Did anybody watch the Bulls beat the Nuggets last night? A lot of people took from that game that Derrick Rose owned the Nuggets, because he scored a few buckets in crunch time. Others saw Carmelo Anthony do some scoring in the third quarter and said ooh, I bet the Bulls wish they had traded for that guy. I see people hypnotized by scoring: To me that game was exhibit A in why the Bulls were right to keep Joakim Noah, who finished with 19 rebounds, and was freaking everywhere. Nobody but him did much of anything that mattered in the paint at either end, and as a help defender he frustrated almost everything the Nuggets did. And he got the win. No way, watching that game, I'd regret not trading him for Anthony, even if Anthony did have one of the finest, and toughest, crunch time buckets of the season in a losing effort.
Pat Riley as Yoda, on 790 the Ticket: "You can wish all you want. You can want all you want, but it’s the doing that counts.”
Bret Lagree of Hoopinion on Josh Smith's improved jumper: "Despite the improved outside shooting, Josh Smith's scoring rate is down about five percent from last season and, despite a marked improvement at the free throw line (up to 67.7% from 61.8% last season), his True Shooting Percentage has only improved slightly, moving from 53.6% to 55.5%. The reason? Smith isn't augmenting his devastating finishing at the rim with better results from the perimeter. He's shooting jump shots instead of scoring at the rim."
With less than a second left, and lots of worrying to be done about backdoor cuts, why not just play zone and prevent everything at the rim? Also ... there is no defensive three seconds in that situation.
If, at any point, you forgot that Chris Paul was the best point guard in the NBA, then you have to buy Zach Harper a new laptop, and for the record he likes fancy ones with all the latest bells and whistles.
On the road with the crazies in Andrew Bogut's Squad Six, as they invade Indiana.
The Thunder are 25th in John Hollinger's power rankings. When I was wrapping up a conversation with Thunder big man Nenad Krstic about earthquakes, I asked him about the team this year, and he sounded wary: "We have a tough tough schedule coming up. It's going to be interesting. We got to play better. We don't play consistently. Maybe it's like last year, we were like 12-14 or something and we turned it up and played better. But I don't know if that's going to be the case this year. ... We'll see."
Ted Leonsis, owner of the Wizards, loved the Conan O'Brien joke about getting a written offer saying he is going to be paid "Less ... Much Less" than he used to get paid. Who'd blame Leonsis for fantasizing about delivering a letter like? For instance, perhaps to one of his Wizards player, too. Unrelated: Gilbert Arenas jokes that he's playing NBA basketball this season mainly as a way to get out of the house.
An important shakeup in the Nuggets' front office. Owners like to have their own insight, from outside the mainstream of the organization. Stan Kroenke's guy was Bret Bearup, but now Bearup is out. Masai Ujiri and Josh Kroenke will be calling the shots.
Learn the name: Linos Chrysikopoulos. Got it?
There's plenty of talk about Brandon Roy being in decline, or injured. Then there's also talk that eight games is not enough to say much of anything. My best guess is that his driving to the rim causes injuries he is eager to avoid, and doing so is less valuable now that, instead of kicking it out to an open shooter, he kicks it out to Marcus Camby or Andre Miller.
NBA refs are sometimes accused of allowing or favoring spectacular, highlight-reel plays. This is the opposite of that.
Rajon Rondo got really mad at Ray Allen after Jason Terry hit a big 3 last night.
Stat guys, calling Andrea Bargnani a bust.
When I first saw this headline, I thought it said: "Lakers enjoy an off-day game against Minnesota" which seemed like a real burn.
Del Harris is broadcasting in Spanish? Jeff Caplan of ESPN writes: "Harris learned Spanish 35 years ago when he coached the Puerto Rican national team. He also coached there for seven summers and spent a year coaching in Barcelona." For some reason I find that incredibly impressive.
Arsenalist of Raptors Republic, breaking down some photos with a classic line: "On this play the Raptors have three help defenders. None of them help."
Rob Mahoney of The Two Man Game: "I’m not sure who this Brendan Haywood is, but I wouldn’t mind seeing the old one come back."
Marcus Camby talks about his mentors, in an interview with a homeless advocacy newspaper.
Phil Jackson sees some D-League in his rookies' futures.
Allen Iverson gets a hero's welcome at a Turkish soccer game, says he's thrilled with fans at airport.