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Timberwolves Fan

Wolves drop game to Boston Celtics late run. posted by Timberwolves Fan

Nothing seems to be going right for the Timberwolves as they lose to the Celtics Friday night. They tried for younger blood by taking out veteran Corey Brewer and bringing in youngster Shabazz Muhammad and still the Timberwolves lose 114-98.

Friday’s trade that sent Brewer to Houston clears playing time and for at least now a starting spot for the hard-working Muhammad, who turned opportunity into a 26-point, five-rebound, five-assist game on a night his team was outdone by Boston’s game-deciding, 8-0 fourth quarter run.

On Friday, Muhammad made shots — 11 of 15 from the field — while teammate Andrew Wiggins went 2-for-10 and Thaddeus Young went 6-for-19, against a Celtics team that had just traded star Rajon Rondo to Dallas on Thursday night.

“I really thought we were going to pull that one out, I was really disappointed,” Muhammad said. “I wanted to come in and win the game, most importantly. But I was very comfortable out there. I’m starting to get really comfortable, and that’s one thing that’s really good for me.”

Toughing it out

Veteran guard Mo Williams traveled to Dallas on Thursday to get a second opinion on his back and celebrate early his 32nd birthday with his wife and children. He said he is relieved to learn his back spasms are only muscular and not something that requires surgery. He played 25 minutes Friday even though Saunders only intended to play him 15 minutes at most. Williams said he’ll play through the pain.

“However many minutes, it doesn’t bother me at all, I’ll fight through it,” Williams said. “To be honest with you, I want to stop talking about it and just play. I didn’t get treatment today because I just want mentally to learn how to tolerate the pain.”

Continue reading "Wolves drop game to Boston Celtics late run."

Houston Rockets

Corey Brewer to Rockets. posted by Houston Rockets

The Minnesota Timberwolves' wing is a little less crowded after Friday, as they've agreed to trade swingman Corey Brewer to the Houston Rockets.

Brewer, 28, is averaging 10.5 points, 3.9 rebounds and 2.3 steals per game on 41.8 percent shooting. One of Minnesota's first players off the bench in most contests, a Brewer trade nonetheless became inevitable.

The former Florida star isn't a superstar by any stretch, but he's a smart player who knows what he is at this point in his career. Most of Brewer's best shots come in transition and semi-transition, where he's an expert at using the open floor to get to the rim. A subpar shooter from beyond the arc in his career, Brewer has almost abandoned the three-point shot entirely this season.

Minnesota's willingness to move him despite a fine start is an indicator head coach and team president Flip Saunders has come around to a full-scale rebuild. The Wolves' trade of Kevin Love to Cleveland this offseason started the project, but it seemed like Saunders was taking half-measures by signing veterans in free agency and trading for Thaddeus Young.

But a 5-19 start leaves the Timberwolves with little excuse not to see what they have in their young talent.

Getting Brewer is about the best Houston could hope to do given its salary situation. Brewer is by no means a lockdown defender, but he's a high-energy guy who consistently fights his way to a couple turnovers per game.

Offensively, he is more of a noticeable minus, where his penchant for leaking out for transition buckets can sometimes lead to some questionable decision-making. That, of course, is also an issue defensively when the opposing team gets the offensive board.

Continue reading "Corey Brewer to Rockets."

Nuggets Fan

Kenneth Faried grabs 25 rebounds, saves Nuggets from sloppy loss posted by Nuggets Fan

It's the little things Brian Shaw hates. The times when his players don't box out. The times when the ball bounces in front of them and they still don't go for the ball. The missed free throws. The shoddy defense.

He must have had a hard time sitting through Friday's game against the Minnesota Timberwolves at the Pepsi Center.

Coming off a blowout loss at Charlotte and a sloppy defeat at Brooklyn, the Nuggets returned home to host the Timberwolves, the worst team in the West, in a game that, on paper, should have been Denver's for the taking.

And until the fourth quarter, Kenneth Faried appeared to be the only Nuggets player who wanted it.

Faried, who turned in one of his finest showings of the season against Brooklyn three nights earlier, came back with an even better one Friday with 26 points and a career-high 25 rebounds while leading the Nuggets to a 106-102 victory over the Timberwolves.

"After 26 points," Shaw said, "I want him to understand that we didn't call plays for him. He got those 26 points going after offensive rebounds every single time.”

But with every one of his baskets, as well as those of his teammates, the Timberwolves seemed to have a response on the other end, ones that were often handed to them by the Nuggets' miscues.

Eighteen turnovers. Too many wide-open shots to count for Minnesota. Many poor decisions.

The Timberwolves (5-23) arrived in Denver sporting the worst defensive rating in the NBA, allowing 113 points per 100 possessions and letting opponents shoot a league-worst 49.8 percent from the field and 65.3 percent from within 5 feet of the rim.

Continue reading "Kenneth Faried grabs 25 rebounds, ..."


Timberwolves Fan

Minnesota Timberwolves Preseason Report 2014 posted by Timberwolves Fan

Just like in the past nine seasons, the Minn. Timberwolves did not manage to enter the playoffs in 2013-14 as well. The team had put together good players such as Corey Brewer for energetic defense, and Kevin Martin for shooting, but still failed to make it even to the playoffs. Chase Budinger was also brought in for fixing the outside shooting issues that the team was experiencing since the last season. The talent was evident in many games, but ultimately they won only 40 and were short of nine games to the playoffs.

