Video Breakdown: How the Cavaliers can stop the Warriors’ cutters in the Finals

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It’s going to be a tough ask for the Cleveland Cavaliers to stop the Golden State Warriors offense in the 2017 NBA Finals. In addition to 3-point shooting, a tough transition game, and offensive rebounding, stopping halfcourt cutters within the Warriors offense will be key for the Cavaliers.

There are a few specific things I expect the Cavaliers to gameplan for when it comes to stopping a halfcourt offense that is one of the most confusing to guard in the NBA.

First the Cavaliers need to understand when the Warriors like to cut and what it looks like in their offense when they are trying to set up a backdoor or split cut.

Second they need to have their second help position on rotations dialed in. This means guys who might not expect to get sucked into plays need to understand rotations on plays away from their side of the ball just in case.

Third the Cleveland defense needs to have their switches locked in and called out. Tyronn Lue’s team needs to know how switches are affected by Golden State personnel changes as the game goes on.

Fourth Lue and his staff will likely need to have a gameplan for who it is OK to leave and when as it relates to the halfcourt offense. The choice between leaving Shaun Livingston and David West open on the elbow will be clear when the alternative is Kevin Durant, Klay Thompson, or Stephen Curry at the 3-point line.

This is an outline for how Cleveland can counter a Warriors offense that likes to get you overplaying the 3-point point line in order to get easy buckets down low.

Watch the full video breakdown above to get the full plan.

Friday afternoon fun: Watch James Harden’s 10 best plays from last season

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James Harden had a historic season in Houston.

Since it’s Friday afternoon and your sports viewing options consist of watching guys about to be cut from NFL rosters try to impress, why not check out Harden’s best plays from last season. It’s worth a couple minutes of your time.

Mavericks sign Jeff Withey to one-year contract

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Jeff Withey‘s ex-fiancée accused him of domestic violence, but he was not charged.

That frees him to continue his basketball career, which he’ll do in Dallas.

Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports:

The Mavericks could use another center, even if they re-sign Nerlens Noel. Salah Mejri is the only other true center, though Dirk Nowitzki will now play the position.

Withey is a good rim protector. Just don’t ask him to do anything away from the basket.

Dallas annually brings excess players to training camp and has them compete for regular-season roster spots. Whether or not his salary is guaranteed, Withey will likely fall into that competition.

Marc Gasol: If Grizzlies don’t share my goal of continued growth, we might have to revisit things

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The Grizzlies’ Grit & Grind era has ended.

Zach Randolph signed with the Kings, and Tony Allen appears likely to leave Memphis, too. The Grizzlies are prioritizing younger/cheaper players like Ben McLemore and Tyreke Evans.

Marc Gasol via Ala Carta, as translated by HoopsHype:

I’m very ambitious and I’ve wanted Memphis to be a great franchise. We’ve grown a lot the last 6-7 years, but we have to keep growing. If this is not lined up, maybe we may have to revisit things.

Gasol has been loyal to Memphis, and his first wish is probably winning there. But Giannis Antetokounmpo put it well: Teams must also do right by their players. Gasol is 32 and doesn’t have much time in his prime left. I see why rebuilding wouldn’t interest him.

But what will he do about it if the Grizzlies don’t prioritize the present? They made their push last summer with a max contract for Chandler Parsons, but because Parsons can’t stay healthy, that deal only inhibits team growth.

Gasol is locked up for two more years before a player option. He doesn’t have much leverage. This is part of the reason LeBron James keeps signing short-term contracts. Gasol doesn’t have the same ability to steer his team in his desired direction

On the potentially bright side, rebuilding teams often don’t have much use for 32-year-olds guaranteed more than $72 million over the following three years. If the fit devolves, Memphis becomes more likely to trade him.

Celtics to retire Paul Pierce’s number after Cavaliers game in February

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The Celtics already said they’d retire Paul Pierce’s No. 34.

Now, we know when.

Celtics release:

The Boston Celtics announced today that they will retire Paul Pierce’s No. 34 after a mid-season game against the Cleveland Cavaliers on Sunday, Feb. 11

After? That’s apparently in response to a new rule that penalizes teams not ready to play after a 15-minute halftime. These ceremonies can drag on, and nobody wants to cut Pierce short. I wonder whether this will start a trend of number retirements coming after games.