John Krolik of Cavs: The Blog: "James Johnson decided to try and get physical with LeBron on the perimeter. Pieces of his pride are still scattered around the Q."
The biggest mystery of these playoffs is "What did Quentin Richardson say to Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce?" A close second is what is up with this "Fans of Carmelo Anthony in Utah" ad?
Hilarious and amazing NBA topic: Are the Blazers an elite defensive team? Alvin Gentry has called them the best in the NBA, and this season only two teams allowed fewer points per game. But points per game is a silly metric in a world that knows about per possession stats. Basically, the Blazers hold the ball for a long time on offense, which limits the number of times the other team gets to score, and keeps scores low. But it doesn't mean diddly-squat about, you know, how they play D. For the record, per possession, Portland is tied with the Hawks in allowing 104 points per 100 possessions, good for 13th in the NBA.
Brook Lopez is undeniably one of the best young centers in the NBA. Others on the list include Dwight Howard, Andrew Bynum, Marc Gasol, Joakim Noah, Greg Oden ... who else? I bring this up with the thought that over the next decade you'll want to be sure to have one of these guys on your team if you intend to win a lot, which could be a factor in free agency. Also, just planting this seed: If the Knicks can't get LeBron James, they'll be cap space in need of a charisma transplant, with the Nets honing in on their home market. Could they do better than trade for the local hero Noah?
Sixer fans, now even more depressed.
Amazing vintage tales of Michael Jordan using cigars and Ferrari to get into the Wizards' heads.
For years I've been writing things based on insights gleaned from Synergy Sports. The original version costs five figures a season, and lets you research just about anything (want to see Deron Williams' last 200 3-pointers?) in a detalied video database. And every time I blog about it, people e-mail wondering if they can get it too. And every time I say that a cheaper version, for fans, is in the works, but I'm not sure when it'll be public. Turns out, today is that day. Welcome to the world, MySynergySports. It's $30, and while it doesn't have everything the full version has, it's close enough. Well worth a look-see.
At the top of the Thunder's to-do list, in a world dominated by big Ron Artest: Get Kevin Durant the ball on the move. A tutorial.
Video analysis of Vince Carter's shot selection in Game 1.
What's up with the Blazers signing Marcus Camby when they already have Joel Przybilla and Greg Oden under contract? Isn't three centers too many? The first point is that, of course, it's tough to count on those three all being healthy at once. The second point is that Przybilla, entering the final year of his deal (as, by the way, is Andre Miller -- his third year is at the team's option) has value on the trade market.
Late Wizards' owner Abe Pollin's son Robert says the team looked into voiding Gilbert Arenas' contract, but decided against it. As quoted by Michael Lee of the Washington Post: "This is not a violent person. This is a person who maybe is immature and makes bad decisions at times, but Gilbert also does a lot of great things. And he certainly has been as asset to the Wizards, other than this problem and the injuries. Had he not been a fantastic asset, we never would've signed him to the contract. It's the very thing that everybody likes about him that got him into trouble, I guess. He is this really playful person and he apparently doesn't know how to control it. And at this point, it's not coddling a celebrity -- everybody deserves another chance. I think it's great that Gilbert will be coming back. He's paying his debt. He is being punished. He did bad things. But now it's time to move on."
Here's a fantastic video breakdown, from CelticsHub, of how the Celtics have been guarding Dwyane Wade. John Hollinger (Insider) describes the incredible offensive difficulties Miami has had when Tony Allen goes under screens, keeping Dwyane Wade from creating shots for himself and others. "What, if anything, can Miami do to counter? In four meetings with Boston, the Heat have yet to have a player besides Wade score 20 points; on Saturday Quentin Richardson was the only other Heat player to even reach 10. It says here, however, that it has to start with Beasley. He averaged 19.9 points per 40 minutes and will be working against either Rasheed Wallace or Glen Davis now that Kevin Garnett has been suspended one game. Even if Beasley is just creating shots for himself, it's better than the slop the Heat ended up with in Game 1."
In video, how the Blazers guarded Amare Stoudemire.
Ben Gordon and Charlie Villanueva were, in retrospect, probably not the greatest use of the Pistons' money. However, both were much worse than they have historically been. If they merely return to their normal levels of production, it would be a big improvement.
Brian Kamenetzky of ESPNLosAngeles: "'They all run like deer,' Kobe Bryant said of the Thunder after the game. ... Kobe went another direction when I asked him to pick a member of the animal kingdom best describing how the Lakers get up and down the floor. 'Elephants,' he replied with a smile."
Matt McHale of Bulls by the Horns: "Make no mistake: Deng brought it last night. There were a few times when Luol ripped down a rebound like the fate of civilization depended on it. And there was another very telling sequence near the end of the first half. Deng had what looked like an easy layup swatted by LeBron. After James missed a three-pointer on the other end, Luol grabbed the rebound, sprinted down court and threw down what was, for him, a pretty viscious jam. Considering his injury history, it’s somewhat understandable when Bulls fans question Deng’s desire. But they shouldn’t. He wants it. He’s not always healthy enough to make it happen, but he wants it. I have no doubt about that."
Ross Siler of the Salt Lake Tribune: "If you were watching closely, the Nuggets did such a good job denying Deron Williams the ball on the play in which Korver hit the go-ahead three-pointer, Korver actually had to dribble the ball across midcourt and fight to hand it off to Williams with 15 on the shot clock. 'We’re trying not to make a habit of that, me bringing the ball up the court,' Korver said. 'But if you’ve got to do it, you’ve got to do it, right?'"