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Thursday Bullets

  • John Hollinger (Insider) has just written one of the most insightful basketball things I've read in a long time. He notes that two offenses -- the Hawks' and Blazers' -- are among the most efficient in the NBA with a similar style. They slow the pace, isolate their perimeter star (Brandon Roy or Joe Johnson), get a lot of offensive rebounds, and end up getting more field goal attempts and fewer turnovers than teams with less discipline. But what you won't see is a lot of ball movement. And guess what? Both the Hawks and the Blazers have seen their offenses basically go to hell in the playoffs. Hollinger writes: "Perhaps the Hawks and Blazers have just had some bad games against some pretty good defenses. But between the two, we've built up a 31-game sample showing that something more nefarious might be at work. Obviously, this has important implications for Atlanta's Game 2 in Orlando on Thursday. Iso-Joe has had its moments; Game 4 of the 2008 Boston series, for instance, when Johnson single-handedly tore apart one of the best defensive teams in history. But in the aggregate, its failures have been far greater than its successes, and it's notable that the most similar offensive team has faced similar troubles. Is there something about iso-heavy offenses that makes them vulnerable in the playoffs? We can't say it with certainty yet, but the case is building rapidly. The Hawks have three games left to show that Iso-Joe can be as effective in May as it is between November and April."

  • Imagine some team is able to lure two top free agents this summer. How exciting would that be? Nothing has ever really happened like that before, right? Well, kind of. Rockets fans will once tell you that their enthusiasm knew no boundaries when they united Yao Ming and Tracy McGrady.

  • Trying to believe that the Celtics really can beat the Cavaliers.

  • Corner 3s, layups and dunks are the foundation of Orlando's efficient offense.

  • After this year's draft is held there next month, Madison Square Garden will begin a multi-year spruce up. One of the biggest things will be spendy luxury suites close to the court. That's a bull market product if ever I saw one.

  • Because of the team's stance against Arizona's new immigration law, Eva Longoria -- superstar wife of Spurs' immigrant guard Tony Parker -- tweeted "GO Suns" before Wednesday's game. Evidently, it worked. They went, and ruined her husband's night.

  • John Krolik of Cavs: the Blog: "I am not saying the elbow is or is not injured. It may well be killing him. All I know is that it was healthy enough for LeBron to go off in Game 1 of this series, and I don’t think LeBron got healthier in between the third and fourth quarters of game two. I may well be wrong about this. I am not a doctor. But here’s what it boils down to: if LeBron’s elbow is really, really hurt and keeping him at 70-80% or lower, the Cavs are screwed. No chance of a championship. It’s done. Not even worth worrying about, in a strange way. The elbow is beyond everyone on the team’s control. Other things the Cavaliers are doing poorly are not."

  • The Cavaliers are reportedly going to take a little time away from elbow MRIs.

  • In Suns vs. Spurs in 2007, the bandage was on the other nose.

  • As a basketball player, sometimes it can feel wrong to chase your guy around a screen. It offends one's sense of protecting the basket to give him a path to the cup like that. Going under the screen -- another option -- makes it far easier to prevent a layup. However, as Jared Dudley showed Richard Jefferson in Game 2, going under the screen has its perils too.

  • Sergio Rodriguez says the Knicks want to keep him and sounds suspicious of the idea they can lure LeBron James. He also says it's not about the money. In that case, the Knicks could offer Rodriguez a minimum deal right now -- they have to fill roster spots, no matter what happens in free agency, and there's no cheaper way than signing guys to minimum deals.

  • Chad Ford's latest mock draft has Kentucky big man DeMarcus Cousins going fourth overall. Ford writes what everyone is saying: "Enter Cousins, who was the most talented big man in college basketball, but also the most unstable." Cousins was probably the most productive player in college basketball last year. He's big, strong, crafty scoring and rebounding around the hoop. Those are skills that translate to the NBA nicely. He's being discounted solely because of alleged psychological or maturity issues, but how have those really been assessed? Teams haven't had a chance to dig in to such things yet with their tests and interviews. If I had a team, I'd put Cousins at the top of the draft board until there was real evidence -- and not just the whisper network -- that there was a reason to move him down. They always say that past performance is the best predictor of future results. His limited past performance does include some ugly incidents, but also a ridiculous amount of production.

  • It'll never happen, but if anyone ever made a whole issue of a magazine about the sex lives of famous athletes, it would probably be amazing, bizarre, enlightening, terrifying and a lot more. I also suspect it would not all that different from Ozone Magazine's ("your favorite rapper's favorite website") sex issue, which is certainly PG-13 (although not porn). Here's an interview with Wale that is certainly interesting.

  • Darius from Forum Blue and Gold: "Can you believe that it was only 10 days ago that the Lakers got thrashed by the Thunder in Game 4? While Lakers fans are used to going through some major ups and downs with this team, I think we could all admit that things were not looking good at that point. The Lakers looked old, they looked befuddled on offense, and they looked to be in a serious dog fight with an up and coming team that was one of the toughest first round opponents that I can remember. And while there were few analysts that questioned whether the Lakers would eventually win that series, you’d also be hard pressed to find many people that were really confident about them. My, what a difference 10 days makes. Since that blowout loss to OKC, the Lakers have reeled off four straight wins and done them in rather convincing fashion. They’ve played elite level defense and their offense has started to come back around as well."

  • In football, it's common to talk about time of possession, but now here it is in basketball, too. Did you know that in Game 3, the Lakers had the ball five-and-a-half minutes more than the Thunder did?

  • A problem a lot of teams have is properly valuing players. It's not like they have barcodes on their back, you know? Well, at least, most of them don't.

  • UPDATE: NBA prospects to watch in the Euroleague Final Four, and a team-by-team preview.