Friday Bullets

June, 8, 2012
6/08/12
2:31
PM ET
By Beckley Mason and Henry Abbott
ESPN.com
  • Brian Robb of Celtics Hub on the "Let's go Celtics" chant at the end of Game 6: "At first, I took it simply as a smart and supportive gesture. Instead of showering your team with boos as they head into the series-deciding Game 7, why not give them some encouragement before they take off for South Beach in the winner-take-all affair. The chanting did not fade however. Both ends of the Garden went back and forth with it. Through a myriad of foul calls, free throws and an endless final three minutes of regulation, the refrain continued from the Garden. It would neither fade or die out. Instead, it only gained steam. This wasn’t just an impromptu pep rally. It was more than that. It was a message. Right as the chanting continued for about a minute, it hit me. Not only was this encouragement from the Garden faithful, this was a realization. Maybe just maybe, this would be the last time Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen wear a Celtic uniform on the Garden floor. Uncertainty surround both men as they head into the offseason. Both are free agents, and it’s unclear if Garnett will play again beyond this year. Everyone knows the deal with both guys."
  • John Hollinger (Insider) doesn't expect a repeat performance from LeBron James in Game 7: "Boston defended him more or less perfectly and he scored 45 points on 26 shots. I don't know how you 'make adjustments' for that. Fortunately for the Celtics, it's extremely unlikely that he'll keep making them. Those are incredibly difficult shots for a player who, despite his many other talents, is not a notably accurate jump shooter. James had made only six shots outside the restricted area in the previous two games, notes NBA.com's John Schuhmann -- in Game 6 he made 15, the most of his career. Career highs, by definition, aren't sustainable. And Miami's offense, as it tends to do, degenerated into a lot of stand-around hero ball that finished with LeBron bailing them out at the end."
  • LeBron's epic Game 6 wasn't even a top 5 playoff performance, but it was easily his best in an elimination game.
  • Dorell Wright is pretty good at h-o-r-s-e.
  • LeBron's focus was pure in Game 6. As Heat Index's Michael Wallace reports he'd been wearing that look of unwavering determination for a while: "'Y'all see that look he had on his face tonight?' Heat guard Mario Chalmers told a group of reporters after the game. 'He had that look on his face since last night at dinner. We knew he was going to come out ready to play. That's why he's the MVP. I call it his ugly look.'"
  • To that point, Grantland's Rembert Browne on LeBron James' reaction to having a drink tossed on him as he left Game 6: "After LeBron's potentially Decision-saving performance Thursday night, he walked off the court and, as he hit the tunnel, he looked up and smiled at something up in the stands. Heat fan? Celtics fan? Who knows? But his smile shows a level of postgame relaxation that isn't normal for King James. And then, a second after the smile, a fan throws a drink on him. (Everyone keeps saying it's a beer, but do we know that? Are we just assuming it was a S'Madms because it was Boston, when it really could have been what was left of an Icee?) Anyway, after getting something liquid thrown on him, he turns around, acknowledges the situation, and then faces forward and keeps walking, doing this shoulder shrug move very reminiscent of a boxer walking toward the ring. He wasn't outwardly phased one bit. It's hard not to react when something that disrespectful happens to you, which suggests that he's scary-focused right now. I feel as if I could have jumped into the tunnel, yanked his beard, and proceeded to say something about Mama 'Bron, and he would have simply Zimmered me and kept it moving."
  • Research shows a key quality in learning and improving is believing that your intelligence, or skill level, is not fixed. If you believe you can get better at things, you're much more likely to -- therefore the enemy is thinking that your intelligence, or talent level, is a fixed, static thing. But as Andreas Kappes writes on 2byFive, elite basketball players often get the message their talent is fixed: "When your child comes home and tells you about a successful math test, how do you respond? You could tell her that you are proud of her for being so intelligent, that she has a knack for math, or that she has inherited the talent from your grandfather – he was a math person too. The message that your daughter picks up is that her success was due to her math talent, sowing the seed for a fixed view. Or, you might simply praise her for the effort she put in preparing for the math test. The message your daughter receives is that success follows effort, which is the core of the malleable view of talent. So, what do parents, peers, coaches, or the media tell future all-stars about why they succeed? Too often, these kids are told they are super-talented, they have game, they are special. Most likely, players come to view this talent as a fixed quality too, which then guides the way they approach practice or difficulties."
  • People root against LeBron James like people root against Facebook.
  • Brandon Doolite (Insider) speculates on how the Spurs can rebound, but doubts they will do anything drastic in the offseason: "More than ever, the league seems to be about putting yourself into position to win a title, then hope the clutch shots, officiating calls, injuries and matchups fall in your favor. It's not exactly fair to say the league has parity -- the chasm between the league's top and bottom has never seemed greater, in fact. But among the elite, there is a certain egalitarian sense. The top of the league isn't a perch, it's a mesa. On it reside a handful of teams, any of which could win a title in a given year under the right circumstances. [...] Make no mistake: The Spurs' championship window is still open."
  • A trailer for Kevin Durant's upcoming movie, which will prove that becoming a great basketball player isn't about hard work, talent and dedication, it's about magically stealing someone's talent.
  • Safe prediction: if Dwyane Wade stays this low in David Thorpe's Postseason MVP rankings (Insider), the Heat are in trouble.
  • The Pistons are eager to have 2011 draft pick Kyle Singler, who performed well in Spain this year, back in the States.
Beckley Mason is an NBA contributor for ESPN.com.

Henry Abbott | email

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