Today’s Best NBA Reporting and Analysis 12/22/15

The Wizards’ 3-point Defense (from Jake Whitacre,  Bullets Forever):

Read it here:  http://www.bulletsforever.com/2015/12/21/10634286/washington-wizards-three-point-perimeter-defense-nba-analysis

–  Sometimes Positions Matter  (from Ian Levy,  Sporting News):

Read it here  (slideshow):  http://www.sportingnews.com/list/4688715-position-matters-chris-bosh-kelly-olynyk-zach-lavine-nerlens-noel-cj-mccollum-jeremy-lin

Sixers’ Brett Brown’s 1st Priority is Player Development  (from Bob Cooney,  philly.com):

Read it here:  http://mobile.philly.com/beta?wss=/philly/sports/sixers&id=363187261

–  Al Jefferson’s Return Will Be a Welcome Sight  (from Rick Bonnell,  Charlotte Observer):

Read it here:  http://www.charlotteobserver.com/sports/nba/charlotte-hornets/article51024335.html

–  Andre Drummond’s Rebounding in Historical Context  (from Ian Levy,  Nylon Calculus):

Read it here: http://nyloncalculus.com/2015/12/22/nylon-notebook-detroit-pistons-and-andre-drummonds-rebounds/

–  The Improved Eastern Conference  (from Jeff Zilgitt,  USA Today):

Read it here:  http://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/nba/2015/12/21/eastern-conference-western-conference-jeff-van-gundy-adam-silver-andre-drummond-paul-george-stan-van-gundy/77718174/

–  Rajon Rondo is Good Enough to be Divisive Again  (from Andrew Cutler,  BBall Breakdown):

Read and view it here:  http://bballbreakdown.com/2015/12/rajon_rondo_is_good_again/

–  Recapping Yesterday’s Games  (from SBNation):

Read it here:  http://www.sbnation.com/nba-scores

Kawhi Leonard  (from Grant Hughes, Bleacher Report):

Read and view it here:  http://bleacherreport.com/articles/2601408-monday-nba-roundup-kawhi-leonard-shrinking-gap-between-spurs-and-warriors

–  Kawhi Leonard Forces Paul George Into Worst Career Shooting Night  (from Zach Harper,  CBS Sports):

Read and view it here:  http://www.cbssports.com/nba/eye-on-basketball/25423042/how-kawhi-leonard-forced-paul-george-into-worst-career-shooting-night

–  Marcin Gortat Exposes Drawbacks with Cousins   (from J. Michael,  csnmidatlantic):

Read it here:    http://www.csnmidatlantic.com/basketball-washington-wizards/talk/morning-tip-marcin-gortat-exposes-drawbacks-cousins

–  How It Happened:  Westbrook’s Clutch 3 Vs. the Clippers (from Kevin Arnovitz,  ESPN):

Read and view it here:  http://espn.go.com/blog/okc-thunder/post/_/id/962/how-it-happened-westbrooks-clutch-3-vs-clippers

–  How the Warriors Crush Opponents Early  (from Grant Huhges,  Bleacher Report):

Read and view it here:  http://bleacherreport.com/articles/2600393-how-golden-state-warriors-crush-opponents-early

–  The Evolution of Steph Curry  (from Chris Ballard,  Sports Illustrated):

Read it here:  http://www.si.com/nba/2015/12/22/stephen-curry-golden-state-warriors-steve-kerr-don-nelson

–  The Bulls’ Shaky Chemistry  (from Zach Lowe,  ESPN):

Read and view it here:  http://espn.go.com/nba/story/_/id/14417182/the-bulls-trying-struggling-figure-are

–  Examining the Pelicans’ Lineups:

     -From  Mason Ginsburg,  Bourbon Street Shots:   http://www.bourbonstreetshots.com/2015/12/09/examining-lineup-data-get-well-soon-q-pon/

    – From David Fisher, The Bird Writes:  http://www.bourbonstreetshots.com/2015/12/09/examining-lineup-data-get-well-soon-q-pon/

    – From Jim Eichenhofer,  peliicans.com:   http://www.nba.com/pelicans/news/alonzo-gee-contributes-defense-and-hustle-pelicans-starter

–  What are Possessions and How Are They Calculated?  (from Justin W,  Nylon Calculus):

Read it here:  http://nyloncalculus.com/2015/12/21/nylon-calculus-101-possessions/

Additional Player Notes, Updates, Profiles:

–  CJ McCollum/Damian Lillard  (from Shaun Powell,  NBA.com):  http://www.nba.com/2015/news/features/shaun_powell/12/21/damian-lillard-cj-mccollum-blazers-building-blocks/index.html

