Tag:Memphis Grizzlies
Posted on: February 15, 2012 1:43 am
Edited on: February 15, 2012 9:11 am
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Report Card 2.15.12: Devastating fun

LeBron James produced a lot of points in not a lot of minutes vs. the Pacers. (Getty Images)

By Matt Moore
 

Each night, Eye on Basketball brings you what you need to know about the games of the NBA. From great performances to terrible clock management the report card evaluates and eviscerates the good, the bad, and the ugly from the night that was.

Miami Heat You were expecting Linsanity, weren't you? A buzzer-beater over the Raptors with 8 turnovers won't get you an A around these parts. But absolutely demolishing the Pacers, being up 20 in the second quarter on? Yeah, that'll do. The Heat were in full-on Flying Death Machine mode Tuesday night. They just ran the Pacers out of the building and out into the night, never to be heard from again. LeBron James 23-9-7 in 33 minutes in the win.
Jeremy Lin I want to give Lin an A as much as you probably want me to. But eight turnovers are eight turnovers, and 9-20 shooting is 9-20 shooting. It's not bad. It's just not great, and that, with the turnovers and the struggle with splitting the double renders us unable to give him a top grade. Something tells me he'll take it. But seriously. What a shot.
Memphis Grizzlies The Rockets were exhausted on a road game at the end of a long stretch of games, Kevin Martin was scoreless for the first time in a long, long time, and yet this was a five-point game under five minutes. The Grizzlies did enough to win, and they get the credit that goes with it. But they don't get much more than a passing grade
Phoenix Suns The Suns were chewed up by the Nuggets inside, torched from the perimeter and ran ragged. They're wholly unprepared at the worst times this season and it doesn't seem like there's much of a chance they recover this season. Steve Nash deserves better.
Portland Trail Blazers A home loss to the Wizards. I need no further justification for this grade, regardless of the health of LaMarcus Aldridge who left the game with an ankle injury.



E FOR EFFORT
LeBron James (23 points on 15 shots, 9 rebounds, 7 assists, 4 steals in 33 minutes. Destroyed Indiana and got to rest.)
Jeremy Lin (27 points on 20 shots, 11 assists, 8 turnovers, one huge shot)
Jose Calderon (25 points, 7 rebounds, 9 assists, brilliant for 45 minutes)
DeMarcus Cousins (28 points on 20 shots and 17 rebounds in a loss to the Bulls)
Posted on: February 8, 2012 12:09 pm
Edited on: February 8, 2012 1:42 pm
 

Ten likely candidates for contraction

Let's see how many kids' dreams we can crush with contraction just to make the Knicks and Lakers better, shall we? (Getty Images)

By Matt Moore 

Oh, no, there's (insert problem in the NBA)! Quick, let's contract some teams!

That's pretty much the standard fare from a lot of mainstream basketball scribes. Their proximity to large cities, usually coastal, is something you should try and not look at too closely. It's like one of those 3-D images. Yes, it's a schooner, which is a sailboat, and you still have a headache.

The answer always seems to pop up. "Oh, we don't have enough stars!" Contract! "There's a lockout and the owners want more money!" Contract! "We're out of sandwiches in the media room!" Contract!

There's about a billion reasons why contraction won't be happening. David Stern won't allow it on his watch. Losing games, twice in 12 years? Sure. Losing teams? No way. One thing hurts your fans. The other hurts your business.

But let's say it did, because there are more fans of big market teams than small market teams, and big market teams love the idea, because they get a talent influx. Who goes on the chopping block? Here are teams that would be up for contraction, if we're going to go ahead and kill off sections of fans.
(Franchise valuation data courtesy of Forbes, attendance via ESPN.)

1. New Orleans Hornets: Trying to avoid this conclusion is something I spent a solid hour on. Surely there's a way around this. But there just isn't. The Hornets staged a massive ticket sales promotion in order to try and boost their attendance profile for a potential buyer as well as to satisfy various city and state requirements regarding their lease. The result? They're 26th this season. With Chris Paul having gone to the Clippers, things are going to get worse before they get better. If we absolutely have to chop off a team, you have to start with the Hornets, as much as it pains me.

