NBA Notes

Patient owners or those who were quick enough to grab Larry Hughes off the waiver wire after getting traded to the Knicks have been nicely rewarded. During seven games this month, he’s averaged 19.3 points, 3.6 rebounds, 3.1 assists, 2.1 threes and 2.3 steals. Hughes is even shooting an uncharacteristic 44.3 percent from the field. He’s been a great fit for Mike D’Antoni’s system.

Andrei Kirilenko’s career continues to disappoint. An already lackluster season has gotten even worse since returning from ankle surgery, as the usually pesky defender has totaled just one steal over the past eight games. He’s blocked more than one shot in a game just once since January 12. In fact, his blocked shot numbers have dropped in each of the past four seasons. What has happened to the AK47 we know and love?

With Devin Harris (shoulder) sidelined indefinitely, Keyon Dooling is a must-add. He’s actually been solid when given a chance this year, averaging 15.6 points, 5.1 assists and 1.0 steals in seven starts – shooting 52.5 percent over that span. The Nets are in 12th place in the East, so the team has little incentive rushing back its franchise player.

Charlie Villanueva is currently having the best season of his life, which is a bit ironic since it figured his personality would clash with coach Scott Skiles. The highlight of Villanueva’s year occurred Sunday, when he posted a message to his Twitter feed during halftime of a game against the Celtics: "In da locker room, snuck to post my twitt. We're playing the Celtics, tie ball game at da half. Coach wants more toughness. I gotta step up." That’s gold, Jerry! Gold!

After LeBron James, the Cavs have a roster full of good, not great players, despite Mo Williams’ All-Star outcry. Still, with homecourt all but locked up in the East, Cleveland has to be considered the favorites to win the title. After all, the team is a solid 30-1 at home this year. Williams and Delonte West form an underrated backcourt, and James is far and away the best player in the league. Expect the Cavs to be hoisting the trophy in the end.


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