Nine days until the lottery. Go to your local Catholic establishment and find some holy water and start sprinkling it everywhere.
USA Today’s No Defense team: “G/F Kevin Durant, Oklahoma City Thunder: Made an incredibly strong run at No-Defense Player of the Year to follow up his very deserving No-D Rookie of the Year nod last year. I don’t get it-long arms, great talent . . . yet the numbers scream out that he’s an awful defender.”
A story about Shaun Livingston where he talks about his involvement with the movie industry: “When the credits roll to the motion picture “Next Day Air” there will be a familiar name that scrolls across the screen. Thunder point guard Shaun Livingston served as one of the film’s executive producers, which was released in movie theaters on Friday. The movie stars Mike Epps, Wood Harris, Donald Faison and hip hop recording artist Mos Def. “We had a hand in it,” Livingston said via cell phone from Miami, where he concluded a three-day workout with Thunder player development assistant Brian Keefe. “It was minimal, as far as creative control. But we were there and we were in it.”
Would you look at that – Livingston’s even got an IMDB page: He’s got two appearances on Rome Is Burning and is also a produer for 2009′s Pastor Brown. Quite a page he’s got there.
Would you look at this – one of these mock draft’s has Ricky Rubio falling into OKC’s lap at FOUR: “Don’t count on Oklahoma City doing the expected or the charted. Early word is that Thunder GM Sam Presti is more concerned with complimenting his roster than going with the best available player. Much like last year when Presti shocked the pundits grabbing Russell Westbrook early, Presti seems set to grab the guy he wants regardless of where the pick may ultimately land. Unlike most lottery teams the Thunder are set at a number of positions and this draft will be about finding players that compliment and fit rather than trying to squeeze another stud into the lineup.” Kyler is the one that has OKC taking Jrue Holliday. So…
A couple tweets from KD that made me happy: “I miss Oklahoma, Baddd … I wanna play with Oklahoma City for my whole career.” I like that.
Geez Dallas, that loss really hurt you guys, huh?: “These guys have met adversity with unity, with a collective will,” Carlisle said. “It happened in November; we got off to a 2-7 start. It happened in January; we lost four games in a row and everybody said we wouldn’t be a playoff team. It happened after we lost to Oklahoma City … and it’s obviously going to happen now. But, hey, that’s what this is about. When it gets tough, you’ve got to stick together and keep fighting.”
Empty the Bench takes a look at free agents that are performing well in the playoffs: “Playoffs: Ariza is starting over Lamar Odom and doing quite well. He is playing 32 minutes a night with 11.4 points, has 27 assists to only 14 turnovers, and has knocked down 15 of 29 triples. His defense is more valuable than his 1.4 steals and 0.5 blocks indicate. Right Situation: He would do well on a team that needs intensity on defense but is not looking for a scorer. Atlanta and Portland both fit the description and have plenty of money to spend. Good luck finding Ariza in a Blazers’ uniform, though.”
The Thunder will be running a good amount of players through over the next couple weeks: “Over the next six weeks, through brisk 60-minute workout sessions, the Thunder’s coaching staff and front office executives will try to answer any remaining questions they have about draft-eligible players. Picture a beefed-up version of the NFL Combine, with players thrust into similar athletic testing that includes sprints, vertical jump measurements and agility drills. But the NBA’s version also engages players in shooting drills and competitive games of 1-on-1, 2-on-2 and 3-on-3.”
Not Thunder related, but I kind of latched on to the Mavericks for this postseason and fellow TrueHooper Rob Mahoney does an awesome job of covering them. Blogs like his can make the postseason more entertaining than it already is. He surveys the wreckage from Game 3: “There are losses that make you want to yell and scream. There are losses that make you want to roll over and die. And then, there are losses that leave you staring in disbelief, mouth agape, as if the life has been sucked right out of you. Or, if you’re like me, it’s a rotation of the three until I successfully recover from my postgame stupor. In general, I try to avoid the thing that nobody wants to talk about but everybody wants to talk about: officiating. There’s a certain give and take to the ref game, and I respect that. But tonight is different. Although a blown call in the fourth quarter technically carries the same weight as one in the first, the critical mistake of the officiating crew in the final seconds of Game 3 was the biggest dagger I’ve seen in these playoffs. In one missed call, Dallas fell from a hopeful 1-2 to a funereal 0-3, a death knell in NBA basketball. It’s up for debate whether or not the Mavs had a real chance at winning this series, but one suddenly silent whistle made any debate irrelevant.”
Tyson Chandler to the Cavs?: “The Cavs could have interest in 7-foot-1 center Tyson Chandler, who has had some ankle and toe problems. But he’s only 26. That’s one to keep your eye on.”