Good morning. Let's basketball.
ROCKET POWER: Houston won its sixth straight, popping the Wolves by 18 in Minnesota. That ties them up with the Clippers for No. 4 in the West. In other NBA action: the Pacers killed the Nuggets, the Pistons won John Loyer's debut over the Spurs, the Raptors took care of the Pelicans and the Celtics beat Milwaukee.
SILVER LINING: One of Mo Cheeks' assistants also lost his job over the weekend, so Loyer promoted Rasheed Wallace to full-on assistant coach. (Sheed was a player development coach.) At this rate, Sheed will be head coach by next November.
TROUBLE IN OAKLAND: Andrew Bogut's shoulder is hurt. An MRI showed no damage. The Warriors are far better when Bogut's on the court. Mark Jackson said the injury may have happened while Bogut was sleeping. Bogut called that ridiculous and seemed to take real offense to the insinuation it's not serious. Lesson for Jackson: don't be flip about your stars' health.
LEBRON'S DUNK CONTEST: There are no losers when LeBron has a private dunk contest on camera.
DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS: We had a bad link on Monday. Paul Flannery's epic Shootaround on the Kings' rebuild can be found right here.
DEEP-SIXED: Philly has two straight losses of at least 40 points. Welp.
TWO-AND-SEE YOU: The NBA seems poised to raise the age minimum to 20 years old soon. Monday's Hook offered up four cynical reasons it will happen.
BEAR DOWN: Baylor's Isaiah Austin will be mighty intriguing for NBA teams when he enters the draft, writes our draft guru Jonathan Tjarks.
PIERRE'S STORY: The Pelicans PR staff might be a little antsy as All-Star in New Orleans approaches. They sent out a long press release Monday claiming that walking nightmare Pierre the Pelican injured his beak in a mascot pick-up game (!) and is having reconstructive surgery. He will re-debut on Wednesday at halftime of a Pelicans game. Man. Given his first incarnation, I fully expect him to come out with a full beak of oversized teeth, a mustache and/or a BrooklyKnight-like get-up.
THE CATS' MEOW: Steve Clifford talks about how he got Charlotte to buy into his defense. Great read.
POWER UP: The Thunder and Pacers lead the Official SBNation.com NBA Rankings Of Power.
THIS MORNING IN TRADE RUMORS: ... do GMs even realize the trade deadline is next week?!
SORRY, GORAN AND DEMARCUS: Chris Paul tells Clippers.com he will play in the All-Star Game.
THE END OF STEVE: Mitch Lawrence reported on Sunday that Steve Nash has told friends he plans to retire soon. On Monday Nash downplayed that. He might actually play today.
THIS IS HAPPENING: Tracy McGrady, who is pursuing a baseball career, threw to batters who didn't swing. They included a 2012 MLB Draft first-round pick, who was impressed. Next week: live batters. This is happening. Old friend Andrew Sharp compares T-Mac to The Rookie, which is basically perfect.
YIKESVILLE: Larry Sanders injured a bone near his eye and is out.
FILM STUDY: Kevin Garnett can still defend. NetsDaily digs in.
TODAY IN GIFT HORSES: Nine subtle things wrong with the Blazers.
Happy Tuesday. See you next time.