Tag: Dallas Mavericks

Orlando Magic v Golden State Warriors

PBT’s NBA Power Rankings: Golden State still on top, but welcome Detroit to the cellar


Consider this something to read while we all wait to see who Rajon Rondo has breakfast with next. When a team wins 12 in a row, has the best record in the West and is playing the best defense in the NBA, they end up on top of ProBasketballTalk’s weekly NBA power rankings. No shock there. The biggest surprise may be at the other end of the list where Philly has won two of three and ceeded the bottom spot to Detroit.

source:  1. Warriors (17-2, Last Week No. 1). We know about all the firepower they have from their stars on offense, but focus too much on Curry/Thompson and things happen like Draymond Green dropping 31. As he did on Chicago. This team is about to get deeper as David Lee expects to return this week, but with the way Green is playing Steve Kerr has to bring Lee off the bench.

source:  2. Spurs (15-5, LW 3). The Spurs made a statement with a win over Memphis last week, then the next night picked up the most Spursian of wins — no Tony Parker, no Manu Ginobili, limited minutes from Tim Duncan (18) and they still beat Minnesota. Tiago Splitter appears close to coming back and that is big for the Spurs’ defense and depth.

source:  3. Rockets (16-4, LW 6). The Rockets are an impressive 7-3 without Dwight Howard (five of those games against quality, +.500 teams) which is key as he is not going to be back “any time soon.” The Rockets are winning with quality defense and getting good performances from Donatas Motiejunas.

source:  4. Trail Blazers (16-4. LW 4). They have won four in a row and seem to do it a different way every time. The one constant is quality play from Damian Lillard (who has taken a big step forward in his third year — and he was an All-Star last year). They are on the road this week but against the East so the Bulls are the only team that should pose a real threat.

source:  5. Clippers (14-5, LW 9). They have won seven in a row and that string could stretch out for a while with a pretty soft schedule coming up (save for the Suns Monday night and the Wizards later in the week). In the West, you have to make sure to get your wins against the teams you’re supposed to beat because the schedule will get brutal.

source:  6. Grizzlies (16-4, LW 2) They lost to the Spurs and the shorthanded Rockets, but picked up a nice win against the Heat. However, what was the best news in Memphis last week was that Marc Gasol’s MRI was negative. He’s their MVP candidate.

source:  7. Mavericks (16-6, LW 5). Sunday night was the most comfortable Chandler Parsons has looked in the Dallas offense, scoring 28 points (it helps that Milwaukee largely left him alone, nine of his 14 shots were uncontested). Not fair dropping this team in these rankings despite a good week, but welcome to life in the West.

source:  8. Cavaliers (11-7 LW 17). They beat the Raptors last week and continue to do it by putting up boatloads of points — LeBron James’ passing is opening up the offense. Good tests this week that will jeopardize that streak — Toronto, Oklahoma City and New Orleans all are on the schedule.

source:  9. Raptors (15-5, LW 7). When DeMar DeRozan went down coach Dwane Casey tried to downplay his loss defensively to PBT (and other reporters). Nope, their defense has really struggled without him and it’s costing them games, they are just trying to outscore opponents now.

source:  10. Hawks (13-6, LW 14). They have won six in a row and gotten fantastic play out of the point guard spot (Jeff Teague and Dennis Schröder) but have done so against the easiest schedule in the NBA so far. That does not change this week with the Pacers, Sixers and two against the Magic on the docket. The week after, then things get serious.

source:  11. Wizards (13-6, LW 11). Not a pretty loss Sunday on the first end of a home-and-home with Boston. Part of that is tied to them still keeping a cap on Nene’s minutes — they need his defense, but they really need him healthy come the playoffs.

source:  12. Bulls (12-8, LW 8). They are 10-3 on the road but just 2-5 at home in Chicago, which is going to have to change for them as they have a lot of home games on the schedule in the coming weeks (including Brooklyn and Portland this week).

