Monday, June 4, 2012
By Beckley Mason
- John Hollinger (Insider) expects Gregg Popovich to make his "universal adjustment" and start Manu Ginobili in Game 5: "Coming into this series, it appeared the Thunder, not the Spurs, were the ones who could benefit from starting their sixth man, because it would let defensive ace Thabo Sefolosha match up against Ginobili. But they've found success with Sefolosha on Tony Parker and Russell Westbrook on Danny Green, a matchup that won't work out nearly as well if Ginobili is in the starting lineup. Westbrook will be forced back on to Parker, with Sefolosha checking Ginobili, and the Thunder's rotating defenders will respect Ginobili's threat off the ball a lot more than Green's. Additionally, such a move offers an opportunity for Popovich to tighten his rotation. For starters, Green isn't giving him much -- he's 4-of-21 on 3-pointers and hasn't drawn a foul --- and one wonders if Popovich won't shift major chunks of his playing time to the more effective Stephen Jackson."
- At L.A. Weekly, Shea Serrano with an uncharitable analysis of his experience coaching youth hoops. Hilarious, but definitely PG-13 for language: "It's like somebody told them all that the epitome of a basketball possession is staring at the ball while you slap-dribble, peaking [sic] up to see which of the four guys shouting your name is closest to you, making an annoyed face at him, then bouncing the ball out of bounds off your own chin."
- LeBron James takes exception to his sixth foul. The irony here is that James fouled out of a crucial playoff game by doing exactly what so many always wanted him to do: use his strength in the post bury his defender under the rim.
- Heat Index's Tom Haberstroh on how the Heat have struggled against 7-footers since Chris Bosh, who may return in Game 5, was injured at the start of the second round: "Ever since Bosh has been in street clothes, the Heat have been outscored by 7.4 points every 48 minutes with the opposing elite 7-footer on the floor. But when he goes to the bench, the Heat feast like starving vultures. With Hibbert and Garnett off the floor, the Heat have blown out the competition by an average of 33.2 points every 48 minutes. That is a swing of 40 points. That is also absurd."
- A picture of Dallas big man Ian Mahinmi that exceeds my capacity for description.
- A profile of Nets GM Billy King, in which King's mentor, Larry Brown tells the New York Daily News: "I always figured I could teach all the basketball I’ve been taught, but I could never teach people to love me. And I just had a real warm feeling about Billy. So I hired him, and it was one of the best decisions I ever made."
- What one NBA GM told Chad Ford about Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, a flawed player who many still tout as a top-3 pick: "'All of my scouts love him,' one GM said. 'Actually, 'love' isn't a strong enough word. Our coaches, when they watch him play, beg me to go get him. I've stood back for the past few months saying, 'What about his jump shot?' 'Can he create his own shot?' 'Is he big enough to thrive in the NBA?' I've given up. I love him now more than they do. He has the ability to dramatically affect a game with and without the ball in his hands. Whenever he steps on or off the court, everything changes. He's a winner. He's a leader. That motor he has, the toughness he has, the intensity that he has … those are NBA skills, too.'"
- Video of NBA coaches talking about John Wall. They all seem to agree: Wall is a nightmare in transition. But to run, to take advantage of his abilities, the Wizards need to get stops. They haven't done that so well since he's come into the NBA.
- Kendrick Perkins has trouble defending quick guards in pick-and-rolls, but his stout post defense on Tim Duncan is making a difference.
- Oh man, O.J. Mayo would be an excellent fit with the 76ers.
- A good sign for Oklahoma City: one of the Thunder's favorite plays is evolving as the Spurs scramble to make the right adjustment.
- Look at DeMarcus Cousins move his feet in this training video. This guy isn't a leaper, but don't tell me he isn't athletic, and he seems dedicated to coming back next season in the best shape of his life.
- Keyon Dooling is defines "energy off the bench" in the Eastern Conference Finals.
- Durant scored those 12 straight fourth quarter points on one simple play. The genius here was that Scott Brooks refused to go away from this play until the Spurs proved they could stop it, which they never did. It was very reminiscent of how Doc Rivers will sometimes have Rajon Rondo and Kevin Garnett just wear out their killer two-man game to close out games.