Wednesday Bullets

December, 19, 2012
12/19/12
3:27
PM ET
Abbott By Henry Abbott
ESPN.com
Archive
  • Avery Johnson feeling the pressure?
  • The Warriors defense is vastly improved, but makes guards do a lot of work -- which makes things that much harder for Stephen Curry who is leading all point guards in minutes played.
  • John Hollinger on working with an old-school coach like Lionel Hollins as told to Gary Parrish on ESPN radio in Memphis and transcribed by Sports Radio Interviews: "People will always want to make the straw man argument that you’re trying to replace the previous knowledge. That’s not the case; you’re trying to add to it. If I can add things to what they already know, then that becomes really helpful. I think the biggest thing is, you have to kind of build the relationship and build the trust and kind of start with things that are more easily grasped and then try to move on from there. I’m definitely going to be available to help them as much as I can, and we’ll just see how it goes from there. He’s had plenty of success without me, but at the same time, I think there are probably ways that I could potentially help him, and once we start really working with each other, we can figure out where that balance is."
  • Late-game timeout, big-time stomach virus.
  • Time for Maverick fans to lose themselves in despair?
  • Benjamin Polk of A Wolf Among Wolves: "LeBron James seems to spend entire quarters of basketball simply haunting the game’s periphery. He fades into the mesh of his team, defers to his teammates, takes only the opportunities that present themselves. But he doesn’t disappear, as some have claimed; he looms like some awful force rising in the distance. When you play the Heat, there’s always the possibility, as both Boston and Oklahoma City discovered last spring, of LBJ stepping out of the shadows and crushing you where you stand. It gets worse. It turns out that even when LeBron seems to be peripheral–as in the first half of tonight’s game, when Dwyane Wade spun and sliced his way to 18 points on 12 shots–he is still exerting subtle control over the game’s narrative. There are only a few moments of LeBron’s performance against the Wolves that really stand out–hitting that string of third quarter threes or finishing that nasty half-court alley-oop from Ray Allen. And yet: 22 points; 11 assists; seven tough boards; four blocks. Yes, this is the best basketball player in the world."
  • SI.com's Todd Jones digs into the mind of Cavs owner Dan Gilbert, and gets into Gilbert's current thinking about LeBron James: "'Look, there was no friction between he and I,' Gilbert says. 'We always got along. There were never words. There was nothing bad, there really wasn't. Even he said in his comments it's not personal. I always sort of liked him. Is it personal or not? Only because I feel personally connected to Cleveland and Detroit. I know it wasn't personal. His decision wasn't about a personal feeling about Dan Gilbert. But it just became so personal because there are those of us who believe in Cleveland and Detroit. That's where it was personal.' James is validated. He finally has the championship long expected of him. He was magnificent in the playoffs, putting up numbers few had ever compiled, becoming a finisher instead of bejeweled assistant. He got what he wanted most in Miami, with Akron's 330 area code tattooed on his right forearm. Has he really left northeast Ohio for good? Deep down, does home mean the same to him as Gilbert? James recently told Oprah Winfrey that Gilbert's letter was 'hurtful,' but he hinted during the season about someday returning to play for the Cavaliers again. Would the man who runs open companies be open to the idea? 'Dan would take him back,' [Quicken Loans vice president David Carroll, who has known Gilbert since they were both four] says. 'Dan is not going to go out of his way to recruit him. Who knows? Dan likes cool stories and happy endings. It could be a good thing for both of them, bring some closure. I think it would be great. Wouldn't that be pretty cool?'"
  • Dani Socher of Cavs: The Blog would like Kyrie Irving to play the same number of minutes, but different ones: "Byron Scott’s rotations continue to amaze and befuddle me. Mostly, his insistence on keeping Kyrie out of the first five or so minutes of the 4th quarter, no matter the game situation. I’m not going to advocate for playing our point guard 45 minutes a game, but there are ways to stagger the minutes of our best player so that he’s in when we need him. Recently a recurring phenomenon has cropped up. It’s a close game into the 4th, Kyrie isn’t out there, the Cavs go down by 12, and we rely on Kyrie heroics. It just simply is not a winning formula."
  • Something's finally going right with the Raptors.
  • About once a game, Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant connect on a lovely back-cut lob. Here's how it works.
  • You live by the Kobe you die by the Kobe in crunch time. On this night, it worked very well.

Henry Abbott | email

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