Derrick Rose, Tony Parker

Baseline to Baseline recaps: Derrick Rose kicks his MVP campaign into high gear

Leave a comment

What you missed while wondering just how screwed up a world it is that the Kardashians made $65 million last year…

Bulls 109, Spurs 99: For two of the better defensive teams in the league there was a whole lot of offense going on in this one. Both teams create serious matchup problems for the other side, which made this an interesting game to watch.

The biggest mismatch was that the no Spur could stick with Derrick Rose, who looked like an MVP dropping 42 on the Spurs. (I’ve said before I’m not convinced Rose should be a leader in the MVP discussions, but he sure looked like he should Thursday.) He was 18-for-28 shooting, but he was dishing as well and had 8 dimes. He just controlled this game. The Spurs had no answer.

The Bulls shot 53.8 percent (57.5 eFG%, when you account for the threes) and grabbed the offensive rebound on 28 percent of their missed shots. That may have been where the Bulls surprised the most, the 20 second chance points against a good rebounding team. Again here Rose was a force, his two rebounds and putbacks were impressive.

The temptation here is to make this some kind of statement for the Bulls. It is not. This certainly is a quality win, but this is also the ninth straight road game for the Spurs. They are tired. They’ve handled the road well but this is not them at their best.

But even at their best, not sure what they would do to stop Rose.

Mavericks 112, Suns 106: You do realize Dallas has won 13-of-14 heading into the All-Star break, and the only loss was on an Arron Afflalo buzzer beater in Denver. This team is good. Very good.

Honestly I compare them to the Heat in this sense — they are great in the regular season, but there are still questions about the playoffs. They have to prove themselves there. I’m not convinced their depth helps them as much then.

Dirk Nowitzki was amazing — he was 11-of-14 shooting from beyond 16 feet in this game, on his way to 35 points. The Mavs pulled away on a fourth quarter run that started right when he entered. His former teammate Steve Nash was dealing — 15 points and 14 assists, which is why the Suns had six guys in double figures.

In crunch time though, the Mavs best were just better than the Suns best. It really was that simple.

Spurs to give Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili Friday night off in Denver

Manu Ginobili, Harrison Barnes, Tim Duncan
Leave a comment

The Spurs are 12-3 and comfortably in second place in the West, they have the best defense in the NBA allowing just 93.8 points per 100 possessions, and they have a top-10 offense to go with it.

So, time to start making sure guys are rested.

That is the first night of a back-to-back, with former Spurs’ assistant coach Mike Budenholzer and his Atlanta Hawks coming to San Antonio on Saturday. Popovich is saving his two veterans for that game.

Duncan and Ginobili have looked like they found the fountain of youth this season. Duncan is taking on less of the offense but has been very efficient in those moments. Ginobili has the impact he did a few years back in his bench role.

What Gregg Popovich cares about is them playing like that come the postseason. So they will rest on Friday.

Brandon Armstrong impersonates Ray Allen (video)

2014 NBA Finals - Game Five
Leave a comment

Ray Allen is retired-ish, but he’ll always be running through screens – in our mind and in this video.

Celtics draft pick Marcus Thornton gets beer dumped on head during Australian game (video)

Marcus Thornton, Will Cherry

The Celtics drafted Marcus Thornton with No. 45 pick in the 2015 NBA draft. That essentially entitled him to the required tender – a one-year contract offer, surely unguaranteed at the minimum.

Thornton rejected that, which is almost always a mistake.

Rejecting the tender is a favor to the drafting team, which gets to keep the player’s exclusive rights for a year. If Thornton tries to join the NBA now, he’s stuck negotiating with only the Celtics.

By accepting the tender, the player typically gets one of two outcomes. He either plays on that contract and draws an NBA salary or he gets waived. But even getting waived is better than rejecting the tender, because at least the player becomes a free agent and can negotiate with any team.

Players who reject the tender go to another league and play for less money. In Thornton’s case, that mean Australia.

How’s that going?

(Almost) never reject the required tender as a second-round pick.

Byron Scott says they just have to get Kobe Bryant better looks

Kobe Bryant, Joe Johnson, Byron Scott

Kobe Bryant is averaging 15.2 points a game at age 37. It’s just taking him 16.4 shots per game to get there. After his 1-of-14 shooting performance against the Warriors the other night — with too much isolation and too many plays run just for him — there has been a lot of talk about his shot. With reason, this is his shot chart so far this season.

Kobe shotchart season

So what do the Lakers’ do? Get Kobe to shoot less and get the ball in the hands of the young stars they supposed to be developing more? Nah.

They just need to get Kobe better looks, Scott told the Los Angeles Times.

“I know his mentality is that he can still play in this league,” Scott said. “And we feel the same way….

“Obviously he’s struggling right now with his shot, and I think everybody can see that,” Scott said. “So it’s trying to get him in better position to be able to have an opportunity to knock those shots down on a consistent basis. That’s No. 1.

“I don’t know if it’s his legs. I don’t think so. Again, our conversations are pretty blunt. … He tells me when he is tired and he tells me when he’s not tired. And the last few days, he said he feels great. So, I don’t think it’s a matter of him being tired or his legs being tired. I think it’s a matter of his timing being a little off.”

Yes, how could it be his legs? It’s not like he’s a 37-year-old with more than 55,000 NBA minutes played, and coming off an Achilles rupture and major knee surgery.

Honestly, I hope the Lakers and Kobe find a balance soon, because they have become just hard to watch. And I don’t want Kobe to go out this way.