Points in the Paint

» December 28, 2009 2:17 PM | By Brandon Hoffman
  • Richard Justice of the Houston Chronicle:  “I feel sorry for Tracy McGrady. I could scream about his selfishness, but this thing goes way beyond McGrady caring more about himself than the team. There’s a real element of sadness in this deal.  Yes, he bailed on his teammates this weekend. When Rick Adelman wouldn’t give him what he wanted, McGrady got mad and left. In that moment, he revealed that he’s only a member of a team as long as its in his own best interest. Yes, he’s the NBA’s highest-paid player at $22.8 million, so he’s not a sympathetic figure in the way most people see sympathetic figures.But he’s 30 years old and on the verge of being considered a has-been. Think of how that must feel.”
  • Charles F. Gardner of the Journal Sentinel:  “It was great when it happened, the night rookie point guard Brandon Jennings scored 55 points against the Golden State Warriors. But the expectations it brought have the Bucks’ 20-year-old rookie wondering whether it was worth it to get 55 so early in his career, in just his seventh NBA game. ‘I feel like it’s a curse because of the 55,’ Jennings said after the Bucks’ practice session Sunday. ‘It’s almost a curse. Now that I’ve scored 55, everybody expects me to go out there and score big numbers every night. I’m just trying to find my way. Not every night is going to be easy. A lot of teams are changing their defense. So it’s not as easy as everyone thinks it is.’”
  • The Atlanta Hawks have a greater chance of winning the championship than the Los Angeles Lakers, according to John Hollinger’s power rankings:  “How, exactly, could Atlanta’s crew outrank L.A.’s star-studded cast? Bryant, as I mentioned, is a far better player than Johnson, and the Lakers’ front line of Gasol and Andrew Bynum inspires a lot more fear than the Hawks’ pair of Al Horford and Josh Smith. Inspiring fear, however, is not what I measure. Performance is. And based on performance, Smith has been every bit Gasol’s equal this season, and Horford’s production has matched that of Bynum. Throw in that Mike Bibby has been more productive than Derek Fisher and Marvin Williams has almost exactly matched Ron Artest (13.30 versus 13.32, respectively, in the player efficiency rating department), and suddenly the starting lineup comparison doesn’t seem so lopsided. In fact, Atlanta’s starting five has a better PER than L.A.’s more heralded bunch, even with Bryant’s near five-point advantage over Johnson.”
  • Good article about Jeff Nix, a former advanced scout with the New York Knicks who testified to witnessing Isiah Thomas harass former Knicks executive Anucha Browne Sanders.
  • The OC Register’s Kevin Ding with an inside account of Kobe Bryant’s one-armed performance against the Kings:  “This was the timeout where Bryant, obviously struggling with the stinger in his right elbow, grew animated and answered at one point to Vitti: ‘No way!’ Vitti left the chat and reported back to Jackson: ‘If I tell you he can’t play, he’s gonna break my arm. That’s to let you know how much he wants to play.’ Even though all the world somewhat knows how much he wants to play, Vitti is the only one behind this curtain. He is the angel on Bryant’s shoulder … and knee and elbow, hatching around-the-clock treatment strategies that can make everything better. Yet he’s also the one willing to come to Bryant’s hotel room and turn it into a torture chamber – pounding and pushing on Bryant’s fractured right index finger as if it’s a tube of toothpaste with just a little left, understanding Bryant’s expectations and forcing the swelling away from the injured joint. But what if Bryant didn’t have a trainer who truly believed after 25-plus years as the trainer for so many Lakers greats that Bryant was the ‘toughest S.O.B.’ with whom he has ever worked? What if Bryant didn’t have a coach who trusted him to that extent? Bryant would not have been allowed to keep playing Saturday night, and there would not have come that moment after about a half-hour of real time, by Jackson’s count, when Bryant got the sensors in his right arm under control and eventually produced something ‘remarkable.’”
  • Look at the numbers and realize the Mavericks have had great success defending some of the league’s top scorers:  “So far, the combination of Howard and Marion, plus better defensive rotations and alert help on defense, have helped to make opposing scorers work for their points. Kobe Bryant scored 20 points on 6-of-19 shooting. Dwyane Wade had 28 points on 8-of-24 shooting. Kevin Durant hit for just 12 points on 4-of-18. Two nights ago, Brandon Roy needed 19 shots to score 23 points. Hot-shot rookie Brandon Jennings scored 25 on 8-of-22 shooting. In two games against Dallas, LeBron James put up 43 shots and scored 50 points. Only Atlanta’s Joe Johnson truly burned the Mavs with 31 points on 13-of-24 shooting. In those games, the Mavs are 5-3.” UPDATE:  Add Carmelo Anthony to the list.

3 Responses to “Points in the Paint”

  1. Tsunami Says:

    Hope you had a Merry Christmas – Happy New Year too!

  2. Brandon Hoffman Says:

    Tsunami:

    Appreciate your well wishes.

    I’m sure the big Christmas day win over the Lakers has boosted your confidence in the Cavaliers.

    Hope you’re enjoying the holidays.

  3. Tsunami Says:

    Yeah the holidays have been great. Saw a lot of things I liked in that win, but still lots of things to clean up. Not sure the Cavs could beat Boston or LA in a series yet, but I feel like they have the most room to grow. I guess we’ll see if they do or not.

    Cheers!

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