Monday And-1 links: I don’t think Charles Barkley used a gay slur

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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) — done in bullet point form. Because bloggers love bullet points.

• I did not see it live, but it did not sound to me like Charles Barkley used a gay slur Sunday night during the pregame to the Celtics. That idea blew up on twitter at the time. The USA Today has the video (below) and it sounds to me like he said “fan,” which is what the people from TNT claimed he said.

 
• Larry Coon’s NBA Salary Cap FAQ is out for the new CBA. Bookmark it. Now. I can tell you that every NBA writer — from pros at big sites to young bloggers — consults this all the time, as do agents and some people at NBA teams. It is that detailed. It explains everything you need to know to understand the complex NBA salary cap and exceptions, as well as the luxury tax and more. It’s all there. I’m lucky enough to know Larry and I see how much effort and care he puts into this. Great work and I’m glad the resources is updated.

• Apparently the woman who ran on to the court during the Lakers/Nuggets game was Keynon Martin’s old stalker. If so, she is really not good at stalking.

• The NBA’s “BIG” marketing campaign has been hit and miss, but the new Celtics playoff spot below is a hit for me.

• Look for Derrick Favors to get more run for Utah in Game 4.

• Orlando GM Otis Smith says he really wants to keep Ryan Anderson next season. He wants to keep a whole lot of big men this summer.

A fantastic read on the evolution of Amare Stoudemire at the Arizona Republic.

This is a fantastic read on your favorite referee, Joey Crawford.

• While we’re talking about things I liked reading this weekend, this New Yorker tribute to MCA is up there. RIP.

• Caron Butler’s comment on playing with a broken hand: ““It’s not going to get any more broken.”

• Is Rajon Rondo the main thing between the Heat and a return to the NBA finals? Pretty much.

• Dallas GM Donnie Nelson says he would like to bring Jason Terry back. I think the price to do that is the real issue here.

• Spencer Hawes was playing very well before he got injured this year, and in the playoffs he has returned to that form.

• Evan Turner has started to look more like the No. 2 overall pick in the playoffs. He’s figuring out how to fit his game into the NBA.

George Karl doesn’t like losing.

That would be Dr. Shaq to you.

• Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney was at the Celtics game Sunday. Good for the former Massachusetts governor, but he’s still not carrying that state  come November.

• The Bucks are not in a hurry to give Brandon Jennings a big contract extension.

• Bucks owner Herb Kohl also is talking about getting a new arena built in Milwaukee.

• Bulls Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations John Paxson is having surgery to deal with a heart arrhythmia. We wish him the best, he is in our thoughts.

Tyronn Lue says he has secret plan to fix Cavaliers’ defense for playoffs

AP Photo/Phil Long
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Only one team that ranked outside the top 12 in points allowed per possession during the regular season won an NBA title. The 2000-01 Lakers, who were 21st in defensive rating, are the lone outlier.

The Cavaliers rank 22nd in defensive rating this season and have been even worse lately.

But Cleveland coach Tyronn Lue says he has a plan. He just won’t reveal it yet.

Lue, via Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com:

“We’ve got to hold back. We can’t show our hand early because … these are some good teams and we don’t want them to be able to come into a series and be able to adjust to what we do. We just have to be able to play our normal defense until we get there and then we will see what happens.”

Also:

“I think the rebounding hurt us. Rebounding. But it will be different once some other things happen. … Their two-guards, their threes, they still crashed the boards. But we have something to fix that. Just not right now.”

What precisely those plans are, Lue wouldn’t tell us. And here’s the other part — he’s not exactly sure they’ll work.

“I’m not confident, but we’ve got to” get the defense fixed, Lue said. “We have to.”

The Cavs ranked just 10th in defensive rating last season, among the worst marks for an eventual champion. But they cranked up their defense in the playoffs, especially late. Cleveland held the Raptors 4.8 points per 100 possessions below their regular-season scoring rate and the Warriors 7.8 below theirs.

Lue also unleashed a 3-point-heavy attack in the playoffs last year after sitting on the strategy through the regular season.

So, I have some faith Lue will implement a better defensive gameplan when it counts. It also helps to have LeBron James, who can still play elite defense when not in the slog of a long regular season.

But the Cavaliers’ defensive deficiencies right now are glaring. This roster appears to lack defensive potential, and their many miscues keep them well below whatever that potential is.

The challenge in elevating this defense to championship-caliber will be immense, maybe even unprecedented.

Mavericks’ Salah Mejri dunks while getting shoved in the gut (video)

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The Mavericks built a 13-point lead over the Thunder with 3:30left thanks to plays like this Salah Mejri dunk on Nick Collison.

Unfortunately for Dallas, Russell Westbrook happened.

Willy Hernangomez dunks on Andre Drummond, Pistons’ playoff chances (video)

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Andre Drummond and the Pistons couldn’t slow down anything.

Not Willy Hernangomez. Not the Knicks. Not Detroit’s plummeting playoff hopes.

After a 109-95 loss to the Knicks last night, the Pistons — who’ve lost four straight and seven of eight — are 1.5 games and two teams out of playoff position.

Terrence Ross 360 dunks his way back into Raptors fans’ hearts (video)

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In his first appearance in Toronto since the Raptors traded him to the Magic, Terrence Ross did what he has done best throughout his career: Delight Toronto fans with a dunk.

And of course the fans appreciated it, because their Raptors cruised to a 131-112 win.