Wednesday Bullets

  • Zach Lowe of CelticsHub on Ray Allen's role in the run that broke the Heat: "Ray’s value goes well beyond his three-point shooting percentage. And if you ever doubt that, you can do two things: 1) Look at Ray’s plus/minus stats, which have been by far the best of any Celtic over the last two seasons and show a consistent ability to elevate bench players; or 2) Much more fun: Watch the stretch between the 6:26 and 4:41 marks of the 3rd quarter from last night’s game. The C’s scored 12 points in that 1:45 -- and Ray was responsible for all of them."

  • If LeBron James wants to step out from Michael Jordan's shadow, there could be no better start than beating the Bulls.

  • A massive account of NBA feuds through the years. A highly entertaining read.

  • So it turns out there was something beautiful down the stretch of last night's Laker win: How the Lakers had prepared for a favorite crunch time Thunder play. It's hard to see how it could have been played better, and it's a great thing to see professionalism on display.

  • Vlade Divac's new job: president of the Serbian Olympic Committee.

  • An ugly scene in the Chinese Basketball Association, where an American player (Charles Gaines) knocked out a Chinese player (Du Feng) with an open-handed blow. A near-riot ensued.

  • On that note, Steve Weinman of D-League Digest describes how a key D-League playoff game ended last night: "At that point, the game delved into the world of the bizarre. Conor Atchley was called for a blocking foul against Washington at that 2:10 mark, drawing outbursts from a livid pair of Energy announcers as well as visible displeasure from the Iowa bench and audible displeasure from the crowd (Ridiculous Upside’s Jon L has rightly described the post-call atmosphere in the building as being “on the cusp of a fight breaking out”). Whether Atchley got to the spot and set himself appropriately to draw a charge or not is debatable (my only half-decent look at it came live in real time, at which point I had no problem with the call on the floor). Not as debatable is what happened as Washington made his second free throw: Energy point guard Curtis Stinson picked up a technical foul for arguing, then went after an official and received a second technical and an ejection for that. Stinson had to be restrained by team personnel and escorted from the floor. Even if the Energy were right to have a complaint, Stinson was wrong. That simply cannot happen at that juncture. Not only did Stinson’s two technical fouls give the 66ers two extra chances to add on to what was then a 110-103 lead with just outside two minutes to play, but his actions also denied his team its best player for the final 130 seconds of its season. All Stinson did in this game was post 32 points, 11 assists and seven rebounds against just one turnover, getting to the foul line 10 times. After his ejection, Cecil Brown hit one of two free throws to extend the lead to eight, and the Energy were left to claw their way back without their point guard. They got all the way to within two with five seconds to play before Tulsa re-extended the lead to two possessions after Iowa fouled to stop the clock. Without that extra point for Tulsa and with Stinson in the lineup for Iowa, there’s no telling how those last two minutes turn out or whether the Energy get at least a chance with the ball with the game within one possession."

  • Dominique Wilkins says he was as good as any player, and that it's a shame he's only known for dunking.

  • Nicolas Batum -- a key Portland defender -- re-injured the same shoulder he had operated on in October. Joe Freeman of the Oregonian: "After the game, Batum could not lift his right arm above his head or move it very far backward in the visiting locker room at US Airways Center. So his playing status is at least in jeopardy going forward in the Blazers’ best-of-seven postseason series that is even at 1-1. 'You know last year I played seven months with it and that was worse,' Batum said of his surgically repaired right shoulder. 'So I’m sure I’m going to play.' Wait, is he sure? Or merely optimistic? 'Optimistic,' he said, laughing, before estimating there to be a 50 percent chance." He's having an MRI today.

  • Four Sonics fans bought tickets to the Thunder's first playoff game (PG-13 for language), on Sunday in Los Angeles. They got all decked out in Sonics gear and made themselves known from their second-row seats, where they generally expressed mourning for their departed team, and managed to give nemesis Clay Bennett -- sitting several rows behind them -- the evil eye more than a few times.

  • Peja Stojakovic may not be the NBA's best defender, but he goads opponents into open long jumpers, which is fairly effective.

  • Josh Smith does some things better than LeBron James does.

  • Dwight Howard's block party, in video.

  • Expect to see more Brendan Haywood. The Mavericks have been good when he's on the floor. Also, the video case that the Spurs should front Dirk Nowitzki in the post.

  • Jeremy from Roundball Mining Company: "Even after dropping a game at home to a very shorthanded Utah Jazz team in my mind the Denver Nuggets are still the favorite to win their first round series with Utah. However, I am done looking at this team through the perspective of what they can do and from now on I am only concerned with what they have done. They have successfully destroyed my sense of optimism about what they can be."

  • Mark Ginocchio on the Nets' Terrence Williams: "How good was TWill down the stretch? He went from averaging 3.7 points, 2.2 assists, 2.3 rebounds on 38 percent shooting in about 15 minutes a game in February to averaging 14.1 points, 4.9 assists and 6.7 rebounds on 43 percent shooting in 30 minutes a game in March. He then upped his game even more for the final 7 games in April, averaging 14.3 points, 6.3 assists, 7.1 rebounds on 45 percent shooting playing 34 minutes a game. This wasn’t a gradual improvement. This is a legitimate case of a light 'switching on' for a player."