A tall tale
Anybody who's ever talked with Denver coach George Karl knows he's a great storyteller, and he thinks there's one to tell with Wolves starting center Nikola Pekovic.
"There's a story line," Karl said last week. "No one wants to write about that kid. That kid is big. He's tough. He's a big tree in there who knows how to finish. He rebounds a little bit and he's trying to be a defensive presence. His foot speed is bad, but he's trying to zone up and play, like Marc Gasol a little bit, take up space."
The new Showtime
The Los Angeles Clippers' franchise-record, 17-game winning streak -- the longest since Boston won 19 in a row in 2008 -- ended last week with consecutive losses to Denver and Golden State. But they're still winning over newfound believers, including a few in some unexpected places.
Magic Johnson has compared the Clippers to his Lakers' "Showtime" teams of the 1980s, and Kobe Bryant agrees and calls them a top contender.
"They're very spectacular, and they're fun to watch," Bryant told reporters. "There's no question about it. They have higher jumpers than 'Showtime' did, though."
After Ricky comes Rose
Injured Chicago star Derrick Rose accompanied the team on a road trip to Orlando last week for the first time since tearing his ACL in the playoffs last April.
He is on the same course as Ricky Rubio, only about six weeks behind because of the timing of their injuries. Rose has been participating in noncontact parts of practice over the past couple of weeks, but he still could be weeks away from contact practice.
Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau called Rose's court presence during Wednesday's shootaround "the next step" toward a return that likely will be sometime around the All-Star break.