–  Tim Frazier  (from Jason Quick,  csnnw):  http://www.csnnw.com/blazers/trail-blazers-tim-frazier-emerges-potential-insurance-policy-during-loss-atlanta

–  Kent Bazemore  (from Cody Taylor,  Basketball Insiders):  http://www.basketballinsiders.com/nba-pm-bazemore-playing-best-basketball-of-career/

–  Gerald Green  (from Manny Navarro,  Miami Herald):  http://www.miamiherald.com/sports/nba/miami-heat/article51000825.html

–  Why Is  Ed Davis So Good at Rebounding?  (from Brandon Goldner,  blazersedge.com):  http://www.blazersedge.com/2015/12/22/10360346/portland-trail-blazers-ed-davis-rebounding

–  Seth Curry  (from Jason Jones,  Sacramento Bee):  http://www.sacbee.com/sports/nba/sacramento-kings/kings-blog/article51012955.html

–  Deron Williams  (from Michael Lee,  Yahoo Sports):  http://sports.yahoo.com/news/deron-williams-on-his-time-with-the-nets—made-me-question-if-i-even-wanted-to-play-basketball-161703309.html

–  Ersan Ilyasova  (from Vince Ellis,  Detroit Free Press):  http://www.freep.com/story/sports/nba/pistons/2015/12/21/detroit-pistons-ersan-ilyasova/77721598/

–  Danny Green  (from Jabari Young,  mysanantonio.com):  http://blog.mysanantonio.com/spursnation/2015/12/21/while-the-shots-arent-falling-greens-focus-is-on-wins-and-playing-defense/

–  Mo Speights  (from Monte Poole,  csnbayarea):  http://www.csnbayarea.com/warriors/speights-minutes-being-eaten-ezeli-walton-feels-bad

–  Dwight Powell  (form Joshua Kloke,  sportsnet.ca):  http://www.sportsnet.ca/basketball/nba/traded-thrice-in-six-months-torontos-dwight-powell-seizes-opportunity-in-dallas/

–  Nikola Vucevic   (from John Denton,  magic.com):  http://www.nba.com/magic/news/vucevic-playing-terrific-confidence-recent-games

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Today’s Best NBA Reporting and Analysis

–  Taking in Game 1 From Oakland  (from Zach Lowe, Grantland.com):

Read and view it here:  http://grantland.com/the-triangle/the-dubs-have-it-taking-in-game-1-from-oakland/

 

 

 

–  LeBron James is on an island against the Warriors  (from Rodger Sherman,  sbnation):

Read it here:  http://www.sbnation.com/2015/6/5/8733511/lebron-james-cavaliers-warriors-island-nba-finals-2015

 

 

–  Warriors show how they intend to ‘stop’ LeBron  (from Ethan Sherwood Strauss, ESPN):

Read it here:  http://espn.go.com/blog/golden-state-warriors/post/_/id/677/warriors-show-how-they-intend-to-stop-lebron

 

 

 

Game One: Iguodala  (from James Spencer,  Sporting News):

Read it here:  http://www.sportingnews.com/nba/story/2015-06-05/andre-iguodala-lebron-james-defense-stopper-warriors-cavaliers-game-1-nba-finals

and here (from Scott Howard-Cooper,  NBA.com):  http://www.nba.com/2015/news/features/scott_howard_cooper/06/05/warriors-iguodala-game-1/index.html

 

 

 

–  Warriors 108, Cavs 100; Jason Lloyd’s 27 thoughts  (from ohio.com):

Read it here:  http://www.ohio.com/blogs/cleveland-cavaliers/cleveland-cavaliers-1.275356/warriors-108-cavs-100-jason-lloyd-s-27-thoughts-on-irving-s-knee-cavs-need-for-more-help-1.597646

 

 

 

– The Warriors waited 50 minutes to finally “go small”, and it was devastating for the Cavs  (from Tony Manfred, Business Insider):

Read it here:  http://www.businessinsider.com/warriors-small-ball-lineup-nba-finals-game-1-2015-6

 

 

 

–  LeBron James couldn’t get to rim against Warriors defense in Game 1  (from Dan Feldman,  NBC Sports):

Read and view it here:  http://probasketballtalk.nbcsports.com/2015/06/05/lebron-james-couldnt-get-to-rim-against-warriors-defense-in-game-1/

 

 

 

–  FILM STUDY: ONE-ON-ONE WITH LEBRON  (from John Schuhmann,  NBA.com):

Read and view it here:  http://hangtime.blogs.nba.com/2015/06/05/film-study-one-on-one-with-lebron/

