Today’s Best NBA Reporting and Analysis

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

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–   Trail Blazers’ defense  (from Joe Freeman,

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

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

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

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

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

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–  Warriors’ Interim Coach Luke Walton attempts to maintain normalcy  (form Scott Howard-Cooper,

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

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–  The Celtics are making art (from wjsy,

” 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.”

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

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

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

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Additional Player Notes, Updates, Profiles:


–  How Dirk Nowitzki fires on all cylinders  (from Tim McMahon,  ESPN):


–  Griz counting on Brandan Wright (from Ronald Tillery, Commercial Appeal):


–  Emmanuel Mudiay will be a turnover machine, and it’s no big deal  (form Zach harper,  CBS Sports):


–   Wolves’ Dieng expanding his range with corner three  (from Jerry Zgoda,


 Suns’ Sonny Weems fast in transition  (from Paul Coro,

–  JJ Redick Q & A (from Kenny Ducey, Sports Illustrated):


–  Mike Scott’s ball-handling development  (from Chris Vivlamore,


–  Hassan Whiteside’s return gives Heat a tantalizing taste of what could be  (from Ethan Skolnick,  Miami Herald):


–  Jordan Clarkson And Julius Randle  (from Jabari A. Davis,  Lakers Nation):


–  Kelly Oubre has plenty to learn, but his chance may come early (from Jorge Castillo, Washington Post):

–  Amir Johnson Developing Offensive Repertoire  (from Moke Hamilton,  Basketball Insiders):


–   How John Jenkins is making his case for a Mavs’ rotation spot  (from Bobby Karalla,


–  Celtics want more form Olynyk (from Steve Bulpett, Boston Herald):

Today’s Best NBA Reporting and Analysis

Wizards move the ball, move on to the conference semis  (from John Schuhmann,

” When two teams in a playoff series are evenly matched, the winner will likely be the team that plays more like, well, a team.

That’s the easy explanation for the first round series between the Toronto Raptors and Washington Wizards, which ended in a four-game sweep after the Wizards pummeled the Raptors, 125-94, in Game 4 on Sunday.

These teams were separated by just three games in the regular season standings. Both had great starts, combining to go 46-15 through Dec. 29. And both were rather mediocre after that. This was supposed to be the only competitive first round series in the Eastern Conference.

Instead, these teams went in completely opposite directions. The Wizards maintained their status as a top-five defensive team, while scoring at a rate that was more efficient than any four-game stretch they’ve played since early December. The Raptors, meanwhile, maintained their status as a bottom-10 defensive team, while failing apart offensively.

For most of the series, the teams defended each other in the same manner. Both teams pressured the opposing guards, looking to get the ball out of their hands.

The Wizards responded as a good team should. They moved the ball quickly until it found the open man. They’re not the Spurs, but they were the much more reasonable facsimile in this series.

The Raptors just didn’t have it in their collective DNA to play like that. The ball stuck and contested shots were often the result.”

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–  Wizards’ re-tooled offense  (from Neil Greenberg, Washington Post):

” The Wizards showed a different offense … featuring small ball with Paul Pierce at power forward and Otto Porter Jr. at small forward. The result was overwhelmingly positive, generating 112.5 points per 100 possessions in the series while allowing just 95.4.

The key… was in shot selection. Specifically, Washington took fewer shots from mid-range, which are not efficient shots to take.

During the regular season, the Wizards took 34.9 percent of their shots from mid-range. In the playoffs, that has dropped to 25.3 percent.”

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–  Four things we learned about the Wizards in their first round sweep  (from Zach Harper,  CBS Sports):

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Bulls- Bucks series so far  (from Sam Smith,

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– Bulls in command against Bucks, but turnovers still an issue   (from KC Johnson,  Chicago Tribune):

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–   Jimmy Butler’s improvement has improved the Bulls as contenders  (from Zach Harper,  CBS Sports):

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–  Healthy bench back to boosting Bucks to victory  (from Andrew Gruman,

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” Over their 82 game season, the San Antonio Spurs went through some cold months with their outside shooting, specifically from November to February, when numerous players missed time due to various injury situations.

