Today’s Best NBA Reporting And Analysis 3/10/16

–  Hawks Quietly Becoming Dangerous  (from Zach Harper, CBS Sports):
–  How Brad Stevens Draws Up Winning After Time Out Plays  (from Chris Forsberg,  ESPN):
–  Hornets Are Committed To Three Point Shots,  And To Accepting The Consequences  (from Rick Bonnell, Charlotte Observer):
–  Coach Carlisle Working Hard On Mavs’ Transition Defense  (from Dwain Price,
–  Careless Offense Hurts Warriors’ Defense  (from Monte Poole,  csnbayarea):
–  Michael Malone On Nikola Jokic’s Passing  (from Nate Timmons,
Film Room: Magic’s Strengths And Struggles  (from Josh Cohen,
–  How Hassan Whiteside Is Saving Heat’s Season  (from Zach Buckley,  Bleacher Report):
–  How Steph Curry Is Inspiring Young Players Across The NBA  (from Michael Pina Bleacher Report):
–  Warriors 115, Jazz 94  (from Monte Poole,
–  5 Must-See Momenst In Dubs’ Win Over Jazz  (from Ananth Mandian,  CBS Sports):
Recapping Wednesday’s Games  (from SBNation):

–  The Genius Of Dirk Nowitzki  (from Rob Mahoney,  Sports Illustrated):

Read it here:

–  Sidelined: How NBA Coaches Deal With Pain And Injuries  (from DeAntae Price,  Sports Illustrated):
Jerry Colangelo Touts Analytics As He Contemplates Rio Olympics Roster  (from Ben Golliver,  Sports Illustrated)
Additional Player Notes, Updates, Profiles:
Myles Turner  (from Karl Monteith,
–  Devin Booker  (from Sean Sullivan,
–  Norman Powell (from Mike Ganter,  Toronto Sun):
–  Damian Lillard (from Erik Gundersen,  The Columbian):
–  Jonas Valanciunas/Bismack Biyombo  (from Josh Lewenberg,

–  Tony Allen  (from Jared Weiss,  Celtics Blog):

–  Bobby Portis  (from Yaron Weitzman,  SBNation):
Kristaps Porzingis/Jerian Grant  (from Joe Flunn, Posting And Toasting):
–  Joel Freeland (from Mark Woods,

–  Kris Dunn  (from Jason King,  Bleacher Report):


Today’s Best NBA Reporting and Analysis

–  Clippers and the Quest for Versatility  (from Justin Russo,

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–  With DeAndre Jordan back, Clippers must now learn to thrive without him  (from J.A. Adande,  ESPN):

” Here’s a quick guide to make sure you’re up to speed with the Los Angeles Clippers.

Out: rehashing the saga of how the Clippers retained DeAndre Jordan this summer.

In: talking about how the Clippers will fare without him this season.

Sure, the Clippers are counting on an even better version of Jordan than the one who was plus-11.8 per 100 possessions while on the court last season. But they’re also excited to see the options their improved depth and more versatile roster can provide when Jordan comes out of the game. In other words, they went to great lengths to keep their center while acknowledging the diminished importance of centers in today’s NBA.

“I do like the fact that we can stay big when we want to and we can stay small when we want to,” Doc Rivers said. “Staying small when we wanted to, we haven’t had that luxury since I’ve been here, and now we do.””

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–  Jahlil Okafor, Nerlens Noel: Can Brett Brown make it work? (form John Finger,

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–   Isaiah Thomas studied Steve Nash this summer (from Tom Westerholm,

” While he’s probably the best scorer on the team, a big part of his effectiveness lies in his role off the bench — Thomas dominates opposing second units, who can’t answer for his quickness and ability to score off the dribble in a variety of ways.

Thomas said he worked on expanding that variety this offseason.

“I worked on extending my range,” he said on Friday. “Trying to be able to shoot from wherever on the basketball court. Also, I watched Steve Nash film, trying to figure out different ways to finish not just around the rim, but extending to the 3-point line.”

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–   For Better or Worse, These Knicks Belong to Phil Jackson  (from Scott Cacciola, New York Times):

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–  Celtics expect Lee, Johnson to provide necessary leadership  (from Ian Thomsen,

Read it here:


Cavs:  all key players are returning  (form Terry Pluto,

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–  Nets’ Frontcourt Rotation (from Anthony Puccio,

Read it here:


–   SVG Part V: Until Jennings’ return, Jackson and a mixed cast will bear brunt of carrying Pistons offense  (from Keith Langlois,

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–   The Timberwolves’ season of uncertainty  (from Britt Robson,

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–   Training Camp Protocol  (from Charley Rosen,

”  (L)et’s take a look at the itineraries and goals that normally are in play from now until the preseason games begin.

