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It's just like our grandparents always told us — you can take the Byron away from the Bobcats, but you can't take the Bobcats out of the Byron:
Generally speaking, making announcers emit an involuntary, spooked "Whoa" with a pass you make isn't a very good thing. It's especially not-very-good when the pass winds up about five feet over the head of its intended receiver and about five rows back into the stands. Better luck next time, Byron Mullens.
Let's look on the bright side, though — there are pluses to be taken from the Los Angeles Clippers reserve big man's air-mail. For one thing, this Clippers possession came as the result of Mullens grabbing an offensive rebound of a Willie Green miss — Mullens was trailing the play after a Phoenix Suns turnover, saw Green rise and fire, darted from the 3-point line to the rim and took advantage of a nonexistent Markieff Morris boxout to get L.A. a fresh 24 seconds. Any such work by Mullens — a perimeter-oriented type who was one of just five 7-footers last season to play more than 200 minutes and grab less than 6 percent of available offensive rebounds — is a bonus.
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For another, Mullens made a good read on the play. After setting a high screen for guard Jamal Crawford, he opened up to receive a pass, immediately attacked the basket to draw defensive attention, saw the Suns' wing defenders sag away from Green in the left corner and made the cross-court look for what would have been an open corner 3-pointer. That's a smart play within the context of the set, and points toward Mullens understanding what coach Doc Rivers wants him to do in that situation.
Understanding it and executing it, though ... those remain two different things. But hey, preseason's the time to work this stuff out. If Mullens sailed one this bad during the regular season, he'd join the likes of Carlos Boozer vs. the 76ers, Metta World Peace vs. the Hornets, DeMarcus Cousins vs. the Hawks, Jordan Crawford vs. the Blazers, J.J. Hickson vs. the Heat, and this ref vs. everybody. As it stands, it's just a preseason miscue worth a quick laugh and that's about it. (It's still worth the laugh, though.)
Mullens finished with 15 points on 5 for 8 shooting, including a 4 for 7 mark from 3-point range, to go with four rebounds and a steal in the Clippers' 102-96 win over the Suns on Tuesday.
Video via NBAshowtimeHD2.
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