– The Suns provided the blueprint for stopping James Harden (from Mike Prada, SBNation)
Read and view it here: http://www.sbnation.com/2015/3/22/8272337/phoenix-suns-defense-james-harden-breakdown
– Hawks concerned by recent play, but still confident (from Kris Willis, peachtreehoops.com):
“The last three games, the way teams have been able to get free and get shots and the percentages they’ve shot is a concern,” Budenholzer said. It’s a lot of little things. It starts probably with better individual defense. But I would probably be more concerned if we hadn’t shown an ability to do it a lot of the season. We need to draw on that. We need to know how important it is first, to be good defensively, and to remind us how we are good defensively, and get back to doing that.”
“We give them a lot of credit,” Budenholzer said. “Some of the things they did well I think we need to do some of those things, driving and finding guys and moving the ball. It is a lot of the stuff we have done all year. I think taking care of the paint. Just all of the little things. Decision making, quicker decisions, harder drives, better defense, better individual defense. You’ve got to do all of the little things against a good team. So tonight and other nights when we haven’t played well against the good teams, that is what you learn. Rarely is it just one big thing, it’s a lot of little things that add up to being a good team and having success.”
Read it here: http://www.peachtreehoops.com/2015/3/23/8275519/spurs-vs-hawks-recap-mike-budenholzer
– Cavs have lost only six games in 10 weeks (from Terry Pluto, cleveland.com):
Read it here: http://www.cleveland.com/pluto/index.ssf/2015/03/cleveland_cavaliers_have_terry.html
– Bucks disrespected JR Smith’s range and LeBron James made sure they paid (from Chris Haynes, cleveland.com):
” (W)hen the Bucks’ defense managed to cut James off, he made them pay with his court vision.
Smith is one of the better guards in the league in moving without the ball. His high basketball IQ and long distance range paired with James has been a recipe for disaster for the opposition and the Bucks were the latest victim to find that out.
“You just find him. You find him,” James said of Smith. “When I know JR has it going, which has been a lot for us, you keep giving him the ball.”
In the fourth quarter James found Smith for two of his three consecutive wide-open three-pointers. Wherever James drove, Smith rotated the opposite way to ensure a proper passing angle if James elected to dish it off. He did, and Smith knew what to do with the ball from there.
James makes the game easy for his teammates, but the Bucks made it a lot easier. Those treys Smith connected on down the stretch, no defender was within five feet of the sharpshooter.
James isn’t shocked by how well Smith has been playing. He just chalks it up to making smart basketball plays.
“I just think over the course of the years I knew what he was very good at and for me, it’s my job once a guys comes to my team, or our team, to put them in their best position to succeed,” James said. “You don’t put Tristan [Thompson] in pick-and-rolls handling the ball, you let him set it and let him roll and he cleans glass. Things of that nature.”
“With JR, you don’t have him running pick-rolls. You have me and Kyrie [Irving] running pick-and-rolls so he can be the recipient on the backside. You put guys in the right position where they succeed the most and that’s where a team comes together because everyone does their part. And that’s all part of having a role and JR fits his role tremendously and more.”
Read it here: http://www.cleveland.com/cavs/index.ssf/2015/03/bucks_disrespected_jr_smiths_r.html
– Rebuilding plans diverge for Lakers, Sixers (from Baxter Holmes, ESPN):
” (D)espite their proud pasts, awful presents and uncertain futures, these two major-market teams have little in common. In fact, when it comes to their plan to rebound from rebuilding status, these two teams couldn’t be more different.
The Lakers not only swing for the fences, they often have a grand-slam-or-nothing mindset. Some teams go after All-Stars, but the Lakers chase future Hall of Famers and don’t settle for much less.
The 76ers have other ideas, such as aggressively trading to stockpile draft picks — even if it means trading away valuable pieces, such as Michael Carter-Williams, the 2013-14 Rookie of the Year, whom they shipped to Milwaukee in February.
All told, since Hinkie’s first draft on June, 27, 2013, the 76ers have made 21 trades, yielding 32 different players and 15 additional picks. And this June, the team could have as many as ninedraft picks — four in the first round, five in the second.
“It is extremely aggressive, it’s extremely bold,” 76ers coach Brett Brown said before the game. “We think we have to do that to get to where we want to go.”
Read it here: http://espn.go.com/blog/los-angeles/lakers/post/_/id/41427/rebuilding-plans-diverge-for-lakers-sixers
– Sixers’ Coach Brett Brown has winning mentality (from Bob Cooney, philly.com):
” He knows a chance at the top pick in June’s draft slips with each win. Still, he won’t give in to the thinking that losing is better.
“I don’t know how to coach anymore if that becomes part of it all,” Brown said through a tightened jaw. “I really don’t. You can’t cheat the game. I get it and I understand it. I just don’t even know how to do my job, otherwise. We go about our business. I can’t walk into the locker room and do anything else for those guys. They want to play hard. They want to compete. Whatever ends up happening, ends up happening.”
Read it here: http://www.philly.com/philly/sports/sixers/20150323_Sixers__Brown_has_winning_mentality.html
– Randy Wittman wants Wizards to focus more on defense (from Jorge Castillo, Washington Post):
” (W)e’re bitching about who’s getting shots and not instead of worrying about stops,” Wittman said. “What did we score, 50 at half? That’s plenty. It has nothing to do with offense. I don’t even know why you would bring that up. It’s all about focus from a defensive standpoint.
