Today’s Best NBA Reporting and Analysis

Leandro Barbosa is the non-sensical Warriors player who makes all the sense in the world–if you follow along with Steve Kerr  (from Tim Kawakami,

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–  Why The Cavs Are Terrible With LeBron James On The Bench  (from Coach Nick, BBall Breakdown):

“Coach Nick broke down every possession the Cleveland Cavaliers have had when LeBron James takes his incredibly infrequent rests. These are the moments that games are decided, and their offense has struggled mightily. It is possible there are some solutions for head coach David Blatt.”

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–  Andre and the Giant: How one veteran helped the Warriors turn the Finals  (from Lee Jenkins, Sports Illustrated):

” Andre Iguodala lay in bed after Game 2 of the NBA Finals and his fiancée, Christina Gutierrez, placed a hand on his stomach. “Your skin,” she said, “feels hot.” Several hours had passed since Iguodala left Oakland’s Oracle Arena, but he was still burning up, as if he had just sprinted off the court. He wasn’t sick, but he popped a Tylenol and set the thermostat in his house to a frosty 60°. When theWarriors forward returned home five days later from Cleveland, he found that his air-conditioning unit had broken, maddening because his Finals fever had not. He joked that he shaved his head in hopes of cooling down. Iguodala’s condition may sound implausible, but one league trainer claims it is common for stress hormones to rise in demanding situations, causing spikes in body temperature. “It’s like you’re a car,” Iguodala says, “and your engine is overheating.” Such is the strain required to survive 48-minute collisions with the turbo-powered tank known asLeBron James.

Iguodala is 11 months older, two inches shorter and 35 pounds lighter than the most punishing player in the world. He entered the NBA out of Arizona a year after James, drafted ninth by the 76ers in 2004, and immediately began composing a mental manual on how to halt him. The 6’ 6″, 215-pound Iguodala developed a similar guide for every small forward, but James was a particularly compelling subject, and they faced off regularly in the Eastern Conference. With each matchup Iguodala added another page, until he knew James’s tendencies as well as his own. “That book is crazy big now,” says Iguodala, 31. “What he does in the post, what he does when he goes left, what he does when he comes at me like this.” Iguodala wriggles his shoulders, miming James’s open-floor shimmy. He has spent more than a decade preparing for the assignment that will define his career. ”

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–  ‘Iggy’ makes LeBron’s shooting iffy  (from Micah Adams,  ESPN):

” Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James has faced some tough defensive players as he’s ventured through the last two postseasons.

” Kawhi Leonard in the 2014 NBA Finals and Jimmy Butler in this year’s conference semifinals come to mind as among the toughest in the NBA.

But Golden State Warriors forward Andre Iguodala has done a better job guarding James than either of them, as you can see in the chart on the right. James is 18-of-54 against Iguodala in this series, and Iguodala’s defense has been particularly good the last two games.

We know Iguodala has been effective. How is he doing it?

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–  How Steph Curry And The Warriors Have Seized Control Of The NBA Finals  (from Jordan Schultz, Huffington Post):

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Cavs Will Need to Reduce Their (Getting) Beat Back on D Rate to Force a Game 7  (from Bob macKinnon,  Vantage Sports):

” As the series has progressed, the Warriors have utilized their depth and pushed the pace; Cleveland is now getting beat back on defense at a rate of 1.32 per 100 chances versus the Warriors’ rate of 0.83.

It is hard to guard mismatch and outnumbered situations; with the rise in Cleveland’s getting beat back on defense, the Warriors have scored over 100 points in their last two wins and have seen their Points per Shot average rise from below 1.00 to 1.10.”

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–  Cavaliers struggling to counter Warriors’ small ball lineups  (from Michael Lee, Washington Post):

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–  The Good and Bad of the LeBron Juggernaut  (from Zach Lowe,

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–  The heart, toughness and fight of Draymond Green has the Warriors on the verge of a championship  (from Marcus Thompson,

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Game 6: Will we see Hack-a-Iggy? (from Gerald Bourguet,

” It’s not basketball, but it is an unbearable tactic that slows games down to a grinding halt, making the entire essence of the game about free throws (the least fun part of basketball) and denying fans the chance to see greatness by accentuating the flaws of a few poor free throw shooters. It’s honestly baffling that it’s still allowed in 2015, and it’s a detestable practice I’ve been bashing since the first round.