” Once the season kicks off, practice sessions will be few and far between, so the next 7-10 days are extremely valuable. So critical that each practice session is planned to the minute with schedules often printed and distributed to the players beforehand.

While the specifics vary from team to team, every ball club hopes to reach several common goals during this period.”

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–  The four injury risks today’s young players face  (from Baxter Holmes, ESPN):

” Many (health professionals in and out of the Association) say the injuries are indicative of four key issues players face in today’s NBA: poorer sleep, in part because of technology; weaker bones, in part because of low calcium and high sugar intake; an uptick in wear and tear, thanks largely to players specializing in basketball at a young age; and weaker muscles, as a result of shucking traditional weight training for more en-vogue methods.”

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–  Jrue Holiday’s camp is determined to overcome his bad history with lower leg stress injuries  (from Oleh,

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–  “Playing Up” and Rebounding: Adjustments faced by a player moving from small forward to power forward (from Seth Partnow,  Nylon Calculus):

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Nets’  Off-Season Report  (from netincome, nets

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–   Lauren Holtkamp preps for her second season as NBA ref  (from Christian Red, NYDailyNews):

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–   NBA Player Stats: Top 6 Players – Passing  (from Tamberlyn Richardson,

Read it here:

(Note: This is Part 3 of a 9-part series)


Additional Player Notes, Updates, Profiles:


BBall Breakdown Player rankings:  DeMarcus Cousins, No. 9  (from Bryan Toporek):


–  Festus Ezeli Has Battled His Way into Golden State’s Future  (from Zach Buckley,  Bleacher Report):


–  Jared Sullinger  (from A Sherrod Blakely,


David Lee brings unselfish attitude to the Celtics  (from A. Sherrod Blakely,


–  Anderson Varejao Bounces Back from Last Year’s Injury  (from Joe Gabriele,


–  Pistons’ Granger (knee) to miss start of training camp  (from Vince Ellis, Detroit Free Press):


QOTD (from Steve Kerr on the Warriors adding Steve Nash as a player development consultant):  ” “I think Steve is the most innovative athlete I’ve ever seen, when it comes to pursuing greatness – whether it’s conditioning, basketball drills, whatever,” Kerr said. “He’s got an amazing feel for the game and an amazing mind. Steve was the most efficient player I’ve ever been around, and my hope is that he can make our guys more efficient.””

Today’s Best NBA Reporting and Analysis

–  Making sense of the Rockets  (from Paul Flannery,  sbnation):

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–  Josh Smith’s assists propelled Rockets in Game 2, and it was no fluke  (from Seth Partnow, Washington Post):

” In the second half of Game 2 of the Houston Rockets-Dallas Mavericks series Tuesday night, Josh Smith simply took over for Houston. Over 20 minutes of action after the break, he had 13 points, six rebounds and nine assists, most of them spectacular.

” While Smith has mostly gotten press over the last few seasons for his dire three-point shooting, that weakness has often obscured the fact that he remains a wonderfully talented player with basically every skill (aside from a reliable jump shot) one could ask for. His passing has long been particularly overlooked.

Smith wasn’t just collecting assists Tuesday night by throwing the ball to teammates making mid-range jumpers, either.”

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More of Josh’s passing can be seen here:



–  Rondo rides pine as end nears for Dallas  (from Tim McMahon, ESPN):

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–   Is Dirk Nowitzki a Victim or Part of Dallas Mavericks’ Playoff Problem?  (from Vitas Lasaitis, Bleacher report):

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Draymond Green Q & A (from Marcus Thompson II,

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–  Bench Squad Helps Keep Warriors Afloat in Game 2  (from Carlos Murillo,

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– Curry benefits from Jackson-to-Kerr transition (from Tim Kawakami, San Jose Mercury news):

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Assistant Coach Alvin Gentry reflects on Warriors’ diabolical run  (from Ben Golliver, Sports Illustrated):

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–  Cavaliers’ Defense a Concern Before NBA Playoffs Get Tougher  (from Greg Swartz, Bleacher Report):

”  Despite taking a 2-0 lead over the Boston Celtics in their opening-round series, the Cleveland Cavaliers have appeared less than dominant.

While the offense has looked unstoppable at times given the Cavs’ personnel and unselfishness, the defense may be their Achilles’ heel. Boston has remained close in both losses, thanks to their ability to move the ball, dribble-penetrate and get to the free-throw line.