The future of Minnesota Timberwolves might become brighter in 2014-15. They have finally got rid of Kevin Love, who was becoming a liability with his selfish attitude, and lack of leadership skills. Love was traded for Andre Wiggins, who was the draft's first pick. Whether the team will be able to retain Wiggins for a long period is doubtful, especially if he improves and becomes a star. Expectations are high for Wiggins, and that might put undue pressure on this player. On the other hand, PG Ricky Rubio is one of the young players that require pressure, as he scores below 10 points per game, which is terrible. After nearly three years in the league, he has excellent assist numbers, and is good in leading the team in steals.

In place of Love, the Timberwolves acquired Thaddeus Young, who averages 18 points per game. Young cannot be expected to replace Love fully in offense, but he has shown excellent performance last year with Philadelphia 76ers. Another important development is bringing back Flip Saunders to coach the team instead of Rick Adelman. Saunders has good experience, and can effectively build the team. The draft has brought in Zach LeVine, a popular UCLA shooter; however, experts still predict less wins this season compared to the previous one.

Continue reading "Minnesota Timberwolves Preseason Report 2014"


KB

Whats up Dumars, Get rid of the old baggage!!!!! Trade Rip posted by KB

     What is taking Dumars so long to move Rip Hamilton.  Al Jefferson was out there from the Timberwolves.  David Lee is about to get traded for two reserves on the same level as Maxiell and Wilcox.  I'm starting to wonder why Joe D is moving so slow, with a team that barely has trade value as it is.  Dumars You need to wake up and smell the free agency...if we end up spending our MLE on somebody like Sheldon Williams, Dumars will officially be on the Hot Seat in my book.

Continue reading "Whats up Dumars, Get rid of the old ..."


Chase Hughes

How Can the Washington Wizards Improve to Contender Status? posted by Chase Hughes

Last night I was listening to an interview with former NBA head coach P.J. Carlesimo on 106.7 The Fan.  He was commenting on the opening days of the NBA regular season, specifically about the Eastern Conference and his thoughts on who were the better teams.  Not surprisingly he named the top three teams as the “factors,” those being Cleveland, Boston, and Orlando.  He said that there are not any teams even close to those three but on the outside looking in is the Washington Wizards.  The Wizards were the only team he mentioned as the fourth best team and he said this about three times.  These comments got me thinking about what the Wizards need to do this regular season to take the next step and breach that label, in what areas can they improve to develop into the fourth Eastern Conference power? 
First of all, this piece is not in discussion of anything to do with the playoffs, I am not assuming that the Wizards are clearly the fourth best team or that they will even make the playoffs at all.  What I am saying is that the Wiz are in that second tier bunch that follows the top three, which in my opinion also includes the Toronto Raptors, Atlanta Hawks, and the Philadelphia 76’ers (3rd tier: MIA, CHI, NJ, DET).  Carlesimo added that this is the way the East is presently, that come December we could be talking about another team that has emerged or perhaps a top team will regress and make way for one that is on the brink.  We know that this is Gilbert Arenas’ team but what pieces need to fall into place for Washington to make that jump?  I offer several possibilities, some more plausible than others for how the Wizards can materialize into a contender:

Continue reading "How Can the Washington Wizards Improve ..."


Chase Hughes

5 Predictions for the 2009-10 Washington Wizards posted by Chase Hughes

  1. Gilbert Arenas will average over 8 assists per game –            It is quite obvious that with all the new offensive weapons and a healthy roster, Gilbert Arenas’ scoring average is going to go down.  He isn’t going to be able to keep up a 29.3 ppg season like he did in 2005-06.  My guess is that his numbers will drop down to around his career average of 22 ppg.  Maybe even a little bit lower as there are going to be plenty of guys begging for the rock.  Scoring averages aside, with Gilbert Arenas back in the line-up everyone will benefit.  Gil still gets respect for his scoring capabilities, as evidenced in the two games last year in which he tallied 20 assists and no turnovers.  He has the ability to draw the double team and help defense, much like Kobe, Dwyane, and Lebron, giving him opportunities to pass the ball off to the open man.  In the two games he played last year, you could see that Gilbert still has a quick first step but is more cautious with it.  That hesitancy makes opponents play on their heels which allows Gilbert to blow by them on a drive and get the basket or draw the foul.             What is going to happen is Gilbert will come out this season as a type of player we aren’t used to seeing wear number “0.”  His essentially two years away from the game have undoubtedly changed his perspective as a floor general.  What will emerge is a Gilbert Arenas that involves his teammates while still showcasing the killer instinct that makes him the great scorer he is.             Gilbert’s career assist average is 5.5 apg, a great figure for a small forward but not up to par with the best point guards in the league.  Here are his assist averages over a few seasons:
Continue reading "5 Predictions for the 2009-10 Washington Wizards"


john howard

Thunder continue to make small moves in the right direction. posted by john howard

The Thunder traded away Damien Wilkins and Chucky Atkins for Etan Thomas and two second round picks.  The move was an even swap money wise.  Wilkins and Atkins make nearly 7mil together and that is what Thomas will make this year.  The Thunder are well under the cap and Thomas' contract expires this year.  So, not only will they have freed up money next year, they will also have 5 draft picks.  2 in the first round and 3 in the second round. 

So, financially and on paper it makes a lot of sense.  Also, the Thunder were heavily loaded with guards.  Sefaloosha and newly drafted James Harden have the 2 guard covered.  And Russell Westbrook is the starting point guard.  Shaun Livingston has played well enough this summer to be the back up.  Second year player Kyle Weaver can play both and is ever improving.  So, there just wasn't any room for those other 2 guys. 