There are a lot of factors here, but George Shinn's horrific ownership should not be overlooked, nor should two natural disasters in the span of five years. But it's never been a strong market, and if we have to make cuts with our minds and not hearts, the Hornets have to be silenced.

Biggest argument against: Have you no soul? Honestly?

2. Memphis Grizzlies: Such a great playoffs run. But here are the facts. It's one of the newest franchises, with little in the way of successful history (as in, none outside of last season). It's been evaluated as 29th in overall worth by Forbes. Despite making the playoffs last season and being expected to contend for the West this year, they are 21st in attendance, Z-Bo or no Z-Bo.

The Grizzlies are trying to build a new culture of passion and success in Memphis. But if we have to make the cut today, they have to be on the block. If you need me I'll be in the corner gurgling arsenic.

Biggest argument against: Memphis' playoff run shows what can happen if that fanbase is engaged.

3. Charlotte Bobcats: Terrible team. The newest in the league. No success to speak of. Poor ownership. A fanbase damaged by George Shinn's tenure in Charlotte (hey, look, a theme!). The overriding influence of college basketball and its permeating stench throughout any sports discussion. The reasons go on and on. I mean, just look at their attendance.

They're... 14th this season?

That's up from 21st, which really isn't that horrible. And that's why they manage to slide to three. If you took the way the Bobcats have been run and put them in Memphis, New Orleans, or Sacramento, they're toast, first out the door. But Carolina gets basketball. So they slide to third. So... uh... good for them?

Biggest argument against: Decent attendance, run by the sport's biggest icon, awesome mascot.

4. Milwaukee Bucks: We're going to kill off the first team Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, then Lew Alcindor, ever played for? The 1971 champs?

Yeah. We are. Milwaukee is rated last in the league by Forbes in overall value. Despite some promising drafts, they have yet to put together a contending core. Their arena situation is not dire, but it's going to get there in the next five years, and Milwaukee voters are unlikely to come streaming to the polls to help the team out. Killing off a franchise with this much history is pretty horrific, but at some point the dollars and cents have to matter.

Biggest argument against: Championship team, history, good ownership, active fanbase.

5. Sacramento Kings: No one has fought harder to keep their team than Kings fans have. They have staved off their owners feeding vultures from Anaheim. They have scrapped up enough support for a new arena plan coming to vote this month during a recession. They have chanted and made documentaries and brought signs and banners and petitions.

And it still might not be enough.

This may be the best example of why contraction is flawed. Ten years ago, even six years ago, this would be incomprehensible. The Kings were on the verge, the doorstep, had their foot jammed into the entryway of the Finals. The biggest problem with contraction is that we look at it through the lens of the present. "Oh, the Bobcats/Kings/Bucks are terrible." But in five years, those teams could be San Antonio. Or OKC. Or Orlando. Winning will change your bottom line, and losing will change it just the same. But considering the arena situation at present time, the financial situation of the club, and their ongoing attendance issues, it's impossible to leave them out.

Biggest argument against: Here we stay.

Five more.

6. Atlanta Hawks: You want to talk about history, this one's like chopping off a limb. But the Hawks are 28th in value, have been unable to put together legitimate success, and feature one of the most lackluster fanbases in the league. Atlanta may simply be oversaturated for the NBA.

Biggest argument against: It's called the Highlight Factory, for crying out loud.

7. Philadelphia 76ers: You can already hear the sounds of those coastal writers crying out in agony. Start talking about an East Coast team that won a title within the past 30 years and it's a whole different story. But the 76ers come in at 22nd in value, just had the team sold, no real success even if you count the Iverson years that victimized a terrible, terrible Eastern conference, and continually have horrible attendance. They're bottom ten this season, and their team is a handful of games out of first in the conference.

