Compiled by your humble servant Kurt from Forum Blue and Gold. Unless you don't like them, in which case Henry did them.
The Phoenix Suns have dropped five of eight, and the reason may be a harbinger of future playoff problems -- the Suns can't stop big men. Andrew Bynum had a career high 28 for the Lakers on Christmas. Two nights earlier Chris Bosh put up 42 (his career high). The scoring machine that is Erick Dampier had eight points in the first seven minutes against the Suns. Tim Duncan's back isn't right and he had 36. Shaq had his best game in a month. Al Jefferson put up 32 points. This past off-season, the Suns were true to their style and got smaller -- Kurt Thomas was out and Grant Hill was in. The Suns offense is still potent and Hill brings a nice mid-range game, but they can't seem to defend the paint. Don't you need to do that in the playoffs?
Phil Jackson should not wear bow ties.
TrueHoop reader Tim emailed with a common question and complaint - why do we have to watch certain teams every Christmas, even when they are no good? Neither the Heat nor Cavs would make the playoffs if they started today. The Lakers and Suns turned out to be a good match up, but would you have predicted that before the season? Tim has a suggestion:
On a big marketing push day, like yesterday, leave yourself some options. So, for example, rather than scheduling three games for the day, schedule six. Three early, two late afternoon, and one evening. Of all the match-ups scheduled for that day, choose the best from your early and late games to televise a week or two out, and, even if you end up choosing a dud, you still have other games to "break into" during breaks for highlights and such.
From TrueHoop reader Tim (not the same one as the last note, this is the other Tim) comes an interesting article from the Houston Chronicle about how different teams are using the D-League. The Spurs and Lakers own and control their own D-League teams, and that makes some sense because those are two highly-structured systems, which takes some getting used to for young players. From Spurs GM R.C. Buford: "We didn't have to buy the club. But we felt the more we could control those developmental opportunities, the more we were assuring ourselves. We could control the strength training, the on-court training, the coaching."
Larry Hughes is a slashing perimeter player on a team where that role is filled by some guy named LeBron. So, Hughes can be yours, if you want to take on two more seasons at $13 million.
By the way, Lakers fans are very pumped about what Trevor Ariza brings to the team. This video explains why. Or you could just ask Grant Hill.
Check out the history of every sneaker Kobe has worn in the NBA (and some he hasn't worn in games).
Mouhamed Sene is about to learn more about potatoes and everything else Idaho has to offer.
Who is the best player ever to come out of Inglewood High School, Reggie Theus or Paul Pierce? (The school is just blocks from the Fabulous Forum, where the Lakers played in the Showtime era). Hat tip to Sactown Royalty, who may be right that Lisa Leslie is the best of them all.
Out of deference to TrueHoop's regular master, here is the link to the Trail Blazers' win last night. That's 11 in a row and it was a veteran win for young team -- good teams win on an off night.