Today’s Best NBA Reporting And Analysis 5/3/16

 

–  Preview:  Raptors/Heat  (from James Herbert, CBS Sports):

http://www.cbssports.com/nba/eye-on-basketball/25575451   and from Kurt Helin,  NBC Sports:

http://nba.nbcsports.com/2016/05/03/playoff-preview-five-question-to-answer-in-miami-heat-vs-toronto-raptors/

–  Raptors/Heat: Numbers Preview  (from John Schuhmann):

Read it here:  http://hangtime.blogs.nba.com/2016/05/03/numbers-preview-raptors-heat/

–  The Importance Of The Raptors’ Role Players  (from Yaron Weitzman, SBNation):

Read it here:  http://www.sbnation.com/nba/2016/5/2/11555886/toronto-raptors-depth-cory-joseph-norman-powell-kyle-lowry-pacers-game-7

Norman Powell/ DeMarre Carroll (from Mike Ganter, Toronto Sun):

Read it here:  http://www.torontosun.com/2016/05/02/rookie-powell-helping-fuel-raptors-playoff-run

–  Raptors Facing Different Challenge In Heat  (from Blake Murphy, sportsnet.ca):

http://www.sportsnet.ca/basketball/nba/raptors-facing-much-different-challenge-heat/

–  Roberson’s Defense On Leonard Keys Thunder’s Bounceback  (from Erik Horne, newsok.com):

Read it here:  http://newsok.com/thunder-journal-robersons-defense-on-leonard-keys-thunder-bounceback-in-game-2/article/5495656

–  OKC 98, SAS 97  (from Rob Mahoney, Sports Illustrated):

Read it here:   http://www.si.com/nba/2016/05/03/nba-playoffs-oklahoma-city-thunder-san-antonio-spurs-game-2

–  Breakdown: The Final Play  (from Zach Harper, CBS Sports):

Read and view it here:  http://www.cbssports.com/nba/eye-on-basketball/25575595/breakdown-everything-that-went-wrong-on-final-play-of-thunder-spurs

–  Thunder/Spurs: Game Two Vines (from Coach Nick, BBall Breakdown);

Watch it here:  http://bballbreakdown.com/2016/05/03/thunder-at-spurs-game-3-vine-game/

–  Thunder Need New Strategy For Guarding LaMarcus  (from Matt Moore, CBS Sports):

Read and view it here:  http://www.cbssports.com/nba/eye-on-basketball/25575239/thunder-need-new-strategy-when-it-comes-to-guarding-lamarcus-aldridge

–  Steven Adams’ Untold Story  (from Brian Windhorst,  ESPN):

Read it here:  http://espn.go.com/nba/story/_/id/15443039/untold-story-thunder-center-steven-adams

–  Cavs 104, Hawks 93  (from Jason Lloyd, ohio.com):

Read it here:  http://three-pointer.com/cavs-104-hawks-93-jason-lloyds-21-thoughts-on-defending-kyle-korver-free-throws-and-3-pointers/    from Paul Flannery, SBNation:  http://www.sbnation.com/nba/2016/5/3/11575444/hawks-lose-kyle-korver-lebron-james-cavaliers-nba-playoffs-2016

–  Tristan Thompson Is Demoralizing The Hawks On The Glass Again  (from Dave McMenamin,  ESPN):

Read it here:  http://espn.go.com/blog/cleveland-cavaliers/post/_/id/2594/tristan-thompson-demoralizing-hawks-on-glass-again    and from Chris Fedor,  cleveland.com:  http://www.cleveland.com/cavs/index.ssf/2016/05/tristan_thompson_proves_to_be.html

–  How Do The Blazers Stop Bogut  (from Marcus Thompson II,  Mercury News):

Read it here:  http://www.mercurynews.com/marcus-thompson/ci_29842580/thompson-how-do-blazers-stop-bogut

–  Everybody Loves To Trash Talk Draymond  (from Ben Cohen, Wall Street JOurnal):

Read it here:

http://www.wsj.com/articles/everybody-loves-trash-talking-draymond-1462218027

–  If The Pacers Move On From Vogel, Other Teams Should Pounce  (from Matt Moore, CBS Sports):

