The TrueHoop Network gangs up to deliver a killer set of suggestions to reform All-Star Weekend. D-League All-Stars vs. Rookies, anyone?
What's bigger: Stephon Marbury's annual salary ... or double the combined salaries of the entire WNBA? It's close.
The New Orleans Hornets saw a ghost. Or something. They were stupefied, terrified, mesmerized ... after Chris Paul was injured, the remaining Hornets could hardly even manage to jog, let alone run actual plays and play with actual vigor. Just like that, a 70-50 lead with a few minutes left in the third became a 97-89 loss. Oh, Portland had its normal offensive efficiency working. The Blazers grabbed 17 of the 21 available rebounds over that stretch. At times the defense was slightly spirited. But mostly, the Hornets were just sleepwalking, entirely lost. When it's time to vote on MVP, the fourth quarter of that game might be as strong a case as can be made for Chris Paul. Talk about a good team being lost without its leader.
It never feels good to be down 50.
Bill Plaschke of the L.A. Times talks to Laker GM Mitch Kupchak about how the team reacts to Andrew Bynum's injury: "'About a trade, our tendency is to say no,' he said. 'To me, the resolution is simple -- Andrew has a good chance to return before the end of the year, so we wait.' But if Bynum does return, how long will it take him to trust that injured right knee? It took him nearly a year to figure out how to play on a surgically repaired left knee. Even though this injury does not require surgery, he's going to figure it out in a couple of weeks before the playoffs? In the month before the Finals? 'This being the second time for an injury, he knows what to expect,' Kupchak said. 'A lot of times, getting over that second injury is easier. And Andrew has commented that this didn't feel anywhere near as bad as the first injury.' Kupchak is optimistic. Kupchak is sick to his stomach. That sort of describes everyone around the Lakers this week, nobody knowing what to think."
OK, just for fun: How in the heck does Kobe Bryant play 37 minutes, against the up-tempo Knicks, and not get a single rebound? Actually, that's a classic example of how not to think about basketball. It's a game of mistakes -- everyone makes them. More and more I'm convinced that good teams see the good in their players, and nurture it. Bad teams see the flaws. If I'm a Laker fan, I'm thinking I'll keep the guy who scores 61 points on 31 shots.
Scott Crisp of the Dallas Sports Examiner writes: "Since head coach Rick Carlisle charged Jason Kidd with the responsibility of play-calling duties last week, the Mavericks are 3-0, with double-digit wins at home against Golden State and on the road against Miami and, last night, Orlando."
Maybe Kevin Love really will get his shot at All-Star weekend. From a press release: "TNT today announced the addition of the popular basketball shot-making game H-O-R-S-E to its programming lineup during its four days of NBA All-Star 2009 coverage from February 12-15, in Phoenix, Arizona. The H-O-R-S-E game will air live during TNT's two-hour Inside the NBA presented by Hyundai (5 - 7 p.m. ET) on Saturday, February 14. Participants for the event will be announced at a later date." Matt Moore has a good four-player lineup, although I'd like to see Steve Nash and Kobe Bryant in there, too. Plus, I'm sure lots of NBA players know who that crazy good HORSE player is. There are some around. I want that guy, too. UPDATE: I have been thinking about this way too much, but here's who I'd call first to invite to this contest (in no particular order): Eddie House (loves to shoot!), Joe Alexander (he's jilted after the dunk thing --brings some edginess!), Byron Scott (brings the kind of old-guy trash talk people will love to root against), Kenny Smith (lots on the line for him -- a loss to a rookie = a year of televised public humiliation), Antoine Walker (he'll be good at this), Jerryd Bayless (almost dangerously high energy), Morris Almond (this is the event for shooters looking to perfect their D), Leandro Barbosa, J.J. Redick, Sam Cassell, Gerald Green, Mike James, Kevin Martin, Adam Morrison, Mike Miller, Travis Outlaw, Nate Robinson, Nick Young, and Louis Williams.
PER vs. All-Star votes, a chart.
TrueHoop reader John on the Cheesecake Factory and the magical spell it casts on NBA players: "There was another mention of the NBA's favorite restaurant last night by the Phoenix Suns announcers during the blowout of the Kings. With around 6:50 left on the clock in the fourth quarter, they mentioned how Goran Dragic has had little contact with any Slovenians since coming here. This week however he got to sit down and have lunch with fellow countryman Beno Udrih of the Kings. The announcers said they'd have expected them to go eat at an eastern European restaurant, but no, they chose the Cheescake Factory."
Wizznutzz: "HEy so what do old wine, The Wizards, Filenes and The Gar Heard Robot have in common? They r all things you FIND IN BASEMENTS!!!!"
Reports of Manu Ginobili's demise were greatly exaggerated.
The Clippers have nine possessions of playing their A-team, now fairly healthy, and do pretty well.
A Laker blogger says LeBron James should be the MVP this season.