<span class="vcard">Kurt Helin</span>

Denver Nuggets v Portland Trail Blazers

Kenneth Faried admits to flopping to ground to draw foul call on Steve Blake

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Steve Blake – who is generously listed as 6’3″, 172 pounds — took exception to a physical screen set by Kenneth Faried and threw a nice body check into Faried during the Trail Blazers win over the Nuggets Sunday. He drew a flagrant foul for it. The two jawed and teammates separated them, both got technical fouls on the play.

After the game, Faried admitted he hit the deck to make sure he got the call, via Chris Burkhardt at CSNNW.com.

“He got mad I back-picked him,” said Faried. “I’m playing offense, I’m making sure my point guard got open, and he ran into the back pick trying to go to my point guard. Then he got mad about it and pushed me. Yeah, I fell down to make sure the ref saw it.”

He admitted he exaggerated the action, which is flopping. It will be interesting to see if the league decides to get involved here (at most Faried would get a flopping warning).

More interesting: These two teams meet again on Wednesday.

Check out clip from Dwight Howard documentary “In The Moment” (VIDEO)

Dwight Howard
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It’s called “Dwight Howard: In The Moment” and it premieres November 12th at 8 pm ET on EPIX. I expect the ratings will not be great in the Los Angeles market.

This clip focuses on how Howard throws himself into the community and charity work (something he really does put himself out there for). Stan Van Gundy sings his praises, as does his agent.

The documentary is put together with the approval of Howard’s people, so don’t really expect hard-hitting journalism. Still, if you’re a Howard fan it should be worth watching.

Watch Luol Deng drop 30 on Dallas (VIDEO)

Miami Heat Media Day
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The Miami Heat have looked good this season, sliding new guys comfortably into the “space and pace” system that won them a couple of titles with that LeBron guy.

Luol Deng looked right at home in the system Sunday, dropping 30 points on 19 shots on Dallas in another Miami win. Deng was scoring anywhere — 5-of-7 inside 8 feet of the rim, 4-of-8 from three — and even when Dallas got out on him and contested the shot it didn’t matter (he was 6-of-10 on contested shots, according to the Sports VU cameras).

Miami is piling up early season wins (5-2)  showing more chemistry and better team play than they did last season.

PBT’s Sunday NBA Winners/Losers: Luol Deng loving life in Miami

Houston Rockets v Miami Heat
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Every night the NBA can be a cold hard reality — there are winners, there are losers. It’s the nature of the game. We know you are busy and can’t keep up with every game, so we’re here to bring you the best and worst of the NBA each week night. Here’s what you missed while spending your hard-earned money on Derek Jeter dirt

source:  Luol Deng. He’s fitting in very well in Miami, thank you very much. The Heat went into American Airlines Arena — the one in Dallas, not the one in Miami — and beat the Mavs behind a big game from Deng: 30 points on 13-of-19 shooting, five rebounds and four assists. On the season he’s averaging 15.6 points a game on 55.7 percent shooting. The Heat are 5-2 and look like a team with real cohesion and chemistry led by Chris Bosh, getting solid play from Dwyane Wade nightly and playing the space and pace system well.

source:  Los Angeles Lakers. They got one. And they played better defense to get it (well, that and Charlotte’s lack of shooting was exposed as they were 3-of-14 from three). Kobe Bryant did what he does and had 21 points on 20 shots, but the Lakers got an offensive boost from Jeremy Lin who had 21 points on 12 shots, hitting 3-of-6 from three.The Lakers got really hot in the second half, hitting 64.1 percent of their shots overall — Carlos Boozer was 5-of-6, Ed Davis 3-of-3 and even Robert Sacre made both his shots. Good win for the Lakers, who needed this one because the schedule gets really tough for the next couple weeks and there are not a lot of obvious wins on the horizon. After the game there were a lot of “Charles Barkley can eat” jokes on twitter (he joked about going on a hunger strike until the Lakers won), and Ed Davis got in on the action.

source:  Charlotte Hornets. It’s not just the loss to the Lakers, it’s the lack of offense highlighted in that loss and the rest of the season that is an issue. The Hornets were counting on continuity plus adding Lance Stephenson to boost what was a dismal offense last season, but so far this young season the Hornets offense is 4.3 points per 100 possessions worse than last season. They desperately need outside shooting, hitting just 29 percent from three as a team. They also are heavy on the midrange shots (fourth most in the NBA) and are shooting just 39 percent on those. All of that has the Hornets just 3-4 this young season. There’s plenty of time to turn it around, but this is a disappointing start for a team expected to take a step forward this season.

source:  Toronto Raptors. It’s not the win over the Sixers Sunday, it’s that the Raptors are off to a fast 6-1 start and are on top of the Eastern Conference. Part of that winning is the top 10 defense they have been playing this season. But more impressive is the top five offense led by DeMar DeRozan, at 22.7 a game. Plus DeRozan is doing this.

source:  Denver Nuggets. Coming into the season they were a team a lot people thought could get it together and compete for a playoff spot in the West, but after their loss to the Trail Blazers they are 1-5 to start the season, tied with the Lakers for the bottom of the West. I spoke to Kenneth Faried last week and he said the slow start was just so many guys coming back from injury and missing time in camp, they are just not all on the same page yet on either end of the floor (they are ranked 22nd in both offense and defense using points per possession). He also said the team understands that in the West they have to get it together sooner rather than later.

DeMar DeRozan with spinning 360 layup vs. Sixers

Philadelphia 76ers v Toronto Raptors
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The Raptors are a lot of fun.

They also are 6-1 after their win over the Sixers on Sunday, a game which included DeMar DeRozan’s 360 layup. That was two of his 24 points on just 12 shots — he was 4-of-5 at the rim but did a good job getting to his spots along the baseline just 10-12 feet out.

The Raptors are on top of the East early on, and while we don’t expect that to stick all season they have gotten a healthy cushion both in the Atlantic Division (1.5 games already) and over teams like Washington they expect to battle for the third seed by the end of the season.