David Thorpe (Insider) on DeMarcus Cousins: "Nene, Marc Gasol and Marcin Gortat. Cousins turned those three centers into toast during the holiday weekend, scoring 69 points on 46 shots. And he did it in every way possible. Smash-and-grab buckets in the paint. Sweet post moves. Soft midrange jumpers. He also collected 32 boards (including 16 against Memphis) in those contests. It's possible that for the first time this season, Cousins' teammates realized he's their best talent, and it could mean more late-game touches for the big rookie. In fact, in the Kings' comeback win over Phoenix, Cousins poured in 13 points in the fourth quarter while Tyreke Evans watched from the bench. One thing is certain: Cousins has put together far more good games than bad ones during the past five weeks and is looking like the player we all knew he could be."
If I had known this book existed, I would have put it atop my Christmas list.
Wayne Winston, pushing buttons ... his adjusted plus/minus numbers suggest Landry Fields may be a better MVP candidate than Amare Stoudemire.
Sebastian Pruiti of the NBA Playbook is now doing a savvy/shabby thing over at The Basketball Jones. In this first installment, he sticks it to David Lee for saving the ball under his own basket, something my eighth-grade coach taught us to never do. And it turned out badly this time for Lee. But I must say, I see NBA players do this a lot, and it usually works out pretty well. NBA players, it turns out, are better than eighth graders at making good passes while falling out of bounds. I'd love to see stats on how successful these saves are. 'Cause as much as I hear Pruiti's, and my eighth-grade coach's point about making a bad pass into an end of the court where you're sure to be short-handed ('cause you'll be out of the play), the analysis is really much simpler, isn't it? If you can make a good pass, it helps your team to try to save it, anywhere on the court.
John Hollinger (Insider) says the Suns have remade their roster to have less Amare Stoudemire, and less shooting, none of which helps Steve Nash. Consider this amazing fact: "Not a single current Sun is shooting above 40 percent on 3s -- a startling decline given that the team shot 41.2 percent on 3s last year." Hollinger says it makes more sense than ever to consider trading Steve Nash now.
The dunk contest is three big men and Brandon Jennings. Which tells us that big men these days are very athletic. And in all honesty, Blake Griffin has to be the favorite. He wins his own personal version of this contest every night. But little guys generally look better, fancier, and higher off the ground in this contest of gymnastics and creativity. Were it not for the serious injury he's rehabbing, and his general lack of reputation as a dunker, I'd be saying to watch out for Jennings.
The Heat aren't the Beatles, they're Lady Gaga. And can somebody please take up Michael Wallace's challenge and ask LeBron James to name the four Beatles?
Stan Van Gundy is gamely keeping up the war of words with the Heat.
Ryan Schwan of Hornets247 talks about his dreamy vacation, which included watching "two dozen six-foot long nurse sharks feed on fish guts" at close range.
You start asking about where Wes Unseld sits at Wizards games, and next thing you know you're living Mike Wise's violent fantasies.
Dave Zirin: "We love sports because it provides escape and the promise of magic. But beneath the pyro, it’s a fun-house mirror of who we are as a country. The scary part is when people start taking the reflection more seriously than the reality standing in front of the mirror."
Black is the new black. It's not really about basketball, but it's the best thing in this whole list of bullets.
Is your iPhone alarm working? If not, you might play for the Lakers.
Gregg Popovich, as quoted by Russ Bengtson of SLAM: "Oh, come on. I’m not Plato, you know. We got Tim Duncan. Then Parker came. Ginobili came. As I’ve said a thousand times, we didn’t screw it up. But we thought of nothing new, we did nothing amazing, we didn’t create the lightbulb, we didn’t do anything."
"We lost $7 million before." Ron Artest, who was once suspended without pay for almost an entire NBA season, on the thought of he and his wife donating $7 million to charity.
LeBron James appeared to pass on a chance to praise Erik Spoelstra the other day, but he's making up for lost time now.
A lot of statistical analysts question the existence of "chemistry." But whatever happens with Hedo Turkoglu and the Orlando Magic seems to argue strongly that players are heavily influenced by their surroundings. In that system, he's part of a special team. Elsewhere, he's barely an NBA player.
The Spurs have flukish good luck with injured opponents, as John Hollinger pointed out yesterday. Tonight: The Celtics without Kevin Garnett and Kendrick Perkins.