March, 24, 2011
By Henry Abbott
- Ben Polk of A Wolf Among Wolves: "It has been nearly two weeks since Japan weathered the largest earthquake in its recorded history, been deluged by a tsunami and terrified by the specter of nuclear disaster. Whole towns have been destroyed. People have been buried in rubble, swept away to sea, poisoned with radiation. In addition to that tremendously awful situation, Muammar Qaddafi has been murdering his own people with abandon and the U.S. and its allies have found themselves embroiled in another military conflict. I think you probably already know this. In that time we at A Wolf Among Wolves have published five posts. One of them is a funny photoshopped picture. Another is a strident critique of the Timberwolves’ defense. A third examines Nikola Pekovic’s recently improved play and his struggle to avoid foul trouble. Not exactly seething with geopolitical relevance, right? Now, this is a blog about basketball and as such it’s not our job to report the news. As a matter of fact, I know for certain that many people visit sites like ours as away of escaping the awful things that happen every day–and the rotten, degraded discourse that inevitably grows around them. But still, I can’t help escaping the feeling that a detailed description of the Wolves’ indecisive weakside rotations against Utah’s flex offense somehow misses the point, that our typically American mode of blithe myopia is a pretty bad look at moments like this. One wonders: how should we, as people who care about sports and who devote no small amount of our energies and intellects to thinking about and discussing sports, deal with things like this? How do we reconcile the feeling within us that basketball is somehow really important with the awareness that it seems to have very little to say about the tremendously awful things that happen in the world?"
- Doc Rivers and Gregg Popovich have drawn up some of the most beautiful crunch time plays in the league. Last night, each needed 3s with the clock winding down, but ended up with heavily contested shots out of isolation. Both missed.
- Total free throws Chuck Hayes made last season: seven. This season to date: 77.
- Jerry West says there might be five superstars in the NBA, and by the sounds of things none of them play for the Knicks.
- Rudy Fernandez loves him some clothes shopping.
- Rajon Rondo catching some heat for passing up a shot, but for the record at the rim he's a fantastic scorer. His shooting woes are purely on jumpers. In this case, to my eyes, he was wary of closing shotblockers. It was a conservative call, but an understandable one.
- More on how that bottoms-up beer dispenser works. Like a lot of magic, it's magnets. (Via Ted's Take)
- Another strong case for Lamar Odom as this season's sixth man.
- The key to Serge Ibaka getting a block is, evidently, as simple as Kendrick Perkins telling him to "go block that."
- Remember when the world had modest expectations of Kevin Durant and Derrick Rose?
- Shaquille O'Neal ought to be back in Celtic green fairly soon, but probably not nearly soon enough for me to lose my Darko Milicic vs. Shaquille O'Neal bet with Tom Ziller.
- The Nuggets defense has been almost as good as Chicago's since the Carmelo Anthony trade. But their high-energy selfless offense is promising too. I'm just throwing this out there: A Nuggets vs. Bulls Finals would make America love the NBA like never before. It's two little teams that could. Two teams that missed out on the big names. Two teams with pluck and fight and teamwork. That's an amazing message in a recession. Now, I'm not expecting that. But it's something to think about.
- Roses from concrete: Remembering "The Last Shot."
- JaVale McGee is all highlights these days. In this one, he ends up missing the shot clock buzzer. But he does, as an athletic 7-footer, successfully dribble through a triple team to end up with a layup he makes. And of course, his ridiculous recent blocks.
- Stat geekery in action? Since joining the geeky Blazers, Gerald Wallace has turned a lot his long 2s into much more efficient 3s.
- Be aware, Knick fans, that Pacer fans are eyeing your playoff seed.
- A very serious statistical look into Corey Brewer's value as a defender.