Today’s Best NBA Reporting and Analysis 1/5/16

Offensive Rebounding/Transition Defense (from Zach Lowe,  ESPN):

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–  Bulls Getting Contributions Throughout Roster During Win Streak  (from KC Johnson, Chicago Tribune):

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–  LBJ on Lack of Playing Time for Some  (from Chris Fedor,

Read it here:

–  Can Heat Go From Good To Great?  (from Jeff Zilgitt,  USA Today):

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–  How the Clippers Are Doing It Without Blake Griffin;  Elfrid Payton Q & A  (from David Aldridge,

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–  Brandon Jennings Busts Loose, Hopes to Stay With Pistons  (from Vince Ellis, Detroit Free Press):

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–  This Season’s Most Improved Jump Shooters  (from Mika Honkasalo, Vantage Sports):

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–  Kings’ Assistant Vance Walberg on the Dribble Drive Motion Offense  (from Coach Nick, BBall Breakdown):

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–  The Wizards’ Injury Woes  (from Jorge Castillo,  Washington Post):

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–  Bucks’ Future Remains Bright  (from Ian Thomsen,

–  Rajon Rondo Q & A Re: Days with the Mavs  (from Tim McMahon,  ESPN):

 The Case for Flip Saunders as Executive of the Year  (from Britt Robson,

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–  Pelicans Still Working on Picking Up the Pace  (from Brett Dawson, The Advocate):

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–  Tyreke Evans Having Difficulty Adjusting to Gentry’s Offensive System  (from John Reid,

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–  Recapping Monday’s Games  (from SBNation):

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–  Where Are They Now:  Amnestied Players  (from Chuck Myron,  Hoops Rumors):

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And for those with access to ESPN insider:

–  What the Warriors are Teaching the Hornets (from Kevin Pelton):

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Additional Player Notes, Updates, Profiles:

–  Draymond Green  (from Sam Amick, USA Today):

–  DeMar DeRozan  (from Josh Lewenberg,

–  TJ Warren/Devin Booker/Alex Len  (from Jonathan Tjarks,  RealGM):

–  Jonathon Simmons  (from Tim McMahon,  Express-News):

–  DeMarre Carroll  (from Ryan Wolstat,  Toronto Sun):–and-likely-for-some-time

–  Ish Smith (from Jason Patt,  SBNation):

–  Montrezl Harrell  (from Jonathan Feigen,  Houston Chronicle):

–  John Wall  (from Abdullah Sharif,

–  Larry Nance, Jr  (from Harrison Faigen,

Today’s Best NBA Reporting and Analysis 12/13/15

  – The Warriors Finally Lose – and That’s Fine  (from Paul Flannery,  sbnation):

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Recapping Last Night’s Games  (from sbnation):

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–  Celtics 98,  Hornets  93  (from Jay King,

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How Brad Stevens Brought Defense to Boston  (from Brett Koremenos,  RealGM):

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–  Isaiah Thomas, Point Guard  (from wjsy,

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–  Can Grizzlies Find Their Fading Grind?  (from Geoff Calkins,

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–  Hornets: Offensive Rebounding vs. Transition Defense   (from Austin Peters,

Read and view it here:

 The Spurs Do So Many Things Well (from Brayden Neumayer,

Read it here:

–  Film Room: Inside the Nets’ 24-8 Run Against the Clippers  (from Justin Russo,

Read and view it here:

Additional Player Notes, Updates, Profiles:

Reggie Jackson  (forom Keith Langlois,

–  Karl-Anthony Towns   (from Scott Cacciola,  NYTimes):

Trying to Figure Out What’s Wrong With Danny Green  (from John Carr,

–  Why Julius Randle Has Struggled Recently  (from Harrison Faigen,

Kosta Koufos: Helping the Team Win by Doing the “Little Things”  (from Leo Beas,

 DeMarre Carroll:  Fish Out of Water in Raptors Offense  (from Gavin Macpherson,

–  Noah Vonleh  (from Cody Sharrett,

–  Dennis Schroder  (from Eric Yeboah, BBall Breakdown):

