Mayo says he wants to emulate Nowitzki work ethic

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I don’t really think this means O.J. Mayo wants to bring in an eccentric old German guy to make him take one footed jumpers from all over the court, I think we can safely say we’re talking about work ethic here.

But Mayo told Mavs.com blogger Bryan Gutierrez (at Mavsfastbreak.com) that he wants to emulate Dirk Nowitzki’s workouts.

Mayo stepped up as a leader during those workouts as he helped the rookies build the right mindset as they get ready for their first season in the league. Mayo was in for a surprise though as he saw there was another player working: Dirk….

“It was crazy,” Mayo said with a smile. “I came in early and I knew the young guys would be here because they’re supposed to come in a little early before the veteran guys. I looked up and Big D was in here and that was crazy. I just really respect his work ethic and his resume and what he’s done in this league. He’s a Hall-of-Fame player in this league. I’m happy to come here and go to war alongside him.”

It’s one of those things it takes guys, even talented guys like Mayo, a while to learn in the NBA — the best guys work harder than you. It was true of Larry Bird’s shooting routines. It was true of Michael Jordan. Ask LeBron James and other young 2008 Olympians what they learned in Beijing and the first thing they say was how hard Kobe Bryant worked on his body and his game.

Nowitzki is one of those guys. You do not develop that arsenal of shots playing Xbox all summer.

If some of that rubs off on Mayo, if his game sharpens and he finds a better fit in Dallas, he could be happy he’s only on a one year deal — because he would get paid next summer. But we’re a long way from that. He’s got to prove it.

However, there’s an example in front of him.

Report: Kentucky’s Bam Adebayo staying in NBA draft

AP Photo/Jeff Roberson
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When De’Aaron Fox and Malik Monk declared for the NBA draft, they jumped in with both feet, hiring agents.

A third Kentucky freshman, Bam Adebayo, took a more cautious approach – until now.

Jon Rothstein of FanRag Sports:

Adebayo is a borderline first-round pick.

He’s a ferocious dunker. All his best skills – motor, explosiveness, physicality – come together to produce slams.

But Adebayo is an underwhelming shot-blocker and rebounder, and those same tools should translate. That speaks’ to his focus.

He has a center’s game. But at 6-foot-10 with a 7-foot-1.5 wingspan, does he have a center’s size? Adebayo can’t step away from the basket or handle the ball, so if he can’t bang with NBA centers, he’s in trouble.

NBA: James Harden should have been called for offensive foul late in Rockets’ Game 4 win over Thunder

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The Rockets were trying to protect a two-point lead as they inbounded with 7.8 seconds left in Game 4 against the Thunder on Sunday, and James Harden wanted the ball. So, the Houston star pushed off Alex Abrines.

The play still turned chaotic – Russell Westbrook tipping the inbound pass and Eric Gordon recovering the loose ball – but it never should have gotten that far. Harden should have been called for an offensive foul, according to the NBA’s Last Two Minute Report:

Harden (HOU) pushes off Abrines (OKC) to create space during the inbound.

A correct call would have given Oklahoma City the ball down two with 7.8 seconds left and a real chance to tie or take the lead.

Instead, the Thunder had to intentionally foul Gordon, who hit two free throws to effectively ice a 113-109 Rockets win. Houston now leads the first-round series, 3-1.

NBA: LeBron James got away with travelling before go-ahead 3-pointer in Cavaliers’ Game 4 win over Pacers

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The Cavaliers outscored the Pacers by just 16 points in their first-round series – tied for the narrowest margin ever in a four-game sweep. (The Warriors also outscored the Washington Bullets while sweeping the 1975 Finals.)

So, each Cleveland-Indiana game was close, including Sunday’s Game 4, which the Cavs won 106-102.

LeBron James hit a 3-pointer with 1:08 left to put the Cavaliers up 103-102, and they added a few free throws after intentional fouls to produce the final margin. But LeBron travelled with 1:14 left while making his move to get that 3-pointer, according to the NBA’s Last Two Minute Report:

James (CLE) moves his pivot foot at the start of his dribble.

A correct call would’ve ended Cleveland’s possession and given Indiana the ball with a two-point lead. Instead, the Pacers had only one possession before they had to begin intentionally fouling.

Would Indiana have won if the travel were called? Probably, though the odds would have been only slightly better than a coin flip.

Would the Pacers have won the series if the travel were called? Probably not. No team has ever overcome a 3-0 deficit, and even a Game 4 win was far from guaranteed with a travel call. But they might have at least felt better about not getting swept.

Raptors’ Norman Powell had a couple monster dunks Monday (VIDEO)

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“Give all praise to Norman Powell with his energy, his athleticism, his passion, just everything he brought to us this series.”

That was Kyle Lowry talking about what his Raptor Norman Powell, who put up a career playoff best 25 points in the Raptors’ Game 5 win. Powell played good defense on Khris Middleton and drained some deep threes to help Toronto pull away in this one. Lowry was so impressed after the game at a press conference he told the media to ask Powell questions, not him.

Oh, and Powell threw down some huge dunks, too. Just check out the video.