Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Despite Age, Duncan Continues to Impress

For the 21st time in his career, the guy wearing No. 21 for the Spurs is the Western Conference Player of the Week.
Tim Duncan took home his first such award in almost three years Monday after a week in which he posted three double-doubles and averaged 22 points, 12.8 rebounds, three assists and 1.25 blocks as the Spurs went 3-1.
Duncan opened last week with a string of three consecutive games of at least 20 points and 10 rebounds, his first such streak since Nov. 23-27, 2009, not coincidentally the last time he was named a conference player of the week.
“At 36, it’s tough to play like that,” said Parker, at 30 the youngest of the Spurs’ Big Three. “At the same time, he works hard and takes care of his body. He’s making sure he eats well and keeps his knees healthy. So far, it’s looking good.”

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Kobe Bryant: I’ll Score More With Nash

Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni said his team won’t realize its potential until point guard Steve Nash returns from a hairline fibula fracture, perhaps as early as next week.
What will Nash’s return mean for Bryant?
“I’ll be scoring a lot more,” Bryant said. “I don’t have the facilitate as much. Everybody can kind of go to their natural positions. It enables me to do what I do best, which is to put the ball in the hole.”

NBA BEATS - I agree. In my opinion that is all the Lakers needed to do in the off season and they did it. But then they go and get Dwight Howard? Why? You already have Pau Gasol. I would rather have Pau Gasol. Sometimes less is more. All they needed was a Steve Nash and yes he will do wonders for Kobe. Kobe can play stress free now.  That was until you brought in Dwight Howard. Now Kobe has to worry about keeping this his team and scoring here and there. Great move bringing in Nash. Horrible move bringing in Howard.

Iman Shumpert Targetting January to Return

Shumpert told The Post recently his target date for return is January, not December. The former Georgia Tech guard will be a dynamo to aid the Knicks’ on-the-ball defense and take pressure off Brewer. Before suffering a torn ACL, Shumpert was among the best perimeter defenders in basketball in his rookie season.

Sixers To Look For Frontcourt Help?

The Sixers acquired Andrew Bynum from the Los Angeles Lakers in a four-team trade this past offseason in which they also shipped All-Star forward Andre Iguodala to the Denver Nuggets. DiLeo says Bynum’s knee problems have worsened since the mega deal.
“His knees now and the MRIs are not the same; it’s a different type (of) situation,” DiLeo added. “At the time of the trade, we had four doctors look at his MRI; we knew it was a calculated risk. We also knew we were getting the second-best center in the league, a franchise-type player. We took that risk.”
Bynum was expected to assume a major role in head coach Doug Collins’ lineup this season, with the belief he could continue developing into a franchise player.
With Bynum on the shelf indefinitely it is possible the Sixers look to add a veteran big man for additional depth. Two options are Eddy Curry, who played earlier this season with the Dallas Mavericks, and veteran forward Kenyon Martin who has been actively lobbying for another opportunity in the league.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Irving Out Four Weeks With Broken Finger

Cleveland Cavaliers point guard Kyrie Irving will miss the next four with a hairline/non-displaced fracture in his left index finger, the team announced on Monday afternoon. Irving will be reevaluated in two weeks.

Deron Williams Upset at Dwight Howard?

Dwight Howard lost a lot of friends and supporters during his curious ride out of Orlando. But if one of those severed relationships was with Deron Williams, Howard – the man who wanted to please everybody — doesn’t care.
“It’s my life so if he’s upset because I made a decision for me, so be it,” Howard said. “If he doesn’t want to be friends because I’m on another team, then so be it. There’s no need to smooth things over.”
The two All-Stars plotted to play together in Brooklyn, but Howard essentially killed that possibility by waiving his right to become a free agent last March. Howard has said the decision was based on his desire to keep everybody happy, even though it forfeited his opportunity to sign with the Nets in the summer.
“I’m here now in L.A. there’s no need to talk about what could have happened. I’m happy with being here in L.A.,” Howard said. “The fans have always been great here. Now that I’m on the team the fans, from Day 1, they’ve just been unbelievable to me and to this team.
Although Williams and Howard were close friends and met up for dinner whenever they were in the same town, Williams said recently he hasn’t spoken to his former Olympic teammate. He re-signed with the Nets in July after Howard’s 11th-hour waffling, but flirted with joining the Mavericks because, among other reasons, he wanted a star teammate.

Spurs Interested in Mickael Pietrus?

Hearing Spurs do have interest in Mickael Pietrus — natural w/2 other Frenchmen on roster — but Pietrus still seeks more than NBA minimum
Spurs currently $1,149,135 below NBA’s luxury-tax line, enough to offer pro-rated minimum deal and stay under. Pietrus holding out for more

Monday, November 19, 2012

Joe Johnson Feels ‘Rejuvenated’ with Nets

After spending the past seven seasons as the face of the Atlanta Hawks, Joe Johnson has had to adjust to being a piece of the puzzle in his first season with the Nets.
But after having the weight of a franchise on his shoulders in Atlanta, Johnson is excited to have a fresh start with the Nets, who begin a West Coast trip tonight here against the Kings.
“I definitely feel rejuvenated,” Johnson told The Post after a recent practice. “I feel like this is a new beginning, a new start for me, and I just want to make the most of it.”
Johnson came to be defined by something totally out of his control: his six-year contract for more than $120 million signed in July 2010. Suddenly, a player who was incredibly productive for the Hawks was only thought of in terms of the dollar value on his contract.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Suns’ Gentry May Adjust Starting Lineup

For weeks, Suns coach Alvin Gentry had been pushing aside the idea of mixing up his starting five to solve the most pressing early-season issue for his new-look squad — slow, lethargic starts.
“We have to do something and take a look at another situation,” Gentry said. “We keep trying to make adjustments and changes. We can’t keep battling from behind. It’s just too hard.”
“Something is not clicking for us, and we have to find some solution,” Goran Dragic said. “If he has to change some players in the starting lineup, then we have to do that.”

Rajon Rondo: ‘MVP is in the picture’

After missing Thursday’s game in Brooklyn with a sprained right ankle, Rajon Rondo returned to action Saturday and picked up right where he left off, handing out a whopping 20 assists in Boston’s 107-89 triumph over the Toronto Raptors.
“I’ve said that from Day 1 that he’s the best point guard in this league,” said (Jason) Terry. “This year he’s definitely going to be in the talks when they’re talking about MVP, if we can continue to win. The way he controls the game, his leadership, his ability to dominate the game on both ends of the floor is what makes him special.”
Rondo didn’t back away from the MVP chatter noting, “Well, JT’s on my side, so he’s a little biased, but the MVP is in the picture. I would like to be one day. But, we’ve just got to keep winning.”

NBA BEATS - I think he is the second best point guard. Can't believe I think that way because his shot is so ugly. But he is just so good at everything else. He is a stud. He is the best conventional point guard. I think he is the best point guard. I just don't think he is the best player that plays point guard. I would rather have Russell Westbrook.

Bynum’s Setback Caused by Bowling?

The Philadelphia 76ers fear All-Star center Andrew Bynum might have done additional damage to his knees while bowling, according to sources close to the situation.
Multiple sources told ESPN on Saturday that Bynum suffered an unspecified injury this month while bowling. On Friday, Bynum revealed that — on top of the issues with his right knee that could keep him sidelined until January — he also had suffered a “setback” with his left knee.
There are several activities that are prohibited in standard NBA player contracts, but bowling is not one of them. Bynum is known to enjoy bowling.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Al Jefferson: ‘I’d Love to Stay in Utah’

“I want to be in the NBA,” he said. “That’s the blessing. When no teams want me, that’s when I need to start worrying. But right now I want to be in the NBA. I want to be a Utah Jazz, to be honest with you. I’d love to stay in Utah. They do things the right way, kind of reminds me of Boston how it’s first class.
“But they’ve got to do what’s best for the team, and I’m going to do what’s best for my family. But right now this is all about winning and getting back to these playoffs.”

