Monday Bullets

  • Just in case Boris Diaw gets tired of guarding Chris Kaman, Mike Bresnahan of the L.A. Times points out: "Help may be on the way later in the series for the Suns. Center Kurt Thomas, a workmanlike veteran who averaged 8.6 points and 7.8 rebounds during the season, could return after sitting out since Feb. 22 because of a stress fracture in his right foot."

  • Talking second round as a podcast guest of J.E. Skeets and Tas. The green room at their studio is really nice, but the fruit plate had clearly been sitting around for a while.

  • A lot of NBA mock drafts look something like this at the top. But everyone says it's a wildly unpredictable draft, so surely there must be pundits out there who think it will go very differently. Thank you, John Canzano. Here's the top of his current list:

1. Brandon Roy, G, Washington
2. Adam Morrison, F, Gonzaga
3. Andrew Bargnani, F, Italy
4. Lamarcus Aldridge, F, Texas
5. Tyrus Thomas, F, LSU
6. Rudy Gay, F, UConn
7. Shelden Williams, F, Duke

  • Stephen A. Smith is just the latest reporter who wants to see LeBron James' birth certificate: "James is a bad man, folks. Plain and simple. Just looking at him makes you want to check his birth certificate. It's one thing to be 6-foot-8 and a chiseled 240 pounds. But when you're all that at age 21, with the poise of a veteran and tendencies resembling Michael Jordan's, something deadly appears to be in the making."

  • Kevin Blackistone wonders how it is Bruce Bowen can guard Dirk Nowitzki so well. "'It is [a missed opportunity],' admitted Dirk Nowitzki, who once again struggled against the half-a-foot shorter but pesky Bruce Bowen, missing eight of 11 shots in the second half and being unable to get off a game-tying attempt on the last possession. (And Dirk had led us to believe that this season, he had finally mastered the art of rendering smaller defenders defenseless.)"

  • Turns out the leak was right. Most amazingly of all--and this I don't get--the MVP voting wasn't even close. To me, it was a crap shoot. The two best players, LeBron James and Kobe Bryant, weren't on great teams. The great teams had Steve Nash, Chauncey Billups, and Dirk Nowitzki, but they didn't have any players who could beat Bryant or James in a game of "21." So it was something of a crap shoot. If they all got votes, and Nash happened to get slightly more... so be it. But if one guy won a longshot? I can't explain it, and neither can Steve Nash: "I can't believe that I'm standing here today. I couldn't believe it last year, and to do it again is even more difficult to understand -- but I'm not going to give it back."

  • Mark Cuban says he knows how to fix the NBA's playoff referee problem. But he's starting with a false premise: "the thing about the first round is that the games are spread out. There rarely if ever are 4 games in a single night. ( it hasnt happened since i have been here)" Au contraire, my geeky little friend.

  • Watch Jerry Stackhouse pass up the open two. Wonder what he's thinking. Realize these commentators won't be able to tell you. Stackhouse explains, as reported by Chip Brown: "After the play broke down, and it got to the weak side, I wasn't sure how much time was left on the clock. I was kind of in the corner. I tried to get back and see it. When I did get back there, there was three-something seconds. There wasn't enough time to make another play. I got off a decent look. But we needed to get a better look than we did in that situation." So, seems like he wanted to check the clock and set up a new play. Which was a luxury Dallas could not afford, especially considering it cost them the only open look they were going to get against that killer D the Spurs were playing. He should have known there was very little time left. I know the best players can count in their head, and always know. Dwyane Wade says he practices that every day.

  • Ron Artest says that if the Kings bring back Bonzi Wells and Rick Adelman--two big ifs--he'll play next season for free.

  • Lakers Blog perspective: "I know Lakers fans don't take much comfort in a first round exit. I'm not thrilled, either. But at the same time, this team is only two seasons removed from gutting a roster that reached the NBA finals. To reach the playoffs this soon is actually pretty comforting. Most rebuilding projects are way more painful. They may not be ready to win rings, but they may also be closer than people originally thought. Ultimately, this first round series should be viewed as a success story, even if the ending needed a rewrite."

  • Chris Broussard voices something that has been running through my head: "I'm beginning to wonder if Kobe Bryant has a major weakness. I'm not making a final judgment; I'm just starting to wonder. What's with these amazing shifts in the way he plays? If this is versatility, that's fine, that's great. But if it's some spiteful game he plays every now and then to prove a point, then it's a character flaw that could put a cap on how far he can lead a team." FreeDarko wrestles on both sides of the same topic: "knowing what we know about kobe, he was trying to send a message to someone--p-jax, teammates, proponents of "the right way," the media, maybe all of them. a complex character, to say the least." David Friedman weighs in too.

  • Big man on the market.

  • I Heart KG: "Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine that Tskitishvili would be playing in Game 7 of a playoff series. Never. Not once. Not ever. I saw it with my own eyes and still don't believe it." This is kind of like the whole Mengke Bateer has more rings than Karl Malone deal.

  • Chris Clarke n'aime pas AOL Sports.

  • Careful, Blazer fans, how much you complain about Zach Randolph. He could be traded for Kenyon Martin.

  • Ira Winderman knows more about the Heat than I do, and he agrees with me that the Heat will win in seven.

  • James Vesely: "No credible economist can quantify the economic benefit of any team to any city."

  • Video of Ron Artest playing D. (via Celtics 17)

  • CelticsBlog is turning to the draft, and it's good stuff. Here's a whole package of information and highlights on Tyrus Thomas. Conclusion: "If you have a shot at him, I think you take him, no question. Lots of guys have talent on offense, but defensive prospects are a rare breed."

  • Steve Nash and Dwyane Wade, two of the biggest stars suiting up tonight, are both only "probable" to even play. Wade worked out hard against Dorell Wright and says he has some of his mojo back.

  • Rare: Cleveland reporters criticizing LeBron James. Here's Terry Pluto: "James says he's the leader, and he wants to lead. Staring at Tayshaun Prince taking jumpers from the corner is not leading."

  • Neal Pollack is on fire. Here are some highlights: "In the end, it didn't really seem fair. The Lakers looked like a bunch of special-ed students out there. The only difference, really, is that a team of special-ed students would have at least tried to beat the other team. Plus, they would have been gracious in defeat. Now, the Suns move on, while Mr. Parker drives off in his Smushcalade. Seriously, though, who names a car after themself?... And I hope you enjoy your sexual assault trial, Kwame. After what you did to Boris Diaw, tossing him to the ground and wagging your crotch in his face, I'm sure you're not guilty or anything. Sexy sex guy. And then there's Kobe, a real superstar, who quit on an important game and then had the rotten balls to then blame his athletically inferior teammates for the loss. He should have finished 104th in the MVP balloting, behind the entire starting lineup of the Charlotte Bobcats and Darko Milicic... If I've suffered as a Suns fan, and I have, oh, have I suffered, it's nothing compared to what the Clippers Drum And Fife Society has endured over the years. Nevertheless, the Suns can't lose to a team that started in Buffalo. The Suns are a team of destiny, even if that destiny is to lose to the Spurs in six. So go, tall, laid-back French guy! Go, tall, laid-back stoner guy! Go, smart liberal Canadian guy! Go, pixie-like Brazilian speed demon! Go, dude playing for a multi-million dollar contract! Um, who else? Go, guy who throws assholes like Kobe Bryant to the ground! And go, go, go Coach Pornstache!