Read it here:  http://www.cbssports.com/nba/eye-on-basketball/25574798/if-pacers-decide-to-move-on-from-frank-vogel-other-teams-should-pounce

–  NBA Coaches  (from Bob Walsh, coachbobwalsh.com):

Read it here:  http://coachbobwalsh.com/2016/05/03/nba-coaches/

  •  Brad Stevens Interview  (from Adam Himmelsbach, Boston Globe):

Listen to it here:  http://www.bostonglobe.com/sports/celtics/2016/05/03/parquet-interview-with-brad-stevens/m8O5PS71EtHuNlL46dmsBM/story.html

 

 

 

–  The NBA’s Best And Worst Shotmakers  (from Kyle Wagner,  fivethirtyeight.com):

Read it here:  http://fivethirtyeight.com/features/the-nbas-best-and-worst-shot-makers/

Additional Player Notes, Updates, Profiles:

–  Terry Rozier  (from Steve Bulpett, Boston Herald):  http://www.bostonherald.com/sports/celtics/2016/05/bulpett_celtics_terry_rozier_eyes_next_train_to_success

–  Kemba Walker  (from Hornets.com):  http://www.nba.com/hornets/kemba-walker-2015-16-blog

–  J.J.Barea  (from Bobby Karalla,  mavs.com):  http://www.mavs.com/j-j-bareas-late-season-explosion-helped-to-fuel-mavs-playoff-push/

 

Today’s Best NBA Reporting And Analysis 4/21/16

 

–  Hornets’ Coach Clifford On Film Review And Game Preparation (from Justin Verrier, ESPN):

http://espn.go.com/blog/nba/post/_/id/18276/steve-clifford-emphasizes-his-belief-in-hornets-gameplan-preperation-in-postgame-sermon

–  Whiteside Is Destroying The Hornets’ Defense Without Touching The Ball (from Jesus Gomez, SBNation):

Read it here:  http://www.sbnation.com/nba/2016/4/21/11476910/hassan-whiteside-miami-heat-charlotte-hornets-nba-playoffs-2016

–  Hubie Brown Q & A On Grizzlies/Spurs And More  (from Kevin Lipe, Memphis Flyer.com):

Read it here:  http://www.memphisflyer.com/BeyondtheArc/archives/2016/04/21/qanda-hubie-brown-on-grizzlies-spurs-memphis-and-whether-the-grizzlies-are-outdated

–  Tables Have Turned In Aldridge-Randolph Matchup  (from Jeff McDonald,  express-news.com):

Read it here:  http://www.expressnews.com/sports/spurs/article/Tables-have-turned-in-Aldridge-Randolph-matchup-7276040.php?cmpid=twitter-premium&t=88f4718e00

–  Spurs Repeatedly Victimized Vince Carter In Game 2  (from Eli Horowitz, Pounding The Rock):

Read and view it here:  http://www.poundingtherock.com/2016/4/21/11477524/spurs-playbook-spurs-victimize-vince-carter-in-game-2

–  Why The Pistons Have An Issue When The Cavs Go Small  (from Matt Moore,  CBS Sports):

Read and view it here:  http://www.cbssports.com/nba/eye-on-basketball/25561143/heres-why-the-pistons-have-an-issue-when-the-cavs-go-small-with-love

–  Stanley Johnson Is Making An Impact In His 1st Playoffs  (from Nick Friedell,  ESPN):

Read it here:  http://espn.go.com/blog/nba/post/_/id/18007/pistons-rookie-stanley-johnson-making-impact-in-first-playoff-opportunity

–  How Far The Clippers Go May Hinge Largely On Their Bench Play  (from Arash Markazi,  ESPN):

Read it here:  http://espn.go.com/blog/nba/post/_/id/18289/how-far-the-clippers-go-may-hinge-largely-on-the-depth-of-their-bench

–  Klay Thompson:  More Than Just A Shooter  (from Carl Steward, Bay Area News Group):

