May, 7, 2012
By Beckley Mason and Henry Abbott
- Pop quiz: Which NBA team had the best offense in the NBA this season, by a healthy margin? Answer. John Hollinger is a little salty (Insider) about how the Spurs have been ignored: "Don't let San Antonio's 27-3 mark in its past 30 games with the Big Three and near-certain home-court advantage for every remaining series distract you. And by all means, feel free to ignore the fact the Spurs are 19-1 on the road in their past 20 games the Big Three have played. After three methodical beatdowns of Utah, including one of the sweetest last-second plays you'll ever see to get a Matt Bonner 3 at the end of the first half of Game 3, the scary thought is that San Antonio's defense is catching up to its offense. The thought entering this series was that Utah's bruising post game was the perfect attack to face San Antonio, especially after Zach Randolph beat them up in the playoffs last spring. Instead, a spry-looking Tim Duncan has completely bottled up Al Jefferson, Boris Diaw has provided a much-needed post defender at the 4 and the Spurs are fourth in playoff defensive efficiency -- a mark that would be even better were it not for the copious amounts of garbage time in the first three games. So keep ignoring them. They'll just be quietly chuckling while they await their next overmatched opponent, standing 13 wins from one of the greatest closing kicks in league annals."
- People are all upset that Al Jefferson said the Spurs are fantastic, and better than the Jazz. I don't think people should ever get in trouble for telling the truth.
- It was suggested that Utah's "big" lineup, which features Derrick Favors, Paul Millsap and Al Jefferson, might give San Antonio trouble. But the Silver and Black Machine has sliced and diced every combination of Jazz players they've faced. Just like in the regular season, they've spread the floor, attacked the weakest link in the defense and drilled open 3s.
- Let's give some credit to Scott Brooks for this: he knows how to let James Harden do his thing.
- Why are ACLs so vulnerable? Turns out even NBA superstars can't overcome genetics.
- NBA tickets for one dollar. From a Bobcats press release: "Under the promotion, season tickets could be priced as low as $43 for an upper-level seat, with the cost per game equaling the draft pick the team receives in the lottery. For example, if the Bobcats get the No. 1 pick, the price would be $1 per game, or $43 for the season (41 regular season games and two preseason games). Even if the Bobcats receive the No. 4 pick, the $4-per-game cost would amount to $172 for the season. This is a price point that has not been available in the past, inviting customers who may not have been able to become Bobcats season ticket holders previously." NOTE: This promotion is over ... those super cheap seats are sold out.
- Don't look now, but Jrue Holiday is starting to cash in on his star potential.
- Nick Flynt with a two part breakdown of the Clippers defense that rarely broke down in Game 3.
- Among the many things the NBA should take pride in: Very few games interrupted by chickens. Although there was that Hawk incident.
- Carmelo Anthony hung most of his 41 points on the Heat when matched up against Shane Battier. Brian Windhorst wonders why Spoelstra didn't put LeBron James on Anthony down the stretch, and I'm wondering whether it's time to officially retire Battier's "Stopper" label.
- Not enough rebounds. Too many turnovers and long jump shots. The problems facing the Bulls are the same ones they usually pose to their opponents.
- The Celtics are banged up, especially on the wings.
- Nets Are Scorching blogger Devin Kharpertian got a familiar feeling watching James Harden slice through the Mavericks defense.
- It's almost certain that they won't come back and win the series, but that shouldn't stop New York fans from feeling good about the Knicks' thrilling Game 4 win.
- A lot of what happens on the court is a competition for some kind of swagger. All that working out, and running around, though ... and just eating some yogurt might have done the same thing.
- Be careful using something you see in one playoff game as insight into what will happen in the next playoff game. They're all different.
- Reggie Evans knows how to stop Marreese Speights from setting a good pick.
- A frame-by-frame look at Miami's airtight defense.
- The Pacers have had some odd lapses against the Magic. Jared Wade has some critical feedback, "Stan Van Gundy has been drawing up excellent out of bounds plays all series. This was one of them. But it really only worked because it was a quick-hitter to be executed against a defense that forgot the basic fundamentals of guarding a player you learn in second grade. Fortunately for Van Gundy, Paul George complied."