San Antonio (11--1), behind an NBA second-best 107.8 ppg, had 10 straight wins to tie New Orleans for the NBA's best record through Sunday. The highlight: Tim Duncan (right) scored career point number 20,791 last Friday, passing David Robinson atop the Spurs' leaderboard.
The Jets' shutdown corner has bounced back from a hamstring injury and is harassing opposing receivers once again. In recent weeks he limited Calvin Johnson and Andre Johnson (right, last Sunday) to an average of 2.5 catches and 22.5 yards with no TDs.
The Knicks' three straight wins—a "streak" in New York--speak—come thanks largely to Danilo Gallinari, who averaged 27 points (52.9% shooting) over that stretch. Raptors center Andrea Bargnani, another Italian, has 85 points in three consecutive Toronto W's.
Three straight wins moved Jacksonville (6--4) from worst to first in the AFC South, and much of the credit goes to WR Mike Thomas, who scored in each. Up next: the HOF—sort of. The Hail Mary ball he caught to beat Houston on Nov. 14 was sent to Canton.
Blake Griffin may be a nightly highlight reel (for a good time, search "Griffin dunks" on YouTube), but his young Clippers are a catastrophe at 1--13 and amidst a nine-game skid. L.A. is among the bottom eight in both points scored (96.7; 23rd) and allowed (106.4; 26th).
The Islanders canned head coach Scott Gordon, and why not? They're now 4-13-4 (including 13 straight L's) and ranked 29th in attendance. On Nov. 16 they fired a shot at the media who were covering the wreckage by revoking one reporter's credentials.
The Arab state's odds of hosting the World Cup took a hit in a FIFA report, which cited the country's 100°-plus temps. And Fahad Khalfan made YouTube with a missed sitter against Uzbekistan at the '10 Asian Games that The Sun dubbed a "Qatarstrophe."
Three straight losses moved Tennessee (5--5) from first to third in the AFC South, and much of the blame goes to Vince Young (left), who dinged his thumb and threw a fit after losing to the Skins. Said Jeff Fisher: Young (who later went on IR) is no longer the starter, "injury or not."
SI PLAYERS NFL POLL
FOR WHICH OTHER COACH WOULD YOU LIKE TO PLAY?
Rex Ryan, Jets 21%
Mike Tomlin, Steelers 12%
Sean Payton, Saints 9%
Jeff Fisher, Titans 8%
Bill Belichick, Patriots 7%
Each of the top seven vote-getters—including No. 6 Mike Shanahan and No. 7 Jim Caldwell—has appeared in a conference championship game; all but Ryan have been to a Super Bowl.... Wade Phillips, who was 10th with 3% of the vote, was fired on Nov. 8.... Six African-Americans were among the top 13 vote-getters, including one, Tony Dungy, who hasn't coached since 2008.
Based on 279 NFL players who responded to SI's survey
CHRISTIAN PETERSON/GETTY IMAGES (DUNCAN)
BROOKS VON ARX/SOUTHCREEK GLOBAL/ZUMAPRESS.COM (JOHNSON, REVIS)
BARBARA JOHNSTON/US PRESSWIRE (BARGNANI)
FREDERICK BREEDON/AP (YOUNG)
JARED WICKERHAM/GETTY IMAGES (TOMLIN)
ICON SMI (RYAN)