Today’s Best NBA Reporting and Analysis

–  Billy Donovan’s defense: Limit opponents’ 3-point attempts  (form Royce Young,  ESPN):

Read it here:  http://espn.go.com/blog/okc-thunder/post/_/id/675/donovans-defense-limit-opponents-3-point-attempts

 

–   Trail Blazers’ defense  (from Joe Freeman,  oregonlive.com):

Read it here:  http://www.oregonlive.com/blazers/index.ssf/2015/10/trail_blazers_defense_is_something_they_have_to_ta.html

 

–  10 observations about the Hornets after 2 exhibitions in China  (from Rick Bonnell, Charlotte Observer):

Read it here:  http://www.charlotteobserver.com/sports/nba/charlotte-hornets/article39297906.html

 

–  Jazz: Bench play could be a benchmark for team this season   (from Tony Jones, Salt Lake Tribune):

Read it here:  http://www.sltrib.com/sports/3066850-155/utah-jazz-bench-play-could-be

 

–  The Chicago Bulls Offense Joins The Modern NBA  (from Coach Nick, BBallBreakdown):

Read and view it here:  http://bballbreakdown.com/2015/10/15/the-chicago-bulls-offense-joins-the-modern-nba/

 

–  Warriors Vs. Thunder: The Ultimate Matchup Masterpiece  (from Jonathan Tjarks, RealGM):

Read it here:  http://basketball.realgm.com/analysis/239521/Why-Warriors-Thunder-Would-Be-The-Ultimate-Matchup-Masterpiece

 

 BBALLBREAKDOWN’s Early NBA Preseason Observations  (from BBallBreakdown staff):

Read it here:   http://bballbreakdown.com/2015/10/15/bballbreakdowns-early-nba-preseason-observations/

 

–  Warriors’ Interim Coach Luke Walton attempts to maintain normalcy  (form Scott Howard-Cooper, NBA.com):

” Champs hope to keep continuity until Kerr recovers from surgery”

Read it here:  http://www.nba.com/2015/news/features/scott_howard_cooper/10/16/golden-state-warriors-luke-walton-trying-to-keep-team-afloat-during-steve-kerr-absence/

 

–  The Celtics are making art (from wjsy, celticsblog.com):

” Over the last two years, the Celtics have quietly developed from within and targeted players in the draft, free agency, and trade. Finally, the future is becoming a little clearer in Boston and it’s beautiful.”

Read and view it here:  http://www.celticsblog.com/2015/10/16/9548607/the-boston-celtics-are-making-art

 

–  We Found Lopez in a Hopeless Place: Your 2015-16 Brooklyn Nets  (from Danny Chau,  Grantland):

Read and view it here:  http://grantland.com/the-triangle/we-found-lopez-in-a-hopeless-place-your-2015-16-brooklyn-nets/

 

–   MindRight Pro: The Next Step in Performance Technology  (from Ben Dowsett, Basketball Insiders):

Read it here:  http://www.basketballinsiders.com/mindright-pro-the-next-step-in-performance-technology/

 

–  TRUMEDIA NETWORKS HIRES DEAN OLIVER:

Read it here:  http://www.trumedianetworks.com/analytics-news/2015/10/14/trumedia-networks-hires-dean-oliver

 

–  Q&A: Celtics Director of Basketball Analytics David Sparks  (from Brian Pollack,  dukechronicle.com):

Read it here:  http://www.dukechronicle.com/article/2015/10/qa-boston-celtics-director-of-basketball-analytics-david-sparks

 

Additional Player Notes, Updates, Profiles:

 

–  How Dirk Nowitzki fires on all cylinders  (from Tim McMahon,  ESPN):  http://espn.go.com/nba/story/_/id/13893319/how-dirk-nowitzki-prepares-fire-all-cylinders

 

–  Griz counting on Brandan Wright (from Ronald Tillery, Commercial Appeal):  http://www.commercialappeal.com/sports/grizzlies/griz-counting-on-wright-dimension-paying-big-dividends-2212833d-6d1e-2661-e053-0100007fd58a-333121541.html

 

–  Emmanuel Mudiay will be a turnover machine, and it’s no big deal  (form Zach harper,  CBS Sports):  http://www.cbssports.com/nba/eye-on-basketball/25340273/emmanuel-mudiay-will-be-a-turnover-machine-and-its-no-big-deal

 

–   Wolves’ Dieng expanding his range with corner three  (from Jerry Zgoda,  startribune.com):  http://www.startribune.com/wolves-dieng-expanding-his-range-with-corner-three/333150001/

 

 Suns’ Sonny Weems fast in transition  (from Paul Coro,  azcentral.com):  http://www.azcentral.com/story/sports/nba/suns/2015/10/15/phoenix-suns-sonny-weems-fast-transition/74022056/

–  JJ Redick Q & A (from Kenny Ducey, Sports Illustrated):  http://www.si.com/nba/2015/10/15/jj-redick-clippers-china-globa-games-deandre-jordan-chris-paul-blake-griffin

 

–  Mike Scott’s ball-handling development  (from Chris Vivlamore,  myajc.com):   http://www.myajc.com/news/sports/basketball/scotts-ball-handling-development-included-trip-to-/nn38Q/

 

–  Hassan Whiteside’s return gives Heat a tantalizing taste of what could be  (from Ethan Skolnick,  Miami Herald):  http://www.miamiherald.com/sports/nba/miami-heat/article39372738.html

 

–  Jordan Clarkson And Julius Randle  (from Jabari A. Davis,  Lakers Nation):  http://www.lakersnation.com/sophomore-slumps-unlikely-for-jordan-clarkson-and-julius-randle/2015/10/15/

 

–  Kelly Oubre has plenty to learn, but his chance may come early (from Jorge Castillo, Washington Post):  https://www.washingtonpost.com/sports/wizards/rookie-kelly-oubre-jr-has-plenty-to-learn-but-his-chance-may-come-early/2015/10/15/02b5d8ce-737d-11e5-9cbb-790369643cf9_story.html

–  Amir Johnson Developing Offensive Repertoire  (from Moke Hamilton,  Basketball Insiders):  http://www.basketballinsiders.com/amir-johnson-developing-offensive-repertoire/

 

–   How John Jenkins is making his case for a Mavs’ rotation spot  (from Bobby Karalla,  mavs.com):   https://www.mavs.com/how-john-jenkins-is-making-his-case-for-a-rotation-spot/

 

–  Celtics want more form Olynyk (from Steve Bulpett, Boston Herald):  http://www.bostonherald.com/sports/celtics_nba/boston_celtics/2015/10/bulpett_celtics_want_more_from_kelly_olynyk

Today’s Best NBA Reporting and Analysis

–  Hawks show they can win in different ways (from Ray Glier, USAToday):

‘” When Golden State tried to fit a lineup on the floor to solve the Hawks offense of threes, Atlanta set screens, rolled to the basket, popped out, and greeted all the switches the Warriors made on defense with a big smile. Because suddenly there was Paul Millsap, 6-foot-8 and a bulky 246 pounds, looking down on a guard and barreling to the basket. There was 6-10 Al Horford running at the rim with a slower big man trying to keep up.

