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Thursday Bullets

  • Sure looks like Steve Nash tripped Raymond Felton inspiring Felton to leave the game. I'm a little pissed, because Felton is on my fantasy team. But the blogger at TruthAboutIt is even more pissed: "Now, I really respect Steve Nash's ability. And I'm fairly confident that he deserved those MVP awards. But he's not the innocent white cream pie that people perceive him to be. He's a warrior, but that doesn't mean he can't be dirty too. He's just a little more deceptive and smart about it than others. Think John Stockton."

  • LeBron James hit his first three of the game to tie the score with about seven seconds left, and then the Jazz, thrillingly, didn't call timeout and Deron Williams went coast to coast for the win. Ross Siler of the Salt Lake Tribune explains that Williams didn't know, apparently, that Jerry Sloan wanted a timeout (or he wanted to do to the Cavaliers what Stephon Marbury did to the Jazz last season UPDATE: Here's video of Marbury which is eerily similar to Williams last night -- streaking down the left side with the ball, crossing to the right hand for a layup over the big man): "'I think they were anticipating a timeout,' Williams added. 'Their feet's kind of planted and I'm going the other way. I think that's why I was able to get down the court so fast and beat them.' There were 6.8 seconds remaining after James took one dribble and drilled his three-pointer over guard Ronnie Brewer. Sloan said afterward he, in fact, did try to call timeout because 'that's not what we teach. Fortunately, we got it inbounds and he knew what to do with it,' Sloan said." The other thing I learned from watching that game: I'm a Ronnie Brewer fan. The man plays possessed.

  • Rasheed Wallace on his enduring, endearing love of childish things.

  • Don't you get the feeling it's fun to be a Celtic these days?

  • Allen Iverson is apparently the only person in this photograph who does not see the UFO landing on the arena concourse.

  • ESPN's David Thorpe remembers (Insider) the array of different fast, powerful, and agile moves Shaquille O'Neal used in his prime to punish the defense: "Now, Shaq just takes position at the block and stands tall, waiting for a pass and the expected double team before passing it back out. He can be overplayed without fear of a lob dunk, and he now lacks the quickness to get an angle to the rim off a post move. That's why Indiana rarely doubled him last week. Instead, they relied on Jeff Foster or David Harrison to force him to shoot contested "half-hooks," trusting that he wouldn't be able to overpower or outquick them. The strategy worked; he shot 4-for-13 from the field against the Pacers, with three free-throw attempts and six turnovers in 28 minutes." Pat Riley and ESPN's Marc Stein feel it's worth seeing O'Neal alongside Dwyane Wade before writing him off as done. ESPN's John Hollinger (Insider) says O'Neal's numbers are terrible -- almost as many fouls as buckets -- but November has never been O'Neal's best month. It takes him a month or two to get going.

  • This could make future dunk contests really interesting.

  • Basketball as a metaphor for how Microsoft will handle competition in the search market.

  • Not sure I really understand the business machinations behind the reality that lots of Magic fans can't watch their team. One Orlando columnist makes the case the Magic are to blame. Big picture, though, you have to know the team wants to be on TV. They lose more dollars than anyone if fans can't watch.

  • Jim Moore of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer: "Honestly, all I've been trying to do is find out if Clay Bennett has a dog, plays golf and drinks beer, only to discover a more newsy item thanks to an e-mail from a colleague. Thursday night in Oklahoma City, Bennett, the Sonics' majority owner, will be inducted into the Oklahoma Hall of Fame with seven others, including minority owner Aubrey McClendon. Here's the biggest kicker -- NBA commissioner David Stern will be Bennett's 'presenter.' I'm not sure what this reeks of, but it reeks of something." Later in the column, we learn that Stern and Bennett have been friends for a long time, which either makes this whole thing better or worse if you're a Sonic fan interested in hanging on to your NBA team. What does all this mean? What message is David Stern sending? As Steven Pyeatt of Save Our Sonics and Storm explained, they need to convince Washington politicians they'll really leave to motivate the best possible response.

  • Video of David Stern announcing that the 2009 All-Star Game will be in Phoenix. The press conference actually opened with some jokes from Suns president Rick Welts, talking about the NBA punishing people for leaving their seats. Hard to tell if it was pointed, or all in good fun. I think I can say with certainty that Stern did not enjoy the little follow-up hug/clap on the shoulders.

  • Gilbert Arenas is doing his best impersonation of Michael Jordan's Wizard years.

  • A list of which teams get the most out of their European players.

  • Michael Jordan's son Jeffrey has beat him at basketball, and Michael admits he was not proud at the moment.

  • A list of the NBA's most marketable players. Bonus points for bringing your own, large, built-in constituency, as Eduardo Najera and Yi Jianlian make the top t
    en.

  • Somehow, the Clippers play great defense with a hobbled crew and the crushing news in Indianapolis is that the Pacers, sadly, will not go 82-0.

  • Chris Herrington of Beyond the Arc: "As for Darko: Is it too early to proclaim him the best center in Memphis Grizzlies history? The competition certainly isn't stiff for that honor, but through three regular-season games, Darko is proving to be a wise free-agent acquisition. If his 15 point, 10 rebound, 2 block performance can become a regular occurrence -- and clearly it can -- then it will go a long way to making the Grizzlies a pretty good team this year."

  • David Moore of the Dallas Morning News explains some of the ways last year's debacle at the hands of the Golden State Warriors has informed recent changes in Dallas: "The Warriors are the reason Jason Terry is now a sixth man, as the Mavericks want more size and defense in the backcourt next to Devin Harris. Golden State is the reason the club flirted with Chris Webber and P.J. Brown, signed Brandon Bass and Juwan Howard and drafted Nick Fazekas. The goal is to place a decent scoring threat at center so teams don't ignore the position and place an extra interior defender on Nowitzki."

  • John Canzano of the Oregonian on some frightful behavior by a Blazer fan: "[Chris] Paul took a three-point shot as the buzzer sounded to end the third quarter, and as he took the shot a Blazers fan in the front row reached out his foot and kicked the back of Paul's calf. The shot didn't count. The kick did. But Paul, who had 21 assists two games ago, didn't wheel and pummel the sap. He didn't kick back. He didn't spit. He didn't make an obscene gesture. He didn't throw an elbow. He just walked up to the fan and said, 'Don't kick me, man.'"