Denver may have used laptop in a time out… so what?

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In the playoffs, sometimes people — teams, fans, media — can focus and become obsessed about the little things, the meaningless things, and not the things that really matter.

For example, if the Lakers want to talk about why they lost Game 5 to Denver they can talk about Andrew Bynum’s defensive rotations (or lack thereof). Or the fact that without guys like Steve Blake and Matt Barnes knocking down threes the Nuggets defense doesn’t get punished for the doubles and collapses on Bynum and Pau Gasol. Then Kobe just tries to take over.

The Lakers coaches were frustrated with all that, but the Lakers also were fuming about Denver using a laptop during a timeout. From Mike Bresnahan at the Los Angeles Times (via Ball Don’t Lie).

The Lakers were privately seething after seeing the Nuggets use a laptop computer in their huddle during a 20-second timeout with 19.9 seconds left to play.

The computer apparently belonged to an assistant coach sitting behind the bench with it. NBA rules forbid the use of such devices in the huddle, which won’t change the final score but can carry a hefty fine of up to $250,000.

As Dan Devine points out at BDL, at the moment in question the Lakers were down 99-96, so the Nuggets staff might have looked up scouting information on a last-second Lakers play. I’m not sure why you need a computer to tell you Kobe Bryant is going to take an isolation three, but to each his own.

Is using a laptop on the bench really against the rules? Denver’s GM reached out to the league to calm the waters. Yahoo asked for the details and was told that what Denver did was not against NBA rules. George Karl talked at his press avilability about a memo that seemed to say a laptop with scouting information could be kept near the bench so long as information isn’t taken from them while the game is in progress.

My question: Why is this even a big deal? Not sure how many teams really do this, but so what?

Why shouldn’t a team be able to pull out an iPad during a timeout loaded with the opposing team’s most common end-of-game sets then have a coach show that to the players? That is not cheating, that is scouting. That is using technology to make sure your players are properly prepared for what the opposing team is likely to run. Why is having that video on in the locker room before the game okay but having it on an iPad on the bench not?

To me, as the advanced statistical revolution marches on in the NBA the challenge is to impart the information gathered to the players in a way they can use. It’s one thing to say Tyson Chandler shoots 67.2 percent when he gets the ball back as a roll man after setting the pick and that he tries to find a direct line to the basket, it’s another to show a loop of what Chander does successfully as a player to his defender (and the team) and let them adjust. Most people are visual learners — to see it as numbers is one thing, to see it in action is another.

I don’t see the problem with a team using this technology on the bench or during breaks. I don’t have an issue with bringing technology into the game.

And while it didn’t impact this game anyway, the Lakers should be worried about why they really lost and not laptops.

Matthew Dellavedova steals pass, hits wild scoop shot at buzzer (VIDEO)

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Matthew Dellavedova is a hustler. Everybody knows that. Well, unless you want to argue he’s more about grit. It’s really your call.

But against the Boston Celtics on Sunday, Dellavedova came through with whatever you want to call it — hustle, grit, moxie, gumption.

As the first quarter wound down and the Celtics tried to inbound the ball, Dellavedova spied his opponents rolling the basketball in order to save time on the clock.

That allowed the Australian native to fly in and do this:

That’s a steal, a scoop, and a score all within 1.2 seconds.

Milwaukee won Game 4 and evened the series with the Celtics, 2-2.

Cavaliers tie series with Pacers in Indiana, 2-2

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Sunday night’s game between the Indiana Pacers and Cleveland Cavaliers was raucous. Bankers Life Fieldhouse was rocking, and despite Indiana’s best effort to put back seemingly every offensive board it encountered, LeBron James‘ 32 points was just too much to overcome.

Facing the possibility of going down 3-1 in the first round, the Cavaliers pulled out the win, 104-100, and sent the series back to Ohio for Game 5.

The game came down to the final period following a surge by the Pacers to end the third quarter. The teams were tied several times midway through the fourth, but a tip shot by Thaddeus Young wth 6:13 left gave the Pacers the lead as fans in Indiana went wild.

Cleveland then came roaring back. At the three-minute mark, James drove to the basket and scored. Thirty seconds later, Kyle Korver hit a big-time 3-pointer to put the Cavaliers up by four points, a mark the Pacers couldn’t recover from.

LeBron scored again with 1:52 left, and despite some weird late-game antics — featuring none other than Lance Stephenson — the Cavaliers were able to remain resolute down the stretch.

James finished with 32 points, 13 rebounds, and seven assists. Kyle Korver added 18 points on 4-of-9 shooting from deep, and Kevin Love had five points with 11 boards.

Victor Oladipo struggled for Indiana, scoring 17 points but shooting just 25 percent from the floor. Seven Pacers finished in double-digits, with Young notching an impressive double-double of 12 points and 16 rebounds.

Game 5 will be played in Cleveland on Wednesday, April 25.

Wizards beat Raptors in Game 4, tie series at 2-2 heading to Toronto

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The Toronto Raptors were far and away the best team in the Eastern Conference this season. The Washington Wizards were … well, very Wizard-y.

So considering their regular seasons, the fact that Washington was able to tie the first round series between the two teams at 2 games apiece on Sunday is pretty astonishing.

Bradley Beal had 31 points and five rebounds for the Wizards while teammate John Wall added 27 points to go along with a whopping 14 assists. Washington shot an impressive 41 percent from 3-point range as four of five starters finished in double-digit scoring.

Despite Beal’s performance, it was Wall who saved the day for the Wizards. Beal was disqualified after fouling out with around five minutes to play in the fourth quarter. Beal didn’t agree with the call, and could be seen throwing a towel near the Washington bench.

For his part, Wall either scored or assisted on 10 of the Wizards’ final 14 points of the game. That helped stave off the likes of DeMar DeRozan, who led all scorers with 35 points.

The series heads back to Toronto for Game 5, which will be played on Wednesday, April 25.

Marcus Smart wants to be back for Game 6 vs. Bucks

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Boston Celtics guard Marcus Smart has been out for some time after injuring his thumb earlier in the year. The absence of one of Boston’s most important guards has been felt even more so after Kyrie Irving went down following knee surgery.

In short, the Celtics would like to have Smart back on the floor.

We’re now close enough that Smart has begun to give solid timeframes to reporters. Speaking to media on Sunday, Smart said that his plan is to be back for Game 6 against the Milwaukee Bucks. Boston took on Milwaukee on Sunday in Game 4.

Via ESPN:

Right now, [a Game 6 return is] the plan and we’re still on the same track,” Smart said before Game 4 on Sunday. “I’ve been doing everything but contact, so I will be able to go and start that.”

Smart said he believes the thumb is ready for contact.

“The surgery did its job,” said Smart, who injured himself March 11 while diving for a loose ball in a game against the Indiana Pacers. “Thumb is holding up well. I feel ready, I feel strong enough to get back out there. I’m just waiting on the OK.”

The series between the Celtics and Bucks has been tumultuous, a back-and-forth affair as an injury-riddled Boston squad takes on a healthy but offensively-sluggish Milwaukee team. Smart could add a shot of life for Boston in a much-needed way.

The Bucks won Game 4 and the series is now tied, 2-2. Game 6 would be on Thursday, April 26 if need be.