Monday Bullets

By Henry Abbott

  • Looking at the NBA's best records thus far. The Celtics have been celebrated for their tough early schedule, but Suns have the NBA's best record at 9-2, and they haven't exactly had a cakewalk of a schedule, either. Seven of their 11 games have been on the road. They've had three sets of back-to-backs and their only losses came when they played last year's Finalists, the Lakers and Magic, after playing the night before and then traveling. Meanwhile, they have beaten the likes of Boston and Miami. Other teams with great records include the Heat, who have only played two road games, and the Blazers who are on a roll thanks in part to a soft schedule of late. Not to be ignored, however, are the Hawks, who have won in Portland and Boston, and beat Denver at home.

  • Also worth noting, one Hedo Turkoglu shot could have brought the Suns' record down a notch.

  • Should Kobe Bryant sit out to heal?

  • Limitations make would-be stars into role players. Knowing those limitations makes role players into winners.

  • No timetable for Chris Paul's return even though it's just a sprain.

  • Isaiah Rider, talking to Dave and Audley on the NBA Breakdown podcast: "I'm cool. I'm at peace man. God is good. God restores. I took some hard falls. I lost my mom. She was in a coma for like 4 years. About the second year she was in a coma, I got out of character and it was a domino effect. Life was just getting me. I was depressed. I can make excuses or say this or that, but the bottom line is I made bad decisions and didn't handle things correctly after my career was over. As a result, I had to pay for it. A lot of things happened. A lot of false accusations too. A lot of things that weren't true, but at the same time, some things were."

  • A video breakdown of the Knicks' defensive breakdowns. Zone defenses only keep opponents from scoring in the paint if you know where all five opponents are.

  • 11 traveling calls in one NBA game. This is still America, right?

  • Sam Cassell vs. Nick Young, in practice.

  • Brandon Jennings scored four zillion points against the Warriors, and lots of people are going with the idea that he did that despite a disappointing year in Europe. I'm not sure that's the way to look at it. Isn't it entirely possible that a year of being a benchwarmer under a coach empowered to bench him or assign him to a role -- instead of being a big star in the NCAA -- contributed to his development? Not to mention that he played against a higher level of competition than he could have faced in the NCAA. More on that.

  • Mark Cuban says retiring Michael Jordan's number league-wide is a slippery slope, as he's not the NBA's only iconic player.

  • Ty Lawson's dunk.

  • For Sixer fans, Marreese Speights has been a real bright spot. Now he's out for a couple of months, enthusiasm is hard to find. On the bright side: Now Elton Brand will get the minutes and the touches to show he still has it.

  • Digging into the idea the Celtics have trouble with fast teams. I see it a bit differently. When set, their defense is the best. So, they don't have any trouble, at all, against teams that walk it up. Faster teams give them trouble once in a while, but it's hardly an epidemic.

  • Basketball's newest Playboy.

  • What the Magic learned from their ten games without Rashard Lewis. Also, if he's looking fresh as a daisy in the home stretch of the season, let the record reflect that sitting a chunk of the season could well be a good tactic for teams that play deep into the playoffs.