–  Raptors’  Caboclo is in a Good Place  (from Ryan Wolstat,  Toronto Sun):

–   Jazz Center Tibor Pleiss Maximizes His D-League Stint  (from Kurt Kragthorpe,  Salt Lake Tribune):

–  Mario Hezonja  (from Josh Robbins, Orlando Sentinel):  Magic rookie Mario Hezonja receives playing time at point guard


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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.”

Read it here:


–  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):


Read it here:


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 and Analysis

–   The Last Ride of the Spurs Dynasty: Appreciating San Antonio’s Final Hurrah   (from Zach Lowe,

” The Spurs should be the biggest story of the postseason as long as they’re kicking. There are other meaty issues: the Warriors’ quest to cap their historically dominant regular season; LeBron James, redeeming Cleveland and dunking Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving into the playoff baptismal pool; Derrick Rose’s desperate search for his MVP zip; the trumped-up battle over Chris Paul’s “legacy”; the Hawks, once the NBA’s most vanilla organization, soldiering through tabloid headlines and the possibility that police brutality ended Thabo Sefolosha’s season; and the Wizards’ and Raptors’ dual quest to play a passable professional basketball game.

But nothing tops what could be the last stand of the Spurs as we know them. Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili are 381 and 37, respectively, and both could retire — even though each is clearly capable of playing at a high level beyond this season. Six other rotation players are free agents, including Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green, perhaps the best two-way starting wing combination in the league. The Spurs are down 1-0, with Game 2 on the road against the strongest first-round opponent they’ve faced in the Tim Duncan era.

The Spurs could easily win this series,2 repeat as champions, and re-sign their aging stars to one- or two-year contracts. This could all be much ado about nothing. The franchise hasn’t faced this level of top-to-bottom uncertainty since Duncan dined with the Magic in 2000, and it’s hard to quash the feeling of preemptive nostalgia as you watch Duncan drain bank shots and nail every rotation while Ginobili dances steps he literally invented. Appreciate it all, because this really could be the last springtime run for one of the greatest core groups in the history of team sports.”

Read and view  it here:

(NOTE:  This story also includes Zach’s takes on a number of the other playoff series)




– Let’s Look at the Clippers’ Perfect Offensive Scheme  (from Sagar Panchal,

Read and view it here:




 Draymond Green:  Brow’s shadow steps into spotlight  (from Ethan Sherwood Strauss, ESPN):

” After the Golden State Warriors finally closed out the scrapping New Orleans Pelicans 97-87 in Game 2, Klay Thompson got the national TV interview. Draymond Green, whose defense was astounding on Monday night, talked for the local feed. It happened that way because that’s how we’ve always done things. If you scored the most points and your team won, you’re getting the biggest spotlight. It’s the formula because scoring a basket is obvious and preventing one is less obvious.

Though Thompson certainly deserves acclaim for a great shooting game, this particular space will mostly be reserved for crediting Green, fulcrum of a Golden State defense that held New Orleans to 37.8 percent shooting. Green’s overall defense on Monday night was brilliant, but most especially against Anthony Davis. Their battles echo those of the shorter Tony Allen throwing everything atKevin Durant — the undersized grinder going up against young Goliath.

In theory, this should have been too large a task for Green, who’s the size of a wing player. “It’s tough, man,” he said after the game. “Most guys I give up length to who I guard, most them aren’t as quick as me though.”

Read  it here:




–  Draymond Green, Warriors’ bench fuel Game 2 win against pesky Pelicans (from Phil Taylor,  Sports Illustrated):

”  The Warrior reserves were missing in action in Game 1, but they re-emerged on Monday night at the best possible time for Golden State. The Warriors trailed 28-17 after the first quarter and were badly in need of a boost. Leandro Barbosa came off the bench to score eight points on an assortment of drives and jumpers, Marreese Speightsdrilled a couple of mid-range shots and Andre Iguodala made a corner three after some crisp ball movement.

