Larry Brown called Raymond Felton's number again and again down the stretch last night (watch), and he delivered just about every time. Meanwhile, the Pistons really cooled off (they'll tell you they got a bogus Rasheed Wallace offensive foul, too, but he did swing his elbow at Emeka Okafor's head) and the Bobcats won a game they had no business winning. Everyone and their brother seems to think Felton was being showcased for a trade, and my question is: Do you want him? He can do a lot on the court, and they say he's a good guy off the court. My concerns are that he has not improved at the rate it seemed he would when he was tearing it up as a rookie, and I never like to see those second and third year guys somehow not improving. Also, he seems to be slower and less active (and maybe heavier) than he used to be. When you're small in the NBA, you need to be quick and active. I'd worry about that. But his fans would say that he has had two zillion different teammates, 1,000 different coaches, and has been asked to play multiple positions. Put him in a position to succeed, and just maybe he's one of those diamonds in the rough. What do you think? Trade for him?
The Magic hit 23 3-pointers last night, setting an NBA record. Stan Van Gundy is coaching up a storm, as the spacing is magnificent, and they have all kinds of shooters: Hedo Turkoglu, Jameer Nelson, J.J. Redick, Keith Bogans, Courtney Lee, Rashard Lewis. What I noticed in those highlights, however, is how often those guys were wide open, with their defenders going under the pick. The normal rule about not wanting to foul the 3-point shooter, OK, that's true. But David Thorpe just called to point out that if you contest like a maniac every time, you'll take a few fouls here and there. Good active defense is more important than avoiding the occasional foul. Also, don't be surprised that J.J. Redick was part of that parade. He has been shooting from NBA 3-point range since high school.
In those LeBron James as a Cleveland Brown photos, leaked from the set of a TV commercial, he's clearly wearing Reebok. (As the Browns uni is Reebok.) By showing his willingness to display a non-Nike logo, for a bigger cause, James is distinguishing himself from Michael Jordan.
Eric Snow has a blog that promises sports commentary and cultural criticism. But one post in, it seems to be 100% Bible talk.
Rasheed Wallace is on track to have 30 technicals this season.
If the Heat and Timberwolves play again, I say Minnesota wins next time. They should have had it last night. And what has happened to Mike Miller? At one point, Miller took over the baseline spot on a key free throw ... and his man ended up getting a key offensive board. Whoops. Britt Robson of Secrets of the City: "Mike Miller, on the other hand, is really becoming an irritant, and developing a bit of a soap opera, with his disinclination-dysfunction combo platter on his jump shot. People who say Miller is not getting good looks either aren't watching the games or are seeing it with Miller's skewed vision. To repeat myself from a half-dozen other treys: It is mystifying to watch a former rookie of the year, 6th man of the year, dynamite sharpshooter from long and mid-range consistently not only turn down shots, but not even consider them as he is embarking on dribbles or accelerating the ball movement, as if he's some sort of glue guy who is in the game for his defense and has the offensive role of doing no harm but not much good either. As often as not, the shots he's turning down are at least as good as the shots he's taking. That seemed true tonight, even if the shots he took were generally good shots. He missed 6 out of 7, including 5 out of 6 three-pointers, and the three he missed in the nip-and-tuck 4th quarter, all taken with the score tied or the Wolves up 2, were killers. McHale pointedly did not say Miller had been a workhorse this year. Instead, when I asked if Miller is turning down too many shots, the coach replied, "He's got to be comfortable. We've got to get him comfortable. He's a world-class shooter." Maybe so, but the world ain't what it used to be and this shooter is much more interested in trying to drop dimes for Rodney Carney."
Joe Alexander promises to attempt two never-before-seen, gimmick-free dunks if he makes it into the dunk contest. He said it last night on NBA TV.
What do you do if your son is the "dirty" player?
The 2006 Heat made history and won a title, as underdogs. But don't forget the 2005 model was, by most measures, a much better team. They made Basketball-Reference's ongoing list of great teams that never won titles.
An interesting bit of data (and, oddly, slightly PG-13) suggesting that people in Oklahoma City love going to NBA games, but are not so big on following the team when it is playing elsewhere.
Now not going to Newark nearly as much as it appeared they were before: The Nets.
Please tell me that your cell phone company used to be Gary Payton Wireless.
John Hollinger (Insider) wonders if Darius Miles' play in Memphis might make Boston a little sorry they let him go earlier this year. Is he better than Brian Scalabrine?