Biggest argument against: Erasing what Moses Malone and Julius Erving did should be a federal crime.

8. Minnesota Timberwolves: 27th in value, 24th in attendance despite all the excitement. The only reason this team gets put so high is out of practical considerations. Basically, despite killing Kevin Garnett's prime and bobbling the next All-Star they landed in Kevin Love, their owner is close friends with David Stern and one of the heads of the Board of Governors. You see that guy getting his team lopped off any time soon?

Biggest argument against: Rubio? Rubio.

9. New Jersey Nets: Is there enough room in New York for two teams? Of course. Is there room for two fairly terrible teams? Additionally, if they can't get Dwight Howard, they should just pack up and go home, anyway.

Biggest argument against: They will always make money because they will play in New York now, and Prokhorov may come after you.

10. Indiana Pacers: No NBA championships (3 ABA). They are 25th in value and dead last in attendance, despite being a top five team in the East. The Pacers have simply been unable to capture the city's attention since The Brawl. Maybe that just did too much damage, combined with the emergence of the Colts. Yes, it's a historic team, but without any championships since the ABA. And with the Fieldhouse eventually needing a new home and all the money the city has spent on sports and event facilities, hard to see it coming through.

Biggest argument against: 8 points. 9 seconds.

--------------------------------

In the end, any of these teams could become the Spurs in the next ten years. Or the Blazers. Or the Jazz. Or the Magic. It takes ownership, a little luck, and the subsequent success. Get that, and you're good to go. But we never see that when we talk about contraction. We only see the benefits for the Bulls, the Lakers, the Knicks. And we forget that while there are more fans in cities than towns, having an NBA nation makes the game that much stronger. But if we have to do the deed, those are the teams that should get the axe.
Posted on: February 7, 2012 10:21 pm
Edited on: February 14, 2012 1:13 pm
 

NBA Power Rankings: Breakdown, Takedown Vol. 8

Posted by Royce Young and Ben Golliver

The Clippers have their hands full over the next six weeks. (Getty Images)

The 2011-2012 NBA season continues. Here's the eighth weekly installment of CBSSports.com's NBA Power Rankings by Eye On Basketball's Matt Moore.

What did he get right? What did he get wrong? We're here to break it down and take it down.

1. Too High: Los Angeles Clippers at No. 6. This isn't really a knock against the current ranking, which is right in line with their performance to date, but a prediction of the certain trouble to come. The Clippers continue to have played well more home games (13) than road games (9) and that will catch up with them. The good news is that they are off to a nice start on their current road trip, having won the first two games, but things will get tougher with match-ups in Philadelphia and in Dallas and the loss of Chauncey Billups casts a big shadow over what will be a brutal March, when the Clips will play 20 games in 31 days, including six back-to-backs plus a back-to-back-to-back. Mo Williams is great, but he's only one man. In other words, just sell your stock in them now. There's nowhere to go but down. And Blake Griffin would do very well to keep his All-Star Weekend participation to a minimum. -- BG 

2. Too Low: San Antonio Spurs at No. 7. Here are the last five games for the Spurs: Memphis, Houston, New Orleans, Oklahoma City and Memphis again -- all wins. The Spurs have climbed to the West's third seed and have done it with Manu Ginobili just a week or so away from returning. So to have them behind the Clippers, a team that potentially just lost their starting 2-guard for the season, doesn't seem right. The Spurs are playing like a top five team and are probably just finally getting stretched out. -- RY

3. Most Overrated: Orlando Magic at No. 13. I don't really care what the Magic do right now or what their record is. The sins of the past couple weeks are way too fresh in my mind to give them a top 15 ranking. They've scored in the 60s three times this season. Yeah, they won three of four last week but two of those included wins against Cleveland and Washington. The Magic will make the playoffs, assuming Dwight Howard doesn't get dealt, but this isn't a team to fear. There are simply too many issues. Good enough to beat the bad teams, average enough to beat some mediocre teams but not anywhere close to elite to beat the great teams consistently. -- RY

