As we look ahead to the new week, we can see how much it is shaped by the momentous events of the last seven days -- the busiest week of the 2005-06 campaign.
Ahead of the game
After Kobe's historic 81, the season's first three trades went down, with the biggie being the on-again, off-again, long-rumored swap of Ron Artest for Peja Stojakovic, and the most populous one being the seven-player, three-draft pick deal between Boston and Minnesota, with Ricky Davis and Wally Szczerbiak the headliners.
In more serious news, Isiah Thomas was sued for harassment by a former Knicks colleague, and Chris Andersen was banned from the NBA for drug use.
This week we'll track the fallout from the latter two stories. First, let's highlight some of the action we're anticipating most eagerly:
Speaking of back in town, Nate McMillan, known in the Northwest as "Mr. Sonic," brings his new team, the Portland Trail Blazers, to Seattle to face his old team. See our interview with McMillan.
Also: For those of you who think that places like Sacramento, Denver and Indianapolis are best seen from the sky, the Lakers make their lone visit to New York this season to try to show the Knicks how a dysfunctional team can win. It's Kobe vs. The World, Phil vs. Larry, Round Next.
Also: Phoenix is in Boston to show the Celtics what a gun-running operation is supposed to look like, and Flip Saunders sees his old team, the Timberwolves, for the second time in eight days. And the Hawks and the Bobcats play, and somebody's gotta not lose that game.
ESPN.COM THIS WEEK
Does Juwan Howard know he's messing with a cop? Shaq, the recently deputized center who is a 46 percent free throw shooter this season, sank 12 of 18 as the Heat beat the Rockets 101-95.
-- ESPN Research
Yao Ready To Play
Traded Players Get A Chance To Shine
The Cavs trailed the Suns by 17 midway through the third quarter. Then LeBron James turned the keys to the ol' Blue Bird. Suns taken to school. Cavs win.
Chauncey Billups keeps an eye on Kobe Bryant, who had a relatively quiet 39 points. The Detroit Five (plus four) posted its 11th straight win. Next: the Nets on Tuesday.
Lamar Odom, Lakers forward: Eight turnovers? That shouldn't be a stat line, it's the answer to a question: "What did you have for Sunday breakfast?" "Ate turnovers -- apple and blueberry." Lakers lose to Pistons, 102-93.
Quote of the Day
"We feel as though we have five superstars. If we want one guy to go out there and average 30, we can do that. But we know what we want at the end, a championship, and we know one guy can't guard five guys."
-- Pistons guard Richard Hamilton, whose team is now 37-5 and chasing history. Rip leads the NBA in 3-point shooting percentage (.517).
-- Andrew Ayres
The Celtics acquired Michael Olowokandi in the seven-player trade with the T'Wolves. Since Robert Parish played his last game for the Celtics in 1994, no player has started as many as 200 games at center for Boston. The leaders among the Celtics' 25 different starting centers since then: Mark Blount, 195 (2001-2006); Tony Battie, 175 (1999-2003); Eric Montross, 134 (1994-1996); Vitaly Potapenko, 120 (1999-2002); Andrew DeClercq, 50 (1997-1999).
-- Elias Sports Bureau
Shaquille O'Neal played his 100th game with the Heat on Sunday. O'Neal has averaged 21.8 points and 10.2 rebounds per game for Miami, after recording averages of 27.2 points and 12.5 rebounds for the Magic and 27.0 points and 11.8 rebounds for the Lakers.
Only four other players in NBA history played at least 100 games and averaged 20 points or more per game with at least three different teams: Bernard King (Nets, Warriors, Knicks, Bullets), World B. Free (Clippers, Warriors, Cavaliers), Moses Malone (Rockets, 76ers, Bullets) and Stephon Marbury (Nets, Suns, and Knicks). Of those four, only Malone also averaged double figures in rebounds.
• Elias Sports Bureau | More from Elias
Kobe's 81 shows me how amazing David Thompson's 73 was. No 3-pointer in his era. The NBA is really pushing this style of play. It grabs headlines and stirs debate. The real story to me is the Pistons and their team style. I have been hooping all my life and I know how special it is when a group comes together like this.
Why is Kobe such a lightning rod for criticism on the court? Iif he scores 62 and sits out the fourth or goes for it and scores 81, he catches heat either way. Why are there so many Kobe haters out there? I've been following the NBA for over 20 years and he's the closest thing I've seen to Jordan. And Jordan wasn't always the nicest guy or best teammate but his desire and sheer will to win were second to none. I see the exact same traits in Kobe.
Do you guys really think Kobe scoring 81 points is good for the game of BASKETBALL? There has been so much talk about a lack of fundamentals in the game nowadays and you have a guy hoisting shots from the moon and worrying about statistics on a team that's barely playoff worthy. You have the Pistons at 37-5, the epitome of a team, one of the league leaders in assists as a team and every article is Kobe and 81. Is this what our kids growing up learning the game should see and learn about from the game of basketball? Really?