April, 11, 2011
By Henry Abbott
- Former Sonics owner Howard Schultz conspires with the police and Costco security to look really petty on YouTube.
- There are a lot of mini-trends right now in the NBA. Two I believe in least of all: Hot Knicks! Cold Lakers!
- Not always better in the playoffs: Amare Stoudemire.
- If you were offered two jobs with identical salaries -- GM of the Nets or Knicks -- which would you choose? A case for the Nets. The Nets have long been doomed by three things: Leadership, location and roster. All of those things have changed permanently. Hard to judge them by reputation at this point.
- With 4:35 left in a close game against the Thunder, Kobe Bryant made a fantastic play: He got his defender off-balance by faking a shot, then rose and fired ... a pass to Andrew Bynum deep in the post. Bynum quickly turned it into two points. As it happened, I wrote it down, noting it was the kind of play the Lakers typically do not make later in close games, when that play would end with a Bryant shot. Then, as several of you have noted in e-mails and Tweets to me, Bryant then went into "do it all myself" mode, had a mighty string of turnovers to go with an airball and a foul that led to a 4-point play, and a game that L.A. led with 3:10 left turned into a 14-point Thunder victory. Point being: It's not Bryant's play that I'm saying hurts the Lakers. It's Bryant's ballhog play in crunch time that hurts the Lakers.
- A history of the dunk contest, in poster form.
- Jameer Nelson gives the Hawks some bulletin board material.
- TrueHoop Network Bulls blogger Matt McHale, on his other blog Basketbawful, with a shocking prediction: "Much as I hate to say it, the Heat will probably win the East. I know Chicago is a popular pick right now, and, as picks go, the Bulls are a good one. They've been a better team, play better defense, have a better bench. They bring it every night. But the playoffs usually are about the best players. The bench becomes less important. Tom Thibodeau's defense has slowed down Dwyane Wade, Kobe Bryant and LeBron James ... but can it slow down LeBron and D-Wade every night in a long playoff series? Could anybody's defense? The Bulls have had an amazing season, all things considered. I mean, 60 wins despite a combined 60 games missed by Carlos Boozer and Joakim Noah? This is a determined, dedicated group of players. Unfortunately, I think their flaws are going to be exposed in the postseason. That's what tends to happen when the schedules even out and teams can devise new schemes on a game-by-game basis. Chicago's D is fantastic but their offense relies so heavily on Derrick Rose that slowing him down becomes the key to beating the Bulls (much like slowing down James was the key to beating the Cavaliers the last few seasons). They're going to throw constant double-teams at Rose and dare Luol Deng, Boozer, Noah and, yes, Keith Bogans to beat them. I predict a Heat-Bulls Eastern Conference Finals in which the scores will be hard-on-the-eyes low and the LeBron-Wade duo will trump the Rose uno. As a Bulls blogger, this pains me."
- So if a player has great "per-minute" statistics, but only plays limited minutes, what happens when he gets more minutes? That's a tricky question, but here's a thoughtful examination.
- Gregg Popovich's teams punish opponents with 3s nightly, but he wishes the shot would just go away.
- A powerful little dissertation on internet commentary. Somebody posts the first page of a famous book (David Foster Wallace's "Infinite Jest") online, asks for feedback as if it is his own, and people rip it.
- Paul Flannery of WEEI: "In order to get through the East, the Celtics will have to begin two series on the road barring a late Miami collapse or an incomprehensible upset in the first round. Pinning their fall on this one game, as dreadful as it was, overlooks the lethargic performances they’ve had since early March. They have gone 10-10 over the last 20 games and the only consistent part of their game is their inconsistency. Poor starts have been replaced by bad finishes and a better-functioning offense is now offset by serious defensive issues. Both were problems against the Heat. All teams go through bad stretches of the regular season, but very few contenders go through a quarter of the season where they play like the Pacers."
- Mike Salvucci of CelticsHub doesn't expect Shaquille O'Neal to save Boston: "You can count me as one of those people that does not think the Celtics are going to get a huge contribution from Shaquille O’Neal. He just hasn’t given me any reason to believe that he can be a factor. If it’s not an injury, then it will probably be foul trouble that keeps him off the floor."
- Just watch Kevin Garnett through this entire skirmish. Cracks me up. As soon as the play occurs he's calling a foul on LeBron James. And then, when everyone is standing around, he simply shoves James away and out of the mix. Just kind of does whatever he wants, but carefully avoids punishment, and it all seems so natural.
- Royce Young of Daily Thunder on the Thunder's new, Kendrick Perkins-inspired physicality: "Perk scuffled with Kobe in the second quarter. It was so obvious that Perk was blatantly holding Kobe and it sparked Kobe to shove Perk, with of course promoted Perk to shove back. Later, Perk was just pushing on Andrew Bynum as a shot went up and Bynum didn’t like it so he threw the ball at Perk to which Perk’s response was perfect. He just held his arms out like, 'What? What are you gonna do?' Then in the fourth on a jump ball, Kobe was crowding Ibaka a bit so Ibaka stomped his foot on Kobe’s."
- The Grizzlies don't mess around.
- Some of the Pistons' strangeness in recent years may be attributable to ownership.
- Making the playoffs likely kept Larry Bird from resigning as president of the Pacers.