“I think we were selfish defensively,” Wizards guard Bradley Beal said. “We weren’t helping each other, especially in pick and rolls. We were doing concepts we weren’t even planning on doing tonight. It just creates a lot of opportunities for them, open threes, easy layups, uncontested layups. We were just out of sync. We were out of character. We weren’t playing our style of basketball.
“We come to a timeout and we’re worried about turning the ball over there, let’s look to throw it in the post,” Wittman said. “No, let’s look to get some defensive stops.”
Read it here: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wizards-insider/wp/2015/03/22/randy-wittman-wants-wizards-to-focus-more-on-defense/
Mavs’ Over-reliance on Monta (from Bobby Karalla, mavsoutsider.com):
Read it here: http://www.mavsoutsider.com/2015/03/23/ride-or-die-on-offense/
More on this (from Tim McMahon, ESPN) here: http://espn.go.com/blog/dallas/mavericks/post/_/id/4704919/too-much-monta-mavs-might-have-to-move-on
– Film room: Inside Anthony Davis passing improvements (from Matt Cianfrom, pelicansbrief.com):
” Anthony Davis has started to show off an incredible new skill that could turn him into the type of player that renders the rest of the NBA even more helpless as he continues to grow older.
What has emerged recently from Davis is a new-found passing ability that combines both excellent tough, vision and feel for the game that not many big men in basketball today have. The results have followed as well. In his last five games Davis has posted games of six, five, seven, four and five assists. While Davis won’t ever be a player that averages 10 assists per game, the improvements have shown that the Pelicans can run their offense fully and completely through Davis and not have to worry about things bogging down.
For this trip into the film room we will look at Davis throwing four different types of passes. First working out of the high post, then from the pick-and-roll, then out of the post before a final look at a pass that didn’t turn into an assist but came from his working from the perimeter.
Read and view it here: http://pelicandebrief.com/2015/03/23/film-room-inside-anthony-davis-passing-improvements/
– Grizzly Light and Leadership: Memphis is Rising to the Occasion (from Joe Mullinax, grizzlybearblues):
” The fastest way to right the wrongs of an organization and roster is to win, and win the Memphis Grizzlies did this past weekend. After a successful run against potential playoff competition, and after the worst of Memphis in the darkness, it took a return, a force of nature, and an act of selflessness to allow for leadership and light to shine through once again.”
Read and view it here: http://www.grizzlybearblues.com/2015/3/23/8273227/memphis-grizzlies-leadership-green-conley-allen-greater
– As Clippers season winds down, coach has no formula for resting players (from Broderick Turner, LATimes):
“What I still don’t know — and I’m not smart enough to know that — if rest in games 40-50, is that more effective than resting from games 70 to 80? We all have theories. I’m sure there actually is an answer to that. I would think later has to be better. But who the heck knows?”
“If I thought rest would help us in the playoffs, then we’re going to rest,” Rivers said. “I think that’s the better way of explaining. Because if you’re playing guys and you’re tired, you’re going to lose anyway. So give me a chance of a healthy team. I know that as a fact: A healthy team is better than an unhealthy team. I’m positive of that.”
Read it here: http://www.latimes.com/sports/clippers/la-sp-clippers-fyi-20150323-story.html
– The San Antonio Spurs and Fundamentals (from JC Sites, Vantage Sports):
“The core fundamentals are clean passing (i.e., no deflections), solid screening, staying in front of the offensive player, rebounding, and getting and making open shots. This is a broad group, but with Vantage Stats, we can inspect each fundamental aspect of the Spurs’ game.”
Read and view it here: http://www.vantagesports.com/#story/VPinSykAAN8tlLoH/the-slam-debunk-the-san-antonio-spurs-and-fundamentals
– Khris Middleton Q & A (from Zach Lowe, Grantland.com):
Read it here: http://grantland.com/the-triangle/qa-with-milwaukees-khris-middleton-on-impending-free-agency-cereal-and-more/
Additional Player Notes, Updates, profiles:
– Isaiah Canaan: http://bleacherreport.com/articles/2402598-isaiah-canaan-writing-blueprint-for-philadelphia-76ers-point-guard-role
– Ish Smith: http://www.philly.com/philly/sports/sixers/20150323_Sixers__Brown_has_winning_mentality.html
– Nikola Mirotic: http://chicago.suntimes.com/basketball/7/71/462268/bulls-red-hot-nikola-mirotic-finally-getting-hang-defense
– Ricky Ledo: http://nypost.com/2015/03/22/shved-injury-opens-door-for-newest-shoot-happy-knick/
– Rudy Gay: http://www.sacbee.com/sports/nba/sacramento-kings/kings-blog/article16059656.html
– Justin Holiday: http://www.mercurynews.com/warriors/ci_27764366/warriors-justin-holiday-making-most-time-court
– Zach LaVine/Kevin Martin/Chase Budinger: http://www.1500espn.com/sportswire/ThreePoint_Play_LaVines_recent_play_reinventing_Martin_Budinger032215
– Elfrid Payton: http://www.sbnation.com/nba/2015/3/22/8273579/elfrid-payton-rookie-stats-triple-double-orlando-magic