I don't see them making a quantum leap forward to challenge Detroit/Miami for tops in the conference.
And yes, I do realize there are 80 more games to go.
• And, okay, I know that Larry Brown coaching a team in a major market was enough to blow all other hoops news to page 2 yesterday. We in the sticks bow to your supreme importance, guys. But what's the excuse for ESPN headlining tonite's story "Shaq sprains ankle"? The Gold and Blue dominated the game until a late rally, then closed the deal. There's more than one O'Neal in the league.
• Speaking of the home team, I saw the local-government-channel produced story of the old three-time ABA champs a couple weeks ago, and I was reminded that not only were the four ABA teams which joined the NBA sexually molested (no draft picks or league revenue for three years) but unlike pro football and baseball, the career totals are not part of a player's official record. That includes Dr. J, Rick Berry, Artis Gilmore, and Pacer greats Mel Daniels, George McGinnis, Freddie Lewis, and Roger Brown. The Rajah belongs in the Hall. He was the finest one-on-one player ever, at least until Jordan. He could post up anybody, take anyone on the planet off the dribble, and drain the j. He was better off the dribble than Jordan, without the benefit of the NBA traveling rule, if any, and while he mightn't've had Jordan's range or leaping ability he never tried to sell me a pair of shoes made by slave laborers, either.
• Roger Ailes beat me to David Brooks' latest, but with a line so good ("You know this piece sucks, just from the headline") I had to sneak under the fence to read it, and it turns out to add a whole 'nother category to suckitude:
Harry Reid sits alone at his kitchen table at 4 a.m., writing important notes in crayon on the outside of envelopes. It's been four weeks since he launched his personal investigation into the Republican plot to manipulate intelligence to trick the American people into believing Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction.
Reid had heard of the secret G.O.P. cabal bent on global empire, but he had no idea that he would find a conspiracy so immense.
Brooks proceeds to the "Clinton thought there were WMDs too" whine which has suddenly reappeared after, what? two years? I've been listening to these guys for thirty years and it's the first time I can remember them being so desperately short of bumper-sticker retorts.
• And Brooks was recycling his own "The Democrats are treating the Right like we're a bunch of tin-foil-hat wearers, and boy, don't they look silly" routine that had its off-off-Broadway tryout (on the News Hour) a couple weeks back. There, he said of Miers' replacement, "Oh, I hope the President will consult all us conservatives out in the desert looking for UFOs", or something like that, even though no one on the panel had said anything remotely approaching that (Mark Shields sure didn't), and he couldn't help snickering like some pocket-protector nerd who cracks himself up with a Star Trek reference in civics class, oblivious of the stony silence around him.
Look, David, Pat Buchanan is making more sense these days than you and the rest of your Great Books club. That's a sign. And I believe it was Otto Rank who said, "Just because you can point out a mental patient, it doesn't mean you aren't a fucking nutjob."