John Hollinger (Insider) with some pretty big Dahntay Jones news: "He already has two flagrant foul points in the playoffs and would earn more points -- either one or two -- if his blatant, intentional trip of Kobe Bryant in Game 4 is reclassified a flagrant foul. If it's called a Flagrant 1, he would be on the verge of a potential suspension -- four points gets you suspended. If the league reclassifies it a Flagrant 2, then Jones is really hosed. He would presumably be suspended for Game 5 since he wasn't ejected at the time of the play, plus it would give him four flagrant points -- potentially providing an automatic one-game suspension on top of the first penalty. In that case, see you Sunday, Dahntay, provided the series goes seven." UPDATE: Jones was given a Flarant 1.
C.A. Clark on Silver Screen and Roll: "Coming off of what was probably the best combination of the first 4 games in Conference Finals history, every NBA fan in the world was salivating over what the next installments of both series' would bring. So what were we treated to over this fine Memorial Day Weekend? Free Throws. A whole lot of them. An average of 82 a game. How insane is that? Here is some perspective. In 82 regular season games, the Lakers participated in a game with more than 80 free throws zero times. They were in a game with more than 70 free throws only 5 times. The average regular season Laker game had 48 combined free throws. How about in the playoffs, you ask? We've played two pretty physical teams in Houston and Utah, the numbers must be closer, right? Well, the average per game has certainly increased, up to 55 per game. But no single game, before this series, has topped 70 combined trips to the charity stripe. The last 3 games against Denver have all hit that mark. That is a problem. It is something to complain about. Not as a Lakers fan or as a Nuggets fan, but as a fan of basketball. Free throws aren't killing the game, but they aren't doing it any service either. Game 3 of the EC finals was miserable to watch, and Game 4 of the WC finals wasn't much prettier. I guess somebody forgot to tell the refs that the players tend to play harder when they are this close to winning a championship."
On Blazers.com there is a tale of why Tom Penn decided to turn down the Minnesota GM job. Mike Barrett writes: "Assistant GM Tom Penn was offered a position with the Minnesota Timberwolves, and after much consideration, made the decision to stay in Portland. If he had gone I'd be spinning this today, telling you how everyone would be feeling confident he'd be replaced and we'd move forward. But, because this worked out the way it did, I can tell you that everyone is very happy there is no job opening in the Blazer front office." And yet, in Minnesota, owner Glen Taylor says nobody turned down the job. Britt Robson of Secrets of the City writes: "In the interest of setting the record straight, was [New GM David] Kahn your first and only choice and not Lindsey, Penn or Pfund? Taylor said nobody else turned down the job. Later, under prodding from Jerry Zgoda, he was even more specific, leaving no doubt that, under his interpretation anyway, reports that Lindsey and Penn were offered the job and were otherwise preferential to Kahn were, in Taylor's words, 'inaccurate' and 'false.'"
You notice that there aren't that many big burly power forwards around these days?
M. Haubs of The Painted Area on inbounding late in the game, and LeBron James' big shot: "On Tuesday, George Karl was pilloried for lining up 6-2 Anthony Carter to inbound the ball with the length of 6-10 Lamar Odom flailing in his face. Somewhat amazingly, just three days later, Mike Brown called upon 6-1 Mo Williams to make the inbound pass with :01 left, but Stan had 6-10 Rashard playing rather passively off the ball for some reason. That's OK if there are six or seven seconds left, when he could go help, but with just :01 on the clock, it seemed like there were two and only two options for deploying Lewis: 1) Right up in Mo's face, waving his arms a la Odom v AC to close off the passing lanes, or 2) Doubling LeBron, to at least force him much further away from the basket, at a more difficult angle. We have no idea why Rashard was in no man's land, and thought it was a pretty huge blunder on an otherwise brilliant night by Stan, a night when he proved why he easily should have won the Coach of the Year award, no matter what happened in the final second."
Mike Dunleavy is envisioning Blake Griffin fast breaks. If Griffin can get the Clippers to play up-tempo, I'm thinking they could be a lot better -- the pace might motivate Baron Davis to find that extra gear. And is there some way the Clippers could get Blake Griffin and Ricky Rubio?
Mike Moreau, a guy who once jokingly called my handle the best he had ever seen, spent four days coaching at an Oklahoma City mini-camp, and says the organization could not be more professional. He writes on Hoopsworld: "After spending four days as a guest coach at their free agent mini-camp this past week, I can say this with complete confidence: The playoffs are coming to Oklahoma City. Maybe not next year, or even the year after, but they are coming. How do I know that? Because when I got off the plane in OKC, Judy was right there at baggage claim to meet me. When I walked outside, Wilson was waiting with the van to take me to my hotel. How do I know the playoffs are coming to Oklahoma City? Because when I got to the hotel, I was given all of the information I needed for mini-camp, complete with a personalized daily itinerary with my name on it, right next to a color Thunder logo. I was also given a Thunder equipment bag with not only enough gear for five practice sessions over the next three days, but also an extra shirt to wear on the plane going home. So what ? What does this have to do with making the playoffs? Everything. Because the same attention to detail they gave to me as a guest coach is the same attention to detail they gave the players in the camp, from giving the players a financial seminar to providing massages after practice. And keep in mind that most of these players won't even get an invite to their summer league team, much less have a chance to make their roster and help them win games." (Via Daily Thunder)
Rather beautiful chart of which Magic players are using the ball now compared to the regular season.
Did you know that one player. Kenyon Martin, has had three technicals rescin
ded this post-season? That has to be an all-time record, and a sign that the referees are not in step with the league.
TrueHoop reader Dustin wonders something I have often wondered: "How do players who dunk hard -- LeBron, Dwight, Nene, and Kobe, to name a few left in the playoffs -- do so without any major or minor injury to his hand or wrist? I remember dunking like that on my 9 foot hoop growing up and I would pop a blood vessel in my wrist and bruise the palm of my hand on a semi-regular basis. ... Do we just not hear about these minor injuries? Is there a technique to this style of dunking to prevent injury? Are the rims simply engineered to soften the impact? Or are these guys just so strong that it doesn't faze them? What's the deal?"
UPDATE: What the Jazz face when they face Carlos Boozer's agent, Rob Pelinka.
UPDATE: Liveblogging tonight, featuring John Krolik of Cavs the Blog in combination with Zach McCann from Orlando Magic Daily. Krolik will be locked in isolation, trying to stay focused. McCann will be live from media row.