Tag:Magic
Posted on: December 6, 2010 9:35 am
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Shootaround 12.6.10: The Brad Miller Engine

Miller drops his man, Gortat is a soccer nut, Z-BO for USA, and the worst half of basketball ever, all in today's Shootaround.  Posted by Matt Moore

Knicks blog Posting and Toasting says Danilo Galinari needs to make Landry Fields his hero: "Gallo has returned to chilling around the three-point arc and waiting for kick-outs. Even there, his conversion rate has been uncomfortably low. One way he might see more opportunities is to do what Chandler and Landry Fields have been doing and dive in diagonally or along the baseline when Stoudemire receives the ball around the free throw line. It's not like Gallo's hurting the team (5 assists, 4 boards, and decent enough defense on the perimeter), but he can do much more to help them. 2-7 isn't the kind of output you expect from someone with Gallo's scoring ability."

Zach Randolph wants to play for Team USA. I'm curious as to whether Zach realizes that the traditional block concept is nearly absent in international play. 

Marcin Gortat was a huge soccer fan and played it almost exclusively until he was 18 when he found basketball. Add him to the list of guys you'd put on a soccer team from NBA players with Steve Nash being the obvious first overall choice. 

Behold: The worst half of basketball ever.

Brad Miller dropped the man coming around his screen this weekend. Unfortunately, it was his own man

Ben Wallace is so good even at his age that bloggers know they're taking him for granted: "I don’t spend much time writing about Wallace anymore because, frankly, he’s just so consistently good that I don’t think it needs pointing out. But he, along with Hamilton and Prince, was part of the “retro” performance I alluded to in the headline. Wallace had 9 rebounds, 5 assists, 3 blocks and a steal. He was an imposing presence inside and a huge reason Cleveland’s guards shot poorly. They may have been getting penetration, but Wallace blocked or altered several shots in his 24 minutes and he continued to show that he’s a great high-post passer and someone the Pistons can comfortably take advantage of on offense."

A lockout would be devastating on so many fronts, but here's another: Kevin Garnett may retire

Our own Ben Golliver on what was memorable from last night's Blazers win over the Clippers, the violence: "This game will endure for its random acts of violence. First, and most memorably, Blazers center Joel Przybilla, who was greeted with a standing ovation upon his entry to the game, was flagrantly fouled by Brian Cook with 4 second remaining in the third quarter. The mid-air hit, which sent Przybilla flying to the ground, wound up earning Cook a Flagrant Foul 2 and an immediate ejection. It also set off a tussle under Portland's basket, with Clippers point guard Baron Davis getting into Blazers forward Nicolas Batum's chest, and Przybilla and Clippers big man Craig Smith apparently getting after it as well. All four were assessed technical fouls, and the sequence resulted with Przybilla splitting the free throws awarded him for Cook's flagrant foul, for his only point of the game."

If Brad Miller is the fuel for your offense? You may need to get a new engine.

Glen Davis, meet medicine ball
Posted on: November 30, 2010 3:35 pm
 

Award-O-Matic MVP 11.30.10: CP3 as MVP

NBA F&R breaks down the MVP candidates after the first month of the season by dissecting the award down to three parts: Most Valuable, Most Important, and Most Oustanding Player. CP3 is in control.
Posted by Matt Moore with contributions from Ben Golliver and Royce Young




Well, we're a month into the season and the context of this year has begun to take shape. While certainly a long way from the finish line, we've already gotten a glimpse of who's playing well, who's playing average, and who ... not so much. And so it is that we begin our monthly look at awards. On a regular basis we'll take you around the award contenders and give you a look at who is in contention for the NBA's major awards by breaking down what they really mean in our Award-O-Matic. Today we start with the MVP.

The problem, as has been elucidated approximately a million times by various media members, is that the MVP is a nebulous, hard to define award. Its name is Most Valuable, but it most often goes to the Most Outstanding Player on a winning team. If your play is other-worldly but your team doesn't win, you have no shot. If you contribute the most to a winning team but your numbers aren't stellar, again, your chances are slim. It takes a combination of three factors: value, performance, and importance to snag the award. As such, we decided to break the award into those three categories, tally them up with the top player getting 3 points, the second 2, the third 1, then summing to see if we could come up with a list.

First up?

Most Valuable Player (To Their Team): Who is most responsible for their team's success? Or, to put it another way, whose team suffers the most without them?


Matt Moore:


1. Dirk Nowitzki: Without him that offense is anemic and it's been his rebounding that's kept them in games at points.
2. Carmelo Anthony: Seriously, Nuggets. Cliff. Teetering. Melo's the only thing keeping the truck from smashing into pieces.
3. Dwight Howard: Get him in foul trouble and the Magic turn into a Mid-Major college team, just wining it from perimeter to perimeter.

