NBA Week 5: the Good, the Bad, the Ugly
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - The most-publicized NBA story of the past week took place off the court and included a non-stop commercial flight, four oversized passengers and a hefty fine.

No, nothing wild and crazy happened aboard that Southwest Airlines jet, though word is the players enjoyed the leg room.

However, Spurs coach (and four-time NBA Champion) Gregg Popovich created a major firestorm when he allowed his four best players -- Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili, Danny Green -- to fly back to San Antonio instead of playing in a nationally televised game at the reigning NBA Champion Miami Heat.

Popovich's decision cost the organization $250,000 and fantasy owners four players who rank in the top-81 overall in standard Yahoo! leagues, including No. 3 overall player Duncan.

Gary Neal (8 percent owned) benefited from the absence of San Antonio's stars by scoring 20 points in 32 minutes off the bench.

Let's take a look at who else created a stir, both good and bad, in this week's edition of the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly.

The Good

- We'll start with Los Angeles Clippers point guard Chris Paul, who just missed going 3-for-3 in 20-point games this week with a low of 19. He also had games of 23 and 20 with 8.7 dimes, 3.7 rebounds and 4.7 steals while hitting all 16 of his free-throw attempts.

- Philadelphia 76ers guard-forward Evan Turner did him one better, scoring 22 or more points in three of four games. Turner added 7.0 rebounds and 3.7 assists per game and shot 86.4 percent from the free-throw line on 22 attempts. The Sixers swingman's six threes were one more than he had all season prior to this week.

- Charlotte Bobcats shooting guard Ben Gordon re-discovered his shooting stroke from downtown, making 15 3-pointers in four games and averaging 18.3 ppg off the bench. He was near-flawless at the foul line, making 12-of-13.

- New York Knicks center Tyson Chandler provided some scoring help to Carmelo Anthony this week, averaging 17.5 points and 8.8 rebounds on a ridiculous .828 shooting percentage. Chandler also made 22-of-25 from the foul line.

- Chandler's assistance didn't stop Anthony from attempting the most shots in the NBA over the last seven days. Melo hoisted 74 shots but made an impeccable 48.6 percent of them for 28.3 ppg.

- Perhaps the most impressive team over the past seven days was the Oklahoma City Thunder, who had three of the top five overall players in that time period. Forward Kevin Durant averaged 29.3 points, 6.3 rebounds, 4.0 assists, 1.0 steals and 3.0 blocks, guard Russell Westbrook put up 19.8 ppg, 6.3 rpg, 9.3 apg and 3.5 apg and forward Serge Ibaka posted 14.8 points, 8.0 boards and 3.5 blocks on 71.8 percent shooting in four games.

The Bad

- Things didn't go as smoothly for former Thunder guard James Harden, who shot just 3-of-16 with three turnovers in his first meeting with his former team Wednesday. However, Harden did score 24 points with six rebounds, 12 assists and three steals with four threes the night before in his only other game this past week.

- Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant tried to turn in his best Michael Jordan impression by scoring 40 points against the Pacers Tuesday while dealing with flu-like symptoms. Unfortunately, Bryant missed 16 of his 28 shot attempts and turned the ball over 10 times in a two-point loss, part of a 20-turnover week for the Black Mamba.

- Bryant's teammate Pau Gasol continues to lack a distinct role in Mike D'Antoni's offense. Gasol only attempted 23 total shots in three games over the past seven days. He averaged just 9.7 ppg in that span while backup PF Antawn Jamison went off for 18.3 ppg and 10.3 rebounds in three games, including 33 points and 12 rebounds on 13-of-19 shooting Friday night against the Nuggets.

The Ugly

- Ugly best describes the situation in Boston Wednesday as Celtics PG Rajon Rondo instigated an altercation with Brooklyn Nets forward Kris Humphries after Humphries fouled Kevin Garnett. Rondo shoved Humphries under the basket and the scuffle spilled into the photographer area. Both players and Gerald Wallace were ejected, putting an end to Rondo's 37-game double-digit assist streak. Rondo won't have a chance to start a new streak until Dec. 5; he's been suspended for two games.

- Los Angeles Clippers power forward Blake Griffin spoiled an otherwise strong week with his Nov. 26 performance -- four points, six rebounds, four turnovers -- in which he shot 1-of-9 and fouled out in 35 minutes of play.

- It looked as though Toronto Raptors forward-center Andrea Bargnani had turned a corner when he made 32-of-58 (.552) from the field for 27 ppg in three games from Nov. 20-23. Then he shot 2-of-19 on Nov. 25 and injured his ankle in the midst of a bounce-back game two days later. He missed a game but probably should have missed two since he shot just 1-of-4 for four points in his return Friday.

- The Charlotte Bobcats were handed a 45-point loss Monday at Oklahoma City, scoring just 69 points on 29 percent shooting. Bobcats point guard Kemba Walker was held scoreless on 0-of-6 shooting, Ramon Sessions shot 1-of-9 and Jeffrey Taylor led the team with 10 points. That total was bested by six Thunder players, including Hasheem Thabeet. Yes, it was that bad.

Comments? Criticism? Applause? Contact Thomas J. Harrigan at

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