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Ball Don't Lie

The 10-man rotation, starring the difference between this year’s Spurs and last year’s Spurs

Dan Devine
Ball Don't Lie

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Tim Duncan and Tiago Splitter make the Spurs tough to beat inside. (D. Clarke Evans/NBA/Getty Images)

A look around the league and the Web that covers it. It's also important to note that the rotation order and starting nods aren't always listed in order of importance. That's for you, dear reader, to figure out.

C: Hang Time. The roster doesn't look any different; the coaching staff doesn't look any different; the offensive approach doesn't look any different; the record doesn't look any different. So why should we believe the 2012-13 San Antonio Spurs are anything more than a regular-season rabbit destined to once again fall by the wayside against elite competition in the Western Conference playoffs? The devil, stat guru John Schuhmann writes, is in the details ... and in the defense, especially against that elite comp. (And especially against the Oklahoma City Thunder, who, as we noted earlier today, might have a bit more cause for concern than you'd think.)

PF: Sports Illustrated. Hey, Pau Gasol's coming back for the Los Angeles Lakers! All right! Except that ... y'know ... before he got hurt, there were major, major problems with integrating him into the L.A. lineup and into Mike D'Antoni's system. Now that L.A.'s found a rhythm and worked its way back into the West's playoff picture, the great Lee Jenkins writes, the Lakers must finally figure out how to make their odd superstar mixture work ... and fast.

[Watch: Heat rally for 25th straight win]

SF: The Classical. This isn't an NBA story, per se, but it's a damn good read on the legend of New York City streetball savant, Providence College guard and pro basketball lifer God Shammgod, the man whose handle still takes pros' breath away.

SG: Grantland. Zach Lowe digs into the increased half-court and late-game efficiency that's helped the Denver Nuggets win 14 straight games and vault themselves into conversation as a legitimate contender in the Western Conference.

PG: SB Nation. Tom Ziller dislikes the NCAA as an entity, the NBA's age limit as a theoretical construct and a practical barrier, and the fact that no legitimate stateside alternative to the "one-and-done" approach is being provided for high-school prospects. So he came up with one — let the D-League recruit high-schoolers. It's a pretty fascinating idea.

6th: Hoop76. When the Philadelphia 76ers' season ends, they'll have to get serious about making a decision on how they want to handle injured-free-agent-to-be Andrew Bynum. What are their options in dealing with the man they imported to be their franchise center, and what would be their wisest course of action? Tom Sunnergren reviews.

7th: Waiting for Next Year. How, exactly, do you blow a 27-point lead? If you're the Cleveland Cavaliers, and you're playing the Miami Heat, you do it one three points at a time, and in stunning fashion. Kirk Lammers suffers through the game tape of the Cavs' collapse in his latest Film Room breakdown.

8th: ShamSports. Mark Deeks' exhaustive rundown of the last known whereabouts/situations of a slew of retired (mostly) ex-NBA players. If you know anything about what's going on with Danny Fortson these days, give him a shout.

9th: Orlando Pinstriped Post. A frustrating, injury-plagued season could be at an end for Al Harrington, who might not see the floor again for the Orlando Magic, despite finally being healthy enough to give it a go.

10th: Off the Dribble. Steve McPherson considers the curious case of Thaddeus Young, who has developed an interesting interior game under Philadelphia 76ers coach Doug Collins over the past three seasons, but might have done so at the expense of valuable perimeter talents.

Got a link or tip for Ball Don't Lie? Give me a shout at devine (at) yahoo-inc.com, or follow me on Twitter.

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