Read it here:  http://www.dailydemocrat.com/general-news/20160419/warriors-klay-thompson-more-that-just-a-shooter/5

–  Moving Isaiah Thomas To Shooting Guard  (from wjsy,  celticsblog.com):

Read and view it here:  http://www.celticsblog.com/2016/4/21/11476866/boston-celtics-moving-isaiah-thomas-to-shooting-guard

–  Kyle Korver Is Trying To Connect The Dots On His Shot Again  (from Ohm Youngmisuk, ESPN):

Read it here:  http://espn.go.com/blog/nba/post/_/id/18259/kyle-korver-is-trying-to-connect-the-dots-on-his-shot-again

 Jonas Valanciunas Q & A  (from Mike Mazzeo,  ESPN):

Read it here:  http://espn.go.com/blog/nba/post/_/id/18253/qa-with-raptors-jonas-valanciunas-im-not-going-to-relax

–  Wolves Hire Tom Thibodeau:  A New Era Begins  (from Jim Souhan,  startribune.com):

http://www.startribune.com/one-week-into-wolves-offseason-a-new-era-has-begun/376474961/

Additional Player Notes, Updates, Profiles:

 

–  Steven Adams  (from Jeff Zilgitt,  USA Today):  http://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/nba/playoffs/2016/04/20/steven-adams-thunder-defender-mustache-nba-playoffs/83307342/

–  Reggie Evans  (from Brian Rzeppa,  nothinbutnets.com):  http://nothinbutnets.com/2016/04/21/reggie-evans-provides-hope-for-younger-generations/

–  Jordan Clarkson (from Mark Medina, LA Daily News):  http://www.dailynews.com/sports/20160420/lakers-coach-byron-scott-tells-jordan-clarkson-to-improve-defense-or-lose-minutes

 Trey Lyles/Trevor Booker  (from Aaron Falk,  Salt Lake Tribune):  http://www.sltrib.com/sports/3799218-155/utah-jazz-trey-lyles-rise-makes

Today’s BI is dedicated to the memory of Pearl Washington

Today’s Best NBA Reporting and Analysis 10/20/15

–  It’s Good to Be Jimmy Butler  (from Bryan Smith,  chicagomag.com):

” 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.”

Read it here:  http://www.chicagomag.com/Chicago-Magazine/November-2015/Jimmy-Butler/

 

–  Fred Hoiberg plans to slightly cut Jimmy Butler’s minutes  (from Vincent Goodwill,  csnchicago):

Read it here:  http://www.csnchicago.com/bulls/fred-hoiberg-plans-slightly-cut-jimmy-butlers-minutes

 

–  Video: Pistons Guard Spencer Dinwiddie On Playing In The NBA  (from Coach Nick,  BBall Breakdown):

Watch it here:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YxKGOCWMZ3I&feature=youtu.be

 

–  Suns eager for Bledsoe-Knight chemistry  (from Zach Buchanan,  azcentral.com):

Read it here:   http://www.azcentral.com/story/sports/nba/suns/2015/10/19/phoenix-suns-eager-bledsoe-knight-chemistry/74244636/

 

–  More passes to come from Thunder bigs?  (from Erik Horne, newsok.com):

Read it here:  http://newsok.com/okc-thunder-more-passes-to-come-from-thunder-bigs/article/5454592/?page=2

 

–  Mike Conley’s year, JaMychal Green’s emergence, Jarnell Stokes’ future and more  (from Chris Herringotn, commercialappeal.com):

Read it here:   http://www.commercialappeal.com/sports/grizzlies/pick-and-pop/Chris-Herringtons-Pick-and-Pop-Mike-Conleys-year-JaMychal-Greens-emergence-Jarnell-Stokes-future-and-more-333983731.html

 

–  Knicks Hoping Personnel Upgrades Alleviate Last Year’s Defensive Disaster  (from Jared Dubin, Bleacher Report):

Read it here:  http://bleacherreport.com/articles/2580002-ny-knicks-hoping-personnel-upgrades-alleviate-last-years-defensive-disaster

 