When the Spurs began to get healthy in March and April, it wasn’t a coincidence that their outside shooting percentages also began to rise, just as the amount of wins began to compile upward.

Through four games of their 2015 Playoff series against the Los Angeles Clippers, where both teams have each won on each other’s home floor, the Spurs are shooting 31.8% from the outside in the series.

When you take a look at the regular season data, that 31.8% shooting is almost the exact same as the Spurs had on average in their 27 losses this season.”

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–  Jae Crowder, Boston Celtics fight to the bitter end of an unexpected playoff run  (from Jay King,

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–   Kevin Love’s Dislocated Shoulder  (from Jeff Stotts,

” Cleveland Cavaliers forward Kevin Love became entangled with Boston Celtics center Kelly Olynyk as the two grappled for a rebound. As Olynyk pulled away, he took Love’s arm with him and the Cleveland forward instantly reacted in pain. Love headed straight to the locker room where he was diagnosed with a shoulder dislocation. His availability moving forward is now in question, as he will return to Cleveland for further evaluation.

Shoulder injuries aren’t uncommon in the NBA and come in a wide variety of degrees with an assortment of associated problems”

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–  What can be done if J.R. Smith and Kevin Love are out?  (from terry Pluto,

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Harden Tracker: Game Four  (from Bobby Karalla,

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–   Aminu, Barea star as Mavs avoid sweep  (from Tim McMahon,  ESPN):

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– On-court communication is paramount for the best defenses in the NBA  (from Jared Dubin,

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–   New coach must adapt to the ‘Thunder Way’  (from Darnell Mayberry,

” It starts with a blue-collar approach that makes no room for excuses or complaints. It requires embracing the community and understanding the team’s role in it. It mandates you believe and buy in to a team philosophy and put aside individual goals for the greater good.

But he’s also going to have to be a real wizard with the clipboard.

With this hire, OKC isn’t looking for simply the next great Thunder guy. OKC is looking for a great coach that also can be a great Thunder guy.

While the regular season results annually were among the league’s best under Brooks, the Thunder often got by with inconsistency in execution, precision and attention to detail.

To usher in the desired progress in those departments, not only will the next coach need to be adept at developing talent, but he also will have to be a critical thinker, an effective communicator and an innovator. He must have the acumen to implement a better system at both ends that makes the most of the roster’s talent and turns the Thunder into a more efficient and more dangerous threat.”

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And for those with access to ESPN Insider:


–  Derrick Rose’s playoff inconsistency based on amount of rest  (from Kevin Pelton,ESPN):

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Additional Player Notes, Updates, Profiles:


Austin Rivers:   and


Dirk Nowitzki:


Joakim Noah:


Spencer Dinwiddie:


P.J. Tucker:



QOTD (from Coach Thibodeau on speculation re: his future w/ the Bulls): ” It’s all noise. That’s why it’s so important to establish a routine. You stick to it no matter what. You do it each and every day, nothing should ever change. Put everything you have into getting ready to play and understanding what goes into winning. All that stuff’s a bunch of nonsense.”

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.”

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–  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”

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 Best NBA Reporting and Analysis

–  Griz Morning After: Ball doesn’t stick  (from Ronald Tillery,

“It’s great when you move the ball like that. It gives everybody a chance to get a feel. It’s a lot less predictable. It gets contagious. It’s the way we should always play,” Griz center Marc Gasol said. “We make shots, miss shots, if we play like that it’s a lot tougher (for defenses) to load up. We moved the ball from one side to the other. You make the defense work. You have a better chance for them to make mistakes. When we just keep it on one side and everybody moves to the weak side, you have no chance to rebound. You have no chance to do anything but I thought we did a better job.”

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– Noel slowly making adjustment to perimeter in defensive game  (from John Finger,

” Brown forecasts a future in which Noel will spend more time guarding players on the perimeter as opposed to “lurking” around the rim. Plus, with Joel Embiid penciled in as the team’s center of the future, Noel is going to have to learn about guarding those stretch-fours sooner or later.

