ONE: Quick Aussie Roundup first. After leaving yesterday’s game against the Knicks after just 5 minutes with a migraine, the Bogey Man bounced back today with a very solid 21 point, 8 rebound effort against the Pacers. More importantly, the Bucks have won 5 out of their last 6 and seem to be gelling at the right time of the season. Ilyasova and Jennings have stepped up in recent wins, while Drew is in career-best form. They’re equal 8th in the East at the moment, with both Miami and Charlotte ahead of them going through some recent rough patches. The “Bogut for All-Star” campaign might be over, but the “Bogut for Playoffs” campaign is just beginning.

The other big Aussie news this week was Patty Mills first NBA points, which came on a mid-range J late in the loss to Utah. Cheers to reader Ben for posting a link to in the comments to this pic of Patty’s shot.

Since then Patty has managed to score another point off a free-throw in today’s loss to LA. But to say he’s being used sparingly at the moment would be a huge understatement. So far in four games he’s logged 9 minutes, shot 1-5 from the field, dished out 2 assists, and turned the ball over once. Baby steps. Also, check this interview with Patty by Travis Outlaw as part of his Talkin’ with Travis series. Quite amusing.

And on the subject of Portland, what can we make of the fact that the Lakers finally beat them at the Rose Garden – after losing their last 9 there – without Kobe Bryant? Is there anything to read into that? Or do we just point to Roy’s injury?

In Houston, David Andersen continues to get his 13-14 minutes a game and recently contributed in a big win over the Warriors. His 8 points (on 4-6 shooting) and 7 rebounds might not seem remarkable, but that 7 rebound tally is actually his third highest tally for the season (he only averages 3.2 per game). Unlike Bogut in Milwaukee though, his team seems to be sliding. With the way the Memphis Grizzlies have been playing lately, I struggle to see Houston squeezing into the top 8 out West. But of course, I fully expect Coach Adelman and his crew to prove me wrong.

There’s no real news to report on Nathan Jawai. The Big Aussie is still on the Wolves injury list.

TWO: Sure, the issue of guns in the NBA is a sensitive one right now for the league and its front office. So what better time to check out the ten best gun-related nicknames for NBA players, courtesy of Mookie over at A Stern Warning.

THREE: Could there possibly be a correlation between the rise of three-point shooting in the NBA and the demise of the global economy? Crazy right? David Biderman at the Wall Street Journal might make you a believer.

FOUR: You see Lebron today? He was kind of ridiculous. That is Dan Majerle-range right there, and I don’t say that lightly.

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FIVE: Us Pistons fans haven’t had much to cheer about this season, but perhaps the biggest highlight (and certainly biggest surprise) has been the play of Jonas Jerebko. A rookie no one had heard about but now appears a certain lock for the All-Rookie Team. Today against the Nets the Swede went for 20 points on a perfect 9-9 shooting, including two threes, to go with his 7 boards. You wonder why I’m not the slightest bit worried about the prospect of losing Tayshaun Prince in a trade? It’s because of this guy. Thank you Jonas. You truly are Swedetastic.

SIX: As readers of this blog will know, one of my good pals is a Ray Allen-obsessed Celtics fan. What you should also know is that Chucko and myself regularly send Ray hate-mail to him whenever Ray has a horrible night, reminding him of the very slim chance that Ray will survive in this league long enough to surpass Reggie’s three-point record. So it was with great amusement I saw this article pop up on ESPN today, suggesting that time may be running out for the 34 year-old gunner.

Do I honestly believe Ray is washed up? No. I think he’s still a quality contributor, and ideally would be coming off the bench (or at least playing drastically reduced minutes) similar to what Michael Finley was doing late in his career. The problem is the Celtics aren’t exactly deep at his position, and Ray is being forced to play more minutes per game than he did in each of the past two seasons. The Celtics have to manage this one carefully. They have a dead-eye shooter who is still capable of epic scoring feats – as we witnessed in the Bulls-Celtics series – but they also have an aging veteran who could very well over-play himself into retirement by the end of the season. The more I think about Ray and the Celtics this season, the more it really does seem like it’s ‘all or nothing’ for the men in Beantown in 09-10, and beyond.

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