4. Most Overlooked: Memphis Grizzlies at No. 18. The Grizzlies have fallen a game under .500 and out of the West's top eight, but their losses in the past week were respectable. They whipped the Hawks but came up just short against OKC and San Antonio while the Celtics handled them. It's easy to completely start disregarding Memphis because of their record, but this team had a lot of preseason buzz for a reason. They need Zach Randolph back badly and when they get him, that's a group nobody will want to play in the postseason. Assuming they can do enough to get there. -- RY

5. Sure Thing: Indiana Pacers at No. 5. Through 24 games, the Pacers are right on track for their best case scenario. They're sitting pretty with potential homecourt advantage in the Eastern Conference and they're right there in the mix for the No. 2 spot on the East charts. They'll likely fall somewhere in the 3-6 range but they've got a well-balanced roster that is going to make for a very tough out in the playoffs. Is Darren Collison the weak link? Expect more discussion to surround him. The Paul George / Danny Granger / David West combination could really be something come the postseason. -- BG

6. Wild Card: Denver Nuggets at No. 10. Once the West's No. 2 seed, the Nuggets are on a 3-game skid and just got the news they will be without forward Danilo Gallinari for a month. That's a big blow. The tough part in the West is that it doesn't take too many 3-game skids before you've dropped a number of playoff seeds, given how tightly things are wrapped up betwen spots four and 11. The really brutal news for the Nuggets is that 10 of their remaining 11 games in February are against Western Conference teams, including the Mavericks twice, the Grizzlies, the Thunder, the Clippers, the Spurs and the Blazers. Oof. -- BG
Posted on: February 1, 2012 1:37 pm
Edited on: February 2, 2012 1:28 pm
 

Who's contending and who's pretending?

Posted by Royce Young

Are the Lakers and Celtics challengers for a championship, or for just a postseason appearance? (Getty Images)

Almost every team has played 20 games so far this season, which is a pretty nice sample size to make a semi-educated judgment on just how good some are. We know there are a lot of competitive teams in each conference. Teams that have a quality roster, a decent record and a chance at the postseason.

But what's coming into focus more and more is who is for real and who is for fake. Not in the sense of who is actually good and who is fool's gold, but what teams should we be really watching for to make a push at a championship?

In the same way there's no reason to waste time saying the Wizards and Hornets are not contenders, I don't need to tell you that the Oklahoma City Thunder, Miami Heat and Chicago Bulls are obvious contenders. They aren't just contenders, they're the title favorites as of now. Those three teams have clearly separated themselves a bit from the pack, but that doesn't mean that there isn't another team lingering as a potential title threat. This time last season nobody was really looking at the Mavericks as a team poised to hoist the Larry O'Brien trophy.

So let's break down the current field of playoff contending teams and separate the contenders from the pretenders.

Orlando Magic

After an 11-4 start, a good number of people kind of came around from "They have to trade Dwight Howard right now" to "Maybe they should keep him and make a run at it." Now, after a week of complete stinkage, maybe it's time to take another good look at blowing the hinges off the organization and starting over. If you're consistently having trouble getting out of the 60s, you're not going to win a seven-game series against a good team.

Verdict: PRETENDER

Philadelphia 76ers

A 15-6 record and the best point differential in the league is not something to be ignored. A 4-4 road record indicates that maybe the Sixers aren't quite ready to step into the conversation of competing for the East. I'm going to choose to ignore that. The Bulls and Heat are clearly the class of the East, but it's not hard for me to picture the Sixers taking down one in a seven-game series. Their depth, defense and determination will have them right in any game they play.