“When you play it out and you have Joel down there, you’re going to have a different type of rim protector and you’re not going to see Nerlens categorically five as much as defensive four,” Brown said. “You’re going to see him play some five, but his blocked shots are going to take a hit as I move him more to a perimeter four defensive player.”

Can Noel still be a playmaker under the basket with rebounds and blocked shots? Sure, says Brown, but under different circumstances. Just don’t expect Noel to race back to the rim on the defensive end.

“You’re not going to see him in that environment as much,” Noel said. “As a weak-side defender coming to make plays, you’ll see it. But to see him stand by the rim and lurk and make plays, you won’t see him as much in that position as you used to only guarding fives.”

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 If the Celtics Are Trying to Rebuild, Then Why the Postseason Push?  (from Zach Lowe,

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–  Patrick Beverley’s done for the season, which will test the Rockets’ defense and depth (from Dan Devine, Yahoo Sports):

Read it here:–which-will-test-the-rockets–defense-and-depth-192142679.html




–  After a rocky start, LeBron James and Kyrie Irving now see the game together, their own way  (from Joe Vardon,

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Classifying  LeBron’s Turnovers  (from Kirk Lammers,

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–  The Vision of Manu Ginobili  (from Kyle Carpenter,

” Manu Ginobili has always won the game of the basketball with his eyes.

Even in his youthful days when a behind-the-back dribble bled into a Euro step  and ultimately an athletic finish at the rim, it was setup by a preternatural ability to see the road less traveled to get there. He is a master of angles, a master of bounces, a master of feints and pump fakes and contortions with a direct path to the end goal…Manu has always been economical where other “creative” players embellished.

That is because, like his countryman and fellow sports icon Lionel Messi, Ginobili sees the play well before the rest of us, and if it can’t be accomplished solo, is simply waiting on everyone else to catch up. He has no time for extraneous motions. Each step to an end.”

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–  Assembling San Antonio Spurs’ Ideal Playoff Rotation  (from David Kenyon Bleacher Report):

”  San Antonio boasts one of few rosters that can realistically employ two complete lineups, so Pop has plenty of options to guide the squad throughout the playoffs.

Though particular situations may call for adjustments, the Spurs have an ideal rotation for postseason success—but it’s not the same one from the title-winning crew.”

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 Zach Randolph reigns through pivots and patience (from Rob Mahoney, Sports Illustrated):

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Steven Adams is growing into a versatile defender  (from Darnell Mayberry,

” Overshadowed in the Thunder’s gritty come-from-behind win Sunday was the versatility Adams showed against the Suns. As fans have become enamored with newcomer Enes Kanter’s scoring skills, Adams stepped up and showed he remains special in his own right.

Following the departure of Kendrick Perkins, and with Serge Ibaka and Nick Collison likely out for the season, Adams is now the Thunder’s best remaining post defender. While he doesn’t have the offensive polish of Kanter, Adams is a far superior pick and roll defender and, as Sunday showed, a potentially viable option to defend bigger perimeter-oriented players in emergency situations. Adams also did a solid job on Dirk Nowitzki two weeks ago at Dallas…”

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–  Alexey Shved Proved to Be Surprising Blueprint for New York Knicks’ Point Guard   (from John Dorn, Bleacher Report):

”  Despite the brief frenzy he brought about within the New York Knicks’ social community, Alexey Shved is no savior. He’s far from great, and some nights isn’t even good.

But over his 16 games with the Knicks, before suffering a rib injury that could be season-ending, he was an example of something Phil Jackson has been waiting for all year: an example of the triangle offense making somebody better than they were before.

The third-year pro averaged 14.8 points with New York on 40.3 percent shooting (his career mark is 36.9 percent). He was dependable from three-point range, connecting on 37 percent of treys, and, for the most part, looked fluid within the system. He’s not a natural playmaker, but as a result of his skill set and the player movement within Derek Fisher’s offense, Shved was creating more than expected.

