Today’s Best NBA Reporting and Analysis

–  Grizzlies grind down MVP Stephen Curry, Warriors’ offense in Game 3 win   (from Rob Mahoney,  Sports Illustrated):

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– Last-minute adjustment delivers Paul Pierce’s game-winner  ( from J Michael,  Washington Post):

“I got the ball in a great spot. Coach drew up the play. It’s a play we just put in yesterday. Got the switch. Got the smaller guy on me. Took my time. Wanted to make sure I got the shot off with no time on the clock. I’ve been in that situation many times. … Got to my spot and was able to knock it down.”

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– Rockets see big holes, vow to improve their defense  (from Broderick Turner,  LATimes):

“We’re gambling at half court, so that allows them to get easy points once again,” Rockets guard James Harden said after Houston practiced at the Lakers’ training facility in El Segundo.

“I think if we make them play against our set defense for 90 percent of the game, the game will be a lot different. But when we reach and gamble, then guys go around us. They get lobs, they get threes and their crowd gets into the game.”

–  Rockets’ Howard, Smith have roots in close-knit AAU team  (from Jenny Dial Creech, Houston Chronicle):
–  Cavaliers, Bulls battle to manage injury concerns  (from Steve Aschburner,
–  Wesley Matthews talks guarding ‘Splash Bros  (from David MacKay,
” Portland Trail Blazers guard Wesley Matthews joined Rick Fox, Matt Winer, and Stu Jackson on NBA GameTime to discuss his methods for guarding 2015 MVP Stephen Curry and 2015 MIP candidate Klay Thompson of the Golden State Warriors.”




–  A look at the Nuggets’ top four candidates to become the new coach  (from Christopher Dempsey,  Denver Post):

” This will be a specific search. The Nuggets are looking for a certain style of play, and each of these candidates for the team’s vacant head coaching job fills that bill. But they are going deeper than that, so we will too. What separates these men? What have they done, and what makes them attractive to the organization? The Nuggets, who started the coaching search process last week, are in the midst of doing their due diligence, figuring out who is the best fit for the vision they have for the team going forward. Here is a breakdown of the four main candidates:”

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 Additional Player Notes, Updates, Profiles:


Otto Porter:


Will Bynum:


Drew Gooden


Tony Allen:


Andre Iguodala:


Spencer Hawes:


Damian Lillard:


Meyers Leonard:


Giannis Antetokuonmpo:


Omer Asik:


Bruno Caboclo:


Isaiah Thomas:


Jordan McRae:


DeWayne Dedmon:


Elfrid Payton:


Marvin Williams:




TOTN (from John Hollinger, Memphis Grizzlies exec): “I do feel a little bit like we’re painting graffiti on the Mona Lisa. But it’s really good graffiti, not run of the mill shit.”



Today’s Best NBA Reporting and Analysis


A rejuvenated Marc Gasol? (from

” Last month proved to be a real struggle for Gasol.

He shot just 46 percent and posted nearly three points less than his regular-season scoring average. Gasol looked tentative and regularly settled for long jump shots that started to fall short of the rim, or sail to left or right of the basket.

Against the Thunder, Gasol looked like the player who earned the first All-Star start in franchise history. He even made it a point to be forceful around the basket, scoring easily against the Thunder’s front line.

There clearly was more bounce in Gasol’s step. A perfectionist who clearly got frustrated many nights, Gasol seemed rejuvenated.”

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–  LeBron ventures into the post with playoffs coming  (from Bob Finnan,

”  The handful of NBA scouts in attendance … obviously took note of LeBron James’ new wrinkle in the Cavaliers’ offense in the 114-88 blowout of Miami on April 2.

Instead of operating strictly on the perimeter, James set up shop on the low block.

The 6-foot-8, 250-pounder still found his open teammates, as evidenced by his seven assists. He still scored 23 points and added eight rebounds, three blocks and a steal.

He’s just getting ready for what’s on the horizon. Once the postseason begins, James is expected to venture into the low post with more regularity.

“(It’s a) shift of the mindset, that’s all,” James said. “I understand what we’re about to face. I want to get a good feel for it.”

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–  Celtics 2-3 zone proves effective  (from Tom Westerholm,

” In college, you can just kind of stand in there and not worry about anything,” Zeller said. “In the NBA, if they spread it out, they can distort the zone, and really make it difficult to tag and stay there.”

At the high-school and college levels, the 2-3 zone is a staple. It’s built to minimize the damage penetrating guards can cause at the rim, allowing defenders to guard areas rather than individuals. The center can camp out in the painted area as long as he wants, taking up space and contesting shots, which can prove devastating against teams without elite 3-point shooters.

