The NBA Dribbled Out

Four links for four pieces about three stories:

Ailene Viosin of the Sacramento Bee on the Sacramento Kings comeback that saw the league’s board of governors block the Chris Hansen-led deal to send the team to Seattle. Seattle deserves a team, and Hansen will help them in that cause, but not this team. This team belongs to Sacramento, and they don’t appear to be leaving.

Zach Lowe on the “New Age Shane Battiers.” Even with the playoffs in full swing, and even while he’s fiing stories twice daily about Durant’s new responsibilities with Westbrook out, Brooklyn’s awful defense through the three of the first four games of round 1, or what Golden State has to do with David Lee out for the rest of the postseason, he still finds time to write a piece like this, which is excellent. I love me some Battier.

Probably the best pure writer within the Internet sportswriter canon: Charles P. Pierce tackles the Jason Collins news. You don’t need to know anything else about the piece. It’s Pierce and he’s talking about something important. That makes it—not just a must read—but something you need to read

Even though he writes about college football for a living and shares my lovely given name, he’s forgiven because Spencer Hall’s piece on Tim Raines, Chris Broussard and Jason Collins is “giving credit where credit is due.”

Have a good one.

Culled 2013 NBA playoff reading:
Rob Mahoney for The Point Forward - “Why your team will (or won’t) win the NBA title”
Jeff Zillgitt for USA Today Sports - “Why Miami Heat will win the NBA Title”
Tom Ziller for SB Nation - “Predicting the 2013 NBA playoffs using math”
Brett Koremenos for Grantland with Inside the Playbook NBA Playoff Previews -
“Knicks, Celtics, Heat, Bucks”
“Nuggets, Clippers, Grizzlies, Wariors”
“Nets, Bulls, Pacers, Hawks, Rockets, Spurs, Lakers, Thuder”
Dan Devine at Ball Don’t Lie - “Dan Devine’s Inarguable power rankings: first-round playoff matchups”
Mike Prada for SB Nation - ”The pet plays that will decide the postseason”
Royce Young, Zach Harper and Matt Moore for Eye on Basketball -
“Eastern Conference first-round playoff preview" 
“Western Conference first-round playoff preview”
Hoopchalk - NBA Playoff Capsules
Hardwood Paroxysm - NBA Playoff Previews
Shaky Ankles is posting playoff previews, but so far we’ve only done the Eastern Conference. My guess is we’ll have Western Conference posts up some time tomorrow. 
John Schuhman for the Hang Time Blog - 
“The numbers on the West playoffs”
“The numbers on the East playoffs”
Adi Joseph for USA Today Sports - “Your guide to the 2013 NBA playoff first round”
Zach Lowe for Grantland answers - “The NBA playoffs burning questions”
There are a lot more words I haven’t mentioned, but this is what I’ve been looking at so far. Last year, I recapped every single playoff game for free and I nearly cost me a girlfriend. This year I’ve agreed to abstain, unless someone hires me to do so.* I’m just gonna watch the games, and maybe write a little something if I have time or if something jumps out at me. But last year’s experiment was just that, and until this humble blogger gets hired to do that sort of thing, it’ll just end up being that one time I recapped every single playoff game. 
I LOVE LOVE LOVE this time of year, but pretty much every person in my life despises it because I keep everything else in the periphery; for almost two months, I’m never really present while I’m dreaming about matchups and coaching changes and injuries and what the different narratives will be. It’s amazing. I love this ish, and I hope you do too. 
PLAYOFF PICKS
First Round Winners: 
EAST: Miami 4-1, New York 4-3, Indiana 4-2, Brooklyn 4-3 (I wrote a little about these at Shaky Ankles, and we’re covering the Western Conference matchups tomorrow)
WEST: Oklahoma City 4-2, San Antonio 4-0, Memphis 4-3, Denver 4-2
Conference Semifinal Winners:
EAST: Miami 4-0, New York 4-3
WEST: Oklahoma City 4-2, San Antonio 4-2
Conference Finals Winners:
EAST: Miami 4-1
WEST: Oklahoma City 4-3
Finals:
Miami 4-3
*If you know of a site looking for coverage, drop me a line.

