Phil Jackson has really impressed me by having the guts to really rest Kobe Bryant heading into many fourth quarters. What impressed me even more yesterday was that the Lakers outscored the Jazz during that rest yesterday. Ross Siler of the Salt Lake Tribune: "Bryant came out with 43.5 seconds left in the third and didn't return until the 8:46 mark of the fourth. The Jazz went into the fourth trailing 79-72, having battled back from 19 points down in the third. Again, they couldn't take advantage with Bryant out. The Jazz went 1-for-7 while Bryant was out at the start of the fourth. Kyle Korver missed two jumpers (he went 2 of 7 in the game) and Harpring made just 1 of 5 shots. That included a layup smothered by Turiaf. For the afternoon, the Jazz were outscored 15-11 when Bryant was out. I've seen Bryant go 46-plus minutes in games like Sunday's, taking advantage of the longer timeouts for national television to rest. He played 39:56 by comparison in Game 1. You have to wonder if the Jazz can't capitalize when Bryant's out of the game just how they expect to do so when he's on the court."
How many joker non-basketball players have declared for the NBA draft through the years. A zillion? But how many of those have websites as funny as this one, with the whole getting in the draft process explained in detail? (Check out his rebounding stats.)
Mike D'Antoni reportedly officially on the market. Steve Kerr is adamant that he will not be the next coach of the Suns -- saying he won't coach until his kids are out of school.
Ryan Schwan of Hornets247: "I keep seeing this thrown about in various articles about the game. 'Chris Paul was contained, somewhat,' or 'Chris Paul had an average game.' What part of 17 points, 13 assists, four rebounds (two offensive), four steals and only two turnovers is average, or contained? Those numbers mean he was responsible for (ED. NOTE: more accurately "had a hand in") 44 points in the game or about 43% of the Hornets total scoring. Kobe 'MVP' Bryant has been worth 41% of his teams scoring in the playoffs, and he's been 'destroying' his opponents. Paul was good for nine points, three steals, two assists, and two offensive rebounds in the fourth quarter as the Hornets out-executed the team known for executing people to death. This, of course, was with their best defender Bruce Bowen on him. Please, Spurs, keep containing him that way."
Houston fans: yes, losing sucks! But, points out a local writer, at least you're not in Seattle.
Did you know that Ronnie Brewer had more dunks this year than LeBron James? And James dunked a lot. I love Ronnie Brewer. (Via NetsDaily)
The unauthorized mini-biographies of the men who run the Denver Nuggets.
Zaza Pachulia's lookalike. I'd tell you who it is, but you wouldn't believe me. Just take a look.
Did you notice how Boston had doubled Atlanta's score deep in the third quarter? Shocking, huh? Even more shocking: they have done that twice previously this year just in their arena (to New York and Denver.)
Geeky grammar point of the day: You know how Vegas features the over/under? That is about points, things that you count (as opposed stuff like dirt or water, which exists in a big blob, unless you put it into something that you can count, like a "mud pie"). With stuff that you count, you are supposed to say "more than" and "less than." As in, I bet LeBron James will score "more than" 31 points against the Celtics. It would be sloppier than a mud pie to bet that LeBron James would score "over" 31 points. So, please, take to the streets, people of grammar! We need to start betting on the more than/less than, which is a terrible-sounding name. UPDATE: (Note to self: in the future, get on the grammar high horse with extreme trepidation.) Some have emailed to point out that "fewer than" would be better than "less than."
TrueHoop reader Tim, a Spurs fan, dares to question Gregg Popovich: "I'm nonplussed at Pop's rotation for the game -- namely, giving an inordinate number of minutes to the ghost of Robert Horry while (essentially) not playing Ime Udoka. Inexplicable. And stupid. For game 2, I'd like to see Bowen on Peja and Parker on Paul, come what may. I'm not sure if Popovich respects David West as much as he should, but West needs to more defensive looks, and more Udoka. Lots more Udoka."
The Wizards go home for the season, with a little more comedy (Gilbert Arenas, for instance, wondering if golf is still a sport) on the way out the door.
Thoughts from a basketball coach about how San Antonio might defend Chris Paul.
This is just bizarre. WNBA rookie orientation reportedly includes makeup and fashion tips?
Kurt from Forum Blue and Gold: "Utah does what it does physically every time down the court, and over the course of a game or a series they move the bar for what gets called. Eventually, the refs call fewer and fewer fouls. Rather than complain about it, the Lakers have to play through it, to play through the contact. Kobe does that better than anyone."
Will Erik Spoelstra be the first Heat coach to really place some trust in Dorrell Wright?
Wizznutzz: "Jesus Bron Bron, u call yourself KING, you aint even BILLIE JEAN KING!!!! because Billie Jean didnt cry when she was beaten by a backhand!!!!"
DraftExpress at the Euroleague Final Four says CSKA coach Ettore Messina -- long rumored to be a candidate for some NBA jobs -- will reportedly be staying in Moscow. David Blatt, however, who coached Andrei Kirilenko so brilliantly last summer, is still on the NBA radar.
UPDATE: WhereIStand mashes together the public comments of all kinds of people on various topics. Here you can see who has publicly backed Kobe Bryant, Kevin Garnett, Chris Paul, and LeBron James in the MVP race.