– Bucks bemoan mistakes in Game 1 loss to Bulls (from Steve Aschburner, NBA.com):
” Milwaukee vows to step up energy, discipline, defense”
Read it here: http://www.nba.com/2015/news/features/steve_aschburner/04/19/bucks-need-to-make-fixes-for-game-2/index.html
– Playing James Johnson an obvious adjustment for the Raptors in Game 2 (from Blake Murphy, raptorsrepublic.com):
” James Johnson is not a savior. He’s not a star. In some matchups, he might not even be a player you want on the floor.
But James Johnson has a very particular set of skills, skills he’s only figured out how best to use recently in his career. Skills that, when engaged and focused, can make him a nightmare for people like Paul Pierce.”
Read it here: http://www.raptorsrepublic.com/2015/04/20/playing-james-johnson-an-obvious-adjustment-for-game-2
– Kyle Lowry Needs To rediscover His Form (from Eric Koreen, nationalpost.com):
“I have no doubt that Kyle Lowry will come back and play at a level that he’s played at and has made him successful,” Raptors coach Dwane Casey said. “That’s who he is. He’s a guy who plays better with a chip on his shoulder. He’s been doubted all his life since junior high school, so I think he’ll bounce back. I don’t think shooting is where you rate him, I think making winning plays, defensive plays, draw and kick, not turning the ball over, those are the winning plays that he’s excellent at.” But it is those plays where Lowry looks flat, though. He fouled out late in the fourth quarter Saturday on a Bradley Beal jump shot off of a curl, a play Lowry totally misread. On a Raptors’ possession early in the fourth quarter, when they were down by 15 points, Lowry got the ball at the top of the key, trying to ignite his team. Instead of using his killer spin move or finding one of his teammates after drawing some attention, Lowry bowled into two Washington big men and missed a shot. For Lowry, such a calculating and cunning player at his best, it was all very aimless, and certainly flat.
Read it here: http://news.nationalpost.com/sports/nba/toronto-raptors-kyle-lowry-needs-to-rediscover-his-superstar-form-if-team-wants-a-deep-playoff-run
– Five things Raptors must do differently in Game 2 (from Mike Ganter, torontosun.com):
Nene and Marcin Gortat are beasts in the paint. And yes Drew Gooden is a wily, old veteran with size on his side as well. But giving up 19 offensive boards in a game and finding a way to win are pretty much mutually exclusive events. Unless the Raptors rebounding improves, not even a solid defensive effort like Saturday’s is going to save them. The good news is the Raptors talked about it ad nauseum after the game and again Sunday and are tweaking things to ensure that the second and sometimes third chances these offensive boards led to are cut down drastically. It’s going to start with the Raptors bigs but the guards are going to have to do their part too. Keeping themselves between the basket and their man or as Casey describe it Sunday: “It’s about putting your forearm in somebody’s chest, getting your butt in their knees and going to get the ball.”
Read it here: http://www.torontosun.com/2015/04/19/five-things-raptors-must-do-differently-in-game-2
– Hawks 99, Nets 92 (from Paul Flannery, SBNation):
” There were several moments in the Hawks’ 99-92 Game 1 victory over the Nets where Atlanta looked like the team that blitzed through the league in December and January. And, there were other times when the Hawks looked like a team that might be vulnerable against bigger, more talented squads as the playoffs wear on.”
Read it here: http://www.sbnation.com/nba/2015/4/20/8455585/hawks-vs-nets-kyle-korver-doubts-nba-playoffs-2015
– Grizzlies Defeat Portland Trail Blazers 100-86 in Game One (from Joe Mullinax, grizzlybearblues.com):
Read it here: http://www.grizzlybearblues.com/2015/4/20/8455259/memphis-grizzlies-defeat-portland-trail-blazers-2015-NBA-playoffs-game-one
– Beno Udrih’s mid-range touch allows Memphis Grizzlies to ease Mike Conley back in vs. Blazers (from Mike Tokito, oregonlive.com):
” The Trail Blazers’ defensive philosophy is to contest shots at the rim and challenge three-point attempts, meaning they will sometimes give up open midrange jump shots.
Hello, Beno Udrih.
Udrih feasted on mid-range jumpers as he scored a team-high 20 points to help the Memphis Grizzlies to a 100-86 victory over the Blazers in Game 1 of the Western Conference first-round series.
“I was just mentally ready like I always try to be, come in, get some shots for myself, try to get my teammates open, just be aggressive,” Udrih, 32, told TNT. “I gotta give credit to my big guys, setting good screens for me in that sweet spot, 17 feet, and I was just knocking them down.”
The veteran point guard’s effort off the bench was a big lift for a Grizzlies team still trying to get healthy, and it was especially helpful in allowing starting point guard Mike Conley to keep his playing time to 23 minutes in his first game back after missing four games.”
