Starting 5: The dark side of Linsanity, LeBron’s best night ever, & Cuban’s about to get a big fine

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Every morning, we’ll give you five things from the night before in the NBA to start your day.

1:  Caron gets his ring, Mavs get the win

The Dallas Mavericks are in a perpetual championship celebration.  Every time one of their former players comes to town with another team, they hold a nice little ceremony to give the guy his ring.  That happened again with Caron Butler last night

And Butler had a chance to win the game… or at least put the Clippers ahead with five seconds left… with a three.   Despite the miss, Butler put on a bit of a show against his former teammates, dropping a season high 23.  But it was Dirk Nowitzki’s 22 that helped the Mavs hold off the Clips.

It was a huge win for Dallas, who now moves within a half game of the Clippers for the third spot in the West. 

I know the champs got off to a slow start, but they’ve won four in a row now.  If you haven’t looked at the standings in a while, you might be shocked to see Dallas… and San Antonio… so close to the top.  Guess the lockout-shortened season doesn’t just favor fresh legs after all. 

2:  We build ‘em up to tear ‘em down

Jeremy Lin.

What was your reaction to reading his name?  

Ugh… I’m so sick of this guy.

or 

Wow… I still can’t believe what a story this is!

Welcome to human nature.  Jeremy Lin has come out of nowhere to lead the Knicks to a winning streak without their best players.  He’s re-energized a storied franchise and its fan base.  And everyone with a keyboard is writing about him. 

But for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.  And that’s especially true here as people sick of the over-saturation are finding ways to tear the kid down.  Enter boxer Floyd Mayweather, who wrote 

“Jeremy Lin is a good player but all the hype is because he’s Asian. Black players do what he does every night and don’t get the same praise.”

The interjection of race into this story pains me.  The bottom line is Lin gets the hype because was a hours from getting cut and suddenly he’s playing like an MVP.  White, Black, Asian… none of that matters.  If it was Pooh Jeter doing it, we’d all be going nuts too. 

I wish, for once, we could sit back and appreciate stories like this.  Sadly, we’re all part of the problem.  The over-saturation exists because there are hundreds of moderately-to-highly read blogs dedicated to each NBA team, or the NBA as a whole, in addition to all the mainstream media outlets on like and on the air.  If you’re an NBA fan, you read about Lin here, on 10 other NBA blogs, on a few team blogs, in the local paper, on sports center, at the barber shop, on the bus… and that’s just to start.  I get that.  But instead of turning that into hate for the player, I’d urge people to blow it off as best they can. 

At the heart of all of this is a great story.  A kid from Harvard, cut twice before the season started, who was nearly cut again before a desperation move, takes advantage of his opportunity to EARN player of the week honors.  It’s amazing, and it has nothing to do with race, religion, politics or anything other than basketball.  

Let’s just appreciate a truly great basketball story… and let the noise just meld into the background.

3:  HIGHLIGHTS!!!

It’s Valentine’s day, so why not start with a little Love?


     

“There’s still a little sanity in ‘Vinsanity'”


 

Hey Milwaukee… LeBron sort of likes to do this from time to time.  Might want to try getting in his way or something.

4:  Line of the Night:  LeBron James: 35 points, 8 rebounds, 3 assist

LeBron was the night’s only 30+ point scorer, and he did it with the best shooting night of his NBA career.  He shot 16-21 from the field and helped make sure there wasn’t another shocking Bucks comeback (Milwaukee beat Miami two weeks ago after trailing by 18 at the half).  This time around, LeBron powered a 35-24 third quarter to put the pesky Bucks away for good. 

5:  You can quote me on that

“I don’t think it was about the Lakers, per se.  I think it was just the way they did the deal, which was ridiculous. I don’t think it was about which team. I think it was the fact that, even with the Clippers, we just went through this whole (collective bargaining agreement) and said the incumbent team still has the advantage and then the team the league owns (wimps) out. And look how it’s worked out for them.

“Bad management gets you bad results.”
     – Mark Cuban, on the nixed Chris Paul to the Lakers deal 

“I love what’s going on right now.  The underdog story.  The guy sent down to the D-League multiple times is asked to give New York a spark, give our team a spark that we’ve been looking for.  

“People question whether I can fit in, I don’t know where that’s coming from.  I can play with anybody.  People asked if I could play with Amar’e Stoudemire coming in, people asking if I can play with Jeremy Lin right now… it’s funny to me.  I’ll deal with, I accept it, I embrace it.  But when I get back, it’ll be that much more fun for myself and it’ll be that much more fun for the New York Knicks.”
     – Carmelo Anthony, on coming back to play with Jeremy Lin 

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