Wednesday And-1 links: Kobe’s black facemask disappears

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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).

Kobe Bryant in a black facemask was an idea that died on his 1-6 shooting start Tuesday night. Not that he got a lot better later.

Speaking of Kobe and LeBron James, here is an interesting post taking a close look at theirs and others clutch shooting numbers. As always, the biggest problem with any clutch shooting numbers is that there are a lot of ways to define “clutch.”

Hey Portlandia fans, LaMarcus Aldridge put a bird on it.

Great read: Why the NBA needs twitter.

From our “Lockout? What lockout?” file: The Heat/Lakers game on Sunday drew the largest rating ABC has ever had for a non-Christmas Day regular season game.

In case you wanted to rehash last year’s NBA finals again, former Maverick now Net DeShawn Stevenson said this: “‘I think we were just a better team than them. And then obviously LeBron didn’t play like he should have played [in the Finals].”

Former NBA player Orlando Woolridge was arrested down in Louisiana.

Casey Jacobson compares playing in the NBA with playing in Europe.

A lot of teams have a special food promotion when their team scores 100 points in a game. Here is a rundown of them, from Dime Magazine.

Rashard Lewis expects to be back with the Wizards in about a week. That should solve their problems.

Kings’ rookie Jimmer Fredette, Heat guard Mario Chalmers and Wizards’ rookie Chris Singleton have each reached endorsement deals with Spaulding.

Iman Shumpert is not replacing Landry Fields in the starting lineup. What really matters is who closes games and Mike D’Antoni is generally just trying to ride the hot hand between those two and J.R. Smith.

The interesting history of the Minnesota Muskies.

Gerald Green’s 10-day contract with the Nets is up Thursday and he is going to get a second one. After that the Nets need to make a decision.

Golden State recalled Jeremy Tyler from the D-League. They are so desperate for decent play in the paint he should get some run.

Cleveland has sent swingman Christian Eyenga to the Canton Charge of the D-League.

We bring you the first Got ‘em Coach video, it’s good:

 

Report: Clippers take Chris Paul-to-Spurs rumor ‘very seriously’

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Want to laugh off that Chris Paul-to-Spurs rumor?

The Clippers aren’t joining you.

Marc Stein of ESPN:

The Clippers should be concerned. Losing Paul would unravel their entire foundation, dropping them from the fringe of championship contention to out of the title picture completely. It could even help usher out Blake Griffin, who will also be an unrestricted free agent this summer. (To be fair, Paul leaving could also help convince Griffin to stay.)

About a month ago, the Clippers reportedly expected Paul to stay. They even reportedly struck a verbal agreement with him to re-sign before that. But they can’t officially sign him until July, and that leaves the door open for him to leave.

The Clippers should be heartened by their advantages – a prime market and a projected max offer of $205 million over five years.

The most another team projects to be able to offer is $152 million over four years, and San Antonio will have a hard time doing that. Even if they trim their roster to Kawhi Leonard, LaMarcus Aldridge, Pau Gasol, Danny Green and Tony Parker, the Spurs would still have to shed two of those players to clear max cap space.

So, never say never, but the Clippers’ concern might be rooted more in the dire consequences of Paul leaving rather than the likelihood of it.

Report: Raptors, Magic can’t trade with each other for a year

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The Magic will send the Raptors a 2018 second-round pick for hiring Jeff Weltman, who was Toronto’s general manager.

But that’s not the only consequence of hire.

Yahoo Sports:

The move invoked the NBA provision that Toronto and Orlando are not permitted to trade players with each other until the earlier of May 24, 2018, or the conclusion of the 2017-18 season for either organization, league sources told The Vertical’s Shams Charania.

The NBA made a similar ruling when the Clippers sent the Celtics a first-rounder to hire Doc Rivers, and I don’t like it now, either. It’s needlessly restrictive, preventing talent from flowing to the optimal locations.

At least Orlando isn’t a logical destination for the Raptor most likely to be dealt: Jonas Valanciunas. The Magic already have enough centers with Nikola Vucevic and Bismack Biyombo – a lesson that influenced their last trade with Toronto, dealing Serge Ibaka.

2017 NBA playoffs have been historically uncompetitive

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The NBA Finals so many wanted to see – Cavaliers-Warriors III – is here.

At least it will be.

Today is the first of six off days before the 2017, which begin June 1 in Oakland.

The lengthy delay is the product of an underwhelming postseason featuring few competitive series and numerous blowouts.

Golden State swept its way through the West, and Cleveland dropped only one game (to the Celtics in the conference finals) while winning the East. There have been only two Game 7s, but considering the magnitude, neither felt that compelling. Blake Griffin‘s injury undercut the Clippers against the Jazz, and Celtics over Wizards felt inevitable with home teams winning each game of the series. Between, there have been several lackluster games and series.

There have been just 74 playoff games this year – the fewest before the Finals since since the NBA instituted a best-of-seven first round in 2003:

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That’s 74 of a possible 98 games – 76%, the lowest since 1999 and seventh-lowest ever.

Even if the Finals go seven games, it will be the fewest games in a postseason since 2007. If the Finals go five or fewer games, it’ll be the shortest postseason in this playoff format.

And it hasn’t just been quantity. The quality of games has been lacking, too.

Though there were more blowouts last year by nearly any measure, the 2017 postseason’s average margin in pre-Finals games (13.5) is fifth-highest all-time and second-highest since 1959 (behind 2016, 14.2).

Combine the two factors, and these are the drabbest playoffs in nearly 50 years. Here’s each postseason plotted by average margin in pre-Finals games and percentage of possible games pre-Finals:

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This probably just confirms what you’ve seen: The 2017 playoffs have been in a rut.

We’re all counting on the Cavaliers and Warriors to salvage this postseason, but considering how deep the hole is, anything less than an epic Finals probably won’t cut it.

Kyrie Irving crosses over Avery Bradley, hits 3-pointer (video)

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Avery Bradley got around one screen then, thanks to Kyrie Irving‘s excellent ball-handling, lunged at another that wasn’t coming as Irving hit a 3-pointer.