Welcome to the latest edition of "The Monday Morning Shootaround," Bleacher Report's recap of the weekend that was in the NBA. This week, we bring you injury news, relocation updates and a strange request from the Artest formerly known as Ron.
The Opening Tip
The big news from this past weekend doesn't come as a result of the games that were played, but rather, those that weren't.
Orlando Magic center Dwight Howard has been diagnosed with a herniated disk in his lower back, and the timetable for his return is currently up in the air. It's anyone's guess as to when Howard will suit up for the Magic again, but even if he is ready for the playoffs in two weeks, it's unlikely that he'll be at 100 percent. Before this season, Howard had only missed two games in his career due to injury.
A condition called tenosynovitis caused Kobe Bryant to miss his fifth consecutive game on Sunday. Los Angeles is 4-1 without Bryant in the lineup, and it's not completely out of the realm of possibility for the Lakers to rest him for a few more games to ensure that he's ready for the playoffs.
Ray Allen's nagging right ankle injury forced him to sit out Boston's recent back-to-back-to-back stretch, but Celtics head coach Doc Rivers says that Allen would be in the lineup if this were the postseason. Avery Bradley has played well in Allen's stead, but Boston desperately needs Allen's outside shooting if they plan to make any noise in the Eastern Conference playoffs.
The Two-for-One (Highlights that you may have missed.)
Whether the tandem of Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook is better than LeBron James and Dwyane Wade is a question that will be debated for years. What isn't up for argument is the fact that we'll probably get to see Durant and Westbrook make plays just like this for the rest of the decade.
Getting crossed up happens to virtually everyone at some point in their NBA career (even Rajon Rondo). But we here at the MMS feel that what Jameer Nelson did to Jannero Pargo on Friday night should be outlawed in all 50 states. And Puerto Rico as well.
Full-Court Press (News and notes from around the NBA.)
* It appears the lockout had the desired effect: The NBA says that it is on track to make money in the 2012-13 season.
* New Orleans Saints owner Tom Benson agrees to buy the NBA-owned Hornets for $338 million. To borrow a page from David Stern, one can assume that Benson bought the franchise for "basketball reasons."
* Looking for the perfect soundtrack to this wild NBA season? Check out this piece by B/R's own Joye Pruitt as she picks the song that best describes each team's 2011-12 campaign.
* At 38-22, the Indiana Pacers are one of the best teams in the Association. So why is no one showing up to watch them play?
* Less than two months from now, USA Basketball will pick the 12 men that will represent the United States at the 2012 Summer Olympics.
* A proposed deal for a new $391 million complex that would house the Sacramento Kings has been declared "dead." The 2012-13 season may be the Kings' last in Sacramento before potentially moving to Anaheim.
* In other relocation news, with a vote that was pretty much a formality, the NBA's Board of Governors officially approved the Nets' move to Brooklyn next season.
* Russell Westbrook joined The Dan Patrick Show last week and said that his Oklahoma City team is just as good as any other team in the NBA. Any doubters?
The 4-Point Play (Notable long reads from around the Web.)
* The latest entry in Grantland's "A Fate Worse Than Death" series is a recap of last Thursday's Detroit Pistons vs. Charlotte Bobcats game. Surprisingly, nowhere in the piece does author Rafe Bartholomew mention that he watched the game because he lost some sort of bet.
* Harvey Araton of the New York Times with a great profile on one of the most underrated player-coach duos in NBA history: Tim Duncan and Gregg Popovich.
* The saga of Larry Bird and Magic Johnson is now on Broadway, and Doug Merlino of The Classical offers his thoughts on the Eric Simonson play.
* Sports Illustrated's Lee Jenkins writes a fascinating article on Denver Nuggets center JaVale McGee. The best part about the piece? The fact that JaVale McGee actually names his dunks. As Deadspin would say, "That's so JaVale."
Tweet of the Week
At some point, Twitter needs to do a better job of screening those who have access to its social network. But until that happens, there will be posts like these from Metta World Peace:
In case you were wondering, according to his Twitter timeline, World Peace finally did get his guinea pig. To borrow a phrase from Deadspin, "That's so Metta."