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IC Cold Links: Kobe Bryant All-Star MVP, LeBron James Triple-Double, Pacers Back To Work

The Indiana Pacers reconvene today in Washington, D.C., rested and ready to resume their late-season playoff push to bring to life coach Frank Vogel's vision of a special end to the season.

After dumping their last game in Detroit, the Pacers will be talking a lot about defense in today's workout as they prepare to play the Washington Wizards on Tuesday before returning home for a chance to quickly avenge that loss to the Pistons on Wednesday. All 28 remaining games are important for the Pacers, so getting back up to speed with a couple of wins is critical to maintain any momentum the team had before the break.

Speaking of the break, Kobe Bryant closed it down last night with an MVP effort (37 points, 14 rebounds) leading the West to a 148-143 win and nullifying the triple-double LeBron James added to the mix for the East.

But of course, NBA trade deadline chatter continues to dominate with the deadline on Thursday. Isiah Thomas has somehow weaseled his way into the drama. Maybe Zeke is making a passive-aggressive attempt to seek revenge on Donnie Walsh for not sticking by him when Larry Bird sent him packing from the Pacers sidelines several years ago. Why else would he want to dump on Walsh? Oh, yeah, I guess massive ego is a pretty good line of reasoning. Regardless, there have been denials by the Knicks' owner and coy silence from Thomas which amounts to plenty of humor for those of us not involved.

Talk, talk, talk. Looking forward to the games starting up again tomorrow. After the jump, a few links of interest on this President's Day holiday including rumblings that Troy Murphy might return to Golden State.