–  How Amir Johnson Will Improve Celtics’ Frontcourt Defense (from Jordan M. Foley, Vantage Sports):

Read and view it here:   http://www.vantagesports.com/story/ViUVVx4AAB8AJ37s/amir-johnson-and-david-lee-revamp-celtics-defensive-frontcourt

 

–  The Lakers, floor balance, and transition defense  (from Adam Mares,  Nylon Calculus):

Read it here:  http://nyloncalculus.com/2015/10/20/the-lakers-floor-balance-and-transition-defense/

 

–   The delicate balance of ball movement for the Suns  (from Bryan Gibberman,  arizonasports.com):

“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:  http://arizonasports.com/story/412022/the-delicate-balance-of-ball-movement-for-the-suns/

 

–  The Myth of DeMar DeRozan’s Athleticism  (from harshdave, raptorshq.com)

Read and view it here:  http://www.raptorshq.com/2015/10/19/9504539/the-myth-of-demar-derozans-athleticism-toronto-raptors

(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):

http://20secondtimeout.blogspot.com/2007/12/is-steve-nash-best-athlete-in-nba.html

 

 James Harden’s next step; Replacing DeMarre Carroll; LaMarcus Aldridge Q&A  (form Chris Mannix,  Sports Illustrated):

Read it here:    http://www.si.com/nba/2015/10/20/open-floor-james-harden-rockets-lamarcus-aldridge-spurs-season-preview

 

–  Warriors hope to repeat; Lamar Odom; Pau Gasol Q & A  (from David Aldridge, NBA.com):

Read it here:  http://www.nba.com/2015/news/features/david_aldridge/10/19/morning-tip-golden-state-warriors-defending-crown-lamar-odom-health-pau-gasol-qa/index.html

 

–  Being Jim Buss  (from Sam Amick,  USA Today):

”  LAKERS EXECUTIVE OPENS UP ON YEARS OF CRITICISM AS TEAM TRIES TO REBUILD”

Read it here:   http://www.usatoday.com/longform/sports/nba/lakers/2015/10/19/jim-buss-lakers-jerry-west-kobe-bryant-magic-johnson-jeanie-buss/73989030/

 

Additional Player Notes, Updates, Profiles:

 

–  Cory Joseph has been pleasant surprise for Raptors  (from Ryan Wolstat,  Postmedia Network):  http://slam.canoe.com/Slam/Basketball/NBA/2015/10/19/22563980.html?cid=rsssportsbasketball

 

–  Spurs:  With chance for bench to impress, Kyle Anderson, Boban Marjanovic deliver (from Michael C. Wright,  ESPN):  http://espn.go.com/blog/nba/post/_/id/9798/with-chance-for-bench-to-impress-anderson-marjanovic-deliver

 

–   Eric Moreland’s hustle, energy keep him in Kings’ mix  (from Jason Jones, Sacramento Bee):  http://www.sacbee.com/sports/nba/sacramento-kings/kings-blog/article40382475.html

 

–  International import Salah Mejri could play a big role for the Mavs  (from Eddie Sefko,  sportsdaydfw.com):  http://beta.sportsdaydfw.com/dallas-mavericks/mavericksheadlines/2015/10/19/sefko-international-import-play-big-role-mavs-adjusts-nba-game

 

–  Blake Griffin trained with sprinter Carmelita Jeter to improve his speed  (from Melissa Rohlin, LA Times):  http://www.latimes.com/sports/clippers/clippersnow/la-sp-cn-blake-griffin-trained-with-carmelita-jeter-20151019-story.html

 

–   Re-energized Rudy Gobert raring to go for big Jazz season  (from Jody Gennesy,  deseretnews.com):   http://www.deseretnews.com/article/865639419/Re-energized-Rudy-Gobert-raring-to-go-for-big-Jazz-season.html?pg=all

 

–  Celtics: Terry Rozier, Jonas Jerebko (from Jay King, masslive.com):  http://www.masslive.com/celtics/index.ssf/2015/10/terry_rozier_boston_celtics.html

 