Golden State coach Steve Kerr had to go to a smaller lineup when his 7-footer Andrew Bogut came face-to-face with 6-foot-1 guard Dennis Schroder late in the third quarter. Instinctively, the Hawks shifted the floor away from Schroder to give him room to bamboozle Bogut and the little guy faked a drive, stopped, and popped in a floating 11-footer. When Bogut left the game and the lane was free, the path was made easier for Millsap to abuse and Horford to rim run.

It is a basketball savvy and maturity to behold, and a pretty good reason why coach Mike Budenholzer should be, so far, the NBA Coach of the Year. When the Hawks get a mismatch, they recognize it instantly, and lock in on it. They do not take panicked looks at the shot clock and they sure don’t pass up the chance to exploit the mismatch. The Hawks’ egos, never, ever, get in the way (‘hey, it’s my turn to shoot’).”

Read it here:   http://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/nba/2015/02/07/warriors-hawks-jeff-teague-paul-millsap-al-horford-stephen-curry-klay-thompson/23034633/

 

–   Hawks, Warriors Stage Classic In New Age of NBA (from KL Chounard, Hawks.com):

” The emergence of the three-point shot helped reshape NBA offenses to the style now played by Golden State and Atlanta, but Kyle Korver noted that the biggest incentive for fixing ball-stopping offenses may have actually involved fixing the defenses.

“The trend a couple of years ago was Coach Thibs’ defense: loading up the one side of the floor, stopping the iso,” Korver said, referring to Chicago head coach Tom Thibodeau and his tendency to put extra defenders on the same side of the court as the ball.

“A lot of teams have caught onto that. A lot of teams do that now.”

As a result, teams have figured out that the proper counterattack, the best means for getting high-percentage shots, is through ball movement.

This contest had ball movement in spades. After the two teams scored a combined 240 points on each other’s top-5 ranked defenses, Korver compared the Hawks and Warriors.

“We’re different teams, and we have different personnel but I think a lot of the philosophy is probably similar. Both teams play with the pass, both teams play with space, both teams have a lot of shooting, both teams play great defense. I think that gets lost.”

Read it here:  http://www.nba.com/hawks/hawks-warriors-stage-classic-new-age-nba

 

–  Hawks vs. Warriors  (from Mike Prada, SBNation):

” Switching doesn’t work against the Hawks either.

As the Hawks kept racking up victories, a school of thought developed on how to stop them. Rather then try to fight through every screen in a fruitless attempt to keep up with Korver off the ball or contain Teague in the pick and roll, some argued it made more sense to switch assignments and bait the Hawks into going at mismatches. At least this strategy prevents the Hawks from kicking their legendary flow into high gear.

With their surplus of 6’7 wings, the Warriors seemed to offer the best test case for this theory. And as usual, the Warriors constantly took advantage of their interchangeability, trading assignments on the weakside and even letting Curry guard Paul Millsap in the post at times.

It … didn’t work.”

Read it here:  http://www.sbnation.com/nba/2015/2/6/7994531/hawks-vs-warriors-score-final-recap-nba

 

– Hawks’ depth and former AAU teammates prove to be deciding factors vs. Warriors (from Jacob Eisenberg, sheridanhoops.com):

Read it here:  http://www.sheridanhoops.com/2015/02/07/eisenberg-hawks-depth-deciding-factor-vs-warriors/

 

(BI Note:  Game One of the Best-of-Nine NBA Finals series was outstanding.  Next up: Game Two in Oakland on March 18.  We will be there.)

 

–  An NBA Friday night to remember (from Michael Lee, Washington Post):

” The last Friday before the NBA all-star break gave us a few things to consider for the remainder of the season: Time is running out before the rest of the league has to start being very afraid of Anthony Davis. The Russell Westbrook Appreciation Society should have a slew of new members after this week. Continue dismissing the passing-every-test Atlanta Hawks at your own peril. Cleveland has figured out a lot in recent weeks but winning in Indiana and getting that Kevin Love to work all the time aren’t among them. And finally, Minnesota isn’t finishing with the league’s worst record if Ricky Rubio’s around.”

Read it here:  http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/sports/wp/2015/02/07/an-nba-friday-night-to-remember/

 

 

–  For Patrick Ewing, deep-rooted dedication drives him towards head coaching goal  (from Michael Lee, Washington Post):

” Thirty years after graduating from Georgetown and going first overall to the New York Knicks with aspirations of winning titles at the rate of Bill Russell, Ewing is associate head coach of the Charlotte Hornets and harbors grander aspirations. Ewing is still hoping some owner or general manager will finally decide to take a chance on an all-time great who has been paying his dues on the sideline with a sharp suit and a clipboard for more than a decade.

Ewing’s pursuit of an NBA head coaching job has yielded only two interviews in 13 years, but he remains committed to chasing it — just like his long and ultimately fruitless quest for a championship ring. “I’d like the opportunity to succeed or fail like everybody else. I can’t sit around and boo-hoo, ‘They won’t give me an opportunity,’ ” Ewing said. “I just keep working and keep grinding, and whenever my name is called or somebody decides to give me that call, I just want to make sure I’m ready.””

Read it here:  http://www.washingtonpost.com/sports/for-patrick-ewing-deep-rooted-dedication-drives-him-towards-head-coaching-goal/2015/02/05/95cb2e9a-acac-11e4-9c91-e9d2f9fde644_story.html

 

 

–  Jared Sullinger’s safe playmaking  (from Jay King, Masslive.com):

” Sullinger’s safe playmaking has become a precious pillar for the Boston Celtics offense. His low turnover totals are even more impressive because the Celtics use him so often to handle the ball. He initiates dribble hand-offs, finds backdoor cutters and executes an occasional spin move to the hoop. He cuts to the middle, stops to receive a pass and whips the ball to the opposite corner. He works in the post, draws double-teams, and finds open teammates.

Sullinger has found open teammates a lot lately. Over the last three games, he has established a career high in assists twice, racking up 17 assists compared to just two turnovers. His inside-outside game has helped small lineups prosper. The brilliant playmaking stretch has only highlighted what might currently count as Sullinger’s greatest offensive strength: the ability to facilitate offense while keeping possession for his team.

Before we continue, know these assists are not all simple. Sullinger’s creativity, vision and feel allow him to try passes a lot of big men wouldn’t consider.”

