From the NBA: "Ray Allen of the Boston Celtics has been suspended one game without pay for elbowing Cleveland Cavaliers forward Anderson Varejao in the groin, it was announced today by Stu Jackson, NBA Executive Vice President, Basketball Operations."
19 LeBron James photos suggest that the MVP voting may have a heavy favorite.
Lakerhead Daily: "Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine a player as good as Kobe play for the Lakers in my lifetime. He's Jordan minus the insane defense (there's first team all-NBA defense like Kobe, and then there is Jordan's once-in-a-lifetime defense) and ridiculous smarts (smarts to get the 15-foot fade-away no matter what the defense tries). But he's also Jordan with better shooting range and even more ridiculous footwork. So believe me when I say it does not come lightly when I say this: The Lakerhead Daily fully endorses LeBron James as the 2008-2009 regular season MVP. Simply put, this writing team of one respects the game of basketball too much to not give it to the most deserving player."
A little Gasol vs. Gasol photo ballet. By the way, I think it would be really cool if fifteen years from now, the Gasol brothers co-starred in Gasol y Gasol, a tall Spanglish re-make of the fraternal private eye show Simon & Simon.
John Krolik of CavstheBlog: "Coming into this season, how could you think [the Cavaliers] were an elite-level team based on the talent on the roster? SLAM Online and Tom Ziller both had lists of the top 50 players in the NBA coming into this year. Only one Cavalier was on either list. On average, a playoff team, let alone a team with championship aspirations, should have 2. Here's a fun game; go through the top 4 teams in each conference, and, at the beginning of the season, count all the players you would have considered better than Mo Williams. For my little case study, let's do the Suns, evening out Nash and James as the best players on each team. You can argue some of these, but before the year I'd say that all of these guys were held in higher regard than Mo: -Amare -Shaq -Richardson -Barbosa -(Very arguable, but most, at gunpoint, before the year, would have said) Grant Hill That's 5 guys. And the Suns didn't even make the playoffs. Top-tier NBA teams just have a ridiculous amount of talent on them, period. And at the end of last season, the best player other than LeBron on this team was Delonte West, who was the third-string point guard for the Sonics."
Is it wrong to want your team to lose a game to improve playoff match-ups? I believe people when they say the only right approach is to try to win every game. And generally, I think that is right. But teams obsess over way less important things than whom they'll play in the playoffs. And teams lose in the first round "because they got a bad matchup." Increasing likelihood of winning informs just about everything every team does. Is it fair to expect a team to play like hell to win a game that they could lose and end up with an opponent they'd prefer to play?
Energy Solutions Arena vs. Baron Davis, a video featurette. (Via Basketbawful)
The Bulls sing karaoke. A video compendium of mistakes.
The greatest experience in Stephon Marbury's life? Right now.
Pitt's DeJuan Blair on why he has hired an agent and made the irreversible decision to head to the NBA.
If you've watched a Laker game lately, then you've probably been noticing a lot of Shannon Brown.
A statistical analysis suggests the top ten point guards of all time. Terry Porter makes the list, but Isiah Thomas does not. Neil Paine of Basketball-Reference doesn't really think Porter is one of the ten best ever, but talks us through Porter's presence: "1. He played a ton. He's currently 16th all-time in games played and 46th in minutes, having suited up for 4 different teams (never once being traded, I might add) in 17 seasons. 2. He was secretly very efficient at both ends. TP's averages don't wow you, but his career True Shooting % is 57.6, 54th-best all-time. He's also in the top 60 all-time in Assist% and Steal%, 34th in career offensive efficiency, and his defensive rating of 107 was better than the average of the day. Consequently, he ranks 28th in career Win Shares despite the lack of eye-popping PTS/REB/AST stats. 3. His peak numbers are better than his career averages. In his Blazers prime, TP was capable of averaging 17-18 PPG and 9-10 APG, to go with the aforementioned efficiency. By playing a long career (some of which was as a reserve), his lifetime numbers are deflated by stats accumulated in old age. 4. His teams always won. Porter only missed the playoffs once in a 17-year career. A lot of that had to do with suiting up alongside greats like Clyde Drexler, Kevin Garnett, Alonzo Mourning, David Robinson, & Tim Duncan, but you don't play 35,000 NBA minutes without being a major contributor to your teams' performance, and Porter's teams almost universally performed well."
As part of a promotion, a sportsbook is placing a non-trivial bet against the Los Angeles Lakers winning the championship. Basically, if you bet on a non-Lakers team to win, and then the Lakers win the title, they'll refund a limited amount of your money.
Kevin Arnovitz learned from his phone that his house is moving. I don't know if that's a basketball story, a technology story or a safety story ... but it sure seems worth pointing out.
UPDATE: Fifth-year high-schooler John Wall may be eligible for the 2009 draft, which would change things. He has been compared to Derrick Rose, and many had expected him to be the top pick in the 2010 draft. Here's some video evidence of his dominance. In that clip, he reminds me a little of the Clippers' Mike Taylor. The full story from Chad Ford, who broke the news.