Wednesday And-1 links: Jeremy Lin notes… and other stuff


Here is our daily 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).

Great stuff on why Jeremy Lin and Carmelo Anthony will work out from Bethlehem Shoals at GQ.

Mike D’Antoni talks Linsanity, and blending Carmelo Anthony back in to the team. It’s about the ball having energy.

A guy from Cornell talks about playing against Jeremy Lin. You can add Ivy Leaguers to the list of people who did not see this coming.

Some Harvard lawyers and executives that played with Lin didn’t see it coming, either.

Team USA and Spain will play in a pre-Olympic exhibition game that likely will be a Gold Medal preview game.

LeBron James in an 18-foot foam statue. Don’t see anyone doing that for Lin.

Kobe Bryant’s now ex-wife Vanessa was waiting for him outside the Lakers locker room on Valentines Day.

Lakers coach Mike Brown confirms he has talked with J.R. Smith. We’ll see what kind of a recruiter he is.

Kevin Love is logging more minutes per game than anyone in the NBA, which at age 23 after losing a lot of weight makes sense. Kobe Bryant is second in minutes per game at age 33 with a lot of miles on him.

And don’t go thinking coaches are resting their players more this year.

Lest you think the draft is a lock, here’s a story on how in 1979 the Lakers were torn, debating between taking Magic Johnson with the top overall pick or Sidney Moncrief. It was a close call.

The other day Metta World Peace accused Mike Brown of being a “stats guy” and that’s why Metta is sitting at the end of games. Mike Brown’s response: “If I was a stats guy, Metta, you wouldn’t be playing at all.”

But now World Peace and Brown say everything is good between them.

Kevin Martin went scoreless for the Rockets Tuesday night and was not happy to be sitting at the end of the game.

Jarrett Jack is out Wednesday for the Hornets. Because they don’t have enough problems.

Kyrie Irving was back practicing with the Cavaliers Tuesday and is scheduled to return to the court from his concussion on Wednesday.

Andrew Bogut is going to be out for a while, but he is hoping to avoid surgery on his ankle. Don’t blame him, he’s had enough surgeries.

Mark Cuban thinks Shawn Marion should be a Defensive Player of the Year candidate. Mark Cuban thinks a lot of things.

If you missed it, Chris Anderson — the Birdman — was in full flight Tuesday night with 16 points and 6 blocks.

A Q&A with Norris Cole, who dropped 20 last night on the Pacers. Heat have a keeper in this rookie.

With Andrew Bogut out for the season, the Bucks have interest in free agent Kyrylo Fesenko.

Hornets coach Monty Williams wants to shoot down all the rumors that Eric Gordon doesn’t want to play for the Hornets. He’s right. Gordon wants to play and prove himself, he’s not faking injuries here.

Darryl Dawkins talks dunks.

Minnesota has recalled Malcolm Lee from the D-League. They need some help at the two guard, but Lee is going to be brought along slowly.

Cavaliers beat Raptors, become first team in 27 years to surrender 79 first-half points and win

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The Cavaliers haven’t been good enough throughout the season, especially defensively. The Raptors have – offensively, defensively, starters, bench. Hope has grown in Toronto of winning the Eastern Conference after getting eliminated by Cleveland the last two years.

But LeBron James and Cavs showed why it’s hard to pick any other team – even the first-place Raptors – to win the East in a 132-129 win over Toronto tonight.

Cleveland allowed 79 first-half points and fell behind by 15. But a LeBron-led offense was just too potent. This was the first time since 1990 (Nuggets over Spurs after trailing 90-83) a team surrendered so many first-half points then still won.

LeBron finished with 35 points, 17 assists and no turnovers. No forward has ever dished so many assists without a turnover in Basketball-Reference’s database, which dates back to 1963-64.

And LeBron led the Cavaliers to this win despite Tristan Thompson, Rodney Hood, Larry Nance Jr., Kyle Korver and Cedi Osman being out.

It’s only one game, and it was in Cleveland. But even with home-court advantage in a potential playoff series, the Raptors must grapple with even more lingering doubt now about their ability to beat the Cavs.

Report: Becky Hammon staying with Spurs, not coaching Colorado State men’s team

AP Photo/Darren Abate
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Spurs assistant coach Becky Hammon was a candidate to coach the men’s team at Colorado State, her alma mater. That would have made her the first woman to coach a Division I men’s team.

Alas, it won’t happen.

