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