lakers to move Dwight Howard if they get a fair(ish)-value chance.
8th: SB Nation. "They played hard on Thursday. That this was notable is far more damning than the loss." My man Paul Flannery — who always offers great Boston Celtics stuff — on the state of the Green after Thursday's loss to the Knicks. (One major issue, as WEEI.com's Ben Rohrbach notes, is the Celtics finding some way to get Jason Terry back on track.)
9th: Hardwood Paroxysm. Ian Levy digs into Expected Points Per Shot (XPPS) statistics to take a look at five players who — whether by recognizing their strengths, avoiding their weaknesses or making concerted efforts to take higher-percentage looks — are maximizing their chances on the offensive end of the floor to their teams' benefit. A lot of numbers here, but also some good context on how those numbers inform what you're seeing on the court in different situations.
10th: Rufus on Fire. Given the Charlotte Bobcats' backcourt depth — especially relative to their rail-thin frontcourt (we miss you, Byron Mullens) — and the size of rookie wings Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Jeffery Taylor, it makes sense that they'd look to play more small-ball lineups, but Charlotte coach Mike Dunlap has been somewhat reticent to do so. He did go small some against the Atlanta Hawks in Wednesday night's loss, though, and Ben Swanson takes a look at how the more diminutive 'Cats units performed. (Also, Charlotte magazine argues that the "should we become the Hornets again?" issue is very much like the McRib, which is a fun thought experiment.)
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