By Ben Golliver
• DeAndre Jordan's monster dunk over Brandon Knight on Sunday night was the talk of the tubes on Monday.
Noah Graham (Getty Images)
Noah Graham (Getty Images)
• The Big Lead runs down the various memes that emerged in the aftermath, many with an "RIP Knight" slant.
• Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports felt Knight shouldn't be mocked mercilessly because he was the doing the right thing: trying to play defense.
For Brandon Knight, who had the guts to stand in there, there were prominent people writing that he had been raped and assaulted and killed on Sunday night in Los Angeles. Eight inches shorter and 80 pounds lighter, Knight understood the right thing is seldom ever the most popular. Brandon Knight didn't run and hide, didn't spare himself the humiliation.
The culture of this sport has never been so backward, never so twisted. Hell of a dunk out of DeAndre Jordan, but maybe the wrong player gets the ovation.
• Mike Prada of SB Nation suggested that we shouldn't rush to acknowledge Knight, as his defensive rotation was too late.
Knight didn't make his rotation until Jordan had already started his run to the rim. A better play would have been to anticipate Jordan's rim-run and beat him to the spot, drawing a charge or just preventing Paul from even throwing the pass with his presence.
Would that have been difficult to do? Absolutely. But it's not an altogether impossible defensive rotation to make, because proper scouting would have given Knight the knowledge to snuff out the play.
• Knight played it perfectly on Twitter.
• Zach Harper of Eye On Basketball had some fun breaking down pictures of the crowd reactions to the dunk.
• In other news ... Beckley Mason briefly interviews Kobe Bryant's infamous German doctor on TrueHoop TV.
• Neil Paine at ESPN.com (Insider) wonders whether LeBron James will stand in the way of Kevin Durant's title chances much like Michael Jordan blocked a host of stars in the 1990s.
Durant, almost all of us can agree, is: (A) a generational type of talent, and (B) almost certainly not the best player in basketball. As even the most casual of observers can tell you, James is playing at a level so high that everyone else is relegated to merely battling for second place in the pecking order of NBA stars. In fact, James has reached that rarefied zone of being the league's unquestioned alpha dog, a place previously reserved in the minds of basketball fans for names such as Michael Jordan, Shaquille O'Neal, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and few others (even Magic Johnson and Larry Bird had each other; Bill Russell fended off Wilt Chamberlain and Oscar Robertson for the better part of a decade).
This might have happened sometime last season -- or, more likely, after an offseason spent processing the new reality of James and the Heat as reigning champions. Whenever it happened, the overwhelming consensus is that James is the league's No. 1, with Durant left chasing the runner-up slot.
• James Herbert of SB Nation has an interview with Cavaliers guard Dion Waiters.
SBN: Everybody knows Philly players are known for being tough. Can you describe what those streetball games are like in Philly?
It's tough, period. Not even streetball. Just the environment itself, it gives you that anger, that confidence, that swagger, everything you see in us in Philly. The basketball game, as far as outside: physical, falls, fights, a lot of profanity back and forth toward each other. Making each other better, though, that's how it was back in the day. Right now, you can't even get in a fight for real without some violence happening now. But it's cool, man, it definitely gives you that motive, that "I ain't scared of nobody" type of attitude.
SBN: Do you think sometimes people get it twisted, they see that attitude and they think "bad guy?"
DW: Right. I've been through that from eighth grade through high school. They gave me that reputation. I was never a bad guy, never got in trouble. It's just that I played with anger and I was aggressive or I really never smiled. And you get labeled, but you can't judge a book by its cover until you open it up and read it. I'm here today, so a lot of people who said I wouldn't be because of my attitude -- I think my attitude helped me get over on a lot of people and take it to another level.
But yet, the story the Bulls planted last week in an online report felt oily and appeared to run counter to both points.
An unnamed Bulls source emphasized that Rose’s medical clearance had been weeks’ old and the comment seemed to be shaped in a way to create precisely the kind of pressure the Bulls said they were not applying.
Are the Bulls playing dirty with their best player? Are they lying about leaving it all up to Rose? Or are they just plain duplicitous?