– Extra practice has Rozier feeling confident (from Jimmy Toscano,  csnne.com):  http://www.csnne.com/boston-celtics/extra-practice-has-rozier-feeling-confident

 

–  TERRY ROZIER AND THE CELTICS’ DEPTH  PROBLEM  (from Ben Rohrbach,  weei.com):  http://www.weei.com/sports/boston/basketball/celtics/ben-rohrbach/2015/10/20/terry-rozier-and-celtics-depth-perception-p

 

–  Mavericks: John Jenkins Continues to Impress  (from Jay Knodell,  thesmokingcuban.com):  http://thesmokingcuban.com/2015/10/20/dallas-mavericks-john-jenkins-continues-to-impress/

 

Jared Sullinger Shows off His Passing Skills  (from Marc D’Amico,  celtics.com):  http://www.nba.com/celtics/news/sidebar/post-101915-sully-the-pg-big-man-shows-off-passing-skills

 

–  Oladipo Spending Countless Hours in Gym Improving Shot  (from John Denton,  magic.com):  http://www.nba.com/magic/news/oladipo-spending-countless-hours-improving-shot

 

–  Rockets’ Joshua Smith doing utmost to fill big-man shoes  (from Jonathan Feigen,  Houston Chronicle):  http://www.houstonchronicle.com/sports/article/Rockets-Smith-doing-utmost-to-fill-big-man-shoes-6576686.php?t=954ad651d9438d9cbb&cmpid=twitter-premium

 

–  Martell Webster seeks second opinion for injured right hip  (from Jorge Castillo,  Washington Post):  https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wizards-insider/wp/2015/10/19/martell-webster-seeks-second-opinion-for-injured-right-hip/

 

–  Raymond Felton ran the show in Cleveland  (from Bobby Karalla,  mavs.com):  http://www.mavs.com/raymond-felton-ran-the-show-in-cleveland/

Today’s Best NBA Reporting and Analysis

–  How Utah’s Length Has Become a Defensive Weapon  (from Ben Dowsett,  saltcityhoops.com):

Read and view it here:  http://saltcityhoops.com/how-utahs-length-has-become-a-defensive-weapon/

 

 

 

–  Warriors get big benefits from Bogut’s smaller, focused role  (from Steve Aschburner, NBA.com):

Read it here:  http://www.sportal.com.au/nba/warriors-get-big-benefits-from-boguts-smaller-focused-role/7giv4kdp7kp81lgma59idlaea

 

 

 

–  The Big Shot: LaMarcus Aldridge’s gain in playing through pain  (from Michael Lee,  Washington Post):

” LaMarcus Aldridge thought the Portland Trail Blazers’ championship aspirations would unravel worse than the ligament in his left thumb, had he accepted the initial, agreed-upon strategy and underwent surgery in January on his non-shooting hand.

The two-month timetable for a return would have robbed Aldridge of a huge chunk of arguably his best season, and stripped the Blazers of their franchise player in one of the most tightly-contested Western Conference playoff races in recent memory. So, three days before his expected surgery, Aldridge attacked his dread with a splint and a tube of black tape. He wrapped his damaged thumb, decided he could manage the pain after a brief workout and used the inspiration of a standing ovation in pre-game warmups to gut out a win against the Washington Wizards.

Aldridge’s selfless gesture to help Portland remain a contender warranted kudos from around the league and further endeared himself to a devoted fan base that has witnessed his nine-year emergence from a once-overlooked planet to the center of its universe.”

Read it here: http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/sports/wp/2015/04/01/the-big-shot-lamarcus-aldridges-gain-in-playing-through-pain/

 

 

 

–  Russell Westbrook opens up: All there really is to the Thunder superstar  (from Lee Jenkins,  Sports Illustrated):

“There are many times throughout a season that you may not feel like playing,” says Westbrook, 26. “You may not want to play on this night, or against this team. But I don’t feel that way. This is one of the best jobs in the world, and you never know how long you’ll be able to do it—how long you’ll be able to run like this and jump like this. So I go for it. I go for it every time. It may look angry, but it’s the only way I know.”

