Kelly Dwyer

  • The Houston Rockets? Gone till November.

    Kelly Dwyer at Ball Don't Lie 4 hrs ago

    It’s hard to be disappointed in the Houston Rockets’ 2014-15 run. It’s true that the team was allowed the luxury of piggybacking an MVP candidate for 81 of its 82 games this season, but this was a campaign that was also fraught with injury and goofball, sometimes polarizing additions that threatened to throw the team off the rails. No amount of 32-7-7 nights from James Harden would matter if the helpers aren’t helping and the second-in-command star is in street clothes.

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    For that, Harden came in second in MVP voting, with many considering the race between him and winner Stephen Curry to be a coin flip scenario at best. He pushed the Rockets to the second quickest pace in the NBA, slowed the game down with his repeated trips to the free throw line, all while working alongside 12 different regular-season starters.

    Morey also ended up rolling the dice, somewhat, on what seemed at the time a very un-Daryl Morey-like player.

    It’ll be fascinating as always to either watch the attempts, or the execution unfold.

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  • Scott Skiles is the new head coach in Orlando, for better or worse

    Kelly Dwyer at Ball Don't Lie 7 hrs ago

    You hope that the Orlando Magic know what they’re diving into.

    Scott Skiles can coach well at the NBA level. Scott Skiles will bring a semblance of professionalism to your roster, and define your culture. Your team will improve, and players of all types and motivations will respond positively. Scott Skiles, for 24 or even 36 months, will be the best part of your basketball team.

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    Scott Skiles, because spots don’t change, will eventually tire of his role, and his players will tire of him. The offense, heavy on passing but also mid-range jumpers, will fail in this modern era. Skiles’ sarcasm will leak out in reports both on record and off, and both he and his players will want a parting of ways. Skiles, understandably, will want all the guaranteed money left on his contract, and he’ll push to be fired rather than walking away. Jim Boylan will be hired as interim head coach upon his removal.

    This doesn’t mean this is a bad hire, far from it. Orlando’s front office just has to act as cynically as we are.

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  • Bill Laimbeer: 'There's no question I would take LeBron James' over Michael Jordan

    Kelly Dwyer at Ball Don't Lie 12 hrs ago

    First off, can we just agree that player comparisons – especially player comparisons that transcend eras – are pretty dumb?

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    Michael Jordan retired, for the third and final time, two months before LeBron James was drafted into the NBA. He plays around the same position as James, in a lot of ways the shooting guard and small forward slot are interchangeable, and both players (eight years for James, seven for MJ) took a long and tortured route to their first championship. They dunk a lot, and unless LeBron is working out of Miami, they wear the same number.

    They’re one of just five players on the court at a time, and they do a lot of similar things in a team game that can be dominated by a lone individual. This is why we compare them. It’s silly, but we do.

    And on Thursday, possibly motivated by decades-long enmity toward Michael Jordan, Bill Laimbeer went on the Dan Patrick Show to not just compare LeBron and Michael, but to cast a vote for the younger model:

    This is infuriating. This is biased. This is scheming. This is self-serving.

    This also might be right!

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  • The Chicago Bulls and Tom Thibodeau have finally ended it

    Kelly Dwyer at Ball Don't Lie 1 day ago

    In July of 1998, the Chicago Bulls held a news conference to announce that Tim Floyd had been hired as the team’s “director of basketball operations.” The job title was completely made-up; an insult to anyone attending who had to write those four words in their press report. The Bulls left Floyd to answer questions from the confused about why, after over a year and a half of speculation, that he hadn’t been hired as Bulls coach.

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    It was a tone-deaf, staged and telling affair run by a franchise that thought it was putting one past us. Some 17 years later, with Reinsdorf still in charge and Floyd acolyte Gar Forman helping run the show, the tradition continues.

    It would help offset Reinsdorf’s distaste for paying the fired coach a bit more than what he’s paying Jose Quintana to pitch this year, and give Chicago the “See?!?-He-wanted-to-go!-We-didn’t-want-to-fire-the-really-talented-guy!”  excuse it had long craved.

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  • The Atlanta Hawks? Gone till November.

    Kelly Dwyer at Ball Don't Lie 2 days ago

    It’s just fine to wonder if the 2014-15 Atlanta Hawks were merely a regular-season wonder. A team to take advantage of your weary outfit on a Monday night in January after you flew in from playing in Miami on Friday and Orlando on Saturday, and possibly enjoyed a little too much of Atlanta on a Sunday night “off.” It’s OK to slough off any comparisons to the 2004 Detroit Pistons, a team with three killer All-Stars and a point man in Chauncey Billups who could take over games with just 12 field-goal attempts to his name. It’s OK to worry.

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    It’s also just fine to point out that this team is another player away. A little “health” away. A little, “can we run the same sets with the same enthusiasm in May that we did in January, please?”-away.

    Then LeBron hit.

    Gravy, to be sure, but damn.

    With that in place, none of this takes away from the work Ferry has put together in working up this roster full of very good players on incredibly reasonable contracts.

    The Hawks will also have the No. 15 pick in June's draft because the Nets are the worst.