source:  13. Suns (12-9, LW 12). Jeff Hornacek has moved P.J. Tucker into the starting lineup and is bringing Marcus Morris off the bench now. What really works for this team is how much better Goran Dragic and Eric Bledsoe seem to play without Isaiah Thomas in the lineup.

source:  14. Kings (10-10, LW 13). DeMarcus Cousins spent time in the hospital due to the viral infection and while they finally picked up a win with him out they are still 1-15 without him over the past couple seasons. He should return to action this week, they are 9-5 with him in the lineup.

source:  15. Bucks (11-11, LW 16). They have lost four of five but against Cleveland, Houston and Dallas (twice) and looked pretty good in those losses. Things don’t get any easier ahead with Oklahoma City, the Clippers, Phoenix and Portland.

source:  16. Pelicans (9-10, LW 18). There were murmurs around the league that if Monty Williams couldn’t get the Pelicans to play better defense with Omer Asik on board his job could be in jeopardy at the end of the season. Well, the Pelicans are 24th in defensive efficiency. Something to watch as the season goes on.

source:  17. Nuggets (9-11, LW 17). They have lost three in a row and looked really ugly doing it in losses to Washington and Atlanta. This is a roller coaster, up and down team and the ups come when their inconsistent shooting is on, lately it hasn’t been.

source:  18. Thunder (7-13, LW 22). While Kevin Durant dropped 27 on Sunday and showed flashes of his old self the Thunder are still trying to find a groove with Russell Westbrook and Durant back. This is a stretch where they need to get wins — Milwaukee and Phoenix are on the docket and are the kind of teams the Thunder need to beat if they are going to make this playoff run.

source:  19. Heat (9-11, LW 15). They have lost four straight and it really comes down to this — they can’t get stops. Without LeBron James on the roster Chris Andersen just looks old and they don’t have the same level of athleticism and maturity on that end of the floor.

source:  20. Celtics (7-11, LW 21). They have won three in a row and not so coincidentally those came when Jeff Green has shown up and played well. It also helped to have the Pistons and Lakers on the schedule. Eagerly awaiting the reports of who Rondo has breakfast with this week.

source:  21. Nets (8-10, LW 20). The most interesting thing about the Nets: Prince William and Kate Middleton, the Duchess of Cambridge, are coming to watch them play against the Cavaliers. Great, now LeBron has more motivation than just playing in New York to put up numbers.

source:  22. Magic (9-14, LW 23). Of all teams to tip the historic imbalance between the West and East this season (the West has won 70 percent of the games between conferences so far), the Magic are 4-5. And it could have been 5-4 if they had held on against Golden State. Problem this week is they take on Washington and Atlanta of the East.

source:  23. Pacers (7-13, LW 19). They are 0-4 on a road trip through the West and have a tough go this week with the hot Hawks, the Clippers, the Raptors, and finally the Trail Blazers. Against that gauntlet they are really going to miss Ian Mahinmi, who is out for 6-8 weeks.

source:  24. Lakers (5-16, LW 25). Kobe Bryant needs just 63 points to pass Michael Jordan on the all-time NBA scoring list, and it will likely happen on an upcoming Lakers three-game road trip (San Antonio, Minnesota and Indiana). Recently both Toronto and Detroit threw early double teams at Kobe and he carved them up with passing and the Lakers won. Don’t expect to see that much anymore, teams will dare Kobe to beat then.

source:  25. Hornets (5-15, LW 28). You can always count on the Knicks to help you snap a 10-game losing streak, but that doesn’t solve the larger issues of bad offense (Lance Stephenson’s shot selection can get ugly) and disappointing defense.

source:  26. Timberwolves (4-15, LW 24). Reports came out a week ago Monday that Flip Saunders told his team to play back and let the Clippers shoot threes in their meeting. Um, Chris Paul shoots 41 percent, J.J. Redick 38 percent, Jamal Crawford 37 percent, and Spencer Hawes 34 percent. Interesting strategy, Flip. The Timberwolves have lost five in a row.

