Dallas’ offense is simply dominating (so far)

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This post has to come with the “Small Sample Size” theater warning, we are just 10 games into the season. But…

Dallas’ offense looks amazing. Stunningly good. Crisp and very hard to defend.

The Mavericks are scoring 115.5 points per 100 possessions so far this season. Second best in the NBA? Cleveland. But that high-powered, star driven offense is putting 109.7 per 100 possessions — 5.8 worse than Dallas. Dallas is second in the NBA in team true shooting percentage at 58 percent (the league average is closer to 54 percent), they are third in the NBA with 18.9 percent of their possessions including an assist, but more importantly they have the best assist to turnover ratio in the league.

How are they doing it? A heavy dose of pick-and-roll with the right personnel to run it well, something Jameer Nelson told the fantastic Kevin Arnovitz of ESPN in a TrueHoop chat.

“We just play together,” Nelson said. “Coach puts us in the situation where we’re going to be successful and there’s a lot of movement, a lot of penetrating to the paint, and great guys that set picks and roll for us. And we have the best shooter out there in Dirk (Nowitzki) and he draws attention and allows you to get in the paint so it makes the playing a little easier for you.”

Dallas is running more pick-and-roll than anyone in the Association so far this season — and they should. Think about it. They can run the Monta Ellis/Dirk Nowitzki pick-and-roll that confounded everyone last season but now they also have Chandler Parsons on the weak side and you have to be careful about helping off him. Or they can run the Nelson/Tyson Chandler pick-and-roll — Chandler sets a big pick and rolls hard — and they have Nowitzki and Chandler and Ellis spacing the floor. There are multiple combinations that can run the pick-and-roll and no matter who does it they have shooters everywhere.

The bottom line, Dallas is penetrating and getting to the rim, with that breaking defenses down. Then they finish — they are hitting 68.5 percent of shots inside five feet, second best in the NBA. Add to that the team is selfless with the ball, moving it crisply, and you can’t defend it well.

Also overlooked by many but mentioned by Nelson — Rick Carlisle is as good as any coach in the league at Xs and Os. He’s an underrated coach by many casual fans and commenters (inside the league he’s pretty revered as a coach). He does a brilliant job of getting guys in good spots, getting them to play to their strengths and not to do too much.

It’s working.

If Dallas can keep their offense anywhere in the ballpark of this level and keep improving their defense (currently 13th in the league) this team becomes very dangerous come the playoffs.

It’s a small sample size, but Dallas is a team to keep an eye on.

Watch Common do epic NBA All-Star intros (video)

Common at NBA All-Star
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CHICAGO – Common is so, so talented.

If anything happens during the NBA All-Star game even half as cool as these player introductions, we’ll be quite lucky:

Magic Johnson, Jennifer Hudson give stirring pre-All-Star tribute to Kobe Bryant

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CHICAGO — The spirit and legacy of Kobe Bryant have been celebrated all weekend in Chicago.

However, never better than before the tip-off of the All-Star Game on Sunday night when Magic Johnson spoke from the heart about Kobe, and then led a moment of silence.

Then Jennifer Hudson sang a tribute to him.

Then Common lyrically talked about the influence of Kobe during his pre-game intro.

It was powerful.

Well done NBA. Well done indeed.

Adam Silver: I ‘strongly believe’ NBA will add in-season and play-in tournaments

NBA commissioner Adam Silver
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CHICAGO – NBA commissioner Adam Silver wanted to overhaul the schedule – including in-season and play-in tournaments – for the league’s 75th-anniversary season, 2021-22.

Instead, the Board of Governors vote planned for April was canceled.

Not because the ideas were unpopular, according to Silver. Because they were too popular.

“When we went to our teams, the Players Association and our media partners – probably the most important constituents in making changes,” Silver said, “the response we got was that, frankly, there was so much interest that they didn’t think it made sense to do it as a one-off.”

It’s easy to be skeptical of spin. But Silver is adamant.

“I strongly believe we will end up with some sort of in-season tournament and a play-in tournament,” Silver said.

The NBA will probably eventually have a play-in tournament. It makes a lot of sense, both competitively and financially. When those considerations align, things usually get done.

The league might even also add an in-season tournament. But it’s hard to find people actually enthusiastic about that idea.

Did Dwyane Wade violate judges’ agreement to keep dunk contest tied?

Dwyane Wade judging dunk contest
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CHICAGO – Dwyane Wade is a self-proclaimed Heat lifer.

Heat forward Derrick Jones Jr. won the dunk contest with Wade as a judge.

You do the math.

On his final dunk, Jones got a 48. Then, Aaron Gordon dunked over terrified Tacko Fall… and got a 47.

The voting for Gordon’s last dunk:

  • Dwyane Wade: 9
  • Common: 10
  • Candace Parker: 10
  • Chadwick Bozeman: 9
  • Scottie Pippen: 9

Ramona Shelburne of ESPN:

With Common and Parker giving 10s and casting blame elsewhere, Wade, Bozeman and Pippen became suspects. The evidence points strongly at Wade.

Before the scores were even revealed a smiling Wade removed his earpiece, as if he knew the contest was finished. Notice how Common and Scottie Pippen both look at Wade after seeing the scores:

Wade danced around the controversy, never directly denying that he didn’t vote how he agreed he would:

Gordon’s final dunk was better than Jones’ final dunk. But Jones dunked better throughout the contest. Does that mean Gordon got robbed? At that point, yes. But Jones should have won the contest before then.

The bigger problem is judging dunks on a 6-10 scale. They should be judged relative to each other, and Jones’ were better.