Today’s Best NBA Reporting And Analysis 2/19/16

(NOTE:  Again today our links are limited by the effects of the all-star break and trade deadline.  The good news is that this is probably the last disclaimer we will need.  Our expectation is that we will be back to our “old normal” this weekend.)
–   Pick-And-Roll Perfected:  Draymond Green And Steph Curry  (from Jeff Siegel, fansided):
–  Lockdown Defense Keeping Celtics Among East Elite  (from Chris Forsberg,  ESPN):
SVG Explains Pistons’ Trade Process And How Little He Is Involved  (from Aaron McMann,
–  Bulls’ GM Gar Forman  Q & A  (from K.C. Johnson,  Chicago Tribune):
–  George Karl Should Not Go Out Like This  (from Ailene Voisin,  Sacramento Bee):
–  Every Trade Completed During The 2-15-16 Season  (from SBNation):

–  Trade Deadline Recap  (from Chuck Myron,  Hoops Rumors):
The Key Deadline Deals  (from Bobby Marks,  Yahoo Sports):
–  10 Questions Following The Trade Deadline  (from Jonathan Tjarks,  RealGM):
–  Recapping Thursday’s Games  (from SBNation):
–  A Guide To The Buyout Season  (from Mika Honkasalo, Hoops Hype):
–  NBPA Mounting Crackdown On Agents’ Conflicts Of Interest  (from Ken Berger,  CBS Sports):
Additional Player Notes, Updates, Profiles:
Brandon Jennings/Ersan Ilyasova  (from Philip Rossman-Reich, Orlando Magic Daily):
–  Dante Exum/Shelvin Mack  (from Dan Clayton,  Salt City Hoops):
–  Channing Frye  (from Luke Sicari,  King James Gospel):

–  Jon Horford  (from Chris Reichert,  Upside & Motor):  Jon Horford putting in the work to create his own path

Regular Season Day 4: NBA’s Best Stories

– Why do the Spurs win when shorthanded? It’s as simple as A-B-C (from Michael Erler,

” The first person to get a ring was assistant Jim Boylen, not trainer Will Sevening. A little unusual, okay, but then came… General Manager R.C. Buford? Huh? What’s going on here? And then back to Chip Engelland. Then Chad Forcier.

And you realize they’re just going alphabetical for the coaching staff and front office. The order got to Pop eventually, but — and this is important — he wasn’t the final one. From him it went to Sevening and finally to Ime Udoka. None placed in any order of hierarchy or salary or importance.

Then came the players and the only question in my mind was whether Ginobili or Tony Parker would have the penultimate position ahead of Tim Duncan. I figured Leonard would be fourth-to-last in the traditional worst-to-best pecking order and I was just curious who would be second and third. The line started off with Jeff Ayres when I thought it would be Austin Daye but then when Marco Belinelli was the second one up, I realized it was the same alphabetical order for the players too, with Duncan getting his fifth ring after Boris Diaw and before Ginobili. For the record, Tiago Splitter got the final ring.

That’s the reason the Spurs win games when they’re missing players. Because they’re all treated
as equal cogs in the machine, none more vital than the other.”
Read it here:
– Bulls and Cavs offer glimpse of East heavyweights (from Jeremy Wood, Sports Illustrated):
Read it here:
– Too early to see the genius David Blatt will bring to LeBron, Cavaliers (from Jack McCallum,
Sports Illustrated):
”  So what will Blatt be able to do, or, more to the point, try to do?

• Play with pace. This seems simple, but NBA players, even great ones, sometimes especially great ones, tend to slow the ball down so they can be in control, reduce the variables that would keep them from getting the shot or controlling the action.

• Do myriad things with Kevin Love. Coaches drool when they get multi-talented big men — they are plenty of those in Europe, though not of Love’s caliber (or they’d be in the NBA) and there’s no better way to establish what Blatt calls “ball energy” than to move his big men in and out of the post. One thing he will do is encourage Love to sprint to the low box, not so much to score but to find open shooters when he gets it.