He grabs a rebound or accepts an outlet pass and reduces myriad options to one. “Attack,” he tells himself. He hears opposing coaches bark, “Load up,” and he realizes reinforcements are coming. “That doesn’t stop me,” he says. “That makes me go after it even more. I want to mess up their game plan.” At half-court he takes a mental snapshot of the floor. The first defender might as well go grab a swig of Gatorade. “My mind-set is, I can get by anybody in front of me,” says Westbrook. He is focused on the next line of defense, which will pressure him into a decision. Does he pull up at the elbow for the 15-footer he calls his “cotton shot” because it’s so comfortable? Does he kick out for the three-point snipers who are panting to keep up with him? Or does he summon all his fury and hurdle whatever giant awaits on the back line? “I have fears,” Westbrook says, “but I do not fear anything or anybody on the court.”

Read it here:  http://www.si.com/nba/2015/04/01/russell-westbrook-oklahoma-city-thunder-sports-illustrated

 

 

 

–  Harden dominating … at the free throw line  (from ESPN Stats and Information):

”  Let’s put James Harden’s free throw shooting exploits this season into perspective.

Harden went 21-of-22 in Monday’s win over the Indiana Pacers.

Harden has had two games with at least 20 made free throws in the past five days. The rest of the NBA has yet to have one such game all season.

If Harden had another game with 20 makes this season, he’d be the third player with three such games in a season in the past 50 seasons.”

Read it here:   http://espn.go.com/blog/statsinfo/post/_/id/104010/harden-dominating-at-the-free-throw-line

 

 

 

This Tape Takes James Harden’s Game to MVP Levels  (from Freddy Lopez Sporttechie.com):

” Harden… has popularized the adoption of kinesiology tape across the NBA. He’s been sporting this adhesive at various points throughout his career, but has been wearing it more consistently over the last two years as a means to prevent injury–specifically knee and shoulder issues–and relieve pain.”

Read it here:  http://www.sporttechie.com/2015/03/26/tape-takes-james-hardens-game-mvp-levels/

 

 

 

 

 

– Bulls building toward playoff readiness with Derrick Rose scrimmaging  (from K.C. Johnson, Chicago Tribune):

” There are myriad ways to measure the supreme confidence and optimism emanating from the Bulls these days, from Derrick Rose scrimmaging hard for a second straight day Tuesday to the depth that has developed through the various injuries to the health that appears to be taking hold for the stretch run.

But Taj Gibson’s attitude, featuring simultaneous competitiveness and selflessness, is as good a place to start as any.   “I didn’t want to be on his team,” Gibson said, smiling, about beating Rose in the scrimmage. “I wanted to be against him.”

Though the scrimmage didn’t feature a traditional format of first unit vs. second unit, the fact Rose’s team didn’t win further showcased the Bulls’ depth. That’s the same depth that has kept the team-first Gibson on the bench behind rookie Nikola Mirotic in recent fourth quarters despite Gibson leading the NBA in fourth-quarter minutes last season.

“If you look at our front line, we have a bunch of guys who can basically start anywhere,” Gibson said. “We understand what it takes. We understand we’re trying to win a championship. So sacrifices are going to be made from top to bottom. It’s about the ultimate goal, and that’s winning.”

Read it here:  http://www.chicagotribune.com/sports/basketball/bulls/chi-derrick-rose-scrimmages-20150331-story.html

 

 

 

Nikola Mirotic Q & A (from Jesus Sanchez Brand, marca.com)    – On-line translation from Spanish

Read it here:  http://www.marca.com/2015/03/31/baloncesto/nba/noticias/1427780350.html

 

 

 

 

Goran Dragic and Dwyane Wade, the NBA’s Two Most Efficient Attackers  (from Josh Baumgard, miami.cbslocal.com):

Read it here:  http://miami.cbslocal.com/2015/03/31/goran-dragic-and-dwyane-wade-nbas-two-most-efficient-attackers/

 

 

 

 

–  Utah Jazz: With Favors out, small-ball lineup has worked  (from Tony Jones, Salt Lake Tribune):

Read it here;  http://www.sltrib.com/sports/2351749-155/utah-jazz-with-favors-out-small-ball

