Friday Bullets

  • I suppose I should have known this, but in Tony Mejia's talk with Joe Dumars on Pro Basketball News, I learned that Dumars and Allen Iverson have in fact played against each other in the NBA.

  • Among those hiding from terrorists in a Mumbai hotel a few days ago was a friend of Ray Allen's.

  • Remember the idea yesterday, from Phil Jackson, that it's hard for a West-based team to dominate, because of travel schedules? TrueHoop reader Andrew (he has a blog) writes: "That idea's been floated several times in other sports, but this is the first I've heard of it in basketball. Your ESPN colleague Gregg Easterbrook noted this week that West Coast (Pacific Time) NFL teams are 1-17 in this season in games played in the Eastern Time Zone. I'm from Vancouver originally and the time zone and travel schedules have always a frequent subject of discussion there in multiple sports. On the sleep expert front, new Vancouver Canucks (NHL) GM Mike Gillis has been trying new measures to deal with his team's travel this year, including military sleep experts and biorhythm bracelets that monitor how the players sleep. It was then revealed later that the data collected caused the team to adjust their flight and practice schedules accordingly to better fit the players' sleep schedules. I wonder if this is something any of the West Coast NBA teams would look into."

  • David Berri's numbers don't expect the Raptors to get much better with a change of coach.

  • Link #698 in a TrueHoop series of 5,987,876 in praise of Brandon Roy.

  • General managers on whether they'd rather have Greg Oden or Derrick Rose.

  • Healthy Rodney Rogers, in video highlights.

  • As the Celtics prepare to host the Blazers tonight, Channing Frye tells the Oregonian's Jason Quick what last year's meeting was like: "'The Celtics, they irritate everybody,' Blazers power forward Channing Frye said. 'At the same time, they are the best. They won a championship last year. We want to be the best. And the way they beat us -- we took a lot of things from those games and put them into our own play. Their help-side defense, their intensity, their enthusiasm for each other, and their ability to have three superstars play together ... those are all things we are now trying to do.' Tonight's first matchup has some similarities to last season's first meeting. At that time, on Jan. 16, Boston was an NBA-best 30-6, while the Blazers had won 18 of their past 20 games. In that game, the Blazers held a nine-point lead in the second quarter, a two-point halftime lead and a seven-point lead in the third quarter before losing 100-90. In the second meeting, Feb. 24 at the Rose Garden, the Blazers built a 17-point lead in the second quarter only to see it turn into a 19-point deficit that ended in a 112-102 loss. 'It was like being at a club and being with baddest chick in there,' Frye said. 'Then you turn your head and she's gone. It's like, 'Dang, I should have had that! I should have done this or done that.' Because we had them. But I think everybody feels that way. That's why they are the world champs.'"

  • The accusation, from Clipper coach Mike Dunleavy, that Dwyane Wade routinely gets away with palming the ball.

  • Neil Payne of Basketball-Reference doesn't like to see people ranking Isiah Thomas ahead of John Stockton on the all-time list of great point guards: "The only facets of the game where Isiah was superior to Stockton were his shot-creating ability (Thomas did take on 26.5% of Detroit's possessions while on the court) and his rebounding (Thomas' 5.3 career rebound rate is marginally better than Stockton's 5.0), but in every other area -- TS%, assist ratio, steal rate, etc. -- Stockton kills Isiah in terms of regular-season numbers. Oh, but what about the playoffs? After all, that's where Isiah really made his money (and Stockton always failed)& right? Um, not quite. Stockton had 21.2 career playoff Win Shares; Thomas had 12.2. Stockton's career playoff WS/3K rate: 9.94; Thomas' rate: 8.68. Turns out that in the playoffs, it's the same story as above: Isiah is superior in shot-creation and rebounding, but fails to outpace Stockton on the shooting, passing, and defensive fronts. So why do people almost universally consider Thomas to be better than Stockton when they give their all-time point guard rankings? Stockton was more durable, more consistent, a better pure PG, more productive (both cumulatively and on a per-minute basis), and was even better in the playoffs, where Stock played a remarkable 182 career games. It is true that the Jazz never won an NBA crown with Stockton at the helm. It is also true that Isiah led Detroit to 2 rings. But hey, Robert Horry has 7 career rings, and no one is suggesting he's better than Karl Malone. In other words, in light of the overwhelming evidence I've laid out above, isn't it about time we reconsider the Stockton-Thomas debate?"

  • Jason Maxiell has that "I Kissed a Girl" song in his ipod.

  • A press releaes from PETA about a topless NBA scout: "While the economic downturn has caused many to lose their shirts, former Dallas Cowboys cheerleader Bonnie-Jill Laflin has lost all her clothes in a racy new PETA ad designed to help people avoid bankrupting their health. Lying nude on top of a desk in front of two panicky Wall Street traders, Laflin urges them to 'bank on your health: Go vegetarian!' The ad -- which is slated to debut next week in New York City's financial district -- goes on to advise, 'From heart disease to impotence, from obesity to diabetes, eating meat could bankrupt your body. Whatever else you may lose, save your health.' Adds Laflin, who now is the only female NBA scout and works for the Lakers, 'These are uncertain times, to say the least, but one thing that everyone can be sure of is that by kicking the meat habit and going vegetarian, they're doing the best thing that they can for their health -- and for animals and the environment.'"

  • Do more Americans attend professional sporting events, or museums? I'll give you a clue: It's not close.

  • I wish I knew how to make charts. Tom Zil
    ler of Sactown Royalty has a nice chart
    of a very important stat -- the team's point margin vs. opponents -- through the years. The takeaway: These Kings are really bad. But if they get healthy that could all change.

  • Now online: Ron Artest's new reality show.

  • Corey Maggette is doing what he has always done. Do not be alarmed.

  • A breakdown of NBA TV ratings by market.

  • Zydrunas Ilgauskas is about to set the Cavaliers' all-time rebounding record. Mary Schmitt-Boyer of the Cleveland Plain-Dealer talks to lots of people, including his agent, Herb Rudoy: "'Knowing the great difficulties he's had, I never in my wildest dreams could have imagined he could reach this pinnacle in his career,' Rudoy said. 'I am so emotional about this because 1) he's an absolutely fine person; 2) he's an absolutely fine person and 3) he's an absolutely fine person.'"

  • Last night Nene missed a mid-range jumper, but then plowed through three Spurs to grab the offensive rebound, and he then scored. I had a strong visceral reaction, watching. Like "that's a big-time play." His toughness in getting that board meant something. It's an ingredient of title teams. But then again ... if he makes the first jumper, or indeed passes it to someone who has a better shot, the short-term outcome for the Nuggets is identical, or even better if they get a 3, or someone gets fouled. So, I can't decide. Does this play make you think Nene is more valuable than somebody who would have hit the first shot? Are we falling in love with the meaningless sideshow of his toughness getting a rebound that never needed to be a missed shot? Come forth, smart people, and discuss.

  • UPDATE: Larry Bird's birthday + Christmas coming soon = "Birdmas."

  • UPDATE: Speaking of cool charts, a visual look at owner and fan return on investment.