HOUSTON - On Saturday night, I did my best to drive the ratings up on the Kings game at Memphis by touting the first career start of Spencer Hawes.
And now, there may actually be two legitimate reasons to tune in when they tip off against Houston on Monday night. For starters, Hawes could be a starter again, although the team didn't practice on Sunday and the status of Brad Miller (right elbow bursitis) is unclear (Beno Udrih could also play, and likewise for Ron Artest). Secondly, former Kings coach Rick Adelman will be gunning for his 800th career win against his old team.
It was almost three years ago to the day that Adelman was winning No. 700 with the Kings in a 112-93 win over Portland at Arco Arena on March 22, 2005.
"It is special," Adelman said then. "Each time (a milestone happens), you appreciate it more. I've been in two great situations (in Portland and Sacramento), and the seven years in Sacramento have been terrific."
Even with the season-ending injury to Yao Ming, Houston certainly qualifies as a third 'great situation.' Adelman is being hailed as a Coach of the Year candidate perhaps like never before, mostly for his ability to win despite such a devastating blow in the loss of Yao.
For as seemingly disastrous as the loss of Yao was for the Rockets, Dallas losing Dirk Nowitzki as the Mavs did on Sunday night is worse.
It's a problem made worse still because there is no room for error. It's three losses in a row now and a two games separating them and ninth-place Denver. It actually takes some heat off the Rockets, whose schedule down the stretch is very favorable (nine of 12 games against teams currently out of playoff position; seven of those teams under .500, including two games apiece against Seattle and the Clippers and one against Minnesota). They may be dancing in Denver in light of Dirk's downfall.
The NBA: "Where No-witzki means No-playoffs Happens'
DONNIE WALSH-RON ARTEST REUNION? DON'T COUNT ON IT
BLOG UPDATE: Who knows if Donnie is headed for New York, but his tenure in Indiana has come to an end.
For those who have long been looking ahead to the offseason, the Donnie Walsh situation in Indiana came close to possibly impacting the Kings.
The Pacers CEO met with Knicks owner Jim Dolan a while back but now appears prepared to stay in his current spot. Had Walsh gone to the Knicks, it would seem highly unlikely that Ron Artest would land there at some point in his career as so many still believe will eventually happen. The Kings small forward who can opt out this summer but whose agent has said he likely won't has never hidden the fact that he would love to play for the Knicks if the circumstances were right, but it seems inconceivable that Walsh would tie his hitch to that wagon again. The odds remain highest so long as Isiah Thomas is in charge. - Sam Amick