Etan Thomas will likely take the role that Malik Rose played last year.  A veteran with leadership and tough inside defensive play.  This was yet another brilliant move by the front office.

For Minnesota, Atkins gives them some insurance at point should Ricky Rubio not show.  Also, Wilkins is in his last year and this is a make or break  year.  He has shown sings of being a contributor in this league.  If he breaks through this year, then the management looks like a genius.  If he flops, they clear up 3mil in cap space and it's no big loss.  It's a risk worthy of a second round pick.  And, Atkins is worth the insurance of a late second round pick.  So, this was a good move for them as well.

Continue reading "Thunder continue to make small moves ..."


john howard

Richardson traded again. This time to Minnesota posted by john howard

Quentin Richardson has traveled from New York to Memphis to Los Angelos, and now to Minnesota.  He takes with him $9mil for one year.  Last season he earned 3 wins for the New York Knicks (a Howard Sports statistic).  In return, the Clippers get Sebastian Telfair (3 wins), Craig Smith (2 wins), and Mark Madsen (0 wins). So, it was a good trade for the Clippers.  They gained a backup to Baron Davis.  Minnesota meanwhile gets to unload a huge salary after this season.  Richardson also fills a void that was created when Foye was traded to Washington.  Also, Ricky Rubio doesn't appear to coming soon.  After the terrific play of Flynn this summer in Las Vegas, Telfair became expendable.

Continue reading "Richardson traded again. This time to Minnesota"

john howard

Minnesota summer league a success posted by john howard

Minnesota has a long way to go, but they made progress this summer in Vegas.

Johnny Flynn is the real deal and should be the starting point guard from day one.  He averaged 15 points and 7 assists.  And, shot lights out!  Over 50% from 3-point and 91% from the line. He had over 5 turnovers, but that is to be expected.  Scoring and dishing at that level in summer league shows that he is going to be a good player.

Wayne Ellington also showed that he can play.  He averaged 14 points and 3 rebounds while also shooting lights out. 

Corey Brewer was the 3rd leading scorer at 12 ppg and played solid. He isn't the player that I thought he was going to be, but he can still contribute.

Oleksiy Pecherov was acquired this summer from Washintong.  He 9pts and 7 rebounds and shot well below 40%.  He will be a bench player at best, but is still developing.

Bobby Brown and Gerald Henderson are two other notables that played, but not much.

Overall, Minnesota did very well in Las Vegas and they have 2 new players they are going to really like.

Continue reading "Minnesota summer league a success"

Minnesota Timberwolves News

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NBA Playoff Picture Update: Pelicans overtake Thunder out West, Heat stay alive in East (Ball

