Football has a ton of trick plays. Fake punts, double reverses, running backs lobbing passes. I love all that stuff. There isn't too much of it in the NBA. Maybe the occasional oh-no-we're-not-really-calling-timeout-now basket attack. Or, pretty much the pinnacle of NBA trickery is every now and again somebody inbounds the ball off somebody else's back. Hats off to Shane Battier.
Nicolas Batum came up with another kind of trick play, but it didn't work in his favor. How to negate a dunk by having it hit your head while it's going through the hoop. Very tough to do.
Viewer tip: If you see a Laker beating everybody down the floor with the ball, it's Ramon Sessions.
John Hollinger on Brandon Rush: "A career 41 percent 3-point shooter who defends? I'd say that's a weapon a lot of teams could use."
Drew Housman, Jeremy Lin's former Harvard teammate, is playing professionally in Israel and reading all about HoopIdea. He e-mailed to endorse the idea of following FIBA rules to speed up crunch time: "Whenever I watch a soccer game I find something lurking within my feelings of detachment and lethargy: an appreciation that soccer players cannot call timeouts. I love that they play all the way through from whistle to whistle. Hence, I like that in European basketball you cannot call a timeout during game action. I feel like it forces everyone to be more alert because there are more serious consequences for putting yourself in a compromising situation. I don’t like that an NBA player can get trapped right across half court, only to call a timeout to bail himself out. I know that would take away the option of calling a timeout after a miss at the end of games, which allows for exciting finishes after the ball is advanced, but I still prefer the international way on this one. While on the topic of timeouts, why not allow less of them altogether? What benefit does the fan get from constant stops in the action? I guess there is some allure in thinking that the coach is going to draw up a fantastic play, or implement a crafty defense, but I would rather see the players work things out while the action is taking place. I know that teams need breaks in the gameplay in order to sell ads, but maybe there are other ways to make up for that lost revenue. That could be where selling ads on jerseys comes into play."
Howard Beck writes that the Knicks have "returned to the point of disarray," in a New York Times article that ends with Carmelo Anthony essentially on trial as a leader: "Linsanity is sidelined. D’Antoni is gone. For the next four weeks, this is indisputably Anthony’s team. The Knicks can only hope he justifies their faith." And no Chinese champion Stephon Marbury is not riding to the rescue.
Furthermore, the implication that the Knicks snookered their own fans with some announcement timing.
The other day I made an analogy, saying most NBA GMs are like blackjack players, playing by normal rules, and essentially shrugging if they don't get good cards. What where they supposed to do? What they were supposed to do, I'd argue, was to figure out a better way. The story of a man who cooked up a better approach to blackjack, and took Atlantic City for $15 million without breaking a rule. (Via Kottke.)
Watch Rajon Rondo, in little pictures, destroying the Heat.
Even after a decisive loss to the Thunder, the Bulls top Hollinger's power rankings, and have won all kinds of games without Derrick Rose. What happened to all those people who insist you need a "closer" to win in the NBA? Why so quiet now?
Pretty graphs of bad trends for the Heat.
Kyle Weidie of TruthAboutIt: "Wizards nation is waiting for Ted Leonsis to admit that next season is really year No. 1 of rebuilding, not the third of such seasons in the effort, as he’s previously claimed."
Remember when the Rockets had Rudy Gay?
Darius of Forum Blue and Gold on the Laker bigs who filled in for an injured Andrew Bynum against the Warriors: "Josh McRoberts' numbers don’t look that great (2 points on 1-3 shooting, 8 rebounds) but he hustled all game, pushed the ball into the front court after securing rebounds, and protected the rim well by challenging shots (even if he mostly gave fouls). Troy Murphy’s numbers were better -- 8 points on 3-5 shooting to go with 11 rebounds -- and his impact can’t be overstated. He spaced the floor well by knocking down his jumper, hustled on defense, and hit the defensive glass hard. The rebounding was especially key because it allowed the Gasol to get into the front court quickly and set up on offense where he was hurting the Warriors whenever he got a touch. So, while Bynum was missed tonight, the guys that filled in for him did their best to provide solid production and were successful doing so."
Benjamin Polk of A Wolf Among Wolves on former David Kahn lottery pick Jonny Flynn finding new ways to make the Timberwolves look bad: "When they were in the game, the Wolves’ offensive possessions were a picture of stagnation, overdribbling and contested, off-the-dribble jumpers. Suffice it to say, the Wolves’ bench sorely misses both J.J. Barea and (I can’t really believe I’m writing this) Michael Beasley. As if that weren’t bad enough, Lee and Ellington both had the misfortune of being shredded by Jonny Flynn in the pick-and-roll game. (This puts two somewhat opposing thoughts into my mind. The first is something like wonderment at how they managed to achieve this, considering that, in our experience, the best way to defend Jonny Flynn has seemed to be: stay in front of him; watch him dribble for 20 seconds; wait for him to take a bad shot. The second is that the long-distance Rambis-haters were perhaps onto something when they suggested that the Triangle was constraining Flynn’s creativity and that all he really needed was a steady diet of pick-and-rolls. Or maybe he just needs to be defended by Wayne Ellington and Malcolm Lee.) "
Good luck predicting the 76ers next several weeks. Tom Sunnergren of Philadunkia: "The 2012 76ers are one of the flat weirdest teams in NBA history. They’re on pace to commit the fewest turnovers per game ever. If they continue as they have, they’ll attempt the fewest free throws per game in 60 years. They’re 3-14 in games decided by seven points or fewer and 26-8 in everything else. According to John Hollinger, every team in NBA history with a scoring margin of over +5 ppg has won at least 60 percent of their games. The Sixers have a scoring margin of +6.4 ppg and a .560 winning percentage. So my prediction? I have none. There’s no way to predict what’s going to happen with this team because there’s never really been a team like this. They have no point of comparison, no analog. They could miss the playoffs. They could make the Eastern Conference finals. Anything and everything is in play."