By Drew Markol, TSN Contributor - Archive - Email
Nobody asked me, but...
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - The NBA is playing, right?

No lockouts or nothing? The league wasn't dumb enough to do that, right?

Good. We have enough of that already with the NHL.

As a matter of fact, the NBA has been going for months and months, we just didn't notice because of King Football, pro and college.

Well, football is over (unless you're getting yourself ready for the NFL Combine or memorizing mock drafts) and now we can turn our thoughts to pro basketball.

We'll look at college basketball a little down the road, but we know only March matters in the college game.

But when you look at the NBA and what's been happening, one thing jumps right out at you:

Man, am I glad I didn't bet the Los Angeles Lakers and the over/under for wins back in October.

Las Vegas set that number at about 60 wins. The problem with that is the Lakers would need two seasons to reach that figure, and that's not allowed.

The Lakers, always a big story in the NBA, tried to bring together Dwight Howard and Steve Nash to team with Kobe Bryant and it all just went awry.

Injuries, chemistry, or a lack thereof, have spelled trouble.

Now, the Lakers aren't dead, but they'd better pick things up quickly.

But not dead in Los Angeles are the Clippers. A running joke for years, the Clippers are the ones laughing now as they're trying to win over a city used to purple and gold.

Who would have thought the Clippers would actually need the Lakers to be better in order to truly stir up a rivalry? But, I'm sure since the Clips have the best record in the Pacific Division, they're not that upset.

What I'd like to see? The top-seeded Clippers (that will take some work to pass the San Antonio Spurs and Oklahoma City Thunder) play the Lakers in the first round of the playoffs. Now that would be fun.

Let's shift to the other side of the country and what do we find? The New York Knicks looking, finally, like they might be for real with the Nets, now in Brooklyn, right behind them.

The NBA front office couldn't ask for more, could it?

Well, they could and what they'd like to see, to add the cherry on top of the New York revival, would be the Boston Celtics as part of the mix.

But with Rajon Rondo out so might be the Celtics.

And while Boston just seems old, let's look at the new. As in the best rookie going.

To do that, we have to go back to the left coast, but not back to Los Angeles.

No, we'll go a little north to Portland, where the sixth pick in last year's draft has become the man.

His name is Damon Lilliard and if you knew about him when he was playing at Weber State, well, good for you.

If you didn't know about him, count me in that group. You do now as he's helped make the Trail Blazers respectable. A point guard who has started every game and is averaging 18-plus points, just give him the Rookie of the Year trophy now and save the time later.

(And quite frankly, good for the Trail Blazers. Years and years of draft busts and now a diamond).

Let's keeping moving around the NBA as we try and catch up after looking the other way for months.

Wow! Just the fact the Miami Heat haven't even been mentioned until now tells you the story lines have been pretty good elsewhere.

The defending champs are rolling, but they're doing it as quietly as a defending champ can in this day and age. And that has to suite them just fine.

Keep winning. Get the No. 1 seed in the playoffs and stay as healthy as possible. At this point, they couldn't have drawn it up any better.

We do have plenty of regular season left, but what we've seen (or haven't seen) around the league has been pretty intriguing, too.

Now, maybe, we'll start to pay attention.

Drew Markol has been a sportswriter and columnist for several newspapers in the Philadelphia area for more than 25 years.

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