Today’s Best NBA Reporting and Analysis 10/20/15

–  It’s Good to Be Jimmy Butler  (from Bryan Smith,

” When I ask why he hates talking about the past so much, Butler shifts uncomfortably on the sectional in the grand San Diego house. “It’s because I don’t ever want that to define me,” he says. “I hated it whenever it came up because that’s all anybody ever wanted to talk about. Like, that hasn’t gotten me to where I am today. I’m a great basketball player because of my work. I’m a good basketball player because of the people I have around me. And if I continue to be stuck in the past, then I won’t get any better. I won’t change, I’ll get stuck as that kid. That’s not who I am. I’m so far ahead of that. I don’t hold grudges. I still talk to my family. My mom. My father. We love each other. That’s never going to change.”

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–  Fred Hoiberg plans to slightly cut Jimmy Butler’s minutes  (from Vincent Goodwill,  csnchicago):

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–  Video: Pistons Guard Spencer Dinwiddie On Playing In The NBA  (from Coach Nick,  BBall Breakdown):

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–  Suns eager for Bledsoe-Knight chemistry  (from Zach Buchanan,

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–  More passes to come from Thunder bigs?  (from Erik Horne,

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–  Mike Conley’s year, JaMychal Green’s emergence, Jarnell Stokes’ future and more  (from Chris Herringotn,

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–  Knicks Hoping Personnel Upgrades Alleviate Last Year’s Defensive Disaster  (from Jared Dubin, Bleacher Report):

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–  How Amir Johnson Will Improve Celtics’ Frontcourt Defense (from Jordan M. Foley, Vantage Sports):

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–  The Lakers, floor balance, and transition defense  (from Adam Mares,  Nylon Calculus):

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–   The delicate balance of ball movement for the Suns  (from Bryan Gibberman,

“If you have three or four passes before you even really get into your play — you look at some of those teams, some of them, yea, the passes are meaningful, but then there’s other teams that when you look at the list of teams that make a lot of passes, you’re like, OK, they drove four or five passes before you even get into the action,” Hornacek said.

“If you want to count those, sure, go ahead, we prefer not to use 20 seconds of the clock. We want to get the game up and down and we’ll get into the action without the five passes.”

“We want that as the guards, Eric (Bledsoe) and Brandon (Knight), to create and these other guys they’ll get kick outs, they’ll catch balls on the run,” said Hornacek. “When your guys start breaking people down and pulling people in, then they throw it to you, that’s your opportunity to catch it on the run and make their play that way. Not catch the ball, isolate, let the defense set, try to go one-on-one.”

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–  The Myth of DeMar DeRozan’s Athleticism  (from harshdave,

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(Note: This story has an interesting take on what constitutes “athleticism”.  Some related worthwhile takes:

-from Brian McCormick’s hard2guard newsletter, 9/07:

“Steve Nash is often described as unathletic because he does not dunk. However, he is incredibly athletic. His hand-eye coordination is as good as it gets in the NBA; his reaction time is unbelievable; his lateral movement is excellent; his ability to switch from a broad or soft-centered focus to a narrow, fine-centered focus is the best in the NBA; his body awareness is exceptional; his dexterity with both hands is tops in the NBA; his first step quickness is far above average for the NBA; his core strength is unparalleled in the NBA and likely the only reason he is able to continue playing with his chronic back problems. In all these categories, he is in the top 1% of NBA players, but because he does not “look” athletic (sculpted muscles) or do obviously athletic things (dunk), the popular media characterizes him as unathletic.”


– from Vern Gambetta (1996):

” (Athleticsim is) “the ability to execute athletic movements (run, jump, throw) at optimum speed with precision, style and grace while demonstrating technical competency in the context of your sport.”

“The foundations for athleticism are basic coordinative activities..(which are)
-Balance (Maintenance of the center of gravity over tha base of support, which is both static & dynamic)
-kinesthetic differentiation (ability to feel tension in movement to achieve the desired movement)
– Spatial orientation (The control of the body in space)
– Reaction to signals (The ability to respond quickly to auditory, visual and kinesthetic cues)
-Sense of rhythm (The ability to match rhythm to time)
-Synchronization of movements in time (unrelated limb movements done in a synchronized manner)
– Movement adequacy (Ability to choose movements appropriate to the task)

The coordinative never work in isolation, they are all closely related.”

