Warriors vs. Clippers: Live Score and Highlights from 2014 NBA Preseason

The Los Angeles Clippers and Golden State Warriors are clashing for the second time this preseason Tuesday evening. 

You can catch all the action on TNT. 

Keep it locked here on Bleacher Report throughout the night for real-time updates, highlights and analysis of all things Clippers-Warriors. 

Read more NBA news on BleacherReport.com

View full post on Bleacher Report – NBA

Report: Kobe has prevented Lakers from signing top talent

For the second consecutive season, the Los Angeles Lakers aren’t expected to do much this year as they find themselves in a rebuilding phase. ESPN The Magazine’s Henry Abbott put the blame for the Lakers’ recent misfortunes on the star largely responsible for their success in the 2000s — Kobe Bryant. Abbott says the Lakers’ lack of big name free agent acquisitions and Dwight Howard’s departure last summer is a result of how difficult it is to play and deal with Kobe and Abbot has plenty of sources to back it up, from agents to former teammates. One particular highlight was when in the 2012-13 season, Howard asked his Lakers teammates why they let all the blame for the season’s woes be placed on him. Kobe responded by giving a lecture about developing thick skin and learning how to win, which according to ESPN’s Chris Broussard, was “a complete turnoff” for the big man. Abbott also talks about one agent with NBA clients who says, “I’ve had a lot of clients in the last five years, good p

View full post on Yardbarker: NBA

Cleveland Cavaliers: 3 Observations from loss to Dallas Mavericks

The Cleveland Cavaliers are now 4-1 in preseason after their first loss Friday night against the Dallas Mavericks. Many factors went into the Cavaliers loss, but here are three observations from the game.
Kyrie Irving Returns
After missing the last three preseason games due to a sprained ankle, Irving was ready to go. He picked up right where he left off, coming out strong and aggressive. Irving finished with a game high of 23 points while handing out five assists and three blocks.  The young All-Star had the crowd on their feet as he showed off his skills along with a highlight reel alley-oop to LeBron James which ended being a foul, but still a glimpse of the excitement this team possesses.
Kyrie Irving
Irving is a special player and his ability to play at the speed he plays with and for the amount of minutes is going to get, should be good for this Cavaliers team. If he stays healthy and keeps adding to his game, this season promises to be his best yet.
Shawn Marion & Kevin Love Rested
This game mar

View full post on Yardbarker: NBA

What’s Love got to gain from Cavs?

Kevin Love has proven himself as a top-tier NBA talent but never reached the postseason.

      
 

 

View full post on USATODAY – NBA Top Stories

Miami looking for leadership from K-State transfer

Hurricanes looking for leadership from K-State transfer Angel Rodriguez at point guard

      
 

 

View full post on USATODAY – NCAA Top Stories

Predicting the Biggest Changes We’ll See from the Chicago Bulls This Season

After a summer full of clever roster moves, the Chicago Bulls will undergo a few changes this season.

The team picked up free agents Pau Gasol and Aaron Brooks, as well as highly touted rookies Doug McDermott and Nikola Mirotic. This quartet—along with Derrick Rose, Joakim Noah and others—clearly make the Bulls a force to be reckoned with in the Eastern Conference.

Rose, who has missed a bunch of games due to knee injuries, is healthy and could return to his 2011 MVP form. Reigning Defensive Player of the Year Noah is primed for another amazing campaign, and Gasol serves as Chicago’s best low-post threat in years.

This is head coach Tom Thibodeau’s fifth season with the Bulls. Ever since his arrival, the team has played top-notch, stifling defense on a daily basis. And that won’t change this year. What are some changes we’ll see from Thibodeau’s troops in 2014-15?

 

Place More Emphasis on Three-Point Shooting 

Last season, outside shooting was basically nonexistent for the Bulls. They attempted just 17.8 threes per game, which ranked 28th in the league. And they hit only 34.8 percent of those attempts (ranked 24th).    

Things will be different this time around, though. With Rose and Gasol drawing double-teams, shooters like Mike Dunleavy, McDermott and Mirotic will get a bunch of open looks all year long.

McDermott could emerge as the Bulls’ best three-point shooter, even in his first year. The Creighton University product hit 44.4 percent of his attempts in the summer league and is shooting 35.3 percent in the preseason, which is respectable for a rookie.