Since defenders can’t be in the paint for more than three seconds in the NBA, playing a 2-3 zone is difficult. At times this season, however, Boston has shown it can be done with a lot of rotating and a very alert center.”

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–  Can Westbrook find more in reserve?   (from Royce Young,  ESPN):

”  Westbrook’s minutes haven’t necessarily ballooned. He’s averaged 34.2 a game this season, the second lowest number of his career, not counting his rookie year (the only one lower was last season, when he was on a minute restriction for most of it). However, since Durant’s last game on Feb. 21, Westbrook is averaging 37.0 a game. Over his last four: 40.0 a game.

“I know what you’re getting at, and I don’t know what your angle is, but he missed some shots, and he’s missed some shots the last couple games,” Thunder coach Scott Brooks said. “He plays hard. He’s going to get tired after every game. That’s what he does. That’s what an NBA player should do.

“That has nothing to do with his minutes,” Brooks continued. “His minutes have been good all year long and we’ve monitored them. He missed some shots. Every time you have a bad shooting game, or a couple bad shooting games, it’s not because you’re tired. It’s just things don’t fall. He competes, he leaves everything on the floor and I couldn’t be more proud of him.”

Westbrook has always been the kind of player who empties his tank nightly, playing with the kind of ferocity that few other players can tap into. That type of relentless energy has always been managed, mostly because Westbrook could channel it in other areas as Durant shouldered the offensive load for long stretches. Now, without Durant, Westbrook’s solo act, while stunningly remarkable, means the 34 minutes he’s playing aren’t the same 34 minutes he used to play.”

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Bulls 88, Pistons 82 (from David Mayo,

“Even in the first half, I thought our defense on first shots was good,” Pistons coach Stan Van Gundy said. “But we didn’t rebound the ball. We gave up 13 offensive rebounds in the first half. That’s why we were in a hole.”

“I felt like we came out, we got some stops early, but those stops turned into offensive rebounds and buckets,” Pistons forward Anthony Tolliver said. “It’s always disheartening when you work hard, get the stop, and they end up getting the rebound and scoring anyway. They did a great job of attacking the glass. We definitely have to do a better job of getting all five back into the fight, securing the ball and going.”

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Harmony, sacrifice keeps Spurs’ 50-win season streak humming (from Fran Blinebury,

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Jazz defense winning games, but offensive finishing touches keeping opponents in it (from AllThatAmar,

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Bulls Getting Their Reinforcements at Just the Right Time  (from James Davis, Bleacher Report):

” The Chicago Bulls have once again had to endure an injury-riddled season, including a recent hit that simultaneously sat Derrick Rose, Jimmy Butler and Taj Gibson. The latter two players have since returned, and Derrick Rose will likely be back in time for the playoffs. Chicago will be at optimum health at the most crucial juncture of the season.

This bodes well on many levels. For starters, it gives head coach TomThibodeau his intended 2014-15 starting lineup of Rose, Butler, MikeDunleavy, Pau Gasol and  Joakim Noah. That grouping has played together in only 19 games this year, but the team was 15-4 in those contests.

On top of that, the Bulls’ depth will be exceptionally formidable. Since January, many tertiary players have shown the ability to be productive. Tony Snell has been playing consistently well, and Nikola Mirotic went on a tear in March. Rotations tend to tighten in the playoffs, butThibodeau will have a litany of personnel packages to work with.

The championship window will be opening a little wider for this franchise once the postseason commences. A look at what Rose, Butler and Gibson add to the current incarnation of the Bulls will show that this club is a stronger Eastern Conference contender than its regular-season performance has suggested.”

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–  The Rebuilding of Iron Man  (from Jason Quick,


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–  5 Ways the Golden State Warriors Have Lost This Season   (from Jamie Oppenheim,

” The Golden State Warriors are a massive, fundamental problem for any team that hopes to beat them in the NBA playoffs. They’re first in the league in defensive efficiency, second in offensive efficiency. And at 62-13, they’re in the process of putting together the most impressive regular season since the 2000 Los Angeles Lakers.

So how do you beat them?

It won’t be easy. This chart describes the circumstances surrounding their 13 losses, and it won’t instill a lot of confidence in teams hoping to beat them four times in seven games. More times than not, factors beyond its control have led to Golden State’s losses. Still, the Warriors are not undefeated.

Here are the five ways the Warriors have lost this season:”

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Additional Player Notes, Updates, Profiles:


Jared  Sullinger:


Nikola Pekovic:


DeMarre Carroll:


Isaiah Thomas:


Omer Asik:


Kentavious Caldwell-Pope:


Jordan Clarkson:


Avery Bradley:


Andrew Nicholson:


Reggie Bullock:


Deron Williams:


Trey Burke:


Damjan Rudez: