Kelly Dwyer

  • BDL's 2015-16 NBA Playoff Previews: Toronto Raptors vs. Miami Heat

    Kelly Dwyer at Ball Don't Lie 2 hrs ago

    How They Got Here

    • Toronto : By not making it easy.

    As if they wanted to beat us to the bad punchline, Toronto dropped a home matinee Game 1 for the third postseason in a row. The team had just peeled off a franchise-record 56 wins, and no NBA team plays more home weekend matinees than these same Raptors, but none of this seems to matter once the klieg lights hit.

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    The group rallied to take two games on the road in Indianapolis, but nearly squandered Game 7 at home – allowing a thin Pacer squad to make the deciding contest a one-possession game in the final minute. Though coach Dwane Casey did well to prime his rotation with plenty of opportunities, he was left reliant on tired “us against the world, boys”-motivation techniques despite entering the series with a No. 2 seed in the face of a team that needed until the last weekend of the regular season to make the playoffs.

    • Miami : By, well, not making it easy.

    Head to Head: Toronto took the season series by a 3-1 margin.

    Likely Starting Lineups:

  • Toronto hangs on, takes Game 7, moves to the Eastern semifinals

    Kelly Dwyer at Ball Don't Lie 18 hrs ago

    The Raptors just couldn’t let anyone breathe easy. It wouldn’t be their style.

    Toronto managed to make the second round of the playoffs on Sunday night, edging out the Indiana Pacers in a too-close Game 7 at home, taking the deciding game of the series with an 89-84 score. The Raptors led by as many as 18 points but watched as Indiana dropped the score down to just three in the final minute.

    It was all very Raptor-y.

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    This marks the first time the team has made the Eastern Conference semis since 2001, just the second time overall in franchise history. That turn was marked by Vince Carter, Antonio Davis and Alvin Williams playing significant roles. This one came on the heels of swingman DeMar DeRozan finally finding his stride at the exact right time.

    In the interim, the Raptors acted timely. For once.

    For one night, though, this will do. The Toronto Raptors have made it out of the first round of the playoffs. Roll over Morris Peterson, tell Jerome Williams the news.

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  • Three Things to Watch in Game 7: Toronto and Indiana Edition

    Kelly Dwyer at Ball Don't Lie 1 day ago

    The Toronto Raptors will attempt to stave off embarrassment, for the third postseason in a row, while the Indiana Pacers will try to keep irrelevance at arm’s length as both teams work to make it into the second round via a Game 7 performance on Sunday night. With the stakes in place, we decided to dive into three basketball rings that could make a difference.

    1. Kyle Lowry

    We’re all aware that DeMar DeRozan is taking 17.7 shots on his way toward 15.8 points per game in the playoffs. We know that Toronto center Jonas Valanciunas has been alternately dominant and dormant based mostly around whether or not the Pacers decide to call out their switches. We get that Norman Powell is a rookie and that, apparently via the terms of his contract, Terrence Ross is not allowed to play basketball in April.

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    Any little bit helps. Kyle Lowry, in a Raptor career full of looking over his shoulder (more on that later) should know as much.

    2. The Pine

    Indiana’s bench in Game 6? It wasn’t bad!

    3. History

    It’s stupid, but this is where we are. And the Raptors have only themselves to blame.

  • Three Things to Watch in Game 7: Miami and Charlotte Edition

    Kelly Dwyer at Ball Don't Lie 1 day ago

    The Miami Heat and Charlotte Hornets have streaked to a series-deciding Game 7, set to tip at 1 ET on Sunday afternoon. Both teams have second-round merits, but as is always the case with these sorts of close calls, the slightest edge could make the difference in sending one team home for the summer. We summarized three edge-creating options in the hours before Game 7:

    1. Free throw attempts

    The Hornets average 28 freebie attempts per game, which is certainly not an outsized amount and not all that more than Miami’s run of 21.3 a game. The Heat, though, are chaffing at the fact that reserve Charlotte guard Jeremy Lin has taken 38 in the series and that Kemba Walker (at 33 through six games) isn’t far behind. Dwyane Wade, the man who once shot 22 free throws in a pivotal NBA Finals game, has taken just as many in the playoffs thus far.

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    2. Big to start, big to finish

    How each coach juggles these sorts of tall options could decide the fate of what has unexpectedly become the most entertaining series of the first round.

    3. Three-point shooting

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  • Indiana extends its season with a win, forces a Game 7 in Toronto

    Kelly Dwyer at Ball Don't Lie 2 days ago

    INDIANAPOLIS – The Indiana Pacers, yet again, have proven that that they’re not exactly keen on playing from ahead Friday evening. The East’s No. 7 seed came back from 12 down in the first quarter to top the Toronto Raptors in what turned into a 19-point blowout win, taking Game 6 by a 101-83 score and sending the first round series back to Ontario for a deciding Game 7 on Sunday.

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    Indiana had to work to extend its season, shortening its rotation and playing its stars extended minutes with its figurative backs against the wall. No, Paul George didn’t have to play all 48 minutes in the win as he offered, but he did play every second of the first and third quarters and was well on his way toward a full allotment of fourth quarter ticks before being removed with just under three minutes left in the game with his team up 28 points.

