Links: And Gerald Green is Out!

by Lang Whitaker

Not to say I told you so, but last week I wrote about how I think the Suns with Shaq would work better as a halfcourt team than a running team. Yesterday, they played a largely halfcourt game against the Spurs and won, 94-87. Granted, Tony Parker rolled his ankle and wasn’t full speed down the stretch, but the Suns knocked off the team everybody was sure they wouldn’t be able to beat, Los Spurs.

But can they do it 4 times out of 7? Well…

I don’t think so, at least not yet. The Spurs couldn’t hit a shot to save their lives yesterday — they finished shooting 35 percent from the floor, which likely won’t happen 4 times out of 7 in a postseason series. But more significantly, I don’t think Shaq can consistently play like that. He looked incredibly active yesterday, even soaring into the stands at one point. If Shaq can go 40 minutes a game in the postseason and be as productive as he was yesterday without getting into foul trouble, then the Suns have a chance against San Antonio. I think they can beat pretty much anyone else in the West, but the Spurs are a different story.

You don’t have to be a Spurs fan to appreciate the way the play, their consistent consistency. Every year they start slow, tinker around with things, then hit a groove late in the season and ride it into the Playoffs. I’ve learned enough over the last few years that I won’t be picking against them this year.

And also, back to the Suns, yesterday my main man Peter Vecsey killed the Suns — specifically Steve Kerr — for trading their first round pick this season to Seattle without including any lottery protection. Of course, Vecsey fails to mention that the Suns already own the Hawks’ first round pick this summer, and it was a pretty safe play at the time by Kerr to assume the Hawks would finish with a worse record than the Suns.

Other than that it was a good column.

• The Hawks won the first annual Ernie Banks Classic in Atlanta over the weekend. Let’s play two? Sure, but only if it’s always against the Miami Heat!

If the Hawks could somehow figure out a way to play only 50 second games with a 3 point lead for the rest of the season, we’d definitely make the Playoffs.

• By the way, a few weeks ago during a Hawks/Bobcats game, Hawks TV analyst Steve Smith said that Bobcats reserve Matt Carroll was “a warrior.” Now, Carroll is a fine player who traveled a tough road to the NBA, but a warrior? Unless he got traded to Golden State, I just didn’t see it.

So I texted Smitty during the game and said, “Matt Carroll is a warrior?” Smitty wrote back that since Carroll had clawed his way from the D-League to the NBA, that made him a warrior. I wanted to point out that this almost made about 50 other guys warriors, or that I’m pretty sure Alonzo Mourning would disagree with Smitty, but I let it ride.

Fast forward to Friday night when Carroll went off for 21 against the Hawks. One night later, Carroll had 23 against the Wizards. During Carroll’s 23-point night against Washington, I texted Smitty and said, “Your boy Matt Carroll is going off again.”

And all I got back was a text that said, “Warrior!!!!!!!!”

• The Rockets waived Gerald Green over the weekend. Shocker!

Just after his best dunk at the All-Star Game, when he blew out the candle on that cupcake, I turned to Sam, who was writing the live blog, and said, “For his next dunk, Gerald will extinguish his NBA career.” Then I thought maybe that was too mean and convinced Sam not to write it down. But it looks like I was far off. According to the link, everyone loves his game and his attitude, but he just hasn’t put in the work that’s necessary. Plenty of time for that now, though. I hope he makes it back.

• Even though I am an avowed fan of Will Ferrell and a fan of basketball, I have not yet seen “Semi-Pro.” Honestly, I don’t have much interest in seeing it, and I don’t think Will Ferrell wants you, the readers of SLAM magazine, to see it, either. Because we tried really, really hard to get an interview with Will Ferrell for SLAM, but we couldn’t make it happen. I tried through the movie studio, a publicist tried on our behalf, and the NBA even gave it a shot.

Shows what we know about show business — world’s largest basketball magazine, movie about basketball…seems like a great fit to me. Oh well…

Funny thing about it is when we were doing the soccer magazine Striker a few years ago, Will Ferrell’s publicist cold-called me and asked if we’d put him on the cover of the magazine because he had that Kicking & Screaming kids soccer movie coming out. I had to tell him no, we couldn’t put him on the cover, because we’d already committed to this guy named David Beckham.

• Interesting to read that of all the problems in Chicago this season, one pressing issue is that SLAM Rookie Diary keeper Joakim Noah “routinely holds up team buses with his unfocused ways.”

Is Joakim driving the bus? Does he send mind waves to the bus driver causing him to become unfocused? Can Joakim’s “unfocused ways” somehow cause the team bus to leave the hotel late?

Now THIS is an interesting story. Sam Smith, get on it.