– Film-Study: Breaking down James Harden’s Game 2 (from alykhanb, thedreamshake.com):
” For the majority of his tenure in Houston, James Harden has been the best pick-and-roll ball-handler in basketball. The combination of crafty handles to lull the opposing defender to sleep, nifty and poetic finishing moves around the basket, and incredible passing accuracy in the half-court makes him one of the league’s most un-guardable playmakers.
Thursday night in Oakland, Harden epitomized this description and tried to will his team to a Game 2 victory. Even though James Harden could not capitalize on a last-second possession, he deserves nothing but praise and admiration for carrying his team and putting them in position, two games in a row, to win and steal a game at the Oracle.
James Harden was playing checkers, not chess, with the Warriors defense.
He moved up the board slowly, probing the opponent and analyzing different movements and tendencies. Smart and calculated, James Harden was opportunistic with his drives and play-making. His patience and basketball IQ combined with his athleticism, speed, and versatility earned him a historic performance.
In an effort to truly understand and appreciate Harden’s 38 points, 10 rebounds, and 9 assists line, I decided to go back and look at the film. Three points will be discussed: patience and play making, scoring, and the final possession.”
Read and view it here: http://www.thedreamshake.com/2015/5/22/8642351/film-study-breakdown-james-hardens-game-2-performance-NBA-playoffs-2015-Houston-Rockets-Warriors
– How Steph Curry Keeps Getting Open (from Coach Nick, BBall B reakdown):
Read and view it here: http://bballbreakdown.com/2015/05/22/how-steph-curry-keeps-getting-open-rockets-at-warriors-game-2/
– Harden and Curry Are En Fuego; Rockets Do Work on the Pick-and-Roll; West Features Defenses Heading in Opposite Directions (from Ian Levy, Vantage Sports):
Read it here: http://www.vantagesports.com/story/VVn-LiYAAOcG8GQM/playoff-pivot-point-harden-and-curry-are-en-fuego-rockets-do-work-on-the-pick-and-roll-west-features-defenses-heading-in-opposite-directions
– With no Kyrie Irving, LeBron James hit another gear of greatness as a point guard (from Jeff Zilgitt, USA Today):
“LeBron, he sees things ahead of time,” Blatt said. “Whether it’s knowing the play that we’re running and understanding where guys are going to be or whether he’s taken very quick mental pictures of where the defense is or where there’s just understanding by his feel for how defenses play him, who’s going to be open where when he makes a move to the baseline or to the middle, or whether it’s the fact that he has terrific court vision and he uses his size so well to see over guys.”
There’s also a fundamental part.
“Finally, not a lot of guys deliver the ball in the shooting pocket seemingly every time,” Blatt said. “That’s unusual. To throw a pass from here over there to that basket is not easy under pressure. To throw it right here where the guy simply catches and in one motion is able to shoot the ball, that’s extraordinary, and he’s got that capability.”
Coaches teach that to players at the earliest stages of basketball. Pass the ball to a player where the shooting motion begins.
Then, there’s the philosophical part and the part about being unselfish.
“Probably more than anything else, it’s the fact that he’s willing to pass the ball and that he believes in his teammates, and they feel that, they sense that, and that makes them more efficient and effective shooters,” Blatt said.
Read it here: http://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/nba/playoffs/2015/05/23/lebron-james-cavaliers-points-rebounds-assists/27833515/
More on this (from Dave McMenamin, ESPN): http://www.espn.co.uk/blog/cleveland-cavaliers/post/_/id/958/a-rising-lebron-james-lifts-all-cavaliers
– Cavaliers are now ‘The Big One,’ and it’s more than LeBron James (from Terry Pluto, cleveland.com):
” (T)his was Game 2 of the Eastern Conference and the Cavs were on the road in Philips Arena. The Cavs were without Kyrie Irving (sore knee). They have been without Kevin Love (shoulder surgery) since the first round against Boston.
“Our guys just play the game right,” said coach David Blatt.
“We’re the Big One … One Team,” said Blatt. “We are One Team … we are playing as a team and making the whole better than the parts.”
