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MMPG: The FourCast

C'mon, man. It's bad enough I haven't figured out how to play with Elton Brand. Now you won't let me see anything, either.(Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)

1. Orlando at Boston (Monday)
Of note: Probably the best matchup of the week, this game features two red-hot teams -- the Celtics (16-2) have won eight in a row, while Orlando (13-4) has won four consecutive games -- and two of the Eastern Conference's best big men in Kevin Garnett and Dwight Howard. The Magic is also riding a six-game road win streak while Boston has lost just one game at TD Banknorth Garden this season. The Magic won the season series 2-1 against the Celtics last season, but both wins were at home. And, Orlando finds itself more depleted in the backcourt, with shooting guard Mickael Pietrus out three to five weeks with a torn ligament in his right thumb.

2. Chicago at Milwaukee (Wednesday)
Of note: Scott Skiles welcomes his old team to his new town. The Bucks have been struggling of late, losing four in a row, and dealing with a series of injuries. Michael Redd returned to action last Saturday after missing 14 games with a high right ankle sprain, but now center Andrew Bogut is out with a left knee contusion. The Bucks were 5-9 without Redd. Skiles led the Bulls to the playoffs three times in more than five seasons in Chicago, but many of the current Bulls never played for him -- including rookie point guard Derrick Rose, who has been sensational thus far. The only way you can tell he is a rookie is from the limited number of tattoos on his arms.

3. San Antonio at Denver (Thursday)
Of note: Denver has had success in the past with a No. 7 (John Elway), now another one is showing the way (Chauncey Billups). Billups has had quite the honeymoon in his return to his home town, leading the Nuggets to an 11-3 record. He was spectacular during a win against the Houston Rockets on Sunday, as he scored 28 points with 10 assists, helping the Nuggets win despite Carmelo Anthony missing the entire second half with a sore right elbow. While the Nuggets have benefited from the arrival of an all-star point guard, the Spurs are welcoming back their own. Tony Parker made his return after missing almost a month with a sprained left ankle last Friday. The Spurs are practically back at full strength, with Manu Ginobili also recently returning.

4. Philadelphia at Detroit (Friday)
Of note: The Sixers didn't enter the season expecting to reunite with Allen Iverson so soon. And they certainly didn't expect to arrive in Detroit on such shaky ground. Not with Elton Brand around. But the Sixers -- who pushed the Pistons to six games in the first round last postseason -- have lost four in a row and were booed off the floor at Wachovia Center following a disgusting loss to the Chicago Bulls. Andre Iguodala and Samuel Dalembert have struggled trying to play with Brand commanding the ball in the low block. The Pistons -- most notably Richard Hamilton -- are having similar problems trying to work around Iverson. Detroit is just 6-6 since making the trade.

Others in consideration: Detroit at San Antonio (Tuesday) and Phoenix at New Orleans (Wednesday).

By Michael Lee  |  December 1, 2008; 1:29 PM ET
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Next: Monday Update: Difficult Schedule


You know the home team is doing REALLY bad when a column designated to them is being filled with information about other NBA teams and tickets to the games are going for $11. What next?? I guesss there will be singles nights and date nights next. When that happens, you know the Wiz have hit Rock Bottom!


Posted by: ivyleague | December 1, 2008 2:20 PM | Report abuse

Nice photo caption, BTW.

When the Sixers got Brand, some people (like Michael Wilbon) were touting them as a possible candidate to win the East. Reality is a funny thing.

Getting Brand was a no-brainer of a move, but they've got to make a lot more moves to make it pay off. The Sixers got into the playoffs last season by playing at a fast pace, pushing the ball in transition, and scoring easy points off the break. Getting a big, low post presence like Brand changes that equation. The team around Brand isn't built for a slow half-court game. The Sixers either need to hope the guys around Brand learn to shoot or start trading them for guys that can.

Posted by: kalo_rama | December 1, 2008 2:49 PM | Report abuse

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