A fascinating and thoughtful post about the point guard play of the Lakers. Basically, none of them can shoot, and Derek Fisher, Jordan Farmar and Shannon Brown have various other shortcomings, too. What's the solution? I'll make a bet: Phil Jackson will continue to trust Fisher, and his 3-point shooting will revert to form. Jackson trusted Trevor Ariza to shoot 3s last year, and it worked out. Unlike Ariza, Fisher has a history of actually being a good long-range shooter -- it's an easier gamble for Jackson to make this time, unless there's something wrong with Fisher we don't know about. There's certainly nothing about being 35 that makes it impossible to hit wide-open jumpers.
Unless you have Daryl Morey's laptop, you are unlikely to find a better assessment of Trevor Ariza's performance in Houston thus far. Wayne Winston breaks down the lineups that work best, and worst, for the Rockets.
The Wizards, on video, describing how their last, failed play against the Mavericks was supposed to go down. Telling.
So, how's the Bobcats' defense? If you ask the Heat, it's amazing. Brett from Queen CityHoops: "While the Bobcats did their usual strong work on the boards, grabbing over 75% of available defensive rebounds, and in creating turnovers, 14 by the Heat in just 91 possessions, the real catalyst was forcing miss after miss by the Heat. The Heat managed to shoot just 28.9% from the floor for the game -- that is the second worst performance of any team in the league this season (leading only Detroit's 27.9% against, of all teams, Toronto on 12/23). Dorell Wright was the only Miami player to shoot better than 50% from the field, going 6 for 11. Next best? Carlos Arroyo at 2 of 5."
What do you think about this kind of play? It's by the book, but always looks a little wrong. Matt McHale of By the Horns: "With a little less than two minutes remaining, the Bulls were down only four points (95-91) and it looked like they had a realistic shot at stealing this game away from the hometown Clippers. That’s when Steve Nash’s good buddy Baron Davis came down court on a controlled fast break, pulled up just outside the three-point arc, pump-faked Tyrus Thomas into the air, and then jumped right into the Chicago’s big man. Davis screamed, flailed his arms and heaved the ball into the air. Whistle. Foul. Three free throw attempts. That was when I knew the game was over. Sure, Davis hit only two of the three freebies, but the whole play was a dagger into the heart of Chicago’s comeback attempt. And, honestly, I hate those kinds of plays. Thomas probably wasn’t going to run into Davis, and Davis obviously initiated the contact by intentionally jumping into Thomas. Yet the refs almost always make that call in favor of the offensive player. It’s bogus. Still ... Tyrus should have known better. I guess."
All of a sudden it seems like several NBA teams wouldn't mind hearing from interested buyers. Usually, buyers pay a premium because the opportunities to buy are so rare. I imagine that won't be true for a while.
John Krolik watches a ton of Cavalier games and calls the play described here as "using the pick and roll as a decoy" as his favorite Cavs play (scroll down). It's easy to see why. Very clever in concept, and with a happy ending.
Royce Young of Daily Thunder: "What the heck Corey Brewer? Since when did you decide to be an awesome offensive player and drain jumpers from everywhere? He had 25 on 10-17 shooting, but at one point was 10-14 from the field and was keeping Minny in the game by himself."
Sonics season ticket holders, who renewed on what was evidently a written implication the team would stick around, reportedly get $1.6 million in a class action lawsuit settlement.
Steve Nash is closing in on Tracy McGrady in All-Star voting. As Nash actually plays in the NBA, it would be good if he won that spot.
The story has been that Andre Miller has been a poor fit in Portland. But not so fast. In the early going things were clunky. And then there was that shouting match. But lost in all that is that he has been playing extremely well for weeks. Andrew R. Tonry of Portland Roundball Society on Miller's return to Philadelphia: "Now, The Quiet One's short time in Portland hasn't been all wine and roses. But it's getting to be. After the blow-up between Miller and Coach McMillan two weeks ago, something has changed. Miller is getting the fourth quarter minutes he desired all along, and in general, more room to play his game without fear of reproach. It's been hard on McMillan, who's been dealt inept point guards in Portland up until now, to understand. But the yelling match seems to have done it, evidenced not only by Miller's steady string of recent contributions, but McMillan offering his first public apology ever."
Philadunkia, waving the white towel on this Sixers' season: "There will be no turn around, no winning streak that has the Sixers climbing the standings and no push for the 8th seed in the Eastern Conference Playoff race. Nope, not this year and certainly not with this group. They don’t have the heart or the X&O’s required for such a drastic revival."
Watch the first video at the bottom of this post. Jon Brockman is no stiff.
Tom Ziller of Sactown Royalty: "All season, the biggest defense problem for the Kings has been a dearth of resistance in the interior. The Kings allow the league's fourth worst opposing field goal percentage at the rim, allowing opponents to shoot 63.7 percent within five feet. Switching up the starting line-up didn't help: Atlanta shot 75 percent at the rim on its way to a solid victory over Sacramento. The Hawks also happened to win a ton of second chances (11 in 35 opportunities, 31 percent), capitalizing on the Kings' lack of defensive rebounding prowess. The record player's broke, and ain't no one on this roster fixing it. The Kings desperately, desperately need better defense and rebounding in the middle. Old news, I know, but it's still the answer. It's still the gaping hole." (Via Cowbell Kingdom)
Jared Wade of Eight Points Nine Seconds: "The only positive thing I can say about the way the Pacers are playing lately is that they are really helping me brush up on my math skills. They have trailed by at least 23 points in four of their last six games, and I have spent the bulk of that time trying to calculate things like 52 minus 28 or the difference between 33 and 17. And for this, I must thank you, Pacers. Because aside from the division it takes to split checks six ways or the occasional time zone change, my mathematical abilities are seldom-used and decaying by the day. Some people might say, 'But Jared, what about the comeback in the 4th? They cut the deficit to 8 at one point after a Troy trey and a nice pull-up jumper by Granger.' Well, Mrs. Theoretical Question Poser With a Detailed Memory of the 4th Quarter Play-By-Play, that was what we at 8p9s like to call a 'faux comeback.'"
Zach McCann of Orlando Magic Daily: "Some Magic fans are perturbed that Orlando allowed Indiana to come back and make a game of it — to which I say, are you crazy? When your team has dropped seven of 10 including losses to Washington, Toronto and Indiana, you take a fast start and a comfortable victory with a smile and a Pepsi."