He’ll have a field day from beyond the arc as Rose drives and kicks it to him, or when he receives a pinpoint pass from Noah or Gasol.

Rose can also be an outside threat, although you wouldn’t have noticed watching him during the FIBA World Cup. He hit only one of his 19 attempts.

However, he is shooting 40 percent from downtown this preseason. The three-time All-Star went 3-of-4 vs. the Milwaukee Bucks.   

Expect the Bulls to go from one of the league’s worst three-point shooting teams last season to somewhere in the middle of the pack this year.

 

10-Man Rotation

The words “10-Man Rotation” and “Tom Thibodeau” look really weird in the same sentence. As everybody knows, Thibs has been known for giving his starters a boatload of minutes instead of using the bench.

For example, Jimmy Butler played a franchise-record 60 minutes against the Orlando Magic last January. Yes, you read that right. It would be understandable if it was Game 7 of the NBA Finals. But it was a regular-season contest against a lowly, rebuilding team.

Per Nick Friedell of ESPN Chicago, Thibodeau prefers a nine-man rotation:

“Usually most teams are around nine,” he said. “And then as the playoffs get closer, you’re going to pare that down some more. We’ll see. My first two years we played nine, sometimes 10. Ten is hard, most likely nine.”

While Thibodeau said going 10-deep is difficult, he didn’t say it was impossible. Look for him to utilize his much-improved bench this season. There’s way too much talent not to.

So which 10 players will crack the rotation? Well, we know Rose, Noah, Gasol, Butler, Taj Gibson, Dunleavy and Kirk Hinrich are locks. Expect Brooks to also make the cut, replacing D.J. Augustin as a scoring backup point guard.

McDermott and Mirotic will be everyday players as well. Thibodeau isn’t a fan of playing one rookie, let alone two. Yet, when you have two rookies who can shoot the lights out like these guys, you have to play them both.

That means Tony Snell, E’Twaun Moore, Nazr Mohammed and Cameron Bairstow are left in the cold, unless a key player suffers an injury (knock on wood).

 

Doug McDermott Will Start at Small Forward       

Not only is McDermott a rotational player, but he’ll also be a rookie starter. Dunleavy, of course, will begin the year as Chicago’s starting small forward. But McDermott will supplant the veteran at some point this season.

He’s just too good to sit on the bench, and Thibodeau will eventually realize that.

One of college basketball’s greatest scorers ever, McDermott averaged 26.7 points during his senior year. And as Bleacher Report’s Zach Buckley points out, he can score in a variety of ways:

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.

Putting the ball in the hoop isn’t the only thing McDermott can do. He rebounds, moves well without the ball and is an underrated passer. And although he isn’t a lockdown defender by any means, he does show effort on that end of the floor.

McDermott has started twice this preseason with Dunleavy sitting out due to knee soreness.

Per Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times, Thibodeau hasn’t ruled out starting him on a more permanent basis:

I don’t want to overlook what Mike’s done either. Mike has shot the ball extremely well, so I think he helps that first unit function well, so I’m not locked into it, but I don’t want to … Mike’s team defense is outstanding. I don’t want to overlook that. You have to think about you’re guarding a starter now, so that does make a difference.  

McDermott will ultimately win his coach over and replace Dunleavy in the starting lineup by Christmas.

Bulls fans, get used to hearing this before games: “A 6’8″ forward from Creighton…No. 3…Doug McDermott!”

 

All stats are from Basketball-Reference.com.

Read more NBA news on BleacherReport.com

View full post on Bleacher Report – NBA

Early Lessons from Doug McDermott’s Preseason with Chicago Bulls

Doug McDermott lit up TV screens at Creighton University as one of the best shooters in NCAA history. And while he owes his new career as a pro with the Chicago Bulls to that singular scoring ability, he’s also got a lot to learn if he expects major rotation minutes.

Especially in Tom Thibodeau’s demanding system. When asked about McDermott’s progress before the Bulls’ 85-84 preseason victory over the Atlanta Hawks on Thursday (the second of two exhibition games McDermott has started), Thibodeau said per Mark Strotman of CSN Chicago, “The most important thing is that the team functions well when he’s on the floor.”

Thibodeau, like many NBA coaches, is more concerned with a total skill set than with one specialty. “Dougie McBuckets” will have to stay tight on defensive strings and exercise correct spacing within Thibodeau’s offensive playbook. He’ll have to shoot when he’s supposed to shoot and pass when he’s supposed to pass. He has to be aware

Whether he can become an efficient chess piece in the complex stratagem of the NBA is what will determine McDermott’s success. Thibodeau is confident that he can. “He has a great approach,” the coach said. “He strives for improvement each and every day. He’ll continue to get better.”

McDermott’s head does seem to be in the right place. He hasn’t found his shooting touch much—he’s just 40 percent from the field in the preseason—but he has been able to get his open shots and release the ball quickly. Perhaps most importantly, he’s been able to gain the respect of defenses and stretch the floor, opening up the lane for Derrick Rose, Joakim Noah and Pau Gasol.

He’s also been committed to contributing in other areas. He collected nine rebounds against Atlanta, and eight against both the Milwaukee Bucks and Detroit Pistons“The rebounding is good. You’re not going to shoot the ball great every night in this league, and when you don’t, you’ve got to do other things, and that’s what he showed he can do,” Thibodeau said.

Whether McDermott can stand up to his coach’s defensive standards is another question. He hasn’t been exactly a sieve thus far, but he hasn’t been good enough to earn significant minutes, either. McDermott’s concepts and intentions seem to be fine, but he’s definitely still adjusting to the intensity of the NBA trenches.

As Blog a Bull’s Kevin Ferrigan puts it, “McDermott has a pretty tough time navigating screens at this stage of his career… The speed of the game is new for McDermott, so he might just not be used to big men who move as quickly as NBA big men.”

McDermott doesn’t have the foot speed or power to likely ever be a terrific defender on the wings, but in time he can learn the body tricks that teammates like Kirk Hinrich use to consistently frustrate the opposition—Hinrich is infamously difficult to screen. It’s that kind of mettle the rookie must build in order to be a rotation player, and earn the respect of teammates like Aaron Brooks, who has taken to a sort of hazing by calling McDermott “Ray.”

Beyond the myriad gritty details of NBA performance, though, McDermott’s renowned scoring still has a ways to go before it translates to the next level. Although he’s been able to get his open jumpers off the ball—and it should only be a matter of time before they start falling at a greater rate—McBuckets has not yet shown the capacity to create shots for himself.

McDermott hasn’t exactly been looking for those opportunities, either. He seems more eager to fit into his team’s mission statement than to chisel out his own imprint on games. Self-creation (which he did at a wunderkind level at Creighton) was one of the more doubtful aspects of McDermott’s game as he was being vetted for the draft, as he lacks the elite athleticism typically associated with the NBA’s best.

McDermott has not been a dynamic isolation player, but he also hasn’t had much of a chance to prove himself as one yet, either. He hasn’t had a chance to prove himself as much of anything, in fact. But through McBuckets’ small sample size we have seen that he’s a natural addition to his team.

Willing, docile, hard-working and eager to adopt his coach’s obsessive attention to detail, McDermott will be an integral Bull—perhaps even a starter—by season’s end.

Read more NBA news on BleacherReport.com

View full post on Bleacher Report – NBA

Celtics acquire Bynum from Pistons (Yahoo Sports)

BOSTON (AP) — The Boston Celtics have traded center Joel Anthony to the Detroit Pistons for guard Will Bynum.

View full post on Yahoo Sports – NBA News

Kelly Olynyk’s Destiny Will Be Determined from Downtown

The Boston Celtics are starved for three-point shooting, which makes everything about Kelly Olynyk‘s offensive skill set all the more exciting. Several key players on the team possess limited shooting range, which will hurt Boston’s spacing and prevent the team from running a productive offense. 

Olynyk is not one of those players. Instead, the second-year 7-footer has the potential to become one of the best shooting centers in the league. It’s a tool so impressive that it almost drowns out his other weaknesses. It may also transform him from a trade chip to a legitimate building block, an integral part of Boston’s future.

Knocking down outside shots is obviously important, but so is “where” those shots come from. The corner three is a tremendous weapon, and its use among bigs throughout the league is growing by the season. Pau Gasol, Chris Bosh and Serge Ibaka are the most notable bigs to evolve their shot placement over the past couple years, but others, like LaMarcus Aldridge, will soon join them.

Spacing a defender all the way to the corner is a luxury, but it isn’t quite as valuable as doing so above the break. When it’s a center that’s shooting the ball, it’s here that defenses have so much more ground to cover, and offenses are able to stretch previously restricted boundaries on the floor. What makes Olynyk special is his ability to knock down these threes, too. Here’s his shot chart from last season. He was league average above the break:

According to NBA.com, seven centers attempted more three-pointers above the break, and Olynyk was more accurate than four of them.

When he has the ball behind the three-point line—either on the wing or in front of midcourt—it inverts how defenses typically operate. An opposing center needs to respect Olynyk’s range and stray from the paint, creating a gaping hole in the lane that allows cutters to knife their way towards the basket. Driving and passing lanes loosen dramatically.

The effect is even more threatening when Olynyk doesn’t have the ball. Say Rajon Rondo and Jeff Green are running a pick-and-roll on the right side of the court, while Olynyk is just hanging out on the left wing. The defensive rotation to stop Rondo and Green would normally come from a lumbering big on the weak side. But if that player is out above the elbow sticking to Olynyk, the room Rondo and Green have to operate is that much wider. 

In five preseason games, Olynyk has made half of his threes, attempting a robust 3.6 per 27.6 minutes. A majority of these shots have come above the break, wide open against defenses that are willing to let Olynyk fire away.

That type of accuracy isn‘t sustainable, especially with such a high volume. But Olynyk‘s value comes as someone capable of making life easier for others. When defenders begin swarming Olynyk like moths to a light (which they eventually will), opportunities will arise elsewhere on the floor. Especially if Olynyk can consistently make the right decision in the face of a close out.

Olynyk doesn‘t finish on this particular play, but it’s important to note how he’s able to put the ball on the floor and create offense when a defender solely focuses on taking away the three ball. Here’s Olynyk‘s teammate, Avery Bradley, speaking about the impact Boston’s second-year big should have this season (via The Boston Globe’s Gary Washburn):

[Olynyk] can handle the ball, he’s very smart, he can pass the ball, shoot the ball, create for others. He’s a good player. It’s going to make it hard for other teams to guard us because they not only have to guard the guy with the ball, especially when Rondo gets back. You’re going to have Sully popping [off screens], Kelly popping. We’re just going to spread people out. It’s just going to open up everything.

Olynyk will start at center for the Celtics this season, but it’s not his natural position. He can’t protect the rim as a full-time starter, and he won’t provide the type of impact on the glass for 30-plus minutes that teams need from frontcourt contributors.

What he can do is flatten out defensive schemes and create driving lanes either for himself or others. Olynyk has the potential to be an incredibly useful and rare weapon this season; it’s a skill set any offense in the league would love to add.

 

All statistics are courtesy of Basketball-Reference.com or NBA.com unless otherwise noted.

Michael Pina covers the NBA for Bleacher Report, Sports on Earth, Fox Sports and elsewhere. Follow him on Twitter @MichaelVPina.

Read more NBA news on BleacherReport.com

View full post on Bleacher Report – NBA

Winners, Losers from Week 2 of Los Angeles Lakers’ NBA Preseason

As the end of the Los Angeles Lakers’ second week of preseason basketball approaches, it behooves us to look at what went right and what went wrong.

It has been a bit of a bumpy ride in the land of purple and gold. There have been tears, sprains and spasms (more on that to follow), along with dead legs and some atrocious transition defense.

But that’s what training camp is all about—getting into condition and working out a myriad of kinks as players get acclimated to new coach Byron Scott’s way of doing things.

When asked Oct. 15 about some of his observations thus far during preseason, Scott answered, per a Lakers.com post-practice video:

The good is the fact that the guys have the effort, and that they’re trying their best, which I think is great. And their attention span is right there and they want to do all the right things… The bad is the transition part. We have to do a better job as far as locating guys, picking them up, stopping the ball and communicating.

It’s all in a week of preseason basketball.

Begin Slideshow

View full post on Bleacher Report – NBA

Next Page »