Oscars for the NBA
Hollywood may be done handing out Oscars, but we've got the Academy's picks for several NBA awards at midseason. The second half tips off Tuesday with nine games on the schedule, so let's get to the envelopes, please:
BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY
The feel-good story of Jeremy Lin is Hollywood gold - and we're only at the end of the beginning for this gripping tale.
BEST COSTUME DESIGN
Ending a decade-plus of teal, lowly Washington returned to its classic, championship-era Bullets uniform scheme this year.
COMMISSIONER DAVID STERN
Stern's arrogant meddling in the Chris Paul trade talks in December set a new high-water mark for his office's power. Declaring that he was acting in the best interests of the league-owned Hornets, Stern rescinded New Orleans' three-team deal that would have sent Paul to the Lakers. Paul was then shipped to the Clippers, establishing a second Western Conference power at L.A.'s Staples Center.
Like some John Hughes of the NBA, Doug Collins is getting the most out of each youthful role player in his Philadelphia "Breakfast Club." The 76ers win by minimizing mistakes (league-low 10.5 turnovers per game) and surrendering an NBA-low average of 87.5 points. Bench contributors Louis Williams (15.7 points) and Thaddeus Young (12.6 ppg) are No. 1 and No. 3 in scoring.
A year ago, Sacramento was poised to lose its only major pro sports team, whose owners
had already filed to register "Anaheim Royals" as a federal trademark. Backed by a fan campaign called Here We Stay, Mayor Kevin Johnson (the former NBA All-Star) worked hard to reverse the city's fortunes. On Monday, Johnson, the league and the Kings' owners announced they had met the deadline for a deal to finance a $387 million downtown arena set to open in 2015-16.
LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD
SAN ANTONIO SPURS
While the aging Lakers and Celtics struggle to remain in contention, San Antonio is steamrolling toward its 15th straight season above .600 (at least 50 wins during a full-length campaign). The Spurs have won four titles since coach Gregg Popovich's first full season in 1997-98, when Tim Duncan was a rookie. But it's not just the track record that merits recognition; the 2011-12 Spurs have run off an NBA-best 11-game winning streak and are 14-5 against teams above .500.