Monday Bullets

  • TrueHoop reader Thomas E. Whigman Jr. has an interesting question: Has there ever been a player as good as Dwight Howard who was so hampered by foul trouble in the playoffs? I'd love your help in coming up with smart ways to try to answer that. Here's a brainstorm list of players with decent PERs who fouled a lot and played short playoff minutes. (Here's the same list, from this season.) Howard is probably the biggest name in the mix, although Vlade Divac, Manu Ginobili, Rik Smits, and Robert Parish are some of the names around. And, for fun, some gratuitous Howard highlights.

  • If this Tweeter is to be believed, then they guy at the next table, who happens to be Ron Artest, would like a martini, but certainly not in a martini glass, which is "too girly." And go ahead and bring the cake before the main meal.

  • Ryan Schwan of Hornets247 finds himself rooting for the Lakers: "Yes, I'm jealous of the Thunder. They are the young, up-and-coming team in the West. They have exciting, developing talent. I watch Durant and I KNOW, as a basketball fan, that I should love his game. But I can't. I resent his genius. Why? Because the Thunder are exactly what we thought the Hornets were two years ago. They are the charming, handsome heir to the throne the Hornets had designs on, and I can't accept it. It's actually a stronger version of feelings I had last year with Portland. I liked to pretend my dislike for them was due to the bad blood between Przybilla and Chandler, and that I was just feeling an extension of that animosity. But it wasn't that. I resented them for their youth, their future. I still sort of resent them."

  • Great performances in elimination games -- a list of playoff stat geekery.

  • Imagine being Richard Jefferson. They named John Hammond executive of the year in no small part for giving up on you.

  • Heeding the call to recap a game without talk of offense, I'm directed to the work of Daily Thunder commenter Kev, who does that after nearly every game. For instance, from the ongoing Laker series. The Sports Scientist takes a great look at how the Spurs guarded Dirk Nowitzki, Noah Kephart sings the praises of Kevin Durant's defense and here's a nice post about how Joakim Noah and Brad Miller guard Shaquille O'Neal. All are good analyses of defense as a niche topic. Still haven't seen the story of a game as told just through defense, as many game recaps tell just through offense.

  • As the Spurs come to life, David Thorpe reminds you that back before the season started, he picked them to win it all. He hedged his bets at the end of the regular season, when he picked the Magic.

  • How the Spurs attack the zone.

  • Laker fans, feeling a little nervous about those upstart Thunder, are reminded that this is not so different from how things felt after four games against the Rockets last season.

  • Bulls fans wrestle with the reality that they are competing against a superhuman. John Krolik of Cavs: The Blog: "This is about as close as it gets to a perfect game. [LeBron James'] passing was on target all game and he never forced anything. He took the ball hard to the cup, took contact, and drained nine of his 10 free throws. He was the only player in the Cavs with 10 or more rebounds. (Maybe that was a problem.) He only turned it over twice, and one of those was his sleeve’s fault. He played good defense on Deng and completely locked him down a few times. Then there was the matter of his jumper. Boy, did it look good. He had 22 points on 14 jumpers, and hit six of his nine three-point attempts. He calmly set up and drained two threes when the Bulls went under the screen. He hit a rare catch-and-shoot triple. There was also the contested half-court shot that LeBron shot like a jumper. He capped the game off with three triples in the fourth because he did not find the game of basketball sufficiently challenging at that point. He completely dominated every aspect of the game. That’s it and that’s all."

  • Rob Mahoney, Mavericks blogger, notes that against Dallas in Game 4, youngster George Hill was amazing. Watching that same game, I couldn't help but marvel once again the value of young legs. Of course, in the playoffs, you can't play anyone who makes a lot of mistakes, as some young players -- including Hill, last year -- do. But if you have a player who makes good decisions and has young legs ... that's awesome. Then, if you're in Dallas, you have to wonder about the magical, but benched, Rodrique Beaubois. Was there no way to have him groomed to be ready, right now, to do such things for Dallas?

  • The Thunder say they sold 2,200 Game 6 tickets in three or four minutes online.

  • Scott Brooks, in his younger days, getting roughed up a little by his coach, for no particular reason.

  • Milwaukee has to hope that Josh Smith and Jamal Crawford keep themselves inefficient in Game 4, like they did in Game 3.

  • Supernova, writing on Knickerblogger: "Why do I feel whoever ends up acquiring David Lee in free agency will ultimately be disappointed?"

  • Harvard has a new journal, of sports and entertainment law. The inaugural issue includes an article by Bethany P. Withers which explores this issue: "From the time the role of the commissioner was established in MLB, player gambling has been forbidden. Similarly, substance abuse is punished with either suspensions or fines. Conversely, other off-field crime has traditionally remained a permissible activity for professional athletes -- one that is met without team or league punishment. One might attempt to justify this pattern of punishment by arguing that gambling and substance abuse directly affect the outcome of games, whereas other criminal activity does not; however, this argument is flawed. Players are punished for gambling, whether or not they bet on games involving their own team, whether or not they bet on games involving their own sport. Players are also punished for use of drugs that do not enhance performance. The leagues have chosen to condemn drug use and gambling, despite the fact that it occurs off field and may not impact the game. On the other hand, domestic violence has been largely ignored by professional sports leagues." (Via Sports Law Blog)

  • In defense of the printed word, by Dave Eggers.