Good morning. Let's basketball.
FREE BASKETBALL FOR ALL: The NBA had five games on Tuesday. Three of them went to overtime. (This included Bucks at Blazers, which YIKES Portland.) Here are your recaps. Short version: Heat edged Cavs, Blazers survived Bucks, Hawks edged Raptors, Kings edged Wizards and Warriors walloped the Magic.
PHIL 'ER UP: Phil Jackson was introduced to the New York media on Tuesday. Check out the highlights. And the quotes from Jackson and Dolan's radio tour. The Knicks also have an official historian who did a nice profile of Phil. Note that James Dolan's recruitment of Jackson involved a desert ATV adventure in Southern California. (?!?!)
The story of how Dolan chased Jackson is actually rather ... uh, romantic? It's easy to see why Jackson is flattered, at least. And Dolan was very flattering on Tuesday: "Getting somebody like Phil Jackson to come in and build the team is sort of like getting Einstein to help you with your math homework."
But this is still James Dolan we're talking about, as David Roth reminds us in a brilliant essay that asks whether Jackson has really taken control. On the current state of the franchise: "Dolan has built an organization that looks like him: paranoid, isolated, weird, autocratic, arbitrary and more concerned with maintaining white-knuckle consistency than anything else."
One more Phil-related link: Jared Dubin and netw3rk find hope.
BRON READY: LeBron dropped 43 on Cleveland, plus one of the most inexplicable, cool dimes of the season.
SPRINGTIME FOR DUNKS: It's already been a great week for botched dunks. Add Meyers Leonard's massive ricochet to the list.
CONGRATULATIONS CLEVELAND: The Cavaliers finally stopped a court-stormer before he got on the court! Quicken Loans Arena security staff for Most Improved!
ALL OF THE TANKS: The great Zach Lowe talked to folks all over the league for a long, serious look at the lottery system and potential changes. He covers all the bases. Note that The Wheel idea has been modified, that Lowe reports there is momentum for change of some kind and that the league and reform opponents are looking at additional mechanisms that need to change to prevent an overcorrection.
For the record, I remain in favor of small tweaks, not wholesale reform.
THE FLYING VOGELS: Neat profile of Pacers coach Frank Vogel by my old pal Matt Snyder.
WOW: This is a rather amazing pregame video by the Cavaliers from a week or so ago. Good lord.
JODIE-RELLA: The NBA MVP Bracket you never knew you needed.
HOTTEST SEATS: James Herbert takes a look at the coaching spots most likely to be open at season's end. It looks like we'll have at least three changes, and up to 30, because NBA owners are largely lunatics.
DEEP DIVE: Are the Mavericks ready for the playoffs?
WAITING FOR ROYCE: Royce White did not make his NBA debut on Tuesday; that could happen with the Kings later this week. In the meantime, Scott Neumyer's brilliant SBNation.com essay "I Am Royce White" recently won a 2014 Writing Award from the American Society of Journalists and Authors. If you hadn't seen it before, check it out.
Happy Wednesday. See you next time.