Missing Pau Gasol for all of the game, and Kobe Bryant for part of it, was a killer for the Lakers, in no small part because Tim Duncan, with his 12-19 from the floor, 13 rebounds, four blocks, four assists and two steals was so ready to capitalize. Just watched every single Duncan possession, and it's clear that Gasol could have helped. Duncan is just too multi-faceted for Andrew Bynum. Bynum's inclination is not to stray too far from the hoop, but Duncan is happy to shoot open jumpers all day. When Bynum did venture further, at times even helped by Derek Fisher, Duncan was able to bust out his vast array of moves. (I suspect this dynamic, and mopping up minutes after Bryant sat, is no small part of the reason Bynum had the game's worst plus/minus.) And when Manu Ginobili and company were able to draw the defense, Lakers like Lamar Odom and Ron Artest had to try to slow the much bigger Duncan. They didn't seem very passionate about that task.
The people of Oklahoma City make fun of the Knicks for complaining about a haunted hotel.
The Rockets were in a close battle with the Bobcats ... until the Bobcats did everything pretty much perfectly down the stretch and made a final score that didn't seem all that close. Brett from Queen City Hoops says the key for the Bobcats was not playing any centers: "The Bobcats crushed the Rockets when they went small: In the 23 minutes where DeSagana Diop and Nazr Mohammed were on the bench, the Bobcats beat the Rockets 52-36."
So, Matt McHale, Bulls blogger, what do you think about the idea of the Bulls trading for Tracy McGrady? "No, no, no, a thousand times no."
Charles Barkley does not think Gilbert Arenas' crime was "a $90 million crime." In other words, voiding his contract is too stiff a penalty.
Brandon Jennings, no longer on Twitter.
Ever wonder what it's like to sit courtside? According to this account, one of the most amazing things is how much everyone complains to the referees.
Man oh man, imagine if you were using Michael Redd's comeback from ACL surgery as inspiration in your own comeback from the same surgery.
Zach Harper of Cowbell Kingdom: "Tyreke Evans had a really good game but he couldn’t finish around the basket so it ended up looking like a terrible game. 5/16 shooting happened but he started 0/7 so it could have been a lot worse. He got to the basket whenever he wanted. A couple of times, he was simply too slow putting up his shot and you could tell Dwight [Howard] had watched his game before. He anticipated his moves perfectly twice. But other than that, he just couldn’t get it to roll in. Also, his defense is pretty special. He still struggles to stay out on shooters but you simply can’t get by him one-on-one in an age in which hand-checking is a no-no." Some photo analysis of that same game, showing how Dwight Howard makes things difficult for an offense, and a play where Tyreke Evans shot a 3 early in the clock, but probably should have attacked the hoop.
Matt Moore says O.J. Mayo gets more "non-gamble steals" than any player he has seen. Can't think who'd rival him in this. Mayo stays in position while getting his hands on a lot of balls. UPDATE: Ryan of Hornets247 e-mails with a hint of sarcasm: "Really? You don’t think anyone gets more non-gambling steals than OJ Mayo? I know you love your Grizz, Matt, but you do remember Chris Paul, right? You remember -- the guy who gets twice as many steals per game than Mayo -- so right there he only has to not gamble on half his steals to be beating him? Not to mention the fact that Paul almost never gambles for steals. He tends to simply wait until a guy wanders near him, and then steps in and rips the ball out of their hands."
The D-League, when it's functioning to the max, will have one team for every NBA team. There are tons of advantages, not the least of which is that they can run the same plays as the parent club, so when players are called up, it's a seamless transition. San Antonio, L.A., Houston and Oklahoma City already do this. However, is there enough talent for the D-League to have thirty teams and keep the level of play sufficiently high? To me, that'll come down to: Depends who wins recruiting wars with overseas leagues. If you can add Euroleague-quality players, then sure, there's plenty of talent. But they don't come cheaply.
Speaking of the D-League, there's a D-League big man with NBA experience who currently boasts the following stat line: 17.9 points per game, 10.3 rebounds, 1.5 blocks and 58.4% 2-point field goal percentage. Here's the best part: He's also making 45.5% of his 3-pointers, while making 83.8% of his free throws. Some NBA team, I'd wager, could use this guy. Can you name him? ANSWER: Step right this way, Rob Kurz, of the Fort Wayne Mad Antz.