Ben Golliver:

1. Chris Paul:
  I like Darren Collison as much as the next guy, but CP3's return from injury to lead New Orleans' absurd hot start, despite an unimpressive supporting cast, reveals exactly how valuable the league's best point guard is.
2. Rajon Rondo Boston would still be good without Rondo, but his game ownership places them on an elite level and makes them the odds on favorite to win the East yet again. 10.6 points, 14.2 assists (what!), 4.8 rebounds and 2.5 steals through the end of November. Crazy.
3. Kevin Durant The Thunder have had an up-and-down start but imagining this team with Russell Westbrook at the helm by himself, dragging an ineffective Jeff Green along for the ride, would be a recipe for a guaranteed lottery team. KD will get better -- perhaps much better -- over the course of the season, and he's already easily leading the NBA in scoring again.

Royce Young:

1. Chris Paul:   Subtract Paul and what do you have. I can promise you it's not an 8-1 team. It's really as simple as that.
2. Dirk Nowitzki:   The Mavericks are dangerous in every fourth quarter that they're close in. The reason is because Dirk can score in every situation, at any time. He essentially is the Maverick offense.
3. Steve Nash:   Take Nash away and yes, there's Goran Dragic who can dazzle in stretches. But without Nash this Suns team is nothing more than a 35-win club. With Nash, there's potential to push for the playoffs.

Most Important Player: Who is most crucial to their team's success? Ex. Last year I argued that Josh Smith was MIP because when he did Josh Smith-y things, the Hawks were nearly unstoppable, and when he didn't, they were much more beatable.


Matt Moore:

1. Chris Paul:
He does everything and it starts and stops with him. This is even more clearly illustrated by their recent struggles down the stretch where he hasn't been involved.
2. Al Horford: The level of production Horford is creating right now is simply astonishing. More astonishing is how overlooked he is.
3. Pau Gasol: It's him that's carrying the Lakers. Even as Kobe scores all the high points, the most dominant Laker performances this season are from Gasol.

Ben Golliver:


1. Pau Gasol: His virtuoso early season performance has single-handedly made Andrew Bynum an afterthought. What more needs to be said?
2. Deron Williams:   Utah's streak of comebacks begins with Williams' tough-minded leadership and ends with his play-making and shot-making.
3. Dirk Nowitzki:   Another banner start from Dirk singlehandedly puts a Dallas roster loaded with question marks in the playoff mix.

Royce Young:

1. Pau Gasol: Having Gasol as part of the triangle has been like a revelation. He's really what makes the Lakers so darn dangerous.
2. Kevin Garnett:
We saw what an impact his has in regard to the Celtic defense two seasons ago when his knee was injured.
3. Nick Collison:   He's a classic no-stats All-Star. He's only played for a few weeks so far this season for Oklahoma City but his value is immeasurable and impact immediate. He tips rebounds that become extra possessions, takes charges, sets outstanding screens and makes two or three small (but big) plays a game.


Most Outstanding Player: Who has simply wowed you?


Matt Moore:

1. Rajon Rondo: Key plays every time he's on the floor and he makes it look easy, There are a lot of moments where he looks like he's just on a different plane from everyone else.. and he's got three Hall of Famers on his team.
2. Russell Westbrook: Westbrook has managed to take over the game down the stretch. His turnovers are down, assists are up, he's got range and that mid-key pull-up jumper is as deadly as it ever has been. He's been simply phenomenal in half-court and full-court sets.
3. Deron Williams: Three point guards? Yup. Check Deron at the end of the clock with the game on the line. Money. And that's after all the assists, rebounds, key plays and floor leadership. Man's a ninja, no joke.

Ben Golliver:


1. Dwight Howard:
  Lost in the Miami Heat wave, Howard is quietly putting up 22.6 points, 11.9 rebounds and 2.4 blocks as the defensive and rebounding engine that will make Orlando a title contender for years to come. By the way, Orlando sits atop the Southeast Division -- 3.5 games ahead of the Heat.
2. LeBron James: His numbers are crazy and his highlights are spectacular. It's a wonder he can jump so high and dunk so hard carrying the burden of Chris Bosh and Erik Spoelstra's corpse on his shoulders.
3. John Wall:   Wall doesn't belong in the MVP discussion -- there are too many holes in his game (jumper, turnovers) and his team is terrible -- but for sheer "outstanding-ness" and "wow factor" he merits inclusion here. His assist numbers have been great and his speed is tops in the league; he's a lot further along the NBA readiness scale than even his biggest fans could have imagined.

