Bryant scores 26, Lakers rally past Jazz 98-91 (The Associated Press)
19 Oct 2014 at 9:16pm
LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Kobe Bryant scored 26 points and Carlos Boozer added 19, leading the Los Angeles Lakers to a 98-91 preseason victory over the Utah Jazz on Sunday night.
BDL's 2014-15 NBA Season Previews: Portland Trail Blazers (Ball Don't Lie)
17 Oct 2014 at 9:20am
Last season went about as well as the Portland Trail Blazers organization and fans could have hoped. The team immediately outperformed preseason expectations with a 17-3 (and then 31-9) start to put itself in excellent position to grab a postseason berth. A rough March kept them from nabbing homecourt advantage in the first round, but a thrilling six-game victory over the Houston Rockets ? capped by Damian Lillard's series-ending buzzer-beater ? ensured that the Blazers could look at 2013-14 as a massive success. Over the course of a few months, a team thought to be in rebuilding mode became able to entertain challenging for a conference title. [ Yahoo Sports Fantasy Basketball: Sign up and join a league today! ] This is absolutely a good position for the franchise, but it also presents new challenges as head coach Terry Stotts and his players attempt to build on the gains of last season. The Blazers added several players who should improve a previously thin bench, but they remain heavily dependent on their starting five. Plenty of teams find themselves in the same situation, but few contenders take it to the same extreme as the Blazers. They will go as far as Damian Lillard, Wesley Matthews, Nicolas Batum, LaMarcus Aldridge, and Robin Lopez take them. Those players are very good, to be fair. Lillard is coming into his own as a star, Matthews is one of the best two-way shooting guards in the league, Batum is effectively the same thing as a small forward, Aldridge was the best player on either team in the Rockets series, and Lopez defends well enough to allow his frontcourt mate to focus on his scoring. In fact, they were one of the best five-man lineups in the league (especially when adjusted for total minutes played). Even if the Blazers are especially dependent on this group, they at least know where to turn when needed. Stotts doesn't have to think especially hard in crunch time. It remains to be seen if that reliance on a handful of players gets Portland in trouble due to injury or any other prolonged absence. Though I'm sure they'll take their chances after finding such fine form a year ago. 2013-14 season in 140 characters or less: Ahead of schedule, then a reality check, then ahead of schedule again. Did the summer help at all? Yes, because the Blazers added several veterans who should bring some stability to what was one of the league's worst benches. Steve Blake should serve as a capable backup for Lillard and even team with him in some cases, while center Chris Kaman can provide an offensive threat that Lopez mostly lacks. Portland could have used a pick in June's draft to add some wild cards into the mix, but the summer could lead to gains for shooting guard Will Barton (one of the team's few bright spots in the Spurs series) and C.J. McCollum, whose rookie season was derailed by injury. Go-to offseason acquisition: Kaman did not prove to be an especially good replacement for Dwight Howard with the Los Angeles Lakers last season, playing in just 39 games with an average of just 18.9 minutes per contest. He was quite effective when he did play, though averaging 10.4 points and 5.9 rebounds per game. Those are numbers that the Blazers would welcome, particularly given their reliance on Aldridge for post scoring. If Kaman can stay healthy ? a tall order, given that he hasn't played 70 games since 2009-10 ? he could reshape Portland's scoring options. Glaring weakness: If for some reason you just jumped to this section, here's some news for you ? Portland had a really bad bench in 2013-14. It should be a little better this season due to the additions of Blake and Kaman and the presumed improvement of Barton and others, but the Blazers are at considerable risk of an injury to one of their starters turning the season into a trying one.
Jazz rout defenseless Lakers, 119-86 (The Associated Press)
16 Oct 2014 at 9:47pm
ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) -- Gordon Hayward scored 16 points to lead a balanced offense and the Utah Jazz beat the Los Angeles Lakers 119-86 in a preseason game Thursday night.
