First off, I'd like to apologize to reader Istvan. Dirk's last name is indeed spelled "Nowitzki," and not "Nowitski." My bad. The German language is so full of gutteral sounds and spitting that I sometimes get confused and try to spell things out phonetically. Really. Seriously. Okay, I can't back that up. I just goofed.I mentioned yesterday that 12 of the Lakers first 17 games this season have been at home. I just checked the schedule, and their next three games are at home too. This means that, as of December 10th, the Lakers will have played 15 games at home and only five on the road. Three times as many home games as road games? And people wonder why they've started off so strong...We also received a message from reader D. Hendrix. He's used the new NBA ball, and he ended up with the same "paper cuts" that Dirk and some other players have been suffering. I've got to get that ball and try it out. Of course, my feet are still recovering from using the Starbury Ones a few months ago...I'm not sure I want to lose the use of my hands too. But if anybody would like to loan us the ball, we'll test it and return it to you along with the official Basketbawful Fan Club package, which consists of a pirate eye patch and some Rainbow Brite stickers.By the way, you have exactly one shopping day left until Larry Bird's birthday. Make it count.Finally, I was watching NBA Fast Break on ESPN last night and -- surprise!! -- Ron Artest is starting to complain about not getting enough touches in Sacramento. Just like he did in Indiana. Oh, and also like he did in Chicago. Now mind you, Artest is averaging the most shot attempts on the team (16) while shooting only 39 percent from the field and 23 percent from three-point range. On the other hand, Kevin Martin is getting almost three fewer shot attempts, but he's shooting 52 percent in twos and 47 percent in threes, and averaging four more points than Artest (21.9 to 17.4). Who do you think should be the offensive focus?Did I mention that the Fast Break guys think Artest should, in fact, be the focus of the team's offense? And these guys are experts? Forget about the numbers. As a fan of both the Bulls and the Pacers, I've seem a lot more of Artest than I ever would have wanted. Believe me, he's an above average scorer, but he's not a franchise-type scorer. His jump shot is terribly inconsistent, even given the general inconsistency of most jump shooters, and his post game relies on a lot of pushing and jostling around the basket. He's best suited as a second or third option, not as the first. But he'll never, ever, ever consent to be used that way.