Thursday Bullets

  • James "Flight" White can really dunk. And he'll be in the D-League's dunk contest. Consider yourselves warned. He'll be up against the defending champion Brent Petway, Patrick Ewing, Jr., and Keith Clark.

  • ESPN's John Hollinger (Insider): "Speaking of disappointing contenders, what's the Suns' excuse? They came in reasonably healthy and had Shaquille O'Neal playing Wednesday night, yet gave up 41 first-quarter points to the Warriors en route to a 124-112 shellacking. Kelenna Azubuike, who allegedly had Amare Stoudemire guarding him, scored 19 points in the first quarter. This is par for the course for the Suns, unfortunately. They are 19th in defensive efficiency, which is notable because it's worse than they ever did under Mike D'Antoni -- before the current administration brought in its commitment to defense, in other words. Obviously Stoudemire's D, or lack thereof, has been a major component, but defensive effort has been an issue at several positions. Perhaps that shouldn't surprise anyone, since the team is composed almost entirely of offensive players." Matt Steinmetz of the Examiner notes that coach Terry Porter said the team didn't expect Azubuike to be hitting a lot of 3s. As of today, Azubuike is 57 of 124 from downtown, with the third best percentage in the NBA. In Porter's defense, Azubuike's percentage wasn't as good before last night's game.

  • You know how referees have become much stricter about contact on the perimeter? Mark Cuban is taking credit for that. He's also lining up some meaningful support in defense against the S.E.C.'s insider trading accusations.

  • Remember when the NBA was fun and happy, with the Celtics and the Lakers in the Finals every year? Then there was a long, ugly, vicious period with trash-talking, choke signs, and brutal defense that make the game hard to watch? Roland Lazenby tells an enticing tale, rich with first-person accounts, making the case that the NBA took a major leap towards becoming a bully's league in Game 3 of the 1984 series between the Lakers and the Celtics.

  • By the Horns, on what it was like watching the Bulls encounter the Hornets, who were without Chris Paul: "You know those National Geographic-style nature specials where a pack of hungry lions stumbles across an injured buffalo/elephant/hyena/whatever? The moment those lions sense weakness or smell a little blood, they launch into a brutal and savage feeding frenzy. Have you ever seen a buffalo get stuffed into a blender? No, probably not, because that's crazy."

  • A basketball team bonded by having parents serving overseas.

  • Tony Parker is part owner and reportedly director of operations for a French team.

  • All about the MCL injuries. Andrew Bynum fans, take note.

  • Thanks to some schedule quirks, Kevin Garnett's flu could determine who has the home court advantage throughout the playoffs.

  • Via TMZ: Diddy, at the Knicks game, shocked to find a one dollar bill hiding among his hundreds.