Magic Johnson Disagrees With Buss

“I love Dr. (Jerry) Buss. I don’t believe in Jim Buss,” Johnson said on ESPN’s “NBA Countdown” on Wednesday night. “He’s made two critical mistakes already. To me, they made two critical mistakes.
“First, hiring Mike Brown — he wasn’t the right coach. He’s a great coach but not the right coach for the Lakers. And I don’t feel Mike D’Antoni is the right coach for the Lakers. Especially when you have Phil Jackson sitting out there, who wanted to be the Laker coach. Jim Buss decided he didn’t want Phil Jackson, he wanted Mike D’Antoni. And that’s OK, but why didn’t you just say that? But the fans were cheering for Phil Jackson two nights in a row.”

NBA BEATS - If I had to guess. I think Magic had gone to Jim Buss and expressed interest in having some ownership in the Lakers at some point and he was turned down.  Supposedly that is also what Phil Jackson was asking for for him to come back. Magic is still just holding a grudge. I don't know if that is the case. I just do not like Magic. I would way rather have Larry Bird. I thought Bird was way better!!! I wish Magic would just go away. I don't fault Jim Buss anything. He can do what he wants. Shut up Magic. What he want may be wrong for the team. I certainly think Phil is a way better option than Mike D'antoni. But he is making the decision and it has nothing to do with you Magic. You were just a player and have no right to speak out about it. You were paid now go away.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

With McHale out; Rockets Search for Identity

Houston Rockets head coach Kevin McHale has taken a leave of absence to deal with a family matter. McHale has been away from the team since Saturday and there’s no timetable for his return. In the meantime, Rockets assistant coach Kelvin Sampson is filling in as the team’s head coach and keeping McHale updated.
“I talked to him last night at length and talked with him again today,” Sampson said. “It’s a tough time for his family. He’s struggling with that, but we’re keeping him abreast with everything that is going on here and our thoughts and prayers are certainly with him.”
The Rockets are going through an adjustment period as they try to get the new acquisitions James Harden, Jeremy Lin and Omer Asik acclimated. While the offense is still a work in progress, Sampson has been impressed with his team’s defense.
The Rockets are currently 3-4, but they should continue to get better as the season goes on. Sampson is doing his best to guide Houston’s young core until McHale can return to the sideline.

Knicks’ J.R. Smith Making Sixth Man Case?

Don’t expect J.R. Smith to start complaining about his Sixth-Man role any longer Remember when he learned Mike Woodson didn’t look at him as a starter this season. Smith responded by saying, “Disappointing is an understatement.’’
After a modest season opener after playing just once in preseason because of Achilles tendinitis, Smith is tearing it up the past three games, off the bench. Smith is averaging 17.5 points, second-highest on the club after Carmelo Anthony. Smith is also averaging 5.5 rebounds and 3.3 assists for the 4-0 Knicks, who play in Orlando tomorrow.
Smith should be a strong candidate for Sixth Man of the Year, something he scoffed at after learning his non-starter role during training camp

Monday, November 12, 2012

Cavs’ Byron Scott Calls Out Second Unit

Byron Scott is hanging a “Help Wanted” sign after the Cavaliers’ 106-91 loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder on Sunday evening at Chesapeake Energy Arena.
The beleaguered coach is one step short of running an ad in the classifieds or holding open tryouts to find somebody, anybody, to join Daniel Gibson on the team’s unproductive second unit.
“The biggest thing is, I’m just looking for somebody besides Boobie Gibson to step up off the bench,” Scott said after the Cavs dropped their third straight to fall to 2-5 overall, 1-4 on this six-game trip that ends Tuesday at Brooklyn.

NBA BEATS - I like that Byron Scott is calling out his bench players. I like Byron Scott as a coach. I think he can turn things around in Cleveland. I watched them play the other night against the Phoenix Suns. I liked their squad. Especially Dion Waiters. That guy I think is a star in the making. With him and Kyrie Irving, that is a back court to be reckoned with. That could turn into one respectable backcourt. The just need some other players. Good luck with that Bryon.

