- Kelly Dwyer at Ball Don't Lie4 hrs ago
CHICAGO – Once again, it appears as if the rest of the NBA has caught up to the postseason version of the Chicago Bulls, those noted regular-season thrashers. And the Washington Wizards appear to have turned a corner that could put them in the second round for just the third time since Ronald Reagan’s first term in the town they play in.
The Wizards will return to that home with a 2-0 series lead over Chicago, following their gritty 101-99 overtime win on Tuesday evening. The Wizards erased a 10-point deficit to force overtime and once again encourage Chicago into moving away from its offensive bread and butter – a decidedly modest bread and butter, to be sure, but one that helped the Bulls secure the first-round home-court advantage they relinquished during Sunday’s Game 1.
- Kelly Dwyer at Ball Don't Lie16 hrs ago
The Indiana Pacers and Chicago Bulls entered 2013-14 as championship contenders. At various points during the autumn and winter they were the darlings of the NBA. Both teams began the postseason with aspirations to knock off the two-time defending champion Miami Heat. They boast the two best defenses in the NBA, and they’re working against two limited teams in Atlanta and Washington that few gave a nod to as first-round victors.
On Tuesday, both Indiana and Chicago will be fighting to save their seasons. Even in a best-of-seven series, it’s astonishing what one misspent game will cost you.
The NBA has enjoyed a culture shift over the last few years, with a younger generation of writers on websites that didn’t exist a decade ago taking to their laptops to try and Get Everything Right. As a result, as we clear the noise and work through the unending sources of both voice and source, the league’s fans have become more and more intelligent, besotted after taking in numbers after numbers after clips after quotes from the writers trying to explain why this all counts.
The shot clock malfunction that turned Game 1 of the opening round series between the Toronto Raptors and Brooklyn Nets into a near calamity was an embarrassment to all involved. The NBA did not like the sideshow of the public address announcer having to count off ticks on the clock in its opening game of the postseason, and the players likely did not enjoy both their rhythm being interrupted and their routine altered as the possessions wore down. And the Air Canada Centre certainly did not appreciate its beautiful facility being looked at by millions as some sort of Mickey Mouse affair.
It appears the problem occurred because there was a mouse in the house. That mouse was a real Mickey, namely ESPN, at least according to one anonymous ACC source who spoke to Jeff Zillgitt at USA Today:
It will come as no surprise that Rick Adelman stepped down as Minnesota Timberwolves coach on Monday. The longtime successful NBA sideline stalker was rumored to be considering a move along those lines last season, and the wear of losing seasons and inability to spend more time with his family clearly has been getting to the coach. With a duel team/coach contract option left to consider for 2014-15, Adelman and the T'wolves decided to part ways on Monday after a 97-133 run in Minnesota – a disappointing mark considering the team’s past wealth of lottery picks and cap space.
That record also isn’t representative of Adelman’s career-long work as a coach, which dates back to 1988. He managed a 1,042-win career and was the lead man on several NBA champion runner-ups, whether they were official (losing in the Finals twice against powerhouses in Detroit and Chicago) or unofficial (falling to the Lakers in a controversial Western Conference finals in 2002). Adelman’s offenses were renowned for their spacing, and with the possible exception of fitful turns in Minnesota and Golden State, few ever walked away from a season with Rick Adelman in charge thinking the coach was the problem.
- Kelly Dwyer at Ball Don't Lie2 days ago
CHICAGO – The Chicago Bulls aren’t exactly world-beaters. With Derrick Rose sidelined for the season, nobody is confusing this team for a championship contender in 2014, but teams should still be warned against attempting to beat the Bulls at their own game. That’s exactly what the Washington Wizards did on Sunday night, though, pairing tough defense with a highly developed frontcourt attack to down Chicago, 102-93, stealing home-court advantage and Game 1 of their first-round playoff series along the way.
Chicago was up by as many as 13 points in the third quarter before Washington started chipping away at the lead using the same hallmarks that made the first half a competitive back and forth. The Wizards ran the offense through Nene, the oft-injured but versatile big man with seven years of playoff experience under his 31-year-old belt. He finished with 24 points, his third-highest output of the season at the exact right time, tossing in eight rebounds and several hockey assists before fouling out just before the final buzzer.
- Kelly Dwyer at Ball Don't Lie3 days ago
As you’d expect, the Indiana Pacers put on a brave face and consistent tone following their somewhat shocking 101-93 defeat on Saturday night, a professional reaction following a disappointing home loss in the first game of their opening-round playoff series to the Atlanta Hawks. The group had worked all season to earn the first seed in the Eastern Conference, purportedly to play a Game 7 in Indianapolis against the Miami Heat sometime in June, but in one 2 1/2-hour mid-April flourish the team quickly lost first-round home-court advantage to what some have surmised to be the worst NBA playoff team ever.
The 38-win Hawks expertly attacked Indiana’s strong and weak points in Game 1, though, pulling the Pacers' big men away from the basket while relentlessly attacking a step-slow Indiana offense that constantly had a hand in its face. Nowhere was this more evident than a 30-16 third quarter in Atlanta’s favor, one that had the Pacers completely out of sync on both ends, struggling to communicate defensively while missing the mark with cuts and misdirections offensively.
- Kelly Dwyer at Ball Don't Lie5 days ago
A look around the league and the web that covers it. It's also important to note that the rotation order and starting nods aren't always listed in order of importance. That's for you, dear reader, to figure out.
- Kelly Dwyer at Ball Don't Lie6 days 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.
- Kelly Dwyer at Ball Don't Lie6 days 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.