Rob Mahoney of The Two Man Game on the Mavericks' loss to Denver: "You’ll find no more cogent and persuasive argument for the Mavs to make a trade than last night’s misery. The Nuggets just seemed to be operating on a completely different plane of existence, one that was simply beyond that of the pitiful, mortal Mavs. All Dallas could do was stare wide-eyed as Denver’s shooters nailed shot after shot, and marvel at every backdoor cut and spot-on defensive rotation. Nothing the Mavs did on the court could really be classified as actively playing the game of basketball, so don’t misunderstand my rhetoric; the Mavericks were spectators on the floor, watching the true professionals do what they do. They simply couldn’t be bothered with offering the slightest resistance or competition."
Did you notice that the worst team in the NBA, the Nets, put a little scare into the the best one, the Cavaliers? John Krolik of Cavs the Blog: "The Cavs outscored the Nets 17-9 during the six minutes LeBron sat, with most of the damage coming from Shaq punishing the Nets inside. At one point, he was able to get Tony Battie off his feet with a beautiful series of up-fakes and slam it in; when I first saw it, I thought Shaq had pulled a veteran move on one of the Nets’ young players. Then I saw he pulled the move on Battie, who may have invented fire. Great stretch for Shaq."
Insight into why Del Harris quit the Nets, with more smoke suggesting that Harris was in New Jersey with the expectation of taking over for Kiki Vandeweghe as head coach. Al Iannazzone of the Bergen Record has a fascinating report with claims a handshake arrangement, behind Rod Thorn's back: "Harris issued a three-paragraph statement the night he resigned, but two paragraphs were removed by Vandeweghe and [Vandeweghe and Harris' agent Warren] LeGarie, the report said. Nets’ sources confirmed that paragraphs were omitted, including one about Harris wanting to be head coach."
Snowboard basketball. Honestly, that's some amazing athleticism. (And, on the same site, the video Rudy Gay's optometrist has seen 100 times.)
A smart look at how Utah's offense works so well. Pay attention now. That's the offense that everyone will be talking about in the playoffs.
Ross Siler of the Salt Lake Tribune: "Those who’ve watched the Jazz’s last two games probably have noticed that while their winning streak has continued, their quality of play has slipped. They trailed the Clippers by 11 in the third quarter before rallying for their ninth consecutive victory. After the Jazz struggled Saturday to put away the Nuggets minus Carmelo Anthony and Chauncey Billups, Deron Williams noted that it wasn’t the prettiest victory but the Jazz would take it. He said almost those same exact words Tuesday. Now the Jazz head into a game against the Lakers in which they seemingly have nothing to lose and the defending champions have nothing to gain."
Pretty pictures showing how Sacramento's zone defense forced the Knicks into jumpers, which they missed by the bushel. Mike D'Antoni, you're not in Phoenix anymore.
Aaron Brooks, according to HoopData, missed all seven of his shots at the rim last night. Unlucky. And terrible for Houston's chances of winning. (Via Tom Haberstroh on Twitter.)
Darius of Forum Blue and Gold on the complex feelings Laker fans have for Andrew Bynum: "Something interesting has occurred the last two games. Lamar Odom has made his yearly renaissance. This season marks the third in a row where LO is making his mid-season push as one of the indispensable Lakers. However, there is a catch that comes with this improved play. In all these seasons that LO has turned up his game, it’s been because one specific Laker has missed extended time with injuries. That Laker is Andrew Bynum. Over the past few seasons, some Lakers fans (myself included) have had a 'can’t live with him, can’t live without him' mentality about Bynum. On the one hand, we all see that he’s a fantastic young center with an incredible skill set -- he’s a giant of a (young) man with pterodactyl arms and soft hands attached, he’s got a myriad of post moves that allow him to score with elite level efficiency, he’s a capable rebounder, and he’s a presence in the paint on defense that alters and blocks shots. Every time I see ‘Drew give Tim Duncan the business or when I see him body up big men and make guys like Kendrick Perkins look small, I can’t imagine not having this guy around. On the other hand, despite his offensive efficiency he has not yet developed a 'feel' for passing that would take his game to the next level, he doesn’t always seem engaged in the game, his in-game effort is seemingly completely dependent on how he’s doing on offense, and for all his size he’s still not the rebounder/defender that he could be (though he is effective at both of those things). So when I see missed opportunities to make the extra pass or see big ‘Drew hang his head because a play didn’t go his way, I wonder what his future on this team really is. It’s these thoughts and this quasi pro’s/con’s list that goes through my mind whenever I think about Bynum and what is best for the Lakers’ future."
