Don't look now, but his combined points/assists/rebound averages (40.5) actually top LeBron's mark of 40, but this number is clouded by the fact that the Nuggets average about 10 possessions per game more than Cleveland. Still, Anthony deserves credit for continuing to add wrinkles to his all-around game. And how about the possibility of Allen Iverson joining the Nuggets? Could you imagine 'Melo, J.R. Smith and Iverson in the same lineup? That team would average three assists a month.
Not since the days of the way-too-tanned Thunder Dan Majerle have we seen someone pull up for a longer three-pointer (excluding last-second bombs) than Arenas hoisted Wednesday. With about 20 seconds left on the shot clock during the first half of a home win over Denver, Arenas raised up for a 30-footer that brought rain and swished through the net -- he's a nutter and we love him for it -- and he ended up scoring 34 points in the blowout. Arenas is averaging 32.3 points in December.
Still perhaps the game's most underrated performer -- though he's probably called "the game's most underrated performer" more than any other player we can think of -- Marion is (as usual) a small step behind teammate Steve Nash when it comes to deserved kudos for Phoenix's 12-game winning streak. After all, if Marion isn't there to run the floor, cut to the hoop, find open lanes or start the break with a rebound, who does Nash have to pass to? Marion is leading the Suns in points (barely, over Nash), rebounds, steals and blocks.
After his team's morale sank to a season low following a last-second loss to the Celtics last week, Carter brought the goods in wins over Memphis and Milwaukee -- an average of 36.5 points with 7.5 assists and seven boards. Though we love him for turning the ball over only three times in about 79 combined minutes, we know the reason why: Carter chucked a combined 31 three-pointers in those two contests. I don't care if you make 15 of them, which Vince did; that's still too many for someone who could be averaging 10 free throw attempts per game.
Davis didn't have to completely overhaul his game to turn his Warriors into a winner. He just needed a tweak here and there to put this team in playoff contention: less long-range shooting (4.1 attempts, down from six last year and 7.8 two seasons ago), fewer turnovers and better free throw shooting and shot selection. Davis is newly amenable to coaching, he's not shooting the Glare of Death toward Mickael Pietrus' way a half-dozen times a game and some rumors have him soon to be rewarded with a trade to Philadelphia -- where he and Chris Webber (and their two combined working knees) can run the highest-paid pick-and-pop in NBA history.
Johnson has missed the last three Hawks losses (part of a four-game streak) because of a a calf strain. As you'd expect, Atlanta is reeling without his 29 points per game, losing by an average of 16.7 points with Johnson on the shelf.
The Milwaukee All-Star is averaging only 19.5 points (on 37 percent shooting) in his last four games. And he's hardly helping in other areas, netting more turnovers (11) than rebounds (just nine, in 137 minutes). Redd is sharing some of the scoring load with newly healthy Charlie Villanueva, who is averaging 17.5 points in four games since returning from an elbow injury.
A rough patch on the way to the Hall of Fame: Howard is averaging 10.3 points, 9.3 rebounds, 4.3 turnovers and one block over his last three games. He's also been 21 for a week, manning the middle for a Magic team that has won 15 of 25 to start the season despite a recent rash of injuries, so we have to keep perspective here. The addition of wispy shooters like J.J. Redick and Travis Diener to Orlando's rotation won't help its seventh-ranked defense, but it might stop defenders from hanging all over Howard's shoulders every time he makes a play for the front of the rim.
It hasn't been an easy season for this second-year guard. New Orleans' heartwarming national TV appearance Thursday was mitigated by an injury list that includes Tyson Chandler, David West, Bobby Jackson and Peja Stojakovic. And Paul (2-of-11 from the floor) had a night to forget in a loss to the Spurs. Still, his 30-point, five-rebound, 11-assist, one-turnover performance in a win over Cleveland on Tuesday was phenomenal, and a swift repudiation sent in the direction of anyone who thinks the Cavaliers' Eric Snow is half the defender he once was.
The Clippers' struggles have us all worried, and most worrisome of all is their failure to provide Brand with a steady stream of low-post looks or screen/roll dishes. Brand is averaging a staggering 4.5 shots per game less than he did last year, a season in which he shot 53 percent and averaged 24.7 points per game. And this season's 13.7 shots per game average is tainted by the nightly "I haven't seen the rock in eight minutes so this is going up" jump shots he's taking out of frustration. Mike Dunleavy, we like the fact that you can now buy more of those pinstripe suits you love; now figure out a way to get this guy the ball.
On the cusp: Chauncey Billups, Paul Pierce, Rashard Lewis