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Thursday Bullets

  • Beckley Mason of HoopSpeak: "Zone defense isn’t man-to-man, and it isn’t manly. It’s what boys play in college and high school, what your JV team ran because the other team couldn’t shoot. No elite NBA defense could ever employ a zone with any consistency and success. Well, until one does. The Dallas Mavericks are surrendering the league’s fourth lowest Opponent FG% (43.3%) while endeavoring to have the best zone defense in the league. It’s likely they already possess the best zone defense in NBA history."

  • Rob Mahoney of the Two Man Game: "With about a quarter of the season in the books, Brendan Haywood doesn’t seem to care. He sometimes defends like he gives a damn, but his total effort? Particularly on the boards? It’s outright distressing, if not depressing. If another player in another spot in this rotation gave similar effort, they’d find themselves demoted. If Caron Butler listlessly floated through games like Haywood has, Shawn Marion would have his starting job in a few games’ time. If DeShawn Stevenson hadn’t grabbed his one opportunity by the throat and played well ever since, Rick Carlisle would toss him back to the end of the bench. But Haywood hasn’t been taken down a peg on the depth chart, and that’s as much about what he’s capable of doing (playing great interior defense, cleaning up inside, rebounding effectively) as it is about the price tag clipped to his ear. Dallas doesn’t just need Haywood to play well because he’s the best back-up center option available by a long shot. They need Haywood to play up to his potential because that’s what they paid for, and what they’ll continue to pay for over the next five and a half seasons."

  • Ahh, a fascinating wrinkle. The NBA has an age limit right now. It was collectively bargained by the Players Association -- and that reality makes it hard for a young player to sue to overturn the ban. However, now it appears the players union is against the age limit, which, experts say, would clear the way for young players to sue the NBA to be let in.

  • Zach Lowe of the Point Forward: "When LeBron James hit what at the time was the game’s biggest shot -- a three-pointer from the left corner to give Miami a 75-72 lead -- he did so after spending most of the possession standing still in that corner while Wade and Ilgauskas ran a high pick-and-roll up top. It’s nice that he made the shot, but you don’t pay two guys more than $220 million combined to take turns standing in the corner — and you don’t beat the Celtics, Lakers and Magic this way, either."

  • Maximize your pestitude, people, maximize your pestitude.

  • Just did a google image search of the word "TrueHoop" and the results are hilarious. Scroll around a bit, and you'll find a yak, a hare, Kobe Bryant in the bath with basketballs, Crocodile Dundee and Hannibal Lecter.

  • "Wire" characters, assigned Dungeons and Dragons traits. If I know Hardwood Paroxysm, they'll at least toy with the idea of doing something similar for NBA players.

  • There are a few members of the Kings organization who have not been arrested for DUI, but Mario Elie is no longer one of them.

  • I could listen to Derek Fisher talk all day. He beats the Clippers off the dribble for the win, then tells reporters: ""I've been in that situation before. Many of you have documented how easily guys get around me at the top of the key there."

  • The Heat's schedule is getting easier.

  • Raymond Felton on this big shot: “It was bouncing and bouncing. I was praying, praying, praying.”

  • The TV show "One Tree Hill" has a soft-rock soundtrack, a lovely green dress and bad news for D.J. Augustin.

  • Javale McGee missed this big dunk, but he has nailed several big ones recently.

  • Kyrie Irving, near the top of everyone's draft boards, could be out for the rest of the season.

  • Andre Miller stars in three fairly violent no-calls. Twice he's shoved around by Blake Griffin, then he retaliates by turning his body into a human missile and launching full force into Griffin. None was called a foul, although Miller was later suspended. Miller's curious assessment of all that is that the league has gone soft.

  • Ted Leonsis said his Wizards team would not sell tickets based on other team's stars. Then they did, and he is accepting full responsibility on his blog. (See how that works, oh ye owners who hide away in secret? His team screwed up, and to his most passionate and connected fans, the owner gains credibility from the whole episode. Behold the miracle of communication.)

  • People in Seattle are starting to think they might have a shot at the Hornets. One example.

  • It's amazing what a Bed, Bath and Beyond gift card can get you these days.