His contract expires at season’s end, so Jackson will likely need to judge off the 16-game sample when considering if Shved will stick around after this offseason’s roster reconstruction. But whether Phil thinks Shved has the adequate talent or not, the 26-year-old provides a solid template for what New York is looking for in the backcourt. ”

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–  Synergy Tells All Regarding the Wizards Offense, Or Lack Thereof  (from Troy Halliburton,

” By going beyond the play-by-play section of the box score, Synergy uses 11 different play type statistics to deconstruct all action on the court. On every play, Synergy analyzes transition, isolation, pick & roll: ball handler, pick & roll: roll man, post-up, spot-up, hand-off, cut, off-screen, putbacks, and more, to give an analysis of the final result. By cataloging all of the action that takes place in each play of every game, Synergy provides a comprehensive look at how players and teams execute on offense and defense.”

Read and view it here:




–  Pacers still need George, but they’ve survived without him  (from David Aldridge,

“Indiana has learned much about itself while Paul George recovers.

Read it here:

(Note: The above link to Aldridge’s column also includes a Manu Ginobili  Q&A)




–  The Fatigue and Frustrations of Marc Gasol  (from Jonah Jordan,

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The Association’s Top Five Benches (from Will Laws, Sports Illustrated):

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LaMarcus  Aldridge: “We still have time”  (from Angus Crawford,

” As the Blazers battled to emerge from the malaise of a mid-March slump, seemingly deflated by the loss of perimeter virtuoso Wesley Matthews (to an Achilles injury), one voice resonated louder than all others.

“I think we still have time,” said LaMarcus Aldridge, insisting that Portland’s window for championship contention remains slightly ajar.

Having provided arguably the most scintillating moment of the postseason last May, the Blazers’ dramatic resurgence resembled a far more melancholy reality when their title tilt drew to an abrupt close.

Methodically deconstructed by the Spurs, the second round collapse served as ammunition for those who wished to pigeonhole the team as an offensive juggernaut weighed down by its fundamental fragilities on the other side of the ball.

“We learned a lot from that playoff series. We saw how well they executed, we saw how they never stopped playing and how dialled in they were, you know, they were very particular about the things they did and how hard they played,” Aldridge admitted.

San Antonio strongarmed Portland by an average of 18.3 points per 100 possessions, completing a gentleman’s sweep that sent the Blazers’ brass back to the drawing board.

“They were just locked in, and I think we saw that we weren’t on that level [last year]. But I think every player understands what it takes to win, and we saw how they beat us up close and personal, so I think we get it.

“This team is probably a little bit better than last year as far as experience goes. From the guys we had being in those moments last year, then adding Arron [Afflalo] and [Chris] Kaman and Steve Blake, I think they give us more experience and I think they make us better, too,” said Aldridge.

But for all that grew in the Pacific Northwest in the early months of this season, with the new, veteran pieces pollinating with Portland’s existing core, so much of how this team progressed could be attributed to the steady hand of their weapon on the wing.

With Wesley Matthews’ ascension—thriving as the leader of the guards—everything began to look a little rosier.

As you start to peel back the layers on the first two-thirds of 2014-15, to better grasp the growth of Portland’s defence, it becomes eminently clearer what was lost the moment that Matthews clutched at his heel on March 5.”

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–  The Decline of the Power Forward (from Kirk Goldsberry,

” The rise of the 3-point shot is the most tangible element of NBA basketball’s rapid evolution. But to increase the number of 3s, you also have to take something away. Today, we also find ourselves in the midst of an unprecedented 2-point recession, and you can see its fingerprints on everything from where guys stand on the court to free-agency valuations to player development.

Whether by design or accident, when the NBA Competition Committee implemented the 3-point line in the 1979-80 season, it began a process that eventually ushered us into a brave new hoops world where conventional power forwards are less useful than ever. As more teams take advantage of the 3-point line, a second low-post presence is now recognized as inefficient and anathema to spacing….it’s hard to find lamentations for how the league’s boundless appetite for 3s is forever cheapening traditional forms of basketball practice and luring more and more bigs away from the blocks”

Read it here:

–  Defense is the Pelicans problem, Is Tony Bennett  the answer?  (from David Fisher,

” Want a guy with head coaching experience? Championships in the toughest conference? A knack for defensive excellence? Boxes all checked.”

