There is no basketball game on Friday night, which means you can take some time to read about what’s going on around the league, from LeBron James’ epic performance, David Stern’s thoughts on the draft lottery, Indiana’s next move, and much more.
- Did you see how many shots LeBron James missed in Game 6? You can see every single one of them in this video.
- Really, though, was James’ performance on Thursday night the best he has ever put on? Statistically, no. Situation wise, it probably was. Tom Haberstroh breaks it all down: So, what we learn here is that Game 6 on Thursday was by far the best game he’s had with win-or-go-home stakes. The only one that comes close is Game 5 against Orlando in 2009 when he put up tallied a monster triple-double but, by his standards, he shot somewhat poorly from the floor (11-24).
- One player that has to play much better for Boston is Paul Pierce, but will he? Chris Sheridan openly wonders: Hey, Paul Pierce, you going to show up for Game 7 the same way you did four years ago when you (41 points) and the Boston Celtics knocked James (45 points) and the Cleveland Cavaliers out of the playoffs in Game 7 of an epic playoff series between those two teams and those two superstars? Pierce scored nine points on 4-of-18 shooting — two on 1-of-4 in the first half — missed all six of his 3-pointers and was done before he hit 31 minutes. He spent the last 7:43 on the bench on Boston’s Game 6 loss.
- The Spurs season is over, and Tim Griffin of San Antonio Express-News took some time to grade every single player’s overall performances. Only one player received an A, and it wasn’t Manu Ginobili: After battling through injuries all season, Ginobili was finally healthy for the playoffs. Although he struggled through an early shooting slump against Utah, he rebounded and had typically masterful Ginobili games in Games 1 and 2 against the Thunder. He had another huge game as a surprise starter in Game 5, but it wasn’t enough. He struggled in Game 6 and had 23 turnovers in six games against the Thunder after coughing up 19 in the previous playoff games. Final season grade – B-plus.
- The Thunder will now wait for their next opponent to face in the NBA Finals, and Darnell Mayberry breaks down the case for either scenario. Here is what to expect should their opponent become the Miami Heat: The Heat’s legacy. Get ready for it now. If the Heat make it, most of the attention will be on Miami. Thunder fans shouldn’t take it personal. Miami is under heavy scrutiny for how it built its roster and is now facing great expectations to deliver “not one, not two, not three, not four…” championships. Coverage of every game, both during and after the contest, is likely to be geared heavily toward the Heat. Win or lose, the Heat will continue to be a big story.
- CBS Sports and Nets broadcaster Ian Eagle did an interview with David Stern about the NBA draft lottery and all the conspiracies surrounding the process, and you can catch a snippet of it here. The following is a quote from Stern: ”It has gotten enough sort of annual currency, that the one thing we want to do is even though we shrug it off and make a little fun of it, that we also make sure our process is about as airtight as it can possibly be and well reviewed reviewed and well viewed so there’s no problem.”
- The Warriors have been actively looking to make trades with their lottery picks, but they have some competition coming from the Toronto Raptors: Toronto wants an established, athletic wing and is offering the No. 8 pick for trade targets Rudy Gay or Andre Iguodala, according to ESPN. Sound familiar? The Warriors want the exact same thing and are willing to part with the No. 7 pick.
- Larry Bird is in the process of finalizing a deal to continue as the president of the Indiana Pacers, and he has his eyes set on Kevin Pritchard to become the team’s new general manager, according to Adrian Wojnarowski: Pritchard has become a favorite of Bird’s since his hiring as the Pacers’ director of player personnel a year ago. Pritchard’s promotion will spell the end of David Morway’s successful tenure as GM, sources said.
- Speaking of the Pacers, Roy Hibbert will be a restricted free agent this summer, and the team will look to match just about any offer he may receive: Hibbert is one of six Indiana players who could become a free agent July 1, and at 7-foot-2, he could become one of the hottest commodities on the market. But because he will only be a restricted free agent, the Pacers can match any other offer to keep him. So how much will it take to keep the blossoming 25-year-old? That’s what the Pacers are trying to figure out.
- Want to see where Jeremy Lin was first discovered? Slam Online has the story: What do Earl “The Pearl” Monroe, John Stockton, Scottie Pippen and Jeremy Lin have in common? They were all discovered at the Portsmouth Invitational Tournament (PIT).
- The Sacramento Kings have a decision to make about Tyreke Evans, who has not lived up to his rookie hype, and ultimately may head in a different direction: Tyreke Evans was the Rookie of the Year in the 2009-10 season. But heading into his fourth season, the Kings are not expected to offer him a contract extension, though he will be eligible for one this offseason.
- There’s a player that feels he should be the No. 1 overall pick in the draft, and his name is Thomas Robinson: “If you wanted to check the stats, then I’d be the No. 1 pick easily — if that’s what you want to do,” he said. “I should get one of those shirts. I’ll get a shirt that says, ‘Numbers don’t lie.’ “
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James Park is a regular contributor and blogger for SheridanHoops.com. You can follow him on twitter @nbatupark.