- Kelly Dwyer at Ball Don't Lie10 hrs ago
The Los Angeles Lakers’ prospects were never going to be all that swell in 2014-15. The team is thin, injury-prone, lacking defenders, and featuring a questionable mindset when it comes to attempting three-pointers. One saving grace that fans did have to look forward to was the potential, at last, for a pairing of a healthy Steve Nash and Kobe Bryant. Though the two would have been diminished by age and injury, the throwback backcourt would have been fun to take in.
- Kelly Dwyer at Ball Don't Lie16 hrs ago
Few NBA stars are as divisive as Cleveland Cavaliers forward Kevin Love, and that’s saying something as we work our way through “Should We All Hate Kobe Bryant Week.”
The former Minnesota Timberwolves All-Star was finally granted a reprieve from the team that denied him a max contract nearly three years ago and failed to surround him with enough talent to get over the enormous hump that it takes to make the Western Conference playoff bracket. Though the Wolves will rue missing those playoffs for the 11th straight season in 2014-15, the deal was a win-win of sorts, as the team was able to take on two fantastic prospects in Andrew Wiggins and Anthony Bennett along the way.
During his time in Minnesota, Love put up fantastic statistics (save for his injury-plagued turn in 2012-13), as even his per-minute numbers were top shelf in his first few years, when he was weirdly kept from playing big minutes by coaches Kevin McHale and Kurt Rambis. In a self-penned feature entitled for The Players’ Tribune, Love looked back on his time with the struggling franchise:Wed, Oct 22Cleveland92 - 99MemphisGame Recap
- Kelly Dwyer at Ball Don't Lie18 hrs ago
Let’s pretend, for a moment, that Kobe Bryant is some wonderful, cheerful, galoot of a man. That he is super swell to work with, and that his on-record tough guy musings spat out in an expletive-laden style that reminds of a 11-year-old who just realized he could use blue words is just a show for the media. Let’s pretend that, behind the scenes, Kobe Bryant is the ideal teammate, and that he’s promised many things to prospective Los Angeles Lakers teammates through the years.
Promised that the storied franchise will be theirs, all theirs, once Bryant retires and the salary cap shoots way up upon his retirement.
Assured that he’d willingly give up shots and the ball in order to develop a more harmonious partnership with a free agent partner. Or partners.
Pointed out that there are still grapes to be eaten in California, and that he’d sacrifice whatever it takes to win, even if that means abandoning the spotlight and ceding the reins of the offense.
Let’s just try to live in that world, for a moment. It may take a Brando-like sense of method acting to put yourself in that spot, but give it a try.
- Kelly Dwyer at Ball Don't Lie1 day ago
So, now it’s on the players.
Currently, Clipper fans don’t have to hate themselves, as they probably did at times, for paying to see a team owned by Donald Sterling. NBA fans, as we often did, don’t have to hate ourselves anymore while enjoying those late night, must-watch Clipper broadcasts on League Pass. The players don’t have to cringe anymore when Sterling goes meandering around the locker room. Doc Rivers won’t have to question his own ethics anymore. It’s over.
(Shelly Sterling needs to go, to be sure, but it’s over.)
What we have left, finally, is ball. Ball run by the league’s best point guard, one of its best coaches, and one of the NBA’s best players. Plays run by a supporting cast that is to be envied. Work run in the toughest conference in NBA history, one the Los Angeles Clippers have as good a chance as any at getting out of this spring, possibly representing the Western Conference in the 2015 NBA Finals.
Blake Griffin is tired of being pushed around, and vows to stand up for himself. Whatever that means.Kelly Dwyer at Ball Don't Lie1 day ago
An angry Blake Griffin said some angry things over the weekend, and we need to figure out where to go from here.
(An allegedly angry Blake Griffin also allegedly did some angry things over the weekend as well, but if the allegations are true, they seem totally justified – don’t be the doofus that bothers famous people by taking endless pictures of them at a club.)
