DeSean Jackson, Robert Griffin III

Thursday And-1 Links: DeSean Jackson trolls LeBron James… poorly

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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 more than Brazilians love soccer… okay, not that much….

• New Redskins receiver DeSean Jackson (who to me will always be a Long Beach Poly Jackrabbit, where I talked to him and saw him play) trolled LeBron James for some odd reason, and did it with a 2010 insult.

• The idea that Kobe Bryant and Michael Jordan didn’t have talent around them when they won titles is just flat-out idiotic. Kobe needed Shaquille O’Neal to win his first, Pau Gasol and other veterans to win his second, and Phil Jackson to coach all those teams. Does that diminish what Kobe did? Not in the least. He helped take good rosters and made them great. Same with Jordan — the first year he left for baseball Scottie Pippin and the Bulls won 55 games and made the second round of the playoffs. They were not a bad team, Jordan elevated that team to legendary levels, he is arguably the greatest of all time, but nobody wins in the NBA alone. Nobody. That’s why this line of LeBron criticism is a waste. Also, why does it bother people so that LeBron and friends decided to take control of their own fates rather than work at the whim of billionaire owners? Is that how you run your life, never questioning your boss or looking for something better?

• DeMarcus Cousins wants to be part of Team USA this summer for the World Cup in Spain. It leads to an interesting question: How many true centers will Coach K bring? My guess is 1, we will play small a lot (Kevin Love at the five, small).

• This is very sad: The brother of former NBA player Dominic McGuire was shot and killed in his San Diego area apartment. While his child was asleep in the next room.

• More tragic news: The personal chef of the Heat’s Norris Cole was shot and killed at a Miami club.

Great bit of writing from Brian Windhorst at ESPN on how LeBron James turned to Jerry West and Isiah Thomas — two guys who knew Finals pain — to help him deal with and improve off the 2011 Finals loss to the Mavericks.

• Speaking of great writing, Tom Haberstroh on Chris Bosh is a must read. Bosh is one of the most interesting, complex people in the league, a guy who refuses to be put in the two-dimensional box fans often reserve for players.

• Danilo Gallinari update:

• Among the interesting tidbits in this Grantland story about Lance Stephenson: The Hawks tested the trade waters for Al Horford last deadline.

• Tony Snell has gotten rid of the braids.

• Back in 2001 comedian Martin Lawrence tried to help recruit Chris Webber to the Pistons. The effort failed, but the front office was so grateful that in 2004 they gave him a championship ring.

• LeBron James went to the movies. That’s news, I guess.

• Shane Larkin is spending the off-season working on his ability to drive the lane, draw a defense and create for others.

• A former advisor to the NBA players union just got 18 months in jail for fraud.

• Golden State center Festus Ezeli, who missed a chunk of the season following knee surgery, has gotten the okay from doctors to play in the Las Vegas Summer League.

• DeAndre Liggins is working out at the Brooklyn Nets’ facility trying to get on their team for the Orlando Summer League.

• Wizards prospect Tomas Satoransky is not playing for the team in the Las Vegas Summer League.

• Finally, Dikembe Mutombo’s appearance on Jimmy Kimmel was… very Dikembe.

Dwight Howard commits ridiculously sloppy inbound violation (video)

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An embarrassing lack of focus by the Rockets? I can hardly believe it.

Late in a game against a team Houston is battling for playoff position, Dwight Howard was just careless, stepping on the baseline as he inbounded the ball. It’s a needless goof, and he’ll get plenty of deserved criticism for it.

But don’t overlook Patrick Beverley‘s frustration foul on Damian Lillard before the ensuing inbound. That was nearly as foolish and even more costly.

The sequence sparked a 7-0 run for the Trail Blazers, who seized control of the game en route to a 116-103 win.

DeAndre Jordan dunks on Marcus Smart before Smart knows what’s happening (video)

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Marcus Smart went to tag DeAndre Jordan on the pick-and-roll, and Jordan took off from so far from the basket, he was dunking on Smart before the Celtics guard could do a thing.

Chris Paul finds brilliant counter to hack-a-DeAndre Jordan (video)

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I originally favored allowing Hack-a-Shaq as the NBA currently does. I found the strategy fascinated – why and when teams would use it and how their opponents would counter.

But it just became too common. Far too many games featured a parade of trips to the line, a boring stretch that made games too long. I thought the intrigue had run its course.

Then, Chris Paul pulled this move last night.

The Clippers guard saw Jonas Jerebko charging toward DeAndre Jordan to commit an intentional foul, so Paul stepped in front of an unsuspecting Jerebko and took the foul himself. That’s sent a good free-throw shooter to the line instead of the dismal Jordan.

Just an awesome heady play by Paul.