Tuesday Bullets

  • Michael Grange of the Globe and Mail: "Last night as the Celtics were sputtering against the Cavaliers it was pretty amazing to see how little Garnett asserted himself in the second half. He kept letting Ben Wallace and Varejao tie him up on the block before kicking it out or settling for a fadeaway. He would rise for a shot and make a jump pass a sure sign of not being sure. One time he caught the ball in motion in the lane and instead of lifting for an eight-footer he spit it back out as soon as he touched it. Garnett deserves credit for getting his team off to a good start on the road he had 13 points and eight rebounds in the first half but how does a player that good get two points and two rebounds in the second half and go scoreless in the fourth? Because he just does. According 82games.com's 'clutch stats' which tracks player performance (on a per 48 minute basis) in games where the margin is five points or less with five minutes or less to play in the fourth quarter or during overtime, Garnett has been disappearing all season."

  • The worst defenders in the NBA.

  • Rick Carlisle talks to Mavs.com about his plan in Dallas: "I think this team needs to be more of an up-tempo-type team. We have a great leader in Jason Kidd that I have to give the ball to and let him run the team, which I've done with some of the point guards I've had in the past. I think there will be a real premium on using the space on the floor and being a real good movement team, but not forgetting about the importance of the defensive end."

  • Pau Gasol's brother Marc -- whose rights went from Los Angeles to Memphis as part of a package for Pau -- was named the MVP of Spain's ACB.

  • A peek at mock-ups of the luxury boxes that will be part of the Nets' Brooklyn arena, whenever it is built. One has a pool table -- for people who hate watching basketball, I guess.

  • The case that the OJ Mayos of the world should spend a year in the D-League, instead of the NCAA.

  • If you could have any coach in the NBA, wouldn't you have to consider hiring Gregg Popovich? Assuming he's not available, how about his most trusted assistant? A column from the archives about Mike Budenholzer, who would have to at least get an interview for some of these open coaching jobs.

  • You know how soccer players warm up on the sidelines before they check into the game? If NBA players did that in the tunnel under the arena seats, might it reduce the likelihood of back spasms like Kobe Bryant has been experiencing?

  • Blazer fans love the idea that Chris Paul will one day join the team. Dave from BlazersEdge: "Chris Paul is not coming to the Blazers. Never gonna happen. We had our chance to draft him a couple of years ago. He's gone for good now. New Orleans will not let their M.V.P.-level, ticket-selling, NBA-commercial-featured guard go at any price. If we heard New Orleans fans speculating on Brandon Roy and Greg Oden becoming Hornets in the near future we'd guffaw mightily and claim they had a few screws loose. What's good for the goose is good for the gander. And we have to gander at some other point guard."

  • As I think about the future of the Knicks, knowing trades will happen, I can't shake the thought that it all comes down to Zach Randolph. If he stays, he has to play like he did back when he first entered the league -- all rebounds and garbage points. Or he has to leave. And let's be honest: He's not lazy. He has, by all reports, been a serious worker. He just doesn't play a lot of defense, and he isn't part of efficient team offense. But if he brings the same game he had last year, I can't see a ton of improvement for New York. And what about trading him? I guess it could happen.

  • Joey from StraightBangin' is a Knicks fan: "What will D'Antoni do with his roster? I have no clue. Assuming that Donnie Walsh engineers no miracles and that D'Antoni wants to play :07 Second basketball, I'd imagine that he will try to get Stephon Marbury on board, because the team needs a conductor and distributor. After that, were I D'Antoni, I'd try to make Jamal Crawford my destitute man's Joe Johnson, asking him to spot up along the sidelines and slash for the midrange J's and the layups when available. Nate Robinson (gulp) would be my Barbosa, an off-the-bench combo guard who'd push the ball and help break down a set defense (I know that this is a reach). I have no clue who will attempt to replicate what the Amares and Shawn Marions and Diaws of the world have done. The Knicks don't have remotely analogous players, though David Lee can surely apply his hustle game to enhanced effect in a system where running is placed at a premium. And given D'Antoni's European stylistic lineage, maybe he will find a way to better utilize the shooting range of Zach Randolph. But the other possibility is that D'Antoni has been brought to New York because he's a respected pro and because he is a proud basketball radical. Maybe his understanding with Walsh is that aside from insisting upon order and professionalism, there are few rules and he's given license to play cooky conjurer, doing whatever constructive things he wants in the name of improvement. I don't know if this will work, and I'd rather not be relying on someone who gets his lunch taken by Pop every spring, but it'll do for now."

  • Ever wonder what Kevin Durant would look like in a black Oklahoma City Barons jersey? An imagination.

  • What are Bulls fans to make of the sour grapes from Jerry Reinsdorf about the Mike D'Antoni fiasco?

  • SuperSonicSoul to Oklahoma City: "So, Oklahoma City, let us call a truce, focus on more important things, and remember, most of all, that the battle is not between our two cities, but between the NBA and bankruptcy."

  • Ross Siler of the Salt Lake Tribune on a nice little love-fest in Utah: "Jazz coach Jerry Sloan offered high praise for Ronnie Price's play these last two games. Price dove to the floor after two loose balls in Game 3 and made a spectacular block in Game 4, chasing down Luke Walton to block his breakaway layup bid. Sloan said what Price was doing was 'over and above what you expect from players. That's always rewarding to see,' Sloan said, 'because a lot of guys don't get the time they deserve.
    He probably deserves a little more time. He's playing behind Deron Williams and that's a tough place to be for playing time. But he's handled it very professionally, works hard every day he comes to practice, and that'll make him a better player in the long run.' Humorous moment when Williams was told Price called him the best point guard in the NBA. 'Well, he's the best backup in the league,' Williams said to laughs. Williams also was asked if Price ever makes plays like the Walton block in practice. 'He's athletic, man,' Williams said. 'He does a lot of things that surprise a lot of people in practice.'"

  • Jonathan Givony of DraftExpress talked to some agents at the union meeting. Doesn't sound like they intend to fight the age limit, while it does sound like they want to ensure that more NBA teams have bad contracts: "Also broached was the topic of the NBA's Collective Bargaining Agreement, which will expire at the end of the 2010-2011 season. The NBA has the option to extend the CBA until 2011-2012, but is not expected to at this point according to what was said, partially in hopes of increasing the age limit for players entering the draft to 20 years old. It was implied, but not outright said that the Union's primary concern will be more on increasing the amount of guaranteed contract years NBA teams can offer players, increasing the salary cap, and maintaining the BRI (basketball related income) percentage doled out to players, rather than fighting the age limit."

  • UPDATE: Look a Steve Nash baby photo. Or not.