The Celtics put up 100 points against the Cavaliers on Sunday, April 19 before slipping to 91 in Game 2 on Tuesday. Only once in two games could Cleveland’s lead truly be considered comfortable, as Boston’s sixth man and leading scorer, Isaiah Thomas, has proven difficult to contain.

(W)hat happens later in the playoffs where the competition only gets better? Offensively, Cleveland is championship-worthy. When it comes down to digging in on D, however, should the Cavaliers be worried?”

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–  Celtics Building Exciting Future After Surprise 2014-15  (from Grant Rindner, Bleacher Report):

” The most exciting thing about the Celtics going forward is easily their nucleus of talent. While lacking a clear superstar, the pieces have jelled remarkably and make up a deep, well-rounded unit.

Boston’s top players like Marcus Smart, Jared Sullinger, Kelly Olynyk, Jae Crowder and Tyler Zeller are all 25 years old or younger. Evan Turner and Isaiah Thomas qualify as elder statesmen at age 26, and Brandon Bass is a geezer at 29. Per RealGM, Boston’s average player age of 25 is notably lower than the league average of 26.8.

The C’s have had huge success acquiring marginal rotation players like Crowder and Zeller, then turning them into key pieces, and they should continue to grow and blossom in those roles. Pretty much all of the young players have yet to reach their ceilings, and many of them still have very clear areas they could improve in. ”

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“ I’m encouraged by our defense today,” Stevens said after his C’s held the Cavs to 24.1 percent shooting from 3. “I thought our offense wasn’t quite as good. They played good defense on their end. I also think we were in a three-possession game and we shot 38 percent, so it’s not bad. And you hold them to 99, you feel pretty good about your chances if you even make a few of those, knock a few of those in.”

The Celtics simply lack the firepower to accomplish what they must in order to make this a series. Winning four of five games against James and Kyrie Irving is an impossible task, and yet the Tao of Stevens maintains if the C’s win the next one, they will give themselves a chance, because they should be even better in Game 4.

“We have another game to play; we have another game to prepare for,” said Stevens. “We have to prepare to the best of our ability. We’ve been of a collective mindset of the only day that matters is today, and you move on to what’s next. I know that gets really old to hear, but I think it’s the only way to live — and certainly the only way to live in this business. And it allows you to keep your focus on the task at hand.”

In theory, that’s as practical as it comes. In practice, it’s not so easy to keep your players focused when you lose at home to the Knicks, fall to 7-14 and trade Rajon Rondo in mid-December. Even harder when you lose 11-of-14 during a January stretch in which Rondo embarrasses you in Boston and you deal Jeff Green before facing a six-game road trip out West, where you hadn’t won during your tenure.

Somewhere along the line, though, the Even Stevens approach rubbed off on the players who remained, whether by brainwashing or blind faith in the philosophy. Individually, everyone from Evan Turner to Jonas Jerebko improved under Stevens, and collectively the wins started coming in waves — 3-of-4 out West, 4-of-5 before the All-Star break, 7-of-8 to start March and 9-of-10 to finish the regular season.”

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– Wizards are baffling the Raptors by playing lineups they barely used in the regular season  (from  Scott Davis,

” The Wizards have started using small-ball lineups, spreading the floor with four shooters surrounding one big man. It’s a staple of almost all modern NBA offenses, but something the Wizards were reluctant to use throughout the season when they finished 19th in offensive efficiency.

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John Wall, Bradley Beal lead Washington to 2-0 series lead  (from Mike Prada, SBNation):

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–  Highlights from John Wall, Bradley Beal and Otto Porter’s big Game 2 performances  (from Jake Whitacre,

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–  Otto Porter flashed his entire skill-set in game 2 vs. Raptors  (from Umair Khan,

” For as long as Otto Porter continues to develop, there will always be two prevailing thoughts surrounding him. There’s his supporters, the one’s that look past his physical limitations and into the subtleties of his game — his ability to position himself well or make the right rotation — which leads them to believe he can become a key cog as part of a much larger team structure.

And then there’s the rebuttal. The fact that he’s just 198 pounds and that he’s incapable of holding his ground against stronger wing players. He’s fundamentally sound, sure, but he’s also slow-footed and prone to getting beat off the dribble. Smart teams can negate a lot of what he does defensively by posting him up, or they can simply involve him in an endless amount of high pick and rolls and force him to fight over every bone-crushing screen.

To be clear, neither side is wrong, but game two in Toronto went a long way in erasing some of these doubts.”