Read it here: http://www.cleveland.com/pluto/index.ssf/2015/05/cleveland_cavaliers_are_now_th.html
– What we learned from Hawks-Cavaliers Game 2 (from Zach Harper, CBS Sports)
Read it here: http://www.cbssports.com/nba/eye-on-basketball/25193439/3-pointer-wha-we-learned-from-hawks-cavaliers-game-2
– Cleveland’s defense is fueling the Cavs’ postseason run (from Zach Harper, CBS Sports):
Read it here: http://www.cbssports.com/nba/eye-on-basketball/25193520/clevelands-defense-is-fueling-the-cavs-postseason-run
– Eight Things to Watch for This Weekend in the NBA Conference Finals (from Zach Lowe, Grantlabd):
Read it here: http://grantland.com/the-triangle/eight-things-to-watch-for-this-weekend-in-the-nba-conference-finals/
– The NBA’s Best Hedging Screen Defenders (from Jordan M. Foley, Vantage Sports):
Read and view it here: http://www.vantagesports.com/story/VVV88iYAACgA2dwE/hedgehogs-the-nbas-best-hedging-screen-defenders
– Tom Thibodeau: Like every game is his last (from Nick Friedell, ESPN):
” Tom Thibodeau is one of the most successful and respected coaches in the NBA. He loves being in Chicago and coaching a Bulls team that has undergone a renaissance over his tenure over the last five years. So why is there such a widespread belief throughout the league that Thibodeau will be coaching elsewhere next season? Why is there very little hope within the Bulls organization that a reconciliation between Thibodeau, Bulls GM Gar Forman and executive VP John Paxson is possible?
Here is a look back at the most tumultuous times of Thibodeau’s reign — filled with ups and downs that left the Bulls wondering about their future.”
Read it here: http://espn.go.com/nba/story/_/id/12890745/tom-thibodeau-tenure-chicago-bulls
– Mystics and Lynx to test ‘analytic’ scrimmage at Verizon Center (from Jorge Castillo, Washington Post):
” It’s no secret that advanced analytics have emerged to increasingly dictate how NBA teams operate in recent years. Analytics, basically numbers dissecting and uncovering different aspects of the game, were first met with resistance but their acceptance throughout the league is obvious. Front offices across the sport have analytics departments and a few teams are even headed by analytics-centric general managers. For further evidence, all one needs to do is look at the final four teams remaining in the playoffs.
But the NBA hasn’t done what a couple WNBA teams are set to do on Tuesday. The Washington Mystics and Minnesota Lynx are scheduled to play what is being billed as an “analytic” scrimmage at 2 p.m. at Verizon Center after a “normal” scrimmage at 1 p.m. Owner Ted Leonsis, also owner of the Wizards, will be available to the media before the scrimmages to discuss the unique event.
The analytic session will consist of two 10-minute periods with different rules. The first period will be played with “modified location scoring” that will completely negate midrange field goals — the least efficient shot in basketball. Made midrange jumpers will not count. Instead, they will result in a loss of possession. The second period will feature “modified pacing rules,” notably a 20-second shot clock.”
Read it here: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wizards-insider/wp/2015/05/22/brave-new-world-mystics-and-lynx-to-test-analytic-scrimmage-at-verizon-center/
– The Contract Cost Of Each Lottery Pick (from Chuck Myron, Hoopsrumors.com):
” The rookie scale contract for the No. 1 overall pick this year will be worth more than $26.6MM over its four-year span if his team pays him 120% of the rookie scale amount, as is almost certain to happen. That’s almost $16.7MM more than the approximately $9.9MM the rookie deal for the 14th overall pick will likely be worth. Naturally, that would be water under the bridge if the top pick turns out to be a superstar, but it seems that for every Anthony Davis, there’s an Anthony Bennett. The costs increase with each rung up the lottery ladder, and while most teams would surely celebrate a leap in draft position tonight, a higher pick carries consequences, particularly for teams like the Thunder, who already seem destined to pay the tax next season.
Below is a look at each lottery pick and the cost of the rookie scale contract associated with it, assuming that the team will pay the standard 120% of the scale amounts. Only the first two seasons of these deals are guaranteed, but it would be quite surprising if a team declined either its third or fourth year team option on its contract with a lottery pick.”
Read it here: http://www.hoopsrumors.com/2015/05/contract-each-lottery.html
Addiitonal Player Notes, Updates, Profiles:
– Clint Capela: http://upsidemotor.com/2015/05/15/who-is-clint-capela-houston-rockets-d-league-rio-grande-valley-vipers/
– Nene: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wizards-insider/wp/2015/05/20/a-different-role-likely-for-nene-next-season/
– Bismack Biyombo: http://www.atthehive.com/2015/5/23/8646137/2014-2015-player-report-card-bismack-biyombo
– Robert Covington: http://www.csnphilly.com/basketball-philadelphia-76ers/despite-rockets-playoffs-success-robert-covington-happy-rebuilding-sixers
– Brandon Knight: http://www.arizonasports.com/41/1836409/Phoenix-Suns-Brandon-Knight-enjoys-playing-alongside-unselfish-Eric-Bledsoe
– Ben Gordon: http://orlandomagicdaily.com/2015/05/23/orlando-magic-player-evaluations-ben-gordon/
– Michael Kidd-Gilchrist: http://www.atthehive.com/2015/5/21/8638349/-michael-kidd-gilchrist-not-voted-to-nba-all-defensive-teams