Read and view it here:  http://www.masslive.com/celtics/index.ssf/2015/02/jared_sullinger_play-making_bo.html

 

 

–  All-Star starting nod just the beginning for Raptors’ Lowry (from Ian Thomsen, NBA.com):

” Guard took path he wanted to become both All-Star, team leader”

Read it here:  http://www.nba.com/2015/news/features/ian_thomsen/02/07/all-star-2015-kyle-lowry-toronto-raptors-forges-own-path-to-all-star-starting-nod/

 

 

–  A VISUAL GUIDE TO JIMMY BUTLER’S ASCENT  (from Martin Kessler, triangleoffense.com):

Read and view it here:  http://triangleoffense.com/features/the-gifted-a-visual-guide-to-jimmy-butlers-ascent/

 

 

– Zach Randolph Is Having Himself a Season  (from Mike Honkasalo, Vantage Sports):

Read and view it here:  http://www.vantagesports.com/#story/VM_ZnSUAACHVp_fK/zach-randolph-is-having-himself-a-season

 

 

–  James Harden’s clutch defense seals win for the Rockets (from Matt Moore CBS Sports):

”  Giannis Antetokounmpo had a huge night Friday. Twenty-seven points, 15 rebounds, four assists, and a block in a loss to the Rockets. But with a chance off a long rebound to make a big play in transition, a Houston Rocket stepped up and made a defensive play to essentially seal the game for the Rockets.

Yes, it was James Harden.”

Read and view it here:  http://www.cbssports.com/nba/eye-on-basketball/25061669/video-james-hardens-clutch-defense-seals-win-for-the-rockets

 

 

–  Five NBA D-League Assistants Who Could Find Success As Head Coaches  (from Keith Schlosser, ridiculousupside.com):

Read it here:  http://www.ridiculousupside.com/2015/2/3/7972687/five-nba-d-league-assistants-who-could-find-success-as-head-coaches

 

 

–  D-League: Can Jack Cooley Or Jerrelle Benimon Contribute I n the NBA? (from Joshua Riddell, BBall Breakdown):

Read and view it here:  http://bballbreakdown.com/2015/02/06/d-league-can-jack-cooley-or-jerrelle-benimon-contribute-in-the-nba/

 

 

Stat of the Night:  Last night’s game was the second  of a back-to back for the Cavs .  Prior to last night, Kevin Love was shooting 37.3% in 2nd game of  back-to-backs (12 games), 41.7% on one day of rest (27 games), and 55.6% on two days of rest (7 games).  Last night’s Love went 2-for-8.

 

 

 QOTN (from Coach Satch Sullinger, responding to son Jared’s rationalizations regarding showing up late  for two games in a row):
 “In his mind, he’s going, ‘Other people might have done this. Other people might have done that.’ And he tried that with me. My point was, ‘I don’t have a nickel or a dime with anyone else. You’re a Sullinger and you’re my son. I want to talk about you. I want to talk about your growth and your development and that maturity doesn’t take place until you start dealing in reality.’
“My message to him was you can come up with all the rationale and all the reasons you want, but the bottom line and reality is you were late. Once you start dealing with that reality, then maturity can start taking its place. But until you accept it, then you’re just fighting the process of manhood.
“I said to him, ‘Fight the process if you want to. You can rationalize it any way you want in your head. But this is your final process of manhood when you start accepting responsibility of doing things the way a man’s supposed to do things.’ I told him I’m not mad at him; I’m not disappointed in him. This is just the last process of him consummating this thing called manhood. And as his father, I’m supposed to help him do it.”

 

Additional Player Updates:

 

Eric Gordon:  http://theadvocate.com/sports/pelicans/11536289-148/now-healthy-pelicans-eric-gordon

 

Marcus Morris:  http://valleyofthesuns.com/2015/02/07/marcus-morris-career-night-important/

 

Jared Sullinger:  http://www.bostonherald.com/sports/celtics_nba/boston_celtics/2015/02/jared_sullingers_father_offers_tough_love

 

Tim Frazier:  http://www.bostonglobe.com/sports/2015/02/07/point-guard-tim-frazier-has-come-long-way/hbSY7HOHRJxIu7SbHsWLKO/story.html   and   http://www.csnphilly.com/basketball-philadelphia-76ers/sixers-tim-frazier-goes-td-garden-stands-nba-debut-boston-celtics

 

J.R. Smith:  http://www.cleveland.com/pluto/index.ssf/2015/02/terrys_talkin_about_how_jr_smi.html

 

Patrick Patterson:  http://www.thestar.com/sports/raptors/2015/02/06/raptors-patrick-patterson-plays-role-to-max-griffin.

 

Wayne Ellington:  http://www.philly.com/philly/sports/sixers/20150208_Basketball_helps_Ellington_deal_with_killing_of_father.html

 

Khris Middleton:  http://www.vantagesports.com/#story/VNGFPSUAAO3zq08G/khris-middleton-just-pulled-off-a-month-long-kyle-korver-impersonation

 

Ricky Rubio:  http://www.canishoopus.com/2015/2/6/7994889/rubio-rallies-wolves-very-late-to-down-grizzlies-90-89

Today’s Top NBA Stories

Klay Thompson playing at the star-like level many saw for him (from Marcus Thompson II, insidebayarea.com):

” Three games into the season, no one is thinking about how the Warriors missed out on Kevin Love. The sentiment that the Warriors overpaid at four years, about $70 million, has already been silenced.

That’s how good Klay Thompson is, and how good he can be.
But this isn’t a revelation as much as it is the fulfillment of a prophecy. Many other NBA executives
and experts saw this coming. That includes legend Jerry West, the Warriors consultant who
advocated the drafting of Thompson. That includes coach Steve Kerr, the former championship
player and general manager, who lobbied with West to keep Thompson instead of trading him for
Love.
Warriors management knew all along what the rest of the league did: Thompson was bound to be
an NBA star. He has all the tools. He’s got the supporting cast around him. And, now, he’s getting
mature enough to put it all together.

Read it here: http://www.insidebayarea.com/marcus-thompson/ci_26865276/thompson-golden-state-warriors-klay-thompson-playing-at

 

Klay Thompson’s Early Season Offensive Improvement (from Seth Partnow, Bball Breakdown):

Read and view it here: http://bballbreakdown.com/2014/11/04/by-the-numbers-klay-thompsons-early-season-offensive-improvement/

 

How Mavericks’ diverse attack is helping Chandler Parsons heat up as a scorer (from Eddie Sefko, dallasnews.com):

“I’m just in a good rhythm,” he said. “I’m trying not to force anything. And I’m getting more comfortable playing with them. With our personnel, it’s great. You’ve got Tyson [Chandler], and he’s always a target at the rim.

“There are always three or four shooters on the floor capable of knocking down 3s. It’s a fun way to play. Not many teams are going to be able to control what we do on the offensive end.”