With just more than one week remaining until the NBA postseason, every night can impact the standings. The NBA Playoff Picture Update keeps you up to date on all the most important news for all 16 berths and seeds. [DraftKings: FREE entry to huge cash Fantasy Basketball Contest with first deposit ] The Pell-I-can't! When Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr announced he wouldn't be resting anybody for Tuesday's matchup with the New Orleans Pelicans — a game that the Warriors didn't need after having clinched home-court advantage , but that the Pelicans needed desperately in their pursuit of the West's No. 8 seed — I wondered whether the Pelicans might wind up on the business end of the same sort of brutal, race-changing beat the Dubs handed the Phoenix Suns. This time, though, the bounce went the other way: After draining a tough 3-pointer with Quincy Pondexter draped all over him to tie the game at 100, Stephen Curry had a crack at another game-tying 3-ball to once again knot the contest at 103. As he pulled up, Pelicans forward Dante Cunningham elevated to contest; Curry jumped into him, but didn't get a foul call. As he came down, Curry released the ball, allowing it to bounce next to him before retrieving it with just more than two seconds remaining and launching a 3. It rolled around the inside of the rim before bouncing out, giving the Pelicans a huge 103-100 win that moved them past the Oklahoma City Thunder into eighth place. It was a fitting conclusion to a wild game that featured 11 ties, 16 lead changes and an array of dramatic moments in the closing minutes. There was Anthony Davis' huge and-one finish through contact out of the pick-and-roll to give the Pelicans a four-point lead with 1:21 remaining: ... followed by Curry's stepback bomb over Pondexter: ... followed by Tyreke Evans getting a benefit-of-the-doubt foul call against Andre Iguodala after dribbling the ball off his own leg and falling down, which led to a trip to the line for what would become the game-winning free throw: ... followed by Curry getting a great look at an 8-foot runner that would have given the Warriors the lead with 10 ticks left: ... followed by the potential game-tying miss. Which, by the way, was a pretty fortunate outcome for the officials, who would have had to explain to Monty Williams and a legion of angry Pelicans fans why Curry was allowed to attempt the shot in the first place. Curry's touch seemed to represent either A) a violation of the rule against a shooter being the first person to touch the ball if his shot fails to hit the backboard, the rim or another player, or B) a violation of the rule against a ball-handler being the first player to touch the ball after dropping the ball while in the air. Either way, as FanSided's Jared Wade noted , something illegal happened on that play. Luckily, it didn't wind up mattering. Davis missed eight of his 10 shots in the first half, thanks in part to the interior defense of Andrew Bogut and Draymond Green. In the second half, though, he played like a superstar desperate to make his postseason debut. The 22-year-old marvel scored 23 points on 8-for-11 shooting after intermission, teaming up with center Omer Asik for score the first 10 points of the third quarter and chopping Golden State's halftime lead down to two just three minutes into the second half. Nearly the entire rest of the game was played within a two-possession margin — a hard-fought, nip-and-tuck finish that was anything but the "scrimmage" that the Warriors allegedly believed they were in for — with Davis' shot-making and shot-deterring tilting both the game and the race for the eighth seed in New Orleans' favor. The All-Star power forward finished with 29 points, 10 rebounds, four blocks, two assists and two steals in 40 minutes to lead the way. Pondexter added 20 points on 6-for-7 shooting, including a perfect 4-for-4 mark from beyond the arc, along with tight perimeter defense. Evans chipped in 12 points, nine assists, six rebounds and four steals for the Pelicans, who now sit a half-game up on the Thunder ... who didn't have such a great night. [ Follow Dunks Don't Lie on Tumblr: The best slams from all of basketball] Second verse, same as the first: Just two weeks removed from taking a 39-point beating at the hands of the Spurs, Scott Brooks' squad once again fell victim to a San Antonio pasting on Wednesday. The Spurs walloped the Thunder, 113-88 , to run their winning streak to eight and improve to 18-3 over their last 21 games. This game was over nearly as soon as it got started, as the Spurs clamped down to hold the Thunder to a season-low 10 points in the first quarter on 4-for-21 shooting, with San Antonio scoring nine points off six Oklahoma City turnovers to take a 19-point lead after 12 minutes. Your emblematic early-game possession: Kawhi Leonard continuing his larcenous ways by victimizing Kyle Singler to create a runout dunk. Leonard maintained his brilliant recent form, scoring 23 points in the first half alone to stake San Antonio to a 22-point halftime lead. Oklahoma City never even really flirted with a run to get back into things; as a result, Leonard didn't play after the 7:40 mark of the third. He finished with 26 points — matching his regular-season career-high, which he's now hit four times this season, and in two straight games — to go with three steals, two rebounds and two assists in just 24 minutes. Five other Spurs scored in double figures, led by 12 points, nine rebounds and four blocks from Tim Duncan. The future Hall of Famer also added three assists, including this honey of an alley-oop feed to Leonard: San Antonio led by as many as 34 points against a Thunder team that, frankly, looks absolutely spent after fighting so hard to maintain playoff positioning without injured stars Kevin Durant and Serge Ibaka. With Russell Westbrook continuing to seem somewhat the worse for wear (17 points on 7-for-16 shooting with six steals, two assists and four turnovers) after spending February and March playing the role of Superman, Oklahoma City just looked completely outclassed by the in-form Spurs, leading coach Gregg Popovich to express some postgame sympathy for the Thunder, according to Royce Young of ESPN.com : "No matter how you slice it, it is just not a fair fight," Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. "Nobody is going to give back the win. We are going to take the win and I thought we played well, but you just still feel badly when you see Kevin in that chair out there and the other guys are hurt. It is just not a fair fight." [...] "You've got to feel badly for these guys," Popovich said. "You feel sorry for them, but you're proud of them at the same time because they play the right way and they do everything they can to win. They don't cry. They just go play." That, unfortunately, hasn't been enough of late. Oklahoma City's now lost four straight and six of seven to fall to ninth place in the West, a half-game behind the Pelicans. And with New Orleans holding the head-to-head tiebreaker over the Thunder thanks to a bonkers game-winning 3 by Davis two months ago, Oklahoma City no longer controls its own destiny, no matter what Westbrook and Dion Waiters seem to think. If the Thunder don't finish one game up on New Orleans, they'll be watching the playoffs for the first time 2009. All's not lost just yet. The Thunder finish the season with matchups against the playing-out-the-string Sacramento Kings, the not-quite-world-beating (but recently reinvigorated ) Indiana Pacers, a Portland Trail Blazers squad likely already resigned to opening the playoffs on the road and a Minnesota Timberwolves team with little incentive to win again this season. The Pelicans, on the other hand, still have three games left against Western playoff squads, including a last-day-of-the-season date with these Spurs. The door's still open. But for the Thunder to walk through it and into the playoffs, they'll have to start playing like they belong there. “Nobody going to come through the door and save us,” said Waiters after the game, according to Berry Tramel of The Oklahoman . At this stage, though, it's not clear whether the Thunder can save themselves. Survive and ... well, just survive: Goran Dragic scored 11 of his team-high 28 points in the fourth quarter, pairing slithery drives to the cup with deadeye shooting to push the Miami Heat to a 105-100 win over the Charlotte Hornets. The win lifts Miami back into ninth place in the Eastern Conference, a half-game behind the eighth-seeded Boston Celtics and a half-game ahead of the Pacers. The loss drops 11th-place Charlotte a full two games back of Boston with just five games left on its schedule. [read full article]

From Yahoo Sports

NBA Playoff Picture Update: Pelicans overtake Thunder out West, Heat stay alive in East (Ball