– from David Friedman’s 20 second timeout interviews with Mike D’Antoni, Dan Majerle and Steve Kerr (2007):


 James Harden’s next step; Replacing DeMarre Carroll; LaMarcus Aldridge Q&A  (form Chris Mannix,  Sports Illustrated):

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–  Warriors hope to repeat; Lamar Odom; Pau Gasol Q & A  (from David Aldridge,

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–  Being Jim Buss  (from Sam Amick,  USA Today):


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Additional Player Notes, Updates, Profiles:


–  Cory Joseph has been pleasant surprise for Raptors  (from Ryan Wolstat,  Postmedia Network):


–  Spurs:  With chance for bench to impress, Kyle Anderson, Boban Marjanovic deliver (from Michael C. Wright,  ESPN):


–   Eric Moreland’s hustle, energy keep him in Kings’ mix  (from Jason Jones, Sacramento Bee):


–  International import Salah Mejri could play a big role for the Mavs  (from Eddie Sefko,


–  Blake Griffin trained with sprinter Carmelita Jeter to improve his speed  (from Melissa Rohlin, LA Times):


–   Re-energized Rudy Gobert raring to go for big Jazz season  (from Jody Gennesy,


–  Celtics: Terry Rozier, Jonas Jerebko (from Jay King,


– Extra practice has Rozier feeling confident (from Jimmy Toscano,




–  Mavericks: John Jenkins Continues to Impress  (from Jay Knodell,


Jared Sullinger Shows off His Passing Skills  (from Marc D’Amico,


–  Oladipo Spending Countless Hours in Gym Improving Shot  (from John Denton,


–  Rockets’ Joshua Smith doing utmost to fill big-man shoes  (from Jonathan Feigen,  Houston Chronicle):


–  Martell Webster seeks second opinion for injured right hip  (from Jorge Castillo,  Washington Post):


–  Raymond Felton ran the show in Cleveland  (from Bobby Karalla,

Today’s Best NBA Reporting

–   Horseshoes and Shot Clock “Grenades”  (from Seth Partnow,  Nylon Calculus):

” Recently, we’ve spent some time looking at the difficulties in late shot clock offense, and especially how a player like James Harden can almost single-handedly keep an offense afloat by providing a sort of “security blanket” that a team will get a reasonable shot near the end of the 24. One reason scoring in the “red zone” of the last 5 seconds of the shot is so difficult is there isn’t time to run anything. By that point, a team may well have exhausted the first, second and third options from a set, and the ball is stuck in someone’s hand. With time running out til the possession expires into a turnover.

I’m not sure where I first heard the term, but this is sometimes called a “live grenade” situation, meaning you just have to get the ball out of your hands, towards the rim, somehow. These grim-looking possessions are what is commonly derided as iso-ball or hero ball, commonly perceived to plague the ends of NBA games. Anyone reading this can probably picture this sort of play in their mind’s eye.  A player receives the ball, the clock is winding down and a “guess I have to do it myself” thought bubble almost appears above the player’s head:”

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–  2015 EuroBasket Preview  (from Joshua Riddell,  Bball Breakdown):

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–   Contenders, pretenders at 2015 EuroBasket  (from Mark Woods,  ESPN):

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Player Notes, Updates, Profiles:


–   The Evolution of Mike Conley  (from Jonah Jordan,


–  Suns rookie Devin Booker brings fundamentals, basketball IQ to aid NBA transition  (from Dave King,


–   Robert Covington is Set to Break Out in 2015-16  (from Shamus Clancy,


–   Bulls Profile: Bobby Portis  (from Jeremy Karll,


–  How much will Kosta Koufos help DeMarcus Cousins?  (from Blake Ellington,


–   Tiago Splitter: Helps Hawks More on Offense or Defense?  (from John Buhler,

Today’s Best NBA Reporting and Analysis

Houston defense will make Draymond Green’s judgment critical (from Rusty Simmons,

” Ideally, Houston tries to pressure the point guard, chase players off the three-point line and funnel everything into the middle — where Dwight Howard waits to erase shots (an injured knee could keep Howard sidelined Thursday).

But somewhere in between the three-point arc and the rim, there’s an abundance of space — territory where Green can stand out with his unique ability to score or make plays for others.

