New Orleans native Greg Monroe watching hurricane Isaac

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Pistons center Greg Monroe was a high school sophomore in New Orleans when hurricane Katrina hit and decimated that city. His family decided the night before to get out of town and left with a full car at 3 a.m. headed to Houston.

He and his family survived, but it forever changed his life. Like many they struggled to make a new home but they survived. Which is more than happened to more than 1,800 others.

So with hurricane Isaac gaining power and heading to the Gulf Coast, Monroe is watching it closely, he told the Pistons’ Web site.

“After going through Katrina and just having to pay attention to it your whole life, every time one starts to form and all the news stations start to track it, you pay attention,” Monroe said Monday morning. “It’s something that you have to worry about. But you try to stay calm and get as many facts as you can, get to a safe place if you need to…

“People are more conscientious (now),” Monroe said. “People aren’t going to be – for lack of a better term – as hard-headed. They had a lot of people who just didn’t listen, who stuck it out with Katrina, and that made for more of a crisis. After experiencing that, a lot more people are going to leave. After going through something that big and that horrific, I think people will learn their lesson and understand how much can really happen during a hurricane.”

Monroe’s family is back in the area and he has a cousin in college in Mobile, Ala. He is watching this storm and thinking of family while working out at the Pistons facilities. He is worried about them, but also about everyone on the Gulf Coast.

Let us all hope the damage — to people and property — is far less this time.

Tyronn Lue says he has secret plan to fix Cavaliers’ defense for playoffs

AP Photo/Phil Long
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Only one team that ranked outside the top 12 in points allowed per possession during the regular season won an NBA title. The 2000-01 Lakers, who were 21st in defensive rating, are the lone outlier.

The Cavaliers rank 22nd in defensive rating this season and have been even worse lately.

But Cleveland coach Tyronn Lue says he has a plan. He just won’t reveal it yet.

Lue, via Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com:

“We’ve got to hold back. We can’t show our hand early because … these are some good teams and we don’t want them to be able to come into a series and be able to adjust to what we do. We just have to be able to play our normal defense until we get there and then we will see what happens.”

Also:

“I think the rebounding hurt us. Rebounding. But it will be different once some other things happen. … Their two-guards, their threes, they still crashed the boards. But we have something to fix that. Just not right now.”

What precisely those plans are, Lue wouldn’t tell us. And here’s the other part — he’s not exactly sure they’ll work.

“I’m not confident, but we’ve got to” get the defense fixed, Lue said. “We have to.”

The Cavs ranked just 10th in defensive rating last season, among the worst marks for an eventual champion. But they cranked up their defense in the playoffs, especially late. Cleveland held the Raptors 4.8 points per 100 possessions below their regular-season scoring rate and the Warriors 7.8 below theirs.

Lue also unleashed a 3-point-heavy attack in the playoffs last year after sitting on the strategy through the regular season.

So, I have some faith Lue will implement a better defensive gameplan when it counts. It also helps to have LeBron James, who can still play elite defense when not in the slog of a long regular season.

But the Cavaliers’ defensive deficiencies right now are glaring. This roster appears to lack defensive potential, and their many miscues keep them well below whatever that potential is.

The challenge in elevating this defense to championship-caliber will be immense, maybe even unprecedented.

Mavericks’ Salah Mejri dunks while getting shoved in the gut (video)

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The Mavericks built a 13-point lead over the Thunder with 3:30left thanks to plays like this Salah Mejri dunk on Nick Collison.

Unfortunately for Dallas, Russell Westbrook happened.

Willy Hernangomez dunks on Andre Drummond, Pistons’ playoff chances (video)

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Andre Drummond and the Pistons couldn’t slow down anything.

Not Willy Hernangomez. Not the Knicks. Not Detroit’s plummeting playoff hopes.

After a 109-95 loss to the Knicks last night, the Pistons — who’ve lost four straight and seven of eight — are 1.5 games and two teams out of playoff position.

Terrence Ross 360 dunks his way back into Raptors fans’ hearts (video)

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In his first appearance in Toronto since the Raptors traded him to the Magic, Terrence Ross did what he has done best throughout his career: Delight Toronto fans with a dunk.

And of course the fans appreciated it, because their Raptors cruised to a 131-112 win.