Culled 2013 NBA playoff reading:

Rob Mahoney for The Point Forward - “Why your team will (or won’t) win the NBA title

Jeff Zillgitt for USA Today Sports - “Why Miami Heat will win the NBA Title

Tom Ziller for SB Nation - “Predicting the 2013 NBA playoffs using math

Brett Koremenos for Grantland with Inside the Playbook NBA Playoff Previews -

Dan Devine at Ball Don’t Lie - “Dan Devine’s Inarguable power rankings: first-round playoff matchups

Mike Prada for SB Nation - The pet plays that will decide the postseason

Royce Young, Zach Harper and Matt Moore for Eye on Basketball -

Hoopchalk - NBA Playoff Capsules

Hardwood Paroxysm - NBA Playoff Previews

Shaky Ankles is posting playoff previews, but so far we’ve only done the Eastern Conference. My guess is we’ll have Western Conference posts up some time tomorrow. 

John Schuhman for the Hang Time Blog

Adi Joseph for USA Today Sports - “Your guide to the 2013 NBA playoff first round

Zach Lowe for Grantland answers - “The NBA playoffs burning questions

There are a lot more words I haven’t mentioned, but this is what I’ve been looking at so far. Last year, I recapped every single playoff game for free and I nearly cost me a girlfriend. This year I’ve agreed to abstain, unless someone hires me to do so.* I’m just gonna watch the games, and maybe write a little something if I have time or if something jumps out at me. But last year’s experiment was just that, and until this humble blogger gets hired to do that sort of thing, it’ll just end up being that one time I recapped every single playoff game

I LOVE LOVE LOVE this time of year, but pretty much every person in my life despises it because I keep everything else in the periphery; for almost two months, I’m never really present while I’m dreaming about matchups and coaching changes and injuries and what the different narratives will be. It’s amazing. I love this ish, and I hope you do too. 

PLAYOFF PICKS

First Round Winners: 

EAST: Miami 4-1, New York 4-3, Indiana 4-2, Brooklyn 4-3 (I wrote a little about these at Shaky Ankles, and we’re covering the Western Conference matchups tomorrow)

WEST: Oklahoma City 4-2, San Antonio 4-0, Memphis 4-3, Denver 4-2

Conference Semifinal Winners:

EAST: Miami 4-0, New York 4-3

WEST: Oklahoma City 4-2, San Antonio 4-2

Conference Finals Winners:

EAST: Miami 4-1

WEST: Oklahoma City 4-3

Finals:

Miami 4-3

*If you know of a site looking for coverage, drop me a line.

Don’t sleep on the illest NBA ish around the web. LINKS!!!!
-Might go to see some bloggers read. If you’re in the NYC area, say whassup (not that you’d recognize me). The last time I was here, I was alone, sick and trying like hell to remember the Smif N’ Wesson lyrics I could recall from college. Should be about the same on this night (pass the L to the left). 
-If you read this site, you probably know my thoughts on Jason Whitlock, but he was surprisingly adroit about this whole Mark Cuban - Brittney Griner thing. 
-The always excellent Jared Dubin (he’ll be reading at LPR next week) on the offensive versatility ‘Melo has shown when he dropped 90 points in just 2 games this week. 
-SB Nation’s Andrew Sharp, on Carmelo Anthony’s greatness versus LeBron’s GREATNESS. I don’t really care how “GREAT” Carmelo is or isn’t, I just want the Knicks to win. 
-Amazingly talented (and genuinely decent human being) Ball Don’t Lie blogger, Dan Devine, goes through the whole Magic Johnson’s son is gay story that TMZ broke a couple days ago. Devine’s last line sums up my feelings exactly: “In conclusion: Magic Johnson is awesome. But you already knew that.” Yup.
-Sam Alipour with a great, in-depth feature on Russell Westbrook.
-Go read Ian Levy’s piece at Hardwood Paroxysm on the statistical relevancy of ALWAYS jacking a three-pointer. Some team will start to do it soon, and I’m betting on the Rockets (all hail Lord Morey). 
-Gary Payton might just be the newest addition to the Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Mass. Look for the formal announcement on Monday (when I’m sure someone will do a Top 10 Gary Payton Smack Talk Stories—in fact, it might even be me).
-Ian Thomsen looks at Andre Drumond to show how drafting basketball players for an NBA team can be a crapshoot, no matter how much scouting, interviewing and analsis is performed.
-The estimable San Antonio Express-News columnist, Mike Monroe, on why Spurs fans should pay attention to this Sacramento/Seattle basketball debacle.
-Maybe you missed it (not sure how you could have), but the Lakers retired Shaq’s jersey at the Staples Center on Tuesday night when the Mavericks were in town. Bill Plaschke of the LA Times, wrote about Shaq’s relationship with Kobe, and so did SI’s Lee Jenkins. Neither one mentioned how the Lakers accidentally put Shaq’s name on the front of the jersey. I’m wondering when Hollywood shows up at Jim Buss’ private address with pitchforks and a pissed off looking Jack.