Tony Parker working the pick-and-roll with Antonio McDyess, in a clever scheme to get an easy shot for Tim Duncan.
Manu Ginobili's shot has been off, which could be having a big effect on San Antonio's offense.
On D-League Digest, Matt Kolsky gives a sense of what it's like to be PR guy for the Bakersfield Jam: "I designed the game program in PowerPoint on the very MacBook where I am writing this blog, and I print the game program from the printer in the office that assistant coaches Mark Strickland and Greg Minor (both NBA vets) share with myself (kinda) and our two fantastic 'interns' Jeff Christensen and Del Potter ('intern' in this context just means they work incredibly hard and don’t get paid). Then, since we try to make each version of the game program last for more than one game at a time (although I am at Gameday Program v7 right now after 13 home games) I also make an insert for said program that includes BRAND NEW stats and rosters for both the Jam and our opponents, plus a couple pics and an advertisement. One thing I forgot to mention earlier is that I am pursuing a sports radio career simultaneously to serving in my current position, and the Jam ownership was kind enough to give me the opportunity to do color commentary on the Jam’s Futurecast broadcasts ... So you can toss that onto the pile -- and I do my best to grab one of the scouts, player-personnel VPs or NBA D-League luminaries for my broadcast partner’s halftime interview. As soon as the game ends, I throw down my microphone and run over to the media table, where I try to get a handle on whom the local reporters want to speak with after the game. This leads to five or 10 minutes of matchmaking between players, coaches, writers and TV crews, after which I sprint off to bang out a game recap that gets sent to everyone who was ever involved in the Bakersfield sports media, the entire personnel roster of the NBA D-League and every team in it, all our season ticket holders, a bunch of local coaches, and whichever members of the national media haven’t requested to be removed from my list."
Matt McHale of By the Horns: "Luol Deng had an ... unusual game. He scored a team-high 23 points to go along with 11 rebounds, 3 steals, 2 assists and 2 blocked shots. But after a fire-and-lightning first quarter in which he scored 14 points, Deng just kind of hung back on offense. This has been a recurring theme for Luol lately: A strong first quarter followed by three quiet ones. I don’t know if he’s pulling back on his own or whether Vinny Del Negro just stops calling his number. All I know is that if Deng ever plays a full game the way he’s been starting them, he’s going to score 50 one of these days."
Jeremy from Roundball Mining Company: "Of course, it was great to see Carmelo back on the court. I was worried about how patient he would be with his offense as there was the possibility that he would try to get himself going by taking many quick shots early on. Those fears proved to be unfounded as Melo looked to pass as often as he looked to shoot. Carmelo started off with a nice drop off to Chauncey who ran behind him to get room for a midrange jumper on the right side. He then fed Nene off a drive that earned the big man two free throws. He made another nice drop off to Chris Andersen that sent Birdman to the line for two free throws a few minutes later. Carmelo only attempted four shots in the first quarter, making two threes and missing two midrange jumpers, but he totaled three assists good for six points and that is not including the four points that were created by his passing that came from free throws by Nene and Birdman. Carmelo ended the game with six assists and 19 points on 8-16 shooting. Carmelo mixed in some drives and post ups and he dealt adequately with the double teaming scheme the Mavs threw at him. Overall it was a very smooth return to action and with one game remaining before the All-Star break I expect we will see Carmelo hitting on all cylinders heading into the last two months of the season."
Royce Young of Daily Thunder: "With the Thunder offense struggling, the stars sitting and one of the most important games of the season hanging in the balance, Oklahoma City needed someone, anyone to step up. You’d expect it to be Kevin Durant. Or maybe even Russell Westbrook, as he has the past few games. But even without wearing a headband, James Harden raised his hand. And by raised his hand, I mean scored 13 straight points for the Thunder in the fourth quarter."
If Wayne Winston picked the All-Stars, Nene, Luol Deng and Andre Miller would have busy weekends ahead of them.