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Three wise men (cont.)

Posted: Monday December 24, 2007 11:19AM; Updated: Monday December 24, 2007 11:53AM
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More Rankings: 11-20

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11 10 The Christmas break can't come soon enough for Dwight Howard & Co. as they've lost seven of their last nine. But with the Knicks, Heat, Bobcats and Bulls up next on the slate, they have a good chance to get back on track heading into the New Year.
12 11 It's safe to say Jerry Sloan and Gordan Giricek won't be exchanging Secret Santa gifts this season. Giricek could well get a one-way ticket to the North Pole, however, after engaging in a verbal exchange with his coach last week. With his reeling Jazz having lost nine of 11, Sloan is not in the holiday spirit.
13 12 Not even Chris Bosh's career-high 42 points could prevent Saturday's loss at Phoenix, their third straight defeat on a grueling seven-game road trip. At least they get a six-day break -- and a chance to get home for the holidays -- before finishing up at San Antonio, Houston and New Orleans.
14 13 They have to be concerned about Tracy McGrady's lingering soreness in his knee, which forced him out of the second half of Sunday's loss at Detroit. Given T-Mac's history of injuries and the team's struggles so far this season, he might soon start hearing his name in trade rumors as well.
15 16 They bounced back from a bad loss at Minnesota by downing the injury-depleted Wizards on Saturday to make it four victories in their last five contests. Still, Jermaine O'Neal admits they need to be more consistent. "We have to figure out how to do away with the bad losses," he said.
16 19 Big surprise: Speedy Claxton won't be back this season as the veteran point guard will shut it down to have microfracture knee surgery. At least they have met the challenge of holding up in the East playoff picture, defeating the likes of the Magic, Bobcats, Heat and Wizards in recent weeks.
17 17 With Caron Butler (sore ankles) joining Gilbert Arenas and Antonio Daniels on the sidelines, they had little chance in Saturday's loss at Indiana. The good news is that Butler shouldn't be out long, and Daniels could be back by week's end to give their sputtering offense a sorely needed QB.
18 15 What do you get LeBron James for Christmas? How about a matchup with the Heat, one of the few teams struggling worse than the Cavs? Sunday's home loss to the Warriors was the 10th in 13 games for Team LeBron as they continue to get shredded on defense.
19 18 Perhaps bothered by a sore foot, Ben Wallace has averaged just one point and 6.5 rebounds over his last four games. It has meant more playing time for rookie 7-footer Aaron Gray, who has had his moments while providing size and at least a little bit of a low-post presence.
20 23 Despite Sunday's last-second loss to the Nuggets, coach Reggie Theus has to be happy with the way they have competed without injured stars Mike Bibby and Kevin Martin. They even went 3-2 on a recently-concluded road trip to give them a winning record in December so far.

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