J.A. Adande does an amazing job explaining the Lakers' season. Here's what I see: Neither Phil Jackson nor Kobe Bryant tried all that hard to keep the rest of the team fired up and focused. Both now blame the season's sorry end on the rest of the team not being fired up and focused.
Jeff Teague, to Lang Whitaker writing for GQ: "The first time I played against [Derrick Rose] was in 8th grade in AAU. He was still the best on the floor in 8th grade, still played point back then. Believe it or not, he shot a lot more threes when he was younger. He was still explosive, still fast, could still jump higher than everyone else. Back then I was 5-6, a buck-twenty. So my body has changed a lot. But I always tried to use my speed and quickness."
Precisely how the Grizzlies did not stop the Thunder on the break.
Is that Kyrie Irving talking to Pat Riley?
To anyone envisioning the Lakers bringing in a new better player to lead the team with Kobe Bryant in a supporting role, consider the possibility that Andrew Bynum could be that guy. And here's what Bryant has to say about Bynum shooting more, to Yahoo's Marc Spears: "Ultimately, he’ll have to fall in line because I’m gonna shoot the ball. We all know that. Pau is going to get his touches. He’s No. 2. And then [Andrew] will have to fall in line."
People say the Celtics are dinosaurs, but really they're tortoises.
Most players like Ray Allen slow down at his age. Kevin Garnett, too.
Matt McHale of By the Horns: "I don’t mean to take anything away from Pat Riley. He cleared a lot of cap space to sign Chris Bosh, Dwyane Wade and LeBron James last summer. But he was also exceptionally fortunate that those guys wanted to play together. And, as far as we can tell (although it may never be proven), that had much more to do with the players than it did with Riley. Meanwhile, Forman cleared cap space just like Riley did, only he had to endure and recover from rejection by all three of those players. Seriously, Forman (with Jerry Reinsdorf and John Paxson) went all in to sign James, Wade and/or Bosh … and got none of them. Yet he still managed to go out and acquire exactly the right mix of players to surround MVP Derrick Rose with. Oh, and he also brought in Tom Thibodeau, who won the Coach of the Year award. The numbers don’t lie: 62 wins. Best in the league. Despite losing out on Options A, B and C. What’s more, with the way some of the new contracts were structured -- specifically Brewer’s, Korver’s and Watson’s -- Forman gave the team future cap flexibility (in theory depending on the new CBA)."
Deciphering two brands of Chicago guard mojo: Derrick Rose, or Dwyane Wade?
Regular readers of TrueHoop, especially all that business about Kobe Bryant and crunch time (which, incidentally, made my inbox 40 percent "Laker Hater" mail for a month or so, including a death threat ESPN security forwarded to the FBI) will be amused by this tweet.
John Hollinger rightly calls out Marc Gasol for his amusing old-man pre-game stretching routine.
OK, take notes: A prediction that the Bulls will roll the Heat with ease in the conference finals.
Chris Herren's new book, "Basketball Junkie," written with Bill Reynolds, is excerpted in SLAM: "By the time I got traded, I was happy for all the wrong reasons. I wasn’t happy because I was back home and had grown up idolizing the Celtics. I was happy because I was back home and I knew where to get drugs. I also had the money to buy them. It was a deadly combination."
Derrick Rose's game is changing right now, as a guy who used to charge hard at the rim becomes someone who also sometimes curves here and there with a probing dribble.