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  • Stan Van Gundy says Andre Drummond might try underhand free throws

    Kelly Dwyer at Ball Don't Lie 3 days ago

    Andre Drummond misses a lot of his free throws. He missed 65 percent of them during the regular season, he’s missed 62 percent on his career, and most importantly nearly 68 percent of them during his first playoff outing this spring.

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    That outing ended with Drummond’s Detroit Pistons being swept from the playoff by the top-seeded Cleveland Cavaliers. That result was hardly an upset on one form of paper, but to those familiar with another piece of ply it was a bit of a surprise to see the Pistons team that took three of four regular season games from Cleveland in 2015-16 fail to secure a single win.

    Part of that lack of execution was due to the fact that Pistons coach Stan Van Gundy had to sit Drummond for certain fourth quarter stages so as to avoid intentional fouls that would put his All-Star center at the free throw line. In exit interviews with the team and local press, Van Gundy and general manager Jeff Bower discussed the chance that Drummond might learn to shoot free throws underhand for 2016-17.

    […]

    “That’s all I can say right now.”

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  • The Memphis Grizzlies? Gone till November.

    Kelly Dwyer at Ball Don't Lie 5 days ago

    It’s to the Memphis Grizzlies’ great credit that the team wasn’t regarded as a laughingstock in NBA circles this year. The team was never widely mocked for fielding 28 players this season, for being swept by an average of 22 points per game in the first round, or for relying so heavily on Vince Carter and Jordan Farmar in the postseason.

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    Sure, there were some (enthusiastic, really!) jokes flying around Twitter when that website was alerted to the fact that Lance Stephenson, Tony Allen and Zach Randolph would all now be working on the same team, but beyond that there was nary a diss to be found. There might be plenty of silly GIFs of Lance and Tony floating around – and, in his day, black and white YouTube clips of Zach – but the NBA absolutely loves those three. And the league respects these Grizzlies.

    And it has no idea what comes next, in Memphis.

    Add in the disparate nature of Gasol and Conley’s current contract structures, and you have more and more weight to add onto things.

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  • Charles Barkley apologizes to the Rockets owner, CEO, GM (Video)

    Kelly Dwyer at Ball Don't Lie 5 days ago

    Every since John Stockton hit a Western Conference finals-winning three-pointer over him in 1997, Charles Barkley has had a contentious relationship with the Houston Rockets, the last of three NBA teams the Hall of Famer played for.

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    The next season saw Barkley chirping with longtime local hero Clyde Drexler about Drexler’s apparent snail-paced approach to returning from a hamstring injury in his final season, while Barkley battled to drag an aging Rocket team to the West’s No. 8 seed. Then Barkley took a pay cut in his third season with the franchise in order to make room for acquiring Scottie Pippen’s max deal. Barkley worked the 1999 season for $1 million.

    The Rockets signed Barkley to a $9 million deal for his injury-shortened swan song in 1999-00, but Barkley has intimated several times through the years that the team has yet to fully pay off what might be a deferred payment deal. Or that, in spite of Barkley working for just 20 games in his final year, he should have been paid more in total to make up for working for the minimum in 1999.

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  • Clippers' Blake Griffin out for the playoffs, Chris Paul out 'indefinitely'

    Kelly Dwyer at Ball Don't Lie 6 days ago

    In one of the more devastating basketball-only press releases in recent NBA history, the Los Angeles Clippers announced on Tuesday that Blake Griffin will be out for the rest of the postseason and Chris Paul is out "indefinitely." Paul’s right hand fracture and the Griffin’s re-injured left quad will severely derail any hopes the team has of winning its first title.

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    In 24 hours, the Clippers went from staring down an upstart-yet-outmanned Portland Trail Blazers team, flush with a 2-1 advantage with Paul and Griffin on board, to a 2-2 series tie in a first-round matchup they might not win. Worse, the Clippers will likely not be able to take advantage of Stephen Curry's two-week (or probably longer) right knee strain in the second round.

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  • Tyronn Lue on LeBron's no-calls: 'He's the Shaq of guards and forwards'

    Kelly Dwyer at Ball Don't Lie 6 days ago

    The quick read regarding LeBron James’ offensive brilliance is that he’s a pass first guy that just happens to have a Karl Malone-sized physique. That it’s just fine not to send him to the line a Dwyane Wade or Kevin Durant-level of times per game, because James is looking to score first and dive toward the rim second. If even then.

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    You don’t have to be rooting on LeBron James’ behalf, though, to notice that the rules behind his trips to the lane don’t always seem on the level. Yes, James is allowed to use a big butt and a smile while backing down defenders in the post, but that’s because he’s stronger and better than most – the same way Earl Campbell was allowed to do what he did, and Mike Trout is allowed to do what he does. We don’t penalize Klay Thompson’s skills from behind the arc by turning his threes into twos.

    "He's the Shaq of guards and forwards.”

    […]

    "He's so strong and so physical, when he goes to the basket, guys are bouncing off of him. Those are still fouls, but he doesn't get that call because he's so big and so strong and so physical.