Ball Don't Lie
- Kelly Dwyer at Ball Don't Lie3 hrs ago
On Tuesday, Kevin Love, a fully-fledged member of the Cleveland Cavaliers, plays his first contest against the same Minnesota Timberwolves team he worked for from 2008 until last spring. Those springs never included any trips to the playoffs for the Timberwolves, who are currently working through a playoff drought that dates back to the team’s 2004 trip to the Western Conference finals, and Love pushed for a trade out of the city last summer as a result.
The Wolves took back the top two overall picks in the last two NBA drafts in the deal, an unprecedented trade haul, but that won’t matter to one Wolves know-all:
Fella by the name of “Flip Saunders,” who remains the coach, president, and general-manager-in-everything-but-name for the Timberwolves. From a Monday discussion with the Associated Press’ Jon Krawczynski
Asked Flip if he thinks fans will forgive Love: "no. Minnesota people are pretty loyal. When you turn on MN they don't forgive you."
So, let’s review.Tue, Dec 234:00 PM PSTMinnesota at ClevelandPreview Game
- Kelly Dwyer at Ball Don't Lie5 hrs ago
It was a massive surprise until you truly thought it out. The Detroit Pistons waived Josh Smith on Monday using the NBA’s stretch provision, a collective bargaining agreement complement that allows you to dump a player without having to see the full amount of his salary weighted against your salary-cap totals at the originally signed-for yearly rates.
Smith had disappointed terribly in his two seasons with the Pistons, as was his gradual decline over his last season in Atlanta. Former Pistons general manager Joe Dumars, in last-ditch attempt to turn around his team’s lacking fortunes via the free agent market, whiffed on signing Smith to a four-year, $54 million contract in the summer of 2013 despite scads of information that would tell you that a giant frontcourt featuring Smith, power forward Greg Monroe, and center Andre Drummond absolutely would not work.Sun, Dec 21Detroit105 - 110BrooklynGame Recap
- Kelly Dwyer at Ball Don't Lie6 hrs ago
Mocking Kobe Bryant’s shot selection has acted as a gleeful exercise for NBA observers since the spring of 1997: Bryant’s rookie year, when the teenager was either charged with or decided to personally take several ill-advised jumpers down the stretch of Los Angeles’ Game 5 loss to the Utah Jazz in the Western Conference semis. Elden Campbell missed 12 of 13 shots in that game, and Lakers not named “Kobe” were embarrassingly incompetent at defending the pick-and-roll, but Bryant’s airballs and 4-14 shooting mark were given the most blame.
In the years since, it’s been just fine to contain multitudes regarding Bryant: Kobe does take lots of terrible, inefficient shots, but he also makes quite a few of them and remains one of the greatest players of his generation.
This year, however, stands as less charming. The Lakers were never going to make the playoffs and Bryant is to be credited for his usage alone – it takes a special NBA athlete to be able to get off 22.4 shots per game at age 36. Sunday evening’s Lakers loss to the Sacramento Kings, though, was downright embarrassing. And all because of Kobe.
- Kelly Dwyer at Ball Don't Lie8 hrs ago
The Philadelphia 76ers actually won on Sunday evening, taking in their third conquest in 26 tries, moving into a virtual tie with the disappointing New York Knicks in Philly’s “attempts” to make it out of the Eastern Conference and Atlantic Division cellar.
Still, the team grabbed its third win over the similarly-rebuilding Orlando Magic on Sunday, and it’s hard to think of a drearier pairing for either the obsessive NBA or even Philadelphia 76er fan. This was not a classic game to watch, which made the exploits of K.J. McDaniels’ mother all the more entertaining.
She was spotted by several Magic fans and media during the course of the win apparently booing McDaniels’ teammates and demanding they pass the ball to her son, rather than run through their current sets.
A 76ers family member across from me. She keeps booing the 76ers and yelling "pass the ball to my son" sparkly boots. pic.twitter.com/2iIJugaY5VTue, Dec 234:00 PM PSTBoston at OrlandoPreview Game
- Kelly Dwyer at Ball Don't Lie9 hrs ago
When Chicago Bulls center Pau Gasol turned down more money to leave Los Angeles and join the Chicago Bulls last summer, you knew his motivations were multifold. It’s true that Los Angeles has its own rather Titanic-sized arts community, and it’s also true that these Bulls have championship potential when healthy, but it also felt like the veteran All-Star wanted a new sort of thing to do on his (suddenly chilly) nights off.
On Sunday evening, with the Bulls taking in a rare two-day weekend respite in the middle of a long season, we learned what Pau was into.
