Sports

They play basketball in Oklahoma

Here in the year Almost-2010, we've come to accept that information is omnipresent. You can find out something you want to know about anything. Sometimes you can't avoid finding out too much about a thing you'd rather not know at all.

So why does it feel like we're in an NBA black hole?

The NBA season is a month old. Games on cable every night. Highlights on ESPN. It's there. But somehow... I dunno. The information is skipping past. As a public service to those of you who have been caught in a similar NBA information void, here's what we've missed:

* The Atlanta Hawks are pretty good.

* The New Jersey Nets are really bad.

* Greg Oden leads the league in field goal percentage and is third in blocked shots.

* Gerald Wallace is doing a nutty Rodman-like rebounding thing — plus he posterized LeBron on Friday.

* Ben Wallace and Juwon Howard are still collecting NBA paychecks.

* Greg Oden is 21 years old. No, that's not dog years.

* The major professional sports team closest to Wichita is actually pretty good.

The Oklahoma City Thunder, playing 2 1/2 hours pretty much straight south of the Keeper of the Plains, has won six of its last nine and has the seventh-best record in the Western Conference. Kevin Durant is just as good as Big 12 fans thought he was — maybe better. Russell Westbrook is a really nice young point guard. And Thabo Sefalosha... where does one begin with Thabo Sefalosha?

Really, it's a good time to be an NBA guy. Your Lakers and your Celtics are still really good. Your nearby franchise is on the rise. Young stars playing well. Longtime stars still at a high level.

If only the information force field could be lifted.

T is for Typecast — Here's something NBA fans don't often run into: Rasheed Wallace is right about something.

Wallace, a four-time All-Star best known for being the league's career leader in technical fouls, is playing for the Celtics this season.

On Friday, he picked up a T — no big surprise — for bumping into Toronto's Hedo Torkoglu. He was annoyed — no big surprise.

But he's onto something here.

"They've got to know that he's a (darn) flopper. That's all Turkododo do," Wallace said. "Flopping shouldn't get you nowhere. He acts like I shot him.

"That's not basketball, man. That's not defense. That's garbage, what it is. I'm glad I don't have too much of it left."

He's never been good at masking his feelings. But to even hint that the NBA has a star system....

"Let the Golden Child (LeBron James) do that, or one of the NBA Without Border kids do that, it's all fine and dandy," he said.

"This game is watered down, watered down with all that flopping. They're setting rules on us to the point where you're taunting if you dunk on somebody. Paul (Pierce) dunked it and then he didn't say nothing, but it's a tech."

Pierce was called for a technical Friday after he dunked on Chris Bosh and sent him to the floor. Pierce hovered over Bosh as he remained prone — Bosh had been kneed in the groin, so you'd think even Rasheed might be able to see the less-than-sportsmanlike nature of the act.

Or not.

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