We hear from Commissioner Stern quite often about how trustworthy NBA officials are. Why not, then, trust officials to use their discretion to decide when and when not to use video instant replay? Why such strict rules -- especially when they create absurd situations like the of last night's third quarter between the Magic and Pistons? The clock had not been running and a shot had been made. Yahoo's Dan Wetzel: "So while the quarter's final 4.8 seconds weren't running, the Pistons' Chauncey Billups dribbled up the court, passed the ball, got it back and then drained a three-pointer to give Detroit a 78-76 lead. Could he do all that in 4.8 seconds? Javie, Forte and Stafford kept discussing it. They took turns talking. They took turns listening. They took turns waving their hands, pointing their fingers and crossing their arms. What they didn't do was go over to the scorer's table, have TNT cue the television replay and run a stop watch which would have shown the play took 5.2 seconds to get it correct. Instead they guesstimated because NBA rules prohibited them from consulting anything from the television to a sun dial."
Ross Siler of the Salt Lake Tribune: "I have no way of proving it, but I wonder if the NBA is cracking down on the Jazz's physical play after the Rockets sent tapes to the league office during the first round. The last two games, Tracy McGrady and Kobe Bryant have shot 41 free throws between them. For his part, Bryant said Monday that he wasn't concerned about the Jazz crossing the line from physical to dirty. 'They don't have guys like that on their team,' Bryant said. 'Those guys, they play hard, but they're not talkers. They don't do anything to disrespect. They are going to be professionals and they are going to play hard. So it's not something where they are out there trying to hurt somebody. They just play hard. That goes with [Jerry] Sloan teams.'"
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, on his L.A. Times blog, remembers Jerry Sloan, the player: "Jerry was emblematic of the term 'hard nosed' when he was a player for the Chicago Bulls. I can remember several games he played against my former teammate Oscar Robertson that were serious physical battles with no prisoners taken."
TrueHoop reader Tim e-mails about the Spurs: "The must adjustment -- one that I think could bring the Spurs back into the series -- is to change Bruce Bowen's defensive assignment to Peja Stojakavic. If Chris Paul can't be stopped, the Spurs are better off taking away the Hornets best game-changing scorer, which Bowen could easily do. Let Paul score, but enough with the uncontested Stojakavic threes. The Spurs are typically lauded for closing out on shooters, and yet they're getting bombed from deep this series."
TrueHoop reader Curtis e-mails: "I've thought of this strategy from time to time since the continuation rule was implemented and was wondering what your thoughts were. Often times the player guarding the ball commits a foul on the way to the hoop, followed by an off-the-ball defender coming over to challenge the shot on the continuation. I was reminded of this by Theo Ratliff coming over to challenge Rashard Lewis after a hand check, noticing how careful he was not to foul. My thought is: why not just grab him? Can they call two personal fouls on one play that didn't occur simultaneously? Maybe there's a rule in place already, but an interesting thought nonetheless."
TrueHoop reader Neal e-mails: "The Hornets did as good a job as anybody I have EVER seen of doubling San Antonio in the lane without totally leaving themselves vulnerable on the perimeter. Seriously, the Spurs are playing their killer inside-outside game with the same deadly precision as always, but the Hornets are matching that discipline with a pure defensive focus and, to the man, a determination not to miss their assignments."
Dwyane Wade is already preparing for the Olympics with trainer Tim Grover.
Noting how amazing it is that LeBron James has fallen almost entirely from the MVP conversation, the Legend of Cecilio Guante writes: "Take away Paul, James or Bryant from any of their respective teams and the results would be frightening. That's a given. However, without James, the team in Cleveland is startlingly poor. He carries that team. He carries that franchise. In many ways, he carries that city. It doesn't mean he should definitely be the MVP, but he still certainly deserves to be in the conversation."
A longish trip to the land of hypothetica that results in one very real conclusion: If the Warriors hadn't traded Jason Richardson, they'd be in bad shape, cap-wise.
Ron Hitley of Hornets247 on New Orleans' best play of Game 2: "Tyson came out high and hard to cut Manu off on the pick and roll, then rushed back down the lane in time to tip Manu's attempted lob to Duncan. Peja took off after the loose ball and saved it back in bounds on the sideline. About 12 seconds and 94 feet later, West has the ball on the low block but sees another double coming. He steps away from it and fires a bullet cross court to Mo Pete on the wing. Mo draws a defender, which leaves Peja all alone in the corner. Three ball is good. 16-point lead. Let's go pack for San Antonio."
If you have ridiculous amounts of money to spend on corporate entertainment, I think I know how you can get invited to a party with Jay-Z. (Who, in that article, is actually listed second after ... the international superstar known as Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz.)
As many have pointed out, but must be pointed out again and again, Jeff Bower deserves a lot of credit for assembling that Hornets roster.
Spurs fan, understanding what it feels like to be a Phoenix fan. And looking a little like they're getting off the bandwagon.
If Mike D'Antoni ends up in Chicago, it would be the latest in a long chain of Chicago-Phoenix coaching connections. For instance, ESPN.com NBA editor Royce Webb points out: "The original Bulls coach was another Kerr -- Johnny 'Red' Kerr. Kerr moved to Phoenix to become the Suns' first coach. Kerr was replaced as Suns coach by Chicago native Jerry Colangelo, who had been his assistant with the Bulls and moved from Chicago to Phoenix to become GM. Paul Westhead -- one year as Bulls coach, later won WNBA title as Phoenix Mercury coach. Scott Skiles did two-plus years in Phoenix, then four-plus in Chicago. Now D'Antoni?"
Jason Maxiell is an example of a late first-round player -- down there in the range when teams sell their picks for cash -- contributing major minutes to a top team. Making the right call with those small assets can be huge.
Kevin Durant will reportedly represent the Sonics at the Draft Lottery.
Getting to know Michael Beasley, one tiny comparison at a time.
Brian Windhorst of the Akron Beacon-Journal on why the Cavaliers badly hope to find themselves in close contests against the Celtics: "The Celtics spent most of the season routing teams, especially on their home floor. They beat the Hawks by an average of 25 points at home in the first round. The Cavs, meanwhile, played close games the entire season. They were actually outscored by their opponents over the 82 games, yet still were eight games over .500. The Celtics did not respond well in the close games in the Hawks series and there is a question as to whether their players are conditioned after taking so many fourth quarters off."
All you who bemoan the lack of character among NBA players (and isn't there is less such talk these days?) have to look forward to seeing this guy in the NBA.