Read  and view it here:

– Korver and Curry Are Front Runners for the 50-40-90 Club (from Eric Stang, Vantage Sports):

” Since the NBA introduced the three-point line in the 1979–1980 season, the 50–40–90 shooting percentage threshold has only been crossed by six players: Steve Nash, Larry Bird, Mark Price, Reggie Miller, Dirk Nowitzki, and Kevin Durant. Nash and Bird are the only players who have achieved 50–40–90 club status in multiple seasons. Bird was the first player to join this club and did so consecutively in the ’86-’87 and ’87-’88 seasons. Nash achieved membership four times in five seasons: ’05-’06, ’07-’08, ’08-’09, and ’09-’10. He narrowly missed a fifth consecutive membership season by shooting 89.9 percent from the free-throw line for the ’06–’07 season.

With the current NBA season coming to a close, there are two players with a very strong chance to join this elite scoring club along with three more who have a chance if they get hot. This article will take an in-depth look at each player’s specific scoring and movement metrics provided by Vantage Sports to provide some insight into his chances of joining the 50-40-90 Club.”

Read and view it here:


(BI Note:  Meyers Leonard’ shooting is also worth noting.  Although his limited playing time means that he won’t have the requisite # of shots to qualify being listed among league leaders, his #s are nonetheless impressive:  .506, .433, .926)



–  After the Crash: Bobby Phills Remembered (from Jonathan Abrams,

Read it here:



Additional Player Notes, Updates, Profiles:


Udonis Haslem:


Gerald Wallace:


– Nerlens Noel:


DeMarcus Cousins:


Otto Porter:


Andre Drummond:


– Sim Bhullar

Today’s Best NBA Reporting and Analysis


– Raptors need consistent defence from James Johnson  (from Frank Zicarelli, Toronto Sun):

“I thought he played under control,’’ head coach Dwane Casey said of Johnson’s performance against the Lakers. “James’ strength is also his weakness. He feels like he can help on a lot of things and he gets himself in trouble, but I thought he played with a lot of discipline and that was the most important thing because he’s probably one of the most talented guys on the team in certain matchups and can fit in certain situations for us.

“The key for him is to be disciplined at both ends of the floor.”

One of the knocks on Johnson, an area of his game he acknowledges needs improving, is that he feels the need to make up for a teammate’s mistake at the expense of executing his assignment.

That’s where the strength and weakness scenario plays out. Johnson is athletic enough to lock down his man, but his athleticism gets him into trouble when he comes with help when he shouldn’t.

In preparation for the Rockets, one of the drills the Raptors used on Sunday was designed to keep Johnson in his area of responsibility.

“We worked on drills where you have to be disciplined,’’ added Casey. “We put him in situations where he’s going to be guarding guys down the stretch and into the playoffs who are very lethal offensive players and if you make a mistake in those situations, they’ll make you pay.”

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–  Five observations from the Thunder’s 109-97 win in Phoenix (from  Anthony Slater,

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– Bulls’ recent defensive improvement good sign for playoffs (from KC Johnson, Chicago Tribune):

Read it here:




Marc Gasol on the Spurs (from Ronald Tillery,

“Their system makes you help and keep helping. They have patience. They have experience. They know how to play together,” Gasol said Sunday night. “They have everything you can ask for as far as a team goes. The players know where their shots are going to come from. They share the ball. If somebody passes up a shot it doesn’t matter. The ball keeps moving for 24 seconds. I don’t know how many passes they get in but they have a lot of patience.”

Read it here:




–  Anthony Davis has added a new weapon to his arsenal (from Oleh,

”  Anthony Davis is a multi-talented offensive player that can stretch defenses all the way out to the three-point line. However, opponents are aware of it and they’ve resorted to a number of gimmicks to slow him down: double teams, fronting or flat out holding him at every possible turn. Now, it appears the coaching staff is combating this while making greater use of his potential by having him dictate a greater proportion of the offense. And why shouldn’t they? Outside of Jeff Malone, AD is only the 2nd player since the 3-ball era to have a usage of over 27% but with a sub 7% TOV percentage.

