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Tuesday Bullets

  • On NBA.com, David Aldridge writes about the shocking number of teams that are aggressively looking to dump salary for purely economic reasons. "In one case, one employee of a team told me his boss has lost nine figures -- more than $100 million -- in personal wealth. In another, someone who's never been wrong in 10 years swears that another owner has lost $1 billion since the recession began. ... 'I don't think there's an owner in the NBA who hasn't lost money in this recession,' one NBA team executive said Monday. 'No question the economy is driving more basketball decisions,' another team executive e-mailed. 'Would hate to be a team dumping money while trying to remain competitive right now -- everyone's trying to do it.'"

  • Video breakdown of the mistakes the Knicks' made in letting Portland come back to win on Sunday. On Knickerblogger, Gian points out that David Lee beat Brandon Roy to the spot, and could have taken a charge. (And, of course, Mike D'Antoni now admits the team should have fouled on the inbounds pass, to run some time off the clock.) But instead, Lee jumped backwards, out of Roy's way. After the game, Roy said the Knicks had done a great job of faking taking the charge. And I think I know why Lee did that: The defender in that situation seldom gets the call. It's not right or fair, but it's true: If there had been contact, there would have been an excellent chance that it would have been a foul on Lee. Superstars on the way to the hoop, with the game on the line -- they can get away with a lot, in my experience (LeBron James' "crab dribble" notwithstanding). Also, Lee did force Roy to initiate his shot a long way from the basket, which made it tougher. This play is also important from another point of view: On Friday, we were talking about a small percentage of end-game plays succeed for the offense. Watch the video breakdown of this play. Roy is going one-on-two, and forces an awkward shot that happens to go in. Salute him for that. But this same play in the second quarter? Roy fires a pass to a WIDE OPEN Travis Outlaw, who had a lovely look at a 3. With the game on the line, though, the clock argues against that pass, and so does the macho code that "the man" takes that shot. But that kind of thinking, I bet, is part of why end-game plays are less successful than most.

  • The league removed LeBron James' triple double from the record books. And they announced it via a press release, which concluded with the very official line: "All NBA games are reviewed to ensure the accuracy of the game statistics." It sounded good. It sounded serious. It sounded professional. And frankly, the league would, I presume, rather have their stars achieving great milestones, rather than just missing them. There's nothing in it for David Stern, in other words, and so I salute this unpopular nod to integrity. But after I thought about it for a while, I couldn't help but wonder: Really? I mean, profoundly: Really? People assess every game for statistical integrity? That would take an army of eagle-eyed observers, and surely it would result in thousands of corrections a year. Yet there are almost never corrections. Yes, there have been some instances here and there in the past. But out of those 1,230 regular season games every year, and those zillions of statistics, very few are announced. (As the Plain Dealer's Brian Windhorst points out: How come in this very game Ben Wallace similarly tipped some passes to Wally Szczerbiak, and those still count as past of Szczerbiak's rebound total?) Every time David Friedman charts assists, he seems to find several that were awarded incorrectly ... but the NBA's review team doesn't seem to be catching those. So, is every game really scrutinized at that level -- or are certain prominent ones? UPDATE: Some insight into how the League comes to change a play.

  • The Bucks scored 124 points to beat the Rockets. But Zach asks an interesting question: How often can an NBA team win when two of its starters -- in this case, Francisco Elson and Luc Richard Mbah a Moute -- combine to score zero points?

  • A course in how to be an NBA GM.

  • Shannon Brown after his first Laker practice. It's really amazing how he simply can not stop smiling.

  • The Kings are reportedly losing a lot of money. And they are trying again to find a plan to finance a new arena that will help them be profitable. Meanwhile, in Washington D.C. politicians are talking about "shovel ready" construction projects that would boost economic activity. Brace yourselves, sports fans and taxpayers: I'm just about certain that in one city or another, we're headed for a debate about whether or not building a stadium is a good kind of economic stimulus. And it's a complicated question: This does employ people. But it is also way for government dollars to support the very wealthy in the long-term. (If the Kings make money, the Maloofs make money.)

  • The Magazine has a massive collection of NBA video links, organized into categories like rookies, LeBron vs. Kobe, dunks, individual performances, and more.

  • One of the knocks on Mike Conley Jr. in the NBA has been his inability to hit the 3. As a rookie, he hit 33% of his 91 shots. But this season, he has already shot 100 of them, and has hit 38. That 5% degree of improvement could be random, with so few shots. But it makes a big difference for his team, and takes him from a guy you probably don't want shooting 3s, to someone who definitely should. UPDATE: Zack from 3 Shades of Blue e-mails: "There is no denying to Griz fans who watch every game that Mike Conley has improved his outside shot tremendously. Most would argue the improvement isn't fully captured in the 5% increase in percentage. The mechanics look good. His confidence is much higher. However, the other side is that he is getting Rondo-type treatment, with guys just daring him to shoot and leaving him WIDE open. The skeptic in me says that while he is improving his percentage when his man isn't anywhere near him and nobody is even trying to chase him off the spot, his percentage will drop considerably once teams play him honest. Hopefully this would then lead to more drive opportunities. I don't think anyone has a way of correcting 3-point percentages for degree of diffuclty, but this would be a perfect case study in that.

  • Jahna Berry of the Arizona Republic: &q
    uot;For the first time, the NBA is buying green-energy credits to offset the power that it expects to use at US Airways Center and at the Phoenix Convention Center while All-Star fans and organizers are in town. The league makes an effort to be more eco-friendly each year, but officials say the credits and other new strategies will make the Phoenix event unique. Among other things, the NBA plans to ratchet up recycling, to use Suns stars for a green public-service announcement and to use post-consumer products to build a playground as a community-service project on Friday."

  • If Devean George were a car, what kind of car would he be?

  • The Nuggets lost to the Nets by 44 on Sunday. But watching the tape, amazingly, they played hard.

  • The Thunder's mascot is about to be announced, and early word is that it will be a bison. I realize it will likely actually be a person in a cartoonish bison costume. But how cool would it be if it were a real bison?

  • Remember in the big Lakers vs. Cavaliers game, Mo Williams got a steal, and then made a simple uncontested layup rather than bouncing it off the glass to a trailing LeBron James? Afterwards, he said he wasn't even sure where the hoop was, after getting hit on the head during the steal. Here, you see, is the blow to the head.

  • Nate Jones: "When people get the urge find flaws in this year's Lakers squad, I quickly realize they haven't been fans that long. I watched every game of the 1993-94 season. I know what flaws are."

  • UPDATE: The H-O-R-S-E lineup is solid: O.J. Mayo, Kevin Durant, and Joe Johnson. Hmm ... I'll take Mayo.