Lakers Hire Mike D’Antoni as Coach

Mike D’Antoni, not Phil Jackson, will be the next coach of the Lakers.
“We signed Mike D’Antoni to a multi-year deal,” Lakers spokesman John Black said, mentioning the team’s owner and top two executives. “Dr. [Jerry] Buss, Jim Buss and Mitch Kupchak were unanimous that Mike D’Antoni was the best coach for the team at this time.”
D’Antoni, 61, coached the New York Knicks last season and the Phoenix Suns before that. He will officially take over the Lakers within a week or two, depending how quickly he recovers from knee-replacement surgery.
The Lakers will introduce their new coach at a news conference as early as Tuesday but more likely later in the week. Bernie Bickerstaff will remain the team’s interim coach for now.
D’Antoni signed a three-year deal for $12 million. The team holds an option for a fourth year.
Jackson was the overwhelming favorite to return to the Lakers until they heard his informal demands, which included a stake in team ownership, according to a person familiar with the situation.

Pacers’ Rising Star Craves Pressure

With all the pressure on Paul George to succeed, it’s has proven challenging to just kick back and be easy about things. George knows that the best players in the league take on those expectations, and that’s exactly what he is trying to do.
“Of course I want that pressure,” he said. “A lot of guys my age, I don’t t think they would approach the game the way that I would. At the end of the day I do want to be an All-Star. I do want to be the best player I can be. But most of all, I just want to win. Whether that’s scoring 15 points and 10-12 rebounds or 20-plus points a night, at the end of the day, with the team that I am surrounded by, I just want to win.”

James, Faried Named Players of Week

The Miami Heat’s LeBron James and the Denver Nuggets’ Kenneth Faried were today named Eastern and Western Conference Players of the Week, respectively, for games played Monday, Nov. 5, through Sunday, Nov. 11.  
James guided the Heat to a 3-1 week with averages of 21.0 points on .569 shooting from the field, a conference-best 11.0 rebounds (tied with the Brooklyn Nets’ Kris Humphries), and 6.0 assists. James grabbed his 5,000th career rebound on Nov. 9 during Miami’s 95-89 win over Atlanta. James posted a point-rebound double-double in all four of Miami’s contests on the week and handed out six or more assists in three-of-four games.
Faried helped the Nuggets to a 4-0 week, posting three point-rebound double-doubles in the process. Faried averaged 16.8 points on .563 shooting from the field to go alongside 12.8 rebounds (second in the conference to Memphis’ Zach Randolph’s 14.3 rpg), 1.8 blocks and 1.0 steals. Faried tallied 18 points, 17 rebounds, three blocks and two steals during a 107-101 victory at Golden State to close the week.

DeRozan the Key To Toronto’s Rise

One of the primary reasons why the Raptors are expected to be in the playoff mix once they get healthy is the anticipated emergence of DeMar DeRozan, who just inked a contract extension that will keep him in Toronto for the foreseeable future.
“Yeah, it is [nice to get the extension]; it definitely is,” DeRozan tells HOOPSWORLD. “It’s where I started and it’s where I want to end at the end of the day, so I’m just going to go out and lay everything on the line every time I’m on the floor.”
Not only is DeRozan committed to being the best player he can be on the court, he is also committed to making Toronto an attractive destination for free agents who are looking for a winning situation.
“That’s my whole goal is to change that around, show guys that it’s fine to play here and once everything gets rolling our way, it’ll be well worth it,” says DeRozan. “I’m very confident once we give the city what they’re expecting, it’ll be well worth it playing in Canada. That’s what I’m looking forward to.”

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Aldridge Wants To Own The Block

Aldridge has always wanted to be more of a post player, but the Blazers haven’t always wanted that to be his role. He welcomes the comparison to Nowitzki, but sees some key differences, too.
“I’ve always wanted to be that guy, if the team let me be that guy, that was always a question,” says Aldridge. “But, I’ve grown into that role of being that guy who is trying to make shots for my teammates. We can’t do pick-n-rolls all game, we can’t take jump shots all game, so we’ve got to have that guy that can go down low and make teams double team.”

