Ball Don't Lie
- Kelly Dwyer at Ball Don't Lie1 hr 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.Wed, Apr 167:30 PM PDTGolden State at DenverPreview Game
National Guard soldier returns from Afghanistan, surprises 8-year-old son on court at Suns game (Video)Dan Devine at Ball Don't Lie1 hr ago
During stoppages in pay at home games at the U.S. Airways Center, the Suns often hold a "Hot or Cold?" contest, in which a contestant is plucked from the stands, brought to the court and blindfolded, and then has to find the inimitable Gorilla, who is holding a pizza. The arena crowd is asked to help the contestant out by yelling "HOT" when he or she is close to the Gorilla, and "COLD" when he or she isn't. Find the Gorilla, get free pizza for a year. (This is a pretty solid deal.)
When 8-year-old Logan Bledsoe finally got close, though, he found something even better than the Gorilla or free pizza. (Which is saying something.)Wed, Apr 167:30 PM PDTPhoenix at SacramentoPreview Game
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 Lie1 hr 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.
- Dan Devine at Ball Don't Lie2 hrs ago
The 2013-14 NBA regular season ends Wednesday, and all 30 teams will be in action on the final night of the 82-game campaign. For 14 squads, it'll offer an opportunity to say so long, farewell, auf wiedersehn and goodbye — until the draft lottery, at least. For the 16 teams that'll enter postseason play this weekend, it offers one more potential pitfall, one last night to survive without incident or injury before loading up for the long, arduous journey to hoisting the O'Brien trophy come late June.
That journey will begin with opening-round quarterfinal matchups, a number of which have yet to be officially determined and will be locked in on the final night of the season. Here's a quick refresher on what's up for grabs and left to play for as we head into the 15-game Wednesday that will set the table for the playoffs.
What we already know for sure
• The No. 1 Indiana Pacers, who will have home-court advantage for as long as they're alive in the Eastern Conference playoffs, will take on the No. 8 Atlanta Hawks.
- Eric Freeman at Ball Don't Lie12 hrs ago
The battle for playoff seeding in the Western Conference could determine several teams' fates this spring. With all eight playoff teams having looked very dangerous at some point in the regular season, first-round matchups figure to go a long way in figuring out which franchises avoid upsets or put themselves in position to surprise NBA fans. There are many quality teams in the West, so seeding might mean less than the ideal matchup.
Heading into the final day of the regular season, the Los Angeles Clippers will be without Blake Griffin and J.J. Redick as they determine whether they enter the playoffs with the No. 2 or No. 3 seed. The team announced late Tuesday night that neither player will make the trip to Portland for the Clippers' regular season finale.Wed, Apr 167:30 PM PDTLA Clippers at PortlandPreview Game
Iman Shumpert shakes Paul Pierce to floor, throws down off-glass alley-oop as Knicks beat Nets (Video)Dan Devine at Ball Don't Lie14 hrs ago
New York Knicks swingman Iman Shumpert's third NBA season has been a fairly sizable disappointment. Things started off poorly, thanks to a secret offseason knee surgery, and never seemed to get on track. He got mad at himself for unfocused play during the preseason and decided to get a , which seemed to have the Samsonian effect of turning him from a swaggering Johnny Bravo type into something more like, I don't know, a 6-foot-5 Piglet at points.Wed, Apr 165:00 PM PDTToronto at New YorkPreview Game
- Eric Freeman at Ball Don't Lie19 hrs ago
With the NBA postseason nearly upon us, it's time to sort out stars' legacies. While various statistical milestones and awards confer legitimacy on careers, championships tend to carry the most prestige of all. If a great player retires without a ring, he's going to be diminished in the eyes of many fans and basketball lifers.
- Dan Devine at Ball Don't Lie22 hrs ago
There are only two games on the NBA calendar on Tuesday night, as the league prepares for its annual regular-season-ending 15-game, all-30-teams-in-action smorgasbord on Wednesday, but they both have playoff implications.
Yep, that's what I said, Terrence Jones. (Did I stutter?)
Here's a quick reminder of what's at stake in Tuesday's TNT double-header:
New York Knicks at Brooklyn Nets, 8 p.m. ET
• If the Nets win, they lock up the No. 5 seed in the Eastern Conference and the right to face whichever team loses the battle for the third seed between the Atlantic Division champion Toronto Raptors and Chicago Bulls.Wed, Apr 165:00 PM PDTBrooklyn at ClevelandPreview Game
- Dan Devine at Ball Don't Lie1 day ago
I shared this in Friday's 10-man rotation when i first got a look at it, but that was apparently a super-hot leak, because when I went to go re-watch it on Monday, the link was broken. (Talk about your all-time classic Internet blunders!) Now, though, I'm glad to say that the clip's not only working, but that we can embed it and share it as it's meant to be seen. Here, then, is sharpshooting San Antonio Spurs reserve Matt Bonner — a noted teacher, comedic performer, inspiration of artistic endeavor and, most of all, lover of sandwiches — sitting down with legendary Geto Boyz MC Bushwick Bill to eat tacos as part of a new Web series, "Wrapping with the Red Mamba," for ESPN:Wed, Apr 165:00 PM PDTLA Lakers at San AntonioPreview Game
- Eric Freeman at Ball Don't Lie1 day ago
Tanking remains a concern for many NBA fans and analysts, but there's no question why teams consider it a useful plan. Strategic losing gives teams a chance to rebuild and reload their rosters through the draft. It's the most apparent way of landing a star-quality player and becoming a true contender.
This manner of rebuilding has become such an acceptable plan that it's easy to identify several franchises that enter the season with little hope of making the postseason. This fall, those intentional losers appeared to include the Philadelphia 76ers, Phoenix Suns (a surprise playoff contender until finally being eliminated on Monday night), and Utah Jazz, among others. Yet the worst team of the 2013-14 season may not have intended to be anywhere near this terrible.Wed, Apr 165:00 PM PDTAtlanta at MilwaukeePreview Game