NBA Lord's NBA Blog

NBA Lord's NBA Blog

Friday, January 30, 2015

Friday's Fresh NBA Power Rankings: January 30, 2015

                     NBA Power Rankings 

Here are my NBA Power Rankings for January 30, 2015. Enjoy! 

#1. Atlanta Hawks (38-8): 17 straight wins is enough of a reason to justify their #1 ranking. Huge game next week against the Warriors. 

#2. Golden State Warriors (36-7): The only flaw in this team is they sometimes take ill-advised jump shots late in games. That is why they lost to the Bulls this week. 

#3. Memphis Grizzlies (34-14): They are riding a very nice five game winning streak. What's been impressive is they've been doing it without Mike Conley. 

#4. Houston Rockets (32-14): Their upcoming schedule looks pretty chill: @Boston, @Detroit, vs. Chicago, and vs. Milwaukee. 

#5. Los Angeles Clippers (32-14): For some reason people like to talk more about what's wrong with the Clippers than what's right with them. I'll tell you what's right with the Clippers: Chris Paul, Blake Griffin, DeAndre Jordan, and Doc Rivers. We can't be counting these guys out. 

#6. Portland Trail Blazers (32-14): They are 4-6 during their last ten games. They need to get their act together quickly or else their seed is going to plummet. 

#7. Toronto Raptors (31-15): Saturday's game against the Wizards will be huge. They've won four straight games, but those games have been against the 76ers, Pistons, Pacers, and Kings. 

#8. Washington Wizards (31-16): Only Nene is injured, and it's a day-to-day thing. If they can stay healthy down the stretch, they'll be a serious threat to the Hawks. 

#9. Dallas Mavericks (30-17): Monta Ellis should be an All-Star. #VoteEllis

#10. Cleveland Cavaliers (27-20): They're starting to find their groove, winning eight straight games.

#11. San Antonio Spurs (30-17): One has to wonder whether or not they have one more title run in them. It's looking dicey at the moment. 

#12. Chicago Bulls (30-18): Can you say mystery team? I can't decide if I'm sold on their title chances or not. 

#13. Phoenix Suns (27-20): At the moment, I think they'll make the playoffs. Read my article from Wednesday for more details. 

#14. Milwaukee Bucks (24-22): These guys are no fluke. The future is bright in Milwaukee. 

#15. New Orleans Pelicans (24-22): Thank heaven Anthony Davis didn't go down. That would have been a disaster. 

#16. Oklahoma City Thunder (23-23): Playoffs look unlikely, but you cannot count out Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook 

#17. Miami Heat (20-25): They probably still make the playoffs, but amazingly it's no slam dunk. 

#18. Charlotte Hornets (19-27): The loss of Kemba Walker is huge, but I think they'll still make the playoffs. 

#19. Denver Nuggets (19-28): And once again, the Nuggets are entering a swoon. I got faith that they'll climb back up close to the .500 mark as I predicted. 

#20. Brooklyn Nets (18-27): This team is falling apart. There is talk of Lionel Hollis getting fired and Deron Williams getting moved, etc. It's a disaster. 

#21. Boston Celtics (16-28): Let the tanking commence! 

#22. Sacramento Kings (16-28): Glad that DeMarcus Cousins will be on the all-star team, but he should  not have been a replacement. I.e. The coaches should have added him from the get go. 

#23. Detroit Pistons (17-30): The loss of Brandon Jennings is obviously a crippling loss to this team's playoff chances. 

#24. Indiana Pacers (17-31): It's amazing how quiet this team has become from a year ago. I really don't have much to say about them right now, which is amazing. 

#25. Utah Jazz (16-30): Don't be surprised if Enes Kanter gets traded at the deadline. Rudy Gobert is looking like a keeper. 

#26. Orlando Magic (15-34): Jacque Vaughn could be fired as head coach. Doing so would be the equivalent of punting away the season. 

#27. Los Angeles Lakers (13-34): Without Kobe Bryant, this is officially another lost season for the Lakers. Their management should feel embarrassed. 

#28. Philadelphia 76ers (9-37): There is genuinely not much talent on this team, but they are trying hard. I gotta give them that. 

#29. New York Knicks (9-38): Kevin Durant to the Knicks? I don't see him going to this hell hole. 

#30. Minnesota Timberwolves (8-37): The return of Kevin Martin should give them a nice boost up the rankings. Perhaps they crack the Top 25. 

