* I asked Nets G.M. Kiki Vandeweghe before the season what would have to happen for New Jersey to somehow surprise people and be in the mix for the seventh of eighth playoff spot. His answer indicated he hadn't even thought of that. "You always want to win the games and you always want to make the playoffs," he said. "What we’re about is we want to win with a purpose, and the purpose being to build the foundation the right way. You can’t certainly expect young kids to grow up overnight. But obviously a lot’s dependent on how quickly the young kids can mature." Well, if you consider Devin Harris one of the young kids, he has grown up overnight. Harris lit up Steve Nash and the Suns for 47 points Sunday night, and the Nets finished 3-1 on their first West Coast trip of the season with a 117-109 victory. Harris also had eight assists and seven rebounds, and the Nets owned Phoenix down the stretch with key contributions from Vince Carter and rookie Brook Lopez. It's too early for Jay-Z and Beyonce to book their playoff parties, but the Nets have won five of six and are 9-7 -- good for second place in the Atlantic and sixth in the East.
* Rick Carlisle has scrapped the Princeton offense in Dallas, and the Mavs are playing better. Still, Carlisle has to be wondering how his offense would be working if Devin Harris were running it, and not Jason Kidd. Tim MacMahon of the Dallas Morning News wonders: Did anyone think Harris would be this good?
* I drove down to Philly to get a glimpse of Bulls No. 1 pick Derrick Rose, and was not disappointed. If you haven't seen the clip of his dastardly crossover on Sixers point guard Andre Miller, you need to see it. Jeff Lenchiner of InsideHoops.com has a step-by-step description here, as well as the clip. Miller got crossed up so badly that he crumbled to the court like Plaxico Burress after ... oh, never mind.
* Magic Johnson spoke with NBA.com, reflecting on his HIV diagnosis 17 years ago to commemorate World AIDS day.
* This is why the stupidity
opf of Stephon Marbury's tenure with the Knicks must end. Now he's ripping his teammates for not supporting him when coach Mike D'Antoni banished him. Um, hello? Earth calling Steph, come in Steph ... The reason D'Antoni banished him is that his teammates told the new coach they didn't want to play with him and that he was a central force in the death spiral the Knicks have been in for years. Few people in sports are as tone deaf and clueless as this Marbury. (Hint: One of them plays for a certain New York football team.)
UPDATED 11:59 a.m. EST: Marbury and union attorney Hal Biagas are scheduled to meet with Knicks president Donnie Walsh at 2:30 p.m. today, after NBPA executive director Billy Hunter holds his annual meeting with the team after this morning's practice.