first_imgThe show is over in Las Vegas, where the NBA capped its weekend of All-Star festivities with the West’s victory over the East on Sunday night. Now it’s time to get serious again. So despite having two of the NBA’s top five scorers, Denver is only seventh in the West, two games ahead of the ninth-place Clippers. But Anthony thinks the Nuggets are ready to make their move. “Now that this is over with, I can focus on my season, the rest of the season,” Anthony said after the All-Star game. “A.I. told me today he’d be ready to play (tonight), so that was a good sign.” Nash joined Iverson on the West bench because of a shoulder injury that forced him to miss the last four games, though hopes to return tonight. The Suns couldn’t keep up their sizzling pace without their two-time MVP and lost three times to fall 4 games behind Dallas for the league’s best record. The Heat already knowd its big piece is ready. Riley is set to take the coaching reins back from Ron Rothstein when Miami visits Houston on Wednesday night. He returns to a team that looks much different from the one he left on Jan. 3 to have knee and hip surgery. Shaquille O’Neal has come back, and the Heat has won seven of its last eight games in rebounding from a horrendous start to move into eighth place in the Eastern Conference. The defending NBA champions are only four games behind Washington in the Southeast Division. The Heat still has plenty of time to move up in the East, where Detroit has looked like the class of the conference since signing Chris Webber. Even teams such as Atlanta and New York, both coming off dismal seasons and well below .500 in this one, still have playoff hopes heading into the final two months. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! “Being in Vegas, it’s a great place to be, a great place to chill,” Minnesota’s Kevin Garnett said. “But it’s out with the fantasy and back to reality.” That means trade talk for some teams, playoff pushes for others. It all gets started tonight when play resumes with 10 games. Riley returns to Miami’s bench Wednesday, and the next big event on the league’s calendar comes quickly after that. The trade deadline is Thursday, with Pau Gasol and Kidd among the players who will wait to see if they have a new destination. Gasol has asked out of Memphis and the Grizzlies are trying to accommodate him. Kidd, who missed the All-Star game because of a back injury, acknowledged during the break that teams have asked about getting him out of New Jersey. In the East, landing one proven star could be all a team needs to seize control in a mediocre conference. Teams in the West could be looking to deal for a better chance to compete with powerful Dallas and Phoenix. Denver hoped it had done that when it acquired Iverson from Philadelphia in December to pair with Carmelo Anthony, but the results haven’t been there yet, mostly because the duo hasn’t been on the court enough. Anthony was serving his 15-game suspension when Iverson was acquired, and Iverson missed eight of the last nine games because of a sprained ankle. center_img LAS VEGAS – Time for Allen Iverson, Pat Riley, Steve Nash and the rest of the NBA to get back to work. Jason Kidd, too, though even he wasn’t sure how much longer he’ll be doing it in New Jersey. last_img