James Jones would be embarrassed if he missed a 3-pointer by as much as he missed this dunk.
Philadunkia's Tom Sunnergren on the ageless Kevin Garnett: "The careers of professional athletes end, as a general rule, about the way Hemingway described going bankrupt: slowly, then all at once. An injury — say a knee sprain that happens in a February 2009 game in Utah — occurs, never fully heals, becomes a chronic, lingering source of discomfort, then, as the player fights through it, adjusts, maybe unconsciously to mitigate the pain, a host of other maladies spring from the adjustment: calf strains, tendonitis of various stripe, back pain. Bio-mechanical breakdown ensues. Eventually, they’re a shell of themselves. A copy of a copy; like that Michael Keaton movie, but even harder to watch. A season later they’re on a golf course. Kevin Garnett, for reasons that aren’t entirely clear, is not on a golf course right now.
Mike D'Antoni, from his interview with SI's Jack McCallum: "Could you use the word 'resign?' It hurts when I even hear the word 'quit.'"
Lovely visuals illustrating that Kevin Durant has surpassed Kobe Bryant as a crunch time player.
Neil Paine (Insider) points out that even if Kobe Bryant outplays Kevin Durant, Durant's supporting cast has the advantage: "Bynum and Gasol have been good in their own right during the postseason, but neither can give Bryant the kind of secondary scoring punch that Westbrook brings to Durant and the Thunder. Then there's Harden, not only the game's best sixth man, but one of its top players, period. During the regular season, he took on a similar possession load as Gasol and Bynum and was far more offensively efficient, averaging a staggering 1.254 points on possessions he was involved in ending. In the playoffs, he has ramped up his usage while still maintaining a sky-high efficiency, one of the big reasons the Thunder have the NBA's No. 1-ranked offense during the postseason. That's why the numbers are so clear-cut. Whether you're a PER proponent (Westbrook/Harden 22.1, Bynum/Gasol 21.6) a Win Shares per 48 Minutes guy (Westbrook/Harden .193, Bynum/Gasol .173) or an Adjusted Plus/Minus guy (Westbrook/Harden plus-2.6, Bynum/Gasol plus-1.8), all the advanced stats say the Westbrook/Harden combination is a better and more productive duo than Bynum and Gasol."
Gonzaga's Robert Sacre, a legitimate 7-footer with good hands and decent athleticism, says all the right things at the Nets 2012 Draft combine.
Is Andrew Bynum's best season ever tied to his revamped running form? Ethan Sherwood Strauss, writing on The Classical, investigates:" When I asked Lakers trainer Garry Vitti about the foot strike change, he explained that although this had indeed taken place, the evolution of Bynum’s movement 'was much deeper.' Vitti elaborated, 'Because of his gluteus medius weakness he had is known as a trendelenburg gait where his glute med couldn’t stabilize his pelvis … with increased strength of his glute he was able to control his pelvis better which translated to him being able to get his body over his forefoot which would allow him to propel himself more efficiently.'”
Daily Thunder's Randy Renner with a statistical nugget that is as much a condemnation of the Lakers' passive defense as OKC's steady offense: "The Thunder has produced a turnover turnaround in the playoffs. During the regular season OKC led the league by averaging 16.3 givebacks a game. In the playoffs that number is down to 10.5 and that’s the best in the league. During this series with the Lakers the number is even better as the Thunder has averaged just 8.3 turnovers a game."
USA Basketball releases its roster for the 2012 Select Team, which is sort of the Dream Team junior varsity.
Brett Koremenos digs into Evan Turner's struggles for HoopSpeak. You have to wonder: If Turner wasn't a top 2 pick, would this be the case: "Currently, Turner’s 9.97 playoff PER ranks 114th amongst players who’ve seen a postseason minute. 114th. That’s out of 155 players who have seen the court in the postseason. This would be fine if he were one of the human victory cigars at the end of the bench, but Turner is playing 34.3 minutes per game in the postseason."
It's funny what matchups end up being consequential in the playoffs. For instance, the Celtics are really having trouble with the Lavoy Allen-Thaddeus Young front court combo.
Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol can combine to create some beautiful basketball, but this year they've drifted apart on the court.
Without Chris Bosh, the origami paper-thin Miami Heat are proving that the "Big Three" model is dangerous, right? Not so, writes Heat Index's Tom Haberstroh: "Of course, the San Antonio Spurs offer a compelling counterargument. They actually have more of their payroll wrapped up in their trio than the Heat, but they seem to be doing just fine. Interestingly enough, the Spurs have taken the opposite approach to surrounding their Big Three: find younger diamonds in the rough and develop them in their system. While the Heat went wild for veterans on the wrong side of 30 years old, the Spurs plucked Gary Neal, Kawhi Leonard, DeJuan Blair, Tiago Splitter and Danny Green. The Spurs might not have gone the safe route with veterans, but their players have higher ceilings and a greater chance to provide more bang for the buck."