- Beckley Mason, NBA
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SI's Chris Ballard on Tim Duncan: "O.K., it's a toss-up as to how this will make you feel about Duncan: Did he once invite a bunch of teammates to a paintball course even though most had never played paintball? Perhaps. Did Duncan then stack his team with ringers and bring his own high-powered paintball gun? Maybe. Did he give certain players such as Danny Ferry guns that, according to Ferry, were bent and shot six feet to the left every time"? There's a chance. And did Duncan then take great delight in hunting down his teammates, chasing the pale, balding, shorts-wearing Ferry until he was in close range, at which point Duncan unleashed a hail of water-soluble hellfire upon the man? It's possible." The story appears in the May 21 issue of Sports Illustrated.
Congratulations to Larry Bird on winning Executive of the Year. Things looked bleak in Indiana for a while, but he has helped build a very dangerous team in a small market and without a top-9 draft pick that has a real chance to get all the way to the NBA Finals. Impressive.
John Hollinger (Insider) on the 76ers dynamic bench: "Philly is a sneaky team because its starters aren't the ones that beat you. The Sixers' first five is a big fat plus-2 for the playoffs; it's when Allen (plus-23) and Lou Williams (plus-27) come in that the Sixers have been able to gain an advantage against opponents' subs, and with Boston's weak bench that figures to continue." This post also includes a few points about some very un-veteran decisions by the C's in crunch time.
A small lineup could give Rajon Rondo more scoring opportunities. The Celtics certainly need the points.
President Obama was at my favorite sandwich shop today, but missed out when he didn't order the chicken cutlet.
Andrew Han of ClipperBlog with a great description of what the Spurs can do to a defense: "Do you know how Clipper fans have fallen in love with watching Chris Paul probe a defense all season? That probing is basically engrained in the design of the Spurs offense. It stretches and manipulates the Clippers defense until it yields a breakdown. Jordan Heimer mentioned as much on last night’s ClipperBlog Live. At one point he paused the game after a wide-open Spurs 3-pointer to see who had failed to rotate to the shooter. Except that the defense had so thoroughly been torqued that almost every Clipper defender was out of position."
Some crave the rough and tumble atmosphere of playoff hoops. But it doesn't always make for the most exciting games.
LeBron James stacked up the stats playing power forward in Game 2, but on Heat Index Tom Haberstroh wonders about the cost: "James amassed 28 points, nine rebounds, six steals and five assists in 40 minutes in Game 2 while also playing significant time at power forward guarding David West. As impressive as that stat line may be, James was noticeably passive in the final minutes, not to mention that he missed two critical free throws. Was he tired? That's a question only he knows the answer to, but before Tuesday's game James expressed some reservations about playing power forward full-time in Bosh's absence. He stopped short of saying he had concerns about fatigue. "I wouldn't say 'concerned'," James said. "But hopefully I can get a few minutes here, a few minutes there (to rest), especially in the playoffs. I understand that 40 minutes in the playoffs is different than 40 minutes in the regular season. It's just how it is."
When the Heat go small, Danny Granger needs to play big.
It sounds like Ramon Sessions is going to be spending time checking Russell Westbrook in Game 2. That's fine, but it doesn't really matter who guards Westbrook if the Lakers big men don't improve their pick-and-roll defense.
Dwyane Wade to Paul George: You reach, I teach.
It doesn't look good for the Clippers against the Spurs, but that doesn't keep Eric Bledsoe from shining.
SI's Zach Lowe doesn't want anyone pointing fingers at Erik Spoelstra for the Heat's inability to execute late in games: "Every team tends to look better on offense coming out of timeouts, but the gap in quality between Miami’s out-of-timeout offense and the rest of its stuff is significant. The Heat need to be better when Spoelstra and the coaching staff aren’t there to baby-sit every play."
Kawhi Leonard and Tim Duncan wearing their serious faces.