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Wednesday Bullets

  • The Akron Beacon-Journal's Brian Windhorst: "When the Eastern Conference Finals started last week I was in the managed expectations and perspective business. No matter what happened to the Cavs, it would benefit them, I said. Even in a conversation I had with general manager Danny Ferry a day after Game 2 and he was still down from the near miss, I was telling him what he already knew, that the early troubles would build the foundation for success in the future. He agreed through gritted teeth, but quickly pointed out he still felt his team could win this now. I was not sure it would be this immediate. What's happening now is still benefiting them a great deal, but now it surely seems they've got a real good chance to win this series. Not just because they held serve at home, winning Game 4, to make it 2-2. But because they are continuing to take away the Pistons strengths game after game while LeBron James plays better and better. It is well known that it only takes one game to turn a playoff series and the Pistons have an excellent chance to re-grasp control in Game 5. But there were a lot of people, especially who reside in greater Detroit, who honestly thought this series would be a sweep. There was a general belief in some areas, though never here, that last year what happened was the more the Pistons fault and not the Cavs success. In other words, there wasn't respect. Well hear this, the Pistons are really trying and still not beating the Cavs right now."

  • Remember all that Derek Fisher vs. Manu Ginobili friction in Game 4? It has deep roots. As Buck Harvey reminds us, three years ago, as a Laker, Fisher made that series-saving shot over Ginobili with 0.4 seconds left.

  • Suns fans might hate Robert Horry, but Steve Nash doesn't.

  • Remember when that Detroit columnist said Cleveland had no shot? I had a feeling something like this might happen.

  • How wrestling or sharing stuff like towels or razors can lead to amputation or death. Yes, that's a super scary way to discuss MRSA, but consider the case of Mike Gansey. A year ago he was a darling of the NCAA tournament. Now he's happy to be alive.

  • Seattle would really like Greg Oden -- with Oden and not Durant, presumably, Rashard Lewis is much easier to re-sign, and the team is suddenly respectable -- but they'll have to stare down Portland GM Kevin Pritchard to get him. Pritchard is either dedicated to the idea of Oden, in which case there's nothing Seattle can do, or he is in love with Durant, in which case Seattle has a lot of legwork ahead of them to suss out what a fair price might be to trade picks, and/or to figure out whether Portland will really take Oden if they keep the top overall pick. The other bit of legwork to game plan now is what happens if Seattle gets Durant. What moves follow? What does that roster need, and how do you get it? Can Seattle win this massive war of intelligence-gathering? Maybe. But it'll be tough when the Sonics are not even sure they'll have a general manager by draft day.

  • Along those lines, don't forget that the Sonics have very little time to prove to lawmakers and voters that it makes sense to keep them around. And it says here that at the expense of Lewis, Durant might not help much over the course of just one measly season.

  • Mark Cuban professed his love for Michael Finley, to the point that he hopes he comes back to Dallas one day. The NBA decided not to drop the hammer in what could certainly be considered tampering.

  • Listen to some of the best of NBA rap, which is not all that good. The thing that amazes me is that so many of them choose the topic of their excellence with the microphone -- when to anyone listening, that's clearly not a theory they can support.

  • When people talk about a "winner's mentality" they are talking about the kind of attitude that would let you, wearing nothing but your underwear, out-wrestle an actual leopard. Seriously. This guy did it. (Via BoingBoing)

  • Zach Randolph does not want to be traded ... but Chicago sounds pretty good. And Jarrett Jack sounds to me like the kind of guy you keep. (Also, the Blazers hire Tom Penn, formerly of Memphis, as their assistant GM. Word is they almost got him a while ago, but the highly regarded Penn had a shot at a GM job or two.)

  • George Karl's son Coby is among those NBA hopefuls who will actually play at the Orlando pre-draft camp.

  • Carlos Boozer is pointing the finger at teammates to step up tonight. As reported by the Salt Lake Tribune's Michael C. Lewis: "Maybe they feel the pressure, more than we do," he added. "I don't know what the case might be. But I'm going to tell you, for us to win Game 5, we need Memo to play great. We need AK to play great. We need Matt to play great. We need Paul, we need Gira, we need D-Fish. We need everybody else to get on the same page as me and Willie and we have to be on the same page defensively."

  • Everyone say hello to Zion Malachi Airamis Wade.

  • Steve Luhm of the Salt Lake Tribune: "Manu Ginobili is one of the league's 10 most valuable players. The fact he didn't win the Sixth Man Award over Phoenix's Leandro Barbosa is more outrageous than Sam Mitchell being named Coach of the Year over Jeff Van Gundy, Sloan, or Gregg Popovich, who I had 1-2-3 on my ballot."

  • An economist has bad news for New Orleans sports fans.

  • Some have expressed alarm that when 74-year-old Jerry Buss was arrested under suspicion of driving under the influence he was with a 23-year-old woman. "What was he doing with a 23-year-old woman?" I have be
    en asked. (Longtime Laker fans did not wonder at all, by the way.) The answer comes from Roland Lazenby's book "The Show:" "He fancied himself a playboy and took great delight in dating beautiful young women. Although he usually dated them only once or twice each, he liked to keep their pictures in photo albums, which he proudly showed to visitors and friends." Which makes the real question, to my way of thinking: "what is a 23-year-old woman doing with 74-year-old trophy collecting Jerry Buss?"

  • UPDATE: When I was watching Dallas get no baskets around the hoop against Golden State I thought to myself: this team could use Zach Randolph off the bench. No, thanks, say the Mavericks. I get all their points -- but there's no denying Dallas needs somebody to bash their way to easy buckets in the lane, and there aren't too many guys available who can do that.

  • UPDATE: In (PG-13) defense of Mike Brown.