• Nick Friedell of ESPN Chicago dissects another Carlos Boozer postseason disappointment and reports Boozer said this following Chicago’s loss Thursday in Philadelphia:
“I thought I played well, especially with the kind of season it was,” Boozer said, when asked to assess his second season in Chicago. “We had the best record again in basketball, won our division again, had the top seed again, that’s all that matters, yo.”
This quote is so off the wall, so ridiculous, that it’s almost hard to imagine any player actually saying it in this context. What is Boozer thinking? If this were baseball, we could imagine Boozer making a statistics-based argument about the random nature of the short series format, but this isn’t baseball, and the outcomes in the NBA are far less random. Perhaps Boozer is merely reflecting the ideology of his team and his coach, Tom Thibodeau, who clearly values regular-season games more highly than, say, Gregg Popovich. (Ironically, Popovich’s devaluing of the regular-season might be the main reason he edged out Thibodeau for Coach of the Year, an award meant to honor regular-season performance).
In any case, Friedell has been with this Chicago team all season, and his take on Boozer’s future in Chicago is well worth your time.
• More evidence the Knicks appear to have settled on Mike Woodson as their next coach: The New York Post reports James Dolan, New York’s owner, has asked Woodson to change agents, since Woodson’s current agency also represented Larry Brown during Brown’s ugly contract dispute a half-decade ago with the Knicks.
• Kevin Arnovitz of ESPN.com with a wonderful of Clippers’ personnel chief Neil Olshey, a.k.a. the man that got Chris Paul.
• J.R. Smith tweeted on Wednesday night that all those New York fans criticizing his shot selection in Game 5 against Miami on Twitter might just run him out of town. But does Smith actually plan to exercise his $2.5 million option with the Knicks for next season? If so, that would make it even more likely Landry Fields will be elsewhere.
• Paul Flannery of WEEI.com reflects on Kevin Garnett’s monstrous performance in Boston’s Game 6 win, one of Garnett’s greatest performances as a Celtic. The 28 points and 14 boards were nice — essential, actually — but holy cow, that defense. Boston’s defense for stretches reached that rare state of manic intensity coupled with controlled precision, in which the five Celtics on the floor seemed to be everywhere at once, and yet no one seemed to be scrambling or out of control. It’s a place only Boston and Chicago can reach, and it is bad, bad news for their opponents.
• Royce Young of CBS Sports dives into the NBA rule book to see exactly how big a break Boston got at the end of its series-clincher Thursday night, when officials determined Marquis Daniels, inserted cold late in the game, committed Boston’s foul to give after Atlanta inbounded the ball — and not before.
• About seven seconds earlier (in game-time, anyway), Josh Smith hoisted a 20-footer with Atlanta down one and its season nearly on the line. Smith is a famously bad jump-shooter with an addiction to jump shots, and when he wasn’t wasting Atlanta possessions by firing away from deep, he was killing Boston off the dribble and with his passing. That only made this Smith shot more frustrating, with the inevitable eye-rolling about him just not “getting it.” And there’s something to that, obviously. But too much analysis of any last-second shot focuses upon the shot itself and not the process that led to it. What was the play call? What was the hoped for result? Why didn’t that result happen? Mike Prada of SB Nation goes to the film to figure out how Boston blew up Atlanta’s first options on this possession.
• In his review of all the end-game craziness from Thursday, John Hollinger brings up something I had forgotten about amid analyzing and re-watching all the key plays: Should Al Horford, shooting two free throws with less than three seconds left and Atlanta down by two, have missed his second free throw on purpose after missing the first one? In real-time, I was immediately shouting at the TV for him to miss it, but I’d love for some smart math person to run the probabilities, to the extent it’s possible to do so.
• A really nice reflection of what it meant for Andre Iguodala to hit those two clutch free throws against Chicago on Thursday. And yet all I could think about was how terribly I felt for Omer Asik, who played wonderfully through fatigue in more minutes than he would ever reasonably expect, and then had to face his greatness weakness — foul shooting — with a whole country of basketball fans watching him.
• Kelly Dwyer’s eulogy for the 2011-12 Bulls – and his worried look-ahead for next year’s version — is as good and heart-felt as you’d expect.
• How much of a flopper is Blake Griffin, really?
• J.J. Redick opens up a bit about the locker room atmosphere in Orlando this season as the Dwight Howard trade situation got crazier and crazier.
• Any regret in Washington over the JaVale McGee/Nene deal, now that McGee is playing solid ball for the Nuggets in the playoffs?
• Is this a good sign for the Nets? At the very least, it’s not a bad sign, right?
• R.R. Magellan, writing at the Lakers-themed blog Forum Blue & Gold, on Ramon Sessions:
Ramon Sessions played scared. He’s had so many open looks as the Nuggets treat him like he’s Rajon Rondo. When he penetrates, he’s fine. But the Nuggets are daring him to shoot the perimeter jumper and he’s like a teenager who has never touched a girl ready to go on his first date. Ramon has stage fright and he HAS to get over that VERY SOON.