And he brought a friend:
Yes, that’s Chicago native and stalwart respected Bulls backup Nazr Mohammed joining Pau Gasol in a production of "Anna Bolena" at Chicago’s famed Lyric Opera.
All in all, a fine night out. Save for those that had to sit directly behind the two 7-footers.
Earlier in the week, to promote increased donations for Gasol’s favorite charities, Pau decided to sing a cover of John Lennon’s “Imagine” in order to raise funds for UNICEF. Take a look:
The man is a gem, and once again: I cannot be counted on to cover him as a basketball player objectively.Mon, Dec 225:00 PM PSTToronto at ChicagoPreview Game
- Ben Rohrbach at Ball Don't Lie3 days ago
I'm going to tread lightly here, since any one of the multitude of kicks and punches Darko Milicic threw opposite fellow Serbian Radovan Radojcic would knock me the hell out, but the NBA's failed former No. 2 overall pick lost his kickboxing debut, and that presents plenty of opportunity for jokes.
Famously picked by the Pistons immediately behind LeBron James and ahead of future All-NBA players Carmelo Anthony, Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade in the 2003 draft, Milicic earned a bust label after playing for six teams over 10 seasons. His kickboxing career is off to a similarly inauspicious start.
- Kelly Dwyer at Ball Don't Lie3 days ago
In a rather swift and shocking December surprise, the Dallas Mavericks and Boston Celtics moved quickly to negotiate and finalize a deal sending Rajon Rondo from Boston to Dallas. The timing of the transaction, pitched a good two months prior to the NBA’s trade deadline, was telling – Rondo is an odd player, and the Mavericks have forever been an intriguing (and winning) experiment under Dallas owner Mark Cuban, a man who mixes equal amounts basketball know-how and a love for tossing himself in front of a television camera.
Cuban put those two loves together on Thursday night in typically busy and visible fashion. He was one of dozens of celebrities that gathered to sing Stephen Colbert’s “Colbert Report” character off into the televised sunset, but prior to the sing-a-long Cuban was furiously working to sign off on the Rondo deal, which sent Jameer Nelson, Jae Crowder, Brandan Wright, and a pair of picks to Boston for the mercurial guard.
ESPN anchor Keith Olbermann, no stranger to the camera himself, noticed as much:Mon, Dec 225:30 PM PSTAtlanta at DallasPreview Game
- Eric Freeman at Ball Don't Lie3 days ago
The Oklahoma City Thunder have been a resurgent unit since the returns of both Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook. After a loss in Durant's season opener Dec. 2 against the New Orleans Pelicans, the Thunder had rattled off seven straight wins to enter Thursday night's game against the West-leading Golden State Warriors with a 12-13 record and just out of a playoff spot. The turnaround has been a reminder that OKC is a legitimate title contender when fully healthy.
However, a stroke of bad luck right before halftime of Thursday's game could derail that resurgence. On the final possession of the half, Durant drove to the basket looking for a buzzer-beater before colliding with the defending Marreese Speights. Durant was called for a charge on the play, but the real damage came as his right foot — the same one with the stress fracture that kept Durant out of the season's first 17 games — came down on Speights. Durant turned his ankle in the process, fell to the ground and left the game. Take a look:
- Eric Freeman at Ball Don't Lie3 days ago
The first big NBA trade of the season is upon us. As reported by Yahoo's Adrian Wojnarowski, the Dallas Mavericks have obtained point guard Rajon Rondo and rookie forward Dwight Powell from the Boston Celtics in exchange for big man Brandan Wright, forward Jae Crowder, point guard Jameer Nelson, a 2015 first-round pick, and a future second-round pick. It's a deal with many repercussions — for the West's playoff picture, the futures of several players who have thrived in Dallas, the growing gap between the two conferences, and a player who can be one of the best point guards in the NBA when in the right situation.
- Eric Freeman at Ball Don't Lie4 days ago
Detroit Pistons point guard Brandon Jennings has never been known as a guy who picks his spots. From his first games as a member of the Milwaukee Bucks in 2009, Jennings has stood out as someone who would not avoid taking a shot just because it wasn't sensible. In fact, he often seems to seek out the most difficult ones.
Yet none of that history could have prepared us for a choice Jennings made in the third quarter of Wednesday's game between the Pistons and visiting Dallas Mavericks. With the defense caught ball-watching, Jennings made a very nice cut towards the basket from the weak side. Caron Butler found him with a pass for what seemed like an easy lay-up ... except Jennings decided that wasn't tough enough and dribbled out for a fallaway jumper:
The official play-by-play lists this miss as a 20-footer, which seems both factually wrong and spiritually accurate. If a very long two is the least efficient shot a player can take, then a mid-range jumper taken in lieu of a very easy lay-up is definitely a 20-footer.