The 10-man rotation, starring point guard style (Ball Don't Lie)
16 Oct 2014 at 2:35pm
A look around the league and the Web that covers it. It's also important to note that the rotation order and starting nods aren't always listed in order of importance. That's for you, dear reader, to figure out. C : Nylon Calculus . Seth Partnow goes deep on point guard style, trying to come up with a workable system for distinguishing between your pass-first, shoot-first, drive-and-kick and every other kind of lead guard you can think of, and what differentiates them from one another. Interesting stuff. PF : TrueHoop . Kevin Arnovitz ? excuse me, the great Kevin Arnovitz ? on the Los Angeles Clippers' slow and steady assault on the Los Angeles Lakers' domestic market share. SF : Silver Screen and Roll . Ben Rosales crosses his fingers and hopes Byron Scott decides to give the likes of Julius Randle, Jordan Clarkson and Ed Davis an awful lot of minutes this season: "To surpass expectations you need players who will play above their perceived ceiling and that is only really going to come from the team's youngsters." SG : D.C. Sports Bog . As promotional giveaways go, I'm going to rank "Marcin Gortat action figure" below "replica championship ring," but neck-and-neck with "Z-Bow-Ties. " PG : Bleacher Report . Howard Beck on Steve Kerr preaching the gospel of ball movement in his first training camp as head coach of the Golden State Warriors. 6th : NetsDaily . Taking stock of the multiple young new faces ? no, seriously! ? with a chance of contributing in to the famously vet-heavy Brooklyn Nets this season. 7th : Eye on Basketball . Matt Moore on the factors that complicate the Atlanta Hawks' reported attempts to trade Al Horford, and the factors that complicate the reality of keeping him. 8th : Wall Street Journal . Chris Herring argues that Iman Shumpert, not Carmelo Anthony, is the New York Knicks' most important player this season. (And here's where I remind you that Shumpert was my "contributor with something to prove" in our Knicks season preview , because ruthless plugs are the best plugs.) 9th : The Triangle . Jared Dubin wonders whether the Toronto Raptors' seeming abundance of legitimate wing options might constitute too much depth. 10th : South Florida Sun-Sentinel . Well, Chris "Birdman" Andersen seems to be in midseason form, quote-wise. - - - - - - - Dan Devine is an editor for Ball Don't Lie on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @YourManDevine Stay connected with Ball Don't Lie on Twitter @YahooBDL , "Like" BDL on Facebook and follow BDL's Tumblr for year-round NBA talk, jokes and more.
BDL's 2014-15 NBA Season Previews: Oklahoma City Thunder (Ball Don't Lie)
16 Oct 2014 at 12:15pm
I hope you appreciated Kevin Durant's brilliance last season, because we're going to get about 25 percent less of it this year, and that leaves the Oklahoma City Thunder with a lot of questions. When the Most Valuable Player will return from his right foot fracture remains unclear. He underwent surgery Thursday to repair the "Jones fracture" ? a break in the fifth metatarsal, which runs from the pinkie toe toward the heel ? and will be re-evaluated in six weeks. While there's no guarantee that surgery will prevent recurrences of problems with the foot in the future, the surgery will reportedly improve his outlook moving forward ... after, of course, six to eight weeks of recuperation. [ Yahoo Sports Fantasy Basketball: Sign up and join a league today! ] Either way, for about 20 games, the Thunder must replace Durant's league-leading scoring and his playmaking. And his long-armed, quick-footed defensive presence. And the openings he creates for teammates when terrified defenses tilt toward him. Spoiler alert: They won't. Oklahoma City will be worse than we expected, and the difference is enough to decrease its odds of winning a championship . In a conference thick with contenders, a couple of extra Ls can mean dropping a couple of spots in the standings; running the Western gauntlet without home-court advantage seems unlikely, even with a recovered Durant. But while Durant's injury depresses, his absence intrigues. What will a team so reliant on his brilliance rely on now? ?One of the ways to improve your team and make up for loss offensively is to play even better defensively and reduce the net rating between the offense and the defense,? Thunder general manager Sam Presti told reporters, according to Darnell Mayberry of The Oklahoman . ?[...] in Kevin?s absence, continuing to build a defensive identity is going to be really important in making sure that we are as balanced as ever offensively.? But doubling down on defense evokes visions of opponents ignoring Kendrick Perkins, gladly leaving Perry Jones III and Andre Roberson alone, and putting everything they have between Russell Westbrook and the rim. Scott Brooks needs new answers; he must get creative, drawing inspiration from the reality that, for now, his team will only go as far as his chaos-agent point guard takes it. What will that look like? Will Brooks give the Thunder's intriguing but incomplete youth the opportunity to hold down the fort? Or will he hunker down while the storm passes and just hope the roof doesn't collapse? Whichever approach Oklahoma City takes, can it avoid falling so far off the West's pace that even Durant's return can't keep its championship hopes from being dashed once again? 2013-14 season in 140 characters or less: Russ gone . Russ back ! Gone . Back ! KD's now terrifying , even if he doesn't want to be. MVP season; even better speech . Injuries , again, suck . Did the summer help at all? It definitely helped those eager to discuss Durant leaving Oklahoma City in free agency in 2016. Not sure it helped the Thunder on the court, though. OKC lost three rotation members ? longtime starter Thabo Sefolosha, who joined the Atlanta Hawks; Derek Fisher, who became the head coach of the New York Knicks; and Caron Butler, a February addition who signed with the Detroit Pistons. Then again, considering Sefolosha was nearly unplayable in the playoffs, and that Fisher and Butler were arguably worse ? Oklahoma City played 7.2 points per 100 possessions better with Fisher off the floor, and 6.5 points-per-100 without Butler, according to NBA.com ? that could be addition by subtraction ... if the guys filling those minutes have improved.
