Damian Lillard named Rookie of the Year in unanimous vote

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We’ve essentially known this for quite some time, but it became official on Wednesday: Damian Lillard of the Portland Trail Blazers was named as the 2012-13 Kia NBA Rookie of the Year.

Lillard’s selection was a unanimous one, as he received all 121 first place votes. The last unanimous winner of the award was Blake Griffin back in 2010-11.

Anthony Davis of the New Orleans Hornets finished second with 306 points, while Bradley Beal of the Wizards finished third with 94 points. A first place vote is worth five points, a second place vote is worth three points, and a third place vote is worth one point in the NBA’s voting process.

Lillard was as deserving of this honor as any player has been in recent memory. Among rookies, Lillard ranked first in scoring, assists, and minutes played, with averages of 19 points and 6.5 assists in 38.6 minutes per game this season. He also set the rookie mark for three-point field goals made in a season with 185, surpassing the 166 that Stephen Curry made in his 2009-10 season.

The complete results of the Rookie of the Year voting are listed below. Shout out to John Jenkins of the Atlanta Hawks for that one third place vote.

Rookie, Team                                            1st               2nd              3rd               Total

Damian Lillard, Portland                       121             —                 —                 605

Anthony Davis, New Orleans                  —                 96               18               306

Bradley Beal, Washington                        —                 14               52               94

Andre Drummond, Detroit                       —                 5                  21               36

Dion Waiters, Cleveland                           —                 2                  15               21

Harrison Barnes, Golden State               —                 1                  5                  8

Chris Copeland, New York                       —                 2                  2                  8

Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Charlotte         —                 —                 3                  3

Jonas Valanciunas, Toronto                   —                 —                 2                  2

John Jenkins, Atlanta                             —                 —                 1                  1

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.