Tuesday Bullets

December, 16, 2008
12/16/08
1:28
PM ET
  • Mike D'Antoni says that he'll watch film at halftime, and if he sees that some call he yelled at the refs for was indeed a good call, he'll 'fess up when they're all back on the court. He tells Jonathan Abrams of The New York Times:  "I'll do it all the time. They've got to know I'm whacked out. Not because of them, but because of the situation. That I want my guys to play hard or feel the emotion."
  • Have you seen any coverage of the riots in Athens? A series of very intense photos. Who knows the degree to which this might affect every day life for Olympiacos players like Josh Childress.
  • There's a new book coming out by Mark Hyman (he has a blog) called "Until it Hurts." The idea is that parents are getting way too competitive, and are turning children's sports into something they should not be. A blurb, from NPR's Stefan Fatsis: "It took a son's sore arm for Mark Hyman to recognize a hard truth: We're destroying youth sports, and maybe not even producing better athletes in the process. Until It Hurts is a sobering manifesto that should be required reading for every parent, coach, administrator, and referee. Though my daughter's U-7 soccer team doesn't know it, I've already implemented its smart, sensible, and long-overdue advice."
  • Derrick Coleman would like you to know that not everyone who has an estate sale is hard up for cash.
  • The Kings get themselves a Jerry Sloan acolyte. Kenny Natt assisted Sloan for the better part of a decade. And the Sacramento Bee's Sam Amick on what went wrong with Reggie Theus: "In the locker room a sign put up by Theus read 'It's not about you.' The sarcastic retort among his critics, however, was that it was about him."
  • Pardon the PG-13 talk, and check the math, but it appears no team has ever come out of the gate, after winning a title, as well as this year's Celtics.
  • A TrueHoop reader makes the Freakonomics blog with talk of his online device that works with a DVR to keep you from having to sit through watching your team get blown out. It won't tell you who won, but it'll let you know in advance if the game was close or not. 
  • Scott Cacciola of the Memphis Commercial Appeal talks to Roland Beech of 82games about stats: "It would be unfair to blame the Grizzlies' early struggles on rookie forward Darrell Arthur, but Beech's analysis shows that Arthur has not been particularly effective. Beech tracks the overall performance of five-man units on each team, and the core group of Mayo, Mike Conley, Rudy Gay, Marc Gasol and Arthur ranks last in the league in that category, having been outscored by 96 points in 194 total minutes, which equates to 24 points in a 48-minute game. But replacing Arthur with Hakim Warrick in the same lineup seems to change everything. That group is actually outscoring opponents by 13 points in 92 total minutes together on the court. Along those lines, using Beech's formula, Arthur ranks as the second-least effective player on the roster, ahead of only the departed Javaris Crittenton, with a rating of -7.4. Warrick, meantime, ranks as the most effective player, with a rating of +1.9. It might not be a complete coincidence that Arthur's playing time has dwindled amid the team's current winning streak, down from 20.5 minutes per game to 11.5 over the past four games."
  • Sun Ming Ming, very large Japanese-league All-Star.
  • Golden State of Mind's Fantasy Junkie helps to operate a fan-driven Warriors website. He loves the Warriors. He was fired up when the team was knocking people around in big games. And this is what he writes now: "I've never left a game early until watching the team tonight. It was bad. Real bad. Disgustingly bad basketball. So bad it hurt my eyes to watch and made me sick to my stomach. I had to leave. Had to get out of that atmosphere. I just could not watch anymore."
  • Research shows this NBA season features more coaches getting fired early in the season.
  • Jim O'Brien says he is not spooked by all the coach firings, telling the Indianapolis Star's Mike Wells: "When I came on board here, (Pacers president) Larry (Bird) hired me and told me the first couple of years were going to be pretty difficult."
  • This is hilarious. The Darius Miles signing appears to be touching off something of a rivalry between the Grizzlies fans and Blazer fans. One Grizzly blogger says he hates the Blazers for various reasons, including because he has to read about them too much on TrueHoop.