---Ben Parker: follow me on twitter @nba_lord 

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Bear Territory Thursday: How hot should the seat be for Cuonzo Martin?

                                          (Credit: Click here for source) 

     The California Men's Basketball team got absolutely flogged by Arizona State and #6 Arizona last week at home. The Arizona State game ended in an embarrassing 79-44 final score and the Arizona game ended almost as badly 73-50. Tonight Cal faces off against Washington State on the road at 8:00 PM PST on Pac-12 Networks and on Sunday, Cal will face Washington on the road at 12:00 PM PST on Pac-12 Networks. Rather than breaking down what went wrong in their last two games and give my usual "here's what Cal needs to fix" routine, I will instead address the hot seat that head coach Cuonzo Martin should be sitting on.

     At the moment, Cal is 11-9 overall and an abysmal 1-6 in the Pac-12. What's worse is that on average, in Pac-12 play, Cal loses by the score of 72.7-58.7, which is a point differential of -14 on average. In addition, Cal has lost each of their last five games by at least 10 points. What do these numbers show? These numbers show that Cal has not even remotely been competitive in any of their recent games.

     If Cal was losing these games by five points or fewer, or even by single digits, one could try to put some lipstick on the pig and say that Cal is at least competitive and that they just need to finish games. But with all of these losses being by double digits, there is no way that any sort of positive spin can be attributed to them.

     Cal at the moment is playing terrible basketball and at some point their head coach Cuonzo Martin has to start taking some responsibility. I've so far been a fan of Cuonzo Martin. He says all the right things in his press conferences, he seems aware of a lot of the same concerns that I have as a fan/analyst, and yet his "wisdom" isn't translating into wins. As a matter of fact, the team has regressed over the course of the season with each game being more and more unbearable to watch. This regression has to make one question whether or not Cuonzo Martin is the right man for the job.

      I do have specific reasons for why I question Cuonzo Martin's coaching in addition to the fact that the team is getting their clocks cleaned every night. These reasons have to do with things I've heard from people close to the team as well as my own personal observations.

     The first reason I question Cuonzo Martin's coaching has to do with conditioning. I've heard from two sources close to the team that the team really stepped it up in terms of the amount of conditioning that they were doing during the offseason. One of these sources even told me that a player was crying after the intense workouts that Cuonzo Martin had put them through.

     If Cal was winning more ball games this year, I could easily justify Cuonzo Martin ramping up the intensity of their workouts. But so long as the team struggles, I have to wonder whether or not this team is getting overworked and is reaching a point of burnout. Looking at the Arizona State game as an example, the team looked absolutely tired the whole game and they hadn't played in over a week! It's certainly possible that Cuonzo Martin is overworking his players, which would explain their poor play on both ends of the floor.

     The second reason I question Cuonzo Martin's coaching is that the team is having a difficult time scoring the basketball and getting into an offensive rhythm. The type of offensive system that a coach implements is huge to the success of his team and when a team can't score, one has to question the system. Especially when the coach has quality players.

     I notice a lot of the time that Cal doesn't score early on in the shot clock and that they slow the tempo down, which in my opinion doesn't really suit the player personnel too well. This team needs to be running up and down the floor like they were against Syracuse instead of slowing the game down and waiting to shoot until the shot clock is in single digits. Cuonzo Martin appears to perhaps be guilty of trying to make the players fit his system instead of creating a system that fits his players.

     Third, there is no real rhyme or reason to the adjustments that Cuonzo Martin makes to the rotation. I was all in favor of his decision to start Kingsley Okoroh at center since this team has struggled to match up with teams in the post, but then he relegated Okoroh to an off the bench role and went with Dwight Tarwater at the power forward position who is very undersized for the position.

     In addition, freshman point guard Brandon Chauca appears to be in Cuonzo Martin's doghouse, hardly seeing the floor during the last five games. Given that Chauca can score the basketball and knock down some outside shots, one has to question why he isn't getting more minutes when scoring is one of this team's biggest issues.
     Lastly, this team is very schizophrenic. Some nights they really bring it and other nights they don't. Such inconsistencies in their effort and play has to make one question the pre-game preparation that Cuonzo Martin does. Especially since this team routinely finds themselves getting whipped like a chow in the first half.

     How hot should the seat be for Cuonzo Martin? I think that the seat he sits on should be very hot. Cuonzo Martin is getting paid a lot of money to coach at Cal, which is the #1 public university in the world and traditionally one of the better basketball programs in the Pac-12. Cal doesn't expect to compete for national championships, but they do expect to be a top four team in the Pac-12 and make the NCAA tournament on a regular basis. So far this team is not even close to living up to those expectations and Cuonzo Martin has to be the one accountable for it.

