- Eric Freeman at Ball Don't Lie1 hr ago
The battle for playoff seeding in the Western Conference could determine several teams' fates this spring. With all eight playoff teams having looked very dangerous at some point this regular season, first-round matchups figure to go a long way in figuring out which franchises avoid upsets or put themselves in position to surprise NBA fans. There are many quality teams in the West, so seeding might mean less than the ideal matchup.Wed, Apr 167:30 PM PDTLA Clippers at PortlandPreview Game
- Eric Freeman at Ball Don't Lie8 hrs ago
With the NBA postseason nearly upon us, it's time to sort out stars' legacies. While various statistical milestones and awards confer legitimacy on careers, championships tend to carry the most prestige of all. If a great player retires without a ring, he's going to be diminished in the eyes of many fans and basketball lifers.
- Eric Freeman at Ball Don't Lie1 day ago
Tanking remains a concern for many NBA fans and analysts, but there's no question why teams consider it a useful plan. Strategic losing gives teams a chance to rebuild and reload their rosters through the draft. It's the most apparent way of landing a star-quality player and becoming a true contender.
This manner of rebuilding has become such an acceptable plan that it's easy to identify several franchises that enter the season with little hope of making the postseason. This fall, those intentional losers appeared to include the Philadelphia 76ers, Phoenix Suns (a surprise playoff contender until finally being eliminated on Monday night), and Utah Jazz, among others. Yet the worst team of the 2013-14 season may not have intended to be anywhere near this terrible.Wed, Apr 165:00 PM PDTAtlanta at MilwaukeePreview Game
- Eric Freeman at Ball Don't Lie4 days ago
The end of any NBA season is full of bizarre and atypical events. When a team loses all hope of making the playoffs, lineups and strategies can go in weird directions. It's a good idea for fans to expect the unexpected.
Nevertheless, there was really no way to predict what Minnesota Timberwolves wing Corey Brewer achieved on Friday night against the Houston Rockets. In a performance without clear precedent, the seven-season pro scored a career-high 51 points on 19-of-30 shooting from the field and 11-of-15 shooting from the line in 45 minutes. With star power forward Kevin Love, guard Kevin Martin, and center Nikola Pekovic sitting out, Brewer was the focus of the Wolves' offense and a terror for the Rockets. Check out his shot chart — heavy on baskets at the rim — below:Wed, Apr 165:00 PM PDTUtah at MinnesotaPreview Game
- Eric Freeman at Ball Don't Lie5 days ago
When the NBA instituted warnings and fines for flopping at the beginning of the last season, the hope was that it would curtail the practice by providing some measure of shame for the worst offenders. That hasn't entirely happened — players still sell contact really often — but it's definitely the case that we now have several working examples of the worst kind of flopping. If the league says it's bad, it's usually pretty terrible.
Yet it's very difficult to prepare for the sheer ridiculousness of the flop that earned Boston Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo a warning on Thursday. In the fourth quarter of Wednesday's eventual loss to the Atlanta Hawks, Rondo set up to take a charge as his Hawks counterpart Jeff Teague dribbled through the lane. Unfortunately for Rondo, Teague avoided him and passed to teammate DeMarre Carroll. That didn't stop Rondo from trying to sell the (lack of) contact anyway. Check it out below (the relevant moment starts around the 24-second mark):Wed, Apr 165:00 PM PDTWashington at BostonPreview Game
- Eric Freeman at Ball Don't Lie6 days ago
Absent any context but win-loss record, Wednesday night's between the Indiana Pacers and Milwaukee Bucks was a bit of a mismatch. The 53-25 Pacers and 14-64 Bucks represent opposite ends of the Eastern Conference standings and have much different incentives to win and lose. Yet, when Indiana head coach Frank Vogel decided to sit all five of his starters vs. Milwaukee, the matchup suddenly became a real contest. The Pacers, mired in the midst of a confounding struggle, would need strong performances from their usual bench players in order to best the NBA's worst team.Wed, Apr 164:00 PM PDTIndiana at OrlandoPreview Game
Los Angeles Lakers point guard Steve Nash has had a rough past two seasons, suffering through various ailments and looking like a shadow of his former self. Entering Tuesday night's home game against the Houston Rockets, Nash had played in only 14 games this season and was even declared out for the rest of the campaign several weeks ago, only to return shortly thereafter as a backup for starter Kendall Marshall. As Nash has documented in his web series, all of this has been a real struggle.Wed, Apr 165:00 PM PDTLA Lakers at San AntonioPreview Game
Dallas Mavericks star Dirk Nowitzki is commonly referred to as the greatest European player in NBA history, as well as one of the best foreign players the league has ever seen. However, as his career moves along, Nowitzki figures to get more attention as one of the best players the sport has ever seen — no qualifications required.
On Tuesday night, Dirk reached one of the milestones that will establish that legacy. On the first possession of the fourth quarter in the Mavericks' game against the Utah Jazz, the 12-time All-Star knocked down a jumper from the right wing for his 17th and 18th points of the night. The basket was a historic one that pushed Nowitzki up and over the mark of 26,710 points set by legend Oscar Robertson in his 14 seasons. Nowitzki added a 3-pointer later in the game to end the night with 26,714 career points, which puts him at 10th on the all-time list. Watch it below:Wed, Apr 165:00 PM PDTDallas at MemphisPreview Game
The Brooklyn Nets and two-time defending champion Miami Heat have played four extremely close games against each other this season. Tuesday night's final regular season matchup may have been the closest of all.
With the fourth-quarter margin never more than four points in either direction, the Heat cut the Nets' lead to 88-87 on a Chris Bosh dunk with 34 seconds remaining in regulation. After a badly missed Joe Johnson three-pointer, the Heat held the ball with 10 seconds on the clock and a chance to win with any basket in transition. Not surprisingly, the ball ended up in the hands of uber-star LeBron James. What came next was remarkable in several respects. Check out the video below:Wed, Apr 165:00 PM PDTBrooklyn at ClevelandPreview Game
The San Antonio Spurs have missed the playoffs a grand total of one time since the start of the 1989-90 season, a run of excellence that matches up with (and arguably tops, depending on your perspective) any franchise in the league over the same period. They are a model of consistency and professional, largely due to the presence of longtime head coach Gregg Popovich. While Pop has not been the team's leader for all of those 26 seasons, he is the single figure most identified with that success. The man would figure to have some idea why the Spurs have maintained their high level over that period of time.
Before Tuesday night's game against the Minnesota Timberwolves, Popovich explained the Spurs' impressive longevity to assembled reporters. The answer is pretty simple. From Jeff McDonald of The San Antonio Express-News on Twitter:
Pop reveals secret to Spurs' lasting success: "Get the No. 1 pick in the draft every 10 years and make sure it's a franchise player."