Friday, January 4, 2008

Top 10 Steals of 2007

Top 10 Steals of 2007
Check out the best steals from 2007, including interceptions by LeBron James, Allen Iverson and Manu Ginobili.

Top 10 Amazing Plays from December
Take a look at the top 10 amazing plays from December, including incredible highlights from Ben Gordon, Vince Carter, Corey Maggette and Brandon Roy.

Pistons 101, Raptors 85 (F)
Richard Hamilton scored 22 points as the Pistons extended their winning streak to 11 games with a victory over the Raptors on Friday night.

Wanna know about the Nets?
Don't bother me about ‘em; I can't stand watching the team. Yeah, I'll go through the games and take the usually notes, but their usual style of underachieving play mixed with slow-down offense (despite the odd Jason Kidd-led fast break) usually leaves me cold.

Doesn't mean I dislike them, doesn't mean I don't try to watch every game, doesn't mean I root against them, doesn't mean it's going to preclude me from being objective in my analysis, I'm just loathe to drop into that sort of dispassionate state that most ancient sports columnists have stumbled into, so I'd rather pass the buck.

Good thing I'm passing it to the best.

Just going to quote a recent clips from the Newark Star-Ledger's Dave D'Alessandro, who runs a Nets blog that is an essential weekday (and, sometimes, weekend) read.

From Wednesday's mailbag:

Hi, Dave: "The points they got in the last two minutes were really kind of effort/focus mistakes," Frank said. . . .The focus and mental conditioning begins with the coach, and while we all know he 'prepares,' there is an intangible with the upper echelon coaches - most of whom were players. I submit Frank has taken this team as far as it can go, and as many have said, it is time for a change. Candidates, Dave? Thanks and Happy New Year.

Mo: It's moot. It's almost as pointless as asking Thorn whether the coach is in trouble after every three-game losing streak, because he's not going to tell you the truth anyway. They'll bust up the team before they replace the coach, and that will be the time to deduce whether a new guy should handle the new group. But if the current coach resigned tomorrow to satisfy an obsessive desire to become an Elvis Impersonator or a drawbridge operator, you'd hire in-house (B. Hill or Cartwright. . . .or perhaps even E.M. Vandeweghe).

On Kiki Vandeweghe's hire:

Regrets? He had a few when he ran the Nuggets.

Judging by our calculations, he and Jim Paxson were the only GMs to pass up both Dwyane Wade and Amare Stoudemire -- in '03 and '02, respectively --which is a pretty grim double-flub, and we don't care how much you love Melo.

The Kenyon Martin deal, which was something we all considered a no-brainer at the time, turned out badly - especially since Kiki failed to remind George Karl every single day that this is a guy whose head you shouldn't mess with. Turns out that Coach/GM disagreed over the suspension during the '06 playoffs, which didn't exactly help Vandeweghe's stature with owner Stan Kroenke.

He and Kroenke also clashed over Kiki's public dalliance with the Cavs when their GM job became open, the tenure of Jeff Bzdelik, and Vandeweghe's mistake of not pursuing Gilbert Arenas in the free agent summer of '04.

And then there was Skita. . . .'nuff said there.

But pissing off the owner is usually a plus when it comes to GM duties, as far as we'-5)re concerned.

And on the team's poor home record (7-11), in opposition to its fine road showing (8-5):

"The more reasons we try to find why (they suck at home), the more excuses we come up with," L-Frank harrumphed. "Everyone has talent. Anyone can beat anyone anywhere. The homecourt advantage should be a plus, but I don't know if it's reflective in the home/road records. The other team outplayed us each time.

"That atmosphere stuff is bull----. It's our job as a team to bring the fans out. That's our job."

Eh. He's just being diplomatic. The fan support is still routinely apathetic, has been ever since 11 and changed showed up for Kidd's debut back in '01. And there's no way you can avoid noticing that the team (captain included) shows a superior focus, intensity, and execution when it plays in front of a larger group, hostile or otherwise.

"I don't know if there's an answer," R. Thorn said. "Part of it is who you play, but in our case we've had some good road wins against good teams. Maybe it's timing. Or maybe you're just more (rested and healthy). But we focus pretty well on the road."

OK, now they're just pulling stuff out of their diddybags. It's an uncomfortable issue, because they don't want to alienate the few fans they do have. We'll let it rest. But if they let a totally dysfunctional team win in their building tonight, they'll have to start conceding the obvious:

In the immortal words of Mike Gminski, there's no place like away.

As always, there's more at the door, there's more at the door, so please read.

Haier Play of the Day: Marcus Camby
Watch as Marcus Camby sends Tony Parker's shot into the stands for the Haier Play of the Day.

Josh Moore, man about towns
You might remember Josh Moore from his time spent on the bench with the Los Angeles Clippers back in 2003-04. He didn't see any regular season action that year, but it did net him a steady gig the next season playing overseas in ... Iran.�

From there, things have gotten pretty interesting for the 7-2 center, as you'd expect. He's started a blog, been profiled in ESPN the Magazine and the Wall Street Journal, and was a subject of discussion on NPR this morning.

I'm not going to waste your time paraphrasing what Josh has gone through, what he's learned, and what you could learn by reading up on the guy; but I will link to a series of sites that offer fascinating reads on a guy that I'd like to hear quite a bit more from.

*First, yesterday's profile in the Wall Street Journal (hat-tip: Can't Stop the Bleeding).

*Then, today's NPR discussion (hat-tip: um, the Wall Street Journal?)

*Lastly, Moore's own website (hat-tip: seriously, I'm not even wearing a hat).

Hawks - Pacers, Halftime
Watch first-half highlights in Indiana.

All-Access: Celtics-Bulls
Watch as NBA TV gives you an all-access look at the Dec. 21st matchup between the Celtics and Bulls.

Reggie's Mailbag: Toughest Defender
Reggie Miller answers a fan's question about the toughest defender he has ever faced and who he thinks is the best defensive team in the NBA.

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