|ESPN.com: NBA||[Print without images]|
|THE WEEK IN PREVIEW|
New York gets a chance to avenge its Opening Night collapse in a Knicks-at-Orlando rematch. Houston at Chicago pits Yao Ming against Eddy Curry.
Carmelo Anthony warms up for LeBron James by taking on Ron Artest in Nuggets at Pacers. Yao and Jeff Van Gundy head for a New York media invasion in New Jersey, as part of Rockets at Nets ... with the one-sided nature of the Eddie Griffin-for-Richard Jefferson trade sure to come up, too.
ESPN's doubleheader starts with the LeBron vs. Carmelo showdown that sells itself in Nuggets at Cavs. Memphis at Portland is the ESPN nightcap. Other intriguing matchups include Sacramento at Minnesota, albeit without Chris Webber to lead the Kings against Kevin Garnett, and Baron Davis dueling Allen Iverson in Hornets at Sixers.
Indiana at New Jersey, a solid Eastern Conference showdown, is only TNT's warmup. Lakers at Spurs is the showcase, pitting the two teams that have combined to win the past five championships.
Minnesota visits Orlando on ESPN in the Battle Of Tormented First-Round Souls: Garnett vs. Tracy McGrady. Portland at Seattle, in the battle for Pacific Northwest supremacy, is the second ESPN game.
Saturday's best: Dallas at San Antonio, televised (if you can get it) on NBA TV. Sunday brings New Jersey at Detroit in a reprisal of the Eastern Conference finals, with Kenyon Martin expected back from an ankle strain by then.
|It's a whole new ballgame for Shaq and L.A.'s Fab Four.|
Team of the Week
Los Angeles Lakers. Considering how shaky everything looked a week ago, a 3-0 start to the season is significant even for the fallen champions, who aren't accustomed to getting excited about anything that happens during the regular season. Gary Payton and Karl Malone have changed that attitude, helping to mediate the latest dispute between Shaquille O'Neal and Kobe Bryant and infusing the Lakers with some much-needed November energy and purpose. One week after Shaq and Kobe started trading barbs, Bryant completed the first back-to-back set on his surgically repaired knee Sunday with 21 points on 12 shots, playing the team game Shaq was calling for when the bickering erupted.
Male of the Week
E-mail of the Week
I've always respected your opinion because you've never been stupid enough to write the Jazz off. Last year, when everybody said Utah's playoff streak would end, you may not have mentioned the Jazz as a playoff team, but you never completely closed the door on them. I was disappointed that you finally wrote them off this year. They probably won't make the playoffs, but I'm sure you feel a little foolish for completely writing off a Jerry Sloan team.
Andrew L. John
STEIN: Lots of us in the media are probably guilty of focusing too much on Utah's talent dropoff, without Mail and Stock, instead of acknowledging that Jerry Sloan elected to keep coaching this team. Irony is, Sloan is getting more preseason nominations as a potential Coach of the Year contender than he ever has before. It's still way too early to start that debate, but if Sloan can squeeze even 25 wins out of the stripped-down Jazz, it'll be tough to argue that anyone did more coaching this season.
Speak of the Week
"Summer league was crazier. That was the craziest I've ever seen. People were following us around like those people who go after movie stars -- what are they called? Stalkers?"
—Cleveland's Darius Miles, on life as LeBron James' best friend with the Cavaliers.
Line of the Week
|Friday, Oct. 31: Seattle SuperSonics at Los Angeles Clippers|
Stat of the Week
Stat of the Weak
Marc Stein is the senior NBA writer for ESPN.com. To e-mail him, click here. Also, click here to send a question for possible use on ESPNEWS.