UPDATE 1:33 pm: It’s official, Dwight Howard has a three-peat as the NBA Defensive Player of the Year.
“I want to thank my teammates for allowing their men to get to the basket again, forcing me to block shots and pick up fouls, and sometimes technical fouls,” Howard joked at the press conference. Or half joked. Or maybe not joked at all.
Howard is the first player ever to win it three years in a row. He also got 114 of the 120 first place votes.
The rest of the voting: 2) Kevin Garnett; 3) Tyson Chandler; 4) Tony Allen; 5) Rajon Rondo; 6) Andrew Bogut; 7) Grant Hill; 8) Andre Iguodala; 9) LeBron James; 10) Luol Deng.
11:32 am: There’s a “major announcement” coming from the Orlando Magic at 1:30 pm Monday, following the team’s practice.
It has all the suspense of whether or not David Caruso will take off his glasses and deliver a cheesy line when they find the criminal on CSI:Miami.
Dwight Howard will be named Defensive Player of the Year for the third straight year, according to the Orlando Sentinel.
It’s well deserved. No player impacts the game defensively like Howard, who clogs the paint and allows the Magic defenders to be more aggressive out on the perimeter. What’s more, the Magic didn’t suffer a big defensive setback after their midseason trades to bring in weak defenders like Hedo Turkoglu and Gilbert Arenas. That’s all Howard. The Magic are 3 points per 100 possessions better on defense when Howard is on the floor, teams shoot 2 percent better when he sits and the Magic’s rebounding gets worse.
This likely will be the consolation prize for Howard, as Derrick Rose is almost certain to win the MVP, with Howard coming in second or third (LeBron James will be in the mix, too).
The Bulls suffered a rough loss in Boston last night.
It didn’t get better afterward.
K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune:
Celtics general manager Danny Ainge – who played for Boston in the 80s – pleaded ignorance to any nefarious plumbing:
I think the idea that teams plot to shut off the visitor’s hot water is often overstated. Arenas have complex infrastructure, and things can go wrong on their own. Sometimes, the home team loses hot water, but that never gets remembered.
But reasonable excuses don’t make a cold shower in the moment any more tolerable.
Robin Lopez had reason to be upset from the Bulls’ Game 5 loss to the Celtics last night.
This miss was all on him.
Dwyane Wade (26 points, 11 rebounds, eight assists) was the Bulls’ best player in their Game 5 loss to the Celtics last night.
But the 35-year-old guard clearly didn’t go all out on every possession.
Players can justify not closing out by claiming they were prioritizing rebounding position. Wade clearly has no such excuse.
The Los Angeles Clippers dropped Game 5 to the Utah Jazz on Tuesday night, and find themselves down 3-2 as they head back to Salt Lake City for Game 6. The Clippers have had to deal with Utah’s formidable defense, so much so that they’ve built in counters to Jazz defenders overplaying shooters like JJ Redick.
One example of this countering method could be found in Game 3, when the Clippers ran a split cut for Redick. Instead of fighting endlessly around screens for a 3-point shot as you might expect, LA took the easy route and simply cut Redick to the basket for an easy layup as a means to take advantage of an overeager defender.
We’ve talked about the Split Cut here on NBA Playbook before. The Los Angeles Lakers used it earlier in the season to beat the Golden State Warriors, the team that uses the split cut perhaps the most out of any team in the NBA.
Other teams, including the Portland Trail Blazers, have adapted the Warriors’ use of the split cut as a counter for their own offense this season, which is a testament to just how useful it is.
If you need a reminder, a split cut all about a screener coming up to screen, then cutting toward the basket before his screen action fully takes place. It’s about timing, and catching defenders off guard when they go to set up their recover positions for screens.
For a full breakdown on the split cut and how the Clippers used it, watch the video above.