What fans have seen in the quick glimpse that is a marathon NBA season is that Parsons appears to be getting a lot of good opportunities offensively. Dirk Nowitzki still commands attention. Jameer Nelson stations himself on the perimeter and can’t be left. Monta Ellis is always a threat anywhere he’s at on the court. And Chandler is lethal with his rolls to the basket for lob passes.

It adds up to a recipe for Parsons to get equal opportunities at the 3-point arc and on slashes to the basket. He’s already had a handful of one-hand throwdown dunks, and his long ball has perked up during the winning streak.

“They can do so much offensively, there’s way less help because guys don’t want to leave certain guys, and it allows me to create more for myself and get to the basket,” Parsons said.”

Read it here: http://www.dallasnews.com/sports/dallas-mavericks/headlines/20141104-sefko-how-mavericks-diverse-attack-is-helping-chandler-parsons-heat-up-as-a-scorer.ece

LeBron opts for new leadership style (from Brian Windhorst, ESPN):

” This is a conscious decision on how he plans to operate in a passive-aggressive mission to yank some teammates toward his way of thinking. Let some of them fail at their way so they will be open to new ideas, is what it looks and sounds like.

“Everyone wants to win, I would hope,” James said. “Would you rather play selfish basketball and lose, or play unselfish basketball and sacrifice and win? So you pick it.”

Read it here: http://espn.go.com/nba/story/_/id/11824708/lebron-james-opts-new-leadership-style-young-cleveland-cavaliers

 

Chicago Bulls’ Soft November Schedule Helps Set Up Derrick Rose Maintenance Plan (from Sean Highkin, Bleacher report):

” “When you’re going to the hole, you’ve really got to have balance,” Rose said after shootaround on Tuesday. “And one way to have balance is through your ankles. So when your ankles are sore, you’re not going to have balance and you end up hurting something else. I’m just trying to be smart.”

“I’m just looking for that burst and that speed,” Rose said. “If I can get to a spot, I’ll play. But if not, if I’m not 100 percent, if I can’t play the way I normally play, there’s no point in me being out there right now.”

If everything goes according to plan, Rose will be playing like his old self come playoff time. But getting there involves a lot of planning and patience, and there’s no better time to put that to the test than now.”

Read it here: http://bleacherreport.com/articles/2256181-chicago-bulls-soft-november-schedule-helps-set-up-derrick-rose-maintenance-plan

Wizards establish blueprint to stop Knicks (from Ian Begley, ESPNNewYork):

” It’s early, but there might already be a blueprint out there for how to slow down the New York Knicks’ new offense: pressure the ball.

The Washington Wizards employed the strategy to perfection on Tuesday night. Their ball pressure helped hold the Knicks to 37 percent shooting in a 98-83 win.

“Tonight, their pressure caused us some problems,” Knicks coach Derek Fisher said after his team fell to 2-2. “I think it got frustrating for all of our guys out there, not to be able to execute the things that we’re capable of doing.”

The Knicks’ offense is predicated on well-timed cuts, ball movement and proper spacing. Washington used pressure defense on the perimeter and strong denials in the passing lanes to disrupt things on Tuesday.

The Wizards’ game plan was eerily similar to the strategy the Chicago Bulls used in their blowout of the Knicks on opening night.”

Read it here: http://espn.go.com/blog/new-york/knicks/post/_/id/59585/wizards-establish-blueprint-to-stop-bockers

And from Brett Pollakoff, NBC Sportshttp://probasketballtalk.nbcsports.com/2014/11/05/knicks-struggling-to-deal-with-perimeter-pressure-in-early-days-of-learing-the-triangle-offense/

The Wolves’ Dilemma with the D-League (from ZacharyBD, Canishoopus):

” It appears Flip Saunders won’t be quick to send players to the D-League this season. Here’s why.”

Read it here: http://www.canishoopus.com/2014/11/5/7156973/Timberwolves-NBA-dleague-dilemma-glenn-robinson-shabazz-muhammad-zach-lavine

The Houston Rockets are Shooting Threes at an Absurd Pace (from Jacob Rosen, nyloncalculus.com):

” The Rockets, those poor sad Rockets that missed out on a superstar and lost three key rotation players, are currently the NBA’s best team. It’s very, very early, but they’re not just beating opponents, they’re destroying them. And they’re doing it in uber-Morey fashion.

Thus far, they’re taking an earth-shattering number of three pointers. In five games, 10 percent more of their field goal attempts are occurring beyond the arc. And they already led the league in this category last season!”

Read it here: http://nyloncalculus.com/2014/11/05/houston-rockets-shooting-threes-early-pace/

–  Top 5 HORNS Plays Of The Week Episode 1 (from Coach Nick, BBall Breakdown):

” Coach Nick broke down the best examples of NBA teams running HORNS. Check out how the Sixers, Suns, Trail Blazers, Jazz, and Clippers all throw wrinkles at the defense to make it difficult to stop.”

Watch it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fqJSjudpFP0&feature=youtu.be

Garrett Temple explains how he’s worked to improve his jump shot (from Mike Prada, bulletsforever.com):

” The Wizards’ shooting guard is off to a hot start from downtown after struggling earlier in his career. He talks to Bullets Forever about how he’s worked to improve his jumper.”

Read the Q & A here: http://www.bulletsforever.com/2014/11/4/7155121/garrett-temple-jump-shot-washington-wizards

Can Paul Pierce handle the truth? (from Michael Wallace, ESPN):

” The Wizards have been down this road before. Future Hall of Famers have passed through Washington late in their careers, but none have been able to translate it to postseason success. It didn’t work when Bernard King arrived in his early 30s during the late 1980s, or when Mitch Richmond showed up in his mid-30s during the late 1990s. Not even a twice-retired Michael Jordan could make much of an impact on the standings in the early 2000s.

How can Pierce?

“The difference is, we already have our anchors in Wall and Beal,” said Phil Chenier, a shooting guard on Washington’s 1978 NBA championship team and a local television analyst for the past three decades. “When Bernard came, he was our new identity. When Mitch came, we were still expecting him to be a 20-point scorer every night. And even Michael, even though he retired and came back again and again, he was still M.J., and that expectation to be M.J. was there.”

“Paul still has a lot to offer. But he’s not coming to save a team. He’s coming to supplement a team that was very close a year ago to the conference finals.”

Read it here:  http://abcnews.go.com/Sports/paul-pierce-handle-truth/story?id=26706350&singlePage=true

 

Can Pierce Turn Wizards Into a Contender? (from Alex Kennedy, Basketball Insdiers):

” Washington is a young squad that is extremely hungry after experiencing a little bit of success in last year’s postseason. Last year’s group managed to win 44 games, which was good for fifth place in the East. Washington defeated the Chicago Bulls in the first round of the playoffs, before being eliminated by the Indiana Pacers in six games.

Pierce has experienced just about everything a player can in the NBA, so he’s an amazing resource for these young Wizards. Pierce said that he’ll do his best to offer his help throughout the course of the season.

