Thursday, April 30, 2009
- Eddy Curry tweets that he's spending the summer with William Wesley. I have a feeling lesson #1 of spending your summer with one of the NBA's most secretive and powerful men will be don't freaking tell everyone on Twitter that you're at my house.
- Mike Moreau previews Celtics vs. Bulls for ESPN.com. The question on everyone's mind is -- how physical will the Bulls be?: "They allowed Pierce to catch in the same spot, and virtually make the same move down the stretch and beat them in Game 5. In Game 6, look for aggressive double-teaming of Pierce in those situations. They cannot allow Boston's best player to beat them one-on-one, and it was a foul by Joakim Noah in that same situation that got them the win in Boston. They must be unafraid to make aggressive defensive plays at crunch time."
- Niall Doherty of Hornets247: "Congratulations due to Denver. They proved to be by far the better team. All throughout the series they played physical and aggressive defense, they executed a good game plan, and they just had too many offensive weapons for us to handle. I expect to see them in the conference finals. For us Hornets fans, naturally we start wondering what comes next for our team. (Actually, I think we already started that after the Game 4 debacle). There will be plenty of different arguments about that, and lots of them will have valid points. No doubt, changes have to be made. But where to start?"
- Matt McHale of By the Horns: "Okay, while I will agree that there was no windup or follow-through, the 'making a basketball play and going for the ball' part makes me wonder whether [Stu] Jackson had access to the same pictures and video that the rest of the world has been discussing ad infinitum for the last day and a half. I mean, not only did Rondo clearly not make a play for the ball, he wasn't even able to may a play on Miller's arm. So based on the precedent set by this ruling, you can club an opponent in the head to prevent an easy bucket ... as long as you don't wind up or follow through on it. Gotcha, Stu. Thanks for clearing that up."
- M. Haubs of the Painted Area: "Did Rondo deserve a flagrant foul, based on the letter and spirit of the rule? Yes, absolutely. He did not make a play on the ball, and made unnecessary and dangerous contact with Miller's head. Did Rondo deserve a flagrant foul, based on the way the rule is consistently interpreted? No, absolutely not. The ridiculousness of the flagrant-foul interpretation is that, in practice, it is determined almost entirely by whether the fouled player hits the floor in an awkward, scary-looking manner, and Miller ultimately did not hit the floor that hard. Many times, you'll see a guy go for a legitimate blocked shot on a breakaway, and get called for a ridiculous flagrant ONLY b/c of the way the fouled player falls. I had been planning to write this all day, and then lo and behold we got a textbook example of this tonight..."
- I made a big stink about Trevor Ariza's foul on Rudy Fernandez. So a lot of people want to know: What about Dwyane Wade's foul last night on Maurice Evans. The recurring theme: Messing with an airborne player. Although I could have written this less passionately, my point about the Ariza deal was that fouling someone on the way to the hoop is normal, as is changing the radio station on your car. However, when a player is high in the air, they need their feet under them to land safely -- otherwise the list of potential injuries is long and scary. So, if you foul them when they're high in the air, and they happen to get badly hurt, that's your fault. Just like if you're changing the radio station in your car, and you happen not to notice a dog in the street and you hit it, that's your fault, too. Yes, everybody changes stations. Yes everybody fouls. But no, that doesn't get you out of the more important obligation not to injure people. The exact way you took that risk was not skilled enough. Try to do better next time. So, getting to Wade ... yes he contacted a guy and messed with his ability to land. But this was somewhat mitigated by the fact that it was a wholly credible play on the ball! Ariza had no shot at the ball (UPDATE: My bad, should have added "without getting Fernandez in the head"), and got Fernandez in the head and arms. But for the tiniest of miscalculations, Wade had both a block and a play where Evans and Wade land cleanly. In fact, it's possible that grabbing the rim is the main thing that messed with Evans' landing here -- very hard for me to tell from the video what kind of contact they had. The big theme is the same: Be careful with the airborne player. But to me the specifics of this play are different. (You might be wondering, why am I not mentioning Rajon Rondo here ... I think that was certainly not a play on the ball, but Brad Miller did not get high enough to make me worry about spinal injuries and the like.)
- Danny Ainge has been quiet since his heart attack, but recently talked to WEEI, as transcribed by SportsRadioInteriews: "I think that our team has been leaking oil a little bit; I'm a little worried about the amount of minutes they're playing and the possessions they're pacing themselves and taking off throughout the series. But, I think that they've showed a lot of character and showed a lot of grit and found ways to win these games."
- The D-League as a potential basketball home for players like Jeremy Tyler, who want to develop their games without the NCAA.
- David Thorpe makes a prediction: "In most respects, this kind of game is pretty easy to go with the home team playing a close-out game. But Portland is grittier and more talented than most of the NBA's teams and, with Roy, has a chance in anyone's arena. On the other hand, this Houston team is loaded with strong chemistry and great defense, so unless something happens to destroy that chemistry, the Rockets should be able to pull out the clinching win."
- Thorpe also picks undermanned Orlando -- playing on the road without Courtney Lee and Dwight Howard -- to knock off the Sixers.
- It would be a mistake to judge Eddie Jordan -- who has coached so-so Kings teams, and heavily injured Wizard teams -- by his career 44% winning percentage.
- Dave from BlazersEdge on the officials the Blazers can expect to face on the road: "Seriously, folks ... complaining about this is going to be the same as the diehard Trekkies going to that new movie and complaining that it isn't as good as the original because Shatner isn't playing Kirk. You knew that already. If that's why you went you wasted ten bucks. That's on you, not them."
- Ross Siler of the Salt Lake Tribune: "By the time you read this, Jerry Sloan could be undergoing surgery to have his right knee replaced. Sloan has been battling pain almost since the start of the season and was hopeful he could have the surgery as early as Thursday after the Jazz were eliminated." That's a tough man that doesn't mention that until now ...
- With Chris Paul out, and Dwyane Wade on the brink, Basketball-Reference's Neil Paine looks at top NBA players who have left the playoffs early.
- NBA's Finest appreciates J.R. Smith: "If you read this blog back in its heyday when I posted more than once a month, you know of my fondness for JR Smith. I mean the boy had Spongebob slippers that were 5 sizes too small for him, he bought his first house in New Orleans only to be kicked out of the master bedroom by his parents, and he read Harold and the Purple Crayon. How could you not love him? (Don't answer that, Byron Scott.) He was the living embodiment of the term 'childlike insouciance.'"