1. With the Cavaliers putting up a better second-half record than
the Nuggets, LeBron James moves past Carmelo Anthony to win
Rookie of the Year honors.
2. Unable to replace the toughness, mid-range scoring and
end-to-end game of Karl Malone, who can't shake a nagging right
knee injury, the Lakers make a first-round playoff exit.
3. After posting the league's best regular-season record, the
Kings are doomed by their porous defense in a Game 7 home loss to
the Timberwolves in the Western Conference finals.
4. The surging Nets and their star trio of Jason Kidd, Kenyon
Martin and Richard Jefferson overcome the Pacers' terrific
twosome of Jermaine O'Neal and Ron Artest to reach the NBA Finals
for the third consecutive season.
5. Much like Michael Jordan, who waited seven years for the
arrival of a strong enough supporting cast to deliver the Bulls
their first title, nine-year veteran Kevin Garnett leads the
T-Wolves to their first NBA crown. --I.T.