Royce Young:

1. Rajon Rondo: He's been nothing but insanely ridiculous. Manages the game perfectly, understand his place within an offense and runs the show beautifully.
2. Kevin Love: When given the time on the floor, he's a legitimate 20-20 threat every single night. How many players can you really say that about?
3. Russell Westbrook: There's a case to be legitimately made for Westbrook as an MVP contender. Kevin Durant is still leading the league in scoring, but Westbrook is what's kept the team winning games. But his play has been just insane this year (23.8 ppg, 8.4 apg, 5.1 rpg) and he's a super-highlight waiting to happen.

Here are the tallies:

Most Valuable Player:
1. Chris Paul (6)
2. Dirk Nowitzki (5)
Tied for 3rd: Carmelo Anthony, Rajon Rondo (2)
Tied for 4th: Kevin Durant, Dwight Howard, Steve Nash (1)

Most Important Player:
1. Pau Gasol (7)
2. Chris Paul (3)
Tied for 3rd: Deron Williams, Al Horford, Kevin Garnett (2)
Tied for 4th: Dirk Nowitzki, Nick Collison (1)

Most Outstanding Player :

1. Rajon Rondo (6)
Tied for 2nd: Russell Westbrook, Dwight Howard (3)
Tied for 3rd: Kevin Love, LeBron James (2)
Tied for 4th: John Wall, Deron Williams (1)

Top 5 in Totals:
1. Chris Paul: 9
2. Rajon Rondo (8)
3. Pau Gasol (7)
4. Dirk Nowitzki (6)
5. Dwight Howard (4)
Posted on: November 26, 2010 12:40 pm
Edited on: November 26, 2010 6:08 pm
 

Your NBA Fantasy Black Friday Deals

Your NBA Black Friday Fantasy deals: come find the bargain fantasy guys you're looking for.
Posted by Kevin Goodwin

Well, folks, it's that time of year again. The day we shake off those paralyzing turkey chemicals and drag ourselves out of bed in the wee hours. The day we maraud from store to store like a pack of ravenous credit-wielding zombies. The day we do the ridiculous in the name of big deals and unparalleled savings. Black Friday hath cometh.

Fortunately, Fantasy owners don't even have to leave their couch to find great bargains … and it's the right time of year for those as well. I've got 10 super-saver steals that could put your team on the track to success in the New Year.  Don't let those other fantasy shoppers beat you to the bargains!

Fantasy Shopping Cart: Calderon's Fantasy value is sky high, and Fantasy owners are clearing out long-term roster space to snatch him up. Since Jarrett Jack was traded to New Orleans, Calderon will see the lion's share of minutes up in Toronto.  He has been producing at a high level recently, and is averaging 12.3 points and 6.5 assists over his last four games entering Black Friday. He should continue to perform for the Raptors, and for Fantasy owners from here on out.

Real Deal Equivalent: Squinkies Bubble Pack - $11.99 at Babies"R"Us
They're definitely not the most glamorous item on the list, but are widely considered to be one of the hottest grabs of the season. It's kind of like the Furby toy from a few years ago, except they're supposedly very collectable to kids, and will likely be worth holding on to for the long haul.

Fantasy Shopping Cart: Flynn still doesn't have a timetable for his return, but it's getting closer. Minnesota brought in veteran guard Luke Ridnour to push Flynn for the starting job this year, but a hip injury to Flynn deflated any competition. Now, Flynn will have to prove his worth to coach Kurt Rambis. We all know Rambis was limiting Kevin Love's minutes to start the season, so it's unclear how he'll treat Flynn when he does return. But Fantasy owners who are hurting in the guard position should keep an eye on Flynn. He has more of an upside than Ridnour, and can offer you around 13-15 points and 4-5 assists per game. He also shot 35.8 percent from downtown last season, which is a nice gift for Fantasy owners around the holidays.

Real Deal Equivalent: 1/3 Carat Diamond White Gold Bypass Bridal Ring Set - $219 at Wal-Mart
Gets the job done... and looks enough like the high-end alternatives when the time comes to take it out of the box. Plus, it'll be easy to cry poverty when you're dealing with those pesky alimony hearings.

    3. Troy Murphy, forward, New Jersey Nets (Owned 85 percent/Started 10 percent)

Fantasy Shopping Cart: Murphy has been inactive for five games now, and is sitting behind Kris Humphries and rookie Derrick Favors on the depth chart. Coach Avery Johnson hasn't been able to figure out what to do with Murphy. He missed the preseason and the start of the regular season with a back injury, but is now on the shelf because of his conditioning. The Nets traded for Murphy with the hope that he could be a starter, and now he's not playing or bringing in any Fantasy points. Not what anyone wants from a Round 5 or 6 draft choice (his average in CBSSports.com Fantasy leagues). Still, in leagues where he's available, Murphy would be worth grabbing while you can. If he gets traded by the Nets, he could go back to his 15-10 stat line, and smart Fantasy owners could get him on the cheap if they can afford to keep him reserved until he sees more court time. Keep in mind, Murphy also has a history of late-season success -- Since the 2006-07 NBA season he's averaged 11.7 points and 8.7 rebounds per game before the All-Star break and 14.8 PPG and 9.1 boards post All-Star.

