No. 16 Florida pulls away from UAB late, 56-47

The Gators finished on an 11-0 run to move on and face UNC.

      
 

 

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No. 14 Iowa State pulls away from Georgia State

Monte Morris scored a career-high 19 points with nine assists.

      
 

 

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No. 1 Kentucky pulls away from Buffalo, 71-52 (Yahoo Sports)

Kentucky's Alex Poythress dunks during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against Buffalo, Sunday, Nov. 16, 2014, in Lexington, Ky. Kentucky won 71-52. (AP Photo/James Crisp)

LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) — For 20 minutes Buffalo staggered No. 1 Kentucky with the smashmouth aggression that coach John Calipari wanted for his young, talented team.


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League takes away LeBron’s triple-double (Yahoo Sports)

CLEVELAND (AP) — The NBA has stripped LeBron James of a triple-double.

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NBA takes away LeBron James’ triple-double

It looks like LeBron James can add another almost triple-double to his resume. After reviewing film of the Cleveland Cavaliers’ 118-111 win Monday night over New Orleans, the NBA took away a rebound and assist from James, who initially had been credited with his 38th career triple double—at least 10 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists.
With 3:27 left in third quarter, James was incorrectly awarded an assist when he tipped the ball to Tristan Thompson, who passed to Kyrie Irving for a layup. In the fourth quarter, James was given an offensive rebound that should have gone to teammate Mike Miller. Immediately following the plays in question, users on Reddit and Vantage Sports began pointing out that James had been incorrectly credited with the statistics in question. After the ruling, James officially finished with 32 points, 11 rebounds and nine assists as the Cavs improved to 3-3.
In 2009, the league made a similar ruling in taking away a rebound from what was the first 50-point triple double in the NBA i

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Blazers pull away from Mavs with big second half

Dallas led 50-46 at halftime, but Portland took control in the third quarter.

      
 

 

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Aldridge, Blazers pull away from Thunder in fourth

LaMarcus Aldridge scores 27 points, Trail Blazers rally to beat Thunder 106-89

      
 

 

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Tyreke Evans Gets Away with Ridiculous Travel in Preseason Game

Tyreke Evans put on his dancing shoes for Monday night’s preseason game against the Washington Wizards.

The New Orleans Pelicans swingman caught an entry pass in the high post during the third quarter and did everything but moonwalk to the arc while attempting to reposition himself with the ball.

Next Impulse Sports’ John Ferensen crafted a GIF of the moment. The baseline official ran toward the action, managing to keep an eye on everything but Evans’ rendition of the “Cupid Shuffle.” 

It was a travel worthy of The Proclaimers, and it went completely uncalled. Traveling, however, is a time-honored tradition in the league. Even the greats—especially the greats—utilize shuffling and footwork to get to the basket. 

Warning: Video contains some NSFW language. 

Some salsa, others shuffle. It all comes down to personal preference and officiating cataracts.

The Pelicans won the game 88-84.

 

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Joel Embiid’s younger brother passes away

Philadelphia 76ers rookie Joel Embiid’s younger brother, Arthur, died Thursday, the team announced. Embiid will not attend the 76ers’ preseason game Thursday night against the Boston Celtics. Sixers head coach Brett Brown, general manager Sam Hinkie and forward Luc Mbah a Moute will miss the game, as well, to be with the young Kansas product. “We obviously consider members of our organization as a huge family,” 76ers director of public relations Michael Preston said, via CSNPhilly.com. “When something of this nature occurs, it trumps a game. Our hearts, prayers and thoughts go out to his entire family.” Assistant assistant Chad Iske will take over head-coaching duties in Brown’s absence. Embiid, the No. 3 overall pick in the 2014 NBA draft, is expected to miss most, if not all, of this season as he recovers from foot surgery. Photo via Bill Streicher/USA TODAY Sports ImagesFiled under: Boston Celtics, NBA, Philadelphia 76ers, Top Stories, Zack Cox

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Doug McDermott Will Force Chicago Bulls to Find Real Role for Him Right Away

The Chicago Bulls aren’t going to hand major minutes to sharpshooting rookie Doug McDermott.

That isn’t the style of head coach Tom Thibodeau, nor is it a common practice among any NBA team holding even the faintest championship hopes. The fact that McDermott’s debut coincides with that of celebrated rookie Nikola Mirotic only compounds the issue.

As Thibodeau has been quick to point out, per K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune, championship rotations typically don’t have room for two first-year players:

If Thibodeau has hesitations about playing a pair of rookies, though, that won’t be McDermott’s problem. The 22-year-old has left little doubt he is capable of playing a meaningful role for Chicago already this season.

At his essence, he is a scorer. Broken down even further, the guy is a lights-out shooter.

“McDermott is one of the best three-point shooters in the annals of the NCAA,” wrote Bleacher Report’s Kelly Scaletta. “Per Sports-Reference, of players who attempted at least 500 threes in their collegiate careers, his long-range shooting percentage of 45.8 is fourth-best all-time.”

McDermott’s four-year stay at Creighton could only be called legendary. He was a high-volume, high-production player as soon as he stepped onto campus, and over the course of his career, he managed to increase both categories plus clean up his efficiency.

He does more than score—he averaged 7.0 rebounds and 1.6 assists last season—but the Bulls can employ him as a shooting specialist right out of the gate.

“So far, what I’m seeing from Doug, in the USA setting and summer league, is his ability to shoot,” Thibodeau told reporters at the start of training camp, via ESPN Chicago’s Nick Friedell. “And I see how people react to his ability to shoot. When you have someone like that, it opens up the floor.”

The Bulls managed to scrape by largely without a three-point attack last season. Their 34.8 perimeter percentage ranked 24th overall, which was the lowest among all 16 playoff teams. That success rate wasn’t negatively impacted by an abundance of attempts either. In fact, only the New Orleans Pelicans (15.9) and Memphis Grizzlies (14.0) averaged fewer than the Bulls (17.8).

Chicago won’t be merely trying to survive at the offensive end this time around—not with former MVP Derrick Rose back leading the attack and four-time All-Star Pau Gasol forming arguably the NBA’s best passing frontcourt combo with Joakim Noah.

The Bulls have the chance to field an elite offense. They were fifth in offensive efficiency during the 2011-12 campaign, and this group looks deeper on paper than that one.

Having a marksman like McDermott on the floor only adds to the potential potency. The more defensive attention he draws as a shooter, the wider the driving lanes for Rose become. Real estate comes in equal abundance for Gasol’s post offense, Jimmy Butler’s off-ball cutting and Taj Gibson’s rolls to the rim.

McDermott can play that role right now. That isn’t me making that claim; it’s his 44.4 three-point success rate at summer league and his preseason 42.9 three-point percentage saying he’s ready. It’s the short-term memory he has already shown, having followed up a dismal 3-of-12 effort from the field in his second game with a 16-point, 5-of-8 shooting performance two games later.

“His nerves are calming down,” Rose said, per ESPN Chicago’s Nick Friedell. “Getting more confidence with the way that he’s playing, knowing that he’s able to take shots whenever he’s open. He’s going to be a big part of this team.”

The long ball alone won’t secure McDermott that “big part,” of course. Luckily, it isn’t the only trick in his bag.

He has an underrated knack for creating his own shots, which will be a valuable tool when he isn’t logging minutes beside Rose, Gasol or Noah. McDermott is capable of taking defenders off the dribble, comfortable banging with them on the low block and crafty getting himself to the free-throw line, where he was an 87.0 percent shooter his final two seasons at Creighton.

As Bleacher Report’s Dylan Murphy observed, McDermott has enough in his arsenal to attack any type of defense:

As an offensive player, his three-point range, off-the-dribble capabilities and clever post-up game provide him with the kind of versatility that makes him valuable to any type of offense. 

If he gets matched up against a smaller player, he can walk him down to the block and take advantage with his strength and well-groomed back-to-the-basket repertoire. If he’s guarded by a bigger player, his quickness and ability to stretch the floor can cause serious problems.

McDermott’s offensive versatility will allow him to fill a number of different roles depending on which players are surrounding him.

“Doug can play off of people,” Thibodeau said, per Comcast SportsNet’s Mark Strotman. “You can also run stuff through Doug, so I think you can play him with either unit and he’ll fit well.”

McDermott’s ability to adapt to different situations will be the key to keeping him on the floor. Despite the fact his offensive skills seem to mesh so well with the rest of this offense, he will need to constantly prove himself at every step.

That isn’t a knock on him, just a reflection of the short leash with which Thibodeau has typically handled rookies.

During his four seasons at the helm, four players have made at least 40 appearances during their rookie years. Two of them, Jimmy Butler and Marquis Teague, saw fewer than nine minutes a night. Omer Asik held a small rotation role in 2010-11, playing a little over 12 minutes per game. Tony Snell saw 16 minutes of action a night last season, but his contributions fluctuated wildly as largely an injury replacement.

Obviously, the Bulls like McDermott, otherwise they wouldn’t have parted with a pair of first-round picks to get him. And their three-point collection needs his touch, even with newcomers like Mirotic and Aaron Brooks helping to bolster the ranks.

But McDermott needs to prove he can limit his mistakes and make a relatively seamless transition into the middle of a championship chase. The Bulls want to see him clear this hurdle, but they’re still going to force him to jump.

“I know there’s a steep learning curve,” Thibodeau said of playing rookies, via the Chicago Tribune‘s K.C. Johnson. “You can’t do it at the expense of winning or losing games. It’s important they earn their time. I think they will as we go along. How much, I don’t know yet. But shooting is one of the areas we wanted to address, and I think we’ve done that.”

While the Bulls will welcome the new offensive help, they won’t sacrifice their defensive identity to get it.

That puts the onus on McDermott to show well at that end of the floor, but his teammates can help him get there. He doesn’t need to be a lockdown defender, just someone who understands how to take advantage of that proven system and individual defensive talent already in place.

“I think I still have a ways to go to to learn the terminology and get on the same page with some of these guys,” McDermott said, per Bleacher Report’s Sean Highkin. “I think I can become a good defender, especially a team defender.”

McDermott isn’t your “typical” rookie.

He understands how to play the game, a gift stemming from both being the son of a coach and having spent the last four years playing it at a high level. He also knows what he brings inside the lines, which will help him maximize his strengths and work around his weaknesses.

While none of this will spare him from the “typical” rookie challenges, it will allow him to produce some atypical results for a Thibodeau-coached rookie.

McDermott will have to earn every minute he gets, but with his shooting touch, intelligence and competitive edge, he has all the weapons needed to secure a significant role in the rotation.

 

Unless otherwise noted, statistics used courtesy of Basketball-Reference.com and NBA.com.

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