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  • Looking ahead to Game 5: Rockets at Warriors

    Kelly Dwyer at Ball Don't Lie 2 days ago

    Previously, on “Warriors against Rockets” …

    It was a typical NBA “backs against the wall” game that would have come off to annoying script had it not been so entertaining.

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    We’re working in the Western Conference, here, where Houston had to claw its way toward the second seed despite playing in a hellacious division while missing center Dwight Howard for half a season. One could classify this as the first step toward a 4-1 Golden State “gentleman’s sweep” of the Rockets had Houston not acted so rudely to the rest of the NBA throughout the year – this was a championship contender from the start of the season, one ill-suited to the 0-3 tag that dogged it as the squad entered Game 4.

    You still have to hit the shots, though. And Houston hit all of the shots.

    Golden State will have another chance in Game 5, but Houston has seen this dance before.

    What to look for in Game 5

    Stephen Curry’s Head

    It’s just fine to wonder, though, however briefly, before moving on to wonder who is going to guard whom in Game 5.

    Dwight Howard’s Head

    Houston’s Human Nature

    Golden State’s Human Nature

  • Shaquille O'Neal swears he'd be 'a Laker to this day' but for Karl Malone's 2004 knee injury

    Kelly Dwyer at Ball Don't Lie 3 days ago

    Despite the troubling (to say the absolute least) rape allegations against Kobe Bryant, despite Shaquille O’Neal’s stated demands for a contract extension, Shaq’s clear weight issues, and the obvious and simmering tension between the two players, the Los Angeles Lakers came out of the 2003-04 regular season going great guns. Coach Phil Jackson would later write that he didn’t think his team’s early good fortune was sustainable, but the Lakers were running at 20-5 when forward Karl Malone hurt his left knee in a collision with Phoenix’s Scott Williams.

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    If I had one wish, I wish we could have gotten those guys a couple years earlier. Karl was older. GP was older. Wish we could have gotten them towards the end of their prime. And you know, I think we would have won that series. And then, if Karl doesn’t get hurt, I’d probably still be a Laker to this day.

    And, as you’d expect, Shaq’s recollections are a little hazy.

    Except that he eventually did.

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    Related Video

  • Houston's Toyota Center invited fans to stay late after Game 4 as floodwaters swirled

    Kelly Dwyer at Ball Don't Lie 3 days ago

    Severe rain and flooding has badly decimated the Houston area, with the nation’s fourth-largest city watching as two of its biggest interstates were rendered unusable due to the rising waters.

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    Mindful of this, and the idea that over 18,000 NBA fans could be released into a rather dangerous commute home on Monday evening, workers at the Toyota Center urged fans not to leave the arena following the Houston Rockets’ season-saving 128-115 win.

    Toyota Center is advising fans to stay in seats after game due to severe weather outside. Be safe.

    The plea didn’t just extend to the punters in the seats. Rox center Dwight Howard also stayed behind as flash flood warnings dotted the local map:

    From the Houston Chronicle:

    Howard waved to fans as he stayed on the court, but he was getting antsy for some entertainment as he waited.

    However, never fear:

  • Atlanta's Kyle Korver out for the rest of the playoffs with an ankle injury

    Kelly Dwyer at Ball Don't Lie 6 days ago

    What was at one point a dream season – four All-Stars, the Eastern Conference’s best record , home court advantage against LeBron James’ Cleveland Cavaliers in the Eastern Conference finals – has been shot to bits within four days’ time.

    Not only are the Atlanta Hawks down 2-0 to those Cavaliers, but the team’s resident All-Star sharpshooter has taken a fall:

    BREAKING: Kyle Korver is OUT for the remainder of the playoffs with ankle injury.

    The All-Star took x-rays following the game which showed no sign of a broken bone in his right leg, but it was eventually discovered that Korver suffered a severe high right ankle sprain when Cleveland’s Matthew Dellavedova rolled into him while chasing down a loose ball:

    Kyle missed all of the fourth quarter with the injury.

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  • Looking ahead to Game 3: Golden State vs. Houston

    Kelly Dwyer at Ball Don't Lie 6 days ago

    Previously, on The Warriors and the Rockets …

    Your Rockets gave you a game, they did they did.

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    Houston could have bowed down during what tends to be a typical Game 2 blowout. The team was down 17 points during the second quarter in what looked like an expected, homespun one-sided win from a team already up 1-0. Golden State ran out early to what seemed less like an insurmountable point lead and more like an insurmountable advantage prior to an inspired Houston run in the second quarter which helped turn this mess into a 55-all affair heading into halftime.

    Stephen Curry, perhaps.

    The league’s MVP registered 31 points on just 21 shots in Game 2, he turned the ball over six times but he was also the impetus behind most of Golden State’s breakaways. He paired with fellow W’s mainstay Andrew Bogut to create that early Houston deficit, Bogut managed to hit 7-9 shots for 14 points while offering eight boards and four assists alongside five blocks in only 30 minutes.

    Three Things to Look For in Game 3

    Warriors Minding Their Manners

    Josh Smith Defying Stereotypes

    I can’t wait to find out.