This is an article from the Jan. 12, 2009 issue
He's 21 and old enough to dunk—or more precisely to posterize Charlotte's Emeka Okafor, as he did in a Knicks win. The sophomore forward was averaging nearly 20 points over his past five games, and it was he who carried New York with 31 points in Sunday's win over the shockingly mortal Celtics. Chandler, said Knick David Lee to Newsday, "has all the potential in the world."
They're playing well (third-best record in the East through Sunday) and they've got some truly appreciative fans. Ballot-stuffers voted not one but four Habs to start in the Jan. 25 All-Star game in Montreal. One of them—defenseman Andrei Markov (right)—celebrated with the shootout winner on Sunday night.
The Scotsman's flying after upsetting Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal en route to victory in Abu Dhabi. Now Murray's talking about winning the Aussie Open—"that's what I'm aiming for," he said—and the timing's fine. He just got signed by the management company that represents the Beckhams.
San Diego may develop a foot fetish: the Chargers punter landed four—four!—punts inside the Colts 10-yard line on Saturday. "Without him," said kicker Nick Kaeding, "we don't win."
His scoring is down—to 8.8 a game, three points off last year's average—and last Saturday the Hornets center was out, drawing a one-game suspension after being ejected for a hard elbow to Trail Blazer Joel Przybilla. That's three times in three seasons Chandler's been tossed from a game against Portland. Next matchup: Feb. 2 in New Orleans.
The Northwest Division favorites have limped along (5-9-2 since the start of December) and fallen to eighth in the Western Conference. There's not an All-Star starter on the team, not even speedy forward Marian Gaborik, who has twice played in the winter showcase: Hip surgery will shut Gaborik down for 10 weeks.
Cold reality in the FA Cup: Nottingham Forest 3, Manchester City 0, a mammoth upset and another nudge toward Manchester's potential relegation. The crowd serenaded coach Mark Hughes, who was wobbling even before the loss, with "You'll be sacked in the morning"—though he wasn't.
Hands off, man! The Indy linebacker turned a no-gainer into 15 yards for the Chargers by grabbing Darren Sproles's face mask in OT. Two plays later, Sproles skipped past Session for the winning TD.
SI PLAYERS NBA POLL
Which is the most overrated team in the NBA?
Dallas Mavericks 11%
Detroit Pistons 11%
Boston Celtics 10%
Houston Rockets 10%
Phoenix Suns 9%
Poll was taken before the Celtics' recent 2--4 stretch.... The Mavs lost in the first round of the past two playoffs, last season with Jason Kidd (right).... The Pistons went a mediocre 10--11 with Allen Iverson (left) after acquiring him in November, before winning seven in a row through Sunday.... Despite a record of 21--14 through Sunday, the Rockets were seventh in the West.
[Based on a survey of 190 NBA players] • For more on the poll, and to comment on it, go to SI.com/players.