“Coach told me, ‘You’re probably going to have open shots, but you’re going to have to pick and choose when to take those open shots,” Green said after Wednesday’s practice. “You might have an open shot, but if you put the ball down one time and get in the paint, someone else is going to be wide open.’ He explained it, and it kind of worked out that way.”

“Draymond is one of our best playmakers,” Kerr said. “We know we have to get deeper into our offense to get good shots. He’s a big part of that, because he often catches the ball after the initial action. When he can play-make from that spot, we’re better for it.”

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–  How Golden State’s Small Lineup Flipped Game 1  (from Adam Spolane,  CBS Houston):

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Breaking Down the  Rockets’ Guide to Defending Stephen Curry  (from  Dylan Murphy, Bleacher Report):

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–  The Houston Rockets Biggest Mistake In Game 1 Vs Warriors  (from Lee Golden,

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–  Rockets’ Capela is ready for his close-up  (from Fran Blinebury,

” Seven months ago, the rookie arrived in training camp hoping to find a place in the Rockets future. Two months ago, he was in the NBA D-League toiling for the Rio Grande Valley Vipers.

Now, if a sprained left knee keeps Dwight Howard out of Game 2 of the Western Conference finals, Capela might find himself in the starting lineup against the Warriors. Or at the very least, getting significant playing time.

“When I was in the D-League, no, I would not think this was possible,” said the precocious 21-year-old native of Geneva, Switzerland. “I thought I’m not going to play this year, maybe next year. I was just trying to keep working hard and be ready when they would call me up.”

But with a live, aggressive body and a willingness to learn, Capela forced his way into the consciousness of the Rockets coaching staff and then into the playing rotation.”

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–  Bogut overcomes adversities to anchor defense  (from Ian Thomsen,

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–  Shaun Livingston’s long, broken road to unlikely postseason hero  (from Rodger Sherman,

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–  The importance of Trevor Ariza  (from Ethan Rothstein,

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– Cavs 97, Hawks 89  (from Jason Lloyd,

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Cavs vs Hawks Game One Stats (from

Smith’s 3-point shooting, Cleveland’s superior ball movement and rebound dominance, and Atlanta’s use of drives.

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–  The LeBron  factor is real  (from Paul Flannery, SBNation):

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–  LeBron James’s sidekicks, led by J.R. Smith, fuel Game 1 win over Hawks  (from Chris Mannix,  Sports Illustrated):

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–  J.R. Smith rewards Cleveland Cavaliers’ faith  (from  Matthew Florjancic,

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–  J.R. Smith gives LeBron James the help he needed to beat the Hawks (from Neil Greenberg, Washington Post):

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Frustration building for Kyrie Irving and Cavaliers take away Atlanta’s specialty (from Chris Fedor,

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–  Carroll injury looms large after Hawks drop Game 1 to Cavs  (from Zach Dillard,

” Carroll was the go-to defensive option for LeBron James. Already facing an uphill battle in a series against the four-time MVP, Carroll’s absence would force Budenholzer’s hand. This is not a position of depth for Atlanta. Reserve wing Thabo Sefolosha is out for the season after breaking his leg while being arrested in New York. Carroll was tabbed for the lion’s share of defensive possessions against LeBron…. no other Hawks defender makes life more miserable for him.”

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Update:  DeMarre is now listed as day-to-day as MRI shows hyperextension and bone bruise but no structural damage



We are a little late linking to CJ McCollum’s playoff previews:


–  Western Conference Finals Preview (from CJ McCollum, the

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–  Eastern Conference Finals Preview  (from CJ McCollum,

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–  The myth about max contracts  (from Sean Penney,

” What comes to mind when you think of a player worthy of earning the maximum amount allowed under the collective bargaining agreement? Many people seem to think that a “max contract” has to be reserved for a handful of the league’s elite, the best of the best. If the Boston Celtics are going to shell out a max contract to anyone this summer, those fans are expecting to get an MVP caliber player that will be the cornerstone of the franchise.

That is simply not the case, as not all max deals are created equal.

(J)ust because you hear that a player is rumored to be getting a max contract, that does not necessarily mean that he’s about to be paid as much as someone like LeBron James, or that the player necessarily has to be in the same stratosphere to earn it.”

