Dan Devine

  • Dan Devine's Inarguable Power Rankings: 2015 first-round playoff matchups

    Dan Devine at Ball Don't Lie 1 day ago

    After six long months, we're finally here, on the cusp of the 2015 NBA Playoffs. We're down to 16 teams — perhaps not the 16 best , but don't worry, Adam Silver's working on it — set to face off in eight opening-round matchups for the right to advance to the conference semifinals and take one step closer to hoisting the Larry O'Brien Trophy.

    The Eastern and Western brackets weren't set in stone until late on the final night of the regular season, but now we know who's playing who, when and where each series will start, and where we can watch. (If you're not sure about any of that, please peruse our trusty 2015 NBA playoff schedule. With all that in place, the question now before us is this:

    Which first-round playoff matchup is best and most watchable?


    8. No. 1 Atlanta Hawks vs. No. 8 Brooklyn Nets

    [Related: Read our full Hawks-Nets series preview]

  • BDL’s 2014-15 Playoff Previews: Portland Trail Blazers vs. Memphis Grizzlies

    Dan Devine at Ball Don't Lie 1 day ago

    How They Got Here

    • Portland : Coming off 54 wins and an unforgettable opening-round victory over the Houston Rockets, the Blazers largely stood pat. With one of the league's best big-minutes lineups in place and no picks in the 2014 draft due to past trades, general manager Neil Olshey bolstered the bench by signing veterans Chris Kaman and Steve Blake; beyond that, he banked on in-house development and roster-wide improvement in executing coach Terry Stotts' schemes.

    They're facing an opponent even more banged up than they are, and will get a few days to help Gasol, Conley and Allen heal. Plus, if this goes the distance, they get Game 7 at The Grindhouse. If the pre-swoon Grizzlies are ever going to re-emerge, this is the time.


  • BDL's 2014-15 NBA Playoff Previews: Cleveland Cavaliers vs. Boston Celtics

    Dan Devine at Ball Don't Lie 2 days ago

    How They Got Here

    • Boston: They shuffled up and dealt, with Danny Ainge trusting that Brad Stevens could turn mismatched parts into a compelling whole. It's near-miraculous that Stevens and his staff built a middle-of-the-pack D — 102.1 points allowed per 100 possessions, tied for 13th out of 30 teams — with Tyler Zeller, Jared Sullinger, Kelly Olynyk and Brandon Bass to protect the rim.

    Thomas has filled the creative void in the Celtics' offense, jacking 3s, getting to the free-throw line and dropping dimes at career-high rates. Boston's 14-7 when Thomas plays, boasting an offensive rating nearly 10 points higher when he's on the court than when he's not since his arrival. An overstatement, but an instructive one: Thomas has been the difference between the Celtics scoring like the Los Angeles Clippers and Golden State Warriors, or like the Orlando Magic and Charlotte Hornets.

    We're about to find out just how far along the Celtics are in their climb.


  • Russell Westbrook on what scoring title means after Thunder miss playoffs: 'S***'

    Dan Devine at Ball Don't Lie 2 days ago

    Russell Westbrook capped his season-long assault on opposing defenses and rims in characteristically bombastic fashion on Wednesday night. The All-Star point guard torched the hapless Minnesota Timberwolves to the tune of a franchise-record 34 first-half points, making 11 of his 16 field-goal attempts and 10 of his 13 foul shots in 20 minutes of work to stake his Oklahoma City Thunder to a 22-point lead that they wouldn't relinquish and breezing to a 138-113 victory.

    Westbrook would tack on three more in the third quarter before sitting out the fourth, finishing with 37 points to go with eight rebounds, seven assists and two steals in 32 minutes of work. His 29th 30-plus-point outing of the 2014-15 campaign was enough to confirm his status as the NBA's leading scorer this season, as he finished with an average of 28.1 points per game, taking the reins from injured running mate/2013-14 scoring champ Kevin Durant to clinch the first scoring title of his seven-year NBA career.

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  • Anthony Davis soars, shuts door on Spurs to push Pelicans past Thunder into playoffs

    Dan Devine at Ball Don't Lie 2 days ago

    The New Orleans Pelicans entered Wednesday night with a simple mission: win on the final night of the regular season and you're in the 2015 NBA playoffs. But even the simple's pretty complicated in the Western Conference.

    In this case, "win and you're in" meant taking down the defending champion San Antonio Spurs, who have been carving up the NBA over the past three months, entered Smoothie King Center having won 11 straight games, and had something to play for — a chance at the No. 2 seed in the Western bracket, which would mean home-court advantage in the first two rounds and a line to avoiding the league-leading Golden State Warriors until the Western Confeference Finals.

    [Follow Dunks Don't Lie on Tumblr: The best slams from all of basketball]

    Beating a team that good, that poised, with that kind of motivation is a pretty tough problem. Luckily for the New Orleans faithful, the Pelicans employ one hell of a problem solver.

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  • The Sacramento Kings filled rookie Nik Stauskas' house with popcorn, because pranks

    Dan Devine at Ball Don't Lie 4 days ago

    While the NBA has a clearly defined "no bullying" policy, each and every year we see veterans subject first-year players to some type of rookie hazing that thankfully falls far short of some of the bracing stuff seen in other sports. One favored tradition involves making rookies do stuff like wear little girls' backpacks and transport baby dolls in toy strollers. Another features vets filling rooks' cars with garbage bags full of popcorn, which might not last as long as a season full of toting around dolls or schoolbags, but really seems like one heck of a day-ruiner.

    This was not the best time to get my place popcorned smh

  • Charles Barkley recalls trying to gain 20 lbs. in 2 days so the 76ers wouldn't draft him

    Dan Devine at Ball Don't Lie 4 days ago

    Charles Barkley has always been a man of substantial appetites. Some 30 years ago, well before a Hall of Fame playing career that would make him one of the most famous athletes in the world and one of the most sought-after voices in sports media, the so-called "Round Mound of Rebound" attempted to leverage that voracity into turning the tables on the NBA draft process and picking his own landing spot after leaving Auburn.

    [Follow Dunks Don't Lie on Tumblr: The best slams from all of basketball]

    Barkley shared the story of his initial interactions with the Philadelphia 76ers during a recent chat with Sports Illustrated's Richard Deitsch at the South by Southwest conference in Texas:

    While we'll likely never find out the exact contents of Barkley's two-day food bender, the story about the Sixers' hard-capped $75,000 offer and Barkley's unhappiness about it finds support in this Aug. 15, 1984, New York Times story by Sam Goldaper:

  • Take a look at the Milwaukee Bucks' brand new logos

    Dan Devine at Ball Don't Lie 4 days ago

    The Milwaukee Bucks are in the midst of a franchise reinvention. The changes started at the very top of the organization, with hedge-fund billionaires Wesley Edens and Marc Lasry buying the team from longtime owner and former U.S. Sen. Herb Kohl just under one year ago. They continue on the sidelines, where — whatever your thoughts on how he got there — Jason Kidd has helmed a 26-win improvement in his first year after taking the coaching reins from Larry Drew.

    [Follow Dunks Don't Lie on Tumblr: The best slams from all of basketball]

    Welcome To The New Era Of Bucks Basketball. #OwnTheFuture pic.twitter.com/U4Pj4VG89r

    I'm pretty into the old-timey third logo, featuring the outline of the state of Wisconsin:

    More NBA coverage:

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  • NBA Playoff Picture Update: Pelicans, Thunder take West's No. 8 race to season's final day

    Dan Devine at Ball Don't Lie 4 days ago

    With just two days remaining in the NBA regular season, every night impacts the standings. The NBA Playoff Picture Update keeps you up to date on all the most important news for all 16 berths and seeds.

    [Follow Dunks Don't Lie on Tumblr: The best slams from all of basketball]

    It all comes down to this: It'll take all 82 games to decide which team gets the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference, as both the Oklahoma City Thunder and New Orleans Pelicans won on Monday night to keep their postseason hopes alive.

    ... and later snuffing this Adreian Payne attempt with extreme prejudice:

    Guards Eric Gordon and Tyreke Evans chipped in 22 points apiece for the Pelicans, who bounced back from a tough loss Sunday to maintain control of their own destiny in the playoff race.

    ... and enough juice off the bounce to be willing to take and make Dirk Nowitzki-style one-legged fadeaways in the lane:

    As if we'd expect anything else.

    There are fewer reasons to smile in Brooklyn.

    Tuesday's Most Important Games

  • Blazers lose Batum (right knee), McCollum (left ankle) in first half vs. Thunder

    Dan Devine at Ball Don't Lie 5 days ago

    The Portland Trail Blazers are locked into the No. 4 seed in the Western Conference, are assured of having to open the first round of the playoffs on the road since their opponent will end the season with a superior record, have already lost three wings to injury and entered Monday night without All-Star power forward LaMarcus Aldridge, who's nursing a sprained left foot. With no chance to improve their seeding and just two games left in the regular season, at this point, Blazers fans were just hoping that what remains of the team to make it to the playoffs in one piece.

    Batum suffered a right knee injury with just over a minute and a half remaining in the opening quarter. The veteran swingman and teammate Joel Freeland both jumped to try to collect a rebound of a missed 3-point shot by Oklahoma City guard Dion Waiters:

    Portland F Nicolas Batum (right knee injury) will not return. X-Rays are negative.

    Batum, who was already dealing with a sore back, finished with one point and one rebound in 10 1/2 minutes.

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