The Brow’s playmaking improvement in March has been astounding”

Read and view it here:

–  Cavaliers’ Youngsters Are Ready for Playoffs Thanks to Their Veterans (from Greg Swartz, Bleacher Report):

” Their individual roles may vary, but all have been imparting wisdom on the younger Cavs.

“I just told them they need to be mentally prepared, locked-in every game. Playoff basketball is really different from regular-season basketball,” Haywood told Bleacher Report.

“It’s a little bit more physical, every basket counts. Something that seems small now is very big in the playoffs, whether it be not boxing out, not knowing a certain guy’s tendencies. Not running a play the correct way one time can cost you a game. So in the playoffs you have to be locked-in and have a super focus and be ready for a more physical style of play.”

“I think it helps a lot because we’ve got great, young guys who really listen to the older vets. They know some guys like myself and Perkins who aren’t playing that much, we can still help Tristan with things that we know about certain guys’ tendencies. How he should play certain screen-and-roll situations and things of that nature.

“The toughest thing with playing a team back-to-back-to-back is that they’re consistently geared up and more ready to play you every time they see you

“When a series goes six, seven games, by the time the end of the series comes, that team can run your plays just as well as you can because they’ve repped your plays and they know what they want to take away. That’s why the playoffs are all about execution and getting easy shots.”

Read it here:





–  Warriors-Thunder Playoff Preview: Spacing Is Everything  (from Matthew Way, Bball breakdown):

” With the news of Kevin Durant being shut down for the season, the Thunder’s path to success in the playoffs has become even more difficult. The loss of Durant is especially significant in a potential series against the Warriors. Without him, the Thunder have struggled to space the floor properly.”

Read and view it here:





Sam Smith looks at potential coaching vacancies, plus NBA news and notes
–  My Next Move  (from Steph Curry,
” They said I wasn’t tall enough. They said I wasn’t strong enough. I never heard them. I doubt they are saying anything now.”
 – Turnover Leaders by Type (from Jordan M Foley, Vantage Sports):
” NBA teams have combined to turn the ball over 27,095 times this season. Not all turnovers, however, are created equal. While it is easy to point to aggregate numbers like TO per 100 Touches to verify that the Bucks (5.03), Kings (4.99), and Rockets (4.88) have the highest turnover rates, it is also useful to break turnovers down into types for more context.”
– Magic will seek to extend GM Rob Hennigan’s contract  (from Josh Robbins,  Orlando Sentinel):
”  When Hennigan was hired, he arrived in the midst of a crisis: Dwight Howard, then one of the NBA’s top players, was demanding to be traded and was entering the final year of his deal.

Hennigan traded Howard. But in making that move, Hennigan declined a Los Angeles Lakers offer that would have sent All-Star center Andrew Bynum, a player who had serious knee problems and a problematic attitude, to the Magic.

Instead, the Magic agreed to a four-team deal in which they also jettisoned Jason Richardson, Chris Duhon and Earl Clark and received young center Nikola Vucevic, rookie swingman Maurice Harkless, shooting guard Arron Afflalo, power forward Al Harrington, combo forward Josh McRoberts, a first-round draft pick in 2014 and conditional future draft picks.

Vucevic, now 24, turned out to have more value than most observers realized. Although questions persist on whether he can become an All-Star, he has developed into one of the top rebounders in the NBA and one of the league’s most gifted scoring centers.

The decision not to acquire Bynum turned out to be a masterful move. If the Magic had acquired him, it would have been an unmitigated disaster for the franchise. Because of knee problems, Bynum missed the entire 2012-13 season and is now out of the league.”

Read it here:
Inside The Mind Of Elijah Millsap’s Agent  (from Clint Peterson,
And for those with access to ESPN Insider:
 Why Kanter has thrived in OKC  (from Amin Elhassan):


Additional Player Notes, Updates, Profiles:



Jared Dudley:


Udonis Haslem:


Markel Brown:


Otto Porter, Jr:


Toney Douglas:


Lester Hudson:


CJ Miles/George Hill/David West:


Draymond Green:


Chandler Parsons:


Marcus Smart:


Jrue Holiday:


Kendrick Perkins:


Jeff Taylor:


Bradley Beal:


Al Jefferson:


Greivis Vasquez: