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This photo is amazing.

Ray Allen will always have a special spot in my heart.

Is that Johnny Winter in the front row?

“ In Boston right now, we have this challenge going out. I do a radio show out there, and there are people on the street that really believe they can beat me. So we’re doing tryouts for the top 10 people in Boston to play me one-on-one. And we’re playing to 11. And we’re gonna film it, everything. The reality of people and what they think NBA players are like. I’m the last guy on the bench and I will kick your butt if you’re out on the streets. It’s just the way it is. ”

—    Brian Scalabrine, former NBA player for the New Jersey Nets, Boston Celtics, Chicago Bulls and the Benetton Treviso

“ Jeremy Lin might be the #2 PG available in this draft. He looks to me like a sleeper in the mold of George Hill. He appears to have the skills to become at least a usable combo guard. If he can get the passing thing down and handle the point, Jeremy Lin is a good enough player to start in the NBA and possibly star. ”

More on the Inconsistency of NBA Commentators

Yesterday, I wrote a post comparing Stephen A. Smith’s reserved opinion of Jeremy Lin’s skills after his three breakout performances with Stephen A. Smith’s exuberant reaction to Miami Heat rookie Norris Cole after just two games early in the season (including one in which Cole scored only 7 points).

A quick recap of that post: About believing the Linsanity hype, Stephen A. Smith said: “Not yet, I’ve got to wait and see.” About Norris Cole’s game, he said, “He’s a big time player, there’s no doubt about it.” Very different reactions.

Since Jeremy Lin dropped 38 points and 7 assists on the Lakers Friday night, Stephen A. Smith has been taking some heat. He defended himself on Twitter, saying he did not “bash” Lin but instead proposed a wait-and-see approach. It’s true, he did not bash Lin. But at the same time he did say because Lin’s games were against the Nets, Jazz and Wizards, “Forgive me if I’m not overly excited.”

As it turns out, however, Stephen A. Smith had not watched those games. In one of his Twitter messages today — after the Lakers beat down — he wrote: 

1st time I really watched the kid (only saw him for a few minutes vs. Wizards). Beautiful off pick-and-roll. Stop-and-go game like Nash.
Excuse me? I guess Stephen A. Smith was hanging out with Kobe Bryant under a rock somewhere. One wonders now how Stephen A. Smith made his pre-Lakers judgment of Lin’s game if his knowledge came from only “a few minutes vs. Wizards.” What did he base his judgment on then?

Small Sample Size Case Study on the Inconsistency of NBA Commentators

In his last three games, Jeremy Lin has averaged 25.3 points and 8.3 assists in leading the Knicks to three wins. This is what Stephen A. Smith, an NBA commentator, said when asked if he’s buying into Linsanity:

"Not yet, I’ve got to wait and see," he said, very stoically, and if you know Stephen A. Smith’s body of work, this is a rare occasion, indeed. “He played well against the New Jersey Nets, the Utah Jazz and the Washington Wizards. Forgive me if I’m not overly excited” — Stephen A. Smith fails to mention that the Knicks starting five against Washington were Lin, Bill Walker, Landry Fields, Jared Jeffries and Tyson Chandler (a combined annual salary of $17.5 million, of which $14 million belong to Chandler) — ”He can ball, it seems. There’s been an upgrade from the porous play we’ve seen from Knicks guards in recent memory — over the course of the last few weeks — he’s an upgrade, there’s no doubt about that. He’s exciting. I like what I’m seeing. But as the competition becomes stiffer and teams familiarize themselves with him, meaning they know what to prepare for night in and night out, then I’ll see.”

That’s fair. But this is what Stephen A. Smith said after rookie Norris Cole’s first two games with the Miami Heat this year — one of which he scored 20 against the Boston Celtics, who were playing without Paul Pierce. “This kid Norris Cole is the real deal,” Stephen A. Smith said with his usual bombast and swagger. “He’s a big time player, there’s no doubt about it. He’s just a natural shooter. Got a beautiful touch. Can shoot from anywhere. Can shoot threes. Can dribble penetration, create his own shot. Can get in the lane, has a nice floater. He’s got that kind of game.” 

Keep in mind that Norris Cole is a point guard, not a shooting guard, and that the team also employs Dwayne Wade, LeBron James and Chris Bosh (who earn a combined annual salary of $47 million). Since that 20-point game, Cole has cooled off somewhat. He has not scored close to 20 points in a game since that second game against Boston (in his first game, he scored 7 points against Dallas). He is now averaging around 8 points a game in 20 minutes off the bench — and 2.4 assists.

“ Timing is everything. Chemistry is something that you don’t just throw in the frying pan and mix it up with another something, then throw it on top of something, then fry it up and put it in a tortilla and put in a microwave, heat it up and give it to you and expect it to taste good. You know? For those of you who can cook, y’all know what I’m talking about. If y’all can’t cook, this doesn’t concern you. ”

—    Kevin Garnett, complaining about, at least I think, the rushed training camp required to start the NBA season on Christmas Day.

“ There are no other peoples’ children in the United States of America. ”

—    Bill Russell