Dwight Howard doesn't see himself as he is right now. (Harry How/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: Orange County Register. Kevin Ding, who called out Dwight Howard's largely uninspired play just after Christmas, revisits the topic in a scathing postmortem following the center's inglorious performance on Monday night — both on the court in L.A.'s 12-point loss to the Chicago Bulls and off it in his griping for shots. Money quote: "But Howard hasn't been that good — and hasn't updated his self-image to reflect the current state of his game or figure out how to help the team win."
(Another Laker piece worth the time, from NBA.com's John Schuhmann: For all the talk about how Howard and Pau Gasol can't play together, the numbers say it might just be that the two frontcourt stars can't play together the way Mike D'Antoni is playing them. Hmm. That sounds familiar.)
PF: Roundball Mining Company. Last year, George Karl and the Denver Nuggets made quite a bit of hay in crunch-time by running out an offense-first, playmaking-heavy lineup anchored by the backcourt duo of Ty Lawson and Andre Miller. He continues to favor that pairing late in games, even though it drives some Nuggets fans batty. Jeremy Wagner digs into the team's lineup data — most commonly used five-man units, most beneficial three-man groups, etc. — in search of evidence as to whether or not Denver is playing better this season with its two triggermen sharing the floor.
SF: Portland Roundball Society. Halfway through the regular season, the Portland Trail Blazers are one game under .500 and one game out of the eighth and final playoff seed in the Western Conference; this is not something we expected. Still, though, Sean Highkin doesn't have high hopes for the team's bid for a playoff berth: "[...] the fact that three of the Blazers’ five starters are averaging at least 38 minutes per game is going to catch up to them, be it in the form of an injury or just general burnout. And when it does, things will get ugly, because they have arguably the worst bench in the NBA."
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