Thursday Bullets

  • There was also some basketball played last night. And did anyone notice what David Thorpe noticed? The Rockets played one of the smallest lineups in basketball -- Carl Landry, Chuck Hayes, Von Wafer, Kyle Lowry and Aaron Brooks -- to start the second quarter. The Lakers were fairly big with Andrew Bynum and Lamar Odom on the court. And the Rockets rattled off an instant 11-2 run. There are a couple of messages there: One is that the Rockets still have this trick up their sleeve. Another is that those shorter big men, like Landry and Utah's Paul Millsap, are often maligned by front offices, but they can be used to great effect.

  • Yesterday I wrote about Stan Van Gundy's meticulous and beautiful pre-game whiteboard. ESPN's Chris Sheridan talked to Van Gundy about it once, and asked how he could ever bring himself to erase all that work. Van Gundy said that he could not -- he always made sure to have someone else do it for him.

  • You're Rick Carlisle, hoping your team will rally together to shock the nation. Then this. (Also, note this.) It almost couldn't be weirder. Don't you just know that Dirk Nowitzki will one day be a keynote speaker at the Rookie Transition Program, telling the youngsters how you can never be too careful in avoiding ... whatever this is.

  • Assessing the multi-faceted finger-pointing going on in Philadelphia.

  • Ron Artest's post-game comments must be read in their entirety. But especially noteworthy was this part (as reported by the Houston Chronicle's Jonathan Feigen): "I remember when I used to play back home in the neighborhood there were always games like that. I remember one time, one of my friends, he was playing basketball and they were winning the game. It was so competitive, they broke off a piece of leg from a table and they threw it and it went right through his heart and he died right on the court. So I'm accustomed playing basketball really rough."

  • In the fall of 2001, Brian Scalabrine was the greenest (and, incidentally, reddest) Net -- a longshot to make the team. Stephon Marbury was the All-Star who had just been shipped to Phoenix for Jason Kidd. What kind of visionary would have predicted that one day, in a big playoff series, they'd be teammates with Scalabrine the better paid and more important of the two?

  • Mark Madsen: "I've never played on the same team as Ron Artest, but I've played against him dating all the way back to college. Of all the guys I've played with or against, there were always two people who stood out as aggressive defenders who guys around the league don't want to mess with. Both Latrell Sprewell and Ron Artest are guys who you absolutely want to go to battle with. They are known as great players around the league, but everybody also knows not to cross the line with either one."

  • And you thought the Bulls' playoff run was over.

  • Imagine two of the most ridiculously athletic and frenetic players in the league. Now, let me remind you that Rajon Rondo and Josh Smith were high school teammates for a year.

  • A suggestion that Madison Square Garden (and with it the Rangers and Knicks) may be spun off from Cablevision.

  • The rough blueprint for what the Hawks have to do to beat the Cavaliers.

  • Starting point guard, Louis Williams?

  • The All-Defensive first team (Dwight Howard, Chris Paul, LeBron James, Kobe Bryant, Kevin Garnett), playing together, would play worse defense than some current NBA teams. John Hollinger (Insider): "I refuse to believe the league's coaches submitted those ballots for the All-Defensive Team. Pardon me while I wonder out loud how many of them outsourced the job to the team's media directors or some other person down the food chain. Based on the voting, I'll go with "most or all." You can't tell me with a straight face that one of the league's coaches voted Travis Outlaw second-team all-defense or that one of them put David Lee on the first team (!) or that three of them felt Samuel Dalembert was worthy of a second-team vote at center. The other big clue is how star-heavy the final results were. Four of the top five players in the MVP voting made the first team. The other (Dwyane Wade) was a second-team choice. They didn't pick an All-Defensive Team; they picked an all-endorsement team."