The Timberwolves get an early look at the new, beefy Atlantic Division with games Sunday at Toronto and Monday at Brooklyn, where the Nets and their $85 million payroll -- second only to the Los Angeles Lakers' $100 million -- are set to challenge the Knicks, Boston and Philadelphia.
"I can't believe what I'm saying, but the Atlantic Division is back to its glory days of the '80s and '90s," said TNT analyst Charles Barkley, who was part of those glory days when he starred for the 76ers. "The Atlantic Division is awesome."Mr. Inside, Mr. Outside
The Timberwolves' visit to Toronto on Sunday gives them their first look at the Raptors' complementary international tandem of veteran Andrea Bargnani and rookie Jonas Valanciunias.
Both are 7-footers, but Bargnani is the former No. 1 overall pick who likes to play on the perimeter, and Valanciunias is the 2011 lottery pick who prefers to play inside.
"It makes my job easier, because I know I've got a 7-foot shooter and a 7-footer at the rim," Raptors point guard Kyle Lowry told the Toronto Star.By the numbers
James Harden's 37-point, 12-assist, six-rebound, four-steal debut as a Houston Rocket on Wednesday after that blockbuster trade with Oklahoma City tied the third-highest-scoring game for any NBA player in his debut with a new team. The list:
47: Kike Vandeweghe, Portland at Kansas City, Oct. 27, 1984
43: Wilt Chamberlain, Philadelphia at New York, Oct. 24, 1959
37: Orlando Woolridge, Denver vs. Golden State, Nov. 2, 1990
37: Charles Barkley, Phoenix vs. L.A. Clippers, Nov. 7, 1992
37: Harden, Oct. 31, 2012, at Detroit