---Ben Parker: follow me on twitter @nba_lord 

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Wednesday Windmill: What are the chances the Oklahoma City Thunder miss the playoffs?

     One year ago, it would have seemed unfathomable for there to be an article about the Oklahoma City Thunder missing the playoffs, but now odds appear to be at least 50% that they will find themselves on the outside looking in when the playoffs begin. At the moment, they are 10th in the Western Conference with a 23-23 record and 3.5 games back of the 8th seeded Phoenix Suns who are 27-20. What I will do in this article is try to project how things will shake out for that final spot in the Western Conference playoffs looking at the Suns, Pelicans, and Thunder.

     By the numbers, the Thunder have an overall record of 23-23, making them 10th in the Western Conference. They are 13-7 at home and an abysmal 10-16 on the road. The good news in all this is that 21 of the Thunder's 36 remaining games are at home. The bad news for the Thunder is that 24 of those remaining 36 games are against teams in the Western Conference, 16 of which are either playoff bound or playoff caliber (e.g. Suns and Pelicans).

     The Thunder don't have a ton of games against easy opponents down the stretch, so they better beat all the easy teams that they can, hold serve at home, and get some road wins. Unfortunately, they had a chance on Wednesday to get an easy win against the Knicks and they didn't get it done.

     By the numbers, the Pelicans are 24-22, currently 9th in the Western Conference. They are 15-6 at home and 9-16 on the road. Like the Thunder, the Pelicans too have the bulk of their remaining games being played on their home court (20 out of 36). As for the competition, 23 of their remaining games are against teams in the Western Conference, 15 of which are against playoff bound or playoff caliber teams (e.g. Thunder and Suns).

     The schedule for the Pelicans is very similar to the schedule of the Thunder. What will be huge are the games against the Thunder on February 4th (vs. OKC) and February 6th (@OKC). The Pelicans might bury the Thunder for good should they win both of those games. Like the Thunder, the Pelicans will want to win all the easy games they have left, defend their home court, and step up their play on the road.

     By the numbers, the Suns have an overall record of 27-20, currently possessing the #8 seed in the Western Conference. They are 14-9 at home and 13-11 on the road. Of their remaining 35 games, the Suns will play 18 games at home and 17 games on the road. As for the competition, 25 of their remaining games are against teams in the Western Conference, 18 of which are against teams which are either playoff bound or playoff caliber (e.g. Pelicans and Thunder).

     The Suns definitely have a tougher schedule than both the Thunder and the Pelicans. The good news for them is that they have a 3.5 game lead on the Thunder and a 2.5 game lead on the Pelicans. In addition, they face the Pelicans and Thunder a combined four times down the stretch with three of those games being in Phoenix. That's huge. The fact that they are such a good home team and that the Pelicans and Thunder have struggled on the road makes odds very good that the Suns win three out of those four games.

     Now that I have broken down the three teams' schedules, I will now state what the playoff odds are for each team.

Phoenix Suns: 53%. At the end of the day, I think the Suns still will hang on to the 8th seed in the West. Having three out of their four remaining games against the Thunder and Pelicans at home is huge as well as the fact that they have a decent lead over both teams for the #8 spot.

Oklahoma City Thunder: 35%. The odds are definitely not in their favor, but it's not at all inconceivable that they make the playoffs. Having 67% of their remaining games at home obviously bodes really well for them as well as the fact that they have guys like Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook, who are used to turning it up down the stretch of the NBA season. However, having to make two more trips to Phoenix is not at all a good thing for this team judging by their weak road play and the Suns' strong play at home.

New Orleans Pelicans: 12%.  I hate to lowball the Pelicans since they are seeded higher than the Thunder at the moment, but their lack of playoff experience makes it tough to give them much higher odds. The number of home games remaining works in their favor as does the fact that they have Anthony Davis, who is a superstar in this league.

     What I haven't yet mentioned that is critical to their odds of making the playoffs is the fact that Jrue Holiday is out for at least a couple of more weeks due to a stress reaction in his right leg. It will be really hard for the Pelicans to stay the course given his absence.

---Ben Parker: follow me on twitter @nba_lord 

Monday, January 26, 2015

Daily Dunks: 1/26-2/1

                                                    (Credit: Andy Melton---Click here for source)

     Here is the Daily Dunks page for January 26, 2015 through February 1, 2015. Throughout the week this page will be updated with all the latest news from each day as well as the day's NBA scores, so make sure to check this page throughout the week.

