Every story's got a beginning. (Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports)
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: Salt Lake Tribune. After taking over in overtime on Monday night to push the Boston Celtics to a 110-107 win over the Utah Jazz, Celtics captain Paul Pierce said his back-and-forth battle with Utah defender DeMarre Carroll had a history, and that he'd let the media ask Carroll about it. Well, Steve Luhm did; the result is a small but great story about getting got and how the tables can turn.
PF: Sports Illustrated. Lee Jenkins' full feature on Boston Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo — which you might remember from its revelations about the triggerman's estimable Connect 4 prowess — is now available online. Drink deep of the goodness.
SF: Grantland. As we start paying more attention to the phenomenal season (and career) that San Antonio Spurs point guard Tony Parker is having — and again, I do think it's phenomenal, even if I don't think he's the league's MVP — Kirk Goldsberry breaks down what specifically makes Parker arguably the NBA's best and quickest decision-maker.
SG: Hickory High. I'm nowhere near smart enough to understand the nitty-gritty analysis that went into Ian Levy's whip-smart piece on how controlling an opponent's shot location can impact a team's defensive efficiency, but I did understand this takeaway — the difference between a top-10 D and one near the bottom third of the league can be as simple as forcing the other guys to take two or three more midrange shots a game. Which is kind of crazy.
PG: Sports on Earth. We know there's virtually no compelling reason to watch the Philadelphia 76ers right now, especially when they turn in performances like Tuesday night's ... and yet, we'll continue to do so because, as Shaun Powell notes, it's impossible not to want to stay tuned to the Andrew Bynum saga and, if indeed he does come back this season, try to figure out what he's got left.
7th: SB Nation. Andrew Sharp gets clear, direct and incisive on how the way the Chicago Bulls have managed Derrick Rose's recovery and the expectation-setting surrounding his comeback says a lot more about the way the Bulls organization handles its business than it ever could about the 24-year-old coming off major, career-altering knee surgery.
8th: NBA.com. Fran Blinebury talks with Memphis Grizzlies center Marc Gasol about his relationship with St. Jude Children's Research Hospital and the young patients there undergoing treatment for cancer and other life-threatening illnesses, why tea parties with sick kids matter, and more. Reminder: Marc Gasol is awesome.
9th: USA TODAY Sports. Sam Amick talks with Golden State Warriors head coach, former New York Knicks point guard and Queens native Mark Jackson about his first trip to Madison Square Garden as a coach, the loved ones who'll watch from the stands, the ones who won't, and more.
10th: Bullets Forever. Regular 10-man readers know that I love me some Jordan Kahn play breakdowns, and this up-close-and-personal look at how the surging Washington Wizards have helped rookie shooting guard Bradley Beal get on track in recent weeks through the use of a new high-post set is no exception. (It pairs pretty well with James Herbert's profile on Beal's breakout, too.)
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