With continuing action in the second round of the NBA Playoff, here are my five quick thoughts from the NBA.
1. ROY HIBBERT (Pacers): Really like the strategy of the Pacers on Saturday night. Pound New York inside and make them pay dearly for their lack of interior defense, particularly when Tyson Chandler is out of the lineup. Hibbert got deep position and made them pay with his good footwork and skill level in the post. He's an improving guy with a developing comfort level. It takes "big guy" time and patience from everyone around them to hit their stride. He's not there yet but I loved what I saw from him.
2. TAYSHAUN PRINCE (Grizzlies): He really fits. Guards, moves without the ball, makes timely plays and is very efficient. So nice having a veteran player who has played in a ton of big games from his time in Detroit. He's a calm influence on their team. He doesn't need the ball a lot and when he has it, he knows what to do with it. New lease on life for him after being mired in a rebuilding situation in Detroit. Good pickup.
3. IMAN SHUMPERT (Knicks): Not able to practice Monday for New York due to sore knee. Hopefully he'll be ready to go Tuesday night. Love how he's bounced back from injury/surgery. Ma, does he guard! He has exceptional quickness and strength and is a load to deal with in terms of trying to feel comfortable offensively against him. His offensive game is getting more fluid and he's got major league explosiveness in his game. I look at him and I'm really fascinated with his potential. This could be a huge off-season for him for his improvement and all of this post-season experience will make him that much better and a more aware player.
4. HARRISON BARNES (Warriors): His team really needed him on Sunday and he delivered. Yes, it took a whole lot of shots for him to do it yet the fact that he's in a winning environment and being force fed the minutes and being asked to produce in tight spots propels his growth as a player in rapid fashion. He really looks like he belongs out there. I give coach Mark Jackson a ton of credit for staying with him and believing in him. His faith is paying off. Many coaches won't throw rookies to the wolves - they've thrown him here in a winning environment and look at the results. Good vision.
5. LIONEL HOLLINS (Grizzlies): Can't believe this guy is still coaching without a contract for next season. You don't see it affecting his players one bit. They have deep respect for him and he makes no issue of his status and they just go out and play their game. He has really matured from when he started as a head coach in his previous stint in Vancouver. The man has paid his dues in the league as a player, assistant coach and now head coach. Nothing fazes him. He teaches/coaches a hard-nosed and defensive/power oriented style and it works for him. Two more wins versus OKC and I'd be shocked if he doesn't get his extension. He deserves it.