Pat Forde of Yahoo Sports:

It’s unclear whether Hammon was ever actually offered the job.

She’s still on the right track for a head-coaching job somewhere. Most importantly, by all accounts, she’s doing good work in San Antonio. There’s also more attention on her career because of her pioneering status, and that will appeal to some teams.

This dalliance with Colorado State raises her profile even further and shows just how close she is.

Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni: James Harden ‘best offensive player I’ve ever seen’

AP Photo/Jack Dempsey

James Harden torched a solid Trail Blazers defense for 42 points on 13-of-25 shooting, including 5-of-7 on 3-pointers, and seven assists.

That prompted his coach to heap praise on the runaway MVP.

Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni, via Tim MacMahon of ESPN:

“That’s the best offensive player I’ve ever seen,” Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni said of Harden. “They’re running guys to him and he just steps a little further back and makes a 3. The way he can pass and see the floor, get layups, floaters, maybe a lob, maybe out to the corner — he has so many weapons, and now he’s shooting those step-back 3s.

“It’s impossible to guard him. It’s impossible.”

At first, that sounds like hyperbole from a biased source. But Harden might actually the best offensive player ever. (D’Antoni has been around for all the major contenders.)

Michael Jordan gets overlooked because he was also excellent defensively. Ditto LeBron James to a lesser extent. Another contender: Stephen Curry, whose Warriors might file away D’Antoni’s assessment for if they meet Houston in the playoffs. (The Rockets provide plenty of motivational fodder.)

The list of contenders definitely skews toward the present. Players have gotten progressively more skilled, especially the generation that grew up with the 3-point arc and didn’t suddenly have to adjust to it.

And Harden might be the cream of the crop. He’s an incredible shooter with very deep range off the dribble or spotting up, and he can drive with the best of them. Yes, foul-drawing is a skill. Harden’s combination of scoring volume and efficiency is unprecedented. He’s also an impressive passer, a skill fully unleashed by D’Antoni making Harden a point guard.

I think I’d lean toward Curry, who’s an even better shooter and screener. But it’s very close, and Harden keeps raising his level. Curry probably peaked two years ago (though he obviously remains elite). I definitely wouldn’t dismiss anyone who picks Harden as biased or misguided.

Cavaliers star LeBron James: Raptors ‘in a better place than we are right now’

Frank Gunn/The Canadian Press via AP

It’s not enough to say the Raptors have the Eastern Conference’s best record.

The Celtics had the East’s best record last year, and most people thought the Cavaliers were better. Cleveland had a better point difference and more star power – LeBron James, Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love – than Boston. The Cavs confirmed that notion by cruising past the Celtics in a five-game conference finals.

The Raptors have been the Eastern Conference’s best team this season.

They rank fourth in the NBA in offensive and defensive rating, the only team top five in both categories. Led by DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry, their starting lineup has embraced a more dynamic offense with more 3-point shooting and passing. Toronto’s bench is the best in the league.

LeBron, whose Cavaliers host the Raptors tonight, via Joe Vardon of

“They’re in a better place than we are right now because they’ve had more consistency and they’ve had their guys in the lineup for the majority of the year,” James said after the Cavs’ morning workout. “So, they know what they want to accomplish. They know who they are at this point in the season. Obviously, you guys know about us, we’re still trying to figure that out.”

This is so obviously correct. It’s just surprising to see LeBron put it so directly, though it’s unsurprising he’s hanging on the Cavs’ instability to date.

Kevin Love and Isaiah Thomas were injured for long stretches, and Thomas and several others were traded. Coach Tyronn Lue is on a leave of absence.

But the Cavaliers made those major trades because they were struggling, and this new group won’t necessarily simply figure things out with time. Defensive problems persist. Lue’s health is unclear.

LeBron understandably remains confident in himself, even as the Cavs enter the postseason as a middling seed. He’s also setting up a narrative of Cleveland coming from behind if it advances to the NBA Finals. We’ll see whether it happens.

Tonight likely won’t be a referendum, though. Tristan Thompson, Rodney Hood, Kyle Korver and Larry Nance Jr. are out for the Cavaliers. That roster instability still exists.

If LeBron dials up playoff intensity tonight, that could send a warning to Toronto, though I’m not sure it’s necessary. As far ahead as the Raptors are right now, after Cleveland soundly eliminated them the last two years, I think everyone knows it’s a couple months too early to properly assess these teams’ relative places.