Deron Williams Gets Denied by the Rim on Dunk Attempt Against the Wizards

Brooklyn Nets‘ Deron Williams got rejected in emphatic fashion during the waning seconds of the first half in a Saturday night game against the Washington Wizards

Unfortunately, “D-Will” wasn’t blocked by John Wall, Trevor Ariza, Marcin Gortat or any other member of the Washington roster. It was the rim doing the swatting, which only adds to the embarrassing nature of the point guard’s adventure in the air.

Quite frankly, he might have been better off just remaining on the ground while his teammates finished off the first half without him. Nothing good can come after a play like that. 

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Phoenix Suns’ Ish Smith Rejects Jared Sullinger’s Dunk Attempt in Boston

Ish Smith may stand a diminutive six feet tall, but that didn’t prevent him from getting up and making a tremendous defensive play on Friday night. 

During the second quarter of the Phoenix Suns‘ contest with the Boston Celtics, Smith bolted over to the weak side and provided some tremendous help defense, denying the 6’9″ Jared Sullinger at the rim with an emphatic rejection. 

Suns guards seem to have an affinity for rejecting imposing big men this season. 

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Celtics’ Kris Humphries Gets Rejected by the Rim on Dunk Attempt vs. Pacers

The Indiana Pacers have the best home record in the NBA, and the Boston Celtics’ Kris Humphries might know why. Even when the Pacers don’t stop someone on defense, the rim can bail them out.

Humphries thought he had two points on a dunk Tuesday night, but he was unable to beat the rim.

Here’s one way of looking at it:

The rim has apparently been taking notes from Pacers center Roy Hibbert.

[A. Sherrod Blakely]

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Mavericks’ Stop to Blazers’ Historic Comeback Attempt Proves 8th Seed Status

If basketball is a game of runs, then Friday night’s contest between the Portland Trail Blazers and Dallas Mavericks was perhaps the purest form of the sport ever witnessed.

Playing to maintain their one-game lead over the Memphis Grizzlies for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference, Dallas got off to a blazing hot start, jumping out to a 30-point lead in the game’s first 16 minutes. 

But the much-maligned Dallas defense could not hold down the Blazers for long. Portland stormed back to take a four-point lead before the end of the third quarter. Suddenly, the Mavericks were on the verge of matching their infamous feat of Dec. 6, 2002, when they lost at the Los Angeles Lakers 105-103 after leading 66-36 early in the third quarter. 

These are the moments that can define seasons—when a golden opportunity is snatched from the grasp. The bad teams teams give in to doubt and despair, acquiescing to defeat long before the game clock has run out.

While the Dallas Mavericks may not be a great team, they are certainly not a team that is going to quit that easily. Dallas took back a slim lead by the end of the third, then held off several more Portland rallies before an and-one layup from veteran guard Devin Harris put them on top for good.

Dallas’ 103-98 win was far from pretty, but the league does not give out style points. The Mavericks survived, which gives them a better chance to advance to the postseason.

 

Almost History 

Dallas displayed an impressive two-way game in the first quarter, torching the Blazers for 33 points while holding them to only 10 points on 4-of-19 shooting. Point guard Jose Calderon outscored the entire Portland team by himself, with 15 first-quarter points.

By the eight-minute, 30-second mark of the second quarter Dallas had stretched that lead to a seemingly insurmountable 44-14 on a layup by Devin Harris.

How rare is it for a team to blow a 30-point first-half lead? According to ESPN Stats, it had not been done in 15 years:

But the Blazers were only getting started. They quickly got back into the game by exploiting one of Dallas’ most critical weaknesses: rebounding. Per Basketball-Reference, the Mavericks came into Friday ranked 23rd in the league in offensive rebounding percentage and 24th in defensive rebounding percentage. The Blazers—ranked second in offensive rebounding percentage—took full advantage, grabbing seven offensive boards in the second quarter alone.

Reserve forward Thomas Robinson in particular destroyed the Mavericks on the offensive glass, pulling down four offensive boards and scoring nine points in the second quarter; to put that into perspective, he averages 4.4 points per game. 

By halftime they had closed the lead to 19—difficult, but not impossible to overcome.

Portland would take every bit of that lead back in the third, thanks to the Mavericks’ shoddy defense and rebounding. Dallas did not have an answer for All-Star power forward LaMarcus Aldridge, who scored 18 points and grabbed nine boards in the period (three offensive).

 

Veteran Presence

The best thing the Mavericks can take away from this win is the performance of their veteran bench players, particularly Harris.

Dallas has always been one of the rare teams that doesn’t necessarily like to play all five starters when the game is on the line, particularly since they are blessed with a proven Vince Carter available on the bench. But they would not have won this game if they had only relied on their top two scorers: Dirk Nowitzki and Monta Ellis.

Both players struggled in the fourth, combining for only seven points on 1-of-6 shooting. Fortunately, they had Carter (six points) and Harris (10 points, including the game-winner) to pick up the slack. 

 

They Are Who They Are

After the victory, several of the Mavericks seemed to be resigned to playing games in which they blow leads. Coach Rick Carlisle spoke as if the astonishing plot of Friday’s win has become little more than a tired routine, per the Associated Press (h/t to ESPN.com): 

How many whatever-point leads have we blown this year? There’s been tons of them. We’ve got to work to prevent it. There’s no harder way to do it than what happened tonight.

Such is the life of a team with an elite offense and wretched defense. If anything, Friday’s results were to be expected from a matchup of similar teams; Portland, like Dallas, relies almost solely on scoring to win. When one team gets hot, they can run out to a huge lead but when they can’t get stops the opponent can come back just as quickly.

Prior to Friday’s game, ESPN Dallas’ Tim MacMahon wrote an interesting piece of what, if anything, Dallas can do to fix its defense:

The Mavs have known since the roster was constructed this summer that it’d be a challenge to be decent defensively. It’s no surprise that they rank 23rd in defensive rating (105.9 points per game), above only teams that are battling for lottery ping pong balls. That rating soars to 113.7 during Dallas’ three-game losing streak. 

The Mavs have to work hard to be average defensively. When they don’t work hard, to use Nowitzki’s words, they can get torched by anybody. 

The schizophrenic nature of this team is why they only appear to be just good enough to sneak into the playoffs. If the Mavericks want to ensure their place in the 2014 postseason—or even make a bit of noise once they get there—they must finally learn to work hard and consistently on their defense and rebounding.

 

* All statistics are courtesy of Basketball-Reference.

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Pressure rests on Rubio’s shoulders as Wolves attempt playoff push

MINNEAPOLIS — Midway through the third quarter of what had the makings of another tight Timberwolves setback, Ricky Rubio deftly combined awkward with acrobatic.
The point guard’s 180-degree, one-armed, no-look shot didn’t provide the biggest momentum swing in Minnesota’s 110-101 win at Phoenix (there were plenty of those to choose from in the fourth quarter alone, when the Timberwolves outscored the Suns 35-20). It took some luck, too — it’s not often a completely blind attempt banks home so effortlessly.
But before Rubio drew a Goran Dragic foul on his way to an uncanny 3-point play, he made a conscious decision. To attack. Hard. Without hesitation.
And something good happened on the other end of it.
So much has been made of the pass-first, shoot-fifth Spaniard’s shot — or lack thereof — in his third NBA season, from Twitter banter to full-length features in the local papers to Rubio himself seeking help from a professional shooting coach in California during the All-Star break. And

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WATCH: Thomas Robinson stuffs Corey Brewer’s dunk attempt

Portland Trail Blazers forward Thomas Robinson had a monster block on Timberwolves forward Corey Brewer’s slam dunk attempt during the fourth quarter of Sunday night’s game at the Moda Center.Robinson’s chasedown block on the Jazz fast break brought the home crowd and the Blazers bench to their feet. It also led to a successful Blazers fast break, finished off by a Will Barton slam dunk. Robinson had a great performance with 14 points combined with a whopping 18 rebounds to help the Blazers earn a 108-97 victory over the Timberwolves.Video via NBA. This post appeared first on Holdout Sports. Follow us on Twitter @HoldoutSports.

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WATCH: Corey Brewer rejected by rim on tomahawk dunk attempt

Minnesota Timberwolves forward Corey Brewer failed miserably on a tomahawk dunk attempt in the final minute of Tuesday night’s game against the visiting Los Angeles Lakers.Brewer was ahead of the field on the fast break and got the perfect outlet pass from Kevin Love, but his stuff attempt was rejected by the rim.Although Brewer didn’t get the bucket, the Timberwolves did get the 109-99 victory over the Lakers.H/T Busted. This post appeared first on Holdout Sports. Follow us on Twitter @HoldoutSports.

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Derrick Williams Bombs Attempt at Throwing Himself off-the-Backboard Alley-Oop

Derrick WilliamsNBA career never got off to the sizzling start many expected, and unfortunately it’s hardly gotten better from there.

After being traded away from the Minnesota Timberwolves, the former second-overall pick is hooping for the Sacramento Kings, where he’s not helping himself with plays like this:

Head coach Mike Malone pulled Williams from the game moments later. 

This came at the tail end of a blowout victory over the Chicago Bulls. Williams finished with five points, nine rebounds and a whole lot of embarrassment.

(h/t SI.com)

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Tracy McGrady may attempt a baseball career, says Jeff Van Gundy

The ESPN analyst says the former NBA superstar is considering playing independently.

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Tracy McGrady Reportedly May Attempt Pro Baseball Career

The days of former NBA superstar Tracy McGrady dominating on the hardwood may be over. But it appears the 34-year-old isn’t ready to give up on a career in professional sports just yet.

According to KPRC-TV Houston sports director Randy McIlvoy, McGrady is considering a new career as a professional baseball pitcher:

While McGrady’s latest sports venture seems bizarre given his age and NBA resume, he’s clearly taking it seriously. As McIlvoy points out, the former USA Today High School Player of the Year has spent the past two months getting in shape and adding velocity to his fastball. 

And considering McGrady is 6’8″, you can’t help but think of Randy Johnson. Better known as “The Big Unit,” Johnson stood at 6’10″ and won five Cy Young Awards on his way to posting more than 300 wins in the majors. 

But Johnson had already been named a major league All-Star five times before his 34th birthday. But then again, Johnson never scored 13 points in the final 35 seconds of an NBA game. 

Assuming McGrady is determined to break through on the mound, it’s obvious his star power and appeal will give him an advantage in terms of landing a tryout and, ultimately, earning a contract. 

McGrady played 16 seasons in the NBA from 1997 to 2013 and scored more than 18,000 points over that time. He earned seven All-Star nods and also won the scoring title in back-to-back years in 2003 and 2004. 

For the better part of his career, McGrady was infamous for never having reached the second round of the NBA playoffs. He ended up getting to the NBA Finals with the San Antonio Spurs last season after joining the team late in the year in a reserve role, but failed to capture an elusive championship ring as the Spurs fell to the Miami Heat in seven games. 

 

Follow Bleacher Report Featured Columnist Patrick Clarke on Twitter. 

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