source:  27. Jazz (5-15, LW 26). After a fast start they have lost eight in a row, but they got some good news that starting two guard Alec Burks should return this week from his shoulder injury (but he will need surgery on it after the season).

source:  28. Knicks (4-18, LW 27). They have lost eight in a row but if you want a silver lining they are not getting blown out — the last four of those losses were by a combined 13 points. The Knicks just don’t close out games well. The bad news? The Knicks have had one of the easiest schedules in the NBA so far this season.

source:  29. 76ers (2-18, LW 30). Two wins in three games, beating the Timberwolves and Pistons. The key has been they played pretty good defense in those games (granted against teams that can’t shoot the ball well).

source:  30. Pistons (3-18, LW 29). The loss to the Sixers was ugly, but I think the final shot against OKC Sunday summed up their play best: down two and with less than 10 seconds on the clock the Pistons settled for having Josh Smith take a three pointer for the win. A guy who shoots 25 percent from three but ran to the arc and got the pass. That’s just bad basketball.

Phil Jackson on Knicks: ‘There’s some resistance to discipline, order and culture change’

Celebrities Attend The Denver Nuggets Vs New York Knicks Game - November 16, 2014

In their last 19 games, the Knicks have as won as many games as the tanking 76ers (two).

New York’s problems clearly run deeper than Carmelo Anthony’s back injury.

Now, Knicks president Phil Jackson is trying to explain some of the mess.

Ian Begley of ESPN:

Marc Berman of the New York Post:

That evaluation has to please Tyson Chandler, who was miffed about talk he harmed the Knicks’ chemistry before they traded him to the Mavericks. Obviously, he wasn’t the whole problem.

I also wonder how much Jackson is seeing the Knicks’ record and then looking for the cause rather than vice versa. Perhaps, the Knicks really are resisting the culture change. But I wouldn’t rule out that the players just aren’t good enough to compete, and Jackson is looking for after-the-fact explanations.

Someone like, say, J.R. Smith can act the same way. When his team hasn’t lost yet, he’s eccentric. When it loses, he’s a malcontent. The only change might be the perception.

Either way, Knicks fans should be encouraged Jackson is so concerned about the future. The Knicks got into this mess – having too many undisciplined and/or unproductive players – by too often seeking the quick fix.

If Jackson keeps the Knicks focused on maximizing cap room and keeping – or, dare I say, adding – draft picks, they’ll have a much better chances of eventually succeeding. Jackson’s term surely hasn’t begun how he hoped, but this is where he earns his high salary.

PBT’s Sunday night NBA Winners/Losers: Durant and Rondo both looking healthy

Washington Wizards v Boston Celtics

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 watching the trailer for the new Terminator movie

source:  Rajon Rondo. That’s 31. Sometimes as fans we overemphasize the triple-double (it’s not always as impactful on the game as it sounds) but if you’re hitting that number consistently then you’re doing something right. Sunday was the second time this season and the 31st time in his career that Rajon Rondo hit that number. He’s doing something right. He wasn’t exactly efficient (he had 13 points on 17 shots) and he missed some key shots late (his floater was off) but he had 13 rebounds and 11 assists, which — along with Jeff Green’s 25 points — helped fuel the Celtics past the Wizards in a quality win.

source:  Kevin Durant. He’s still getting his legs back under him, he had an off night against Philly recently, but he bounced back and looked like the KD we know and the rest of the league fears on Sunday. Durant had 28 points on 10-of-19 shooting. He was Durant again, and that included hitting what ended up being the dagger three — with less than two minutes to go Detroit got caught on a bad switch and Durant drilled the three that put them up four and gave OKC the win. But it didn’t matter if Detroit defended well, earlier in the game Jonas Jerebko defended him as well as one could and Durant just scored over him anyway. Because when he’s on Durant can score on anyone. Which is more than we can say for….

