Remember the possession that ensued following Ray Allen's missed 3-pointer from the left corner with the Celtics trailing by four and just under a minute left remaining in the game? Steve Weinman of D-League Digest: "One one-thousand. Two one-thousand. Three one-thousand. Four one-thousand. Five one-thousand. In the time it takes you to read that last line, Fisher, the oldest man on the court, jogs the ball out past halfcourt, realizes only Kevin Garnett is even close to getting back defensively and that no one is under the rim, accelerates into a full sprint, beats everyone to the basket, lays the ball in with his left hand, absorbs purposeless contact from at least one (Glen Davis) of three late-arriving Celtics and draws a foul … There is no excuse for not getting back down the floor on and playing balls-to-the-wall defense for that possession. If the Lakers score, fine. A bunch of their players are really terrific offensive players. But make them earn the basket and the win there."
Kelly Dwyer of Ball Don't Lie caught an early turning point in the Lakers' favorite that blunted the Celtics' jackrabbit start: "After Boston leapt out to a 6-0 lead, and after a couple of nasty offensive possessions for the Lakers, Bryant made a point to bring up the ball himself, and made a hand signal in the backcourt for the Lakers to run a sideline triangle set. Suddenly, the Lakers were spaced properly, and the ball was moving. Andrew Bynum missed the resulting short shot, but with the C's suddenly having to cover larger areas of ground, Ron Artest was able to sneak in and grab an offensive rebound and put it in for two. Storm weathered, run over, Lakers back."
Sebastian Pruiti takes a look at what gummed up Boston's offense through long stretches of the second half.
A must-read from Tom Haberstroh, as he takes a final tally of the Isiah Thomas era in New York: "In all, Isiah Thomas effectively lit $50.6 million on fire by paying Jerome Williams, Maurice Taylor, Dan Dickau and Stephon Marbury for seasons in which they did not play for the Knicks. While it's true that the Knicks may have been better off without them, $50 million is expensive kindling. By comparison, the Oklahoma City Thunder leveraged a similar sum of money into a playoff appearance and a near-dethroning of the defending champion Lakers this postseason."
What kind of offense will new Hornets head coach Monty Williams install in New Orleans? In interviews, Williams pledges a more up-tempo offense, but then offers a series of disclaimers. Ryan Schwan of Hornets247: "[Williams] wants Paul and Collison be creative in the open court, but then immediately says the team needs to add structure to create better spacing and take advantage of the double teams Paul and West command. These aren't the words of a guy who just wants to run, run, run." This is an important distinction. At first blush, why wouldn't a team with Chris Paul manning the offense not want to get out and run as much as possible? Transition offense is a useful tool to have in the shed but, as Schwan points out, few teams have both a point guard and a big man who both demand double-teams, and that's a dynamic that can be best maximized in the half court.
Eddy Rivera of Magic Basketball takes a smart, thorough look at J.J. Redick's 2009-10 body of work on both ends of the floor.
Os Davis of Ball in Europe gives you 10 reasons to watch the ACB (Spanish League) Finals between Regal FC Barcelona and Caja Laboral. Ricky Rubio and Tiago Splitter make the list.
Did you happen to catch a glimpse of Stephen Strasburg's major league debut before the Celtics-Lakers Game 3? Strasburg's knee-buckling, 12-inch breaking ball was mesmerizing -- for fans, the opposition, his catcher and the home plate umpire. Strasburg's performance got me thinking ... Who's his NBA comp? Post your suggestion in the comments below! Count Greg Monroe among Strasburg's fans.