  • ESPN's lottery and mock draft simulator includes the Knicks -- because they lost last night to Phoenix in Mike D'Antoni's return. If the Knicks had won last night, the Suns would be in lottery position this morning.
  • Michael Grange of the Globe and Mail: "As I was watching Chris Paul come up with a loose ball in the early going, it occurred to me -- and not for the first time -- that for all the stats geeks out there a worthwile effort would be to come up up with a stat for who comes up with the most loose balls. They have this in lacrosse. It's called loose balls. I guess the problem might be one of definition, but that doesn't seem insurmountable. My own experience suggest that some guys are just better at taking possession of balls than others. Chris Paul is probably one of the best. My guess is it's a combination of intensity, quickness, strength, good hands and anticipation. We make a big deal when a guy blocks a shot or two a game, but what about the guy who tracks down the ball and actually comes up with it?"
  • Britt Robson of Secrets of the City on how Kevin McHale is faring as coach in Minnesota:  "Things are profoundly awry with the franchise. Just six days ago, McHale held a postgame press conference after a tough loss to Utah and french kissed the effort of his ballclub, swearing he'd become a better coach so that all their hard work would be rewarded. Tonight, strenuously striving to keep the smoke from coming out of his ears, Coa
    ch McHale scrubbed the bottom of his bench and played the entire fourth quarter with a lineup that included veteran journeymen Kevin Ollie and Brian Cardinal, rookie Kevin Love, fringe athletic-swingman Rodney Carney, and glutton for vitriol and martyrdom Rashad McCants. Aside from the fact that it applies the nail set to the remaining shards of Bassy Telfair's confidence, I can't disagree with this otherwise abstruse snit-by-substitution. It represents the first cracks in the fun facade, which hasn't even worked as well as Randy Wittman's Boris Karloff imitation. The Timberwolves literally don't know how to play, don't know the basics of functioning as a synergistic five-man unit. ... The Sacramento Kings are a rotten basketball team. Just hours before squaring off with the Wolves, they fired their coach, Reggie Theus, for losing ten of the past 11 games. They have been without their leading scorer, Kevin Martin, for a month now. They opened tonight's game missing 13 of their first 14 shots, a product of their incompetence much more than Minnesota's defensive vigor, enabling the Wolves to leap out to a 15-3 lead. The Kings were mentally ready to shut it down for the night, to go through the motions for 48 minutes and then go home and absorb the sea change wrought by Theus's firing. It required an extraordinary level of laziness and dysfunction by the Wolves to reinterest Sacramento in this game. It required a performance on the defensive end of the court bereft of intensity, trust, pride and anticipation. In the grand scheme of the NBA, it's small potatoes to hear that a 4-19 team played with such a will for losing that it resusitated a 6-18 ballclub that had been ready to die. But when you watch such a game, it leaves a bad taste on your memory that's not easily erased."
  • Sometimes rooting for Carmelo Anthony is hard. Jeremy from Pickaxe & Roll: "Melo made me crazy with about a minute and a half left in the game. Dallas tipped a rebound out of bounds giving Denver a fresh shot clock and the ability to run it down close to a minute before taking a shot. Instead Melo got the ball in the post and was called for an offensive foul for hooking Dirk in his effort to drive around the double team. What made it a truly horrible play was he made the move with 18 seconds left on the shot clock. That was completely asinine and selfish."
  • Charles Smith is the new Executive Director of the Retired Players Association.
  • Dikembe Mutombo will tell you how you can send a text message that will help people dying in the Congo. And he talks about playing again. Boston, Miami, and San Antonio are mentioned, and Mutombo sounds unsure if Houston would offer him a contract.
  • Tonight Scott Brooks has the opportunity to match P.J. Carlesimo's 1-12 record coaching the Thunder.
  • A listing of players who have had the biggest statistical improvements, and drop-offs, since last season. Shaquille O'Neal is one of the improvers ...

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