Real Deal Equivalent: Samsung SMX-F40 SD camcorder - $119 at K-Mart
Sure, it might not be something you're going to use all the time, but when the battery is fully charged, this baby could come in pretty handy. Just think how useful it could be when one of your buddies falls asleep in the middle of a party. Youtube!  

Fantasy Shopping Cart: Okur hasn't played yet this season, and is available in almost half of Fantasy leagues. With the Jazz playing so well to start the year, owners with room on their roster may have good reason to add the veteran big man. As a career 37.8 3-point shooter, Okur is hardly a typical center, which makes him a nice player to own in category-based leagues. Utah's addition of Al Jefferson may scare some owners off, but nabbing Okur now before a timetable is set could pay nice dividends.

Real Deal Equivalent: Yankee Candle Pine & Cinnamon Jar Candles - $17.99 at Kohl's
Maybe you didn't have time to cut down a premiere 7-footer in the draft. Maybe you're just desperate to hide the despicable funk emanating from those 1997 Jordans that can't seem to find their way to the trashcan. Either way, this is a great way to Spruce up your lineup for the winter run... terrible pun, definitely intended.

Fantasy Shopping Cart: Przybilla is set to make his season debut on Black Friday, which gives Fantasy owners a perfect opportunity to check him out. He'll likely be rusty coming off knee surgery, but is a center worth keeping tabs on or adding in deeper formats. He doesn't score many points, but is a good source of rebounds and shoots with high efficiency from the field -- 55.5 percent for his career. Also, take in to account that Portland needs bodies on the frontcourt, which means Przybilla will get plenty of playing time. Remember he should be targeted in deeper Fantasy formats, not standard leagues.

Real Deal Equivalent:  Craftsman 179cc 24'' Two-stage Snowblower - $583 at Sears
Powerful, but a little one-dimensional. Still, winter can be long and arduous, as can the NBA season. Finding a bargain like this could be the easiest way to clear your path to the playoffs.

Fantasy Shopping Cart: Butler isn't having a very good start to the season, which means now is the time to buy. Some Fantasy owners may want to drop him, but realize he's worth too much to just throw away. That being the case, they may be willing to part with Butler for next to nothing. He hasn't fully adjusted to being in Dallas since coming over from Washington, and the one thing that would help Butler's Fantasy appeal most is being traded. So, owners that like to gamble could make the move for Butler now. Last year, Butler averaged 15.2 points and 5.4 boards with the Mavericks, so the potential is there for Fantasy owners to see a nice return on their investment.

Real Deal Equivalent:  55" Westinghouse 120Hz, 1080p LCD TV - $799.99 at Best Buy
Still a great grab if you need to upgrade. Sure, it may not shine as brightly as LED or have the pop of 3D, but, a few years ago, this was a top-of-the-line model.

    7. Brandon Roy, guard, Portland Trail Blazers (Owned 99 percent/Started 22 percent)

Fantasy Shopping Cart: Roy should be owned in every Fantasy league out there, but while he battles knee injuries, owners are definitely grinding their teeth for drafting him so high. Some owners may be looking to jump ship, since this is the lowest Roy's Fantasy value has ever been, and that means it's the perfect time to get an upper echelon guard for dirt cheap. If you can pry Roy away from another owner, there's a good chance he would make your team better immediately. Portland may limit his court time to preserve him for the year, but Roy has the ability to produce solid numbers in 20-25 minutes of action.

Real Deal Equivalent:  High-Performance Samsung Laptops - $150 off at Best Buy
Yeah, you may have to open up your wallet if you want to bring home a big toy like this, but it's definitely a great option if you want to get some high-caliber equipment without paying full retail.

Fantasy Shopping Cart: Collison was undoubtedly overvalued entering this year. He was taken with an average draft pick of 40, based solely on his 18.8 points, 9.1 assists and 3.5 rebounds as a starter last year in New Orleans. This means that current owners are probably very disappointed with his 14.3 points and 4.3 boards per game through the first five weeks of the season. I smell a sale. Collison still has the potential to be a 17 and 7 guy, and owners should check their league and see if they can strike up a deal.