 

 

 

–  Steve Nash’s Guide to the Galaxy  (from Henry Abbott,  ESPN):

” We gave the visionary point guard a pen and a mission: Illustrate the theories that drove his game-changing MVP career. Here’s the result, straight from the mind of Steve Nash …”

Read it here:  http://espn.go.com/nba/story/_/id/12565693/steve-nash-guide-galaxy

 

 

 

 

–  Bruno Caboclo’s growth stunted with Raptors lacking their own D League team  (from Doug Smith,  thestar.com):

Read it here:  http://www.thestar.com/sports/doug_smiths_sports_blog/2015/04/something-lost-with-the-lack-of-a-minor-league-raptors-team.html

 

 

Additional Player Notes, Updates, Profiles:

 

Jordan Clarkson:  http://www.dailynews.com/sports/20150331/lakers-rookie-jordan-clarkson-finds-inspiration-from-his-father-coach-friend-cancer-survivor

 

Giannis Antetokuonmpo:  http://www.jsonline.com/sports/bucks/giannis-antetokounmpo-makes-convincing-leap-forward-b99472222z1-298249991.html

 

Danny Green:  http://www.charlotteobserver.com/sports/nba/charlotte-hornets/article17062850.html

 

Dante Cunningham:  http://theadvocate.com/sports/pelicans/11989463-148/its-all-about-effort-for

 

Julius Randle:  http://www.dailybreeze.com/sports/20150331/lakers-julius-randle-embraces-learning-during-lengthy-recovery

 

Tim Frazier:  http://www.oregonlive.com/blazers/index.ssf/2015/03/tim_frazier_will_remain_with_trail_blazers_beyond.html

 

Steven Adams:  http://www.stuff.co.nz/sport/basketball/67569426/kiwi-steven-adams-underlines-his-importance-for-the-oklahoma-city-thunder

 

Andrew Wiggins:  http://www.minnpost.com/sports/2015/04/andrew-wiggins-has-nothing-left-prove

 

Rajon Rondo:  http://espn.go.com/blog/dallas/mavericks/post/_/id/4705014/can-rondo-rise-to-occasion-in-playoffs

 

Courtney Lee:  http://www.vantagesports.com/#story/VRnyoh8AAKBCXYBn/pivot-point-22-courtney-lee-and-the-disappearing-jump-shot

 

Brandon Knight:  http://triangleoffense.com/features/brandon-knights-roller-coaster-season-is-finally-about-to-pay-off/

 

Today’s Best NBA Reporting and Analysis

–  Griz Morning After: Ball doesn’t stick  (from Ronald Tillery, commercialappeal.com):

“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.”

Read it here:  http://www.commercialappeal.com/sports/grizzlies/griz-morning-after-ball-doesnt-stick

 

 

 

– Noel slowly making adjustment to perimeter in defensive game  (from John Finger,  csnphilly.com):

” 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.”

Read and view it here:  http://www.csnphilly.com/basketball-philadelphia-76ers/noel-slowly-making-adjustment-perimeter-defensive-game

 

 

 

 If the Celtics Are Trying to Rebuild, Then Why the Postseason Push?  (from Zach Lowe, Grantland.com):

Read it here:  http://grantland.com/the-triangle/a-playoff-problem-if-the-celtics-are-trying-to-rebuild-then-why-the-postseason-push/

 

 

 

 

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

Read it here:  https://ca.sports.yahoo.com/blogs/nba-ball-dont-lie/patrick-beverley-s-done-for-the-season–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, cleveland.com):

Read it here:  http://www.cleveland.com/cavs/index.ssf/2015/03/lebron_james_kevin_love_kyrie.html

 

 

 

Classifying  LeBron’s Turnovers  (from Kirk Lammers, waitingfornextyear.com):

Read and view it here:  http://www.waitingfornextyear.com/2015/03/cavalier-film-lebron-james-turnovers/

 

 

 

–  The Vision of Manu Ginobili  (from Kyle Carpenter, poundingtherock.com):

” 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.”

