MKG doesn’t take the surly approach favored by other players put into the stopper’s role; there is no sense, in watching him, that it’s at all Kidd-Gilchrist Against the World, or that he’s out there to silence doubters. As with the rest of his teammates on this unusually likable juggernaut, that sour-beyond-its-years cynicism and cockiness is largely missing from Kidd-Gilchrist’s game. It’s hard to watch MKG play and not be struck by his positivity. The Cool Hand Luke smile belies just how hard he’s working, but he’s also clearly having fun.
Monday’s loss was not a death knell for the Bucks’ playoff aspirations because the remaining schedule favors them. The Bucks play eight teams currently not in playoff positions, and 11 of their final 17 games are at home. Their only elite opponent is the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Meanwhile, excluding a matchup against the Bucks on April 11 in Milwaukee, the Knicks have five games remaining against teams not holding playoff spots. In their last 16 games, the Knicks are at home seven times and have to face the Chicago Bulls twice and the Miami Heat once. While the Bucks’ strength of schedule so far puts them in the middle of the pack, the Knicks have had the league’s easiest path.
This is another reminder that you should read Britt Robson’s power rankings. From this week’s Houston Rockets section, on the lovable Chandler Parsons:
Last week, the 6-9 Parsons blanketed Kobe Bryant as the Rockets rallied in the fourth quarter to beat the Lakers; led Houston in scoring and rebounds in a win against Golden State; converted a game-tying three-pointer in the final seconds of regulation and had a double-double in an overtime loss to Dallas; and had 16 points, eight rebounds and five assists in a comeback victory over Sacramento. Coach Kevin McHale has found the rookie increasingly indispensable — his minutes have climbed every month. He has a knack for shoring up weaknesses; with point guard Kyle Lowry out with a bacterial infection, his assists have nearly doubled in March, to 3.5 per game.
Midway through the first quarter, we are blessed with greatness. Iconic sitcom actor Alan Thicke arrives and sits about seven rows back with his ladyfriend, who feeds him popcorn by hand between sips of Diet Coke. From now until halftime, I find it difficult to focus on the game. Instead, I peer to my left every 15 seconds, hoping to catch the moment when Thicke’s companion deposits a Popcornopolis morsel into his mouth.
At Eight Points, Nine Seconds — twopieces worth your time on the recently retired Jeff Foster.
Chris Tomasson on big men making big money. In this piece, Quentin Richardson reveals that Ryan Anderson is known as “Baby Brinks Truck” to the Magic.
Also at WEEI, Ben Rohrbach looks at another improved Celtic: Greg Stiemsma.
Read the whole thing, but here’s one exchange that stood out from Tracy Weissenberg’s Q&A with Gerald Green at SLAMonline:
SLAM: Do you think you entered the NBA too young? GG: No, not at all. I think it was a good age. Coming out of high school, developing, this is the best league. It’s always the best. Of course, you go to college, you could experience that, cool. But there’s no way of getting the development of [the NBA]. Even college players coming to the League, they have a hard time because it’s a big adjustment. This is a big league and it’s the best [leagues] in the world. I think that me coming out of high school, I’ll always stand with that decision. I just felt like I didn’t do things right once I got there.
At Eye On Basketball, Matt Moore’s best defensive player of the third quarter of the season is not, in fact, one player.
Jay Caspian Kang on Harrison Barnes: “He’ll probably settle somewhere between Arron Afflalo and Jared Dudley, but definitely not much more than that.” I hope he is wrong, and I really like those two players.
“The day before our first practice his freshman year – this is a guy who is a top-five player in the country; I’ve never had a player do this – he came by my office and was nervous about practice the next day,” says Floyd. “He said, ‘Coach, I want you to be patient with me while we’re out here tomorrow.’ I said, ‘Why DeMar?’ He said, ‘Because I’ve never had to play man-to-man defense and don’t understand any of these drills that I saw a year ago. And it’s going to be an adjustment for me, but I’m going to listen and I’m going to try.’
“If you ask me, the power forward position in the NBA is tough. You’ve got guys night in and night out. Just look at our trip right now. We have (LaMarcus) Aldridge coming up; David Lee we just played.
“Antawn Jamison with the Cavs, Dirk Nowitzki, Chris Bosh, Amar’e Stoudemire. I don’t miss that at all, you might say.”
From a chat, Mavs pbp guy Mark Followill on Rodrigue Beaubois’ recent play:
This is one of his best sustained stretches of his career. He’s playing under control, he’s looking to penetrate in a north-south way more often and he is competing defensively. I really like what I have seen in a lot of the games since the All-Star break but especially in the last week.
Rick Carlisle was very patient with Beaubois in this one. There were several times in the game where one could almost feel a quick hook coming, but to Carlisle’s credit he let Beaubois play through his mistakes. That not only turned out well in terms of Beaubois finding a good rhythm (and doing a respectable job on the defensive end), but also kept Kidd’s minutes down. Well played by all involved.
“When he got the job, I told him, ‘Hold me accountable,’ ” Anthony said of new interim coach Mike Woodson. “I don’t have a problem with criticism. If I can do something to help better this team, let me know. And he’s been doing that.”
Again, call me crazy, but it sure seems like Anthony believes that Woodson has done a better job than D’Antoni at holding him accountable (he certainly hasn’t helped the small forward recapture his shooting form). I’m sorry, but if you’re holding yourself out there as one of the best players in the world, how, exactly, is it that you need someone to hold you accountable? Shouldn’t you be holding yourself accountable?
Maybe you wonder who’s the leader in the locker-room. John Wall is in charge of shouting the rallying cry, and when it is necessary for anyone to speak for the players or to the team, it’s his job as well. The mood in the locker-room and at practice is, of course, dependant on the team’s results. When we won in New Orleans, immediately there was a more relaxed atmosphere. So then you can afford some horseplay at practice.
“I’m an up-tempo guy, a guy who gets after it and can be that pest,” he said. “You know how when you are outside and there’s that fly, flying around your face and you keep swatting it away but you can’t get to it? That’s the guy I am out there on the court. And I’m a guy guys gravitate toward. A leader.”
You know, I love Jeremy Lin’s story, but I’m beginning to go nuts hearing about how awesome he was at Summer League in 2010. This is for a purely selfish reason: I was at Summer League 2010. I didn’t see every game, however. While I saw John Wall’s debut and I saw DeMarcus Cousins’ 10 fouls in a single game, I missed Wall going up against Lin. It drove me crazy to hear people talking about it then and know I missed out. Now? Fdfklsjfdslkfdj!
Speaking of Lin’s story, maybe you’re sick of it by now but look at this damn quote:
D’Antoni discovered Lin’s humility the first time the 23-year-old showed up at a Knicks practice session when he joined the club from the D-League.
“This kid literally was standing around at practice asking me if he should bring his car to the East Coast, or were we going to cut him, too,” the Knicks coach said.
“These guys came into work. They came in relatively humble. You want to see that, because we were all young guys. Contrary to a lot of kids’ belief, you’re not owed anything when you get here. That’s No. 1. No. 2, we have a good time with them. They’ve got good personalities. They’re funny guys. They can take jokes, they can give jokes. It’s all good.”
“You always want to test a rook to see what he’s made of. And at the end of the day, it is your job. Look, it’s either your family eats or my family eats sometimes. You go at a rook to see what he’s made of. If he’s going to give it to you, you take it from him. We’ve got pretty good rooks. All of them have got a scrap about ‘em and a willingness to compete.”