Lakers Meeting with Phil Jackson Today

The Lakers are moving quickly toward hiring Phil Jackson as their next coach, with one person in the organization calling it a “95%” chance he will return for a third tour with the team.
The Lakers plan on meeting with Jackson on Saturday morning to make sure he is interested in the job. The unknown 5% in their equation is the chance Jackson doesn’t want to fill the vacancy created by the Friday firing of Mike Brown, either because of health reasons or other unknown issues.
Ultimately, Lakers management wants Jackson too. It’s just a matter of where Jackson stands right now. People who have spoken with him in recent weeks say he enjoys his life away from the game but is also intrigued by the Lakers’ roster and the opportunity to return to the only franchise he has known since 1999.
Jackson left the Lakers after the 2010-11 season, and at least one prominent player said he wanted a chance at redemption on Jackson’s behalf.

Durant, Westbrook Have New Agreement?

Russell Westbrook on KD (Kevin Durant) playing an almost passive game: “I think Kevin’s just playing his game. He lets the game come to him. Everybody’s got different personalities. Kevin’s the laid-back type. Everybody knows me as the crazy type. So my job is to do that and his job is to be relaxed.”
Westbrook again said something tonight that he’s repeatedly said in the past. KD’s the go-to guy down the stretch.
Maybe that’s what’s in play here. Maybe Durant is letting Westbrook do his thing for three quarters and taking the reins in the fourth. Maybe that’s something the two stars have agreed to so there can be harmony.
How else can you explain Durant simply watching Westbrook throw up shot after shot throughout the first three quarters tonight, missing more than 70 percent of them? Durant literally did nothing. He didn’t demand the ball. He didn’t make a fuss. He didn’t even appear to try to corral Westbrook.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Was Mike Brown The Lakers’ Problem?

 NBA BEATS - I think Mike Brown was part of the problem. I think the mistake made though was by upper managment for bring in Dwight Howard. Horrible move. All the Lakers needed was a Steve Nash. In my opinion the lakers where the team to beat until they brought in Dwight Howard. I would way rather have Pau Gasol. And Nash would do wonders for Kobe. Kobe could play stress free. I have never been a fan of Howard. He is just a superior being in regards to his physical body. They guy does not have much talent though. Plus he is a diva and is just gona tear up the locker room. Horrible move bring him in. Have never been a big fan of Mike Brown either.

It was bound to happen. When the Los Angeles Lakers went winless in the preseason it raised a few eyebrows, but the preseason is not always a good indicator of regular season success. When the games started to count, though, the losing became more troublesome. Considering the number of changes to the Lakers’ roster, the new offense being implemented, the lack of depth and the injury to Steve Nash, firing the head coach is a bit like putting a band-aid on a cracked dam.
The turnover alone would be enough to derail any NBA team. Yes, the Lakers have four All-Stars in their starting lineup, but once you get past the starters there is a noticeable drop-off in talent. Dwight Howard has foul troubles from time to time, and Jordan Hill is hardly a suitable stand-in. Steve Nash’s age was a concern from day one, yet the best the Lakers have behind him is Steve Blake, who has struggled since he arrived in L.A. Kobe Bryant has been as dominant as ever, but should he need to miss games for any reason the Lakers would be leaning on Jodie Meeks, who is shooting 28 percent on the season. The only position where the Lakers have a strong back-up is at forward, but even Antawn Jamison has had a hard time sparking the team off the bench.
The starting lineup is another story. Bryant is the most demanding teammate in the NBA, a lesson that Pau Gasol learned immediately upon being acquired by the Lakers. Howard does not approach the game with anything like the same level of seriousness as Bryant, and Howard’s recent comments about people needing to “lighten up” are no doubt in reference to Bryant. No one takes losing as personally as Bryant, and it seems only a matter of time before he has to go off on Howard in an effort to get him to take losing more seriously. Until he does, the Lakers will continue to struggle, no matter who is doing the coaching.
Finally, there’s the new offense, which seems to have turned Nash and Howard into bystanders instead of dominant, game-changing players. The Princeton offense, in particular, is a brilliant offense when it’s run properly. Rick Adelman, for example, has had great success with it for many years, spanning a large number of All-Star players on five different NBA teams. It worked with Terry Porter and Kevin Duckworth in Portland, it worked with Vlade Divac and Mike Bibby in Sacramento, and it worked with Yao Ming and a variety of supporting players in Houston. There’s no reason why that offense couldn’t work with Howard and Nash as the primary catalysts, but it’s not something that happens overnight.
There are plenty of reasons for the Lakers’ struggles to date. Lack of depth and the correspondingly low bench production would top my list, and that has little or nothing to do with coaching. Brown was handed a team and told to go out and compete for a championship, but the composition of that team is not such that competing for a championship is necessarily a given. Sure, the starting lineup is impressive, and that lineup has struggled to get on the same page. That comes down to coaching, but the other factors at play are beyond what Brown, or any other coach, can control.

Suns climb back

Phoenix suns were down by 26 tonight hosting Cleveland. They climbed all the way back and won. Great win for the Suns. I was quite impressed by Cleveland though. They are a decent squad. Especially with Dion Waiters. That guy looked impressive!!!

Brandon Roy Admits Legs Aren’t Back

Brandon Roy is off to a sluggish start. But the three-time NBA all-star wants to clarify two things: his knees are fine, and he’s not about to panic.
Roy has not contributed significantly to the Timberwolves’ 3-1 start. He is shooting 26.6 percent and averaging 5.7 points, both career lows. Though he has started all four games, he has not played in the fourth quarter the past three games, and he’s been passive with his shooting.
“My thing was to not come out and make a splash right away but to be ready in the later months,” Roy said Thursday, Nov. 8, after a Wolves practice. “I just need to get my legs back. My legs are still a little heavy. My shot’s been off. Once I get my legs back, the game will get easier.”

Blazers’ Lillard Not Content With Hot Start

Blazers head coach Terry Stotts couldn’t be more pleased with what he’s seen from his young floor general, especially Lillard’s hunger to improve.
“Damian is like everybody has been saying: he’s an excellent, young guy, who’s played well, but he’s not content with how he’s played,” Stotts said. “He’s had three good games that people have been putting into historical context, but at the same time he looks at it as how he can improve, and where the areas are that he can do better, so I think that’s going to help him down the line.”
Lillard has also impressed his team captain early, though LaMarcus Aldridge had seem him in summer league before training camp and preaseason and had an idea what to expect.
“If I didn’t go through training camp with him, I think I’d be surprised,” Aldridge said. “I’ve seen him all through training camp and he’s done this day in and day out, so I’m not overly surprised. He’s that good, he’s talented, he’s smart, he knows the game very well. He has that pace to his game that next-level guys have, he doesn’t get sped up, he kind of dictates the offense, so that’s good for him.”

Mavs’ Focus: Wearing Down Opponents

Featuring two 25-year-old starters that are both at least a decade younger than their predecessors in Dallas, the onus is on wearing down opponents by playing aggressive basketball on both ends of the floor.
“We understand how important it is to come out and be good every night,” Mayo said. “Start the game well every night and guard our positions then, in the third quarter, come out with a strong stance. We’re still learning and we’re still young so we’re going to make some mistakes but, without a doubt, we’re going to go out there and play incredibly hard, lot of effort, lot of energy and just try to give ourselves a chance to win.”
A key factor in the almost instant on-court cohesion between Mayo and Collison is that the pair already had an excellent rapport both on and off the basketball court.  The duo has frequently played pickup games in previous offseasons together and had developed a good relationship off the floor before joining forces in Dallas this past summer.
“Yeah, I like playing with O.J.,” Collison said. “I’ve been playing with OJ for the last two to three summers. He’s a guy that I respect off the court, and vice versa. O.J.’s a guy that continues to work on and off the court, and anytime you see that, it just brings your game up to a whole other level too. He’s excited to play with me, and I’m excited to play with him and it’s only going to be good things hopefully for the near future.”