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–  Injuries taking heavy toll on Raptors’ Lowry  (from Brian Windhorst,  ESPN):

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–  Can DeAndre Jordan do ‘it’ again in Game 2?  (from trisity Miller,

” For the fourth time, adding to three previous losses that occurred in the regular season, the San Antonio Spurs shot 36 percent from the field. All of it wasn’t due to Jordan’s defense in the paint — the team missed numerous open shots, a trend unlikely to continue if presented similar shots — but when the Spurs players did decide the paint is where they wanted to add points, Jordan was there to greet them.

Given the inconsistencies that Jordan has dealt with over the years as a defender, this is a stride we’ve wanted to see from the player who many believe could and should be the Defensive Player of the Year. But with Game 1 behind him, can the big man offer an encore as his Clippers look to go up 2-0 over the defending champion San Antonio Spurs in Game 2?”

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–  Chris Paul Sustains The Volatile Clippers  (from jesse Blanchard,  Bball Breakdown):

” If the Clippers are a hurricane, and Griffin and Jordan are the powerful wind gusts wreaking havoc, bludgeoning structures into submission and sending basketballs five rows into the stands, then Chris Paul is the eye of the storm.

Paul had 32 points, seven rebounds, and six assists with almost every possession firmly in his control. He’s sometimes overlooked as the basketball world gushes over the newest generation of point guards; there are more athletically dominant players (Russell Westbrook), superior shooters/scorers (Stephen Curry) and perhaps a better handle (Kyrie Irving). But no one has better balance than Paul; no one is a bigger threat to do more things from all positions on the court.

“His balance is just incredible to me, all the different body positions he’s in and the way he handles the ball,” Popovich once said of Paul. “Whatever he does, spinning, moving, cutting, faking, he’s on balance to pull up and shoot or deliver a pass.”

It’s amazing to watch Paul work, shifting gears seamlessly. At times there almost a small hop to his step as he probes the defense off the dribble; both his feet hitting the floor at the same time, ready to give a burst in any direction, making his pull-up jumper off the pick-and-roll perhaps the deadliest in the game.

It was Paul who got the Clippers their first lead with a three-pointer and Paul who carries his team between the momentum shifts. It’s Paul the Spurs will have to find an answer for.”

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Nets need to control the perimeter in Game 2 against Hawks  (from Josh Planos,  Washington Post):

” Atlanta’s offense is less a system of ebbs and flows as it is the professionalized version of hot potato. Like his mentor Gregg Popovich, Hawks Coach Mike Budenholzer — who was named the 2014-15 coach of the year on Tuesday — expounds on the merit of spacing, movement and rapid-fire passing until opponents collapse, dazed and confused, wondering where the ball has gone. No one on the team is allowed the hold the ball for more than two seconds, and trying to slow Atlanta’s offensive rhythm is analogous to a measly TIE Fighter attempting to keep up with the Millennium Falcon.”

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” So, how do you like me now?

Well, that’s not exactly how Derrick Rose phrased it after Bulls practice Tuesday following the Bulls going ahead 2-0 in the first round playoff series with the Milwaukee Bucks.

“It’s all about the team,” Rose told reporters of his favored philosophy. “I could care less about myself and how I’m performing. As long as we get the win, as long as everybody is playing well and we get the victory, that’s the only thing we care about. (We) started off kind of sluggish in the first half (ahead 39-38), but you’ve got to find ways to win in the playoffs. That’s the great thing about it.

“I could have gone 0-for-35, 40,” added Rose. “As long as we get the win I could care less about the way I shot. We won. A lot of people picked up the slack with Jimmy (Butler) and Pau (Gasol) and everybody else making hustles plays.””

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–  Jalen Rose/ PJ Carlesimo Q & A (from Mark Woods,

” Jalen Rose and PJ Carlesimo give their take on the NBA Playoffs so far”

Read it here:




–  Jazz GM Dennis Lindsey’s bold moves proved right (from Doug Robinson,

Read it here:




Additional Player Notes, Updates, Profiles:


Otto Porter:


Chandler Parsons:


Rajon Rondo:


Brandan Wright:


Dario Saric:


Eric Moreland:


Tim Frazier:


Anthony Bennett:


Jerami Grant:

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,

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 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,

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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,

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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”

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–  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 Best NBA reporting and Analysis

– On brink of playoffs, Stevens’ approach not changing  (from A. Sherrod Blakely ,

” One of the many attributes Brad Stevens has shown throughout his time in Boston is patience.

Patience with players, with losing games, with the entire Celtics rebuilding process that has left him with some pretty unfavorable hands to play with if in fact you’re trying to win games.

