Kobe Bryant

Baseline to Baseline recaps: Where Andrew Bogut’s one arm is better than the Lakers

Leave a comment

What you missed while watching the Jib Jab year in review video

Bucks 98, Lakers 79: The Milwaukee Bucks came into this game averaging 100.2 points per 100 possessions — the worst offense in the NBA. They were without Brandon Jennings, Corey Maggette and Drew Gooden. They were on the second night of a back-to-back. They had to play a Laker team whose defense has gotten better since Andrew Bynum’s return.

So can you explain that score to me? For one night the Bucks offensive rating was 119.5 points per 100 possessions.

Kobe Bryant was so frustrated he got ejected late (I think he can afford the coming fines). There are a litany of excuses the Lakers could use — looking ahead to the Heat, first game back after a long road trip, it’s been raining for days in Los Angeles and that throws everybody in the city off — but they just didn’t care.

And credit to the Bucks who did. They fought for rebounds and grabbed the offensive board on 39.4 percent of this missed shots. Earl Boykins dropped 22 and was a force in the fourth. Boykins provided some of the shot creation (mostly for himself, not others) and outside shooting the Bucks will miss with Jennings out. At least for one night.

Dallas 105, Magic 99: Entertaining game as both teams were on fire for stretches — Dallas a little more so shooting 46 percent from three on the night. And that’s what happened most of the night, Dallas was just a little bit better at most things.  When did Caron Butler learn to hit the three like that? He is shooting 43 percent on the season from beyond the arc, quite the jump from 29 percent last season or 32 percent for his career.

Stan Van Gundy is still experimenting — Hedo Turkoglu started and Brandon Bass came off the bench — but JJ Redick seems to thrive with this new look and find more space to shoot (he had 21). Dwight Howard played fantastically — he has had 20 or more rebounds in three straight — but overall the Mavs were just a little better.

Thunder 99, Bobcats 81: Two teams headed in opposite directions. If you haven’t noticed over the last 10 days to two weeks, Kevin Durant has his swagger back. He is an efficient scoring machine again. Proof? He had 32 points on 8-of-13 shooting and was 14-of-16 at the free throw line Tuesday.

Meanwhile, how desperate is Larry Brown in Charlotte? Kwame Brown started.

Nets 101, Grizzlies 94: Sometimes the box score can’t really tell you what happened in a game. And sometimes it tells you the Nets shot 52.6 percent, the Grizzlies 39.8 percent, and that is all you really need to know. Sasha Vujacic had 16 on 6 of 8 shooting.

Bulls 121, Sixers 76: When Kurt Thomas has 12 points and 5 blocks, you know it’s a thumping. This is the fourth game in a row the Bulls have won by as much as 17 points. This time it was against a Sixers team that had been playing pretty well of late but they took Tuesday off to finish their Christmas shopping, apparently. Sixers coach Doug Collins pretty much gave up on his guys in the fourth. The Bulls are 8-3 since Carlos Boozer returned.

Warriors 117, Kings 109 (OT): Oh, the Kings were so close to a win. The Kings were up 16 with 9 minutes to go and yet a Warriors team on the second night of a back-to-back went on an 11-0 run in the fourth quarter and a 5-0 run to close out the game and send it to overtime. Vladimir Radmanovic had the open catch-and-shoot three to send the game to extra time. NBA teams need to find a new level of execution late in games and the Kings get worse when pressured that way. They turned the ball over or missed good looks. They twice fouled guys taking threes late in the game. Just bad execution.

Sunday is 16th anniversary of greatest dunk ever: Vince Carter over Frederic Weis

Leave a comment

It was the last game of the group stage of the 2000 Olympic basketball tournament at the Sydney Olympics, the USA was taking on France, another USA win on its way to another gold medal.

But what we all remember is this one play — Vince Carter dunking over the 7’2″ French center Frederic Weis.

Best. Dunk. Ever.

By anyone.

Weis was never the same.

In an impressive career — two-time All-NBA, eight-time All-Star, hours and hours of crazy highlights — this is always going to be the highlight at the top of the list. So we will use the anniversary of this dunk to look at it one more time.