Boost provided.

“Nobody will write it, nobody will talk about it, but the bench won us the game,” Green said. “When they left the game we were still down seven, but they changed the complete pace and tempo of the game. We were getting punched and getting punched and getting punched, and then the second unit came out and threw a punch.”’

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–  This is why you pay Draymond Green his money (from Tom Ziller, SBNation):

” In the context of the Warriors, Draymond Green is a virtuoso. There is absolutely no reason for Golden State to abandon the relationship.”

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–  The Other Guy: Klay Thompson on His Sensational Season  (from Kirk Goldsberry,

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–  Nets look to get Brook Lopez going  (from Mike Mazzeo,  ESPN):

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–  How the Atlanta Hawks (and Lionel Hollins) Limited Brook Lopez in Game 1  (from Paul Mitchell,

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–  Film Study: The Nets ability to stop the Hawks 3-point assault  (from  Reed Wallach,

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–  How Can the Celtics Slow Down Kyrie Irving?  (from Jordan Greer,

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–  Kyrie Was Hot but Celtics’  TO% and Cavs’  OReb Pursuit Rate Are More Telling  (from Kevin O’Connor,  Vantage Sports):

” “The turnovers kill you. The offensive rebounds kill you,” (Celtics’ Coach Brad) Stevens said. “The superhuman shots do not.”

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–  Video Review: How the Rockets ran the ball down the Mavericks’ throat  (from Matt Moore,  CBS Sports):

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–  Digging deeper into James Harden’s Game 1  (from Jake Garcia,

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Rockets-Mavs:  WHAT TO WATCH FOR: GAME 2 (from Bobby Karalla,

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–  How the Mavericks can fix the problem of Dirk Nowitzki’s defense  (from Josh Bowe,

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–  Dwight Howard plans to stop using ‘weight-room muscles’ against Mavericks in Game 2  (from Eddie Sefko,

Read it here:




Butler’s Efficient Scoring Helped by Bulls’ Assist Rate as Bucks Fail to Keep Pace  (from Bob macKinnon, Vantage Sports):

Read and view it here:–bulls-4-20-15-game-2-the-butler-did-it-on-his-way-to-a-playoff-career-high-31-points-by-nailing-1.35-points-per-shot.




– Bucks offense stagnates with lack of passing in Game 2 loss  (from Mark Strotman,

Read it here:




George Karl on the playoffs (from Bill Herenda,

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–  Player development a Scott Brooks strength  (from Berry Tramel,

” (A) criticism I’ve heard about Brooks is measureable. And quite absurd. The idea that Brooks doesn’t develop players.

What can anyone possibly be talking about? Player development has been a Thunder mantra since the franchise hit town, and it’s not just talk. The Thunder develops players wonderfully, and coaching has to be a major part of that. Let’s go down the list:”

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–   With Enes Kanter, the Thunder plugged one hole but opened another  (from Berry Tramel,

” Kanter could score. but his defense was atrocious”

Read it here: http://new




–  A year of familiarity figures to get Pistons closer to top-10 D standing SVG craves  (from Keith Langlois,

Read it here:



Additional Player Notes, Updates, Profiles:



Paul Millsap:


James Johnson:


James Harden:


Jimmy Butler:


Mike Conley:


Terrence Ross:


Robin Lopez:


Clint Capela:


Jordan Adams:


Elfrid Payton;


Isaiah Canaan:


Nik Stauskas:


Tyler Johnson:


Furkan Aldemir:


Ish Smith:

Today’s Top NBA Stories

– Suns’  Isaiah Thomas just knows how to navigate (from Paul Coro,

” Suns point guard Isaiah Thomas might be the smallest guy on the court but he draws fouls with a combination of lightning speed and a big man’s physical nature.

