<
>

Tuesday Bullets

  • Joakim Noah, quoted by Mike McGraw of the Daily Herald, talking about Cleveland fans: "You guys are waiting for this moment for five months and you guys are chanting, 'Scottie Pippen,' a Hall of Fame player with six rings? Like that's a bad thing? Come on, now."

  • Should Doc Rivers rest Rajon Rondo, who's playing with plantar fasciitis and a strained hamstring?

  • Kevin Arnovitz's eyes tell him Joel Anthony has been a disaster for the Heat this season. But the advanced stats say that the Heat's have played some amazing defense with Anthony in the game. So ... which is it?

  • Below-the-radar stories of the young season, Eastern Conference edition.

  • Rob Mahoney, on The New York Times website, on the Hawks' undervaluing of Al Horford: "Atlanta came out of the locker room, however, intent on utilizing Horford in the pick-and-pop against Zydrunas Ilgauskas and Joel Anthony, a plan which worked to perfection. Despite the astoundingly slow pace of the game, Horford scored 14 points in the third quarter on 6-for-6 shooting from the field. It was a virtuoso performance by Horford, who was able to attack the weaknesses of the Heat’s defense like no other Hawk. His teammates continued to shoot poorly from the field (the non-Horford Hawks made 38.4 percent of their shots in the third quarter), but Horford almost single-handedly cut his team’s deficit down to two points. So Larry Drew did what any sensible coach would do when one of his players was dominating his matchup: he sat Horford for the first five minutes of the fourth quarter. Horford’s teammates then naturally (and unintentionally) worked away from him when he returned to the game. They granted Horford – the team’s best player, the hot hand, the clear matchup problem for Miami -- an astounding two field goal attempts in the fourth quarter. Atlanta was outscored by 10 points in the process, and a winnable game against a quality opponent slipped through the Hawks’ fingers."

  • There's a limit to how many tickets Paul George wants to buy for friends and family to watch him not play. And that limit, by the way, is ten.

  • Watch Joakim Noah in this video. I saw the same last night with Corey Brewer, and I've seen it from Horford. Here's what I'm talking about: Nobody beats guys from that Florida team in the race to congratulate teammates.

  • About the NBA owning the Hornets ... It's fascinating and bold. In general, I'm not super concerned about the NBA behaving differently from whatever other owner the team might have had, for the simple reason that they have the same motivation: To run a team smartly, to limit losses, to maximize franchise value long-term, and to try to find a way to keep the team in New Orleans if possible. I expect the NBA to make sane business decisions. The only thing that concerns me is that the team has no real status quo right now, and the sane business decisions might be incredibly rash. It would be extremely gutsy for the league to move the team, or trade a star like Chris Paul to save money. In any case, here's a list of people who might be willing to take the team off the NBA's hands, although most of them, I suspect, are too famous and too poor to pull it off.

  • Steve Nash's QB rating was amazing against the Wizards. Also, he's ranked one of the most one-sided players in NBA history.

  • David Roth on A Wolf Among Wolves: "The Knicks of the last few years have been hilariously and unrelentingly unpalatable -- proof that not all losers are lovable, but more concretely just a terrible basketball team playing an unrecognizably be-pooped version of Mike D’Antoni’s epically lovable old Phoenix Suns offense, and an even more desultory and ineffective version of D’Antoni’s epically ineffective old Phoenix Suns defense. Or that was the case, until recently."

  • The Hawk big men "pinch" to create a clean look for Mike Bibby to hit a crucial 3. It is the play that beat the Magic, technically, although from the sounds of things it has really been the stomach bug that has been beating the Magic.

  • The Pacers have a really expensive bench.

  • Check out this photo of the Wizards' bench. The caption, from Kyle Weidie of Truth About It: "After Javale McGee inexplicably left LaMarcus Aldridge free for a dunk early in the third quarter, Randy Wittman, usually appearing to be the more vocal, passionate, ‘screaming at players’ assistant coach, simply buried his face in his hands for a couple minutes that seemed like an eternity."

  • A meaningful and touching video visit too Larryland, in honor of Larry Bird's birthday.