“I just try to keep everyone focused,” Pierce said. “I want them to understand what it’s going to take when you’re coming off of a loss and in a back-to-back situation. That’s what I’m going to give them all year long. If we’re going to try to take that next step from what the Wizards did a year ago, then it’s got to be mental. It’s got to be every night, consistency in practices and in games.”

Read it here: http://www.basketballinsiders.com/nba-pm-can-pierce-turn-wizards-into-a-contender/

 

Doc’s cure for shooting woes: Don’t let up (from Arash Markazi, ESPNLosAngeles):

” “It’s a make-or-miss league,” Clippers coach Doc Rivers said. “It always will be. We could go on a streak in the middle of the season and make half of them and look brilliant. I am never going to tell J.J. Redick to pass up a wide-open jump shot. That would be silly. And he missed a bunch of wide-open jump shots [Sunday]. Spencer Hawes missed a bunch of wide-open shots. Is it too many 3s? Probably. A lot of them are wide open. Should you tell them not to shoot them? I don’t think so.”

“I’m thinking if we played at a little faster pace, we’d get more to the basket,” Rivers said. “That would take some of those [3-pointers] away, but when you watch the film, which I have — I have them all taken and looked at every single one — they’re wide open. And they’re wide open for our guys that have to make them. Honestly, [Chris Douglas-Roberts], on a couple of his, probably should drive. Matt [Barnes], on a couple of his, probably could drive, but J.J.? Shoot the ball. All the other guys who have them? Shoot the ball.”

Read it here: http://espn.go.com/blog/los-angeles-clippers/post/_/id/6851/docs-cure-for-shooting-woes-dont-let-up

Early impressions: Is there hope for the Sacramento Kings? (from Matt Moore, CBS Sports):

” When is it OK to have hope? How soon is too soon to enjoy success? And if you have to start somewhere, why is starting anywhere seemingly less proof of basketball life than failing out of the gate. Welcome to life in the NBA when it comes to your 3-1 Sacramento Kings.

The Kings opened with a dismal loss to the Warriors and it seemed par for the course. A bad team whose offseason moves were panned (particularly the loss of Isaiah Thomas and the replacement thereof with Darren Collison) gets slammed against the locker by the division favorites, setting off yet another disappointing, if expectedly so, season.

And then a funny thing thing happened.

The Kings have rattled off three straight, yes, three whole games, but had this been an East Coast jaunt vs. the Sixers, Magic, and some banged up squad, it would be one thing. Instead, they knocked off the Blazers, then the Clippers, in Los Angeles. On Monday, they were stacked against the schedule: the dreaded back-to-back in the altitude of Denver vs. the Nuggets. That’s a schedule loss. I know it. You know it. The teams themselves know it. You lose those games.”

Read it here: http://www.cbssports.com/nba/eye-on-basketball/24783646/early-impressions-is-there-hope-for-the-sacramento-kings

 

Anthony Davis taking flight, lifting Pelicans in third season  (from Michael Lee, Washington Post):

” “I just go out there and play. What people expect of me? That’s on them,” Davis said, recently. “I don’t pay attention to all the stuff that they’re saying because that kind of messes with your head and you start getting complacent. That’s for the fans to read it and listen to it. My objective is to help this team win.””

Read it here: http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/sports/wp/2014/11/05/the-big-shot-anthony-davis-taking-flight-lifting-pelicans-in-third-season/

 

Deron Williams Played A Perfect Game, And Few Even Noticed (from Miles Wray, BBall Breakdown):

” When I watch Williams, it almost seems impossible that he would ever be the type of player to cause locker room strife. There is no direct correlation between on-court unselfishness and off-court behaviour, of course, yet Deron is playing with an unselfishness that makes any connection hard to fathom. Williams makes the game look easy; he plays with total court awareness, and he is always looking to get the ball in the hands of the open man. Sometimes he is that open man, and he does not hesitate to take those in-flow shots. But most of the time, when he is not that open man, Williams makes Brooklyn’s offense hum by smartly looking for the open man without forcing situations or demanding that he get his prerequisite number of shots.

On Monday night, the Nets dismantled the Oklahoma City Thunder, 116-85. The popular takeaway from the game is no doubt to be that a seriously injured Thunder squad simply did not have the bodies to keep up with a presumed playoff team like the Nets. This is a part of the story, to be sure. They could not keep up. But in the Nets, I also saw a veteran team working as a single and cohesive unit to find the open man, their individual personal statistics be damned.”

Read and view it here: http://bballbreakdown.com/2014/11/04/an-evening-with-deron/

 

A look at what the other top NBA rosters would look like with the Thunder’s current injury situation (from Anthony Slater, newsok.com):

Read it here: http://newsok.com/okc-thunder-a-look-at-what-the-other-top-nba-rosters-would-look-like-with-the-thunders-current-injury-situation/article/5363780

 

And for those with access to ESPN Insider:

Ariza, D driving Houston’s hot start (from Tom Haberstroh):

Read it here: http://insider.espn.go.com/nba/story/_/id/11825292/houston-rockets-better-chandler-parsons-nba-insider-daily

 

More player updates:

Brook Lopez: http://nypost.com/2014/11/04/a-closer-look-at-how-brook-lopezs-return-boosts-nets/

Jason Thompson: http://www.sacbee.com/sports/nba/sacramento-kings/kings-blog/article3566702.html   and      http://cowbellkingdom.com/a-closer-look-at-jason-thompsons-improved-defense/

Nikola Mirotic: http://www.csnchicago.com/bulls/nikola-mirotic-proving-his-worth-versatility-bulls-win

Marcus Morris: http://www.azcentral.com/story/sports/nba/suns/2014/11/04/notes-phoenix-suns-forward-marcus-morris-gets-defensive/18509303/

Joe Johnson: http://basketball.realgm.com/blog/235452/Joe-Johnson-Beyond-The-Contract

Jeff Green: http://www.celticsblog.com/2014/11/5/7159909/jeff-green-torched-mavs

Tim Hardaway, Jrhttp://espn.go.com/blog/new-york/knicks/post/_/id/59566/hardaway-cant-complain-about-minutes

K.J. McDaniels: http://www.libertyballers.com/the-liberty-beat/2014/11/5/7159801/k-j-mcdaniels-showcasing-incredible-defensive-potential

Nerlens Noel: http://bleacherreport.com/articles/2256376-nerlens-noels-defensive-flashes-show-making-of-bright-nba-future  and   http://www.philly.com/philly/blogs/pattisonave/Nerlens-Noel-showing-signs.html

Mike Scott: http://bballbreakdown.com/2014/11/03/ekpe-udoh-is-both-underrated-and-important/

Ekpe Udoh: http://bballbreakdown.com/2014/11/03/ekpe-udoh-is-both-underrated-and-important/

Analytics,FIBA,PHI,MIN,CLE,DET,ORL,GSW,ATL,CHA,DEN,Dooling

– Scouts and analysts can be friends – really! (from James Kerti, Hoopsthink.com):

” …scouting reports are a form of data, just as advanced metrics are.