source:  Josh Smith and the Detroit Pistons. Saturday they couldn’t beat the hapless, tanking Sixers (we’re going to have a new team on the bottom of the PBT Power Rankings Monday). At least Sunday they showed a little pride and had a shot at beating an Oklahoma City team still trying to get its feet under it with Durant and Russell Westbrook back. OKC was up two with 10 seconds left in the game when Westbrook missed a 16-foot jumper, Brandon Jennings got the rebound pushed the ball up the court looking for a chance to tie or maybe win the game for the Pistons. Jennings got into the lane but saw big men coming over to contest his shot (or more likely swat it into the third row) so he made a smart, quality pass to a wide open man — Josh Smith at the arc. He got a wide open, uncontested shot to win the game. Of course, Smith is shooting 25 percent from three this season, which is just below his career average, so what the Pistons got with the game on the line was a shot they want to avoid and every opponent would encourage them to take. The results were predictable. This is why they are the Pistons right now.

source:  Chandler Parsons. For some reason the Milwaukee Bucks kept leaving Chandler Parsons open and he made them pay — 28 points on 14 shots (4-of-6 from three) as the Mavericks toyed with the Bucks in an easy win. Parsons had nine uncontested looks according the NBA’s Sports VU cameras, he hit seven of them. This was the most comfortable he has looked in the Dallas offense (being wide open will do that), which frankly already was pretty powerful.

source:  Denver’s back court’s shooting. Ty Lawson was 1-of-10 from the floor. Arron Afflalo was 4-of-14. Gary Harris came in off the bench and was 1-of-8. Throw in an 0-of-6 night from Danilo Gallinari and the Nuggets were not impressive in their loss to Atlanta. It happens, guys have off shooting nights, but Denver had one of those nights when basically everyone they count on to create points was off. (Wilson Chandler, who had 29 points on 22 shots, was the exception to the rule, but it wasn’t enough.)

It’s official, Gal Mekel reaches deal with New Orleans Pelicans

Dallas Mavericks v Sacramento Kings

We told you this was coming but now it is official:

Gal Mekel has signed on as a backup point guard with the New Orleans Pelicans, the team announced Friday. He will be in uniform on Saturday when the Pelicans take on the Clippers.

This is a non-guaranteed two-year deal according to Marc Stein of ESPN, meaning Mekel has to stick on the roster past Jan. 10 to be guaranteed a salary for the rest of this season. The second year is also not guaranteed.

The Pelicans give most of their point guard minutes to Jrue Holiday, with Austin Rivers getting the key backup minutes (and playing a little at both guard spots). Makel will battle Jimmer Fredette for the limited third point guard minutes.

Mekel, out of Israel, played for Dallas last season but was buried on the bench (behind Jose Calderon andDevin Harris). Mekel is a classic pass-first point guard who does some things well like coming off the pick-and-roll and being able to find teammates. The questions about him are his shooting (he really struggled with that in Dallas), which allows teams to go under picks, as well as his ability to defend NBA point guards.

Indiana tried to sign Mekel a couple of weeks back but were under a deadline due to a roster exception spot being about to expire and Mekel couldn’t get a work visa within the 24 hours needed (it often takes 72 hours). Although apparently that was not the problem in the Big Easy.

Report: Pelicans in talks to sign point guard Gal Mekel

Gal Mekel, Nate Robinson
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The New Orleans Pelicans signed forward Dante Cunningham earlier in the day on Thursday, but they might not be done making moves. According to ESPN.com’s Marc Stein, they’re also closing in on Israeli point guard Gal Mekel.

Mekel played for the Mavericks last season, but was waived before the season started to clear a roster spot for J.J. Barea. He was on the Pacers’ radar before they eventually signed A.J. Price. In his rookie season in Dallas, Mekel averaged 2.4 points and 2 assists per game in 31 games.