Read and view it here:  http://www.poundingtherock.com/2015/3/31/8025517/vision-manu-ginobili

–  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.”

Read and view it here:  http://bleacherreport.com/articles/2412703-assembling-san-antonio-spurs-ideal-playoff-rotation

 

 

 

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

Read it here:  http://www.si.com/nba/2015/03/31/craft-zach-randolph-rasheed-wallace-scottie-pippen-grizzlies-blazers-knicks-clippers

 

 

 

Steven Adams is growing into a versatile defender  (from Darnell Mayberry, newsok.com):

” 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…”

Read it here:  http://newsok.com/steven-adams-growing-into-a-versatile-defender/article/5405931

 

 

 

 

–  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. ”

Read and view it here:  http://bleacherreport.com/articles/2414852-alexey-shved-proved-to-be-surprising-blueprint-for-new-york-knicks-point-guard

 

 

 

–  Synergy Tells All Regarding the Wizards Offense, Or Lack Thereof  (from Troy Halliburton,  truthaboutit.net):

” 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:  http://www.truthaboutit.net/2015/03/synergy-tells-all-regarding-the-wizards-offense-or-lack-thereof.html

 

 

 

–  Pacers still need George, but they’ve survived without him  (from David Aldridge, NBA.com):

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

Read it here:  http://www.nba.com/2015/news/features/david_aldridge/03/30/morning-tip-indiana-pacers-wait-for-paul-george-state-of-oklahoma-city-thunder-without-kevin-durant-qa-with-manu-ginobili

(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, grizzlybearblues.com):

Read it here:  http://www.grizzlybearblues.com/2015/3/30/8311133/the-fatigue-and-frustrations-of-marc-gasol

 

 

 

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

Read it here;  http://www.si.com/nba/2015/03/30/nba-benches-manu-ginobili-louis-williams-nick-young-hawks-warriors-spurs

 

 

 

LaMarcus  Aldridge: “We still have time”  (from Angus Crawford,  sportal.co.au):

” 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.”

Read it here:  http://www.sportal.com.au/nba/lamarcus-aldridge-talks-wesley-matthews-blazers-playoffs/1hlct2dheat4w148tznh4gndqv

 

 

–  The Decline of the Power Forward (from Kirk Goldsberry, Grantland.com):

” 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:  http://grantland.com/the-triangle/kevin-love-cleveland-cavaliers-anthony-davis-new-orleans-pelicans/

–  Defense is the Pelicans problem, Is Tony Bennett  the answer?  (from David Fisher, thebridwrites.com):

” 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:  http://www.thebirdwrites.com/2015/3/31/8297613/defense-is-the-pelicans-problem-tony-bennett-is-the-answer

– 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:  http://www.vantagesports.com/#story/VQkD_ykAACgA6bbL/korver-and-curry-are-front-runners-for-the-50-40-90-club

 

(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, Grantland.com):

Read it here:  http://grantland.com/features/bobby-phills-nba-charlotte-hornets-guard-death-car-crash-david-wesley-paul-silas/

 

 

Additional Player Notes, Updates, Profiles:

 

Udonis Haslem:  http://www.idahostatesman.com/2015/03/30/3727062_heats-udonis-haslem-makes-impact.html

 

Gerald Wallace:  http://espn.go.com/blog/boston/celtics/post/_/id/4718651/wallace-soars-in-limited-role-with-celtics

 

– Nerlens Noel:  http://www.philly.com/philly/sports/sixers/20150331_Sixers__Noel_is_6-11___growing.html

 

DeMarcus Cousins:  http://espn.go.com/nba/story/_/id/12589705/demarcus-cousins-sacramento-kings-sits-memphis-grizzlies

 

Otto Porter:  http://www.bulletsforever.com/2015/3/30/8312243/otto-porter-washington-wizards-nba-more-playing-time-free

 

Andre Drummond:  http://www.mlive.com/pistons/index.ssf/2015/03/pistons_patter_detroit_center.html

 

– Sim Bhullarhttp://www.sacbee.com/sports/spt-columns-blogs/ailene-voisin/article16700834.html