Good morning. Let's basketball.
YOU GOT DIRKED: The Knicks came so close to beating a good team at Madison Square Garden. Then Dirk Nowitzki hit a ridiculous Dirkian shot -- thanks in part to some wonderful help from the rim -- to give the Mavericks a narrow win in regulation. Carmelo Anthony scored 44 to no avail.
One Knicks fan captured on Vine goes through the entire spectrum of emotion as the shot rattles around. Meanwhile, J.R. Smith has given up his shoe-untying exploits only to turn to snapping opponents' headbands.
The Knicks are six games out of the No. 8 seed with 25 games to go.
DOWN THE ROAD IN YIKESVILLE: A few hours after the game, Raymond Felton was arrested on felony gun charges on the Upper West Side. Early reports suggest his wife turned in a gun that belonged to him and apparently wasn't legal or permitted. (The gun possession laws in NYC are very strict.) The WSJ's Chris Herring reports that Felton will be arraigned in Manhattan Tuesday.
And not to distract from the seriousness of this issue, but it must be pointed out that his wife's name is Ariane Raymondo-Felton.
THE MYTH OF COMPETITIVE BALANCE: The league has long argued its cost-cutting programs serve to boost competitive balance. I crunched the numbers, and nope. Nope nope nope.
THE CARNAGE: Klay Thompson hammered Kyle Singler with a dunk that should probably be named and memorialized (The Wazzu?). It's hard to tell what's better: the Warriors' bench reaction or the dunk set to Jim Ross. You decide.
FREE PIERRE I: Anything, even the Murder Bird himself, would be better than New Orleans' King Cake Baby. (I totally want that bib, though. King Cake is delicious.)
FROM THE ANNALS OF HORRIBLE LUCK: Well of course Nene will miss up to six weeks with an MCL sprain. The integral big man should return in early April, ahead of the playoffs. His absence will obviously make playoff positioning a tougher sled. But have no fear, D.C.: Drew Gooden is apparently on his way.
AN INCREDIBLE EMBARRASSMENT: The Sixers lost by 20. At home. To the (now) 11-45 Bucks. Philadelphia is by far the worst team in the NBA by every measure but wins. By far. Milwaukee won the second quarter 43-16 and led by 30 after three. One Sixers fan never lost the faith. One lost their pulse, apparently.
NO ONE MAN: ... should have all that SBNation.com NBA power rankings.
CURRENT NBA PLAYERS WHO GO BY THEIR MIDDLE NAMES: What it says on the box. A preview of a paper coming out in the Journal of Basketboidal Etymology.
THE HYPE MACHINE: Is early hype for draft prospects relevant?
CHANGE OF PACE: More on the experimental, super-fast Rio Grande Valley Vipers.
A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE POPCORN IN CAR PRANK: The NBA's favorite prank.
FINALLY: A sincere congratulations to Henry Abbott, longtime web friend and basketblogging pioneer, a man who has opened an untold number of doors for young hoops writers. He's taking the helm of ESPN.com's NBA coverage, and there's no one better to do it.
Happy Tuesday. See you next time.