1. Larry Hughes and LeBron James exchanged some words, as did many Cavs players when they lost seven on nine games. There is no rift between them and, in case no one has been watching, Hughes level of play has been very good during this currently winning spell. I wrote about this a few weeks ago. I don't own the patent on Cavs info, it comes from many sources and sometimes I'm behind or wrong. However, if you read this blog you probably are a keen observer and cognitively sound individual, thus I'd encourage you to evaluate the reliability of the source when judging the validity of team news.
2. As I explain in my Sunday column today, Anderson Varejao will return to full practice this week and may be back in games very soon. Also info in there on LeBron's birthday party, Danny Ferry's contract, Drew Gooden's future and more. Sasha Pavlovic should also be back at practice this week.
3. I sometimes have fun with Damon Jones and sometimes his ego is an issue, but he's well-liked by his teammates. He's been absent in games but also helped the Cavs win some. Expect this yo-yo effect with him.
4. Just because I don't like saying Happy Holidays every 15 seconds doesn't mean I'm a grouch. As Danny Ferry said to me: "I guess nobody should say hi to one another, then." Ok, Ok, Happy New Year everyone!
5. Mike Brown calling the Pistons starting five the best ever was totally hyperbolic. It's a great conversation-starter as many of us in the media killed time talking about the best Laker, Celtic and Knick lineups over the years. However, he was just using a tactic to kill the opposition with kindness. The Cavs know they can't catch the Pistons and they're the better team. Also they didn't want to put too much emphasis on Saturday's game in case they lost. It is not wise to proclaim it the biggest game of the season by which the team's first two months will be judged because, well, what if you lose? LeBron has learned this trick, too, he just downplays everything even when he really, really cares. His 43-point performance against Larry Brown last season being exhibit A.
Finally, I run hot and cold with Peter Vecsey of the New York Post. But his sniping with Kobe Bryant this week made for a really good column today.