This is an article from the Jan. 28, 2008 issue
They're not just beating the Celtics (though they've done that twice). Nasty defense and nasty power forward Antawn Jamison (above, averaging 21.5 points, 10.6 rebounds) helped Washington take eight of 11. Coach Eddie Jordan to The Washington Post: "We've become grittier."
Longtime NFL assistant—and, yes, brother of ex-NFL QB, current Stanford coach Jim—stepped out of the shadows when he took Baltimore's head job. And the Eagles he's leaving love him. Philly special-teamer Reno Mahe to Baltimore's Sun: "They would have been crazy not to hire that dude."
On Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Memphis rose to No. 1 for the first time in 25 years. Deserved? Memphis is 17--0 and has won by an average of 32 points since Christmas. "We're just one of those teams," said top scorer Chris Douglas-Roberts.
Pitcher Jason Jennings (right) is headed to his native Dallas, signed for $4 million by the Rangers after an injury-ravaged 2--9 season for the Astros. (Jennings: "It's almost...a new life for me.") And Oak Hill Academy's Arizona-bound guard Brandon Jennings—no relation—had 32 points in a win over Mount St. Joseph's.
The move to Brooklyn has been delayed (not before 2010), and so has New Jersey's rise in the East; five straight losses dropped them to eighth place. One star, Vince Carter (above), shot just 37% in the streak. Another, Richard Jefferson, said after Sunday's lopsided loss to Phoenix, "We didn't show up."
Ah, this game of shadows. The former NFL Pro Bowl lineman pleaded guilty to lying to a federal agent in the BALCO case and could get six months in prison. The feds say Stubblefield, who retired in 2003 after it was announced that he'd failed a drug test, got steroids from Victor Conte.
Golden Eagles Basketball
Not one but two losses last week—including an upset by Big East rival Connecticut—sunk Marquette from No. 13 to No. 21. Top scorer Dominic James is nursing an injured wrist, but coach Tom Crean has a plan for success: "We have to play with our hair on fire."
Green Bay receiver Greg's breakout season (FIRST PERSON, Jan. 14) came to an unhappy end. Just one catch (for 14 yards) in the first half, and zero receptions in the second—Jennings and Brett Favre twice failed to connect on a costly three-and-out fourth-quarter drive—helps explain the championship game loss (page 30).
SI PLAYERS NBA POLL
Which head coach would you most like to play for?
Phil Jackson, Lakers ....................... 21%
Mike D'Antoni, Suns ......................... 21%
Gregg Popovich, Spurs .................... 15%
Don Nelson, Warriors ...................... 10%
Jerry Sloan, Jazz .............................. 4%
Players could not vote for their own coach.... The Heat's Pat Riley and the Celtics' Doc Rivers, each of whom drew 3%, were the top vote-getters among Eastern Conference coaches.... Among players 30 and older Popovich was the winner, drawing 19% of that vote; Jackson got more than half of the rookie vote.... Each of the top five except Sloan has won a Coach of the Year award.
[Based on a survey of 242 NBA Players] • For more on the poll, and to comment on it, go to SI.com/players.