Al Horford played 41 minutes in just his second game since returning from shoulder surgery. In that time he grabbed 11 rebounds, made a game-saving defensive play on Rajon Rondo and, according to John Hollinger, really lubricated the sputtering Hawks offense: "The telltale sign: Open corner 3-pointers. They'd been as rare as chowder in these parts, but Atlanta got several Tuesday night and converted 7-of-16 from distance. Marvin Williams, instated as a starter to guard Boston's Paul Pierce, made three of them, tripling his total from the first four games."
I love this: The Nuggets are using a laptop in the huddle at the end of games to help predict what plays the Lakers might run. Don't be surprised if in a few years, each assistant has a iPad-like tablet, instead of a clipboard, in hand.
Kobe Bryant's sweaty, game-worn mask garnered $67,100 in a charity auction.
Kevin Durant's top 10 plays, which remind you that he's a very under-appreciated dunker.
It turns out the Dream Team did lose a game -- to a squad of collegiate players lead by Bobby Hurley and Chris Webber. That footage will be a part of a Dream Team documentary coming to NBA TV.
The Celtics are still up 3-2 against the Hawks, but Brian Robb of Celtics Hub is worried about Paul Pierce. The hobbled vet didn't attempt a single free throw in Game 5.
No reason for Jeremy Lin to play if that knee isn't 100 percent.
This story (Insider) is about LeBron James's historic season and how it compares to Michael Jordan's best years. But I can't help noticing this other bit: The numbers say no great player turned it up in the playoffs like Hakeem Olajuwon.
The Bulls needed some bailout shooting from Luol Deng to survive Game 5. On By the Horns, Matt McHale isn't exactly thrilled: "Deng’s threes were also a red flag. The Bulls needed all three of them in the fourth quarter. Lu repeatedly beating the buzzer with contested threes isn’t something the team can count on consistently, especially not on the road in Philadelphia on Thursday. When Philly’s defense turns up the pressure in the fourth quarter, the Bulls cannot seem to generate good looks. Or even average looks. You can check out the shot chart. Philly’s D is either forcing long jumpers or intimidating the Bulls at the rim. In the fourth quarter last night, Chicago went 1-for-6 in the paint."
The Lakers want to exploit their advantage in the post, but the Nuggets are making it awfully crowded down on the low block. Forum Blue and Gold's Darius Soriano has sage advice: "The Lakers need to move the ball more, cut and screen more, and then look for quick duck ins from their big men where they can catch the ball on the move or sliding into position where they’re more of a threat to score. By incorporating more ball and player movement before post entries are made, it should also afford the Lakers that extra beat of time they need to make a quick move to try and get a basket. Cross screens can also be utilized both in “horns” actions and in more simple sets that don’t involve the double high post look to begin a possession."
Apparently, playing defense in the playoffs requires some blatant shoving.
Aaron McGuire, writing about the Spurs on 48 Minutes of Hell: "The Spurs have managed to win six games this season while shooting 40 percent or lower from the floor (meaning that we shot less than or equal to 40 percent in 11.1 percent of our wins). Last season, despite their insane record, the Spurs won only once while shooting that poorly from the floor. This isn’t a matter of luck. The Spurs’ defense this season has played significantly better than last season’s, and while they certainly had their periods of lesser performance akin to last season, the Spurs we’re watching in this year’s playoffs are currently playing better defense than anyone in the Western Conference."
Shawn Kemp (on stage!) will bring you some beef, but only if you'll have it with mustard.
If it was his last game with the Magic, Jameer Nelson went out with a bang.
It's not your fault if you don't know how good the Indiana Pacers are. Jonathan Auping writes on 8 Points 9 Seconds: "The Indiana Pacers played a grand total of one game on national television this season. (Side note: I do not consider NBA TV to qualify as national TV. I am talking about games played on ABC, ESPN or TNT. There’s something about having either Kenny and Charles or Magic and Wilbon talking about your first-half performance that feels like validation). The only chance that the country had to watch the Pacers was a 111-94 win over the Philadelphia 76ers on ESPN back on March 14. The Charlotte Bobcats had exactly as many nationally televised games as the Pacers."