Monday's Daily Dunks: 

#1. The Knicks are planning on signing guard Langston Galloway for the rest of the season and possibly to a multi-year deal. He has averaged 12.1 points, 4.1 rebounds, 3.0 assists, and 1.1 steals per game this season (Click here for details).

#2. Knicks power forward Amar'e Stoudemire has sprains in his wrist and ankle. He is out indefinitely (Click here for details).

#3. Hornets small forward Marvin Williams (concussion) is out indefinitely (Click here for details).

#4. Hornets center  Bismack Biyombo will be reevaluated in 10 days after suffering a bruised knee (Click here for details).

#5. The 76ers signed guard Larry Drew II to a second 10-day contract (Click here for details).

#6. The Mavericks are confident they will sign Jermaine O'Neal after the All-Star break (Click here for details).

#7. A blizzard hit the Northeast. The Kings@Knicks game was rescheduled for March 3. The Trail Blazers@Nets game was rescheduled for April 6 (Click here for details).

#8. Lakers shooting guard Kobe Bryant decided to opt for season-ending surgery on Wednesday, but he says he'll be back next season (Click here for details).

#9. Hornets point guard Kemba Walker has a torn lateral meniscus in his left knee. He'll undergo surgery. There won't be an official timetable for his return until after the surgery (Click here for details).

#10. Thunder small forward Kevin Durant has a sprained big toe. He didn't play on Monday (Click here for details).

Monday's NBA Final Scores: 

Thunder 92 Timberwolves 84. Grizzlies 103 Magic 94. Celtics 99 Jazz 90. Pelicans 99 76ers 74. Clippers 102 Nuggets 98. Portland @Brooklyn (Postponed). Kings@Knicks (Postponed).

Tuesday's Daily Dunks: 

#1. The Timberwolves waived center Miroslav Raduljica and signed guard Lorenzo Brown to a 10-day contract (Click here for details).

#2. The Knicks signed guard Langston Galloway for the rest of the season. It's a two-year deal (Click here for details).

#3. Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson will reportedly be in the three-point contest (Click here for details).

#4. The dunk contest participants were announced (Click here for details).

#5. Trail Blazers power forward LaMarcus Aldridge confirms that he will play through the thumb injury for the remainder of the season (Click here for details).

#6. The Pistons are interested in Heat point guard Norris Cole (Click here for details).

#7. Clippers forward Matt Barnes was fined $25K for language he directed at a fan. However, Barnes claims he was responding to the Suns owner who was cussing at him (Click here for details).

#8. Pistons point guard Brandon Jennings underwent successful surgery on his Achilles. His season is over (Click here for details).

#9. Grizzlies point guard Mike Conley (wrist) did not play (Click here for details).

#10. The Jazz decided to not sign guard Elliot Williams for the rest of the season. They instead filled his roster spot by signing forward Chris Johnson to a 10-day contract (Click here for details).

Tuesday's NBA Final Scores: 

Grizzlies 109 Mavericks 90. Bulls 113 Warriors 111 (OT). Raptors 104 Pacers 91. Cavaliers 103 Pistons 95. Bucks 109 Heat 102. Wizards 98 Lakers 92.

Wednesday's Daily Dunks: 

#1. The Heat signed guard Tyler Johnson to a second 10-day contract (Click here for details).

#2. The Bucks signed power forward Kenyon Martin for the rest of the season (Click here for details).

#3. Heat point guard Mario Chalmers has been warned for flopping (Click here for details).

#4. Hornets point guard Kemba Walker's surgery on his left knee was successful. He's out an estimated 6-8 weeks (Click here for details).

#5. The Bucks signed guard Jorge Gutierrez to a 10-day contract (Click here for details).

#6. The Pacers assigned rookie center Shayne Whittington to the D-League to join the Fort Wayne Mad Ants (Click here for details).

#7. Lakers shooting guard Kobe Bryant's shoulder surgery was successful. He should be ready to play in 9 months (Click here for details).

#8. The Spurs signed forward Reggie Williams to a 10-day contract (Click here for details).

#9. Timberwolves shooting guard Kevin Martin returned from his wrist injury and scored 21 points (Click here for details).

#10. Cavaliers point guard Kyrie Irving went bananas, scoring 55 points on the Trail Blazers.