-TrueHooper, Henry Abbott, goes into the superstar whistles every platonic NBA fan gripes about ad nauseam when I’m near them at the bar. 
Have a good Thursday night everyone. 

Don’t sleep on the illest NBA ish around the web. LINKS!!!!

-Might go to see some bloggers read. If you’re in the NYC area, say whassup (not that you’d recognize me). The last time I was here, I was alone, sick and trying like hell to remember the Smif N’ Wesson lyrics I could recall from college. Should be about the same on this night (pass the L to the left). 

-If you read this site, you probably know my thoughts on Jason Whitlock, but he was surprisingly adroit about this whole Mark Cuban - Brittney Griner thing

-The always excellent Jared Dubin (he’ll be reading at LPR next week) on the offensive versatility ‘Melo has shown when he dropped 90 points in just 2 games this week. 

-SB Nation’s Andrew Sharp, on Carmelo Anthony’s greatness versus LeBron’s GREATNESS. I don’t really care how “GREAT” Carmelo is or isn’t, I just want the Knicks to win. 

-Amazingly talented (and genuinely decent human being) Ball Don’t Lie blogger, Dan Devine, goes through the whole Magic Johnson’s son is gay story that TMZ broke a couple days ago. Devine’s last line sums up my feelings exactly: “In conclusion: Magic Johnson is awesome. But you already knew that.” Yup.

-Sam Alipour with a great, in-depth feature on Russell Westbrook.

-Go read Ian Levy’s piece at Hardwood Paroxysm on the statistical relevancy of ALWAYS jacking a three-pointer. Some team will start to do it soon, and I’m betting on the Rockets (all hail Lord Morey). 

-Gary Payton might just be the newest addition to the Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Mass. Look for the formal announcement on Monday (when I’m sure someone will do a Top 10 Gary Payton Smack Talk Stories—in fact, it might even be me).

-Ian Thomsen looks at Andre Drumond to show how drafting basketball players for an NBA team can be a crapshoot, no matter how much scouting, interviewing and analsis is performed.

-The estimable San Antonio Express-News columnist, Mike Monroe, on why Spurs fans should pay attention to this Sacramento/Seattle basketball debacle.

-Maybe you missed it (not sure how you could have), but the Lakers retired Shaq’s jersey at the Staples Center on Tuesday night when the Mavericks were in town. Bill Plaschke of the LA Times, wrote about Shaq’s relationship with Kobe, and so did SI’s Lee Jenkins. Neither one mentioned how the Lakers accidentally put Shaq’s name on the front of the jersey. I’m wondering when Hollywood shows up at Jim Buss’ private address with pitchforks and a pissed off looking Jack.

-TrueHooper, Henry Abbott, goes into the superstar whistles every platonic NBA fan gripes about ad nauseam when I’m near them at the bar. 

Have a good Thursday night everyone. 

Some links brought to you by Larry Sanders’ gentlemanly response to his ejection last night when he flashed a thumb’s up to all three referees. Class, Joe.*

-The Heat won their 20-straight game last night against the 76ers despite squandering a big halftime lead in the third and fourth quarters when Thaddeus Young started to dominate the offensive glass, Jrue Holiday made Chalmers pay for going under the high screen, and even Dorrell Wright knocked down some three’s as Philadelphia actually made it a game. Never moreso than when Holiday dunked it in LeBrons’s mug:

image

But the Heat won and became just the fourth team in league history to amass 20 wins in-a-row during the regular season. Also, according to Bloomberg’s Power 100, LeBron is the most powerful athlete in the world. In 2011 it was Drew Brees, 2010 it was Peyton Manning, and in 2009 it was Tiger Woods. Solid company, I guess. 

-The Knicks got blown out in Carmelo’s return to Denver’s Pepsi arena, 117-94, and really, it wasn’t even that close. Perhaps the worst part about the loss, besides the fact it quikly became unwatchable mid-way through the second quarter, was Carmelo’s continued issue with his knee. He left mid-way through the second when his knee got tight again, and never returned, even as the Denver crowd chanted for him to show himself. Not only did ‘Melo not finish, but neither did the only defensive anchor the Knicks have had over these last two seasons: Tyson Chandler. Chandler suffered what people are calling a “contusion,” but thinks he’ll play tonight in Portland. Check out Seth at P&T for more on the Knicks and their “knees!”

-Speaking of Portland, Raymond Felton is expected to hear just as much venom as ‘Melo got in Denver, but without the salubrious effects of legal cannabis to pacify the crowd. Felton, for his part, doesn’t give a crap. The Rose Garden is gonna be frothy. 

