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Thursday Bullets

  • A smart analysis explaining why the Kings may well be in Sacramento next year. Part of the reason: Those working to move the team have not dotted every "I" nor crossed every "T." Which makes me think ... what is it, exactly, that the Maloofs have done well? Not to pick on them, but in getting a new arena in Sacramento, moving the team, rebuilding the team ... none of it has made it to the finish line.

  • And here's where David Thorpe knocks it out of the park on the topic of today's TrueHoop TV, the MVP of the playoffs so far. We'll keep doing this as the playoffs go on. Jason Kidd makes Thorpe's top five.

  • Ethan Sherwood Strauss on HoopSpeak on how the Grizzlies would kill in a pre-zone NBA: "These days, it’s commonly said that defenders should be connected “on a string,” their movements inextricably linked. A little over one decade ago, this wasn’t the case. Perimeter defenders were bound to whomever they guarded, and guard-defender units would orbit a dribbling post player like single electrons on the outside of an atom. If there was a “string,” then it connected man to marker. Occasionally, the defender could break off to double-team this dribbling post player, but, that defensive player could only return to his original mark. Picture Reggie Miller racing over to harmlessly flail at a posting Patrick Ewing, then sprinting back to the three point line so as to cover an open John Starks. The lack of team-defense rotation made it relatively easy for post players to spot an open man (Hint: He’s from whence the double team came). Now picture Zach Randolph in a world where defenses are predictable, and passing lanes are salient. The “best one-on-one” scorer might notch something a bit higher than 22 PER. Envision plodding Marc Gasol in an era where rules protect him from getting stripped or blanketed. This team would thrive offensively in the forced isolationism of those 90’s. In 2011, the Grizzlies are merely average on the offensive end."

  • The Pacers have been hanging tough with the best team in the NBA despite doing the worst rebounding of the post-season. What's up with that? One idea: Defensive bigs are scrambling to help on Derrick Rose, and are therefore poorly positioned to rebound.

  • Finding an MVP out of this year's crop of candidates is a little like being a woodcutter in a Japanese movie epic, finding a dead Samurai in the woods. No really.

  • Manu Ginobili fires up the Spurs with his play, but also with his screaming. A thought that occurred to me last night: Add Ginobili to the list (led by Derek Fisher) of current NBA players with potential as head coaches.

  • The Mavericks and Blazers led the league in playing zone in the regular season ... which is why neither team is playing much of it at all in this series -- they're both too familiar with it. The Blazers did try it once, however, but the Mavericks spun players around the floor until they got Dirk Nowitzki down low covered by Andre Miller, resulting in a 3-point play.

  • None of the Hawks' three best centers -- Al Horford, Jason Collins and Zaza Pachulia -- ended the game with more than four fouls. But none played more than 26 minutes either, because of "foul trouble." John Hollinger says that's the worst coaching decision he has seen all year, and it may well cost the Hawks the series.

  • Mark Medina of the L.A. Times: "A two-hour film session on Monday pointed out various tendencies in how the Lakers failed in defending the Hornets’ pick-and-roll plays, with Jackson arguing at least 35 of the 70 plays New Orleans ran featured the Lakers in the wrong defensive sets. The Lakers appeared more organized in Game 2, limiting the Hornets to 39.1% shooting, forcing 16 turnovers and a multitude of switching on Paul, ranging from Fisher, Bryant, Artest and Blake. The result entailed Paul finishing with 20 points on five-of-11 shooting and nine assists, a severe dropoff from the 33 points and 14 assists he posted in Game 1. Paul still did his damage, but had he not converted on two three-pointers where Bryant was out of position, Paul’s stat line would actually read a three-of-nine clip. The Lakers improved in funneling drivers away from the lane, resulting in the Lakers finishing with eight blocks."

  • Jameer Nelson as the Magic's point guard on the break, with Hedo Turkoglu as their point guard in the half court. Related idea: The Magic, and especially Dwight Howard, are incredibly effective when the "roll" man in the pick and roll gets the ball.

  • Dave from BlazerEdge on Portland's situation: "They're doing OK on average, but this is not your average situation. This is a must-win playoff contest. I once heard a comedian talking about being on Letterman or Leno or what have you and he said the producers force you to get rid of all your set-up jokes, pushing you to deliver only your best material every second you're out on that stage. It messes with your normal rhythm a little but that's what the situation demands. That's the analogy for the Blazers tonight. Beat them on the run if you can. If not, get the ball inside and score. If they collapse, be ready for that open perimeter shot and hit it."

  • Nate McMillan has been a little timid to deploy a long lineup (Andre Miller, Nicolas Batum, Gerald Wallace, LaMarcus Aldridge and Marcus Camby) that seems to give Dallas trouble.

  • Watch Tony Parker hypnotize three Grizzlie defenders into following him into the paint, only to set up Richard Jefferson for a crucial late-game 3. That kind of trickery was necessary ... the Grizzlies' defense is amazing.

  • The Lakers drafted Andrew Bynum because he likes to break phones open and see how they work. Lee Jenkins of Sports Illustrated: "Bynum is massive even by NBA standards, taller than Magic center Dwight Howard and 20 pounds heavier, with downy-soft hands and feet made nimble from a childhood playing tennis and soccer. But all the scouts could see that. What Los Angeles noticed was the gray matter. Growing up, Bynum cracked open telephones so he could examine the circuitry and put them back together. At seven he was in the chess club at his local Barnes & Noble. At 14 he was installing Microsoft Windows on broken laptops his mother found in her office. His favorite subject in school was physics. He only considered colleges where he could major in mechanical engineering. His plan after graduation was to land a job as a computer programmer. He can describe the difference between a quad-core and dual-core processor in such detail that it almost makes sense. 'He cares deeply about the way things work,' says L.A. coach Phil Jackson. The Lakers knew Bynum would encounter setbacks, but while the typical teenager might shut down, his instinct was to keep tinkering. It's how he is wired. 'I want to master everything,' Bynum says. 'I want to understand what the hell is going on.'"

  • Important: If you win the championship trophy, don't throw it under the bus.

  • The love of the jumper may be the Heat's kryptonite. When they get the ball in the paint, they're tremendous.

  • David Berri's final "Wins Produced" rankings for the year. Kevin Love nudges out Dwight Howard, LeBron James and Chris Paul. Mo Williams, Marreese Speights, Brandon Roy, Aaron Brooks, Brook Lopez and especially Andrea Bargnani are among those who would urge you not to click.

  • Kanye West said "no one man should have all that power." He might have been talking about Dwight Howard.

  • Hey, that's my towel!