TrueHoop: Maurice Lucas
- How do you manage only 64 points against Toronto? Detroit's effort last night was painfully familiar to Dan Feldman of PistonPowered. Instead of composing a fresh recap, all he had to do was dust off the one from the previous game against Charlotte: "A few small fixes, and last night’s works just fine."
- John Krolik of Cavs the Blog took some strong impressions away from watching Tyreke Evans last night. The Cavs couldn't find anyone the guard the Kings' rookie over the first three quarters. Then Cleveland remembered it has this very athletic, physically impressive, relatively young wing they can utilize in case of defensive emergency.
- The Kings were in position to win the game. The fact that they didn't wasn't a result of youthful inexperience, says Zach Harper of Cowbell Kingdom: "At a certain point, [the Kings] got caught up in trying to make Evans a star. If he beats LeBron one-on-one a couple of times, you might lead off SportsCenter and get every national blog linking to you for the fourth time in a week. You might convince people to keep coming to the games (great crowd at the game last night by the way). Take a lesson from what LeBron James did: find your teammates and make the smart play when the offense isn’t going your way."
- Wendell Maxey, writing for the Portland Sentinel, recounts a fun anecdote about how in 1986-87, then-rookie Nate McMillan earned the respect of his Portland teammates. The story involves Maurice Lucas, McMillan telling off a veteran and a Coke machine.
- Michael Schwartz of Valley of the Suns says that Phoenix lacks toughness. That's a general problem, of course, but particularly costly on the offensive glass: "For a team that thrives on playing with rhythm and speed, it is nearly impossible to win giving up 16 offensive rebounds. Not only is an offensive board and bucket a huge momentum-changer, it slows down the pace of the game, which is something the Suns obviously don’t want to do."
- It was a big win for the Thunder in Phoenix. Royce Young of Daily Thunder took note of a creative decision by Scott Brooks: "I found it interesting that Thabo [Sefolosha] guarded Steve Nash for most of the game. Maybe that’s because Nash likes to hide behind screeners and shoot or fall away and shoot and maybe Thabo’s length could bother him. Thabo didn’t have a point, but I thought he played Nash well, especially in the second half. After nine assists in the first half, Nash had just three in the second." That's another thing that Russell Westbrook gives you -- the ability to put your most physical perimeter defender, Sefolosha, on the ball at strategic moments. Because Westbrook is capable of cross-matching, Brooks has the luxury to experiment and switch things up defensively.
- The Clippers will have a decision to make with Marcus Camby who, at 35 years old, is having one of the most productive seasons on his career. Camby is on the final year of his current deal and the Clippers have Blake Griffin coming back at some point in late January. D.J. Foster debunks the idea that if you don't trade a player with an expiring contract before the deadline that you're "letting him walk for nothing." Cap relief is often far more valuable than whatever a team might acquire in return for such a deal.
- The Kamenetzky Brothers always deliver with their podcast. When the Cleveland Plain Dealer's Brian Windhorst is the featured guest, it's tremendous stuff.
- Clark Matthews of the Daily Thunder reviews some of Oklahoma City general manager Sam Presti's greatest hits.
- According to Jeremy Schmidt of Bucksketball, the Wizards deployed an "attack Brandon Jennings" strategy to beat the Bucks at the Bradley Center Wednesday night. Jennings gambles too frequently, gets taken out of plays by strong screens, and bigger guards have been backing him down effectively. But rookie point guards almost always confront steep learning curves defensively, and Jennings will improve.
- For teams like the Trail Blazers in need of a big body, Scott Schroeder of Ridiculous Upside runs down the list of front-court candidates the D-League has to offer. In the backcourt division, D-League Digest's Steve Weinman is a fan of four-year Memphis guard Antonio Anderson, who's playing for Rockets affiliate Rio Grande Valley. While we're on the topic of RGV's guard rotation, I still believe Garrett Temple will play meaningful minutes in the NBA at some point.
Red Hot and Rollin', that book about the 1977 Portland Trail Blazers, has gotten a lot of play on ESPN.com -- and deservedly so. But there's one great little detail that I just have to add to the mix. It comes from a conversation the book's editor, Matt Love, had with Maurice Lucas:
Lucas: I was a vegetarian for my whole career in professional basketball. ... I read a couple really nice books on proper nutrition, eating the proper things, meditation. I was doing a lot of transcendental meditation, and so with that and the food, it all came together and worked. Of course, my mom thought I was crazy, that I had lost my mind.
Love: What did the other guys in the league think about your vegetarianism? That is unheard of today.
Lucas: Well, when I beat them all up they wouldn't say jack.