Friday Bullets

  • Team USA beats Argentina. Jay Aych of the Painted Area: "Luis Scola was the best big guy on the floor, the problem was he wasn't on the floor for long because of foul trouble. Scola got almost anything he wanted on the offensive end -- Luis was 8/12 from the floor for 20 pts in only 18 mins. (Hollinger must be salivating). He showed off his full arsenal: post moves, mid-range jumpers, few nice finishes off the move. It just sucks he picked up three fouls in the 1st quarter--the one with Billups was a joke, and his block on Melo was borderline. He challenged some shots as well. ... If I was playing against the US, my primary defense is either a 2-3 or 2-1-2 zone with the 'One-Foot-in-the-Paint' rule for all my defenders. If Team USA is going to beat me, they are going to do it with outside jumpers. Call it the lesser-of-two-evils theorem for dealing with Team USA: Would you rather man-up the US & have them shred you apart & build rhythm or would you rather have them prove themselves from the perimeter? I think the answer is pretty simple. Basically, you have to pick your poison when facing the US, have to sacrifice something. And in this case make them jumpshooters, if they make them, live with it."

  • By one count, the U.S. forced nine tunrnovers in the first quarter.

  • Brian Windhorst of the Akron Beacon-Journal on LeBron James' shooting: "LeBron hinted a few times at the end of last season that he wanted to hire a shooting coach, which was the answer to many Cavs' fans prayers. He didn't hire one, he has been working very hard this summer whenever he's gotten free hours with Chris Jent, the Cavs' director of development. This, of course, thrills the Cavs not just because he's working on his game when he could be relaxing, but because he's doing it with their guy. This becomes important during the season because Jent will be around him everyday."

  • There's evil stuff in the business details of sports. Do you care? Would you rather just watch games? Will Leitch of Deadspin takes on the "just enjoy the game" approach in an interview (really more a debate) with author Dave "this is how the sausage is made" Zirin. My, I'm not irate that there is some bad stuff, but you don't start a site called "true" something or other if you enjoy being lied to. I think we should get the truth out there as much as possible, and let fans do whatever they want. In the long run, I think that transparency makes the world a better place.

  • Tom Ziller of Sactown Royalty, fighting the good fight.

  • Dallas Stars (that's a hockey team, apparently) billboard: "The only thing our refs shave is the ice."

  • The previously mentioned meeting of fans of the basketball blog FreeDarko sounds like it did not get out of control. TrueHoop reader Mike was there and reports: "The meet-up was good. It was like a first date in that we were all feeling each other out. We all knew that we had basketball and the enjoyment of Free Darko in common. So we talked about basketball, Free Darko and the usual 'What do you do for a living?' sort of topics. It was a good chance to meet other fans of the NBA and the site. The web can be a good way to connect with other people of the same ilk."

  • Pretty cool looking basketball documentary that's still in the making.

  • From my email inbox after last night's Team USA vs. Argentina game: Sadaqat: "Argentina's jersey is ugly." Dave: "Did Natural Light design Argentina's uniforms?"

  • When I'm a little older, and maybe not as fit as I once was, I hope to compensate by being delightfully eccentric and fearless. Like #68 at the tryouts for the Cavliers dance team.

  • Ugliest team in NBA history?

  • In international play, Sarunas Jasikevicius nails what looks to be nearly a 90-foot baseball-style three-pointer bank shot.

  • ESPN's J.A. Adande talks to David Stern about referee reforms, and comes away with the clear message that the bigwigs in charge of referees are not about to be fired, and the kind of transparency that I have been yelling about for a while now -- with video review of referee performance publicly available online -- is not even close to being considered. Well worth reading the whole article. Stern also insults two former referees, Hue Hollins and Mike Mathis, who have been vocal critics of the current referee bureaucracy.

  • Gilbert Arenas turned back at the border, bad nudity on the bus, and Paul Pierce just wishes someone would cut a hole in his spandex suit. A visit to EA sports.

  • Can you say this about your team? Every Blazer (except Raef LaFrentz, Joel Przybilla, and Sergio Rodriguez who is with his national team) has already reported for duty. Five weeks early. John Canzano reports for the Oregonian: "... this early arrival was the players' idea, apparently born from enthusiasm. And a few phone calls from Roy to some of his teammates. And suddenly, the youngest team in the league is behaving as if it doesn't want to be the worst team in the league ever again. I'll toast to that. So will you. Because when a high-level executive of the San Antonio Spurs was informed this week that Oden and Co. -- and that's what this team is now -- reported more than a month early, his only reply was, 'Seriously?'"

  • Random Blazer jerseys in West Africa.

  • Larry Bird's rookie year in numbers, from the Wages of Wins. That site also pointed me to this list comparing college coaches' salaries vs. governors.

  • Blowing on the embers of optimism in Indiana.

  • As long as this blogger stays celibate, LeBron James keeps playing really well. (PG-13)

  • UPDATE: Tim Duncan's off-season sounds pretty exciting.