67RIEFNS No. 16: Tyson Chandler back with the Mavericks

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The NBA is full of talent, personality and suspense. During the offseason, It’s easy to forget how wonderful the league can be. So, I’ve assembled 67 Reasons I’m Excited For Next Season (67RIEFNS). They’ll be presented in no particular order.

Can ______________ be the ______-best player on a ____________ team?

It’s a common sentence structure I don’t particularly like, because the answer is usually, “In the right circumstances.” For example:

Can Tyson Chandler be the second-best player on a championship team?

At nearly any point in Chandler’s career, the answer would have been a comfortable no. But for one magical stretch, it was a confirmed yes.

Next to Dirk Nowitzki, Chandler was the second-best player on the Mavericks 2011 title team.

Dallas traded for Chandler prior to that season and lost him in free agency afterward. That means the Mavericks have won a championship every single season Chandler has played for them. So much of how high a player can rank on a good team depends on the pieces around him, and Dallas was perfect for Chandler – and vice versa.

Now, Chandler is back with the Mavericks, who are looking to keep the title-with-Chandler streak alive.

It’ll be much more difficult this time.

The Mavericks watched Chandler leave for the Knicks in 2011, because his contract was too expensive. After letting New York have Chandler for the cheapest three years of the deal while he was youngest, Dallas will pay a 32-year-old Chandler $14,846,888 this season.

Maybe a little too desperate to chase history?

Chandler might have trade value now as an expiring contract, but I doubt Mark “Rockets don’t value chemistry” Cuban flips the center. Besides, Chandler could significantly help the Mavericks again.

Nowitzki is the only other player on the title team remaining, but it was his fit with Chandler that stood out, anyway. On both ends of the floor, they complement each other well – Chandler scoring inside and Nowitzki from mid-range, Chandler protecting the rim and Nowitzki helping just enough on the glass. They’ll have to adjust for a new supporting cast on the perimeter, but this is a nice start.

Plus, I trust Rick Carlisle, who coached the 2011 Mavericks, to use Chandler optimally again. Carlisle is one of the NBA’s best coaches when it comes to playing to his player’s strengths, and he’s already proven he can put Chandler in position to succeed.

Will Chandler help the Mavericks win another title? I doubt it.

But he should make them better, and they him. Both sides know what they’re getting into – a relationship that results in satisfyingly good basketball. I’ll take that.

Kawhi Leonard just destroyed Boston’s Daniel Theis on dunk

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Daniel Theis‘ play as a rim protector is one of the reasons Boston has a top-10 defense this season. He has anchored the Celtics’ defense in the paint.

Kawhi Leonard is a two-time Finals MVP, and if he wants to go to the rim nobody is stopping him. Theis found out the hard way.

After the game, Leonard was asked about the dunk and he responded in about the most Kawhi way possible.

This was the first game Leonard and Paul George played together and they combined for 42 points, and they both made key play down the stretch of a 107-104 overtime win.

It took Luka Doncic 25 minutes to put together 35-point triple-double (VIDEO)

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DALLAS (AP) — Luka Doncic scored 33 of his 35 points in the first half and had yet another triple-double to help the Dallas Mavericks rout the short-handed Golden State Warriors 142-94 on Wednesday night.

Doncic fell a point short of matching Dirk Nowitzki’s team record set Nov. 3, 2009, against Utah. In just 17 minutes, Doncic was 10 for 11 from the floor, making 6 of 7 3-pointers, and hit 7 of 8 free throws.

The second-year star from Slovenia had 22 points, five assists and five rebounds in the first quarter alone. He played only 25 minutes total, but still managed 10 rebounds and 11 assists.

Doncic was coming off a 40-point triple-double Monday night against San Antonio, and has an NBA-best seven triple-doubles in 14 games this season.

The Mavericks never trailed and tied a franchise record with 22 3-pointers while sending Golden State to its worst loss since a 1973 playoff game.

The Warriors, who ended a seven-game losing streak by beating Memphis on Tuesday night, are an NBA-worst 3-13. Their five-year run of at the top of the NBA has collapsed under a weight of injuries, with Draymond Green out Wednesday because of right heel soreness.

With Green out, Golden State dressed only eight players, none of whom suited up for the team last season when it made the NBA Finals for the fifth consecutive year.

Eric Paschall led the Warriors with 22 points.

Tim Hardaway Jr. added 20 for Dallas. Kristaps Porzingis had 14 points and 10 rebounds for his fourth-straight double-double.

 

Bulls’ Otto Porter Jr out 2 weeks with bone bruise in foot

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CHICAGO (AP) — The Chicago Bulls say forward Otto Porter Jr. has a bone bruise in his left foot and will be reassessed in two weeks.

The Bulls say a second MRI on Tuesday revealed the bruise, something “not apparent” on the first MRI.

“He had a second scan, and something showed up that didn’t show up on the first scan,” Bulls coach Jim Boylen told NBC Sports Chicago. “That’s tough, tough for him, feel bad for him. But we’ll treat him and move on.”

Chandler Hutchison had been filling in Porter’s spot in the rotation, but he is out indefinitely now with sore shins.

Porter, averaging 11.2 points in nine games, has been sidelined since he sprained his left foot at Atlanta on Nov. 6.

The Bulls were 4-10 with three straight losses heading into Wednesday’s game against Detroit.

Timberwolves’ new alternate uniforms resemble Minneapolis Lakers

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The Minneapolis Lakers’ history belongs to the Los Angeles Lakers. That’s why the Los Angeles Lakers claim the five championships the franchise won in Minneapolis and have worn light-blue Minneapolis throwbacks.

But Minnesota’s current NBA team – the Timberwolves – appear to be borrowing from that legacy.

The Timberwolves’ new alternate uniforms look awfully similar to the Minneapolis Lakers’ throwback:

Of course, the Timberwolves’ explanation contains no mention of the Minneapolis Lakers. The Timberwolves say the icy cool yet sky blue color … reflects the blue waters that are ubiquitous throughout the cities, namely the Mississippi River, which is outlined on the left side of the uniform.” It’s all about celebrating the Twin Cities – Minneapolis and St. Paul (MSP).

The best part: These alternates are officially branded as “City Edition” uniforms. The Timberwolves called theirs “Cities Edition.”