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Wednesday Bullets

  • John Hollinger reflects on the aftermath of the James Harden trade in Oklahoma City (Insider): "Check out the plus-minus data and it seems much like old times: The Thunder's starting lineup still doesn't work, but when Martin combines with Nick Collison, Kevin Durant or Westbrook, the Thunder trample the opposition. Play the four of them together and it's a feeding frenzy -- they're +42 in just 93 minutes as a unit. Why the Thunder don't use this grouping more often in place of their shockingly ineffective first five is something that archeologists will debate for centuries. But in the big picture, it doesn't look like a whole lot has changed, does it? The Okies are No. 3 in offense and a Bobcat-aided No. 7 in defense. Statistically, it's the same story too -- four players are doing virtually all the lifting while the role players are mired with poor stats. That could be changing for the better, however. Maynor has come back from a serious knee injury and is really struggling, shooting 30.9 percent with a 7.89 PER. One expects his play will improve as the season goes on, and if not the worst-case scenario is that they'll at least find a replacement-level player to take his minutes. Meanwhile, Hasheem Thabeet has been juvenated (there's no "re-" here) -- while his shooting percentages are utterly unsustainable flukes (80 percent from the field, 19-of-23 from the line), it has been encouraging to see him show a pulse on offense."

  • Zach Lowe notes the faux pick-and-roll the Pacers used to beat the Lakers. Lowe also wonders why Jordan Hill, who is quicker than Pau Gasol, wasn't on the court for that play. On Twitter, Hill is wondering the same thing.

  • Jeremy Lin says scoring a perfect 800 on the math portion of his SATs ranks "pretty low" on his lifetime accomplishments.

  • Chris Bosh isn't focusing on his numbers. One might point out those numbers are down significantly from his time in Toronto. But heck if he doesn't look like a much, much better player today than he was three years ago.

  • Flinder Boyd, who played professionally in Europe and with the British National Team, writes about the experience of facing a wispy teenager named Ricky Rubio for The Classical: "What took me decades to decode seemed to be hardwired into his brain; he was playing with information I didn’t quite have, while running an operating system different than my own. I felt like I was trying to catch an antelope with a butterfly net. No matter what I did or how quickly I beat him to the spot he’d make the right play at just the right moment."

  • Curtis Harris, writing on Hardwood Paroxysm, sees talk of the Kings moving to Virginia Beach as "Yet another reach into the public pocket by private sports franchises."

  • Michael Lee of the Washington Post reports the Wizards players had a productive airing of grievances with coach Randy Wittman.

  • Can dribble handoffs, rather than pick-and-rolls, open up the Bucks offense?

  • Dwyane Wade vs. Manu Ginobili: Battle of the Eurosteppers

  • Boston's defense looks decidedly worse this year, maybe because they're giving up all those open 3's?

  • Add DeMarcus Cousins to the list of players who've struggled in the paint against Nikola Pekovic.

  • Joey Crawford gets his groove on during one particularly emphatic block call.