 

 

 

–   Warriors defense focused on slowing players not named LeBron  (from Sam Amick,  USA Today):

Read it here:  http://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/nba/playoffs/2015/06/05/golden-state-warriors-stephen-curry-nba-finals/28523131/

 

 

 

Cavs passed as little as possible (from Dan Feldman, NBC Sports):

Read it here:  http://probasketballtalk.nbcsports.com/2015/06/05/cavaliers-intentionally-and-somewhat-successfully-passed-as-little-as-possible/

 

 

–  ASK SAM | SAM SMITH OPENS HIS MAILBAG  (from Bulls.com);

” Sam Smith of Bulls.com opens his Ask Sam mailbag and responds to the latest round of emails from his readers”

Read it here:  http://www.nba.com/bulls/news/ask-sam-sam-smith-opens-his-mailbag-6.5.2015

 

 

 

Warriors’ 1975 Title Team (a 3-part feature from John Cannon,  Bloguin.com):

Part I:   http://bloguin.com/crossoverchronicles/2015-articles/who-were-those-guys-a-look-back-at-the-1974-1975-warriors.html

Part II:  http://bloguin.com/crossoverchronicles/2015-articles/the-1975-western-conference-finals-where-the-magic-began.html

Part III:  http://bloguin.com/crossoverchronicles/2015-articles/the-1975-nba-finals-the-warriors-turn-the-nba-upside-down.html

 

 

 

New Pelicans Assistant Coach Darren Erman  (from Oleh, thebirdwrites.com):

Read it here: http://www.thebirdwrites.com/2015/6/2/8707455/darren-erman-pelicans-gentry-celtics-warriors-jackson

 

 

Adam Silver and the wide, wide range of owners  (from Kevin Arnovitz,  ESPN):

Read it here:  http://espn.go.com/blog/truehoop/post/_/id/73213/silver-and-the-wide-wide-range-of-owners

 

 

Additional Player Notes, Updates, Profiles:

 

Lou Williams:  http://www.raptorshq.com/2015/6/1/8687231/raptors-player-review-6-man-lou-williams

Playoff Update, Historical Box Score preservation

For CP3, critical errors worse than call (from Jeff Caplan, NBA.com):

” Game 5 will be remembered for the call, the officials’ curious explanation following the replay review and Los Angeles Clippers coach Doc Rivers‘ scorching rant of the entire surreal sequence. It will all be replayed and dissected on a continuous loop.

For Chris Paul, the call that didn’t go the Clippers’ way with 11.3 seconds left to another unfathomable finish in this heart-stopping Western Conference semifinal series, isn’t what will eat at him for hours on end; isn’t wasn’t what left him in a near-catatonic state in the postgame interview room.”

Read it here: http://hangtime.blogs.nba.com/2014/05/14/for-cp3-critical-errors-worse-than-call/

– Instant Oral History Of Clips-Thunder Game 5 (from J A Adande, ESPN):

This oral history includes “many candid and descriptive assessments of this meltdown/miracle”

Read it here: http://espn.go.com/nba/dailydime/_/page/dime-140513/okc-late-run-delivers-3-2-lead

– What went wrong for Chris Paul, Clippers on final possession of crushing Game 5 loss (from Rob Mahoney, Sports Illustrated):

Read and view it here: http://nba.si.com/2014/05/14/chris-paul-clippers-thunder-game-5-final-possession/

– Don’t change Russell Westbrook (from Tom Ziller, SBNation):

” “Let Westbrook be Westbrook” is all about a player using his physical and mental advantages to the fullest extent. Why would you have it any other way?”

Read it here: http://www.sbnation.com/nba/2014/5/14/5716488/russell-westbrook-aggression-thunder-vs-clippers-nba-playoffs-2014

– Marcin Gortat tore the Pacers apart (from Tyler Bischoff, Indycornrows.com):

” Marcin Gortat beat the Pacers all by himself, or at least he demoralized the top seed in the East. He dropped 31 points on a ridiculous 13 of 15 shooting. He likely would have outrebounded the Pacers if he had played the entire fourth quarter; he finished with 16, the Pacers had 23. ”

Read and view it here: http://www.indycornrows.com/2014/5/14/5715744/marcin-gortat-tore-the-indiana-pacers-apart

– The double screen set that got the Wizards going in Game 5 (from Umair Khan, bulletsforever.com):

” After a shaky start to the game, John Wall finally got loose and toasted the Indiana Pacers defense for 27 points on 11-20 shooting in just three quarters of work. We break down a key new set that helped the Wizards get him going.”

