Posted January 17, 2014

Short Corner: Scatterbrain thoughts on drama-free Pacers, unlikely jams and more

Rob Mahoney, Short Corner
Indiana Pacers

Lance Stephenson and Danny Granger have had no trouble co-existing. (Darron Cummings/AP)

Welcome to the Short Corner: A celebration of the NBA in the pithiest form possible. Below are a collection of notebook-style items from the week that was, laid out for your buffet-style enjoyment.

• It’s amazing how ridiculous the Paul George/Lance Stephenson/Danny Granger non-issue seems in retrospect, given just how much of an accessory Granger has become.

• I’m not sure what kind of superlative to give reserve-turned-starter like Shaun Livingston, but the combo guard damn well needs one based on his importance to an increasingly weird (and increasingly successful) Nets team.

• A baffling disparity: Raptors forward Patrick Patterson has shot 45.9 percent from three-point range in the partial seasons after a midseason trade, and 31.4 percent in all other instances.

• Gotta love Paul Pierce’s giant grin after having his layup attempt blocked cold by renowned defender Kyle Korver:

• At this point, I don’t think we can totally rule out the possibility that Ersan Ilyasova has been body-snatched. It’s as if some alternate being were trying to take over his basketball life while getting only cobbled clues from teammates, coaches and his own Wikipedia page as to how he typically plays.

• In a single season, Shelvin Mack has gone from overwhelmed Wizard to short-term Sixer to truly valuable member of the Hawks’ rotation.

• One thing that has become very apparent over the last month or so: Brandan Wright is the sunshine in Vince Carter’s life. I’d love to see data for how effectively Carter scores off Wright’s screens compared to screens set by other Mavericks players; those sequences seem to bring out the best in both players.

• This moment of unexpected drama is one of my favorite things about the NBA game:


In still form, there’s not much to it; James Harden has beaten the Thunder’s first line of defense, and while Serge Ibaka looms, the odds are still good that he’ll be able to either finish with a layup or bait Ibaka into a foul.

Then this happened:

That ability to turn a seemingly unremarkable layup attempt into a vicious dunk is the kind of play only consistently feasible on the NBA level. What a freaking jolt.

• To second a point made by The Starters: There is no question in my mind that Russell Westbrook saves the most notable items in his wardrobe for national TV audiences.

• I ask this after seeing both the best (3-of-4 from three-point range en route to 13 first-half points) and worst (oh-fer with three turnovers in the second half) of him on Thursday night: How many third-string point guards are better than Aaron Brooks?

• The Thunder have a Derek Fisher problem, but fear not: They’ve brought back veteran flotsam Royal Ivey on a 10-day contract to cure all their ills. For such a sharp organization, OKC does some pretty strange things with the bottom of its roster.

• Grizzlies forward James Johnson has registered two blocks or more in half of his games this season. That’s some Josh Smith-level swatting from a fellow combo forward, and proportionally in the ballpark of Anthony Davis and Roy Hibbert in terms of multi-block performances.

• On a related note, this Johnson dunk attempt was one of the most impressive (and ambitious) misses of the season:

• When Houston’s shooters are well covered (as was the case during the team’s 19-point second half against the Thunder on Thursday), the Rockets might be more prone to three-second violations than any team in the league.

• A footnote on a merry Raptors season: Toronto ranks as the best transition defense in the league, per Synergy Sports.