With just more than one week remaining until the NBA postseason, every night can impact the standings. The NBA Playoff Picture Update keeps you up to date on all the most important news for all 16 berths and seeds. [DraftKings: FREE entry to huge cash Fantasy Basketball Contest with first deposit ] The Pell-I-can't! When Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr announced he wouldn't be resting anybody for Tuesday's matchup with the New Orleans Pelicans — a game that the Warriors didn't need after having clinched home-court advantage , but that the Pelicans needed desperately in their pursuit of the West's No. 8 seed — I wondered whether the Pelicans might wind up on the business end of the same sort of brutal, race-changing beat the Dubs handed the Phoenix Suns. This time, though, the bounce went the other way: After draining a tough 3-pointer with Quincy Pondexter draped all over him to tie the game at 100, Stephen Curry had a crack at another game-tying 3-ball to once again knot the contest at 103. As he pulled up, Pelicans forward Dante Cunningham elevated to contest; Curry jumped into him, but didn't get a foul call. As he came down, Curry released the ball, allowing it to bounce next to him before retrieving it with just more than two seconds remaining and launching a 3. It rolled around the inside of the rim before bouncing out, giving the Pelicans a huge 103-100 win that moved them past the Oklahoma City Thunder into eighth place. It was a fitting conclusion to a wild game that featured 11 ties, 16 lead changes and an array of dramatic moments in the closing minutes. There was Anthony Davis' huge and-one finish through contact out of the pick-and-roll to give the Pelicans a four-point lead with 1:21 remaining: ... followed by Curry's stepback bomb over Pondexter: ... followed by Tyreke Evans getting a benefit-of-the-doubt foul call against Andre Iguodala after dribbling the ball off his own leg and falling down, which led to a trip to the line for what would become the game-winning free throw: ... followed by Curry getting a great look at an 8-foot runner that would have given the Warriors the lead with 10 ticks left: ... followed by the potential game-tying miss. Which, by the way, was a pretty fortunate outcome for the officials, who would have had to explain to Monty Williams and a legion of angry Pelicans fans why Curry was allowed to attempt the shot in the first place. Curry's touch seemed to represent either A) a violation of the rule against a shooter being the first person to touch the ball if his shot fails to hit the backboard, the rim or another player, or B) a violation of the rule against a ball-handler being the first player to touch the ball after dropping the ball while in the air. Either way, as FanSided's Jared Wade noted , something illegal happened on that play. Luckily, it didn't wind up mattering. Davis missed eight of his 10 shots in the first half, thanks in part tothe interior defense of Andrew Bogut and Draymond Green. In the second half, though, he played like a superstar desperate to make his postseason debut. The 22-year-old marvel scored 23 points on 8-for-11 shooting after intermission, teaming up with center Omer Asik for score the first 10 points of the third quarter and chopping Golden State's halftime lead down to two just three minutes into the second half. Nearly the entire rest of the game was played within a two-possession margin — a hard-fought, nip-and-tuck finish that was anything but the "scrimmage" that the Warriors allegedly believed they were in for — with Davis' shot-making and shot-deterring tilting both the game and the race for the eighth seed in New Orleans' favor. The All-Star power forward finished with 29 points, 10 rebounds, four blocks, two assists and two steals in 40 minutes to lead the way. Pondexter added 20 points on 6-for-7 shooting, including a perfect 4-for-4 mark from beyond the arc, along with tight perimeter defense. Evans chipped in 12 points, nine assists, six rebounds and four steals for the Pelicans, who now sit a half-game up on the Thunder ... who didn't have such a great night. [ Follow Dunks Don't Lie on Tumblr: The best slams from all of basketball] Second verse, same as the first: Just two weeks removed from taking a 39-point beating at the hands of the Spurs, Scott Brooks' squad once again fell victim to a San Antonio pasting on Wednesday. The Spurs walloped the Thunder, 113-88 , to run their winning streak to eight and improve to 18-3 over their last 21 games. This game was over nearly as soon as it got started, as the Spurs clamped down to hold the Thunder to a season-low 10 points in the first quarter on 4-for-21 shooting, with San Antonio scoring nine points off six Oklahoma City turnovers to take a 19-point lead after 12 minutes. Your emblematic early-game possession: Kawhi Leonard continuing his larcenous ways by victimizing Kyle Singler to create a runout dunk. Leonard maintained his brilliant recent form, scoring 23 points in the first half alone to stake San Antonio to a 22-point halftime lead. Oklahoma City never even really flirted with a run to get back into things; as a result, Leonard didn't play after the 7:40 mark of the third. He finished with 26 points — matching his regular-season career-high, which he's now hit four times this season, and in two straight games — to go with three steals, two rebounds and two assists in just 24 minutes. Five other Spurs scored in double figures, led by 12 points, nine rebounds and four blocks from Tim Duncan. The future Hall of Famer also added three assists, including this honey of an alley-oop feed to Leonard: San Antonio led by as many as 34 points against a Thunder team that, frankly, looks absolutely spent after fighting so hard to maintain playoff positioning without injured stars Kevin Durant and Serge Ibaka. With Russell Westbrook continuing to seem somewhat the worse for wear (17 points on 7-for-16 shooting with six steals, two assists and four turnovers) after spending February and March playing the role of Superman, Oklahoma City just looked completely outclassed by the in-form Spurs, leading coach Gregg Popovich to express some postgame sympathy for the Thunder, according to Royce Young of ESPN.com : "No matter how you slice it, it is just not a fair fight," Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. "Nobody is going to give back the win. We are going to take the win and I thought we played well, but you just still feel badly when you see Kevin in that chair out there and the other guys are hurt. It is just not a fair fight." [...] "You've got to feel badly for these guys," Popovich said. "You feel sorry for them, but you're proud of them at the same time because they play the right way and they do everything they can to win. They don't cry. They just go play." That, unfortunately, hasn't been enough of late. Oklahoma City's now lost four straight and six of seven to fall to ninth place in the West, a half-game behind the Pelicans. And with New Orleans holding the head-to-head tiebreaker over the Thunder thanks to a bonkers game-winning 3 by Davis two months ago, Oklahoma City no longer controls its own destiny, no matter what Westbrook and Dion Waiters seem to think. If the Thunder don't finish one game up on New Orleans, they'll be watching the playoffs for the first time 2009. All's not lost just yet. The Thunder finish the season with matchups against the playing-out-the-string Sacramento Kings, the not-quite-world-beating (but recently reinvigorated ) Indiana Pacers, a Portland Trail Blazers squad likely already resigned to opening the playoffs on the road and a Minnesota Timberwolves team with little incentive to win again this season. The Pelicans, on the other hand, still have three games left against Western playoff squads, including a last-day-of-the-season date with these Spurs. The door's still open. But for the Thunder to walk through it and into the playoffs, they'll have to start playing like they belong there. “Nobody going to come through the door and save us,” said Waiters after the game, according to Berry Tramel of The Oklahoman . At this stage, though, it's not clear whether the Thunder can save themselves. Survive and ... well, just survive: Goran Dragic scored 11 of his team-high 28 points in the fourth quarter, pairing slithery drives to the cup with deadeye shooting to push the Miami Heat to a 105-100 win over the Charlotte Hornets. The win lifts Miami back into ninth place in the Eastern Conference, a half-game behind the eighth-seeded Boston Celtics and a half-game ahead of the Pacers. The loss drops 11th-place Charlotte a full two games back of Boston with just five games left on its schedule. [read full article]

From Yahoo Sports

NBA Playoff Picture Update: Pelicans overtake Thunder out West, Heat stay alive in East (Ball

With just more than one week remaining until the NBA postseason, every night can impact the standings. The NBA Playoff Picture Update keeps you up to date on all the most important news for all 16 berths and seeds. [DraftKings: FREE entry to huge cash Fantasy Basketball Contest with first deposit ] The Pell-I-can't! When Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr announced he wouldn't be resting anybody for Tuesday's matchup with the New Orleans Pelicans — a game that the Warriors didn't need after having clinched home-court advantage , but that the Pelicans needed desperately in their pursuit of the West's No. 8 seed — I wondered whether the Pelicans might wind up on the business end of the same sort of brutal, race-changing beat the Dubs handed the Phoenix Suns. This time, though, the bounce went the other way: After draining a tough 3-pointer with Quincy Pondexter draped all over him to tie the game at 100, Stephen Curry had a crack at another game-tying 3-ball to once again knot the contest at 103. As he pulled up, Pelicans forward Dante Cunningham elevated to contest; Curry jumped into him, but didn't get a foul call. As he came down, Curry released the ball, allowing it to bounce next to him before retrieving it with just more than two seconds remaining and launching a 3. It rolled around the inside of the rim before bouncing out, giving the Pelicans a huge 103-100 win that moved them past the Oklahoma City Thunder into eighth place. It was a fitting conclusion to a wild game that featured 11 ties, 16 lead changes and an array of dramatic moments in the closing minutes. There was Anthony Davis' huge and-one finish through contact out of the pick-and-roll to give the Pelicans a four-point lead with 1:21 remaining: ... followed by Curry's stepback bomb over Pondexter: ... followed by Tyreke Evans getting a benefit-of-the-doubt foul call against Andre Iguodala after dribbling the ball off his own leg and falling down, which led to a trip to the line for what would become the game-winning free throw: ... followed by Curry getting a great look at an 8-foot runner that would have given the Warriors the lead with 10 ticks left: ... followed by the potential game-tying miss. Which, by the way, was a pretty fortunate outcome for the officials, who would have had to explain to Monty Williams and a legion of angry Pelicans fans why Curry was allowed to attempt the shot in the first place. Curry's touch seemed to represent either A) a violation of the rule against a shooter being the first person to touch the ball if his shot fails to hit the backboard, the rim or another player, or B) a violation of the rule against a ball-handler being the first player to touch the ball after dropping the ball while in the air. Either way, as FanSided's Jared Wade noted , something illegal happened on that play. Luckily, it didn't wind up mattering. Davis missed eight of his 10 shots in the firsthalf, thanks in part to the interior defense of Andrew Bogut and Draymond Green. In the second half, though, he played like a superstar desperate to make his postseason debut. The 22-year-old marvel scored 23 points on 8-for-11 shooting after intermission, teaming up with center Omer Asik for score the first 10 points of the third quarter and chopping Golden State's halftime lead down to two just three minutes into the second half. Nearly the entire rest of the game was played within a two-possession margin — a hard-fought, nip-and-tuck finish that was anything but the "scrimmage" that the Warriors allegedly believed they were in for — with Davis' shot-making and shot-deterring tilting both the game and the race for the eighth seed in New Orleans' favor. The All-Star power forward finished with 29 points, 10 rebounds, four blocks, two assists and two steals in 40 minutes to lead the way. Pondexter added 20 points on 6-for-7 shooting, including a perfect 4-for-4 mark from beyond the arc, along with tight perimeter defense. Evans chipped in 12 points, nine assists, six rebounds and four steals for the Pelicans, who now sit a half-game up on the Thunder ... who didn't have such a great night. [ Follow Dunks Don't Lie on Tumblr: The best slams from all of basketball] Second verse, same as the first: Just two weeks removed from taking a 39-point beating at the hands of the Spurs, Scott Brooks' squad once again fell victim to a San Antonio pasting on Wednesday. The Spurs walloped the Thunder, 113-88 , to run their winning streak to eight and improve to 18-3 over their last 21 games. This game was over nearly as soon as it got started, as the Spurs clamped down to hold the Thunder to a season-low 10 points in the first quarter on 4-for-21 shooting, with San Antonio scoring nine points off six Oklahoma City turnovers to take a 19-point lead after 12 minutes. Your emblematic early-game possession: Kawhi Leonard continuing his larcenous ways by victimizing Kyle Singler to create a runout dunk. Leonard maintained his brilliant recent form, scoring 23 points in the first half alone to stake San Antonio to a 22-point halftime lead. Oklahoma City never even really flirted with a run to get back into things; as a result, Leonard didn't play after the 7:40 mark of the third. He finished with 26 points — matching his regular-season career-high, which he's now hit four times this season, and in two straight games — to go with three steals, two rebounds and two assists in just 24 minutes. Five other Spurs scored in double figures, led by 12 points, nine rebounds and four blocks from Tim Duncan. The future Hall of Famer also added three assists, including this honey of an alley-oop feed to Leonard: San Antonio led by as many as 34 points against a Thunder team that, frankly, looks absolutely spent after fighting so hard to maintain playoff positioning without injured stars Kevin Durant and Serge Ibaka. With Russell Westbrook continuing to seem somewhat the worse for wear (17 points on 7-for-16 shooting with six steals, two assists and four turnovers) after spending February and March playing the role of Superman, Oklahoma City just looked completely outclassed by the in-form Spurs, leading coach Gregg Popovich to express some postgame sympathy for the Thunder, according to Royce Young of ESPN.com : "No matter how you slice it, it is just not a fair fight," Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. "Nobody is going to give back the win. We are going to take the win and I thought we played well, but you just still feel badly when you see Kevin in that chair out there and the other guys are hurt. It is just not a fair fight." [...] "You've got to feel badly for these guys," Popovich said. "You feel sorry for them, but you're proud of them at the same time because they play the right way and they do everything they can to win. They don't cry. They just go play." That, unfortunately, hasn't been enough of late. Oklahoma City's now lost four straight and six of seven to fall to ninth place in the West, a half-game behind the Pelicans. And with New Orleans holding the head-to-head tiebreaker over the Thunder thanks to a bonkers game-winning 3 by Davis two months ago, Oklahoma City no longer controls its own destiny, no matter what Westbrook and Dion Waiters seem to think. If the Thunder don't finish one game up on New Orleans, they'll be watching the playoffs for the first time 2009. All's not lost just yet. The Thunder finish the season with matchups against the playing-out-the-string Sacramento Kings, the not-quite-world-beating (but recently reinvigorated ) Indiana Pacers, a Portland Trail Blazers squad likely already resigned to opening the playoffs on the road and a Minnesota Timberwolves team with little incentive to win again this season. The Pelicans, on the other hand, still have three games left against Western playoff squads, including a last-day-of-the-season date with these Spurs. The door's still open. But for the Thunder to walk through it and into the playoffs, they'll have to start playing like they belong there. “Nobody going to come through the door and save us,” said Waiters after the game, according to Berry Tramel of The Oklahoman . At this stage, though, it's not clear whether the Thunder can save themselves. Survive and ... well, just survive: Goran Dragic scored 11 of his team-high 28 points in the fourth quarter, pairing slithery drives to the cup with deadeye shooting to push the Miami Heat to a 105-100 win over the Charlotte Hornets. The win lifts Miami back into ninth place in the Eastern Conference, a half-game behind the eighth-seeded Boston Celtics and a half-game ahead of the Pacers. The loss drops 11th-place Charlotte a full two games back of Boston with just five games left on its schedule. [read full article]