Read and view it here: http://www.bulletsforever.com/2014/5/14/5716012/wizards-double-screen-john-wall-pacers-nba-playoffs-2014

– Wizards GM Ernie Grunfeld Has Silenced Even His Harshest Critics (from Howard Beck, Bleacher Report):

Read it here: bleacherreport.com/articles/2062326-wizards-gm-ernie-grunfeld-has-silenced-even-his-harshest-critics

– LeBron outthinking and outscoring Nets (from Ira Winderman, Sun-Sentinel.com):

” (LeBron’s)  hegemony that transcends his 49-point performance in Monday’s 102-96 victory at Barclays Center.

While all playoff series are chess matches, with the Heat awaiting the latest adjustments from Jason Kidd and the Nets, the difference is that James is playing speed chess.”

Read it here: http://www.sun-sentinel.com/sports/miami-heat/fl-miami-heat-lebron-james-0514-20140513,0,5839361.story

– Blazers’ Game 4 Win More About the Future Than the Present (from Jim Cavan, Bleacher Report):

Read it here: http://bleacherreport.com/articles/2061713-portland-trail-blazers-game-4-win-more-about-the-future-than-the-present

Meet the Man Who Preserved Decades of NBA History (from Carl Bialik, fivethirtyeight.com):

” Dick Pfander has spent most of his life collecting and analyzing box scores from every NBA game since the league’s founding. He did most of his work in solitude, by hand, before the age of personal computers. And he did it simply for his own pleasure, surrounded by supportive family members who cared neither about basketball nor statistics, let alone their intersection.

Today, his analog hobby is paying digital dividends for stats-obsessed basketball fans. His work has helped fill gaps in the league’s statistical record for both its official website and the leading independent reference site. The project continues — but without Pfander.”

Read it here: http://fivethirtyeight.com/features/meet-the-man-who-preserved-decades-of-nba-history/

Jeff Hornacek, Mike Brown, Brian Shaw; 93-94 Houston Rockets

– Two NBA coaches prove nice guys don’t finish last (from Christopher Dempsey at Denver Post):

“Phoenix Suns coach Jeff Hornacek was holding court in an early-season pregame news conference at the US Airways Center when the subject of why on earth Gerald Green was playing so well came up.

Hornacek grinned.

The first-year coach said the coaching staff knew Green could shoot the ball, yet he had a tendency to take bad shots, which they discussed with him. He said the coaches were warned he could be questionable defensively but had some redeemable qualities such as his 6-foot-8 frame, which should help him out.

But more than anything, Hornacek approached playing Green without preconceptions. And the coach got it right. Seven seasons into an NBA career that was interrupted by a stint overseas when no team in the league wanted him, Green has been one of the NBA’s most improved players through the first month.

All it has taken is a love-you-up approach.

It is out-of-the-box coaching in a league in which old-school values die hard. But this one, this tear-a-player-down approach, should go away.”

Read it here: http://www.denverpost.com/nuggets/ci_24630616/dempsey-two-nba-coaches-prove-nice-guys-dont

– Rockets’ 15-0 start to 1993-94 season rooted in previous failures (from Jonathan Feigen at Houston Chronicle):

“In the beginning, the wins came quickly and easily, but few imagined how many the Rockets would string together.

It wasn’t until the Rockets edged the Suns and rallied from a 12-point, fourth-quarter deficit to defeat the Sixers that then Rockets coach Rudy Tomjanovich felt the need to point out, “You can’t win them all.”

By then, that had become open to debate.

The Rockets didn’t win every game that magical season, but they did win their first 15. Twenty years ago Monday, they left Madison Square Garden with a share of the record for consecutive wins to start a season (with the 1947-48 Washington Capitols) and a sign of things to come.

When the Rockets of the time – authors of the first major team sports championship in the city’s history – look back at the streak that launched their title run, they point not to the comebacks, not to the overtime win in Utah or even that night in New York when the Knicks pledged to stop them but, as with the Finals to come, fell short.

They instead look back to well before any of it had begun.

Many cite the playoff series the season before, when the Rockets lost Game 7 in overtime in Seattle, for fueling the fire they brought to the start of the season. Some point to the final regular-season game when they lost in San Antonio on a late (too late?) tip, costing them home-court advantage in the series against Seattle in which the home team won every game.

But Tomjanovich considered all that, along with the offseason acquisitions of Sam Cassell and Mario Elie, and said the transformation that came together so spectacularly at the start of the 1993-94 season began the year before.”

Read it here: http://www.houstonchronicle.com/sports/rockets/article/Rockets-15-0-start-to-1993-94-season-rooted-in-5025033.php?t=a5c3ccc702f992f472