Monday Bullets

  • Henry Abbott moonlighting as a book critic for the New York Times. He examines two basketball books by talented authors: one that goes to great length to drag a legendary player down, and another that goes a similar distance to present a near-mythic vision of the 1970 Knicks.

  • During the offseason I heard plenty of complaining from fans who feel like NBA player movement has ruined the sense of continuity and community necessary to make caring about professional basketball seem important. Well I hope those people saw the NBA’s heart-melting homage to legends past and present that preceded yesterday’s Knicks-Celtics game. Rob Mahoney delves into why this video taps into a nostalgic connection to the NBA. It’s not just the iconic players featured, but that “the designations of past and present become irrelevant; this game is shown as the endless stream that it is, where players and stories merge but never fade.”

  • “Lion Face: Grrr! Lemon Face: Ooooh!” Happy Boxing Day, James Herbert.

  • Being a Clipper fan used to mean something. Now it’s just like rooting for the Lakers.

  • Kings rookie Isaiah Thomas watched his hometown Sonics leave the Seattle area. Now Thomas plays for a team that narrowly escaped relocation to Anaheim. If it were up to him, the Kings would remain in small-town Sacramento forever. Related: this Kings team is going to be a fascinating mix of exhilarating and terrible.

  • If the Raptors are to be anything other than awful, beating the lowly Cavaliers is a good place to start.

  • Should New York fans be worried that Baron Davis doesn’t run the pick-and-roll all that well? My thought: Davis could be deadly if he is healthy and commits to being a slasher off ball-reversals when the offense flows through Carmelo Anthony. That whole “if Baron Davis is healthy” thing worries me more than whether he can help the Knicks when he’s on the court.

  • The Magic lost to the Thunder because Orlando doesn’t have enough good players. I suspect that will be an ongoing theme for the Thunder this year.

  • Devin Kharpertian of Nets Are Scorching thinks the Nets will makes the playoffs. Will an eight seed keep Deron Williams in town?

  • A new season means new faces in new places. It also means old faces in new spaces on the court. Zach Lowe takes a look at how preeminent pick-and-roll big man Amare Stoudemire’s role in New York is changing.

  • Kevin Garnett missed a game-tying jumper then went after Bill Walker. Germane to whether the league hands down a suspension: does KG’s inability to get ahold of Walker and the fact Brandon Bass intervened matter more than Garnett's intent? Judging by how the fighting rules are written and have been enforced in the past, the goal seems to be to punish the intent, not the result. Just ask Phoenix fans.

  • NBA players make it look easy. Proof? Watch this ref “throw” a behind-the-back pass.

  • There’s reason for optimism in Minnesota and Zach Harper is fired up: “For us Wolves fans, hope is a Spanish harbinger of fortune. Hope is a fitter version of the historic, scoring glass-cleaner that helped make our team less of a punchline and more of appointment viewing last season. Hope is a new outside assassin, also capable of obliterating your impeding hand if you dare try to keep us from a highlight. Hope is a pair of Serbian centers, able-bodied enough to be the difference inside for us but still needing to figure out how to do so mentally. Hope is a contradiction of maturity with the glimmer of greatness we’re dying to see shine through.”

  • Despite losing the Knicks for the first time in Hayes Davenport doesn’t want Celtics fans to worry. His recap includes lots of awesome video and high praise for one Brandon Bass, who needs a better nickname than “Bassmaster.”

  • What NBA teams do during practice.