Good morning. Let's basketball.
MELO OUT: It was Carmelo Anthony's weekend. On Friday, he dropped 62 on an unsuspecting Bobcats team. (62! Amar'e was catatonic with glee.) On Saturday, he was the focus of a Woj Bomb as Yahoo!'s Adrian Wojnarowski reported that while Anthony should remain in New York, he'd prefer to land in Chicago over Los Angeles. On Sunday, Melo led the Knicks over those Lakers with 35.
Best of all: New York is now one game out of the No. 8 seed.
TYRANNOSAURUS ROSS: If you had "Terrence Ross" on your "The Player Who Would Immediately Drop An On-Court Response To Melo" card, congratulations, you have achieved unlikely victory. Ross dropped 51 in a Raptors loss on Saturday. (He was averaging 9 ppg going in.) James Herbert was in Toronto to document the bizarre explosion.
NUMBERS ON THE BOARDS: Kevin Durant isn't content to wait his turn to win MVP -- he's taken the race into his own hands. Paul Flannery's superlative weekly column Sunday Shootaround looks at KD's case, plus Kevin Garnett's reluctant excellence at center, narrative-driven MVP races of the past and more.
COMING HOME: Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett returned to Boston on Sunday, and got the lovely video salute and warm fan embrace you'd expect from the Celtics and their fans. In a great piece on the experience, Flannery writes on what exactly Boston was memorializing.
LEBREEZUS: GIF evidence of LeBron being LeBron in the Heat's breezy win over the Spurs on Sunday.
POP, THE HOLY TERROR: Pounding The Rock's J.R. Wilco interviewed ESPN/ABC eminence Doris Burke over the weekend. She admitted this: "[R]eally, at this point after two decades in the business, the only thing I do that causes me any such angst is the interview with Pop."
PAUL GEORGE IS PURE MAGIC: Need a four-point play to tie the game with 15 seconds left? Paul George is your man.
DETROIT BAD ... TEAM: The Pistons are 3-8 in January. The fourth quarter is why.
CAVS GON' CAV: How do you lose a 18-point halftime lead in eight minutes? You give up a 20-4 run to open up the third, like Cleveland did against Phoenix on Sunday.
WELCOME TO THE PARTY: Vox is growing in a very fantastic way. Cheers to the new and future Project Xers joining the ride.
Happy Monday. See you next time.