Entering Friday night’s game, Thomas was averaging 11.1 free throws per 48 minutes. Only six players in the league shot free throws more often, including Sacramento’s DeMarcus Cousins and Houston’s Dwight Howard.

“It’s a skill,” Thomas said. “I just have always had that knack for drawing fouls. When I see my teams heading in the bonus, I just try to be a little more aggressive than usual and try to make something happen and put it on the refs. I think it’s a talent that you have and you can’t really teach it.”

Most players are unaware of team foul situations but Thomas is the one urging teammates to be more aggressive once an opponent hits four team fouls. The ability to play catch-up with the clock stopped can be crucial.”

Read it here:


– Blazers’ Terry Stotts continues to push right buttons (from Joe Freeman,

” There will be a lot of talk about the rugged, ruthless play of Robin Lopez, about yet another relentless fourth-quarter comeback, about a gutsy performance from an under-the-weather LaMarcus Aldridge.

But there was more than that, and more than merely another Trail Blazers Houdini act, Monday night at the Moda Center, as the Blazers overcame a 15-point fourth-quarter deficit to defeat the New Orleans Pelicans 102-93 before a sellout crowd of 19,441.

Monday night was the latest superbly managed game by coach Terry Stotts, who has pushed all the right buttons at all the right times as the Blazers have navigated the absence of starting small forward Nicolas Batum and — for one game — Aldridge.

“He’s had great success getting the right guys on the floor — the right mix of guys — and making sure our chemistry’s at its best,” Lopez said of Stotts.”

Read it here:


– Brett Brown on Spurs’ title, Bowen’s work ethic, Popovich’s approach (from Paul Garcia,

Read it here:


– Chris Paul and the NBA’s Broken Narrative (from Zach Lowe,

” Some narratives are…frankly, dumb. The word “narrative” can act as a synonym for “line of thought that exists somewhere in the world, and is demonstrably false.” We use an awful lot of brain space addressing and rebutting “narratives” that probably don’t merit all that much attention, save for the fact that they bring clicks. The “LeBron isn’t clutch” narrative after the 2011 Finals was ridiculous, given his past buzzer-beaters, overtime baskets, insane streaks of consecutive points, and other playoff heroics.

What will it mean if the Clippers bow out early again this year? How will it affect Paul’s legacy?

Maybe these aren’t the right questions. They’re interesting, and inflammatory, but they also skimp on the work in a rush toward some false generalization. Maybe the answer would just be, “Chris Paul is awesome, and he played fantastically, but another great Western Conference team was just a bit better over a full series.” Such a failure could mean many things, only some of which would have do with Paul. Perhaps it might be some indication that it is difficult to win the whole thing with a point guard alpha dog.

Paul is objectively one of the 10 greatest point guards ever, a rare combination of historic passing, very good shooting, slicing attacks toward the rim, and elite defense at his position. He has no weaknesses, save perhaps his height, which can make it hard for him at times to see over the defenses and throw the cross-court passes that LeBron tosses with such ease.

The game provides truth. When you have truth, you don’t need narratives — including the one that says a player is somehow flawed until he wins a championship.”


Read it here:


– Doc Rivers:  Our Trust Was Broken Offensively (from Rowan Kavner,

” The word “trust” pervaded the Clippers’ locker room following Monday’s loss to a Bulls team without its two stars.

The only problem is head coach Doc Rivers, guards Chris Paul and Jamal Crawford and forward Blake Griffin all mentioned it because of a lack of its consistent presence on the court, which they believe played an integral role in Monday’s loss.

“They trusted their offense,” Rivers said. “We took them out of a lot of stuff and they just kept playing, and I thought our trust was broken today offensively. I thought we all tried to do it individually, and that’s the old way we played, where there’s no ball movement, ball’s in one spot.