Read it here:





Additional Player Notes, Updates, Profiles:


Mike Conley:


Tyreke Evans:


Allen Crabbe:


Jerome Jordan:


Perry Jones:


Reggie Bullock:

Today’s Top NBA Stories

–  Warriors use their own ‘grinding’ style to eliminate Grizzlies  (from Rob Mahoney,  Sports Illustrated):

”  Golden State is among the best in the league in terms of its collective ability to make the extra pass. Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green, Andrew Bogut, Andre Iguodala, and Harrison Barnes all play in a way that takes advantage of opportunity without ruling out the possibility of finding something better. Barnes might look to the rim for a potential three-pointer only to pass to Thompson, who would line up his own shot only to then pull in the defender and dish off to an open Curry in the corner. In watching Golden State, one can track a possession’s course and find where some other team executing might settle. On the Warriors go, turning a pick-and-roll into a pick-and-roll-and-cut, the two-man game into three or four or five.

This isn’t just a difference in approach. Golden State built its roster around Curry and Thompson but shaped its strategy around the passing of its bigs. Green andBogut play integral roles in most every half-court possession. Their hand-offs force a defense to quickly change direction. Their rolls to the rim are open-ended—pointed toward the hoop, sure, but free to meander as Green puts the ball on the floor or Bogut threads a pass to an open man”

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–  How Warriors rapidly regained a winning edge  (from Ethan Sherwood Strauss,  ESPN):

” It began on the plane before Game 3, when assistant coach and all-around defensive guru Ron Adams suggested something bizarre. What if Andrew Bogut guarded Tony Allen as though Allen were a non-shooting center? The airborne coaching staff murmured that such a move could really confound Memphis, and they filed the idea away. There was a process between invention and implementation, though. The Warriors had to lose Game 3, had to get desperate enough to try the weird tactic.”

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Warriors’ Impactful Bench Play (from Rusty Simmons,

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– Draymond Green shatters NBA stereotypes  (from Ailene Voisin, Sacramento Bee):

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–  Memphis Grizzlies: Where do you go from here?  (from Matt Lurie,

Read it here:–where-do-you-go-from-here-.html




–   Hawks stick to their team concept in surviving Wizards (from Brandon Parker,  Washington Post):

“It’s always fun just playing team basketball,” said Teague, who finished with 20 points and seven assists. “Those moments are beautiful. Like everyone says, I guess, we don’t have a superstar or whatever. But we come up big in big moments every night.”

“(W)e don’t try to look at one thing, one option. We have many options.”, said Paul Millsap

“With four players scoring in double figures and Dennis Schroder contributing nine points and three steals off the bench, Atlanta made sure to utilize all of those options to stymie a surging Wizards team in the fourth quarter.

Rather than trying to make the home-run play, the Hawks ultimately resorted to the play that got them back home — the pick-and-roll — advancing them to their first Eastern Conference final appearance.

“When we make the game easy for us is when we’re at our best, not out there overthinking,” Millsap said. “We played our cuts. That’s who we are, basic fundamental basketball.”

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–  Tried and tested, the Hawks still stand  (from Mike Prada,

” (T)his test was hard. Washington smothered Korver all series, sealed off Jeff Teague’s drives with 500-plus pounds of interior beef and forced the Hawks to switch their defensive coverages multiple times to account for John Wall and Bradley Beal’s dribble penetration. The Wizards pushed and prodded, both with their bodies and, in Pierce’s case specifically, their mouths.

Yet the Hawks stood firm by, well, standing firm in their process. They kept running their offense even as the Wizards made it difficult, trusting that openings would eventually come and missed shots would eventually go down. They finally did in the final minute, just in the nick of time. Twice, the Hawks ran a pick and roll. Twice, the Wizards trapped. Twice, Carroll took advantage of his man trying to rotate by cutting backdoor for layups.

“We’re not intent on being a physical team,” Paul Millsap said afterwards when asked about the challenge the Wizards posed. “We’re physical enough, but we won games this year outscoring teams, out-executing teams. So when they tried to put pressure, we just tried to get smarter. It wasn’t about us coming in and pushing back or anything like that. It was just about being smarter with how we were attacking the basket. We used our intelligence to use their pressure against them.””

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–  Hawks elect not to foul up 3, live to tell about it  (from Kris Willis,

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–  Wizards fall short, but show promise of a two-way team  (from John Schuhmann,

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–  Why Does  David Blatt receive so little credit  (from Terry Pluto,

” Notice how little credit David Blatt has been given for the Cavaliers winning the Chicago series — at least in the national media?

