Chicago Bulls v Atlanta Hawks - Game Six

Derrick Rose and his history of Game 3s.

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Sunday will mark Derrick Rose’s fifth Game 3 of his career. As it’s kind of a pivotal game, and considering he played like MVPoo last game (“Get it?Bbecause he’s the MVP! It’s a pun! A humorous play on words that isn’t actually humorous! Let’s move on.”), it’s pretty important that Rose show up against the Heat in Miami and help Chicago right the good ship “Thibodeau Doesn’t Actually Design Offense So It’s Pretty Much All On Rose, No Pressure.” So how has Rose performed in Game 3s in the past?

Rose has averaged 26.8 points, 3.2 rebounds, 4.5 assists and 3.5 turnovers in the four Game 3s he’s played in. But as you can imagine with a sample size that low, there are outlier performances that drastically alter his averages.

So, yeah, that first playoff series vs. Boston, he did not have a stellar Game 3, and on the other end of the spectrum, his most recent Game 3 vs. Atlanta was the best playoff performance of his young career. Without the Boston game, his averages jump to 32.7 points per game, with 5.3 assists compared to just 2.3 turnovers. On the flip side, if you remove the Atlanta masterpiece, he averages just 21 points and 3.4 assist compared to 4.0 rebounds. In other words, before the Atlanta Game o’ Dominance, Rose hadn’t faired especially well in Game 3s, but if you look at his performance since Boston, Rose’s Game 3s have been stellar. I’m pretty sure this is what they’re talking about when they talk about lies, damn lies, and statistics.

What do Rose’s Game 3 performances tell us about Sunday? Basically nothing. He’s played James once and had his second best overall performance. Rose doesn’t seem to make an particular adjustments after two games, though the Indiana Game 3 should be discussed with consideration of the ankle injury he sustained. Rose’s performances are what you’d expect for a player of his skill and usage level. How he responds to the Heat is another matter altogether.

Of course, there is one more stat that should be mentioned here.

Rose is 3-1 all-time in Game 3s, and has not lost one since that unfortunate performance versus Boston in 2009.

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

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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
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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

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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)

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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.