“I think it’s very hard to win a game against a good defensive team that way. That proved out tonight.”

Read it here:


– Doc the Coach, Doc the Exec (from Fred Katz, Bleacher Report):

” There are two people to evaluate when looking at Rivers, two guys who are professionally different even if they do share the same body: Doc the Coach and Doc the Exec.

Doc the Coach has a resume which speaks for itself: a championship, two Finals appearances and a .564 career winning percentage along with universal respect around the league to complement his ultra-likable personality. But Doc the Exec—that guy has a different set of credentials.

Even if you ignore last year’s mostly ineffective midseason veteran signings of Hedo Turkoglu, Glen Davis, Stephen Jackson and Danny Granger, there’s more to criticize.”

Read it here:


– Injuries no reason to count out Thibs’ Bulls (from Nick Friedell, ESPN):


” Tom Thibodeau doesn’t believe in excuses, just effort. He doesn’t believe in moral victories, just hard-fought wins.

The beauty of Thibodeau’s mindset, the one he has drilled into his Chicago Bulls over the past five seasons, is that they never step on the floor believing they can’t win. No matter who he has, Thibodeau believes he can coach his players to victory.

That was the case again on Monday night in the Bulls’ impressive 105-89 victory over the Los Angeles Clippers. Playing without Derrick Rose (strained hamstring) and Pau Gasol (strained left calf), the Bulls pulled out their most impressive victory of the season with the type of balanced attack that had become the norm for them over the past two seasons without Rose. ”

Read it here:


– The Clippers don’t look anything like championship contenders (from Jason Patt,

Read it here:


– DeMarcus Cousins: When a Miss Becomes a Rebound Becomes a Make (from Kirk Goldsberry,


” The act of missing a shot, grabbing your own rebound, and putting it back for two points — we shall call it the “Boogie Board.”

Last year, NBA shooters missed 111,331 shots, but those errant shooters rebounded only 5 percent of their misses. While self-rebounds are generally rare, they’re more common in Sacramento; Cousins is the top self-rebounder in the league. Last year, he recovered 13 percent (78 total) of his misses and also converted those self-rebounds into more points than anybody else. In other words, Boogie led the NBA in Boogie Boards.

Cousins is right back at it again this season, which increasingly looks like it’s going to be his breakout year. As of Monday morning, 97 players had missed at least 50 shots, and Cousins led all of them in self-rebounding rate, collecting 16 percent of his own misses. He has also jumped out to an early-season lead in both total self-rebounds (13) and Boogie Boards (5). It’s safe to say that Cousins doesn’t sulk after he misses a shot; he busts his tail trying to recover his losses.

This kind of behavior not only benefits the Kings, it’s also a nightmare to defend.”

Read and view it here:


– Utah Rebuilding Plan (from Jonathan Tjarks,

” The Utah Jazz are only 4-7 this season, but they have one of the most talented young teams in the NBA. They have had a pretty stacked schedule – four home games (all against good teams) and seven road ones. They just finished a five game in seven day swing through the East Coast, with 2 of the 3 losses coming on the second night of a road back-to-back. The record will come around and the future is bright in Utah.

Getting to this point, though, took a whole lot of work and patience. Let’s take a look at how the Jazz built this team”

Read it here:


– Rough start puts OKC culture to the test (from Royce Young, ESPN):

“Everybody is counting us out every game, but we’re there every single night. We’re playing competitive basketball,” Durant told “As a teammate, I couldn’t be more proud to be on this team and a part of this organization. We’re showing our true colors as a whole. I’m excited to be a part of something so special.”

Read it here:


– Steve Nash’s Possible Retirement: An Exploration Of Financial Ramifications (from Mark Deeks, Bball Breakdown):

Read it here:


 More player updates:

– Draymond Green:

– Darrell Arthur:

– Tyler Zeller:   and

– Omri Casspi:

– Brady Heslip:

– James Johnson:

– Lou Williams: