Apr 8, 2013, 6:57 PM EDT
Here is our regular look around the NBA — links to stories worth reading and notes to check out (stuff that did not get its own post here at PBT) — done in bullet point form. Because bloggers love bullet points like some misguided fools like to argue college basketball is better than NBA basketball….
• People, Cher is not dead. Relax.
• Gregg Popovich’s home was burglarized while the Spurs were out on the Rodeo trip and among the items stolen was his Air Force class ring. That sucks.
And now for something completely different, let me just use this as my soap box once again to say Popovich needs to be the Team USA coach now that Coach K is stepping away. Best coach in the game, respected by players, Air Force guy, he has a fantastic resume.
• Friend of this blog Rob Mahoney takes a closer look at the weaknesses in the Thunder have shown recently. I think we are overstating those flaws — this is still a very good team, a contender —but the flaws are there.
Westbrook and Durant make for one of the most potent shot creating duos in the league, but should an opponent manage to lock down Durant with any measure of success, it could throw Oklahoma City’s offense off-balance enough to make every game of a potential series winnable. As prolific as the Thunder are, the absence of a third playmaker — and their dependence on individual dribble-driving rather than team-wide ball movement — makes them susceptible to pressure-heavy schemes. If an opponent keys in on Durant and/or Westbrook in the same way that the Thunder once focused on (the Spurs Tony Parker), OKC becomes an imminently beatable opponent.
• The key to the Lakers making the playoffs (and what if anything the do once there) is fully dependent on their defense. And that’s not about Dwight Howard — it’s about the other guys on defense playing the system and not missing plays. We’re looking at you Kobe Bryant. And if you watched what Chris Paul did to the Lakers defense, you have to seriously doubt the Lakers can defend well enough for a full game, let alone four out of seven.
• I just made a defense of Mike D’Antoni. Here is a longer, more thoughtful one from our man Dave McMenamin.
• Some Bucks fans got in a fight with a Lakers fan because he refused to boo his team. By the way, these are some pretty screwed up people in this story.
• Tom Thibodeau agreed to a contract extension with the Bulls a while ago, but he just now got around to signing it. He’s that busy.
• The Blazers are moving to try to bring a future All-Star game to Portland. The NBA has criteria for who can host and it largely involves convention and hotel space — you need a lot of hotel rooms nearby. Not within 40 miles but nearby. Orlando hosted and did a good job but for my taste it was too spread out. I liked Houston, where you could walk from the arena/Jam Session to the media hotel (about a mile away). For the record, 2014 is in New Orleans and 2015 will be in Brooklyn or Manhattan (they were the two teams to apply). So we are looking at 2016 at the earliest.
- Josh McRoberts fined $20,000 for forearm foul to LeBron’s throat 19
- Oscar Robertson says if he were Carmelo Anthony “I would leave today” 39
- Larry Bird, through Pacers general manager, says Frank Vogel’s job is safe 7
- Can LaMarcus Aldridge break the all-time single-playoff scoring record? 24
- Thursday NBA playoff previews: Which Indiana team shows up? 11