That’s why Stevens shows no signs of being antsy now that Boston is a mere win away – or a loss by Indiana or Brooklyn – from securing a playoff berth.

When asked what his next steps would be if the team clinched a playoff berth on Sunday, Stevens said, “Toronto walk-through at 11 a.m. on Tuesday. Nothing changes at all.”

“He’s just laid back, you try to feed off of him as much as possible but he’s so even-keeled, you can’t really read his mind,” said Boston’s Isaiah Thomas. “He’s just always about staying in the moment, no matter what it is, good or bad, stay in the moment, don’t think about the future or the past, have a short memory. That’s one thing Coach is very, very positive with.”

And it is that positivity that this team tends to feed off of, seemingly giving them the kind of strength to withstand the ups and downs that come about during a season when change has been inevitable.

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–  Trail Blazers’ offense leads to defensive woes  (from David MacKay,

” (A)  lot of the bad offense comes from a self-perpetuating problem with the Trail Blazers’ approach to regaining momentum. Often, when they face a growing deficit or a shrinking buffer, they substitute high percentage shots for the first shot (generally a three) they can get—very much like a gambler who hopes to regain his/her lost money as quickly as possible by betting against the odds.

Sometimes this strategy works well (the Trail Blazers are loaded with 3-point shooters after all), which is where they get that reputation for never being out of a game. Other times, taking contested shots early in the shot clock just shortens fruitless possessions and results in a lot of extra running and time spent on the defensive end.

This breakdown is especially glaring right now without their primary hustle defenders.Wesley Matthews (Achilles) is the best individual defender on the team- hands down- and Arron Afflalo (Shoulder) is the best at fighting through screens in Terry Stotts’ pick and roll defense. Neither is available at this time, which means that Portland’s first line of defense is Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum.

The already sieve-like duo of Lillard and McCollum is weakened further by the energy they must expend as scorers in a rushed offense. It is not sustainable for them to force shots on one end then sprint back on defense; specifically since the Trail Blazers don’t hedge the P&R, leaving Lillard and McCollum out of gas to go over screens. This enervating cycle creates lapses that make everyone else have to work harder too.”

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How James Harden Does It  (from Andrew Keh, NYTimes):

“Getting fouled is definitely an art, and he’s very good at it,” Rockets Coach Kevin McHale said, adding that Harden’s body awareness allowed him to initiate contact that works in his favor.

“You either know how to draw fouls or don’t, and I’m not sure you can teach it,” McHale added. “It may be innate.”

Whether or not Harden seeks to get fouled, then, may not be much of a debate at all, and the discord around the subject may simply stem from semantics and questions over the level of intent he brings to such plays. Foul calls are forever a touchy subject among basketball professionals, and Harden’s initial impulse to push back against the notion may come from a hesitance to be viewed as someone who seeks to deceive referees.

On the other hand, Harden had no problem with characterizations of his foul-drawing abilities as crafty or instinctive.”

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–  With Kawhi Leonard, The Spurs Are In The Surest Possible Hands  (from Jesse Blanchard,  BBall Breakdown):

” Kawhi Leonard still isn’t a traditional star. His per game season averages don’t scream off the page, and the man himself rarely speaks above a whisper. But over the course of the Spurs’ annual late season surge, Leonard is making noise as one of the 10 or 15 best players in the world.

This week the Spurs faced a murderer’s row of MVP candidates, coming away with resounding victories over the Golden State Warriors. Leonard still doesn’t have the same nightly explosive scoring potential of Stephen Curry, Russell Westbrook or James Harden, but his burgeoning offense and ability to strangle those players’ efficiency left Leonard the best player on the court for each of those contents.”

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More on Kawhi:




Coaching the Warriors (from Chris L,

Raed it here:




–  Cavs GM David Griffin gets high praise for vital moves  (from Jeff Zilgitt,  USA Today):

Read it here:




–  George Karl On Melvin Hunt: He Just Needs The Opportunity  (from

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– Studying the League’s Best Passing Big Men  (from Aaron Fischman, Vantage Sports):

” Look around the league. You’ll notice a skilled big man is not so rare of a commodity. Passing is a particular area in which more than a handful of the NBA’s big men excel, so let’s probe deeper.”

Read and view it here:




Monday Morning Tip  (from David Aldridge,

Nerlens Noel,  Kyle Korver Q & A, DA’s Award Picks and more

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Additional Player Notes, Updates, Profiles:



Patrick Patterson:


Tristan Thompson:


Isaiah Thomas:


Derrick Rose:


= Steph Curry:


James Harden:


Hollis Thompson:


Damian Lillard: