(By the way, there's a new category over there: "Daily Bullets")
All ye who are now joining the Golden State bandwagon: here's a little video lesson on the 1975 Golden State Warriors, which features Rick Barry's Chris Webber moment. There's actually a ton of Golden State stuff on YouTube right now. For instance, an interview with Don Nelson from earlier this season when nobody dared to even suggest the team would make the playoffs, a message for Charles Barkley, and a Baron Davis mix with a soundtrack that's part R-rated, and part German.
Baron Davis won't take credit for the victory. But Golden State of Mind will: "Best game I've ever been to. Best Warrior game in the last 13 years. The crowd was absolutely nuts tonight. We were just as loud, if not louder than the game on Friday. We had to sustain the energy level in the arena for 48 minutes, not the 36 in the blowout last game. I have to give props to all the Warriors fans at the arena, we rocked the house tonight and gave the team that extra energy it needed to win the game. If you don't believe me, just ask Baron: Our crowd won this game for us."
Similarly, Basketbawful won a first-round series for Chicago: "I've already described the phenomenon of the stat curse. This is where a team or player is undone after a broadcaster, analyst, and/or fan cite a positive statistical trend related to that team/player. For instance, if Tracy McGrady steps up to the line and the announcer casually mentions that he's 10-for-10 on the night, he's going to miss the next freethrow. Or if anyone notes that a team hasn't committed a turnover yet, they'll immediately throw the ball away. This stuff happens all the time. But what you might not know is that there's also a reverse stat curse. This is where a negative statistical trend is noted, and the opposite happens. A terrible freethrow shooter hits two in a row (or seven of eight, as Ben Wallace, a 40 percent foul shooter, did last night). A team that plays no defense holds their opponent under 100 points. Or a team that's supposed to lose a game or series ... wins. So that's what happened. I pulled off one of the greatest reverse stat curses of all time. My bold prediction actually guaranteed that the Bulls would win. If the Bulls go on to win the title, I'll be expecting a championship ring for my efforts."
Is the NBA getting smaller and faster? The Phoenix Suns were the theory. The pudding, and the proof, is Golden State. Another series that argues for a smaller, quicker NBA, and less emphasis on inside scoring: Chicago over Miami, which was in many ways a tale of youth and speed. Chris Duhon got quality time as a third guard, and although he didn't score, it worked because Chicago got evey quicker, and stopped turning the ball over so much.
Are the minds of the Mavericks scarred? Or, more importantly, if the Mavericks lose, are there trades coming?
Sekou Smith of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution: "Smitty (Hawks TV analyst Steve Smith) finally sent me the text message I knew was coming. 'You still like Dirk as your MVP?' We talked about it late in the regular season and even debated if Dirk was the best player on his team (a strong case could be made for Josh Howard after four games). I'm sticking with him based on his and the Mavericks' performance during the regular season. But he wouldn't be in my current top five for first round playoff MVP (Luol Deng and Baron Davis currently top that list)."
A San Antonio radio show does a classless job of lampooning Allen Iverson, and the Spurs react by pulling Gregg Popovich's show from that station. UPDATE: Two years ago it was clear, at least to this guy, that this sports radio station was not classy.
One of my favorite things about a seven-game playoff series is that it allows time for the momentum to shift from team to team. Houston had it, and now Utah has it. Let's see if Houston can get it back.
Last night on the Mavericks blog of the Dallas Morning News there was speculation that the league might hurry the presentation of the MVP award so that the league can give it to Dirk Nowitzki while, you know, his team is still alive. ESPN's Marc Stein (Insider) doubts the league will be hurried.
Violet Palmer, less hated than before. That's progress, I guess.
The Sonics just keep building those bridges to their Seattle fan base. If they do play in Seattle next year, they might set records for poor attendance.
You never know when you might start a faux-feud.
You know how Tim Duncan, from the U.S. Virgin Islands, has always been lumped in with the NBA's international players? TrueHoop reader Chris has had enough of that, e-mailing: "Don't buy David Stern's hype. A few years ago, he saw a chance to define Duncan as an international player, and because he wanted to promote the idea that the league was going international, that's what he did. But, to repeat, Tim Duncan is an American who was born in the United States Virgin Islands. For not one second of his life has he had any citizenry other than American. Please don't adopt the NBA's lie." UPDATE: An emailed dissent: "Tell that idiot that Tim Duncan should be considered an international player. If you live in the Virgin Islands and/or have your residency in the Virgin Islands you are NOT allowed to vote for the President of the United States. Also, we have our own Olympic Federation. I dont see New York or New Jersey fielding sanctioned Olympic teams." MORE UPDATE, BREAKING SOME KIND OF RECORD: NBA VP of International Relations Terry Lyons explains that after encountering several tou
gh cases, the league simply decided to "draw a circle around the fifty states" and say that if you weren't from there (by birth, upbringing, passport, etc.) you counted as an international player. He points out that theoretically Tim Duncan could have competed for the U.S. Virgin Islands, and the U.S. played the U.S. Virgin Islands in basketball a few summers ago (Duncan sat out, not wanting to compete against his homeland). Similarly, Carlos Arroyo regularly performs brilliantly against the United States when he suits up for Puerto Rico. Another consideration, Lyons says, in more difficult cases, is the will of the player. Duncan, says Lyons, is "very proud to be from the U.S. Virgin Islands."