Wednesday's NBA Final Scores: 

Timberwolves 110 Celtics 98. Clippers 94 Jazz 89. Cavaliers 99 Trail Blazers 94. 76ers 89 Pistons 69. Raptors 119 Kings 102. Hawks 113 Nets 102. Nuggets 93 Pelicans 85. Rockets 99 Mavericks 94. Knicks 100 Thunder 92. Spurs 95 Hornets 86. Suns 106 Wizards 98.

Thursday's Daily Dunks: 

#1. The Western Conference All-Star Reserves and the Eastern Conference All-Star Reserves were announced (Click here to see who made it).

#2. The Knicks signed forward Lance Thomas for the rest of the season (Click here for details).

#3. The Knicks signed forward Lou Amundson for the rest of the season (Click here for details).

#4. There are reports that Kevin Durant might want to join the Knicks in 2016 (Click here for details).

#5. The Warriors didn't sign James Michael McAdoo to another 10-day contract. He is back in the D-League with Santa Cruz (Click here for details).

#6. Heat guard Dwyane Wade is out 2-3 weeks due to a hamstring strain (Click here for details).

#7. The Magic are considering firing their head coach Jacque Vaughn (Click here for details).

#8. Grizzlies shooting guard Vince Carter injured his leg (Click here for details).

#9. Phil Jackson admits to deflating basketballs back in the day (Click here for details).

#10. The NBA has reached a 5 year, $500M deal to televise games in China (Click here for details).

Thursday's NBA Final Scores: 

Grizzlies 99 Nuggets 69. Bucks 115 Magic 100. Pacers 103 Knicks 82. Lakers 123 Bulls 118 (2OT).

Friday's Daily Dunks: 

#1. The Timberwolves are shopping Mo Williams (Click here for details).

#2. Scott Skiles or Mark Jackson could replace Jacque Vaughn in Orlando (Click here for details).

#3. Pelicans forward Anthony Davis didn't play due to a groin strain (Click here for details).

#4. Grizzlies shooting guard Vince Carter is out at least one week due to a left foot tendon injury (Click here for details).

#5. The Kings singed forward Quincy Miller to a second 10-day contract (Click here for details).

#6. The Knicks assigned forward Cleanthony Early to the D-League (Click here for details).

#7. The Morris twins are suspect in an assault investigation (Click here for details).

#8. The Thunder almost traded Reggie Jackson to the Nuggets (Click here for details).

#9. Kings center DeMarcus Cousins will replace Kobe Bryant in the All-Star game (Click here for details).

#10. Pelicans guard Eric Gordon had 28 points and 7 assists against the Clippers.

Friday's NBA Final Scores: 

76ers 103 Timberwolves 94. Jazz 110 Warriors 100. Hawks 105 Trail Blazers 99. Rockets 93 Celtics 87. Cavaliers 101 Kings 90. Raptors 127 Nets 122 (OT). Pelicans 108 Clippers 103. Mavericks 93 Heat 72. Suns 99 Bulls 93.

Saturday's Daily Dunks: 

#1. The Cavaliers have decided to pick up Timofey Mozgov's $4.9M option. He won't be a free agent until 2016 (Click here for details).

#2. The Celtics don't expect Kelly Olynyk to be back until after the All-Star Break (Click here for details).

#3. Rockets center Dwight Howard (right ankle) is out at least one month (Click here for details).

#4. The Nuggets are trying to trade for Nets center Brook Lopez (Click here for details).

#5. Suns guard Gerald Green has had a couple of DNPs via Coach's decision. The team denies that they are looking to trade him (Click here for details).

#6. Hawks shooting guard Thabo Sefolosha is out 6-8 weeks with a right calf strain (Click here for details).

#7. Timberwolves point guard Ricky Rubio will return on Monday (Click here for details).

#8. Jazz guard Trey Burke will compete in the NBA Skills Challenge at All-Star Weekend (Click here for details).

#9. Mavericks point guard Rajon Rondo injured his head (Click here for details).

#10. Cavaliers small forward LeBron James dropped 36 points on the Timberwolves.

Saturday's NBA Final Scores: 

Cavaliers 106 Timberwolves 90. Grizzlies 85 Thunder 74. Warriors 106 Suns 87. Kings 99 Pacers 94. Mavericks 108 Magic 93. Raptors 120 Wizards 116 (OT). Hawks 91 76ers 85. Pistons 114 Rockets 101. Bucks 95 Trail Blazers 88. Hornets 104 Nuggets 86. Clippers 105 Spurs 85.

