"Thumbs Down" is one of Orlando's favorite sets. Jameer Nelson and Dwight Howard run a high screen-and-roll in the middle of the floor, with a shooter to the left of the action. Last spring, this play call was lethal, but the Celtics' defenders have it well in check. Zach Lowe of Celtics Hub breaks down what Boston is doing defensively to stop it.
Disarmed by the Suns' 2-3 zone on Sunday night, the Lakers launched a barrage of 3-pointers. Phillip Barnett of Forum Blue & Gold points out that shooting from the perimeter is a dicey strategy against Phoenix: "[T]hose long shots lead to long rebounds, which create transition opportunities for a team that likes to run as much as the Suns do. The Suns had 18 fast break points in Game 3 compared to just 20 in the first two games combined."
Assuming the Suns stick with the zone in Game 4, how do the Lakers attack it? Mike Fratello explains that confronting the zone doesn't require a complete overhaul of your offense -- just small calibrations.
Kevin Pelton of Basketball Prospectus suggests that the Lakers might want to switch up their pick-and-roll defense: "[T]he Lakers probably don't want to have to bring over a third player and invite the Suns to get open looks from the perimeter. Perhaps then the answer is softening up the post player's hedging against Nash with the goal of turning him into a scorer instead of a playmaker. That's a dangerous game, certainly, but now it's the Lakers who find themselves forced to choose between unpalatable alternatives on defense."
Ben Q. Rock of Orlando Pinstriped Post asks Magic fans if they prefer to be taken out of their misery tonight in Game 4, or have the Magic return to Orlando for a Game 5.
There are some features of the NBA Draft that make Benjamin Polk of A Wolf Among Wolves a little uneasy: "[P]layers are essentially consenting to become commodities. They are referred to as 'assets' and 'pieces,' and are bought, sold and traded as such. The movements and labors of their bodies are known as 'the product,' and their inner lives deemed valuable only in the extent that they can a) foster their teams’ production or b) be packaged into digestible, televisable bits."
Canadian youth, meet Randy Foye.
Did viewers lose interest after the Lakers throttled the Suns in Los Angeles? Not quite. From Sports Media Watch: "The Suns' Game 3 win over the Lakers drew a 6.1 overnight rating on TNT Sunday night, up 13% from Game 2 (5.4), and the highest overnight of the series."
The Knicks are often dismissed as a desirable destination for LeBron James because of their thin supporting cast. Wilson Chandler is one of the Knicks' pieces and he's become a more efficient player this season by raising his true shooting. that's the good news. The bad news according to Mike Kurylo of Knickerblogger? "There are a few ways to increase your TS%. Two main ones that would coincide with a sign of Chandler’s development are increasing the number of times converting from the charity stripe and an uptick in three point percentage. However Wilson did neither of these as he scored fewer singles and connected less often from downtown in 2010. His fta/36 fell from 2.8 to 2.5 and his ftm/fga dropped as well (from .16 to .15). Meanwhile his three point percentage was a shameful 26.7%."