They’re different types of data, but they’re both data. They both merit respect and consideration.

A decision maker (often the general manager) who is willing to listen to the different voices is a prerequisite for consistently good decision making.”

Read it here: http://www.hoopsthink.com/scouts-analysts/

– Top performers of FIBA group play (from Ethan Sherwood Strauss, ESPN):

” Group play is done and we’re into the knockout stage at the FIBA Basketball World Cup. The frenzied prelude to the Round of 16 allowed us to watch some players Americans rarely get to glimpse, along with some players Americans rarely get to see lead a team. It’s been fun. Here are the ten most notable performances…”

Read it here: http://espn.go.com/blog/truehoop/post/_/id/70388/top-performers-of-fiba-group-play

– Philadelphia 76ers’ future make trip to Spain to see fellow cornerstone Saric (from heinnews, roadttoheassociation.com):

”  Brett Brown said that he was impressed with what he was seeing from Saric for Croatia: “The thing that stands out for me is that there’s a presence that he carries himself with. There’s a toughness that he plays the game with that is just so appealing to me. And it’s how we want to build our program in the city of Philadelphia. It’s a tough city, it’s a real city, it’s a sports-minded city. And I like the physicality how he approaches the game,” said Brown.

The Sixers coach compared Saric with a player he worked with for many years as an assistant with the San Antonio Spurs: French international Boris Diaw.”

Read it here: http://roadtotheassociation.com/2014/09/04/philadelphia-76ers-future-spain-meet-dario-saric/

– The Reasons Sixers’ Fans Will Love K.J. McDaniels (from Cody Daniel, thesixersense.com):

” For the Philadelphia 76ers faithful and exceedingly patient fan base, the incoming season will be one that will have to be seen in light of it’s silver linings. It’s as far out of the question as it can get that playoff chances are possible so to keep sane, Sixers’ fans will have to find joy in watching a very young roster and newbies gel together and build for the bright future. Of course, everybody wants to see the progression for Michael Carter-Williams Rookie of the Year season and how he follows up in 2014-15. Even more glorified will be the box top sensation looking to topple Manute Bol’s rookie shot block record.

But there’s a guy who has flown under the media attention radar and is someone Sixers’ fans will be become fond of once he finds his place within the team.

K.J McDaniels became one of the steals of the draft after his first-round projection lead to him being selected 32nd overall. Regardless of his second-round selection, 76ers fans will love McDaniels.”

Read and watch it here: http://thesixersense.com/2014/09/04/reasons-sixers-fans-will-love-k-j-mcdaniels/

– Will Gorgui Dieng’s Emergence Put Nikola Pekovic on the Trade Block? (from Zach Buckley, Bleacher Report):

” It was obvious last season, and it has become even more apparent this summer.

Minnesota Timberwolves sophomore-to-be Gorgui Dieng needs more minutes, and they could come at the expense of incumbent starting center Nikola Pekovic. Rather than burying one of the two on the bench, Wolves president-coach Flip Saunders might be forced to see what the market would bear for a productive big man.”

Read it here: http://bleacherreport.com/articles/2186968-will-gorgui-diengs-emergence-put-nikola-pekovic-on-the-trade-block

Read it here: http://roadtotheassociation.com/2014/09/04/philadelphia-76ers-future-spain-meet-dario-saric/

– Here’s how the Cleveland Cavaliers will look on offense with the NBA’s new ‘Big Three’ (from Seth Partnow, Washington Post):

” The Cleveland Cavaliers obviously were the big winners of the NBA offseason. The Cavs parlayed a surprising lottery win into LeBron James deciding to return home and enough assets to trade for Kevin Love. In so doing, Cleveland instantly went from a franchise in disarray to one of the favorites for the 2015 title.

On paper, James, Love and point guard Kyrie Irving look to be an unstoppable trio on offense, but there are some real questions to answer as to how Cleveland will actually look on the floor. The first thing to remember is that the team will likely be a work in progress. After James teamed up with Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh in Miami, the pieces didn’t really fit together until well into the trio’s second season together. The issue will be compounded in Cleveland by the presence of a first-year coach in David Blatt, who has never worked in the NBA.”

Read it here: http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/fancy-stats/wp/2014/09/05/heres-how-the-cleveland-cavaliers-will-look-on-offense-with-the-nbas-new-big-three/

– After thriving in Chicago, D.J. Augustin feels Pistons are his right situation (from Keith Langlois, nba.com/pistons):

” Stan Van Gundy knew he wanted to bring in another point guard in free agency, but his roster demanded the bulk of his resources go to small forward and shooting guard. But point guard was also free agency’s deepest position. It was a buyer’s market, so Van Gundy wound up with one of the bargains of summer in D.J. Augustin, a player on his wish list the way most of us browse the Neiman Marcus Christmas catalog.

Augustin might have been disappointed by the reported two-year, $6 million contract he wound up signing if it were in his nature – or if he hadn’t experienced a series of career turns already despite still being just 26.

“Anything can happen in free agency or in this business, period,” he said this week inside the Pistons practice facility. “So I had no expectations because it could go either way. I was just happy to be signing with a good organization, a good team and getting the opportunity to play again.””

Read it here: http://www.nba.com/pistons/after-thriving-chicago-d.j.-augustin-feels-pistons-are-his-right-situation

– What Aaron Gordon Must Do to Contend for 2014-15 NBA Rookie of the Year (from Daniel O’Brien, Bleacher Report):

”  Orlando Magic rookie forward Aaron Gordon won’t waltz into the NBA and dominate, but he’s blessed with the physical tools and court awareness to make an impact on both ends of the court.

The soon-to-be-19-year-old needs polishing in several areas, and he’s not the overwhelming favorite to win Rookie of the Year. Nevertheless, he can join the fray in contention if he maximizes his strong suits and addresses (or minimizes) his deficiencies.”

Read an
d view it here: http://bleacherreport.com/articles/2186856-what-aaron-gordon-has-to-do-to-contend-for-2014-15-nba-rookie-of-the-year

– What Happened to James Michael McAdoo’s NBA Story? (from Jonathan Wasserman, Bleacher report):

” It wasn’t too long ago we were waiting for James Michael McAdoo to emerge as a top-five NBA draft pick.

Instead, fast-forward a few years, and we’re waiting to see whether or not he’ll stick with the Golden State Warriors on a partially guaranteed one-year deal after nobody picked him in the 2014 draft.

