Reports: Jermaine O’Neal, Toney Douglas to sign with Golden State

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Golden State looks formidable: Stephen Curry at the point, Klay Thompson at the two, Andre Iguodala and David Lee are your forwards. Andrew Bogut is the starting center and his health (and defense) could be the lynchpin for how far this Warriors team can go.

However, they need depth — and they may have found some of it in the forms of Jermaine O’Neal and Toney Douglas. Both veterans are headed to Golden State, according to reports.

Bogut will be the main guy asked to protect the rim, grab boards and get a few buckets from the post. However, Bogut has had an injury prone career so he needs depth behind him. Festus Ezeli is on the roster but he is already injured. So they signed Marreese Speights.

And now they have added Jermaine O’Neal to the mix, reports Marc Stein of ESPN. This is a nice, solid pickup, especially for one season at $2 million. O’Neal averaged 8.3 points in just under 19 minutes a game for Phoenix last season. This season he likely will be asked to do less in terms of minutes, but he will be a good presence in the locker room as well.

Douglas, 27, just reached a deal according to ESPNNewYork.com’s Jared Zwerling. Douglas bounced between Houston and Sacramento last season; he’s an aggressive score-first guard who can space the floor with a three point shot (38 percent last season). He has nights where he can just light it up, but he’s not as helpful on the defensive end (he has defensive skills but he’s not consistent).

Terms of the Douglas deal were not known, but it’s at or near the veteran minimum. And at that price he is a nice pickup.

Basically, solid moves that gives Golden State some depth, but these are not game changers.

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

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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.