As Mike D’Antoni nears, are Lakers elite?
by Adi Joseph, USA TODAY Sports
Three top story lines from Tuesday’s six-game NBA slate (all times p.m. Eastern):
Have the Los Angeles Lakers rejoined the NBA elite?
San Antonio Spurs at Lakers, 10:30, NBATV: Mike D’Antoni won’t arrive in Los Angeles for another day at least. But the 3-4 Lakers are hot even without him. They’ve won three of their past four games by double-digits and stay at home to face USA TODAY Sports’ top team in this week’s power rankings. The Spurs provide an ideal test because they’re so consistent, and they’re coming off two days of rest. Spurs forward Tim Duncan is playing as well as he has in years, but he will be tested by Dwight Howard’s athleticism. Where San Antonio holds its biggest advantage is on the bench, with Manu Ginobili, Stephen Jackson, Tiago Splitter and Gary Neal, who had 27 points and seven rebounds in a win Saturday against the Portland Trail Blazers. The Lakers would love to have momentum for D’Antoni’s start, and there’s no better opportunity than the present.
Can the New York Knicks handle life on the road?
Knicks at Orlando Magic, 7: The Knicks are 4-0, which means they are the NBA’s last unbeaten and have played the fewest games in the league. These things may be related. Three of New York’s wins have come at Madison Square Garden, with the other a short hop away in Philadelphia. They have been dominant, though, winning by an average of 17 points and beating good teams in the process. The Magic are not a good team, but they are the first in a stretch that puts the Knicks on the road for eight of their next 12 games. New York plays the Spurs and Memphis Grizzlies in its next two, so now would be a good time for an easy win.
Which of Michael Jordan’s teams is worse?
Washington Wizards at Charlotte Bobcats, 7: Kwame Brown and Adam Morrison should play one-on-one to decide this game. The Wizards, who Jordan owned a share of about 10 years ago, are 0-5 and have one of the worst offenses known to man right now because of … [For more on Tonight's NBA schedule: As Mike D'Antoni nears, are Lakers elite?, click here.]