From Yahoo Sports


Saunders: 'I'm the coach until I say I'm not'

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) As president, coach and part owner of the Minnesota Timberwolves, Flip Saunders holds as much influence with the franchise as any coach in the NBA. [read full article]

From FOX Sports Digital


NBA Playoff Picture Update: Pelicans overtake Thunder out West, Heat stay alive in East (Ball

With just more than one week remaining until the NBA postseason, every night can impact the standings. The NBA Playoff Picture Update keeps you up to date on all the most important news for all 16 berths and seeds. [DraftKings: FREE entry to huge cash Fantasy Basketball Contest with first deposit ] The Pell-I-can't! When Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr announced he wouldn't be resting anybody for Tuesday's matchup with the New Orleans Pelicans — a game that the Warriors didn't need after having clinched home-court advantage , but that the Pelicans needed desperately in their pursuit of the West's No. 8 seed — I wondered whether the Pelicans might wind up on the business end of the same sort of brutal, race-changing beat the Dubs handed the Phoenix Suns. This time, though, the bounce went the other way: After draining a tough 3-pointer with Quincy Pondexter draped all over him to tie the game at 100, Stephen Curry had a crack at another game-tying 3-ball to once again knot the contest at 103. As he pulled up, Pelicans forward Dante Cunningham elevated to contest; Curry jumped into him, but didn't get a foul call. As he came down, Curry released the ball, allowing it to bounce next to him before retrieving it with just more than two seconds remaining and launching a 3. It rolled around the inside of the rim before bouncing out, giving the Pelicans a huge 103-100 win that moved them past the Oklahoma City Thunder into eighth place. It was a fitting conclusion to a wild game that featured 11 ties, 16 lead changes and an array of dramatic moments in the closing minutes. There was Anthony Davis' huge and-one finish through contact out of the pick-and-roll to give the Pelicans a four-point lead with 1:21 remaining: ... followed by Curry's stepback bomb over Pondexter: ... followed by Tyreke Evans getting a benefit-of-the-doubt foul call against Andre Iguodala after dribbling the ball off his own leg and falling down, which led to a trip to the line for what would become the game-winning free throw: ... followed by Curry getting a great look at an 8-foot runner that would have given the Warriors the lead with 10 ticks left: ... followed by the potential game-tying miss. Which, by the way, was a pretty fortunate outcome for the officials, who would have had to explain to Monty Williams and a legion of angry Pelicans fans why Curry was allowed to attempt the shot in the first place. Curry's touch seemed to represent either A) a violation of the rule against a shooter being the first person to touch the ball if his shot fails to hit the backboard, the rim or another player, or B) a violation of the rule against a ball-handler being the first player to touch the ball after dropping the ball while in the air. Either way, as FanSided's Jared Wade noted , something illegal happened on that play. Luckily, it didn't wind up mattering. Davis missed eight of his 10 shots in the first half, thanks in part to the interior defense of Andrew Bogut and Draymond Green. In the second half, though, he played like a superstar desperate to make his postseason debut. The 22-year-old marvel scored 23 points on 8-for-11 shooting after intermission, teaming up with center Omer Asik for score the first 10 points of the third quarter and chopping Golden State's halftime lead down to two just three minutes into the second half. Nearly the entire rest of the game was played within a two-possession margin — a hard-fought, nip-and-tuck finish that was anything but the "scrimmage" that the Warriors allegedly believed they were in for — with Davis' shot-making and shot-deterring tilting both the game and the race for the eighth seed in New Orleans' favor. The All-Star power forward finished with 29 points, 10 rebounds, four blocks, two assists and two steals in 40 minutes to lead the way. Pondexter added 20 points on 6-for-7 shooting, including a perfect 4-for-4 mark from beyond the arc, along with tight perimeter defense. Evans chipped in 12 points, nine assists, six rebounds and four steals for the Pelicans, who now sit a half-game up on the Thunder ... who didn't have such a great night. [ Follow Dunks Don't Lie on Tumblr: The best slams from all of basketball] Second verse, same as the first: Just two weeks removed from taking a 39-point beating at the hands of the Spurs, Scott Brooks' squad once again fell victim to a San Antonio pasting on Wednesday. The Spurs walloped the Thunder, 113-88 , to run their winning streak to eight and improve to 18-3 over their last 21 games. This game was over nearly as soon as it got started, as the Spurs clamped down to hold the Thunder to a season-low 10 points in the first quarter on 4-for-21 shooting, with San Antonio scoring nine points off six Oklahoma City turnovers to take a 19-point lead after 12 minutes. Your emblematic early-game possession: Kawhi Leonard continuing his larcenous ways by victimizing Kyle Singler to create a runout dunk. Leonard maintained his brilliant recent form, scoring 23 points in the first half alone to stake San Antonio to a 22-point halftime lead. Oklahoma City never even really flirted with a run to get back into things; as a result, Leonard didn't play after the 7:40 mark of the third. He finished with 26 points — matching his regular-season career-high, which he's now hit four times this season, and in two straight games — to go with three steals, two rebounds and two assists in just 24 minutes. Five other Spurs scored in double figures, led by 12 points, nine rebounds and four blocks from Tim Duncan. The future Hall of Famer also added three assists, including this honey of an alley-oop feed to Leonard: San Antonio led by as many as 34 points against a Thunder team that, frankly, looks absolutely spent after fighting so hard to maintain playoff positioning without injured stars Kevin Durant and Serge Ibaka. With Russell Westbrook continuing to seem somewhat the worse for wear (17 points on 7-for-16 shooting with six steals, two assists and four turnovers) after spending February and March playing the role of Superman, Oklahoma City just looked completely outclassed by the in-form Spurs, leading coach Gregg Popovich to express some postgame sympathy for the Thunder, according to Royce Young of ESPN.com : "No matter how you slice it, it is just not a fair fight," Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. "Nobody is going to give back the win. We are going to take the win and I thought we played well, but you just still feel badly when you see Kevin in that chair out there and the other guys are hurt. It is just not a fair fight." [...] "You've got to feel badly for these guys," Popovich said. "You feel sorry for them, but you're proud of them at the same time because they play the right way and they do everything they can to win. They don't cry. They just go play." That, unfortunately, hasn't been enough of late. Oklahoma City's now lost four straight and six of seven to fall to ninth place inthe West, a half-game behind the Pelicans. And with New Orleans holding the head-to-head tiebreaker over the Thunder thanks to a bonkers game-winning 3 by Davis two months ago, Oklahoma City no longer controls its own destiny, no matter what Westbrook and Dion Waiters seem to think. If the Thunder don't finish one game up on New Orleans, they'll be watching the playoffs for the first time 2009. All's not lost just yet. The Thunder finish the season with matchups against the playing-out-the-string Sacramento Kings, the not-quite-world-beating (but recently reinvigorated ) Indiana Pacers, a Portland Trail Blazers squad likely already resigned to opening the playoffs on the road and a Minnesota Timberwolves team with little incentive to win again this season. The Pelicans, on the other hand, still have three games left against Western playoff squads, including a last-day-of-the-season date with these Spurs. The door's still open. But for the Thunder to walk through it and into the playoffs, they'll have to start playing like they belong there. “Nobody going to come through the door and save us,” said Waiters after the game, according to Berry Tramel of The Oklahoman . At this stage, though, it's not clear whether the Thunder can save themselves. Survive and ... well, just survive: Goran Dragic scored 11 of his team-high 28 points in the fourth quarter, pairing slithery drives to the cup with deadeye shooting to push the Miami Heat to a 105-100 win over the Charlotte Hornets. The win lifts Miami back into ninth place in the Eastern Conference, a half-game behind the eighth-seeded Boston Celtics and a half-game ahead of the Pacers. The loss drops 11th-place Charlotte a full two games back of Boston with just five games left on its schedule. [read full article]

From Yahoo Sports

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