First, a trivia question: During the NCAA Tournament yesterday, Arkansas’s huge hipster center, Steven Hill, blocked a shot, which prompted Billy Packer to note that Hill was one of 4 men in SEC history with over 300 career blocked shots. Of course, Packer never mentioned who the other three are.
So I looked it up this morning. Answer at end of The Links.
(And I really hope Hill makes the NBA next season so we can make fun of him on the regular. I wanted to call him “Backboard Confessional” or maybe “Fall Out Boy.” Khalid suggested “My Morning Jacket or “Panic At The Disco.” Neither of us listen to enough emo, I guess.)
• Today’s story of the day is definitely this story about Rajon Rondo and his love for…roller skating! Danny Ainge says Rondo “is a fantastic roller skater.” What are you basing that on, Danny? Rondo and his friends apparently do routines and everything. Says Rondo…
“A lot of people around the country try to do [trio skating] like us [in Louisville], but they can’t do it like us. They skate by themselves in Boston. They skate real fast and I consider it wild. But Louisville, we skate smooth with rhythm.”
And we wonder why his jumper never improves?
• Also, Peter Vecsey had a bizarre note about Jerry West in his column yesterday. Vecsey wrote…
“By the way, West is all but fully recovered from a summer golf-cart accident. He suffered a severely separated shoulder and acid burns to his leg when he got trapped under the cart for 45 minutes after it had flipped during a mad dash to the club house during a sudden lighting storm.”
Acid burns? Sounds like one of the strangest sports injuries of all time. Was he partnered with Dajuan Wagner?
• A big thanks to ABC, as they’ve finally started showing their weekend NBA games in HD. Only took them about five years to catch on to the whole HD thing, so we appreciate it. I was watching yesterday’s Dallas/San Antonio game yesterday, and it was a little scary to see Dirk Nowitzki’s leg bend the wrong way in HD.
Even though the Spurs weren’t playing all that well, they handled Dallas pretty easily. Tony Parker was so passive he seemed to be French, and Duncan had a terrible afternoon (finished 7 of 21 from the floor). They’ve got to get bigger games from Mike Finley, and missing Robert Horry really bothers seems to bother them, at least on offense where Ime Udoka isn’t quite the three point threat that Horry is. Getting Brent Barry back should help, but I think squeezing any sort of contribution from Horry is the key.
But what I love and respect about the Spurs is their culture of winning. Even though Dallas had a lead and the Spurs couldn’t make shots, they never panicked, never gave up. They kept chipping away, running their offense, getting stops on defense. I especially loved how after almost every play, Tim Duncan was talking to his teammates and discussing the Spurs defense.
And Dallas, well…now we hear Dirk is out “at least two weeks,” which probably means more like a month. And with just three weeks left in the season, this makes Dallas contender number one to drop from the Playoff race. Especially with their upcoming schedule: Dallas is at home tomorrow against the Clippers, and then they play at Denver, at Golden State, at the Clippers, home against Golden State and then at the Lakers and at the Suns. You better believe Jason Terry needs to turn into Allen Iverson again for Dallas to have a shot.
If they’re somehow still alive after that stretch, I’m voting Avery Johnson for coach of the year.
And how is the West going to finish up? I don’t know. I still think San Antonio is going to win the Conference, but I’ve got a nagging feeling that New Orleans isn’t going to make this easy on anyone.
• One thing I noticed about Jason Kidd yesterday is that he doesn’t just miss shots, he misses them badly. I wish someone kept a stat on most bricks, or maybe shots that had no chance of going in. One of you basketball nerds needs to start keeping track of this, please.
• My main man Maurice Garland has a link to the new Outkast/Raekwon single on his blog. Yes, it’s as good as it sounds. And Dre is just on another level right now.
• Cool post from Russ today with his old notes from seeing Stephen Curry do a basketball demonstration a decade ago. I bet he didn’t look younger then than he does today. When I was a kid I went to Brad Daugherty basketball camp and Dell Curry did a shooting demonstration that was incredible.
• By the way, there’s a new blog out there that’s pretty cool and well-written, with lots of links to soccer, which keeps me going back, called Machochip. Check it out.
• Someone who works at Starbucks should write a book about working at Starbucks and name it “Calling The Shots.” Or maybe a bar waitress should use that as a book title. Either way.
• Disaster Dickau says he’d like to re-sign with the Clippers. I guess he doesn’t care about winning. Yes, I can hold a grudge.
• The Cavs are planning on re-signing Lance Allred to a 10-day contract. But what’s really impressive is what Allred says about Cleveland:
“I’m really enjoying Cleveland and the museums on University Circle and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.”
I spent a week in Cleveland and never even heard about University Circle.
• I watched a TV show last night on the National Geographic channel with the greatest name ever: “Locked Up Abroad.” Really, is there anything that title doesn’t tell you?
• There’s a new tallest man in the world. I don’t think he outgrew anyone else, he just wasn’t official until recently. My man Leonid Stadnik says he’s struggled to fit in, being 8-5 and all. I like that he has stuffed animals on his bed — they’re probably actual animals that he had stuffed.
Chad Ford has already slotted in Stadnik at number 7 overall in his latest 2008 mock draft.
• And finally, the other three SEC players with over 300 career blocked shots are Lavon Mercer (had 320 blocks for Georgia from 1977-80), Kyle Davis (360 for Auburn from 2001-04) and your all-time leader in career blocks is Shaquille O’Neal, who had 412 between 1990 and 1992 for LSU.