Real Deal Equivalent:  All adult jeans - $15 at Old Navy
Not exactly the designer dungarees you might find in a Madison Avenue boutique, but a reasonably stylish alternative for the price. Let's face it; you could easily pay twice as much any other time of year. Yeah, I used the word "dungarees". No, I'm not a septuagenarian

Fantasy Shopping Cart: Carter is currently dealing with some bumps and bruises which are keeping him out of the Magic lineup. He's also averaging career-lows in points, rebounds and assists: 13.9, 3.2 and 2.5, respectively. Clearly, Carter is no longer the high-flyer he once was, but he does have the capability to go off on any given night. Again, we've got a player who could be reeled in for cheap based on the disappointment tied to inflated preseason expectations. If you don't mind being patient with the veteran, trading for Carter could be a steal.

Real Deal Equivalent:  Radio Flyer Big Wheel - $35 at Wal-Mart
Yeah, we all remember how awesome these were when we were kids. Of course, back then, a few rocks in the tires would only help you sound cooler when you peeled out down the driveway. It's a sentimental choice, I know, but you can't look past the classics when you're in the market for a dependable option.

Fantasy Shopping Cart: Andersen just made his season debut for the Nuggets, which is why he's available in 90 percent of CBSSports.com Fantasy leagues. He's coming off an offseason knee surgery, so he's a bit of a risky option, but there are definitely Fantasy owners out there who are in desperate need of a big man. Injury bug, anyone? Those owners might be happy to see Andersen fill a void in their lineups. He's not worth owning in standard leagues, but is definitely worth a flier in deeper Rotisserie formats. He's a bargain and a half right now.

Real Deal Equivalent:  46" APEX LCD TV, 1080p 60 Hz - $449 at Target
Absolutely jaw-dropping color. And, while it's not the most recognized brand on the market, it's got some versatility -- Size enough to hold it down in the living room, and could be a huge addition to a bedroom-sized fantasy lineup.

Posted on: November 23, 2010 9:26 am
 

Game Changer 11.23.10: Spurs and ammo

Spurs and Magic have a classic, the Pacers show they're decent in dismantling a mediocre Miami team, and the Celtics take the Hawks to the shed in today's Game Changer.
Posted by Matt Moore


Each game is made up of elements which help formulate the outcome. Monday through Friday, we'll bring you the elements from the night before's games in our own specialized version of the game recaps. It's not everything that happened, but it's an insight into what lead to the results you'll see in the box scores. This is the Game Changer.  


THE BIG ONE: Spurs have one more round than Magic in shootout


San Antonio 106 Orlando 97 .

That's the final score but it doesn't even come close to descrbing A. how great this game was or B. how close this game was. It was a back and forth affair for the entire game, as neither team could shake the other one. Just as one team would seem to be pulling away, the other would respond with a flurry of offense. San Antonio would bruise their way to a lead, only to find the Magic creating turnovers, sparking the break, and dropping in three-pointers in transition. The Magic would burst their way into a lead only to find the Spurs settle down, get a bucket, then a stop, then Manu Ginobili Ginobili'ing his way with a knife to their heart. In the end, the Spurs had a few more bullets left in the gun and the Magic were unable to find an answer for Manu.

Duncan, Parker, and Ginobili combined to shoot 23 of 42, for 64 points, 13 rebounds, 21 assists, 5 steals, and 2 blocks. Guess Boston and Miami aren't the only ones with Big 3s. The efficiency with which the Spurs attacked was ruthless. In the third, Tony Parker got up to full speed and was using those wide curving pick and rolls to find Duncan, while Ginobili was using the deep wing picks for that step-back jumper he's gotten to like so much. It was a clinic in execution, and the Magic weren't far behind, with Dwight Howard forcing the issue and the Magic backcourt raining 3s. Combined the two teams hit 21 threes on 37 attempts which is just ridiculous. Matt Bonner came through with 4 big ones (4-4 from the arc) while Mikael Pietrus kept breaking up Spurs runs on his way to a 3-5 run from the perimeter.

Sharp defense, tough shots, fun basketball, a close game. This one was a beauty.

WHAT YOU MISSED: The Heat suck.


I torched the Heat for their lack of effort, cohesion, and heart.

Ken Berger spoke with Delonte West in a must-read interview about his experiences with bipolar disorder .


DEAD BEFORE THE SHIP EVEN SANK

Last night's Celtics-Hawks game was not a game. It was a mercy killing, only without the mercy. The Celtics owned the Hawks 39-13 in the first quarter, and it didn't feel that close. Boston simply could not miss. Sharp passes, smart playsets, intensity at both ends of the floor, attacking rebounds, and Nate Robinson doing his best Rondo Baron Davis when he was good impression, throw in the Hawks looking like they wanted to be anywhere but on the floor and Al Horford being physically dominated by Boston's size and you've got a recipe for Von Wafer to get a fair amount of time by the end of this one.