-Ian Thomsen of SI spoke with former NYC wunderkind, Sebastian Telfair about what could have been

-Sam Smith on the Bulls getting blown out by 42 points against a DeMarcus Cousins-less Sacramento Kings squad last night. Tom Thibodeau threw himself under the bus for Chicago’s relaxed play, engendering even more “love that guy” comments from basketball bloggers everywhere. Relax Chicago, Rose wouldn’t have been able to help much. Just chill

About sums up the Bulls' night

-By now, you know Kobe went down on Dahntay Jones’ foot last night and twisted his ankle something fierce (Sasha Fierce?). Kobe then got on Twitter and called Dahntay Jones’ defense a “#dangerousplay,” and believes a foul should have been called. The Lakers had come back to only trail by 2 points at the time of the play, so that would have given Kobe a chance to tie on the line. Kobe then got all Black Mamba assasin on Twitter in the ensuing hours after the injury. Henry Abbott and Tom Ziller bring you through the blame game that’s come as a result of the play and Kobe’s Twitter reaction. God, we sure are lucky Kobe is on Twitter now. It’s an entertaining look at one of the most bizarre superstars in NBA history.

-Legendary NYC high school coach, Jack Curran, who coached the elite prep school, Archbishop Molloy High School, died today. He was 83 and will be missed by New York City ballers everywhere.

-Kelly Dwyer thinks you should take your kids to see an NBA basketball game. As a poor, marginally employed freelance writer, I can’t afford to go to live games unless an editor hooks me up with press privileges, or a buddy takes me, but I love when Dwyer gets a little solipsistic since I idolize Dwyer and so should you. Give it a gander; you won’t be sorry.

-The Bucks came back against a Wiz team without their star rookie, Bradley Beal, but they didn’t do enough to get the win, and John Wall’s 23 points and 10 assists combined with six Wizards players reaching double figures was enough to overcome another outstanding shooting performance from Monta Ellis. His improved play seems to have coincided with this piece I wrote.  

-Speaking of HP, check out Steve McPherson’s piece about Stan Van Gundy, the analytics community and the process by which Stan decided to ignore the 2-for-1 with his team’s in Miami and Orlando. If you’re not familiar with 2-for-1’s, I wrote about this once for Chris Paul.

-The second—full—game I watched last night (the first was MIA-PHI plus a quarter and a half of DEN-NYK), was the Memphis - Clippers battle with the specious 3rd seed on the line. The Grizzlies, after winning 5-straight—and 13 of their last 14—heading in, had just barely passed the Clippers in winning percentage to take the third spot in the West. With their strong 96-85 win (that link is subscription only now, which means Ronald Tillery is behind a paywall now, which sucks!) against them last night, where even Chris Paul looked powerless to score on the Grizzlies suffocating defense in the fourth quarter, the Grizzlies have to be considered with the upper-echelon teams (OKC, SAS, MIA) in the league again. Bizarrely, it was their offense that was unusually efficient, specifically Quincy Pondexter’s timely 3-pointers in the second quarter and a big one to silence a Clipper rally with seven minutes left in the fourth. The Grizz would finish at 50 percent (6-for-12) from long range while the Clippers were 6-for-24 from beyond the arc as Tony Allen, Tayshaun Prince, Mike Conley and Jerrad Bayless robbed them of all their confidence with some tenacious defense on the perimeter. Even Jamal Crawford looked hesitant to shoot. Blake and Paul had OK games, but Marc Gasol was his usual dominant self and his range appears to have slid even further from the basket to around 20 feet. Prince exploded in the first quarter for 12 points (he averages 11) too, and Conley had another double-double with 17 points and 11 dimes in 40 minutes of action. The Grizzlies seem to be peaking at the right time. 

[top pic: Flickr/Keith Allison; Jrue Holiday gif via SB Nation]

*The preferred nomenclature of Chicagoans, who replace “yo” with “Joe,” which was explained to me by Common Sense (the rapper, not the reggae group that sued him). Now you know, Joe.

