New schedule’s out: 10 games you can’t miss

LeBron James returns to Cleveland, then Miami. The Spurs raise their banner. And more!

      
 

 

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New schedule out: 10 you can’t miss

LeBron James returns to Cleveland, then Miami. The Spurs raise their banner. And more!

      
 

 

View full post on USATODAY – NBA Top Stories

Individual Matchups We Can’t Wait to See in 2014-15 College Basketball Season

College basketball is not like the movies where the sequel invariably pales in comparison to the original.

Thanks to the lessons that players learn from film, the rematch of any great game has the potential to be even better. The same goes for any great individual battle that takes place as a subplot to those games.

North Carolina defeated both Kentucky and Louisville last season, thanks to Marcus Paige outdueling the Harrison twins and Montrezl Harrell struggling against the Heels’ green, but plentiful, crew of big men. Both games get a sequel this season, and with them Harrell and the Harrisons get a chance to redeem themselves.

These are just a pair of the great individual matchups we have to look forward to as the college basketball season draws near. There are a couple of other sequels in the offing, but many of these are potential blockbusters that we may never see again.

So start forming a line to the left, because tickets are going fast. And make sure your popcorn is ready.

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Cleveland forgives, can’t wait to cheer LeBron

USA TODAY Sports’ Jeff Zillgitt took to the streets of Cleveland and found that Cavaliers fans are ready to forget the past and cheer LeBron James in his return.

      
 

 

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Andrew Wiggins’ Big Hops Can’t Help Him with a Jump Rope

Andrew Wiggins may be one of the most athletic players in the 2014 NBA draft, but there are still some activities that he struggles with.

On the day before the draft, Wiggins attempted to jump rope at an NBA Cares event in New York. The kids around him didn’t have much trouble with the jump ropes, but the 6’8″ prospect had a trouble getting into a rhythm. 

Luckily, Wiggins can shoot a basketball better than he can jump rope.

[KUsports.com, h/t Lost Lettermen]

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6 Reasons You Can and Can’t Believe in Portland Trail Blazers’ Playoff Success

The Portland Trail Blazers could advance to the second round of the playoffs or possibly even the Western Conference finals.

The Trail Blazers started out the season by winning 21 of their first-25 games, which prompted many to believe they could win perhaps a round or two in the postseason given how dominant they looked early.

Portland has since lost a bit of a steam. Head coach Terry Stotts has watched his team lose nine of 13 contests in March, and the losses have turned the Trail Blazers into a question mark more than anything.

Granted, the absence of LaMarcus Aldridge has been part of the reason for the stumbles. Aldridge has missed seven straight games due to back spasms.

With that said, the Trail Blazers have shown their best and worst stretches of basketball, and it helps paint a picture of what to expect in the playoffs.

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LeBron James, Heat can’t overcome grown-up Pacers

Paul George scored 23 points to lead Indiana to victory in an altercation-filled game

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Westbrook on knee: I “can’t play cautious”

OKLAHOMA CITY — There’s no concern from Russell Westbrook about his knee.
His words, Sunday afternoon as he met with the media. It was the first time Westbrook has spoken about the incident that knocked him out of the game in the third quarter Friday night in Toronto.
“The video looks (worse) than what you think,” Westbrook said to The Oklahoman. “I wasn’t really worried about it.”
Well, everyone else sure was after Westbrook slammed the ball down after bumping his right knee with Kyle Lowry of Toronto midway through the third quarter. The Thunder went on to win  the game in double overtime, but Westbrook did not return.
Westbrook has had three surgeries on his right knee since last April when he was injured in the first round of the playoffs against Houston. He missed 27 games in a row after a surgery on Dec. 27.
“Can’t play cautious,” Westbrook said. “Can’t play timid.”
The Thunder have said they will not play Westbrook in back-to-back games the rest

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Dirk Nowitzki: ‘I Can’t See Myself Playing for Another Franchise’

Dirk Nowitzki’s contract with the Dallas Mavericks is set to expire at season’s end, but the 35-year-old veteran—who has spent his entire career with the Mavs—can’t envision himself playing for another NBA team.

The 12-time All-Star continued to display his rare character trait of loyalty by saying the following per Jodie Valade of The Plain Dealer:

I basically grew up in Dallas. I came over here at 19 or 20 and now I’m 35. I’ve spent half of my life here. It is important for me to be a Maverick because I have deep connections with this franchise. The fans supported me through disappointing playoff losses. They were always by my side as I grew as a player. I can’t see myself playing for another franchise.

Unlike other NBA stars that are still chasing elusive championship rings, the former MVP already led the Mavericks to a title in 2011.

It appeared as if those dreams were dashed in 2007 when Baron Davis and the gritty Golden State Warriors upset the No. 1 seed Mavericks in the first round. It then happened again in 2010 when a 55-win Mavs team was knocked off by the No. 7 seed San Antonio Spurs in Round 1.

Through it all, Dirk kept fighting. His effort and attitude was rewarded when he won it all three years ago, but Dallas has been an organization in limbo since then.

Instead of retaining defensive-minded center Tyson Chandler after winning the Larry O’Brien trophy, owner Mark Cuban let the big man sign with the New York Knicks.

That decision was the tip of the iceberg, as only two members of the 2011 team (Nowitzki and Shawn Marion) remain.

The Mavericks made free-agent runs at point guard Deron Williams and All-Star center Dwight Howard in the meantime but came up empty on both counts. Instead, they reloaded for the 2013-14 season with Jose Calderon, Samuel Dalembert and Monta Ellis.

Dirk’s elite level of play has Dallas in the thick of the Western Conference playoff hunt, but the supporting cast simply doesn’t stack up with teams like the Los Angeles Clippers, Houston Rockets, Oklahoma City Thunder and San Antonio Spurs.

Still, imagining Nowitzki in a different NBA uniform is a foreign concept, and one that likely won’t happen.

As ESPN’s Tim MacMahon wrote in a February mailbag:

I’d take Dirk Nowitzki at his word on this one, and he’s consistently said that he’ll never wear another NBA uniform. […] The plan is still for Nowitzki to take a significant pay cut — we’ll find out exactly what that means this summer, and I’m not sure Nowitzki even has a number in mind yet — and re-sign with the Mavs for two or three more years. He desperately wants to compete for another championship, but he’s dead set on doing it in Dallas.

Much like Kobe Bryant’s tenure with the Los Angeles Lakers, it appears as if Dirk Nowitzki isn’t going anywhere.

He wants to compete for a second NBA title, but the Mavericks’ front office is more than a few tweaks away from making that a reality before Dirk retires.

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Kevin Love on Tyson Chandler saying he can’t play D: ”F*** him. I don’t give a s***’

During a particularly disappointing loss at home to the New York Knicks, Minnesota Timberwolves power forward Kevin Love was called out by Tyson Chandler for his less-than-stellar abilities on the defensive end. With the Knicks up 66-55 at halftime on the way to a 118-106 win, Chandler was the poor Knicks player who had to […]The post Kevin Love on Tyson Chandler saying he can’t play D: ”F*** him. I don’t give a s***’ appeared first on Sportress of Blogitude.

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