* The All-Star teams are now official. Thankfully, Kevin Love was finally added to replace the injured Yao Ming, who obviously was voted in because of the large numbers of Chinese voters (Yao is the poster boy for why the All-Stars shouldn’t be determined primarily by the fans). Did you think anyone else got snubbed? Personally, though I like Kevin Garnett and the Celtics, I think Carlos Boozer deserved a selection this year. Three All-Stars is enough for the Celts, who are a great team, but not dominant enough to deserve four guys on the All-Star squad, especially when KG has clearly been outplayed statistically by the Bulls’ Boozer this season. Plus, Chicago has been playing well (they’re only a few games in back of Boston), so it’s not like Carlos is stuffing stats on a crappy team.

* For those keeping track, the Cleveland Cavaliers set the record for 24 straight losses in one season. Previously, the record was held jointly by the 1995-96 expansion Vancouver Grizzlies and the 1997-98 Denver Nuggets (23 each). However, if you count just consecutive losses regardless of the season and include two seasons running together, the Cavaliers only tied the record by another Cavaliers team: the 1981-82 and 1982-83 Cleveland teams lost 24 straight from the end of the 1981-82 season into the start of the 1982-83 season. Somehow, I have a feeling *this* Cavaliers team will break that record – indeed, we will find out tonight as they face the…Dallas Mavericks. At. Dallas. Uh, good luck, Cavs!

* Speaking of the Cavaliers, we will find out if the Wizards will finally end their winless road skid when the Wiz face the Cavs at Cleveland on February 13. I predict both teams will still be on their respective skids when they face each other. I won’t make any other predictions – like, who will win this pathetic game – but I *am* morbidly curious to find out what happens. I think I’m gonna have to tune in my DirecTV League Pass to that game.

* The Magic have cooled down a bit lately following a blazing start after their blockbuster trades. They’ve even fallen behind the Atlanta Hawks in the competitive Southeast division, which the Miami Heat currently lead. Do you think Orlando is still a legit title contender, or did you have doubts all along?

* The Lakers also have cooled down a bit, which you’ve probably heard more about since they’re the Lakers. I don’t think this skid is any more catastrophic than their last one, and I still think they are the favorites in the West (I’ve given credit to the Spurs, but I still think the Lakers would have an advantage if these teams face in the Western finals, which is certainly possible the way things are going now). I’m not a Lakers fan by any means, but let’s be realistic: in the crunch, who do you think will come through more in a Lakers/Spurs series – Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol, or Manu Ginobili and Tim Duncan? I’d bet on the former. The only way I could see the Lakers losing a series to the Spurs is if the Lakers decide to play lousy defense. I’ve seen them look both brilliant and sad on the defensive end, so that would be the critical factor other than the star match-ups, I believe.

* In more insignificant, non-NBA roundball news, I keep playing basketball at my local Y. I also keep getting invited into otherwise all-dude games despite being a completely unimposing 5’2″ girl. I haven’t managed to embarrass myself yet. Never underestimate tiny people who can play scary defense and hit flying runners, people.

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