Verdict: CONTENDER

Utah Jazz

Rewind to last season. Jerry Sloan had resigned and Deron Williams was traded. It was understandable that the Jazz would finish out the season in the lottery. That was the plan. Get younger, find some cap flexibility and plan for the future. Except that didn't work out. The Jazz aren't a franchise that deal with losing much so this season wasn't just going to be one of tanking. But they're overachieving. They have some nice wins on the resume, but a core of Paul Millsap, Al Jefferon and Gordon Hayward aren't making a title push.

Verdict: PRETENDER

Indiana Pacers

I want to believe. I really do. The Pacers are a fun team and their resurgence over the past two seasons has been something else. David West was a nice addition and Roy Hibbert is playing really well. They've built up their resume with some good wins over the past couple weeks, but I don't see how they improved in the area that killed them last postseason -- fourth quarter execution. Danny Granger is a good player but can't shoulder the load of getting tough, key baskets in crunchtime. I can't see them beating the Bulls, Heat or even 76ers.

Verdict: PRETENDER

New York Knicks

I almost didn't even include them in this list. And not for the reason the Bulls, Heat and Thunder aren't in it. Unless Baron Davis has a superpower in that beard, the Knicks aren't getting out of the first round, and that's if they even get there. Serious obstacles are going to have to be overcome before this team actually competes for a championship.

Verdict: PRETENDER

Dallas Mavericks

It appears the championship hangover is finally wearing off. But for a while there, the defending champs had us concerned. They looked flat, uninterested and worst of all, not as good after losing J.J. Barea, Tyson Chandler and DeShawn Stevenson. But the Mavs are finding their form a bit and if Lamar Odom can ever finally wake up, Dallas goes eight deep with a nice rotation. And as long as that tall German guy is on the roster, they're a tough matchup for anyone.

Verdict CONTENDER

Houston Rockets

As I was writing down the teams I needed to mention for this, I didn't have the Rockets. And then I looked at the West standings and their record and said, "Whoa, the Rockets are 12-9? When did that happen?" I think they're going to be players at the trade deadline, but as the team stands now, they're position in the West's top eight will probably be short lived.

Verdict: PRETENDER

San Antonio Spurs

Could the Los Angeles Clippers -- the Clippers -- really be contenders? (Getty Images)
You just wait. Gregg Popovich knows what he's doing. Manu Ginobili will be healthy soon and the Spurs are going to go on a run of games in late February or March where they win like 14 of 16 and rocket up to third in the West. It's coming. I know it is.

Verdict: CONTENDER

Los Angeles Clippers

I picked the Clippers to finish second in the West but also wrote that they weren't a contender. I'm confused about the Clippers. But they definitely showed a little something this past week with a win in Denver and a win against the Thunder. Part of the reason many doubted that the Clips were ready to contend was it looked like they needed another piece for some depth. But they may already have it as Mo Williams is making a strong case for Sixth Man of the Year. Two top 15 players, a monster rim protector inside, a solid identity and veteran leadership -- the Clips kind of have it all. Only two things are holding them back -- Vinny Del Negro and a 35-year history filled with miserable failure.

Verdict: CONTENDER

Atlanta Hawks

I'll put it simply: The Hawks made no dramatic improvements to a team that's basically been the definition of pretender and then their best player was injured for pretty much the rest of the season. Their winning record without Al Horford has been a bit of a mirage as they've fortunately found a soft spot in the schedule at the worst time. Playoff team, yes. Title contender? Nah.

Verdict: PRETENDER

Portland Trail Blazers

For about five minutes, the Blazers had everyone talking about them as the prime contender to challenge Oklahoma City in the West. And then they lost their next five of eight and have slipped out of the top eight in the West. There's really not that much distinguishing this Blazer team from the one the was eliminated in last season's opening round. Is Ray Felton an upgrade over Andre Miller? Jamal Crawford an upgrade over Brandon Roy? LaMarcus Aldridge has become a legit superstar, but I don't see him carrying this roster to the Western Finals.

