• With all this time off, Andrew Bynum is getting plenty of special attention regarding his lackluster performance in the Utah series. I, for one, am not that concerned about what will happen in the next series (be it Houston or Portland).
There are two reasons. First is the matchups are better for him. Utah often went small and didn’t have guys he could bang with down on the block — both Boozer and Okur are comfortable away from the paint. The Jazz also tried to counter the Lakers size advantage by going small, so even if he had been playing well this was not a series where Bynum was going to see as many minutes. But that will not be the case in the next round, he will be down low banging with Yao or Oden. And if either of those guys step out high, you know it’s to set a pick.
The other reason is focus and confidence. Bynum still plays like a young kid — when things are going right he plays bigger and stronger, when he hits a rough patch he loses focus and effort. By the end of the Utah series, his mind appeared to be off with Cedric Ceballos on a Jet Ski. But in the next round he starts again, he has a very clearly defined task, and he wants to prove himself. I have confidence he can.
All that said, Phil Jackson cannot be afraid to use the hook early if he isn’t hacking it (or is hacking Yao).
• I think the guys at The Painted Area hit the nail on the head:
The ridiculousness of the flagrant-foul interpretation is that, in practice, it is determined almost entirely by whether the fouled player hits the floor in an awkward, scary-looking manner, and Miller ultimately did not hit the floor that hard. Many times, you’ll see a guy go for a legitimate blocked shot on a breakaway, and get called for a ridiculous flagrant ONLY b/c of the way the fouled player falls.
• While we’re on the Rondo foul on Miller, there have been people suggesting that the Bulls seek revenge with a hard foul on Rondo tonight, the eye for an eye theory. But the smart move is to take a page out of the hockey playbook here: On the ice in the playoffs, if someone cheap shots a teammate (and nobody can start a fight that second) you don’t take the revenge in the next playoff game — that could turn the course of a series against you. However, the next season, first home game against said player and team, expect the revenge with interest. I’m not advocating that, I’m just saying….