Read it here: http://www.oregonlive.com/nba/index.ssf/2015/04/beno_udrihs_mid-range_accuracy.html
– Blazers: The formula for winning Game 2 (from Kerry Eggers, portlandtribune.com):
Read it here: http://portlandtribune.com/pt/12-sports/257394-127867-the-formula-for-winning-game-2
– Cavs 113, Celtics 100 (from Jay King, masslive.com):
” “They’ve got good offensive players so they’re going to put you into rotation, but we’ve gotta get the guards to come down and get rebounds,” Crowder said. “When the bigs have the other bigs locked up, we’ve gotta come down and get rebounds. Penetration and making us rotate is part of the game.”
One of the problems for the Celtics: to keep pace with scoring, they need to spread the court with skilled lineups. But to spread the court with skilled lineups, they sacrifice size and rebounding. They also need to at least occasionally double James in the post, or send hard help, which forces tough rotations to the rest of the Cavaliers lineup.
“I think it’s all about, each play is its own unique entity,” Stevens said. “Sometimes you’re matched up and you’ve just gotta make sure you block your matchup out. Sometimes LeBron has drawn a double, Kyrie’s drawn two off the pick-and-roll, sometimes you’re not responsible for blocking your guy out. Somebody else has to pick up the slack. Sometimes we were on Tristan Thompson’s body and it didn’t matter, and Mozgov’s as well. We’ve gotta do a better job of making contact and getting the ball.
“Again, this is what great teams do to you. They put you in a position where you have to pick your poison. We have to pay attention to LeBron. We have to pay attention to Love and Irving. So we’re going to have to do a better job of rotating. But I thought we did in the second half. I thought defensively in the second half we were pretty good.””
Read it here: http://www.masslive.com/celtics/index.ssf/2015/04/jae_crowder_boston_celtics_did.html
– Warriors strategy in Game 1: Let The Brow eat, everybody else starve (from Zach Harper, CBS Sports):
” “We’re not worried about Davis scoring a lot of points. We’re worried about making sure we cover other areas: the 3-point line, not fouling, not reaching — that kind of stuff.”
It’s not that they let Davis score; he earned his points. They were just willing to live with it while playing the NBA’s version of a prevent defense.
The question becomes whether or not this is a valid strategy for the rest of the series. Can you afford to give up 30-40 points to Davis every night and just hope to shut everybody else down? Will the confidence and bravado of guys like Green and Bogut be able to handle that kind of blow to their defensive ego, knowing their coach is willing to sacrifice their assignment for the good of the team?”
Read and view it here: http://www.cbssports.com/nba/eye-on-basketball/25154933/warriors-strategy-in-game-1-let-the-brow-eat-everybody-else-starve
– The Pelicans have to help Anthony Davis by going small (form Oleh, thebirdwrites.com):
” Monty Williams HAS to break apart Draymond Green and Andrew Bogut if New Orleans has any legitimate chance of coming back and winning this first round series against Golden State.”
Read it here: http://www.thebirdwrites.com/2015/4/20/8455929/nba-playoffs-2015-to-beat-the-warriors-the-pelicans-have-to-help-anthony-davis
– Warriors-Pelicans: What We Learned After Game One (from Daniel Leroux, warriorsworld.com):
Read it here: http://www.warriorsworld.net/2015/04/19/warriors-pelicans-what-we-learned-after-game-one/
– Pelicans’ back-court depth could suddenly pay dividends (from Jimmy Smith, NOLA.com);
Read it here: http://www.nola.com/pelicans/index.ssf/2015/04/pelicans_abundant_back-court_d.html
– Rajon Rondo, the Point Guard the NBA Left Behind (from Chris Manning, Hardwood paroxysm):
Read it here: http://hardwoodparoxysm.com/2015/04/20/rajon-rondo-the-point-guard-the-nba-left-behind/
Additional Player Notes, Updates, Profiles:
– Isaiah Thomas: http://www.bostonglobe.com/sports/2015/04/16/for-isaiah-thomas-long-road-success-ended-boston/qREEkPCvvKk5f2mJHkCuwJ/story.html
– Jamal Crawford: http://www.dailynews.com/sports/20150419/clippers-jamal-crawford-ends-shooting-struggles-in-game-1-win-over-spurs
– Kevin Seraphin: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wizards-insider/wp/2015/04/20/kevin-seraphin-made-sure-he-was-prepared-to-make-an-impact-in-game-1/
– Aaron Gordon: http://orlandomagicdaily.com/2015/04/20/aaron-gordon-is-in-rhythm-and-gaining-his-teams-trust/
– Spencer Dinwiddie: http://www.mlive.com/pistons/index.ssf/2015/04/detroit_pistons_spencer_dinwid_3.html