David Halberstam's legendary book "The Breaks of the Game" (you have to read Bill Simmons on the topic) is not easy to find at the moment. The cheapest copy on Amazon is $100. Powell's, a massive bookstore headquartered a walk from where the Blazer team in the book played, has no copies at all.
More than a year ago I wrote a preview of the World Championships, and when I listed the top contenders, I did not list Turkey. A basketball aficionado in Turkey reprimanded me for it, and has been keeping me up to speed on Turkish basketball ever since. He has convinced me: Turkish basketball is a big deal! It's really happening there. He got in touch today to point out that this is one of those times when there's something bigger than basketball on his mind. Check out what's happening in the streets in Turkey. Something of an explanation. (You're totally right, by the way, this does not have much to do with basketball, but people put all kinds of stuff on sports blogs these days.)
E-mail that a lot of NBA journalists got: "I just wanted to say thank you to all of you in the media that voted for me for Defensive Player of the Year. It's very humbling to receive this award and it means a lot to me and my family. This is the culmination of many years of hard work and perseverance. I couldn't have done it without the support of our fans, the help of my teammates and the Nuggets organization, and of course, your vote. So again, thanks a lot. Sincerely, Marcus Camby"
Dan Shanoff, genius: he picked the Warriors to beat the Mavericks. Dan Shanoff, not-so-genius: he picked the Heat to win it all.
Sam Rubenstein of SLAM: "Since the game was so out of hand, I'll tell you something that you needed to see in person to feel. Bruce Willis was there with his girlfriend. On a scale of 1 to 10, she was a 128,000. Die Hard indeed. Finally, Lakers-Suns. My favorite thing about the Suns is the quick inbounds pass. It's got to be the most frustrating thing in the world for an NBA player on the other side. For example, Kobe Bryant has just done a double spin move, blown by three defenders and thrown a miracle off the glass. It's human nature to want to celebrate that, or at the very least backpedal on defense, maybe wink at a nice young lady in the crowd, and wait for the camera to pick you out so the announcers can praise you. By the time that happens, the ball is already behind you and the Suns have made three passes. You really have to be alert every second of the game. The only way to beat Phoenix is to slow the game down with free throws. That or your PG has to have such an insane game against Nash that he can't compensate for his lack of D with dominant quarterbacking of the offense. He had 20 assists through three quarters. That's not possible, yet it happened."
Detroit vs. Orlando: It wasn't a sweep. It was a swiff.
Is Grant Hill done? I'll tell you this, recently his drives to the hole have ended looking like he really did not want contact. Once defenders smell that kind of blood in the water, they don't exactly get discouraged. Next season could be a contest to see who can knock his surgically repaired body to the floor hardest.
Things I was wrong about in the last few days: both Rockets and Mavericks, I said, will win in five. Whoops.
Reggie Theus does a very classy job in the face of lampooning from half-naked jokers.
The Cavaliers have been pretty underwhelming, huh? After looking only a tad better than super-injured Washington, can you really call Cleveland the favorites in round two, likely against the suddenly hot and very veteran New Jersey Nets? The Akron Beacon-Journal's Brian Windhorst says it's not time to count out Cleveland: "Overall, I have come to the conclusion many people look down on the Cavs because they don't show the same sort of focus and intensity every night, including LeBron. There's is a belief that the Cavs and LeBron think they can "turn it on" when they need to. I cannot deny this viewpoint. However, while the Cavs have not played their best ball, they have won six straight games and done so without all that much sweat. Also, I have seen LeBron play his best when he's motivated and rested. I think he's generally played well in the first two playoff games and there's an entire energy stream he hasn't tapped yet."
Josh Childress's ringtone is "Money in the Bank." I don't think that matters, but it's good to know just in case.
Shira Springer of the Boston Globe: "Rick Carlisle drove to the suburban Indianapolis home of Pacers president of basketball operations Larry Bird around 9:15 p.m. last Tuesday. Sitting outside Bird's pool house for three hours, the longtime friends knocked back a few beers and dissected the Pacers. They arrived at two big decisions shortly after midnight. First, Carlisle said, they determined 'that whoever dies first, the other guy's going to do the eulogy.' Second, they agreed it would be best if Carlisle did not return as head coach." She also reports that before announcing they'd dump him, the Celtics had trade offers for Telfair.
UPDATE: There aren't many "experts" out there whose first-round picks still look any good, but this guy's not doing poorly, assuming Denver still has life. And, he's a Blazer fan. Genius.
UPDATE: A plea to Dallas fans not to boo Dirk Nowitzki at Game 5.