How’d that happen? This kid was can’t-miss as a McDonald’s All-American out of high school. “

Read and view it here: http://bleacherreport.com/articles/2187433-what-happened-to-james-michael-mcadoos-nba-story

– Mike Scott looks to take game to another level (from Kris Willis, peachtreehoops.com):

Mike Scott went into the 2014 NBA season with zero guarantees but emerged as a key part of the Atlanta Hawks‘ rotation and was rewarded this summer with a three-year deal worth a reported $10 million.

After seeing inconsistent playing time as a rookie, Scott emerged during his second season in the NBA. He dropped substantial weight and improved his offensive game by extending what was already a solid pick and pop game out to the three-point line. He finished the season as Atlanta’s top scorer off the bench.”

Read and view it here: http://www.peachtreehoops.com/2014/9/5/6104185/atlanta-hawks-mike-scott-free-agency-2014

– 2014 Hornets Player Profiles: Gary Neal (from Queencityhoops.com):

Read and view it here: http://queencityhoops.com/blog/2014-hornets-player-profiles-gary-neal/

– 2014 Hornets Player Profiles: Gerald Henderson (from Queencityhoops.com):

Read and view it here: http://queencityhoops.com/blog/2014-hornets-player-profiles-gerald-henderson/

– Lou Williams Eager For Fresh Start With Raptors (from Holly MacKenzie, Raptors.com):

Read and view it here: http://www.nba.com/raptors/news/lou-williams-eager-fresh-start-raptors

– Nuggets coach Brian Shaw proud of Kenneth Faried’s work in Spain (from Aaron Lopez, Nuggets.com):

” Fan. Coach. Scout.

Brian Shaw has been a combination all three while watching Denver Nuggets forward Kenneth Faried rise to prominence with the U.S. Men’s National Team.

While not surprised by Faried’s success at the 2014 FIBA World Cup, the second-year coach wants the Manimal’s momentum to continue when the Nuggets convene for training camp later this month.

“I think it will help his confidence in terms of feeling like he belongs,” Shaw said during an interview at Pepsi Center this week.”

Read it here: http://www.nba.com/nuggets/news/shaw-has-high-expectations-faried

Dooling’s book tells tale of abuse, breakdown and big bounce back (from Steve Aschburner, nba.com):

” Through his teen years and his entire adult life, Keyon Dooling pushed forward, played basketball and plowed down a secret that stayed alive no matter how many shovels of dirt he threw on it.

Two years ago, that secret seized up on him and brought him to his knees. Yet, from that low point, Dooling managed to look his demons in the eye and stare them down.

This summer, Dooling has shared his troubling yet uplifting story in a book, “What’s Driving You??? How I Overcame Abuse and Learned to Lead in the NBA.” Ultimately, it is a book about the former NBA guard’s healing and his desire to help others heal, too.

“I went through some things in the last two years,” Dooling said on the phone recently. “So I wrote a story. It’s a great story, it’s a basketball story, it’s a life story, it’s a social story. It’s a story of triumph. I just want to make sure I get the message out there.”

Read it here: http://hangtime.blogs.nba.com/2014/09/05/doolings-book-tells-tale-of-abuse-breakdown-and-big-bounce-back/

 

Playoff Update, Sterling, ‘Middle Class’ Players, Stackhouse, D-League

– Wizards put the Bulls away in five games (from Zach Harper, CBSSports.com):

” The Wizards took the first two games on the road and put the Bulls on their heels immediately. By the time they walked away from Game 4 with a 3-1 series lead, the guillotine was simply waiting to fall on the Bulls’ season. The series was a valiant effort by the Bulls but they simply didn’t have the talent and firepower to keep up with the Wizards.”

Read it here: http://www.cbssports.com/nba/eye-on-basketball/24545646/series-in-review-wizards-put-the-bulls-away-in-five-games

– Wizards finally come together at the perfect time (from Mike Prada, bulletsforever.com):

” An inconsistent team all year finally found its identity when it mattered most.”

Read it here: http://www.bulletsforever.com/2014/4/30/5667740/nba-playoffs-2014-wizards-finally-come-together-at-the-perfect-time

– Wizards eliminate Bulls with 75-69 victory (from K.C. Johnson, Chicago Tribune):

“Coach Tom Thibodeau proud of way team battled all season before going down for good in Game 5 of conference quarterfinals”

Read it here: http://www.chicagotribune.com/sports/basketball/bulls/ct-bulls-wizards-game-spt-0430-20140430,0,4029646.story

– How the Mavericks are containing Tony Parker (from J. Gomez, poundingtherock.com):

Tony Parker is averaging 15.5 points and 4.5 assists in 30 minutes a game in the postseason so far. Those (numbers)  are not what the Spurs were expecting of Parker after a stellar 2013 playoff run. A dominant Parker is almost a prerequisite for the Spurs’ title aspirations to be legitimate but that’s not materializing.

The most frequently heard explanation is that he is hurt. Tony has not come close to the MVP-caliber form he displayed last season and fatigue from playing for the French national team and lingering injuries could be causing the dip in production. I think that’s a fair and reasonable possibility. Parker has faded as a scorer in second halves and he had his worst game yet when the Spurs only had a day to rest.

But it’s impossible to discuss Parker’s struggles without examining how the Mavericks are defending him.”

Read and view it here: http://www.poundingtherock.com/2014/4/30/5666088/spurs-mavericks-playoffs-defense-tony-parker

– How the Hawks have used the pick and pop to spread the floor against Indiana (from Kris Willis, peachtreehoops.com):

” In a seven game playoff series it’s uncommon for a team to have any surprises left for their opponent by the end of the series. That has been the case for Atlanta and Indiana as the Hawks have done little to adjust from the way they started the series. The Pacers have made adjustments to help slow down point guard Jeff Teague but they have struggled to find an answer for Atlanta’s pick and pop game which was in the spotlight in Game 5 thanks to Mike Scott’s outburst from the three-point line.”

Read and view it here: http://www.peachtreehoops.com/2014/4/30/5665938/nba-playoffs-2014-atlanta-hawks-pick-and-roll-indiana-pacers

– Grizzlies escape Game 5 with win over Thunder by narrowest of margins (from Rob Mahoney, Sports Illustrated):

No matter the outcome, these two teams are evident equals. For the fourth consecutive game between the Thunder and Grizzlies, regulation wasn’t enough to determine a victor. Even then the winner wasn’t revealed until the final microseconds of overtime”

Read it here:  http://nba.si.com/2014/04/30/three-pointers-grizzlies-thunder-game-5-serge-ibaka/

– Has Dwyane Wade Returned to Full Form for Miami Heat? (from Tom Sunnergren,Bleacher Report):

” Sports writers, present company included, have a penchant for hyperbole. In the Internet age, with all its accompanying pressures and incentives—perverse and otherwise—the temptation is to make a mountain out of every molehill: Each simple victory becomes an utter triumph, each loss a shattering setback, each micro slump the beginning of the end.

