Friday Bullets

  • My neighbors have an unusual name for their dog. They call it ... "dog." J.R. Smith's friends used that same kind of imagination in coming up with the nickname "Youngrich." Why do they call him that? Chris Tomasson of the Rocky Mountain News explains: "'Because I'm young and I'm rich,' the New Jersey native said. 'My homeboys gave it to me.' Actually, Smith, 22, is not rich by NBA standards. He makes $2.13 million, less than half the league's average salary. But he is trying to cash after the season as a restricted free agent. He turned down a Nuggets contract offer last month because it wasn't lucrative enough. But Smith can continue to think about money. On a segment called 'This or That,' recently shown on the video board at a Nuggets home game, he was asked if he preferred 'love' or 'money.' Smith's answer was 'money.' 'Because love can hurt you,' he said. 'Money never hurts you.'" There's some philosophy professor out there dying to give Smith a lecture. I can just feel it.

  • Smush Parker's arrival in Miami has already been panned, and now he's away from the team as the legal process resulting from a "tussle with a valet" runs its course.

  • Isiah Thomas on New York's catastophe at the hands of the Celtics, as reported by Marc Spears of the Boston Globe: "We're not ready for prime time yet." In The New York Times, Howard Beck reports Thomas saying: "I thought every single player was thinking about himself, as opposed to thinking about the team." Knickerblogger has an etch-a-sketch memo to the team.

  • Phil Jackson signs a two-year contract extension with the Lakers, and says that Kobe Bryant trade talks are non-existent. Mike Bresnahan of the Los Angeles Times reports: "'Since the season started ... there's not been one iota of trade talk going on' Jackson said. 'It went up to a certain point and then the door closed and we've been going forward since that time.'"

  • Remember the off-season of discontent? Marion, Kirilenko, Bryant ... Is that all done now?

  • The Bucks want Yi Jianlian to attack the basket hard when defenders run at him to disrupt his jumpshot. When he learns that trick, he'll start starring in what will likely be some of the most viewed highlights in NBA history.

  • The Warriors are one of the scariest 8-7 teams ever.

  • Bulls fans wrestle with the news from ESPN's John Hollinger that the numbers says all the Bulls are mediocre.

  • Pistons.com asks ESPN's Chad Ford why he thinks Detroit will win it all. His response: "I've actually been picking them for the past two years and they've disappointed me in the playoffs after strong starts to the season. I just feel like they know that the clock is ticking. The talent is there. And this year I felt that their depth was better than in the past three years." (Via Detroit Bad Boys)

  • The Pacers are giving away a whole bunch of stuff, like trips on the team plane, to get people to buy tickets to Pacer games.

  • Medical procedures reported for Ron Artest's daughter.

  • Joey from StraightBangin': "I didn't invest heavily in the idea that Cleveland's [2007 playoff] run had heralded an arrival. This season has. We are, in fact, all witnesses. The long-anticipated and -desired James Journey to Jordanland has commenced. Having grown up in an era when Michael first was expected to break through and then, subsequently, was expected to reign over the league, I remember individual Bulls games because even a regular-season match up could be an event. But I also remember the general sense that whatever happened on a given night would surely result in a Chicago triumph. The particulars weren't even all that important: Michael would do something in the course of ensuring victory. For someone whose NBA superlatives were calibrated by Michael, it has been odd to again experience that sort of knowing. I know that LeBron is gonna do something."