Kurt Helin

Tyson Chandler, Dirk Nowitzki, Dwight Howard

PBT Extra matchup to watch: Dallas has to find a way to deal with Dwight Howard


There was rightfully a lot of talk over the weekend about how Derrick Rose looked all the way back for the Bulls. He did. But another guy battling injuries during a couple years looked like a force of nature as well last weekend:

Dwight Howard.

He was simply the most dominant player in Game 1 of the Mavericks vs. Rockets series. Dallas struggled to score when Howard was on the court. Mavs’ coach Rick Carlisle has to get Howard out of the paint (or in foul trouble) or this is going to be an uphill struggle for a Dallas offense that already doesn’t look comfortable when Rajon Rondo is on the court.

Man arrested after fight over who is better, Michael Jordan or LeBron James

Miami Heat v Charlotte Bobcats - Game Four

Some people take the whole Michael Jordan vs. LeBron James debate way, way too seriously. (If you don’t believe me, check out the comments on this post after it’s been up for 24 hours.)

Daniel Mondelice is apparently one of those people. From the Associated Press:

Police say an argument over whether Michael Jordan or LeBron James is a better basketball player ended in a Pennsylvania man’s arrest on aggravated assault and other charges.

The Centre Daily Times reports that 22-year-old Daniel Mondelice was first arrested early Saturday after fighting with another man over whether Air Jordan or King James reigns supreme.

It wasn’t clear which player Mondelice backed.

Mondelice was released on bond. However, he went to a woman’s home in the State College area (where the arrest took place), while there became argumentative and the police had to be called again. He was taken into custody at that home and spent the rest of the weekend in jail, according to the report.

I could try to use logic and suggest that discussing the complete (and mythologized) legacy of Jordan with the incomplete — he’s still in his prime with chapters to be written — legacy of James is a fool’s errand. We don’t know what we will think of LeBron in a decade. But Mr. Mondelice — and many commenters on this post, no doubt — are not swayed by logic. Or the idea of patience. Their opinions are set and the world will conform to them. That always works out well.

PBT Extra matchup to watch: Marcus Smart needs to take on Kyrie Irving challenge

Kyrie Irving

Kyrie Irving looked at home on the playoff stage, dropping 30 points on the Celtics in his playoff debut. He did it right from the opening tip, putting up 20 points in the first half, 12 in the second quarter when the Cavaliers took charge of the game.

For Boston, the Kyrie Irving challenge falls on rookie guard Marcus Smart.

Is Smart going to shut down Irving? No. Nobody can. What you want to see as a Boston fan is Smart embrace the challenge, to really sink his teeth into the task. You want to see him want that responsibility.

Boston didn’t expect to be here. That they are is a chance for some young players to learn and grow. None more so than Smart, even if some of those lessons are hard ones.

Monday night games update: Kirk Hinrich out for Bulls; Jrue Holiday says he’ll play for Pelicans

Chicago Bulls v Denver Nuggets

There are two Game 2s in the NBA Playoffs first round Monday night, and we have some guard updates for both of them.

For the Bulls, guard Kirk Hinrich is out again, reports PBT’s own Sean Highkin. Hinrich is battling an ongoing knee issue and missed game one.

From the Bulls’ perspective, what’s the rush to bring him back? Chicago should be able to beat Milwaukee handily without him. When the Bulls will need him is the second round, very likely against Cleveland. Rest him now, get him as healthy as he can be for when he is needed.

For the Pelicans, Jrue Holiday expects to play but we may not see Tyreke Evans, reports John Reid at the Times-Picayune. Officially, they are both listed as questionable.

”Tyreke and Jrue are pretty much in the same situation,” Williams said before Monday’s shootaround at the University of San Francisco. ”Tyreke is going to be a game-time decision and we’ll wait to see how they feel after this morning and probably before the game.”

”I’m all right, I’m going to make it,” Holiday said before Monday’s shootaround.

The Pelicans need more out of their guards to have a shot in this series. Too often in Game 1 — particularly early on — the New Orleans guards lost Stephen Curry or Klay Thompson off the ball and paid a serious price.

PBT Extra matchup to watch: Pelican guards need to stay with Curry, Thompson

New Orleans Pelicans v Golden State Warriors - Game One
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Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson lit up a lot of teams over the course of the last few NBA seasons. Them putting up numbers on a team isn’t a shock.

But how it happened in Game 1 against the Pelicans — especially early in the contest — made this a matchup to watch entering Game 2. Too often, the Pelican guards took their eye off the Warriors guards when someone else had the ball, and the result was a cut to the basket and an easy bucket. That got the Warriors going, and their momentum had them up 25 before the Pelicans made their comeback.

That comeback came thanks to Anthony Davis and a defense that seemed very “anybody but Curry” in strategy. We’ll see Monday night if that can work again.

Also for the Pelicans, Tyreke Evans is a game-time decision after his injury in the playoff opener.