Verdict: PRETENDER

Memphis Grizzlies

I fear the Grizzlies were that classic chic preseason pick that everyone kind of likes that ends up going down in flames. Some would call that the "Houston Texans Disease." But Memphis didn't stumble into the second round of the postseason by accident. They upended the Spurs and then were a seventh game on the road away from advancing to the Western Finals. They're an enigma right now without Zach Randolph, but if he comes back healthy, the Grizzlies could be a nightmare matchup for teams in the playoffs.

Verdict: CONTENDER

Boston Celtics

After all of that, the Celtics are back to .500. They're 10-10 and have eased some of the fears that they might miss the playoffs. But they haven't been able to restore confidence that they're a team that's dangerous in the postseason. Kevin Garnett can't jump, which is a problem. Their offense completely fizzles for long stretches. They're actually relying on key production from guys like Mickael Pietrus and Chris Wilcox. The Celtics aren't bad, but I think ubuntu is on life support.

Verdict: PRETENDER

Denver Nuggets

Can team ball really win? Well, it's winning now and looking pretty darn good doing it. The Nuggets ran into a bad matchup last postseason and the Thunder took care of them in five games. I wouldn't say they necessarily improved this offseason after losing Wilson Chandler, Kenyon Martin and J.R. Smith while adding Rudy Fernandez, Corey Brewer and Andre Miller, but Al Harrington is playing wonderful basketball, Ty Lawson is blossoming and Danilo Gallinari shows flashes of being a star. Winning this way isn't easy, but I wouldn't rule the Nuggets out.

Verdict: CONTENDER

Los Angeles Lakers

The Lakers are 2-7 on the road. They've only scored 100 points three times this season. For any other team, we'd say that's a major red flashing sign that they aren't for real. For any other team, we'd look at their offensive struggles, their chemistry issues and the fact they're looking older than ever and easily write them off. But this is the Lakers, the home of Kobe Bryant and you don't do that. But I'm going to. Point guard is a massive issue, they have no depth inside and I still have absolutely no idea why they traded Lamar Odom for nothing. This team subtracted a key piece from a group that got swept out of the playoffs by the Mavericks and they expect that adding Josh McRoberts and a new coach is going to push them over the top? Unless the Lakers have a big trade coming down the pipe, the Lakers as currently constructed aren't going anywhere.

Verdict: PRETENDER

Posted on: February 1, 2012 12:34 am
 

Report Card 1.31.12: Grizz major in grind

Memphis storms back to get a big win over Nuggets and stop a losing streak. (Getty Images)

Your nightly report card wraps up the performances of the NBA night and provides grades on a curve. Tuesday night the Knicks found the cure for a night, the Grizzlies GrizzGrinded their way to a comeback, and the Celtics passed... barely. 

By Matt Moore

Memphis Grizzlies


The Grizzlies were lost for much of the first half, but got back to the constant effort and continual pressure that makes them a dangerous team. All of a sudden their offense began to click, Rudy Gay started to get it going in steals, threes, and dunks, and O.J. Mayo began making plays as well as scoring. Throw in some tremendous defense by Tony Allen, and the Grizzlies steal a key game from Denver to get back on track. The Nuggets kept hammering them with offense, and the Grizzlies needed every single second in this one to get th win. Memphis pulls up out of its tailspin of late.

New York Knicks


(by Ken Berger, CBSSports.com)

I grade them on a curve because they're playing, you know, the Pistons. But the time off (in addition to lack of defense) did wonders for Melo. The Knicks moved the ball better than they have in a while and got good (mostly uncontested) shots as a result.




Boston Celtics


They won. And outside of very few exceptions, if you win, you get a C- or better. So The Celtics get a C-, no better. They won, against a tough, gritty, feisty, whatever cliche term you want to use Cavs team. But the fourth quarter collapse was in effect again. Kyrie Irving gets two more shots that were awful close to drop and the Celtics are staring at their second meltdown against the Cavs in three days. Their offense gets out of control, their defense is the bigger concern. They continually have issues with defending inside in the last minutes of a game against pressure. They got the win. But there are problems still in Boston.