• Use more imaginative ways to get LeBron the ball, even if it ultimately leads to a familiar-looking isolation. Blatt was a master at that, using double weakside pindowns and misdirection, things like that.

• Spacing and movement. Every NBA team talks about those things, but the ones that succeed in achieving them have coaches who insist on them, talk about those principles every day. Blatt will be one of those.”

Read it here:
– Oklahoma City Thunder’s Defense Will Keep Them Alive (from Michael Pina, BBall Breakdown):
Read and view it here:
– Damian Lillard, Trail Blazers look to find their way after loss to Sacramento Kings (from Joe
“The Kings, much like the Thunder during the Blazers’ opening-night win on Wednesday, were
hell-bent on taking the ball out of Lillard’s hands and stifling the creativity and flair that make
Lillard electric. Every time he touched the ball, it seemed, the Kings’ big men aggressively
“showed” on pick and rolls, darting out from behind screens instead of sagging back and allowing
Lillard to dictate the play.

And as the Kings’ big men showed, their guards often added additional pressure, harassing Lillard with double-teams.

His only course of action throughout it all was to scramble and get rid of the ball, kicking it to the nearest teammate. It’s hardly the first time Lillard has encountered the defensive tactic, but it’s also rare that Lillard has been this out-of-sync over a two-game stretch, particularly with so many eyes watching. So far this season, Lillard has made just 7 of 23 shots (30 percent) and recorded seven assists.

So what’s next? Well, coach Terry Stotts and his staff will no doubt scheme around the defensive tactics, just as they’ve done in the past when Lillard has encountered this type of defensive tenacity.

Perhaps Lillard will have to hit his screening big man with a pass sooner when he’s blitzed, rather than waiting to navigate around the double-team. Or perhaps the Blazers can work the ball to Lillard using more handoffs, which would free him up to create in different ways. There are a host of counters.”

Read it here:

– Lakers empower Lin, and he responds (from Baxter Holmes, ESPNLosAngeles):

Read it here:

– News from Friday’s NBA Action (from Stephen Babb, Bleacher Report):

Read and view it here:

– A new basketball generation comes of age in Canada (from Scott Howard-Cooper,

” It was 1995. One expansion team began playing in Vancouver, the Grizzlies, and another debuted across the country in Toronto, the Raptors. The NBA was never the same.

Eighteen years later, in 2013, the No. 1 pick in the Draft, Anthony Bennett, was a Canadian. So was No. 1 in 2014, Andrew Wiggins. Several others from the Great White North arrived the same way, many as lottery choices: Kelly Olynyk, Nik Stauskas, Tyler Ennis and Dwight Powell. That was soon after Tristan Thompson went fourth in 2011 and Andrew Nicholson was the 19th selection of 2012.

Canada as an overnight basketball sensation is not so overnight. Sixteen, 17, 18, 19 years — that is no coincidence. It is exactly a generation of boys growing up with the NBA in their country.”

Read it here:

– Pelicans’ Austin Rivers welcomes what lies ahead (from Jimmy Smith,

“There’s not that many players’ sons who play in the league,” Rivers said. “So I think it’s an honor. I think it’s special that I’ve been able to do so far what I’ve done. I’m just getting started. I haven’t scratched the surface yet. That’s how I look at it. As far as the scrutiny, I mean I could pick and point fingers, but you look at the top players and the scrutiny they get . . . . look at LeBron.

“For me to be able to whine about that would be kind of silly. I don’t even look at it at the end of the day. Everybody has their problems and issues. Guys who don’t have a famous last name, a lot of guys had to grow up in a rough area and make it out. I didn’t have to do that, but I had a last name and I had that burden. Everybody in life has their own burdens and that was mine. It hasn’t been anything.””

Read it here:

– Breaking Down Russell Westbrook’s Hand Injury (from Jeff Stotts,

Read it here:

– Breaking Down Julius Randle’s Tibia Fracture (from Jeff Stotts,

Read it here:

More player updates:

– Alex Len:

– JR Smith:

– Kentavious Caldwell-Pope:

– Channing Frye:

– Blake Griffin:

– Al-Farouq Aminu: