67RIEFNS No. 26: More Kyle Lowry-Greivis Vasquez lineups

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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.

Lineups with two point guards have become increasingly common, and I think teams should use them more often. Obviously the sample is skewed, because only teams that believe it will work play two point guards together at once, but the success rate is ridiculously high. We haven’t hit equilibrium yet. There are more teams with unused two-point-guard lineups that would benefit from unleashing the attack.

One of my favorite two-point-guard backcourts features Kyle Lowry and Greivis Vasquez in Toronto, and I feared we’d seen the last of it. Both players were free agents this summer with the potential to move on. Lowry had high-profile suitors, including the Heat and Rockets, but he re-signed relatively quickly – and probably gave up money in the process. That gave the Raptors flexibility to make Vasquez a healthy offer, which he accepted.

It didn’t take long for Lowry and Vasquez, acquired last year in the mid-season Rudy Gay trade, to click. Both had been around the league long enough to find places to thrive – and then get traded. Perhaps – as Vasquez said – they shared an unspoken bond before ever sharing a locker room.

Either way, the Raptors benefited. Their offensive rating (105.8 to 111.1) and defensive rating (102.4 to 96.2) improved from overall to when Lowry and Vasquez shared the court.

Defensively, the 6-foot-6 Vasquez fared a little better against shooting guards than he typically does against point guards, which made Toronto nominally better on that end. But it was much more exciting when Lowry switched onto shooting guards, who weren’t used to such an aggressive ballhawk pressuring them.

What I particularly enjoy about the Lowry-Vasquez tandem is how they make their frontcourt better. Amir Johnson runs pick-and-roll after pick-and-roll, and Jonas Valanciunas can post up after receiving an entry pass from both sides of the floor. The point-guard pair really excels within a team framework.

With Lowry and Vasquez, the Raptors had – have – a good thing going.

Adrian Wojnarowski: Knicks firing David Fizdale ‘inevitable’

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Knicks president Steve Mills is reportedly laying the groundwork to fire coach David Fizdale.

One step: Mills and general manager Scott Perry addressing the media after Sunday’s loss to the Cavaliers while Fizdale was still in the locker room. Mills and Perry stressed that the team wasn’t meeting expectations, seemingly a veiled shot at the coach.

Adrian Wojnarowski on ESPN:

The dismissal of David Fizdale is inevitable, and there was, I think, a bond broken between management and their head coach with how they handled things after that loss Sunday night.

Coaches are hired to be fired, but this sounds far more urgent than that.

As long as Fizdale has his job, he has a chance to save it. If the Knicks start playing better, they could keep him.

But that seems unlikely with this underwhelming roster.

Which is why New York is reportedly also considering a front-office change.

Austin Rivers calls for Doc Rivers to get technical foul (video)

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When Doc Rivers coached Austin Rivers on the Clippers, accusations of favoritism ran rampant. Playing with the Rockets against the Clippers tonight, Austin showed where his loyalties lie.

Not with his father.

The Clippers were letting the game (an eventual 102-93 Houston win) get away from them when Doc argued a call. Austin stood nearby and urged the referee to call a technical foul. The official eventually obliged and ejected Doc.

That’s when Austin really hammed it up – waving off Doc then making the call-me gesture. The disrespect!

Ja Morant hits game-winner in Grizzlies-Hornets (video)

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Grizzlies rookie Ja Morant has had a game-saving block and game-winning assist.

Now, he has the glory of a game-winning shot.

Morant sealed the Memphis’ 119-117 win over the Hornets with a driving scoop in the final second tonight. He led Memphis with 23 points and 11 assists.

P.J. Tucker misses open fastbreak layup, trips on stanchion (video)

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I want to give P.J. Tucker a break. He’s the Rockets’ most (only?) reliable defender. He has such a heavy burden covering for James Harden, Russell Westbrook and just generally undersized lineups.

But this missed layup was so bad. And that stumble over the stanchion really seals the goof.