The Cavs dumped the Bulls in six games. They won twice in Chicago. At one point in the best-of-seven series, they were down 2-1. With one minute left in the third quarter of Game 4, they trailed by 11 points. They came back to win at the buzzer — in Chicago.

The Cavs beat the Bulls with Kevin Love out after shoulder surgery. They won with Kyrie Irving battling foot and knee injuries, not close to his All-Star form.

They crushed the Bulls, 94-73, in Game 6 with Irving playing only 12 minutes.

The Big Five in Thursday’s game in Chicago was this lineup: Matthew Dellavedova, J.R. Smith, Iman Shumpert, Tristan Thompson and LeBron James. Did anyone expect that combination to play huge minutes in a close-out game when the playoffs opened?

When the playoffs began against Boston, only Smith and James were in the starting lineup.

Suppose a veteran coach such as Tom Thibodeau or George Karl had pulled this off? Do you think it would receive the same shrug of the shoulders that Blatt has been given by many in the media?

Fact is, Blatt and his staff out-coached Thibodeau, and the Cavs players out-hustled and out-worked the Bulls. And yes, when you look at the entire series — some good coaching also was at work.”

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–  The Bulls As We Know Them Are Probably Done  (from Zach Lowe,

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–  Thibodeau does not have a problem with pace but maybe the Pelicans do  (from Oleh,

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–  Chauncey Billups gives his choices for next Denver Nuggets head coach  (from  Adam Kinney,

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–  Raptors Face Decisions With Six Pending Free Agents  (from Holly MacKenize,

” Here are six Raptors who will be free agents on July 1, with a look at how each player found his way to Toronto, what his role was this season and what could happen heading into the summer, starting with players who have been with the team the longest.”

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Glossary:   Early Termination Options  (from Chuck Myron,

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GSW-MEM and  ATL-WAS Game 5 breakdowns (from Coach Nick, BBall Breakdown):

Watch them here:    and  here:



Additional Player Notes, Updates, Profiles:



Clint Capela:


Meyers Leonard:


Joel Freeland:


Bojan Bogdanovic:

Today’s Best NBA Reporting and Analysis

The Warriors Create Tempo In Game 5 To Steal Momentum Back From The Grizzlies  (from Jack Winter,

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–  Warriors roll over Grizzlies in Game 5 as Tony Allen’s absence looms large  (from Matt Dollinger, Sports Illustrated):

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Warriors’ bench  thrives in Game 5 win over Memphis  (from Al Saracevic,

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Hawks’ Horford Comes Up Big (from Kevin Arnovitz, ESPN):

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–  Cavalier Film Room: LeBron James Posting for Mid-Range  (from Kirk Lammers,

” In Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals, the Cleveland Cavaliers took their first series lead, lead by LeBron James’ 38 points without a single turnover. After falling behind 8-0, James got going—and did not stop. Of his 38, 24 came in the first half as he worked to establish his game from the inside-out rather than relying on his currently-faltering three-point shot. James’ post-up game and mid-range touch opened up more effective driving lanes, and Kyrie Irving—as well as the rest of his teammates knocking down shots—proved to be enough to pull them through a tight finish.

Let’s dive in to how James made the adjustment to take Tony Snell and Jimmy Butler down into the post”

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–  Saving the Cavs Has Changed LeBron James  (from Kirk Goldsberry,

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Film Room: Game 5 – Clippers vs Rockets (from Justin Russo,

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–  Rockets rediscover benefits of attacking the paint  (from Jonathan Feigen, Houston Chronicle):

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–  Five Questions: Philadelphia 76ers  (from Dakota Schmidt,  BBall Breakdown):

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– NBA Draft Combine interviews between teams and players have an important role  (from Josh Robbins,  Orlando Sentinel):

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–  Atlanta Hawks assistant Kenny Atkinson should top New Orleans Pelicans coaching search  (from QueSHaynes,

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Additional Player Notes, Updates, Profiles:



Mike Conley:


Mike Muscala:


Harrison Barnes:   and


David Lee:


Tony Allen:


Andre Iguodala:


Matthew Dellavedova:


Jason Terry:


Eric Gordon:


Dorell Wright:


Mason Plumlee:


Michael Kidd-Gilchrist:


Jrue Holiday:


Dwight Powell:


Andre Roberson:


DeMarcus Cousins:


Dario Saric:


Andrew Goudelock: