"The game itself isn't different. That's the beauty of it. There's this basket that's uhh ... a certain number of feet high." That's David Stern, talking to ESPN's Michael Wilbon in an interview marking Stern's 25 years in the league. Congratulations on the growth of the NBA, sir, and hats off to you for your mastery of all aspects of the League. Revenues are way up, the audience is way up, and the game means something the world over. Just one little detail left to master: Ten. The basket is ten feet high.
Looking at the last twenty games he has played -- a very small sample size -- the Rockets have not been good with Tracy McGrady on the floor. Perhaps more important is the notion, spreading like a virus among Houston fans, that McGrady is to blame for nearly everything that ever goes wrong on that team. He has been tremendous for a long time. But he has his issues, and at some point, people will start to see him less as a savior and more as someone whose $23 million comes off the books in the summer of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh, etc.
Some statistics suggest the Kings might want to try Francisco Garcia at point guard again.
Shopping Vince Carter. This post comes with a free how-to on trading big-contract stars.
There comes a time in every NBA season when the Spurs wake up and really start caring. Not sure when it started, but it's definitely here now. Ryan Schwan of Hornets247 (check out their super-cool game-day banners, by the way) notes: "Popovich was animated, on his feet screaming at his players all game long. Every time there was a time out he stalked far out onto the court, yelled at his guys to gather around, and frequently laid into at least one of them. Ginobili and Duncan also got on teammates repeatedly, and there was some real intensity out there. They wanted this game."
Latest news on Andrew Bynum's injury situation is promised on the Lakers' official blog. There was some thought it might be last night, but obviously that didn't happen.
Kevin Arnovitz of ClipperBlog on Al Thornton: "It's one thing to be a black hole in the offense, incapable of passing out on drives or creating something for a teammate. But it's quite another not to have a basic recognition of what's going on. Matchups are the fundamental basis of the NBA halfcourt game. An efficient wing should be able to size up the nature of his opposition. Darius Songaila? Take him off the dribble. Javaris Crittenton? Post him. Shorter defender who's still recovering from the curl screen? There's your opportunity for a high-percentage jumper. A player who doesn't understand how to maximize his limited attributes won't help you win basketball games."
You know how many times this year Amare Stoudemire has had more then ten rebounds, and less than 20 points? Zero. Black Jesus Disciples suggests that's a player who rebounds more when he's involved in the offense. There's also, interestingly, not a lot of correlation between Stoudemire's rebounding and the Suns' winning.
A pretty great PG-13 scene from the TV show Shaq has been tweeting about.
By the way, a thought: A few front offices and coaches around the NBA have been really vehemently upset that this or that player didn't make the All-Star game. With the possible exception of those in Minnesota, I can't buy that anyone is really shocked. Everyone who missed was well known to have been on the fringe, and not every good player makes it every year. Unlucky. My guess is that the teams that got really adamant about it are not the teams that are most genuinely outraged, but instead the teams who think their stars would really appreciate having a big fuss made on their behalf in the media.
UPDATE: The three ingredients of a good hook shot, according to Trey Kirby of the Blowtorch: "1. Full extension of the shooting arm. 2. Body and off-arm shield the defender from blocking the shot. 3. Strange facial expression." See for yourself. He has pictures.