Thursday, January 24, 2008

Thursday's Starting Five

1. The New Orleans Hornets. Led by my MVP pick Chris Paul, the NOH took over first place in the Western Conference with last night's victory over red-hot Portland. That means the Hornets have more wins and fewer losses than teams like the Suns and the Spurs and the Mavs and, well, and everyone else in the hoops' version of the AFC. They'll be in The City in March.

2. Jose Calderon. Thrust into a starring role when TJ Ford went down earlier in the year, Calderon has been one of the best point guards in the Association this season. He converted an old-fashioned three-point play with 10.5 seconds left to lift the Raptors over the Celtics.

3. Mike Smith. The 2003 and 2006 winner of the Most Generic Name Contest was named HC of the Atlanta Falcons yesterday. After courting Cowher and Parcells, um, this sort of feels a bit anticlimactic. Smith was, most recently, the Defensive Coordinator for the Jags.

4. The Baylor Bears. With Curtis Jerrells lighting the way the Bears knocked off in-state rival Texas A&M (at College Station) in a five-overtime affair last night. Jerrells had 36 points, with 11 coming in the final overtime, to secure the victory in the longest game in Big 12 history.

5. Al Jefferson. The second biggest piece in the Garnett trade had a career-high 39 points to go along with 15 boards as the lowly T-Wolves beat the Suns last night. Even more surprisingly, this was the second straight game between these two that ended this way.

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