NEW YORK — Undersized market. Unsightly tattoos. Unadulterated threat to come out of the West and reach the Supreme Court for the first time since the sphere of influence was red, white and blue (1976) and their coach was known simply as Twin Town Brown.

Meanwhile, Denver’s pair of five-game frolics over New Orleans and Dallas has it primed to play for a conference conquest for the first time since 1985 . . . or, if you’re Dan Issel, two dozen Cinco de Mayos ago.

The Nuggets’ dismantling of the Mavericks was so complete, the league felt obligated to apologize for not vetoing such a mismatch.

Through the second round of the second season, Denver is shooting better than 50 percent from the field (the only outpost among playoff teams doing so), scoring an average of 111.5 points (best in the post-season), handing out nearly seven more assists and committing 4 1/2 fewer turnovers than its opponents . . . all while whipping the other guys by a Sweet 16 points per game, second to the Cavaliers.

Is it too late to promote NBA Third Team selections Carmelo (22.8 points per game regular season to 27.0 in the playoffs) Anthony and Chauncey (17.7 to 22.1) Billups?

What’s more, J.R. Smith, a career 43 percent regular-season shooter, is flirting with 50 during the after-party, Nene and Grand Kenyon (isn’t that a speck more manly than K-Mart?) are mauling their fellow combatants.

The Nuggets’ next opponent (the Lakers) will find a foe with no fear. That, and it’s always fun to see Kobe Bryant back in Colorado.

Think Vanessa (Bryant) might be making some road games?

Her jeweler is on 24-hour standby.

* * * * *

Orlando’s Hedo Turkoglu flaunts Josh Smith shot selection. With nine seconds left on the shot clock — 1:23 in Game 6, Orlando up 78-75 — Boston’s defender backs up and basically begs him to fire at will. Instead of looking to get to the hoop (i.e, the line) Turkoglu sees it as being open and hoists up a 3 — a bad shot that doubles the lead for the Celtics.

In Game 5, Rafer Alston uncorked a lefty hook heave on the run that cost the Magic their last chance of winning and would’ve earned him a suspension from Rucker Playground come summer had he not come through in the triple clutch Friday night.

Alston’s 3 at 4:01 put Orlando ahead 75-73, his snuff of Rajon Rondo’s springer led to Turkoglu’s unsavory trey, and a tear drop gingerly crawling up Perkins’ chest furnished some (78-75) breathing room with 1:52 left.

Penny Hardaway has called a team meeting to locate a Van Gundy (doesn’t have to be living) with a clue who doesn’t give us a headache.

That reminds me, who was the brain surgeon who asked Jeff’s opinion about what Howard said about Stan?

How stunned was I to hear whose side the brother took?

Amazing how this pious pair got into the NBA by accident and now believe they invented the game.

At Wednesday’s one-on-one pow-wow, Howard apologized to Stan Van Gundy for blaming him for so few touches, shots (10), free throws (three) and walks down Penny Lane.

Wonder if Stan apologized to Dwight for pointing the finger at “them” at the press conference after Game 5.

Coach speak from Stan: “I thought that we were trying to run out the clock. We would not push the ball up the floor. Four minutes . . . that’s forever in an NBA game. I kept telling them that we wanted to push the ball. But we didn’t. They wanted to play half court and walked it up.”

Translation: “The players are stupid for not doing what the coaching staff wanted.”

* * * * *

Glen Davis and Aaron Brooks are the playoffs’ most improved players . . . shockingly improved. If Davis can continue to exhibit the same poise and control at the food court that he does on the basketball court he can become the next great (OK, pretty good) big man to come out of LSU.

He’s everything John (Hot Plate) Williams was advertised to be before he got permanently bloated.

Highlight of the TNT season occurred with a couple of minutes to go in the Lakers’ 40-point demolition of Houston. Doug Collins daringly alerted viewers of that morning’s conversation with his seasonal sucker sidekick. “I told you, Kevin (Harlan) at breakfast the Rockets couldn’t get up emotionally the way they did in Game 4. I told you Aaron Brooks, Shane Battier, Luis Scola and Kyle Lowry couldn’t have back-to-back career games.”

Don’t for a second think I disbelieve a single word of that mouthful. I just wish we didn’t have to wait until late night snacks to hear it.

* * * * *

I’m guessing Gregg Popovich already is planning to harbor Tim Floyd behind the Spurs’ bench next season just like he sheltered assistant Kelvin Sampson last year.

Floyd reportedly paid O.J. Mayo $1,000 to go to USC.

Peter Vecsey covers the NBAfor the New York Post.

In a time of both misinformation and too much information, quality journalism is more crucial than ever.
By subscribing, you can help us get the story right.