Griffin has been a target for hard fouls for his entire pro career, partially as a result of his merely so-so free throw shooting, but mainly because he’s just much better than the men who guard him. On Friday evening, Utah Jazz reserve forward Trevor Booker attempted this maneuver:
- Kelly Dwyer at Ball Don't Lie2 days ago
After Derrick Rose basically (and understandably) ducked extensively speaking with most media while sitting out the 2012-13 season with an ACL tear, the NBA changed its rules regarding the media availability required for its seriously injured players. Though Kevin Durant’s right foot fracture won’t shelve him for the entire 2014-15 season, it will put him out for most of the exhibition season and at least the first month of the regular season – and it is a serious injury.
This is why Durant spoke at a press conference on Tuesday morning, one that was technically nationally televised on NBA TV. It was his first showing in front of the cameras since leaving his team’s second exhibition game nearly two weeks ago. In a move that was probably whimsical to most but worrying to Thunder fans, this is how Durant literally rolled:
Here’s a snippet from Durant’s presser:
LeBron James’ trail of delicious bread crumbs has helped reshape the entire Cleveland Cavaliers roster. Kevin Love forced a trade to the Cavs following James contract agreement with Cleveland, asking to go to a team that had an even worse record than his mediocre Minnesota Timberwolves club last season. Shawn Marion and former James teammates Mike Miller and James Jones soon followed suit. Suddenly, the Cavs are a destination team, and that doesn’t figure to change as the franchise continues to add free agents to surround James with over the next few years.
It’s not all about LeBron, though, apparently. Shawn Marion’s attempt secure another championship was pushed over the top by the acquisition of Love, who ironically plays the same position that Marion sees much of his time at. For once, LeBron James’ pied piping wasn’t tempting enough.
Chicago Bulls center Joakim Noah has always found a sound balance between the frantic and ferocious nature of his game and off-court tranquility, though many have jokingly chalked that up to Joakim’s particular strain of recreational activities. The same cannot be said for Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau, who reportedly has very little in terms of a personal life outside of basketball, in between putting in marathon shifts and sometimes sleeping at the team’s practice facility.
The secret to Noah’s success in keeping things outwardly chill? He won’t and shouldn’t give it the full credit, but apparently yoga helps quite a bit. And he’s convinced it would help with his volatile and single-minded coach. From an interview with Bill Schulz at the Daily Beast:
Coach Thibodeau always looks like he’s on the verge of an aneurism. What, if anything, could you do to calm him down?
He looks like that whether he’s happy or sad. But I’d have him do yoga with me. He could use that.
What’s the most pissed off he’s ever been at you?
On Friday, the NBA will wrap up an exhibition schedule of games that it refers to as the “preseason,” which continues to be a laughable term. Even those of us that spend our mornings and afternoons staring at video clips of last season’s NBA games, the ones that sweat out the summer dying for NBA action, tend to pass on consistently viewing these sorts of affairs. There are highlights that can be culled, to be sure, but the idea of investing so much into one’s fandom into a sport and simultaneously watching a game that doesn’t count seems incongruous at best.
What also hurts, for that invested fan, is watching older players like Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili go through paces in mid-October when you know you’re going to want to watch them at their peak in mid-June. This is why it’s helpful to have coaches like Gregg Popovich pulling players out of exhibition action in the face of what will be an 82-game season topped off with a possible two-month playoff run. As you likely know, Popovich declined to travel to Phoenix for an exhibition game last Thursday, leaving Duncan and Ginobili behind while other San Antonio Spurs rotation members sat with injury or illness.
- Kelly Dwyer at Ball Don't Lie5 days ago
Tristan Thompson scored 17 points and added 11 rebounds with no turnovers in nearly 30 minutes of action on Friday night. The Cavaliers big man returned to the power forward position and was probably the team’s best player in its 108-102 exhibition loss to the Dallas Mavericks at home. Following the contest Prior to the contest, FOX Sports sideline reporter Allie Clifton attempted to discuss as much with Thompson, who responded by disgusting us as much as humanly possible:
Yeah, hey, Tristan Thompson, don’t do that.
Just because Allie Clifton remained calm and professional and kept a smile following the buss, it doesn’t mean Tristan Thompson wasn’t straight up sexually harassing her. She remained calm and professional because she is a professional – that is to say, she’s doing her [EXPLETIVE DELETED] job. Don’t kiss someone without their consent, ever, and don’t kiss someone without their consent while they’re doing their job.