On Land O' Lakers, Brian Kamenetzky learns interesting stuff about Pau Gasol's mindset: "'I’m reading books about the Zen philosophy and mindset. Zen’s Mind, Beginner’s Mind,' Gasol said. After Sunday’s loss, I asked Pau what motivated him to start exploring Zen in more depth (keeping in mind he used to have a coach into that sort of thing). 'Well, just by reading other books about leadership and self-organization and to have a happy and fulfilled life,' he said. 'All of them pretty much mentioned meditation, self-awareness, live in the present, keeping your mind calm, and emptying your mind.' The last couple years have been tough for him, I noted. 'True,' he replied. And the study, he believes, has been beneficial. 'It’s helped me,' Gasol said. 'It’s helped me, reading these books I think has helped me deal with a lot of stuff that I’ve been through.'" (Pau's Zen mind could come in handy while reading this, in which he is lampooned for failing to play adequate defense against Bill Murray.)
The flashiest game in the NBA is from the suburbs. Is that a problem?
There is no such thing as a game-winning shot. There is no such thing as crunch time. There is also no Santa Claus. All three are totally true and totally untrue, and I'm okay with that.
Larry Sanders' blocks, the website.
Cole Patty of Hickory High breaks down video of Bradley Beal. Conclusion: "The way Beal moves should be considered one of the finest illusions in the entire NBA."
Jovan Buha of ClipperBlog on the Clippers sweeping the Lakers: "Make no mistake: this is no moral victory. It’s a real victory, in every sense. The Clippers won the division on their own; nothing was handed to them. They kicked the Lakers’ butts four times spread throughout the season. They deserve all the credit, respect and praise that should be coming their way. For the first time Sunday afternoon, it felt as if there were almost as many Clipper fans as Laker fans at Staples Center. Laker fans have traditionally dominated the crowd in the match-ups, even at Clipper home games, but that’s changing. You could hear Clipper fans booing and fighting back whenever Laker fans would cheer, and there a was a level of off-the-court animosity unbeknownst to the rivalry. L.A. may never be a Clipper town, or even open to the idea, but if the Clippers keep winning, enough fans will flop sides. It happened at the inception of Lob City, and it can happen again. No one loves a winner quite like Los Angeles. The key, of course, is to win."
Be honest: How'd your NCAA bracket turn out?
George Karl, Erik Spoelstra, Gregg Popovich, Mike Woodson ... let's talk about coach of the year.
In New York this Thursday, a reading from We'll Always Have Linsanity: Strange Takes on the Strangest Season in Knicks History, which I'm super-excited to read.
At times a bit PG-13, but thoroughly entertaining. Larry Bird cartoons by an American professional basketball player working Down Under.
On Hardwood Paroxysm, Alex Wong imagines a different DeMarcus Cousins: "On slower days, he’ll take a larger binder out of the bottom drawer of his desk, and comb through them in detail. He uses a yellow post-it to mark where he last finished. They are the fine print of the company’s travel policy. He wants to suggest changes at the next annual summit meeting with the executives."
Happy Birthday, 48 Minutes of Hell.
With the season almost over, Blazer scrub Will Barton busted out career highs in almost everything. Danny Nowell of Portland Roundball Society: "It’s a funny idea, that NBA players should shock us by being effective. It’s as if fans imagine a practice wherein the starters win every scrimmage they play 80-0. Fans, I think, and certainly I myself fall into a trap: we think of 'quality' as either a duality or a simple sliding scale. A player is 'good' or 'bad;' a starter is an '8' while his backup is a '4'. Even where we introduce some subjectivity into the idea of player comparison—the numerical scale—we tend to treat player quality as a fixed role rather than a set of attributes unique to individual players. Really, games like the one Will just had are windows into the players’ experience, a night where we see what they do every day. In practice, Barton doesn’t sit on the bench and think about defensive responsibility, he cuts to the rim for lobs from Eric Maynor. How odd it must be, to be a player with such a dynamic style that you work on most days behind closed doors while fans on the other side talk about your ability in the future tense. Let me make an analogy a little closer to my own experience: being Will Barton would be like writing every day, and storing my writing away where no one would see it. My improvements, my present qualities, none of them would get seen. Every NBA scrub, then, is a basketball Kafka."
The Magic are bad. But Jacque Vaughn has some coaching moves.