It was stunning, considering the Hawks swept the Celtics last year. But call it motivation over last year's flukes, or the Celtics' last fluke against the Raptors, or just the impact of a healthy Kevin Garnett, but this one was over with before the t-shirt guns had even been loaded. The Hawks continue to perplex as they look genuinely good and improved at times, and like roadkill in others.

Kevin Garnett looks not only like he's healthy, but like he's healthy like when he was 31. That's terrifying for the rest of the league.

YOUR DAILY "QUAKE" GRIFFIN NIGHTMARE DUNK:




GO-GO-GADGET LINE OF THE NIGHT:


Carmelo Anthony:
39 points (17-17 from the line), 9 rebound, 5 assists

Runner-Up:


Manu Ginobili: 25 points, 6 rebounds, 9 assists

FINAL THOUGHTS:


The Hornets are 11-2. Which is great. But the last few games have shown some of their cracks in the foundation. Relying on Jason Smith to be a significant bench contributor isn't going to get it done. Neither is hoping Emeka Okafor stays as an offensive force. The bigger concern may be that Chris Paul has started looking flat-out tired at the ends of games. Him missing the game-tying assist to David West was nothing more than one of those that happens, but in general he looked lethargic down the stretch. Some concerns for the Hornets do exist, even at 11-2.

Last night's game perfectly illustrates why Boston fans get so frustrated with their team. They look so awesome when they consistently try.

The story from Indiana-Miami was the Heat playing terribly but the Pacers deserve a world of credit for getting Danny Granger going, and Brandon Rush took it to Dwyane Wade, which, injured or not, isn't an easy thing to do. The Pacers look like a solid playoff contender.

People will tell you that the Oklahoma City-Minnesota game was closer than the final score appears. And it's true the Wolves lead down the stretch. So maybe I'm just exhibiting confirmation bias when I tell you that I never had a doubt the Thunder would win that game. The Wolves have no idea how to execute in clutch situations most times, and Michael Beasley still does a lot of Michael Beasley-type things.

Houston loses. Again.


Follow F&R on Twitter at @CBSSportsNBA and check out our RSS feed . This has been your daily edition of the Game Changer.



Posted on: November 19, 2010 8:56 am
Edited on: November 19, 2010 8:58 am
 

Game Changer: 11.19.10: Streamers and snarls

Posted by Royce Young

Each game is made up of elements which help formulate the outcome. Monday through Friday, we'll bring you the elements from the night before's games in our own specialized version of the game recaps. It's not everything that happened, but it's an insight into what lead to the results you'll see in the box scores. This is the Game Changer.  

THE BIG ONE: GEORGE KARL MIFFED AND IMPRESSED

By Ben Golliver


It's not every night you see Denver Nuggets coach George Karl storming across the floor as streamers fall, but that's what happened in the Rose Garden on Thursday night after a non-call on a last gasp Arron Afflalo three-point attempt allowed Portland to sneak away with a 86-83 home win. Amid a chaotic scene of cheerleaders, streamers and celebrating players, Karl and guard Chauncey Billups pleaded Denver's case, that Portland guard Wesley Matthews fouled Afflalo on the release, but to no avail.

"Obviously everybody in the building thought it was a foul," Karl told reporters afterwards. "I thought the fans even thought it was a foul. The fans went 'huuuuuhh.' I didn't look at it so I don't know for sure, but it was a tough whistle to get, you don't usually get that on the road, but I thought that was a foul."

Karl said he would send tape of the play to the league office for review but seemed resigned to the loss. "If they just miss it, it's just part of basketball. 

Another part of basketball is injuries, and both Denver and Portland have dealt with their fair share this season. Both teams really only played eight players on Thursday night, although Denver's Melvin Ely saw the court for 30 seconds. Karl said he was impressed by the Blazers, who fought through a tough week with news that center Greg Oden is done for the season with microfracture knee surgery and played without all star guard Brandon Roy on Thursday night. "They're still a very good team," Karl told CBSSports.com. "Every team goes through injuries. [Portland Trail Blazers coach] Nate [McMillan] doesn't cry about it. They're a talented, playoff team with the injuries they have."

Karl's Nuggets held the short-handed Blazers in check defensively for most of the game, but 24 points and 10 rebounds from LaMarcus Aldridge helped put Portland over the top. "I thought we did a hell of a job on [Aldridge] except for one thing: offensive rebounding. He was Pau Gasol'ing us on the tips on the rim, tipping the balls in. He's going to make some shots, but if you take away his offensive rebounds I think probably we defended him as well as I expect us to defend him."

