– 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/