Chris Palmer breaks down why Carmelo Anthony (and not Kobe Bryant) has been so good in the Olympics (Insider): "Saying Kobe Bryant is a brilliant scorer isn't news. But in the fast-paced FIBA game, he takes eons to get his shot off. Many of Bryant's shots come on isolations in which the floor is lopsided with four players standing on the opposite side. If Bryant's initial move doesn't work, the U.S. is looking at a wasted possession. The approach works for the Lakers' offense, but not on Team USA with its awesome firepower and emphasis on teamwork. Anthony, on the other hand, has been far more direct and decisive with the ball than Bryant. With a clearly defined scorer's role, Anthony has done an excellent job of picking his spots and letting others create for him. He's getting clean looks off kickouts and ball reversals and racking up huge numbers by simply hitting open shots without so much as a dribble."
The Orange County Register's Kevin Ding sympathizes with Andrew Bynum, who has good reason to question the Lakers' commitment to him: "Put yourself in his size 18s, and remember trudging out there with the new knee brace in winning the Lakers’ 2009 championship against Howard and fighting through a surgery-requiring knee injury in winning the Lakers’ 2010 championship over Boston. Imagine reveling in your breakthrough season and then feeling unwanted despite your 30 rebounds in San Antonio in the Lakers’ best regular-season victory and unappreciated despite your 10-block triple-double against Denver in the Lakers’ best playoff victory. It’s not hard to feel the frown begin and the head start to shake."
One Clipper fan is feeling the love from childhood hero Ron Harper.
He hasn't received a ton of recognition, but Chris Paul has been vital on both sides of the ball for Team USA. Though he's mostly posted understated stat lines, his two-way play has been excellent. The Americans' half-court offense has looked sharpest when Paul is pulling the strings in high pick-and-rolls, and his ball pressure has disrupted opposing offenses and allowed his rangy teammates to get in the passing lanes. Paul is a control freak, so it's probably not easy for him to relinquish his role as the primary creator, but it speaks to his basketball smarts that he knows when to float to the wing and hit a 3, and when to take control of the offense.
France's Nicolas Batum winds up and blasts Juan Carlos Navarro in the groin with a closed fist. After the game, Batum told Adrian Wojnarowski, "I wanted to give him a good reason to flop." That's not exactly what HoopIdea had in mind when we asked for recommendations on how to prevent flopping.
Who will root for the Brooklyn Nets? Professor and author Michael Shapiro, for one: "'The greatest gift for the Brooklyn Nets is the fact that James Dolan owns the Knicks,' Shapiro said. 'I don’t live in Brooklyn anymore. I live in Manhattan. But I really want to root for the Nets. After (Dolan) let Lin go, I called my son and he said to me, ‘Fine. Brooklyn. I get it dad.'"
On CelticsBlog, Jeff Green talks with Josh Zavadil about his long recovery from heart surgery: "'The surgery itself was probably the hardest thing I've ever been through in my life. I had to start from, basically, double scratch. Walking was an issue -- just being able to have the stamina was a problem. Everything just kind of shuts down. The nervous system breaks down, and it's kinda like a jump-start. You have to get it going, and it was just difficult. You take for granted all of the little things -- whether it's just an easy crunch or ab exercise, or moving to the left or moving to the right. I couldn't lay on my stomach for the first two-and-a-half months. I couldn't lay on my side. The first couple of weeks I couldn't drive. I couldn't do a lot of things, but it helps you appreciate the little things.'"
An ambivalent reaction to Trail Blazers' decision to hire Dallas assistant Terry Stotts as head coach.
Luol Deng says he doesn't expect to have surgery on the injured ligaments in his left, in part because he felt so good during the Olympics.
As a kid in Seat Pleasant, Maryland, Kevin Durant would sprint up this hill as part of his self-motivated training regiment.