TRILLION WATCH: A pair of rookies set the pace for the Heroes of Zeroes, with Pacers guard Ben Hansbrough posting a 4 trillion Wednesday vs. Charlotte and Lakers center Robert Sacre doing the same Thursday vs. the Los Angeles Clippers. Portland rookie Will Barton still has the season’s “best” with an 11 trillion Jan. 21 vs. Washington.
GAME OF THE WEEK: New York at Indiana, February 20. Before either team entertains ideas of dethroning the Heat – and both have beaten Miami twice thus far – there is the small matter of taking down each other. The teams have split two meetings this season, with the home team winning and the road team sputtering to 76 points each time.
GAME OF THE WEAK: Charlotte at Orlando, Feb. 19. Tickets are available for as low as one dollar. That sounds about right.
TWO MINUTES: A week ago, the Spurs were playing the second of a road back-to-back. They were playing the Bulls, who were third in points allowed and second in opponents’ field-goal percentage. They were without Tim Duncan. And Tony Parker. And Manu Ginobili. And Stephen Jackson. They were outrebounded, 49-26. They had 22 defensive rebounds while the Bulls had 17 offensive rebounds. And they shot 52 percent and won going away, 103-89. “I couldn’t be more proud of what they did,” coach Gregg Popovich said. … LeBron James leads the NBA with six 30-10 games this season. Kobe Bryant has three. Dwight Howard has two. … With roughly one-third of the season remaining, six players have at least 10 technical fouls and are in danger of receiving a suspension if they don’t zip their lips before getting to 16. DeMarcus Cousins, Kobe Bryant and Kevin Durant have 11 and Matt Barnes, Blake Griffin and Carmelo Antony have 10. The outlier is Durant, who had 12 career techs before this season. Apparently, KD really is not nice. … Here’s a clue as to why the Magic have lost 24 of their last 27 games. After Sixth Man Award candidate J.J. Redick, Orlando’s bench in Wednesday’s 32-point home loss to Atlanta was comprised of rookies Kyle O’Quinn and DeQuan Jones, Gustavo Ayon, Ish Smith, E’Twaun Moore and Josh McRoberts, whose 1,101 career points is the most among the group. Yowzah. … Hall of Famer Dominique Wilkins, 53, who drained a halfcourt shot to clinch the Shooting Stars competition, doesn’t like that All-Star Saturday Night is mostly devoid of star players. In his prime, Wilkins participated in three Slam Dunk Contests in four years, winning once and finishing second to an favorites Spud Webb and Michael Jordan. “It’s ultimately up to you to give something back to – more give it to the fans,” he said. “That’s what all the contests are about. When Mike and I did it, we loved to compete. We loved to win. It was exciting to us to prepare for the Dunk Contest.” … The Hall of Fame’s ABA committee posthumously elected former Pacers great Roger Brown on Friday. Brown won three ABA titles with the Pacers, the last two as the small forward in a frontcourt that included Hall of Famer Mel Daniels and George McGinnis, who both won MVPs in that league. “I’ve been around pro basketball for 60 years, I’ve seen every front line, either playing against ‘em, coaching against ‘em or broadcasting and that front line of George, Mel and Roger was as good as any or better,” said 80-year-old Slick Leonard, who coached that team. “I want to live long enough to see that whole front line in the Hall of Fame. We’re two-thirds of the way there.” While Leonard’s statement is somewhat hyperbolic, it is not hallucinatory. That frontcourt was a monster in its time, and McGinnis – who was virtually unstoppable in his 20s – not being in the Hall of Fame is a crime. … Spurs assistant Mike Budenholzer coached Team Chuck in Friday’s Rising Stars Challenge and was asked if the game would be more entertaining if it had a set time period where players could go one-on-one with no help defense, as Kyrie Irving and Brandon Knight did late in the contest. Uh, no. “Did you say would it be more entertaining? I don’t know,” he said. “I’m kind of old-fashioned and I thought when the ball moved a little bit and a couple of passes and all, that is equally as entertaining. … Kyrie, he was pretty amazing and Brandon I think took a little challenge. And I think it was great to watch those two go at each other. (But) 40 minutes of that, that would not be my idea of basketball.” Ours, either.
Chris Bernucca is the deputy editor of SheridanHoops.com. His columns appear Monday during the season. You can follow him on Twitter.