Links today, without snark hopefully.
-Carmelo is heading back to Denver tonight, and Marc J. Spears at Yahoo talks about the reaction he might see at the Pepsi Center and whether it will be similar to Howard’s reception in Orlando. Here are some highlights from when he dropped 50 points on Mike D’Antoni’s Knicks team. Personally, who cares how Denver fans react to his presence, I’m more worried about his knee and the possibility it’ll limit him in April and May. 
-Speaking of Denver, the Hang Time crew had on of their blogtables to assess just how good the Nuggets are. They’ve won nine in-a-row, which has been overshadowed a bit by Miami’s run of 19-straight heading into tonight’s matchup against the Sixers. 
-Ailene Voisin of the The Bee on the latest DeMarcus Cousins suspension; this time it was Mike Dunleavy Jr. who is to blame for being elbowed in the head Sunday night. Also, check out Sactown Royalty’s, Tom Ziller, on Cousins’ ability at board games. Love you Boogie, but I might be the only one, and you still don’t give a shit about defense. 
-The Hornets lost to the Nets last night, and here’s the Hornets perspective. Deron Williams seems to be doing a lot better since Cortisone shots in both ankles and a lack of a paunch. 
-Is Matt Barnes the difference-maker for the Clippers this season, and the biggest reason the Clippers are contenders in the West? Zach Lowe seems to think so, but Jamal Crawford still can’t play defense, and Lamar Odom gets a lot of PT down the stretch despite another woeful shooting season. 
-I don’t really understand how much people over-analyze Jrue Holiday’s game. A lot of analysts made noise this off-season about how he doesn’t attack the basket very much. Now, Bob Cooney of the Phily Daily News thinks Jrue’s decision on Monday to slow things down a bit and not force drives was the reason they got a big victory over Brooklyn. “Gone were the forced drives to the basket that sometimes resulted in wayward passes and forced shots.” Sure thing haus.
-Paul Coro at the Arizona Republic patting owner, Robert Sarver, on the back for not bringing back Amar’e Stoudemire. 
-Kelly Dwyer on the Heat’s chances to match the 1972-73 Lakers NBA record 33-consecutive wins: “Sure, why not?” Well, for one thing, no team but the 2007-08 Rockets has even won more than 20 games in-a-row. For another, it’s just really, really hard. Teams are bound to experience let downs—even the Heat—and if the they keep winning and it get’s close to the record as the season is closing out, it might distract them from their ultimate goal: a title. Also, I would have gone with the more apt: “Sure, why the hell not.”
Take care readers. 

Links today, without snark hopefully.

-Carmelo is heading back to Denver tonight, and Marc J. Spears at Yahoo talks about the reaction he might see at the Pepsi Center and whether it will be similar to Howard’s reception in Orlando. Here are some highlights from when he dropped 50 points on Mike D’Antoni’s Knicks team. Personally, who cares how Denver fans react to his presence, I’m more worried about his knee and the possibility it’ll limit him in April and May. 

-Speaking of Denver, the Hang Time crew had on of their blogtables to assess just how good the Nuggets are. They’ve won nine in-a-row, which has been overshadowed a bit by Miami’s run of 19-straight heading into tonight’s matchup against the Sixers. 

-Ailene Voisin of the The Bee on the latest DeMarcus Cousins suspension; this time it was Mike Dunleavy Jr. who is to blame for being elbowed in the head Sunday night. Also, check out Sactown Royalty’s, Tom Ziller, on Cousins’ ability at board games. Love you Boogie, but I might be the only one, and you still don’t give a shit about defense. 

-The Hornets lost to the Nets last night, and here’s the Hornets perspective. Deron Williams seems to be doing a lot better since Cortisone shots in both ankles and a lack of a paunch. 

-Is Matt Barnes the difference-maker for the Clippers this season, and the biggest reason the Clippers are contenders in the West? Zach Lowe seems to think so, but Jamal Crawford still can’t play defense, and Lamar Odom gets a lot of PT down the stretch despite another woeful shooting season. 

-I don’t really understand how much people over-analyze Jrue Holiday’s game. A lot of analysts made noise this off-season about how he doesn’t attack the basket very much. Now, Bob Cooney of the Phily Daily News thinks Jrue’s decision on Monday to slow things down a bit and not force drives was the reason they got a big victory over Brooklyn. “Gone were the forced drives to the basket that sometimes resulted in wayward passes and forced shots.” Sure thing haus.

-Paul Coro at the Arizona Republic patting owner, Robert Sarver, on the back for not bringing back Amar’e Stoudemire. 

-Kelly Dwyer on the Heat’s chances to match the 1972-73 Lakers NBA record 33-consecutive wins: “Sure, why not?” Well, for one thing, no team but the 2007-08 Rockets has even won more than 20 games in-a-row. For another, it’s just really, really hard. Teams are bound to experience let downs—even the Heat—and if the they keep winning and it get’s close to the record as the season is closing out, it might distract them from their ultimate goal: a title. Also, I would have gone with the more apt: “Sure, why the hell not.”

Take care readers.