Tag: Meyers Leonard

Chicago Bulls v Milwaukee Bucks - Game Four

Jimmy Butler tops 29 other vote-getters to win Most Improved Player


Most Improved Player voters honored the right player – the Bulls’ Jimmy Butler.

As far as the rest of the voting?

With a difficult-to-define award like this, let’s just say plenty of voters – intentionally or not – showed bias toward the team they covered. Thirty players received votes, and though none of the recipients are horrid choices, it’s difficult to make the case many of them were among the three most-improved players in the entire league.

Here’s the full voting:

Player (team) first-place votes, second-place votes, third-place votes, points

  • Jimmy Butler (Chicago) 92-23-6-535
  • Draymond Green (Golden State)  11-43-16-200
  • Rudy Gobert (Utah) 12-32-33-189
  • Hassan Whiteside (Miami) 5-12-27-88
  • Klay Thompson (Golden State) 2-8-8-42
  • Anthony Davis (New Orleans) 4-2-1-27
  • Giannis Antetokounmpo (Milw) 1-3-8-22
  • Donatas Motiejunas (Houston) 0-1-4-7
  • Dennis Schröder (Atlanta) 0-1-3-6
  • DeMarre Carroll (Atlanta) 1-0-0-5
  • Tyler Zeller (Boston) 1-0-0-5
  • DeMarcus Cousins (Sacramento) 0-1-1-4
  • Khris Middleton (Milwaukee) 0-0-4-4
  • Kyrie Irving (Cleveland) 0-0-3-3
  • Victor Oladipo (Orlando) 0-1-0-3
  • DeAndre Jordan (L.A. Clippers) 0-1-0-3
  • Jae Crowder (Boston) 0-1-0-3
  • Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (Detroit) 0-0-2-2
  • Nikola Vucevic (Orlando) 0-0-2-2
  • Robert Covington (Philadelphia) 0-0-1-1
  • Tyreke Evans (New Orleans) 0-0-1-1
  • Derrick Favors (Utah) 0-0-1-1
  • Marc Gasol (Memphis) 0-0-1-1
  • Tobias Harris (Orlando) 0-0-1-1
  • Gordon Hayward (Utah) 0-0-1-1
  • George Hill (Indiana) 0-0-1-1
  • Enes Kanter (Oklahoma City) 0-0-1-1
  • Brandon Knight (Phoenix) 0-0-1-1
  • Kawhi Leonard (San Antonio) 0-0-1-1
  • Meyers Leonard (Portland) 0-0-1-1

And here’s how each voter voted. If a player looks like an outlier, there’s a decent chance his vote(s) came from someone who covers him regularly.

Portland comes from 10 down in fourth quarter to win 99-92, stay alive in series

Memphis Grizzlies v Portland Trail Blazers - Game Four

With about eight minutes left in the game, it looked like only one team was going to be making the flight back to Memphis. The Grizzlies were up 10 and seemingly in control of Game 4, locking down the Blazers with their defense. This was about to be a sweep.

But Portland raged, raged against the dying of the light.

Portland closed the game on a 29-12 run thanks to a dozen fourth quarter points from Damian Lillard, and the Blazers stayed alive with a 99-92 win at home. Memphis now leads the series 3-1, with Game 5 back in Memphis on Wednesday.

Lillard, freed from the shackles of Mike Conley (who was out following surgery to his fractured face Monday morning, he is not expected to play Wednesday either), was in attack mode. Lillard averaged 18 points a game in the first three but shot just 35.2 percent, not impacting the game the way the Blazers needed. With Conley out that changed — he put up 32 points. Lillard was attacking, shooting 5-of-8 inside eight feet of the rim, but his midrange jumper was falling as well with a little more space (11 of his 23 shots were uncontested).

Portland also got a boost from their bench. C.J. McCollum had 18 points, and Meyers Leonard was tremendous as a stretch five, scoring 13 points and hitting 3-of-3 from three. Leonard’s play pulled Memphis bigs out of the paint and opened things up for Lillard to drive.

The bench contributions were especially huge on a night LaMarcus Aldrige was just 6-of-22 from the floor, and Nicolas Batum was 3-of-13.

With Conley out, Beno Udrih had 13 points, while Nick Calathes added 12 and hit 4-of-5 from three to give the Grizzlies some production from the one spot. But the problems was on the other end — they could not begin to contain Lillard and that sparked the Blazers’ runs.

Memphis once again got off to a fast start, starting out 12-4 to open the game. But this time Portland responded with a 13-2 run of their own to take a small lead. Portland had its best first quarter of the series and was up 27-22 after one. With Leonard spacing the floor and Lillard attacking Portland stretched out the lead to 55-48 at the half.

Then in the third quarter the Grizzlies took charge again, their defense returned, and they won the quarter 27-13. The Trail Blazers started out 5-25 from the field in the second half. Memphis was battling through screens, blowing up Portland’s pick-and-roll game. The result was a lot of  Grizz just fighting through screens and forcing Blazers to go 1-on-1. It worked.

For a while.

Credit Portland for this: They could have just started thinking about tee times for the summer. They didn’t. They fought back.

Can Portland replicate it on the road in Game 5?

Maybe, because it’s tough to imagine Conley is going to play. That said, Memphis was in position to win Game 4 and get the sweep, and at home they are not going to take their foot off Portland’s throat — don’t expect the same defensive slips. It’s going to be much harder for Portland to earn a second win.

But they earned the chance to try.


Arron Afflalo, Chris Kaman out Game 2 against Grizzlies

Oklahoma City Thunder v Portland Trail Blazers

It seemed injuries would dictate the Trail Blazers-Grizzlies series, and they did in Game 1.

Mike Conley and Tony Allen, despite pre-playoff concerns about their availability, excelled. Arron Afflalo didn’t play. And Memphis got a resounding 100-86 win.

The Trail Blazers aren’t getting any good news for Game 2 tonight.

Jason Quick of The Oregonian:

Wesley Matthews is out for the season, and Portland probably needs to advance further to get back Dorell Wight.

But Afflalo’s absence looms large. C.J. McCollum seemed to be playing over his head while starting and shooting just 1-for-8 in Game 1. Plus, if McCollum starts, that’s one less spark off the bench.

Chris Kaman, who injured his ankle in practice this week, is a big body to throw at Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph. But more playing time for Meyers Leonard might be preferable, anyway.

Nets’ Thaddeus Young throws it down over Blazers’ Meyers Leonard (VIDEO)

Milwaukee Bucks v Brooklyn Nets

The Nets’ win over the Blazers was the NBA’s only contest on this night, and this was perhaps its best highlight.

Thaddeus Young cleared enough space to go up and over Meyers Leonard for a powerful slam, one which put his team up by 13 points with three minutes to play.

Brooklyn won 106-96, to remain in the seventh spot in the Eastern Conference standings.

[via The Brooklyn Game]

Blazers’ Joel Freeland, Pistons’ Shawne Williams suspended one game for headbutting each other

Shawne Williams, Joel Anthony, Joel Freeland

Shawne Williams and Joel Freeland have each been suspended one game for “head-butting each other,” the league announced on Saturday via official release.

The incident occurred near the end of Portland’s blowout win over the Pistons on Friday, and seemed completely unnecessary.

Williams took offense to a shove from Meyers Leonard, and then when Freeland stepped to Williams to stick up for his teammate, Williams went for the headbutt, and Freeland responded in similar fashion.

Neither player is of great importance to his respective team, so this matters little in the grand scheme of things.

Williams will serve his suspension Saturday when the Pistons play the Jazz, while Freeland will serve his suspension on Sunday when the Blazers face the Raptors.