But from Cleveland’s perspective, and the perspective of any team in this position, Hack-A-Shaq is currently still allowed. The Cavaliers would be foolish to not utilize it with their backs against the wall.”

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–  Warriors Using 2015 Finals to Offer Glimpse into the NBA’s Future  (from Grant Hughes, Bleacher Report):

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– What coaching move has altered this series the most? (from Simon Legg,

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NICK U’REN: ALMOST FAMOUS  (from Mark Schwartz, ESPN):

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–  Remembering King James, Before and After His Crowning  (from Harvey Araton,  NYTimes):

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– Rudy Tomjanovich extols merits of imminent Bulls top assistant Jim Boylen  (from K.C. Johnson,  Chicago Tribune):

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New Nuggets head coach Michael Malone focused on efficiency (from

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–  The 2015 Orlando Magic: Final Evaluation  (from Philip Rossman-Reich,

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–  Lance Stephenson: Question or Answer?   (from Justin Russo,

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A different  view (from Seth Partnow, Bball Breakdown):




Additional Player Notes, Updates, profiles:


Omer Asik:


Royce White:


Ersan Ilyasova:


Lamar Patterson:


Antoine Mason:

Today’s Best NBA Reporting And Analysis

Otto Porter took the next step in his development in Game 2 vs. Hawks  (from Iake Whitacre,

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–  Paul Pierce, the new old model for stretch fours  (from William Bohl,

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Wizards’ Wall has multiple fractures in wrist and hand; status in doubt  (from Jorge Castillo,  Washington Post):

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–  How the Wizards can cope with Wall’s injury  (from Umair Khan,

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–  Shots were still Available for the Bulls in Game Two, But For The Wrong Players  (from Chris terzic,

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–  Tristan Thompson is a matchup problem for the Bulls  (from Jesus Gomez,

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Tristan  Thompson just ‘fits in’ with Cavaliers  (from Dave McMenamin,  ESPN):

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–  Understanding Chris Paul’s Hamstring Strain & the Issues Moving Forward   (from Jeff Stotts,

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–  How the Rockets stopped Blake Griffin by going small  (from Jesus Gomez,

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–  Grizzlies frustrating, disrupting Warriors in 1-1 series  (frm Matt Moore,  CBS Sports):

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–  The Playoffs in a Make or Miss League – What IS A “Good” Shot  (from Seth Partnow,

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–   Stretch-4s: How Rockets’ Coach Rudy Tomjanovich  radically changed NBA offenses  (from Adam Kilgore, Washington Post):

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–  Gimmicky fouls: fundamentally flawed  (from J.A. Adande,  ESPN):

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–  Raptors have had similar ugly finishes and should avoid repeating past mistakes  (from Eric Koreen,

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–  Oklahoma City Thunder: Familiar faces could join Billy Donovan’s staff  (from Anthony Slater,

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–  An Open Letter to the NBA Draft Class  (from Patrick Patterson,

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–  Pelicans offense reaches top-10 status  (from David Fisher,

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–  Pelicans improved on defense   (from David Fisher,

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And for those with access to ESPN Insider:


–  Blake Griffin’s postseason breakout  (from Kevin Pelton)

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Additional Player Notes,Updates, Profiles:


Bradley Beal/Otto Porter:


Andrew Bogut:


Jimmy Butler:


Courtney Lee:


Zach Randolph:


DeMar DeRozan:


Ryan Anderson:


Chis Kaman:


Avery Bradley:


Dwight Powell:


Bruno Caboclo:


Quincy Pondexter:


Omri Casspi:


Elfrid Payton:



QOTD (from David Blatt on why Hack-a-foul doesn;t exist in Europe):

. “It’s considered unsportsmanlike.

“We have fouled players who are poor foul shooters, but in a legal and tactical fashion. There’s no such thing as Hack-A-Shaq. That’s one of the reasons I believe they can and should change the rule. … You can’t foul a guy with no relation to the game whatsoever. And the referees are educated enough to understand when it’s a basketball play and when you’re grabbing a guy at the other end of the court who’s not involved in the play so as to purposely on the line. …

“That’s one of those rules overseas that I think is better than what we have here.”

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

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

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

Hornacek grinned.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

By then, that had become open to debate.

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

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

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

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

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

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