Reggie Miller headlines Hall of Fame nominations

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There may never have been a better pure shooter to play the game than Reggie Miller. That’s the kind of player that should end up in the Hall of Fame.

And he might, Miller appears the most likely NBA player for induction on the ballot for the Naismith Hall of Fame, with the players nominated listed at NBA.com.

Miller has taken and made more three pointers than anyone in NBA history. He played 18 years for the Indiana Pacers, was a five-time All-Star, was the bane of the Knicks and Spike Lee’s existence for a few years, plus won Olympic gold in 1996. More than just the stats, he is as good a shooter as the game has seen, the kind of player that should be recognized by the Hall (which focuses on all aspects of the game, not just the NBA).

Another guy who could make it is Don Nelson, the winningest coach in NBA history, and before that a player for the Boston Celtics of the Bill Russell era. Nelson’s style of coaching wore out its welcome in the Bay Area last year, but to look back over the history of the game and see how he influenced the pace and style of play as a coach really should get him in. That and the whole winningest coach ever thing.

Other names on the nomination list include Chris Mullin (college star, two time gold medalist, heart of the Warriors for a decade, but that didn’t get him in the past four years he was eligible), Mark Jackson (third all time in assists), Bernard King, Dennis Rodman, Maurice Lucas, Jamaal Wilkes, Rudy Tomjanovich, Cotton Fitzsimmons, Tex Winter, Spencer Haywood, Maurice Cheeks, Ralph Sampson, Bill Fitch, referee Dick Bavetta, Rick Pitino, and more.

Chet Walker was nominated by the Veteran’s committee. Arvydas Sabonis and Sarunas Marciulionis are on the ballot from the International committee and both really deserve to be in. The women’s committee nominated Tara VanDerveer and Teresa Edwards.

Voters for the Hall of Fame — their names are not public — will narrow this group down to a list of finalists announced All-Star weekend. Then the final voting takes place (people have to be on 18 of the 24 ballots) and those being inducted will be announced during the Final Four.

Tyronn Lue says he has secret plan to fix Cavaliers’ defense for playoffs

AP Photo/Phil Long
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Only one team that ranked outside the top 12 in points allowed per possession during the regular season won an NBA title. The 2000-01 Lakers, who were 21st in defensive rating, are the lone outlier.

The Cavaliers rank 22nd in defensive rating this season and have been even worse lately.

But Cleveland coach Tyronn Lue says he has a plan. He just won’t reveal it yet.

Lue, via Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com:

“We’ve got to hold back. We can’t show our hand early because … these are some good teams and we don’t want them to be able to come into a series and be able to adjust to what we do. We just have to be able to play our normal defense until we get there and then we will see what happens.”

Also:

“I think the rebounding hurt us. Rebounding. But it will be different once some other things happen. … Their two-guards, their threes, they still crashed the boards. But we have something to fix that. Just not right now.”

What precisely those plans are, Lue wouldn’t tell us. And here’s the other part — he’s not exactly sure they’ll work.

“I’m not confident, but we’ve got to” get the defense fixed, Lue said. “We have to.”

The Cavs ranked just 10th in defensive rating last season, among the worst marks for an eventual champion. But they cranked up their defense in the playoffs, especially late. Cleveland held the Raptors 4.8 points per 100 possessions below their regular-season scoring rate and the Warriors 7.8 below theirs.

Lue also unleashed a 3-point-heavy attack in the playoffs last year after sitting on the strategy through the regular season.

So, I have some faith Lue will implement a better defensive gameplan when it counts. It also helps to have LeBron James, who can still play elite defense when not in the slog of a long regular season.

But the Cavaliers’ defensive deficiencies right now are glaring. This roster appears to lack defensive potential, and their many miscues keep them well below whatever that potential is.

The challenge in elevating this defense to championship-caliber will be immense, maybe even unprecedented.

Mavericks’ Salah Mejri dunks while getting shoved in the gut (video)

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The Mavericks built a 13-point lead over the Thunder with 3:30left thanks to plays like this Salah Mejri dunk on Nick Collison.

Unfortunately for Dallas, Russell Westbrook happened.

Willy Hernangomez dunks on Andre Drummond, Pistons’ playoff chances (video)

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Andre Drummond and the Pistons couldn’t slow down anything.

Not Willy Hernangomez. Not the Knicks. Not Detroit’s plummeting playoff hopes.

After a 109-95 loss to the Knicks last night, the Pistons — who’ve lost four straight and seven of eight — are 1.5 games and two teams out of playoff position.

Terrence Ross 360 dunks his way back into Raptors fans’ hearts (video)

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In his first appearance in Toronto since the Raptors traded him to the Magic, Terrence Ross did what he has done best throughout his career: Delight Toronto fans with a dunk.

And of course the fans appreciated it, because their Raptors cruised to a 131-112 win.