Short Corner: Dirk Nowitzki's greatness, Mason Plumlee's self alley-oop 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, laid out for your buffet-style enjoyment.
• Dirk Nowitzki's long history of offensive efficiency begins with his ability to protect the ball. Rarely is he careless with his handle or passes, while his footwork and shooting give him the ability to dodge offensive fouls. It's an exceptional component in the game of an exceptional player, and one worth pointing out because Nowitzki is on pace to register the lowest turnover rate (an amazing 7 percent) of his career.
• I have to say: I'm impressed that 39-year-old Thunder guard Derek Fisher can still summon that look of utter disbelief when whistled after barreling through an opposing screener. It takes real commitment to blast standstill offensive players in game after game and season after season, but even more so to respond to the most obvious of foul calls with that kind of incredulity.
• Rounding out this season's top 10 in true shooting percentage (which takes into account two-pointers, three-pointers and free throws): San Antonio's Boris Diaw. It's been a banner year for Bobo, and for fans of ball-handling big men who so expertly walk the line between smooth and awkward. (The nine players ahead of him in that category: Kyle Korver, LeBron James, Kevin Durant, DeAndre Jordan, Marco Belinelli, Goran Dragic, Chris Bosh, James Harden and Nowitzki.)
• So, this happened:
The NBA is a wonderful place. Thank you, Mason Plumlee.
• Rebounding is a way of life for Jeff Adrien. It is the primary (if not sole) reason he is in the NBA, and it helps that he's a natural in terms of timing and positioning. That said, Adrien commits his strength and focus almost completely toward dominating that transitional phase of the game, as Bucks fans are finding out since his arrival from Charlotte at the trade deadline. In his three games with Milwaukee, Adrien has averaged 15.7 rebounds per 36 minutes, albeit in limited playing time. That figure is actually depressed a bit after a six-rebound effort on Thursday; he totaled 21 boards in just 42 minutes in his first two games. Insane.
• Pacers forward Chris Copeland actually logged some meaningful minutes against the Timberwolves last week, but he vanished from the rotation just as quickly as he appeared. Indiana is doing just fine without him, but his weird, off-kilter scoring game is missed.
• Victor Oladipo beats the shot clock:
• Now that we've settled into the realization that Bulls guard D.J. Augustin is an actively helpful basketball player, it seems a prudent time to call attention to his work off the ball. Not every point guard can make an impact while cutting and curling, but part of the reason Augustin has been such a great fit for the Bulls is that he can make a catch on the move and continue without hesitation. That hasn't saved Chicago from posting some of the worst offensive numbers in the league, but consider how awful the Bulls' scoring might be without him.
• With the Spurs leading by three with 13.4 seconds left in a recent game at Portland, San Antonio's Belinelli opted to wrap the ball up and practically invite the Blazers to tie it up. I can understand this maneuver for someone just learning the game, but why would any player at any competitive level do this?
• A harrowing figure: Erratic (a charitable description, I think) Sixers point guard Tony Wroten uses a greater cut of his team's possessions when on the floor than Stephen Curry, James Harden or John Wall. I'm sorry, Philadelphia. • To close out the triple-overtime game between the Wizards and Raptors on Thursday, Bradley Beal played 27 consecutive minutes -- the entire fourth quarter and all three overtimes. That's not so much Randy Wittman as Tom Thibodeau as it is Washington at its most desperate.