Bradford Doolittle of ESPN Insider on spacing: “Team defense has been altered since the illegal defense rules and hand-checking protocols evolved into the form we now know. Smart coaches like Chicago’s Tom Thibodeau and San Antonio’s Gregg Popovich figured out how to load up the strong side of the court while sagging from the weak side of the defense to protect the paint. Unless there is a defensive breakdown, the only good option on many possessions is to swing the ball from one side of the court to the other in hopes of finding a weakside shooter. This requires precision ball movement and a player who can hit those open looks before the defense can recover and close. If you don’t have that kind of stand-still shooter, then the defense shuts down the lane, stifles the pick-and-roll and reduces an offense to hero shots. We saw that time and again in the Memphis-San Antonio series.”
John Rohde: “From the outset, Martin essentially was in a Catch-22 situation. Had his productivity remained on par with Harden’s, the Thunder wouldn’t have been able to afford to keep the 30-year-old Martin, who earned $12.4 million this season and will become an unrestricted free agent on July 1. Oddly enough, when OKC’s season abruptly finished by losing 4-1 to Memphis in the second round of the playoffs, Martin was left thirsting for more playing days with the Thunder.”
I hate myself for even drawing attention to it, but KD took a picture with an interesting hat on.
LeBron condoned flopping: “It’s year one, so you’re not just going to go cold turkey,” James said. “Guys have been accustomed to doing it for years, and it’s not even a bad thing. You’re just trying to get the advantage. Any way you can get the advantage over an opponent to help your team win, then so be it.”
Ken Berger of CBSSports.com wrote a great column about the officiating last night: “LeBron James wanted the benefit of the doubt on his sixth personal foul when he was called for an illegal screen against Lance Stephenson with 56 seconds left in a four-point game. He wanted it when he was called for a reach-in on Roy Hibbert earlier in the fourth quarter. He wanted the officials to appreciate that he’d gone straight up to contest Paul George’s driving layup with 5:38 left – his fourth foul. Guess what, everybody on both sides? If you’re so concerned about the officials getting it right when it matters, why are you spending so much time trying to trick them into getting it wrong? … So please, if you’re devoting so much time and effort to duping the officials into getting calls wrong, don’t whine when you’ve suddenly decided to play fair and they make a mistake.”
“Oh, so now you call fouls on LeBron?” — every Thunder fan last night
#Pray4Monroe. I guess it got hit by a tornado too.