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Yao Ming Pimping BMW Plug-in Hybrid

Yao Ming apparently has a long standing relationship with BMW and now he’ll be pimping one of their cars. The Rockets made an appearance at the Shanghai auto show and helped BMW unveil a plug-in hybrid sedan based on the 5 Series. Right now it’s an electronic concept car that is set to go into production in 2013. It will be produced by BMW’s partner Brilliance China Automotive Holdings Ltd.

Yao missed nearly the entire season after re-injuring his foot in November. The 7’6″ center will be a free agent this summer.

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Doug Collins Knows Miami Heat Are Superior to 76ers

Don’t accuse Philadelphia 76ers coach Doug Collins of being unrealistic because the man is not stupid. After watching his team get outclassed in Miami Monday evening 94-73 by the Heat, he spoke in a matter-of-fact tone to the media.

“If they’re playing great, they’re a better team. OK? If they’re playing on top of their game, they’re a better team,” Collins stated. “They won 58 we won 41. That doesn’t mean that we’re not going to play, compete and fight. But when they come out and defend they way they did, and Bosh and LeBron play the way they did, and Joel Anthony gives them the lift off the bench defensively that he did, it’s going to be very difficult for us to beat them.”

Just because the Heat were on top of their game Monday doesn’t mean they’re going to win the Finals, and it certainly doesn’t mean they’ve already won this series. Games are completely different at home compared to on the road, so let’s not get ahead of ourselves just because the Heat have played well. But like Collins said, the Heat are simply better when they’re on.

The question is can the Sixers disrupt Miami somewhat when the series goes to Philly for the next two games. I think so, and we’ll likely see close games like Game 1 of the series.

Here’s the video clip of Collins speaking after the loss.

T.J. Ford Makes Half-court Shot (Video)

At the end of the third quarter between the Pacers and Bulls, point guard T.J. Ford nailed a long shot from beyond half court to tie the game:

It really is incredible to see so many players nail shots like that with ease. This year alone, we saw Tyreke Evans, Gilbert Arenas, and Chauncey Billups get it done. Now we can add T.J. Ford to the list, and if they keep it up, it may take a full-court shot to impress us. This is almost like shooting free throws now.

Carl Landry Praises Rick Adelman After Firing by Houston Rockets

The Houston Rockets announced on Monday that Rick Adelman would not be back as the team’s head coach after four seasons on the job. The sides mutually agreed to part ways and it’s pretty obvious there was a divergence regarding the way the team should be run. Adelman was discouraged by all the trades management made. From the time he took the job to now, only two players have remained with the team — Luis Scola and Chuck Hayes. That’s a lot different from the team led by Yao Ming and Tracy McGrady Adelman envisioned he’d be coaching when he got the job.

Despite the differences in philosophy, Adelman led Houston to a 193-135 record giving him the highest winning percentage in franchise history. He also helped the organization break its streak of seven consecutive first-round losses in the playoffs. He got a lot out of his players including Hayes and Scola, and he helped Carl Landry become an extremely valuable player.

Matter of fact, Landry who is now with the Hornets, had nothing but praise for Adelman after learning of the firing. “Is it true that the Houston Rockets let Rick Adelman go?” Landry asked on twitter. He followed it up saying “The man wins 50 games every year without T Mac and Yao and you get rid of him? I don’t understand … Thanks coach Adelman on helping me become the player I am today.”

What Landry has become is a strong bench player who can give you 26-27 minutes per game of scoring and energy. In his third year in the league, he emerged as a 16-point-per-game scorer for the Rockets before being traded to Sacramento for Kevin Martin. Landry didn’t appear to have much going for him his first two years in the league, but Adelman surely helped him reach a new level. I don’t know who Houston will hire next, but it will be tough to find someone better than Rick.

Dwight Howard Not as Dominant as Third Straight Defensive Player of the Year Award Suggests

Orlando Magic center Dwight Howard won the 2010-11 Kia NBA Defensive Player of the Year Award. Dwight has now won three consecutive DPoY awards, making it the first time any NBA player has done so since the award was introduced in 1982-83.

Howard led the NBA with 66 double-doubles, ranked second in rebounds (14.1 rpg) and fourth in blocks (2.38 bpg). Overall, his impact is hard to quantify into a single stat like P.E.R. because some aspects of defense just aren’t quantifiable. But the eyeball test tells us that Dwight is nothing short of a beast in the middle. His 3rd DPoY award is the 3rd most all-time, behind the four both Ben Wallace and Dikembe Mutombo won. And the way things are looking, Dwight might win five or six by the time his career is all said and done.

While the voting wasn’t unanimous, it was oblongly lopsided. Dwight received 585 points with 114 first-place votes out of a 120 possible. Five sportswriters gave him 2nd place votes and one inexplicably left him off of their ballot. While I won’t defend that one person, I will admit that there are some people, including myself, who don’t see Dwight as the bar-none best defensive player in the league.

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Video: Did Kendrick Perkins Goaltend on Russell Westbrook’s Miss?

The Thunder and Nuggets played an extremely close game Sunday night to cap a highly entertaining opening weekend of the NBA playoffs. Much like the other three games on Sunday, the finish between the two came down to the final 30 seconds. Oklahoma City was up by a point with 30 seconds left when Russell Westbrook missed a leaner and Kendrick Perkins tipped it in. I immediately thought Perkins goaltended on the play by touching the ball when it was still in contact with the rim, but now I’m not so sure. Check the video and let me know what you think:

After watching the replay, it appears as if Ibaka never touched the rim and that the ball was on its way out when he did touch it. I think most of the confusion arose because his hand went through the net on the way to putting the ball back in. Matt Moore at CBS Sports has more on the specific NBA rules regarding goaltending, but your head may start hurting if you try to dig deeper and figure things out. That put-back gave the Thunder a 104-101 lead and after a missed Ty Lawson three-pointer, the Thunder made it a two-possession game and hung on. That play was a major deciding factor in the final minute and it helped give Oklahoma City the win. The question is do you think it should have counted. I think it should have. What about you?

Kevin Garnett Tripped Toney Douglas to Free Ray Allen for Winning Shot

How did Ray Allen get so wide open for his winning shot in Game 1 of the Celtics-Knicks game Sunday evening? The answer is he was the recipient of a dirty or savvy play by Kevin Garnett, depending on how you look at it. Check out the final 20 seconds of the game courtesy of Mock Session and keep your eye out for KG when he trips Toney Douglas:

I’m not saying Ray Allen couldn’t have made the shot with a hand in his face, but I do know he had a much better look at the basket after Douglas ate hardwood. Unfortunately for New York, that wasn’t the only the only call the refs blew.

On Carmelo Anthony’s airball to end the game, he was hit on the wrist by Ray Allen. Even Doc Rivers recognized the Celtics got away with a foul on that one. Obviously it’s not the referees’ fault the Knicks lost, but they certainly played a role.