Lakers' Nash injured again after carrying bags (Reuters)
15 Oct 2014 at 6:49pm
(The Sports Xchange) - - Los Angeles Lakers point guard Steve Nash missed his third straight practice after injuring his back while carrying bags on Wednesday. The latest injury is another setback that casts doubt about his future in the NBA. The 40-year-old has battled injuries the past few years. Last season, he was limited to 15 games. Nash, the oldest active player in the league who is in his 19th season, isn't expected to play on Thursday night in an exhibition game against the Utah Jazz. ...
Lakers' Steve Nash injures back carrying bags (The Associated Press)
15 Oct 2014 at 5:34pm
EL SEGUNDO, Calif. (AP) -- Los Angeles Lakers guard Steve Nash has missed his third straight practice after injuring his back while carrying bags.
BDL's 2014-15 NBA Season Previews: Minnesota Timberwolves (Ball Don't Lie)
15 Oct 2014 at 4:16pm
Questions are rightfully being reviewed as to how, exactly, we should be expecting team to handle their young superstars. Knockout, ready-to-contribute lottery performers are often given the run of the box score minutes because their talent and eventually their numbers dictate as much. These players are also almost always 19 or 20-years old, working on a terrible with little help, and forced into big responsibilities right away. We?re not saying that humping in the high 30s minutes-wise is the reason Derrick Rose suffered two freak knee injuries or that Kevin Durant is on the pine with a scary stress fracture, but it?s worth wondering about. We doubt very much that Minnesota Timberwolves coach Flip Saunders cares about this as he enters his second stint running the team from the sidelines. He came to Minnesota to attempt to push a young team over the top over two years ago, just as he attempted to in Washington a few years before, dealing and signing win-now talent in the hopes of keeping Kevin Love. The moves failed and Love forced a trade out of Minnesota, though, and the team was sent the last two No. 1 NBA draft picks in Andrew Wiggins and Anthony Bennett as collateral. Rookie Zach LaVine is around, as is raw but promising (the former more than the latter, sadly) Gorgui Dieng and Shabazz Muhammad. The Timberwolves haven?t made the playoffs since its championship hopes fell due to injury in the spring of 2004, and this is the second time in recent memory that they had to unload a superstar ? possibly too late ? in both instances. Both turnabouts were also hamstrung by the work of David Kahn in between the deal for Kevin Garnett and Kevin Love, as he turned the cap space and presence of Al Jefferson (taken from the KG deal) and frittered it away, while infuriating Love with his insulting contract offer to the stud and terrible draft picks and deals as the losses piled up. Kahn has been gone for two years now, but we?ve little idea as to whether or not Saunders and ostensible general manager Milt Newton will be a massive improvement. They lucked out in acquiring Wiggins and Bennett for Love, but only because a previously terrible Cavalier organization lucked into drafting them ? and that team may have blown the Bennett selection. After a coaching search that seemed dubious from the start, Saunders hired himself to run the team from the bench , a choice that was followed by a collective groan from NBA followers used to this sort of move failing badly. Beyond the clash of coaching/front office interests is the worry that Saunders? offense is a bit outmoded in the paint/free throws/three-pointers-era of efficient NBA ball. The man likes his 19-footers, and he doesn?t exactly have the personnel to shoot them. This roster is a bit of a mess, but if Saunders and Newton are adept at dealing this can be cleared up. The final four years and nearly $48 million left on Nikola Pekovic?s contract may not look as bad next summer, even if his defense puts a team in peril. Each of the team?s cornerstones are on (albeit large, for the former Cavs) rookie contracts, and even an eight-figure yearly deal potentially tossed Ricky Rubio?s way in the next two weeks doesn?t sound all that bad once you figure in the projected future salary caps. Holdovers signed by a giddy Saunders two years ago will complicate the cap picture next summer, though. Back to Wiggins. He?s raw, but he?ll get his reps. He?ll get his chance to shine, and he?ll get his chance to go 1-for-11 and worry all of us. With a hopefully happy Rubio running the show, the Timberwolves will be perfect League Pass fodder for all of us hoop nerds. They?ll also have the worst record in their Conference.
