Boston: Composure. Rasheed Wallace (12) Kendrick Perkins (9) are among the league’s leaders in technicals and the Celtics, who have both Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett hobbling, need to show more composure. Pierce has long displayed his emotions on his sleeve and Garnett would be leading the NBA in techs if he wasn't a first-ballot Hall of Famer. The Celtics can run away with the East, sorry Cleveland, if Doc Rivers can reign in his troops.
Knicks: Better Communication. Knicks president Donnie Walsh had to know how coach Mike D'Antoni felt about Nate Robinson before he re-signed him to a one-year deal as a restricted free agent last summer. Multiple sources have indicated that D'Antoni was against retaining Robinson and his decision to bench the guard for nearly a month all but confirms that. Walsh may have ignored D'Antoni's overtures because inking Robinson to a one-year deal gave him both a trade chip and another expiring deal, but the Knicks didn't need to added drama. Nate’s back, but now Larry Hughes is in the same boat.
Nets: Civic Pride. The Nets have essentially been playing out the string since mid-November, but they need to begin connecting to New Jersey, even though their time in the state is limited. They get closer to Brooklyn on a daily basis and it would be nice to see the team somehow honor the community they have called home for so long. The Thunder left Seattle on awful terms and a similar situation needs to be avoided, especially since a new home in Brooklyn isn't going to completely cut the cord between the franchise and their shrinking Garden State fan base.
Philadelphia: End Brand Experiment. A New Year's Resolution usually isn't tangible, but the 76ers badly need to trade Elton Brand. Long a guarded professional, he's starting to issue frustrated statements to the media and he's a shell of his former himself in Eddie Jordan's system (assuming he's fully healthy). Their record may not reflect it, but Philadelphia is a scrappy team. Without Brand, not taking into account what they might be able to get in return, they can win some games with their roster. Marreese Speights appears better suited for the power forward role than Mr. Brand.
Raptors: Short-Term Memory Loss. Toronto was a disappointing 7-13 on Dec. 2, but more than a month later they stand 18-18 after an impressive run of 11 wins in 16 games. Four of those five losses came on the road and the Raptors have posted wins over the Rockets, Hornets, Spurs and Celtics in the last few weeks. With Jose Calderon back, the team we have seen in the last month is more indicative of who the Raptors are than the team that stumbled out of the gate.