POST-GAME AUDIO FROM GEORGE KARL

GO-GO-GADGET LINES

Wesley Matthews was a beast for Portland. He notched 20 points and 10 rebounds and essentially shot the Blazers back in the game in the first half.

Despite the Suns getting pummeled, Grant Hill still scored 21 points on 8-9 shooting. The old guy just keeps playing well. Send Brandon Roy and Greg Oden to Phoenix, k thanks.

Kind of a weak night for good box scores, so let's give Marcus Camby and his 14 boards a small shout-out.

ORLANDO TRIES TO ONE-UP

It hasn't been a great trip to Florida for the Phoenix Suns. Wednesday, the Heat put a beating on them, basically sending them to a Orlando with their tails between their legs.

And then Thursday against the Magic, the Suns got more of the same.

They played without Steve Nash who sat out with a sore groin. That didn't matter too much as the Suns couldn't score, couldn't stop anybody and basically, couldn't play intelligent basketball.

Phoenix turned the ball over 18 times, went just 3-18 from 3 (remember when they hit 22?) and missed nine free throws. The final score was 105-89, but that only came from a 30-14 fourth quarter for the Suns where Orlando's starters didn't play a minute.

But enough about the Suns. The Magic looked pretty impressive. It was like they watched the Heat whoop Phoenix and said, "Oh yeah? Well watch us!" Dwight Howard was outstanding notching 20 points on 8-9 shooting and showcased a number of his increasingly polished post-game. Jameer Nelson had 12 assists and set up teammates wonderfully. And Orlando had all 11 guys that played score, with even distribution throughout.

It was a total dismantling and something the Magic needed after having a lackluster week. I guess if you need a pick-me-up in Florida, just invite the Suns over.

FACE, Roy Hibbert

Eric Gordon is becoming almost a nightly posterizer. His latest victim was the Indiana big man as Gordon went high and threw down hard.


DON'T MISS

PARTING THOUGHT

Somehow, the Clippers are awful. They lost again, this time falling to Indiana 107-80 which drops them to 1-12. Before the season, this was really kind of unthinkable. In fact, after the Clips' first game, it was unthinkable. They lost the opener, but they looked good. They looked like a team that might be able to surprise some people.

But despite solid play from Blake Griffin, the team just stinks. There isn't a go-to scorer, they don't play defense and the young guys aren't performing all that well. They're extremely young which is a good excuse, but still, one and twelve?

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Posted on: November 16, 2010 10:04 pm
Edited on: November 16, 2010 10:08 pm
 

Power Rankings 3-Up, 3-Down: Week 3

The Texas Two-Step is high among the greats while the Magic have no magic and the Knicks have no sense, in this week's 3-Up 3-Down.
Posted by Matt Moore

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Our
Power Rankings for Week 3 are out. Here at F&R, we'll give the the direct line to who was notable in the rankings from week to week. Here's three who are up and three who are down in week 3.

http://sports.cbsimg.net/u/photos/basketball/nba/img14272944.jpg 3-Up


San Antonio Spurs (1): 8-1, and their only loss to the also 8-1 Hornets. So why am I not as big on them as our distinguished Power Rankings Overlord? Probably because their signature win was against a Thunder team that can't decide which way the sun sets, or against a Suns team that let's face it, historically doesn't have much luck against them (last spring excepted). Confusing the issue is Tim Duncan's performance. Duncan's still doing all the things Tim Duncan does off-ball, but his rebounds, points, and percentages are down. That the Spurs are 8-1 despite that makes you wonder, can they really be this good without him playing up to TD standards, or conversely, how good are they going to be if he starts playing to that level?

In closing, Manu Ginobili owns your face. Thanks for your time.

Dallas Mavericks (2):
A Texas Two-Step. How nice. The Mavericks topped the might Hornets (that sounds weird) last night, no doubt helping them climb up behind the Spurs. Dirk Nowitzki is rebounding at a better rate than he has since the 06-07 season. They have the ninth best offense in efficiency and the fifth best defense, landing them a top five spot in differential of points produced vs. allowed per 100 possessions. That's pretty good. Throw in the work they've done in besting Denver once out of a home and home and taking down the Celtics, and that's good enough to show good cause for why so many people thought this team would wind up second overall in the West.

The lingering questions of the backcourt depth remain, Caron Butler does not look tip top, and they still need Beaubois back. But Tyson Chandler has filled in much better than anyone anticipated.

Utah Jazz (6):
Well, that was a pretty good week. The Jazz toppled four playoff teams in the East, all on the road, in five days. Losing to OKC was simply an inevitable return to the mean. But the difference this year is the Jazz' mean is a little bit meaner than in years past. For all the concerns that this team wouldn't be as talented as in years prior, they look stacked, top to bottom. Speed, versatility and depth in the backcourt, size, scoring ability and smooth rotations on the defensive end in the frontcourt. And, yeah, Deron Wililams? He's pretty insanely good.