Hat tip to nitramy at NBA Reddit.

Hornets coach Steve Clifford suggests allowing teams to advance ball in final two minutes without timeout

Steve Clifford
AP Photo/Chuck Burton
Leave a comment

The final minutes of a close NBA game rank among the best moments in sports – which is pretty remarkable, considering frequent stoppages interrupt and impede enjoyment of the game.

Clutch play. Timeout. Clutch play. Timeout. Clutch play. Timeout.

Coaches should probably call fewer timeouts, because drawing up a play also allows the defense to set. But timeouts give the offense the option of advancing the inbound spot into the frontcourt, a key advantage. So, teams will keep calling timeouts.

Unless…

Steve Aschburner of NBA.com:

For Charlotte’s Steve Clifford, the ability in the final two minutes of a game to advance the ball without requiring a timeout to be called could speed up the action. That has been used on a trial basis in the D League and in Summer League, and several coaches felt it worked well.

“The game is at an all-time high in popularity, but a lot of people complain about the last two minutes,” Clifford said. “I think it would add a different dimension but it would also be a good thing in addressing our biggest issue.”

Not that the coaches would be willing to lose any of their timeouts, though. They just wouldn’t save them specifically for that purpose.

I’m here for that.

I’m unsurprised control-seeking coaches want to keep all their timeouts, and reducing those seems unlikely, anyway. The NBA pays its bills through commercial breaks.

Would moving those advertising opportunities earlier in the game pay off? Audiences are probably larger in crunch time, but an action-packed closing stretch could hook fans and grow overall audiences. It’s always a difficult decision to forgo maximizing immediate revenue in pursuit of more later.

But I’m fairly certain fans would appreciate the change, which is at least a starting point in considering it.

Kyrie Irving feels validated after hitting game-winning shot to bring title to Cleveland

2 Comments

Back in July during the pre-Olympics USA Camp in Las Vegas, I asked Kyrie Irving what had changed for him, what was different for him after winning an NBA title. His answer was about the doors it opened, the possibilities that suddenly felt available to him. A month after winning the title he still seemed a little overwhelmed by the experience, and he hadn’t fully processed it yet. Which is completely understandable.

Now, as training camp is set to open for the Cavaliers and their defense of that title, Irving clearly has gotten used to being a champion — and he feels validated. Look at what he told Joe Varden of the Cleveland Plain Dealer.

“Yes, my life’s changed drastically,” Irving told cleveland.com Saturday, during Irving’s friendship walk and basketball challenge downtown for Best Buddies, Ohio — an organization that gives social growth and employment opportunities to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

“It’s kind of, you’re waiting for that validation from everyone, I guess, to be considered one of the top players in the league at the highest stage,” Irving said. “That kind of changed. I was just trying to earn everyone’s respect as much as I could.”

It’s amazing to think of the impact one shot — Irving’s three over Stephen Curry with 53 seconds left in Game 7 — can have. If he misses, there is less pressure on the Warriors to answer with a three, maybe they come down and get a bucket inside for two (one could argue they should have done that anyway rather than hunt for the three), from there maybe the Warriors win. If so, that could change everything from Kevin Durant‘s summer plans to what the Cavaliers’ roster looks like today — there’s a good chance Cleveland’s lineup would have changed if they lost to the Warriors two Finals in a row.

One shot can have that kind of impact on a player, too.

Kyrie Irving was one of the top five point guards in the NBA for a while, a score first guy but one who had some floor general in him and got some steals. A lot of time seemed to be spent focusing on his flaws defensively and passing. But with that shot, he feels validated. If he carries that confidence into next season, the Cavaliers just got better.

Check out top 50 plays from Kevin Garnett’s Hall of Fame career (VIDEO)

Leave a comment

First Kobe Bryant. Then Tim Duncan.

Now Kevin Garnett. The Hall of Fame class in five years is going to be stacked.

But before we move on from Garnett’s announcement this week that he is retiring after 21 years in the NBA, let’s look back at his greatest plays (compiled by the folks at NBA.com). Enjoy this for 11 minutes rather than watching your NFL fantasy team flounder. Again.