Here is our regular 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.
• Kobe Bryant has sat out the last couple of Lakers practices with a sore foot. It’s not considered serious and if you think it would keep him out of a regular season game then I’m pretty sure you have him confused with another Kobe. That said, it brings up the point that Mike Brown is going to have to reduce Kobe’s minutes, keep Steve Nash’s in control and generally not run guys into the ground this season (as he did Kobe and Gasol last season). He needs to coach for June like Gregg Popovich Doc Rivers.
• Amare Stoudemire, Baron Davis and Danny Granger are going to be on upcoming episodes of The Mindy Project.
• Speaking of television, the Maloof brothers ended up in some pretty funny dialogue on 30 Rock.
• Udonis Haslem has been working on his three-point shot. Because the Heat need another three-point shooter.
• Gregg Popovich passed out DVD’s of the presidential debate to every member of the Spurs.
• Marcus Camby sat out the Knicks Friday practice. Nothing serious, and at his age Mike Woodson needs to get him rest all season.
• Chauncey Billups went through a full practice and scrimmage with the Clippers. That’s a good sign for his return.
• Not really a surprise, but Warriors coach Mark Jackson confirmed Klay Thompson is his starting shooting guard.
• A.J. Price is standing out as the point guard who could start and get the bulk of minutes in Washington until John Wall returns (likely around Thanksgiving).
• By the way, Wall said the stress fracture in his patella comes from the wear and tear of strenuous workouts.
• Kevin Garnett likes what he sees in Jared Sullinger.
• New Timberwolves center Greg Stiemsma said that his feet are feeling “really good.”
• Could Celtics rookie Fab Melo spend much of the next season in the D-League.
The Bulls suffered a rough loss in Boston last night.
It didn’t get better afterward.
K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune:
Celtics general manager Danny Ainge – who played for Boston in the 80s – pleaded ignorance to any nefarious plumbing:
I think the idea that teams plot to shut off the visitor’s hot water is often overstated. Arenas have complex infrastructure, and things can go wrong on their own. Sometimes, the home team loses hot water, but that never gets remembered.
But reasonable excuses don’t make a cold shower in the moment any more tolerable.
Robin Lopez had reason to be upset from the Bulls’ Game 5 loss to the Celtics last night.
This miss was all on him.
Dwyane Wade (26 points, 11 rebounds, eight assists) was the Bulls’ best player in their Game 5 loss to the Celtics last night.
But the 35-year-old guard clearly didn’t go all out on every possession.
Players can justify not closing out by claiming they were prioritizing rebounding position. Wade clearly has no such excuse.
The Los Angeles Clippers dropped Game 5 to the Utah Jazz on Tuesday night, and find themselves down 3-2 as they head back to Salt Lake City for Game 6. The Clippers have had to deal with Utah’s formidable defense, so much so that they’ve built in counters to Jazz defenders overplaying shooters like JJ Redick.
One example of this countering method could be found in Game 3, when the Clippers ran a split cut for Redick. Instead of fighting endlessly around screens for a 3-point shot as you might expect, LA took the easy route and simply cut Redick to the basket for an easy layup as a means to take advantage of an overeager defender.
We’ve talked about the Split Cut here on NBA Playbook before. The Los Angeles Lakers used it earlier in the season to beat the Golden State Warriors, the team that uses the split cut perhaps the most out of any team in the NBA.
Other teams, including the Portland Trail Blazers, have adapted the Warriors’ use of the split cut as a counter for their own offense this season, which is a testament to just how useful it is.
If you need a reminder, a split cut all about a screener coming up to screen, then cutting toward the basket before his screen action fully takes place. It’s about timing, and catching defenders off guard when they go to set up their recover positions for screens.
For a full breakdown on the split cut and how the Clippers used it, watch the video above.