It was in this way that the hoops punditry buried Dwyane Wade this winter. Wade was hobbling through a season in which he would ultimately miss 28 games and post career-low numbers in a handful of consequential categories, and on this basis, the most devastating conclusions were jumped to. He was done, we thundered. Finished. Well past the useful portion of his career.

But the truth about Wade, it’s becoming clear, is a bit more nuanced. To borrow an oft-borrowed line, rumors of the guard’s demise were greatly exaggerated—or at least very premature.”

Read it here: http://bleacherreport.com/articles/2046215-has-dwyane-wade-returned-to-full-form-for-miami-heat

– A night of rebirth for the Clippers and their fans (from Bill Plaschke, LATimes):

” Donald Sterling is gone. May the ignorance and intolerance that have long existed in his office go with him.

“It was almost like everybody wanted to exhale tonight, and it was good,” Clippers Coach Doc Rivers said after his team and the building had rocked in agreement.

The Clippers played as if on wings, flying around with hustle and heart. Jordan scored 25 points with 18 rebounds after being shut out in the previous game. Paul hit two big three-pointers after the Warriors briefly took the lead late in the third quarter. Crawford perfectly ended the night by high-fiving fans in the front row.

“It seemed like a burden lifted off everyone and we could just go back to playing basketball,” Paul said.”

Read it here: http://www.latimes.com/sports/la-sp-plaschke-clippers-20140430,0,5582110.column#axzz30GOUICwM

– The Banning of Donald Sterling and Unrest in These Playoffs (from Zach Lowe, Grantland.com):
“… Sterling is odious. He is a despicable racist. No one supports him, publicly or privately. Owner after owner said Sterling’s sentiments had “no place in the league” and expressed confidence that Silver would do the right thing. The message was clear: “Throw the book at him and we’ll back you.”This wasn’t a gray-area case. It wasn’t an ethical quandary, but Silver answered the call on Tuesday more swiftly and strongly than most anticipated, especially since the league has passed on other chances to address Sterling’s known racism. He became the hard-liner, banning Sterling for life and announcing that he will invoke a clause in the NBA’s constitution that allows the league and its owners to force the sale of a team.Silver responded to almost every question from the media with one-sentence answers. He was outraged, certain in his words. The league needs three-quarters of the owners to vote in favor of the forced sale, and Silver was not wishy-washy when a reporter asked whether he had the votes: “I fully expect to get the support I need from the NBA owners to remove him,” he said. Almost every team has already indicated publicly that they will indeed back the sale of the Clippers.”

Read it here: http://grantland.com/the-triangle/the-silver-hammer-the-banning-of-donald-sterling-and-unrest-in-these-playoffs/

Even in midst of Clips’ off-court struggle, Rivers still in charge in L.A. (from Scott Howard-Cooper, NBA.com):

“Rivers won’t let Sterling in, doesn’t care who knows it, and it’s not just because Sterling is more toxic than normal right now. When news first broke of the audio recording that would lead to Sterling receiving a lifetime suspension and possibly being forced to sell the team, a seething Rivers wouldn’t so much as consider a phone call. When commissioner Adam Silver announced the discipline Tuesday, Rivers still had no desire to talk, because he was personally disgusted by the comments and professionally aware that Sterling should be at a distance even in the best of times.

This is Rivers’ team, period. That was the plan all along, his championship credibility from the Celtics as important as anything he would draw up on a dry-erase board, only it became a lot more important and a lot more obvious starting late last week. If the Clippers were going to climb from this deep valley, he would be the one to get them out.

There were more signs of that Tuesday, late in the morning when Silver made his finding public and Rivers realized it would be easier to stay with the organization if Sterling was gone. And more signs showed up last night in a 113-103 win over the Warriors at Staples Center. Both were critical developments.

The victory gave Los Angeles a 3-2 lead in the series and the chance to close out Thursday in Oakland. The clean air the commissioner pumped into the franchise gave Rivers a reason to hint that his conscience would now allow him to return to the team next season.

“I haven’t thought about it,” Rivers said. “I haven’t thought about leaving, staying. The main thing is, honestly, this should not be about me and what I’m doing and want to do. I want to coach. I love coaching. I’ve enjoyed these guys. Other than that… I don’t have an answer because I had given it zero thought as far as that goes. Obviously Adam’s decision, if there was going to be one made, makes mine easier.”

Read it here: http://hangtime.blogs.nba.com/2014/04/30/even-in-midst-of-clips-off-court-struggle-rivers-still-in-charge-in-l-a/

– With Sterling Gone, Clippers Come On Strong (from J.A. Adande, ESPN):

Read it here: http://espn.go.com/nba/dailydime/_/page/dime-140429/sterling-ousted-clippers-rise-up

– The Power of the ‘Pretty Good’ Guys (from Zach Lowe, Grantland.com):

” Choosing the right players from the NBA’s middle class can make or break your championship dreams”

Read it here: http://grantland.com/features/nba-playoffs-2014-the-power-of-the-pretty-good-guys-gortat-ariza-courtney-lee/

– Jerry Stackhouse Q&A (from Spencer Lund, Dimemag.com):

” Although he is no longer playing the game, don’t expect Jerry Stackhouse to leave the NBA anytime soon. The former No. 3 overall pick in the draft played 18 successful seasons in the league, reaching multiple All-Star Games and evolving into one of the most respected professionals of his era. Now, Stackhouse is chasing his latest endeavor: coaching in the NBA.

“…check out Dime’s interview with the 16,000-plus point scorer as he exclusively takes us into his life, speaking on the subjects of coaching, the state of the Association, his connection to Jackie Robinson and more.”

Read it here: http://dimemag.com/2014/04/dime-qa-jerry-stackhouse-coaching-nba-getting-soft/

– Delaware 87ers’ General Manager Brandon Williams Q&A (from Keith Schlosser, Ridiculous Upside):

” Having racked up just nineteen wins this past season, it’s safe to say the Philadelphia 76ers are a work in progress, for better or for worse. As the organization continues to rebuild and figure things out, they featured and employed 28 different players to don 76er uniforms this year.

In a season full of twists and turns, Philadelphia’s campaign was (negatively) highlighted by a twenty-six game losing streak.

Given such struggles, it’s no surprise that the NBA D-League affiliated Delaware 87ers followed suit with their own respective difficulties over the course of the team’s first season in the minor league. Though growing pains are to be expected in a team’s inaugural year, the 87ers struggled to compete night in and night out, winning just twelve games overall.

But perhaps there’s reason to be optimistic with a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel. Brandon D. Williams has stepped up as the man with a plan in Delaware, and used this past season to experiment with the team’s roster in hopes of furthering the development of the 76ers organization as a whole.”

Read it here: http://www.ridiculousupside.com/2014/4/30/5667160/delaware-87ers-general-manager-brandon-williams-discusses-first-nba-d-league-season