Jackson says Reggie Miller is third best shooting guard ever

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Reggie Miller is entering the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame this week. Deservedly so — he is one of the great pure shooters the game has ever seen. But while we tend to think of him as just a guy at the arc he could put the ball on the floor and draw fouls, he was a good passer, he could create shots for himself and others as well.

So as he steps into the building with the all-time greats, where does he rank among the top shooting guards ever to play the game?

Former Pacer, former annoying broadcaster, current Warriors coach Mark Jackson was asked that by the Indianapolis Star and came back with a surprising number.

“When you take Michael Jordan and you take Kobe Bryant out of the discussion, he’s as good as any two-guard that has ever played the game,” Jackson said.

I’m not sure anyone is trying to take them out of the equation, but okay, let’s play that game. Even without them the list is very impressive, here is the group our man Sekou Smith put together at NBA.com.

Let’s see … (and these names are no particular order) George Gervin, Jerry West, Allen Iverson, Dwyane Wade, Clyde Drexler, Earl “The Pearl” Monroe, Ray Allen, Joe Dumars and “Pistol” Pete Maravich are names that certainly come to mind when the discussion turns to the top shooting guards of all time.

We could quibble about whether Iverson was a point or two guard, but the list is still valid — Miller is good but guys like West, Gervin, Wade and Maravich are better in my mind.

However, that is a barstool argument about who is the best among some of the greatest to ever play the game, and while I’m willing to do it most of the time this is Reggie Miller’s week in the sun. He is entering the Hall of Fame and he deserves the praise coming to him this week. Now is not the time to nit-pick his game. We’re going to let him have his moment.

But Jackson thinks a little more highly of Miller than some of the rest of us.

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.