Thursday And-1 Links: Former NBA player Javaris Crittenton is back in jail

1 Comment

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.

• This is just sad, he had potential — former NBA player Javaris Crittenton is back in jail. While out on bail awaiting his murder trial he got picked up on drug charges. You may remember Crittenton as the other guy at the heart of (and suspended for a season) in the Gilbert Arenas gun in the locker room incident.

• When the Heat were at the White House, LeBron James paid tribute to his mother, speaking to NBC’s Today show: “”She gave me strength to a point where I never even had to think about that, and I have no idea where she got it from. To this day I still won’t even ask her, but she’s definitely the champion.”

• The Heat were in Washington to play the Wizards — and Washington won handily. After the game, LeBron heaped praise on the Wizards. As you might expect.

•  Great story: Nuggets coach Brian Shaw has his team over to his off-season home in Oakland for an afternoon barbecue while the team is in town to face the Warriors. After everyone had left on the team bus and the event was over Shaw did one last check around the house before locking up, and found Evan Fournier asleep on the back deck — he almost got locked out there for the night to face Shaw’s guard dogs.

• Clippers 7’0″ center Ryan Hollins can fit in a smart car.

• A middle school boy in Florida shaved a Heat logo into his head, his school counselor shaved it off. Now, if he had shaved it off because that was a 1989 thing I would understand…

• Robin Lopez is not a fan of the Raptors mascot. He knows what he did.

• Nerlens Noel did a nice turn for a kid awaiting surgery in Lexington.

• This is a week old but still worth the read: At SB Nation Paul Flannery did a fantastic piece on the rise of the Pacers.

• The Miami Heat are on pace to be the best shooting team in NBA history this season.

• Eddie Matta sat down with Knicks legend John Starks for a fun interview.

Here is a Q&A with John Wall.

• Finally, here is a high school alley-oop that shatters the backboard.

2017 NBA playoffs have been historically uncompetitive

AP Photo/Elise Amendola
Leave a comment

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:

image

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:

image

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)

Leave a comment

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.

LeBron James beautifully pass-fakes, makes layup in transition (video)

1 Comment

LeBron James is a treasure.

Shaquille O’Neal’s big toe is seriously jacked up (PHOTO)

shaq o'neal
Getty
Leave a comment

Remember how we we all freaked out when we saw pictures of LeBron James‘ feet back in 2013?

You probably didn’t want to be reminded that it existed, but it does. Still. And apparently jacked up feet is the consequence of a lifetime of playing professional basketball. Once can only assume it has something to do with tight shoes and constant, hard changes of direction in said tight shoes.

We got yet another vision of what basketball shoes can do to feet on Thursday when TNT analyst Shaquille O’Neal showed off his, er, little piggies.

Much to the horror of the Internet in general, it was Shaq’s right big toe that took social media by storm. Mostly because it’s not even close to pointing in the right direction.

I’m going to show you what it looks like. Be forewarned, it might just be NSFL.

Via Twitter:

Oh. Oh … why?

Social media reacted appropriately and proportionately:

Shaq did have issues with that toe during the course of his career, and at one point it was so bad that he had to have surgery to remove bone spurs from the toe in 2002.

That still doesn’t explain why it’s all over your TV and the Internet, but here we are. I am sorry.