Monday Bullets

  • Beno Udrih makes Kobe Bryant fall over, which gets him almost enough good karma to overcome the play later in the game when he gave the Lakers a layup while taking some time to yell at Jason Thompson.

  • Layoffs at the NBA.

  • Links to some of the best sports journalism ever. One of my favorite stories ever is John McPhee's Playboy article about Wimbeldon, called Centre Court. You still can't read it online, but at least this tells you where to buy the book. (Via Kottke)

  • On Mike D'Antoni, the Knicks, and defense. Knickerblogger: "I'd be a bit surprised to see the Knicks end the season above the median in defensive efficiency. Duhon's addition will certainly help but really, unless Mardy Collins buys a jump shot from somewhere, no single defender on this roster is the equal of Marion, Raja Bell, (a motivated) Amare, and perhaps not even an ancient Grant Hill from D'Antoni's Phoenix teams. One of the things I'm most ambivalent about with D'Antoni is his almost Isiah-like penchant for delusion. I like that he sticks up for his guys, but I worry a bit about how much of his own BS he buys sometimes. I also worry a bit about his sensitivity to criticism in a season that isn't likely to go all that well."

  • The Brook Lopez personnel file.

  • Grant Hill to ESPN's Marc Stein: "'You know what?' Hill said. 'Guys wanted this. Guys, I think, got to a point where they wanted to play defense, we wanted to get better in that area. So the time was right for a coach to come in and try to make change. Everybody's on board. Sometimes, when you're a 50-win team and you've had success, you're not going to buy in. But everybody's buying in, trying to get better. ... Guys are starting to believe, believe in [Porter], believe in each other. The things that we're working on are certainly an adjustment, but we've already seen in less than two weeks the things that we worked on [during a week of practices in Tucson] are playing out now. We just went to Utah. ... I know it's a preseason game, but we saw some good things defensively, good things in the half court, things that we never did before. You start to say, 'Wow, this actually may work.'"

  • Ross Siler of the Salt Lake Tribune: "The big story from the Jazz's perspective was Andrei Kirilenko's play off the bench. Even with Carlos Boozer back, Jazz coach Jerry Sloan opted to start C.J. Miles and have Kirilenko serve as the team's sixth man. I wouldn't read too much into plus/minus in the preseason, when the lineups on the floor are unconventional to say the least, but Kirilenko's numbers were darn impressive. The Jazz outscored Portland 52-39 in the 24:31 Kirilenko played Sunday. They were especially strong when it came to closing out quarters. The Jazz outscored Portland 10-6 to end the first after Kirilenko checked in with 4:34 left and 10-2 in the third quarter after Kirilenko checked in with 1:52 remaining. Kirilenko was all the difference in the first quarter -- he factored into all five of the Jazz's scoring possessions -- and came along for the ride in the third -- when Kyle Korver's three-pointer and Deron Williams three-point play drove the Jazz. The biggest thing that can be said about Kirilenko was he even made Kyrylo Fesenko look good. Fesenko and Kirilenko have lockers next to each other and Kirilenko made a point of looking for Fesenko whenever he drove the lane. Fesenko had a 10-point, 10-rebound performance, which Sloan said afterward was the game of his life. Another interesting thing was how much Kirilenko's postgame comments suggested that he was truly thinking about the game as he sat on the bench. Kirilenko said he wanted to spark the Jazz in the first quarter by getting inside and trying to throw some quick passes around the basket. He also talked to Brevin Knight about taking advantage of the Blazers' overplaying defense and got two backdoor alley-oop dunks. There's still four preseason games left, but I think Kirilenko is destined to start the season as the Jazz's sixth man."

  • Mascots eating cheerleaders.

  • Sebastian Telfair may be suspended now for something that happened ages ago.

  • David Stern says he expects there will be some regular season NBA games in London in the next few years.

  • The Sun Sentinel's Ira Winderman: "Another uneven display by Mario Chalmers. Uh, no, he's not starting on opening night."

  • Thinking about Elgin Baylor's chances of winning a lawsuit against the Clippers.

  • Having Ron Artest as a teammate can make you a little plucky, apparently. Tracy McGrady is one of several players who gets a little chippy in a Rockets/Celtics pre-season game.

  • Eddie Jones, who once said he'd sooner retire than play for a bad team, is now a Pacer.

  • More bad financial news for the Thunder's deepest-pocketed owner.

  • Stephon Marbury, working hard.

  • UPDATE: Video evidence that the Denver Nuggets do, in fact, practice playing defense. Also, at the end of the video, watch Allen Iverson struggle to keep his shorts from falling down.

  • UPDATE: Arguably the best player in the WNBA, Lauren Jackson, says she will take off WNBA seasons in Olympic years to better prepare with the Australian national team.