3-Down


Orlando Magic (7):
You'd have thought the Rashard Lewis contract would have bitten them sooner than this, but hey, worse late than never, I suppose. The Magic have one win against a team above .500 and two losses to Miami to and Utah. It's early yet so they haven't had many cracks at it, but throw in a loss to the Raptors, and yeesh, not a great start for SVG's crew. The defense is still excelling, but the offense has fallen off a cliff, thanks in part to Rashard Lewis not being able to hit the broad side of a barn. And yet still, Ryan Anderson gets no minutes. Crying shame, really.

Denver Nuggets (12): Be wary of this team, friends. The resume is solid, the numbers hold up (10th in offense, 14th in defense). And they toppled the mighty Lakers first. But this team is very much on the cusp of oblivion. They can fall apart completely, as they did last night against the Suns. Melo's playing well, but we all know that situation is still ticking. In the meantime, they can beat anyone or lose to anyone on any given night. Teams you can't figure out? They're usually not very good.

New York Knicks (24): Oh, Knicks. You had such promise. Felton's numbers look great but suffer in execution, they can't close, Amar'e can't do everything and Anthony Randolph is a disaster, yet again. Here's what I don't get. They're not bad at defense, they really aren't, at eleventh in the league. Their offense is struggling. Yet Raymond Felton has a 34% assist rate and is shooting well. They have 7 players with a PER above 14.5 but they just don't look like a good basketball team. Either this team's record doesn't reflect its performance, or its performance doesn't reflect what kind of team it really is.




Posted on: November 5, 2010 9:37 am
Edited on: November 5, 2010 9:38 am
 

Shootaround 11.5.10: Like That

Posted by Matt Moore

  • The Sonics mascot showed up with a sign that said "Homeless" last night. Which is adorable. I do wonder where the sign is that reads "Homeless because people didn't think it was a good idea to build me a new home" but I'm a stickler for accuracy like that.
  • Mikael Pietrus and Stan Van Gundy got into a shouting match over Pietrus being yanked in the third quarter against the Wolves. One would think in a 40 point annihilation that everyone would be happy. It's also bizarre that SVG continues to have trouble with Pietrus considering that he's been a big part of the team's success and I don't see any yelling or screaming at Vince Carter, but I'm a stickler for fairness like that.
  • Twitter has not been kind to the Celtics. Twitter is a remarkably easy interface to control, you just have to be sure to think about what you're posting before you post it. Then, if you do post something that isn't great, you need to be prepared to take responsibility for it. Or blame it on hackers. You know, either one.
Posted on: October 27, 2010 9:35 am
Edited on: October 27, 2010 10:57 am
 

Shootaround 10.27.10: Celebration

Boston's celebrating knocking down the ringer, the Lakers are celebrating being champs with their faces on rings, and ... Bieber.
Posted by Matt Moore


  • Well, you know, the Boston media's probably being their usual reasonable selves this morning. I mean, who would gloat aftet the first game of the season when everyone's been saying all that matters is what happens in April, May and June? I mean, come on, it's not like last night was really a statement ga....Oh.  From the Boston Globe :
"This was the most hyped and anticipated opening-night game in the league’s 65-year history. Everyone with an interest in the sport of professional basketball wanted to see the mighty Miami Heat, the team with the latest Big Three, the team that was going to re-glamorize the NBA, and never mind the fact we have a two-time defending champion located in the glamour capital of the US of A. 

But if the nation, the world, the uni verse, the galaxy, whatever, tuned in to see the mighty Miami Heat, they were re-introduced to the reality of the Boston Celtics , who have won a championship and have had two legitimate shots at others in the past three years, and who certainly look to be new and improved this season. The mighty Miami Heat could have been given a much easier opening-night foe than the Celtics’ squad that handed them an 88-80 loss to ensure they will not go 82-0."
  • The Lakers did what the Lakers do, come from behind in games where they look lackluster and walk out with a win. They were down big in the first half but stuck around because they did what championship teams do. They held on to their possessions .
  • The Lakers' championship rings have their faces on them. Literally . And part of the ball from Game 7 last year. If the Finals are Lakers-Celtics again, can we have them play with those rings up for grabs?
  • The Orlando Sentinel is laughing at the Heat... for losing to the Celtics... who knocked the Magic out of the playoffs this year. Rivalry priorities. You do not have them.
  • When you face the Suns, you have to be able to withstand runs. And that's what Portland did with their bench .

 

 
 
 
 
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