Thursday Bullets

  • Holy small sample size, Batman! But for what it's worth, if you compare Chris Paul's first seven playoff games to every other great point guard's first seven, Paul's just about the best ever.

  • TrueHoop reader John: "There has been all kinds of talk about matchups in this Lakers/Jazz series. Fisher-Wlliams, Kirilenko-Kobe, etc. The most entertaining for my money has been Millsap-Turiaf. These guys are both going insane against each other; it's a blast to watch at start of the fourth quarter when Kobe is sitting."

  • Pretty hilarious prank on Charles Barkley.

  • I missed this last week, but here is a meaningful update on the progress of Derek Fisher's daughter Tatum, who has been battling retinoblastoma -- a form of cancer in the eye -- for the past year. Also, a look at Fisher's role as a leader of the Lakers.

  • Johnette Howard of Newsday: "If he cared to, Scott has every right to stand up right now and ask, 'So what do you think of Bryon Scott now?' But so far, anyway, he's letting the games talk for him."

  • David Stern doesn't like Hack-a-Shaq. They tweaked the rules once to eliminate it at the end of games, but Stern suggests it might be time to do so again. My deep thoughts on the matter.

  • Ryan Schwan of Hornets247 says shooting percentages from downtown could decide Game 3 of Hornets vs. Spurs: "So far, the Hornets defense has worked perfectly. Designed to try and pack the paint and lull the other team into shooting deep shots, the Hornets allowed more three point attempts in the season than any team in the playoffs other than Toronto. This has held true in the playoffs as well. Usually, this is a good thing for the Hornets, meaning access to the hoop has been hard to come by, and that kickouts to the perimeter are the only things available. It's a good defense, but sometimes, it doesn't work so hot. Earlier in the season I did an evaluation of the Hornets losses, and at the time 95% of them occured when the other team hit a better than average percentage of threes from deep AND the Hornets shot worse than 30% from long range. So watch that three-point shot. The Spurs play with confidence, which means if we keep giving them the three, they'll keep taking it, and at some point they'll probably start hitting. If Peja cools off from his insane 61% playoff three-point shooting percentage at the same time, it could mean an ugly loss."

  • Doug Collins says you can scratch his name off the list of potential candidates to coach the Suns or any other team. And talk of the Knicks putting Mike D'Antoni at the top of their list.

  • All hale the past aerial exploits of Clyde Drexler. Two things really strike me about this: You know how when you're the one guy back, defending against the fast break, your first mission is to stop the ball, right? When Drexler had the ball, and the defender honed in on him, the normal thing would have been to dish to a wide-open teammate. But, at least in these highlights, Drexler had a better option: Strap on the jet-pack. The other thing that stood out, is that for as high as he got, he had amazing body control. He's way up there, making contact, but he's not exactly flailing around. He's balanced, organized, relaxed, and landing softly just about every time.

  • Daryl Morey tells Jason Friedman of the Houston Press that Tracy McGrady is the best passing wing in the NBA, according to research: "... there's no question he's the best passing wing, not only from our eyes but there's evidence as well. If you look at passes that lead to high percentage shots, Tracy leads the league in that. That's the key to a skill he has that, I think, is still undervalued and less known from people who don't watch the Rockets every day. So does LeBron rank second in that particular area? Yeah, I know he's high up there. I don't have the ranking in my mind. But I know we looked at it last year and part of the way through this year. I haven't taken a look at it since the season ended, but [Tracy] is always the top guy. So what you really focus on then are passes that lead to good scoring opportunities? Yeah, guys who get players the ball in high percentage areas, whereas a lot of assists come from a pass to an open guy who has a 20-footer. That's not a great shot. Tracy's passes generally lead to open three looks, or shots near the basket."

  • Euroleague CEO Jordi Bertomeu talks to BallinEurope: "For the moment, we don't see the NBA as a competitor as they only play a very small number of games in Europe compared to the ULEB competitions. However, we have some trouble with the players leaving the Euroleague too early to go to the NBA. For example, our Rising Star trophy winner Danilo Gallinari: Ettore Messina said that he needs at least three more years in Europe to be ready for the NBA. But the gap between the leagues is becoming much closer. I consider even that the playing level in the Euroleague is better than in the NBA. However, on the marketing side, we are behind."

  • Chris Bosh makes an excellent cable guy.

  • Ross Siler of the Salt Lake Tribune: "'These are young guys,' Sloan said. 'Our backcourt's got three years' experience. We're playing against a backcourt that's got 18, 20 years' experience, and those things sometimes have a tendency to throw you back. But I thought they fought hard and kept trying. We got back in the ballgame. Those are things that are most important for young guys.' Third-year guard Deron Williams and second-year guard Ronnie Brewer combined to score 37 points in the loss while 12-year veterans Kobe Bryant and Derek Fisher combined to score 56 points for the Lakers. Bryant had 34 points on his MVP night while Fisher had 22 and several key three-pointers. The experience argument is an interesting one in this series. The Lakers actually are the fourth-youngest team in the NBA playoffs, after Atlanta (24.785), Utah (25.805) and Philadelphia (26.135). The Lakers have 408 games of playoff experience, which is not even half that of San Antonio, with 1,038 games."

  • Basketball John of SLC Dunk on Carlos Boozer vs. the Lakers: "Utah is known for their strict liquor laws. It's all watered down. But maybe the legislators need to call a special sessi
    on to up the alcohol content because our Booze is weak. See what I did there?"

  • The things you can test for in draft preparation -- as a general comment across sports -- often have little to do with determining who will succeed. An idea from Malcolm Gladwell's forthcoming book.

  • A worrying turn of events for Andrew Bynum, whose knee seems to be stuck in neutral.