- Kelly Dwyer at Ball Don't Lie11 hrs ago
The Milwaukee Bucks were designed to make the playoffs, and instead of returning to the postseason the roster responded with 15 wins. The group is under the NBA’s salary cap, but it also boasts a series of long term contracts to middling or disappointing players that nobody is in a hurry to deal for. It boasts a coach in Larry Drew that followed one uninspired turn in Atlanta with an initial season in Milwaukee that left all involved stifling a yawn. The team’s franchise player is serving a drug suspension. Its general manager isn’t highly regarded, following his latest offseason buildup at least. It has just a 25 percent chance the top overall selection in this year’s draft. Its arena is dilapidated and sometimes barely playable.Wed, Apr 16Atlanta111 - 103MilwaukeeGame Recap
- Kelly Dwyer at Ball Don't Lie12 hrs ago
On Wednesday night, the whole of NBA fandom will sit in front of their beaming League Pass packages to take in the last game of the league’s regular season. It will start the night in Charlotte and Orlando, as it usually does, and end up somewhere in California, or Oregon, as is League Pass custom. Tweets will be shared, games will be watched, and fans across the country will wave goodbye to 14 of the league’s 30 teams as the season finds its end.
Many fans outside of the Bay Area will also be forced to wave goodbye to Golden State Warriors color analyst Jim Barnett, who is basically being asked to step down as one of the voices behind Warriors telecasts in order to take on an ambassador’s role with the team. That decision was made last autumn, and was hardly noticed outside of GSW-blog circles, a move that I regret missing and then lamenting as we prepped for the slog of an 82-game, five and a half month season.
Kyle Lowry turns the corner: 'you have to admit to yourself that maybe you’re the one who needs to change'Kelly Dwyer at Ball Don't Lie13 hrs ago
Nobody wanted to call him a “head case,” but the scouting report was still out there. Kyle Lowry has undeniable talent, a track record of putting teams on his shoulders for quarters at a time, and more off-record whispers than a closed Hollywood set. He entered 2013-14 with an expiring contract, a team that was designed to lose, and a coach in Dwane Casey that didn’t seem long for Toronto.
For whatever reasons, all of them tightly packed and wonderful, the Raptors’ season went according to script. Casey excelled in the final year of his contract, new general manager Masai Ujiri held off on completely dismantling the team that former GM Bryan Colangelo left for him, and Toronto ended up winning its division. Along the way, despite trade rumors, Lowry turned in a career year, nearly making the All-Star team and strengthening his position as the go-to 2014 free agent target for teams looking for point guard help.
- Kelly Dwyer at Ball Don't Lie2 days ago
There was a reason why Joe Dumars was able to hang on for so many years as Detroit Pistons general manager. He was beloved as a player; the 1990 NBA Finals MVP was the only member of the Bad Boy Pistons for whom outsiders could stand to root, kind of like the opposite of an aerial view. It wasn’t that distinction that made him so workable, though, so un-fungible. Dumars, who stepped down from his post as Pistons personnel el jefe on Monday, actually used to be damn good at his job. And people unfortunately tend to forget this.
The whiffs are notorious. This is the man who signed and dealt for both Josh Smith's and Brandon Jennings’ 20-foot jump shots last summer. He signed Ben Gordon and Charlie Villanueva in 2009 – to big contracts to actually start for his basketball team. He drafted Darko Milicic with, wait for it, the second pick in the 2003 NBA draft, when everyone knew that Chris Kaman or Travis Outlaw (or Dwyane Wade or Carmelo Anthony or Chris Bosh or whatever) would have been a better selection. The man hired Maurice Cheeks to coach an NBA team. In 2013.
In the early years of his run, though, Joe Dumars was ahead of his time.Wed, Apr 16Detroit111 - 112Oklahoma CityGame Recap
The New York Knicks still think Andrea Bargnani is 'a big piece of the puzzle,' which is sort of correct
Just when the whole of the basketball world seemed ready to feel sorry for New York Knicks coach Mike Woodson, left to dangle in the wind as silent, invading forces build above him in a season gone terribly wrong, he has to go and point to Andrea Bargnani as some sort of Knicksian salve that could have saved the team’s woeful season.
Bargnani, who the team traded a slew of expiring deals along with a 2016 first round pick and a second round pick to Toronto for last summer, hasn’t played since dropping 20 points on 7-12 shooting in a loss to the Philadelphia 76ers on January 22. The fact that one of Bargnani’s best games of the season couldn’t help a Knicks team beat a 76ers squad that would go on to lose 29 of its next 30 games is telling. The Knicks played terribly with Andrea in the lineup this year.
To Woodson, though, the injured Bargnani is the one that got away. Scope this out, from Friday’s Knick shootaround:Wed, Apr 16Toronto92 - 95New YorkGame Recap
You’ve got nothing to do on Friday night. Sorry for reminding you, but you’re going to sit at home, turning on League Pass, and watch a bunch of basketball. It’s best knowing which games to pay attention to, and which ones to flip away from, as the playoffs near.
Washington at Orlando
The Wizards are snapping away – John Wall and coach Randy Wittman recently had an eventful back and forth after Wall took offense to Wittman’s assessment that his players “go through the motions,” meanwhile veteran Wiz forward Al Harrington published a lengthy (and quite moving, at times) discussion of his years-long recovery from knee injuries and a staff infection, calling out his former Magic team for a lack of professionalism, and chiding current Orlando general manager Rob Hennigan for a brusque description of Harrington’s career prospects. Orlando? They really don’t care much and just want to lose.
Playoff implications: Pretty big. The Wizards are tied with the Bobcats, looking to move up for the right not to play Miami or Indiana in the first round.
Twitter accounts are so ubiquitous these days that it feels as if only a few of our uncles and Jason Mantzoukas are the only ones who haven’t logged in. With that knowledge in hand, it’s worth pointing out that NBA team employees of any level and stature are often right there with the rest of us, churning out bad jokes and frustrations with calls gone wrong in 140 characters or less, tapping away at all hours of the night.
Still, all NBA team employees are subject to the same rules about criticizing referees as players, coaches, team owners and general managers. And even if the voice with the loudest boom in the room – in this case a team’s public address announcer – chooses to air his grievances via Twitter rather than the deafening microphone setup in front of him, the league is still going to cut down on any ref-bashing bit of dissent.Wed, Apr 16Dallas105 - 106MemphisGame Recap
On Wednesday, the Rick Adelman-led Minnesota Timberwolves fell to the Chicago Bulls by a 102-87 score. The loss dropped the Wolves to .500, a record that in most years prior to the post-Jordan era would earn a Western Conference team a playoff berth, and a mark that would easily slide Minnesota into the eighth spot in this year’s Eastern playoffs bracket. Minnesota will not be making the playoffs this year, though.
Wolves forward Kevin Love hyper-extended his right (shooting) elbow during the game and suffered through a 7-20 night, Bulls center Joakim Noah abused both Love and impressive Minnnesota rookie big man Gorgui Dieng for a 15-point, 13-rebound, 10-assist triple-double, as the Timberwolves (who were officially eliminated from the playoffs earlier in April) continued to play out the string.Wed, Apr 16Utah136 - 130MinnesotaGame Recap
- Kelly Dwyer at Ball Don't Lie6 days ago
Larry Sanders became a Milwaukee Buck again on Wednesday night. Of course, he wasn’t allowed to join the team at the Bradley Center, as the Bucks fell to the Indiana Pacers by a 104-102 score, but he was deemed medically cleared to play after a broken orbital bone was initially deemed enough to knock him out for the rest of Milwaukee’s wildly disappointing 2013-14 season.
- Kelly Dwyer at Ball Don't Lie6 days ago
As the New York Knicks’ 2013-14 campaign winds down, a few things are just about certain.
For one, even if some that work (or at least visit) Madison Square Garden overrated the team’s talent entering this campaign, this is still a wildly disappointing outfit. Secondly, the squad is just about sure to miss the playoffs this year. And Mike Woodson, the man who righted the team’s ship during a typically combustible 2011-12 season before leading New York to 54 wins last year, is certain to be let go after this run mercifully ends.
Whether or not this is deserved isn’t the point. Knicks owner James Dolan loves scapegoats, and Woodson was probably a goner in Dolan’s eyes well before he hired Phil Jackson to (as of this writing, before Isiah Thomas sends Dolan another text) run the Knicks. Phil Jackson, sporting that beautiful basketball mind alongside an ego the size of South Dakota, is also going to want a fresh re-boot with his own cast of characters.