The 10-man rotation, starring Derrick Rose's new mission (Ball Don't Lie)
15 Oct 2014 at 2:00pm
A look around the league and the Web that covers it. It's also important to note that the rotation order and starting nods aren't always listed in order of importance. That's for you, dear reader, to figure out. C : ESPN the Magazine . The great Wright Thompson on Derrick Rose, whose "second mission begins now, and, as with the first one" ? the mission to "escape his neighborhood and his old life," to buy his mom a new house, to "change the arc of his family" ? the Chicago Bulls point guard "doesn't know how it will end." Brilliant stuff. PF : Nylon Calculus . More 3-pointers. A stylistic shift toward more free-flowing offense, plus fewer elite defenses dotting the landscape. Could it all lead to a new NBA record for league-wide offensive efficiency this season? SF : Ballerball . A bit of brake-pumping satire on how the advent of NBA jersey advertisements will ruin everything: "With this move, the NBA will slide further and further into oblivion, much like soccer, the world?s largest sport." SG : GordonHayward20.com . There are, as you might expect, quite a few gems in Jonathan Abrams' feature on Joakim Noah's come-up as "probably the most unprecedented success story in basketball in America," but my personal favorite comes from his high-school coach's description of Noah's college recruitment: "'And Duke was calling,' McNally said, 'but he didn?t really see himself as a Dukie.'" No, I'd imagine not. PG : RealGM . Danny Leroux looks at the completed deals involving 2015 NBA draft picks, and the protections in place on those selections, to try to determine which teams could find themselves compelled to take the foot off the gas late in the season ? or, to use a more unkind descriptor, to tank ? so they don't lose their pick. (We're looking at you, Sacramento.) 6th : NBA.com . The great David Aldridge's weekly Morning Tip column comes packed with enough good stuff ? on how the NBA's new multibillion-dollar TV deal will impact contract negotiations , how the Minnesota Timberwolves are keeping No. 1 overall pick Andrew Wiggins under wraps, how Stan Van Gundy divides his day as the Detroit Pistons' head coach and president of basketball operations, etc. ? to last us a full week. 7th : Grantland . Kirk Goldsberry uses the NBA's SportVU optical tracking data to dig deep on rebounding direction, figuring out where missed shots taken from different parts of the court are most likely to end up, which has been a pretty popular topic at the Sloan Sports Analytics Conference over the past couple of years. 8th : The Hook . Tom Ziller, longtime Sacramento Kings fan and confirmed Los Angeles Lakers hater, tries to figure out why exactly he doesn't hate Kobe Bryant anymore. 9th : The Triangle . Zach Lowe makes 33 predictions for the coming season, which makes for fun reading. 10th : Pounding the Rock . Lee Dresie recalls what it was like to coach against Gregg Popovich during his Division III days at Pomona-Pitzer, ages before he'd ascend to the ranks of the all-time greats through his work with the San Antonio Spurs: "The games were so loud that we had to call in plays and defenses by holding up pieces of cardboard with different colors or numbers on them because the players didn't have a chance of hearing us over the crowd." - - - - - - - Dan Devine is an editor for Ball Don't Lie on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter! Follow @YourManDevine Stay connected with Ball Don't Lie on Twitter @YahooBDL , "Like" BDL on Facebook and follow BDL's Tumblr for year-round NBA talk, jokes and more.
Lakers look poised to put Jeremy Lin in starting lineup for Steve Nash perman...
14 Oct 2014 at 7:11pm
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