Danilo Gallinari

You've got to wonder if Gallo is injured. He simply did not have any part of his game working. Dribble, shooting, defense, rebounding, anything. If Gallinari plays any better the Nuggets likely win this game comfortably. Also wound up forcing other players to contribute more minutes, adding to exaustion with a tough schedule coming up.



Detroit Pistons



The Detroit Pistons, good for what ails you. Even the Knicks.
Posted on: January 30, 2012 11:45 pm
 

Report Card 1.30.12: The back to back blues

The Magic collapse continued against the Sixers Monday night. (Getty Images)

Your nightly report card wraps up the performances of the NBA night and provides grades on a curve. Monday night LeBron did his thing, the Magic continued their separation from decency, and the Deer continue to become frightening. 

LeBron James


Trevor Ariza is going to have nightmares. 22 points in 29 minutes, along with 11 rebounds and 8 assists for James. That's at least, even if none of the assists were threes, 44 points in 29 minutes produced or contributed. That's absurd. To havethat kind of influence on the game in just 30 minutes is ridiculous. And hey, he didn't have to play in the fourth so he couldn't miss free throws. Bonus. 




Brandon Jennings


All of a sudden, the Bucks gunner is playing efficiently. 21 points on 8-15 shooting, 4 rebounds, 5 assists. Four turnovers is not great but overall, Jennings is making the Bucks motor go as they win again without Andrew Bogut. The Deer have officially re-entered fear territory, even against the Pistons



Philadelphia 76ers


They were not worse than the Magic. That's pretty much all we've got on that. 


 

 

Memphis Perimeter Defense


Matt Bonner can only do one thing. Hit threes. The Grizzlies surrendered fifteen points from beyond the arc to Bonner alone, and 30 points overall from the perimeter. This against a team coming off overtime on a road back-to-back. Memphis is broken in all sorts of ways right now, but the perimeter defense was the culprit Monday night. 



Orlando Magic


The Orlando Magic have been an offensively efficient team for the duration of this run with Stan Van Gundy and Dwight Howard. And this week has been a massive cratering we haven't seen since the asteroid that killed off the dinosaurs. But Monday night may have been the point where they actually blast a hole to the other side of the Earth. The Magic scored 9 points in the third quarter vs. the Sixers. Philly scored just 74 points... and won. This isn't the end of the world for the Magic... but you can see it from here.




Posted on: January 25, 2012 10:52 am
Edited on: January 25, 2012 6:40 pm
 

Lockout basketball is not good



By Matt Moore


We knew there would be effects on the quality of play in the NBA after a five-month lockout. We knew that a compacted season would lead to more fatigue, more injuries, less cohesiveness and an effect on stats. 

We just didn't know it would be quite this bad.

From the Miami Herald:  
Field-goal shooting, free-throw shooting and three-point shooting in the NBA are all down... . Turnovers have increased by an average of .8 per game, the largest jump in 29 years.Bosh said that in addition to the increased miscues, players have less time to learn from their mistakes.“We have to really pay attention to film, you have to pick things up on the fly, you’re not always able to go through live situations all the time,” Bosh said. “It’s a moment where you have to use your experience as a basketball player and pick things up without actually practicing them.”
via Miami Heat’s Dwyane Wade will travel to Detroit but playing status unclear - Miami Heat - MiamiHerald.com.

The biggest problem seems to be that when things go badly for a team, they don't just go bad, they turn into an abject disaster. The Magic's 56-point outburst Monday is a prime example. The Celtics' defense definitely deserves credit, but that kind of output stands alongside a handful of Charlotte and Sacramento games in terms of how bad things can get. Tuesday night the Grizzlies only scored three field goals in the third quarter. The signs are everywhere. The exhaustion is hammering teams' abilities to recover, especially when it's not just games on back-to-backs, but often road trips that involve multiple games on a different coast. 

There's no solution to be held this year, but the standards for the league need to be re-evaluated. Mavericks owner Mark Cuban has a clue about such things and has said that stats this year are "an aberration." It makes you wonder what teams are benefiting and what teams are struggling more than they would have in a normal season. At this pace, March could be a basketball snuff film.
Posted on: January 24, 2012 4:53 pm
Edited on: January 24, 2012 5:00 pm
 

NBA Power Rankings: Breakdown, Takedown Vol. 6

Posted by Royce Young and Ben Golliver

memphis-grizzlies

The 2011-2012 NBA season continues. Here's the sixth weekly installment of CBSSports.com's NBA Power Rankings by Eye On Basketball's Matt Moore.

What did he get right? What did he get wrong? We're here to break it down and take it down.

1. Too High: Memphis Grizzlies at No. 6. I was as impressed as anyone by the Grizzlies comeback over the Warriors. But not by Memphis. I was impressed at the complete unraveling the Warriors pulled off. Playing that terrible and blowing a 20-point fourth quarter lead isn't easy to do. The Grizzlies have endured injury and have stayed afloat in the West winning seven straight, but without Zach Randolph, that team is not six material. Their toughness is nice and it's a good story that they're fighting, but six of those seven wins are against sub .500 teams and the Bulls without Derrick Rose. So let's pump those brakes. -- RY

2. Too Low: Orlando Magic at No. 10. Look up the term "recency bias" in an encyclopedia and you will find this headshot of Matt Moore accompanying the explanation. Yes, the Magic were historically awful on Monday night but if we've learned one lesson over the last month, it's that there will be the occasional super-ugly shooting night where great teams look terrible. This team has posted exceptional offensive efficiency numbers through the first month of the season; their body of work on that end is beyond reproach. They clocked the Lakers, dumped the Knicks and handled the Bobcats last week too. There's no way there are nine teams in the NBA better than the Magic. -- BG

3. Most Overrated: Toronto Raptors at No. 27. OK, so they're 27th in the rankings. But that's too high. See, that's the challenge of power rankings. There has to be a hierarchy, when in reality, it might just be better to have five teams tied at 29. Because right now, the Wizards are the clear worst team with about five others stacked up right together for the honor of second worst. The Raptors have lost eight straight and look rather hopeless. To give them the credit of saying they are any better than 29, or even 28, is giving them far too much reward. -- RY

4. Most Overlooked: Los Angeles Clippers at No. 11. The No. 3 seed in the league's premier conference ranks No. 11 out of 30 teams here. That definitely makes sense. Come on, the Clippers are still benefitting from having a home-loaded schedule and a slow ramp up to the season but they were above .500 last week and within a buzzerbeater of going 4-1. They have premier wins over the likes of Los Angeles and Miami and have weathered an extended Chris Paul injury better than anyone could have reasonably expected. They could slip as the 10 home games vs. four road games disparity tightens up, but give them some credit now. -- BG

5. Sure Thing: Oklahoma City Thunder at No. 2. Catastrophic injury or apathy seems to be the only ways OKC will drop from the top-3 spots in the Power Rankings all season. They've won at home and on the road, they've beaten good teams and bad, and they've dominated in conference play. Russell Westbrook's contract status is settled. All that's left to do is nitpick the play of the lower rotation players until the playoffs finally arrive. A postseason rematch versus Denver at some point sounds like a mighty appetizing idea, doesn't it? -- BG 

6. Wild Card: Houston Rockets at No. 14. I hate it when people do this, but if the playoffs started today (why would they, it's January?) the Rockets would be the eight-seed. That's right, the Rockets, who everyone thought was terrible and underachieving to start the year. Now that they've moved past a killer start to their schedule, they've won games they should and are two games up on .500. It's hard to know if they're good or if this is just a product of beating teams you should, but the Rockets likely will figure into the Western playoff race down the stretch in some regard. -- RY
 
 
 
 
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