---Ben Parker: follow me on twitter @nba_lord 

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Bear Territory Thursday: Cal has to turnaround its season starting tonight against ASU

     Tonight at 8:00 PM PST, Cal will take on Arizona State in a battle between two teams that are desperately looking for another PAC-12 win. Cal comes into the game 11-7 overall and just 1-4 in the PAC-12. Arizona State comes into the game 9-9 overall and also 1-4 in the PAC-12. For both teams, tonight is obviously huge, but I will focus on why this game is huge for Cal and what they need to do to win.

     There are several reasons why this game is huge for Cal, so let me start with what is most obvious: They are 1-4 in the PAC-12! Cal has to start getting wins in the conference not just to improve their NCAA Tournament resume (which at the moment looks really weak), but also to improve their seeding in the PAC-12 tournament. If Cal wants to have any shot of making the NCAA tournament, they need to have a strong showing in the PAC-12 tournament. If Cal goes into the PAC-12 tournament as a double-digit seed or any seed lower than 8, they'll be in serious trouble and if they lose tonight, a low seed in the PAC-12 tournament will look very likely.

     In addition to PAC-12 seeding, Cal has a more immediate or pressing reason to win tonight's game.  #7 Arizona is coming to town on Saturday. The Arizona Wildcats play Stanford tonight before making their trip up to the East Bay. Win or lose, Arizona will be motivated to avenge the loss they had last year at Berkeley. Cal has a very winnable game tonight against the Sun Devils, so they better take advantage, because there is no telling what beat down Arizona may have in store for Cal.

     I don't mean to be pessimistic about Cal's chances to win on Saturday, but in all truth, I don't expect Cal to repeat what happened last year. Cal needs to get this win tonight because it's a game that they should win. In addition, if Cal wants to beat #7 Arizona on Saturday, they better build some good momentum by beating Arizona State tonight.

     Lastly, Cal needs to win tonight's game because in effect, their season is at a crossroads. If they win both games this week, there could be some hope for them to turn their season around. Next week Cal travels to the state of Washington to face the Huskies and the Cougars. Both schools are very beatable, which means wins this weekend could propel Cal towards a four or five game winning streak.

     If Cal loses both games this weekend, Cal's season will essentially be in the gutter and only a miraculous run to win the PAC-12 tournament will prevent Cal from missing the NCAA tournament. Putting the NCAA tournament aside, if Cal wants to make a deep run in the NIT, they'll want to get wins this week just to improve their seeding for that tournament.

     Getting back to tonight's game, what does Cal need to specifically do to win? The first thing they need to do is make sure Tyrone Wallace, Jabari Bird, and Jordan Mathews get into a groove early. Those guys are the best scorers on the team and it will be essential for Cal to get them off to a good start. In addition, Cal will need to get David Kravish touches inside and get him some easy looks. In Cal's lone win in the PAC-12 against Washington, Kravish had a huge night, scoring 21 points and pulling down 10 rebounds. I think that pretty much says it all in terms of how important he is to the success of this team.

     As for what Arizona State is good at, they have a lot of balance on their team, with four guys ( 6'10 F Eric Jacobsen, 6'6 F Savon Goodman, 6'4 guard Gerry Blakes, and 6'5 guard Shaquille McKissic) scoring in double figures on average every night. Cal will want to keep all four guys under wraps, especially Jacobsen since Cal has had a hard time defending in the paint. If Cal does that and doesn't go stupid offensively, they will win the game.

     In conclusion, tonight's game against Arizona State is huge. Cal needs to win this game to get some sort of momentum going to finish the season strong. Cal has reason to believe that they can turnaround their season, but the turnaround has to start tonight. If Cal doesn't get the win tonight, I see no reason to believe that a turnaround will ever come.

---Ben Parker: follow me on twitter @nba_lord  

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

The NBA needs to bring back the Seattle SuperSonics

It is pretty much established fact that when Clay Bennett purchased the Seattle SuperSonics in 2006, he had no interest of keeping the team in Seattle and that the city of Seattle lost their precious SuperSonics by way of robbery.  Bennett purchased the team for the sole purpose of relocating the team to his home city of Oklahoma City and there was nothing that the city of Seattle could do to stop him.

     Bennett could hide behind the fact that Key Arena in Seattle was one of the smallest arenas in the league and that the SuperSonics at the time had poor attendance, but the reality is that he just wanted to bring his hometown an NBA franchise. He didn't care how he did it and who he hurt in the process. As long as he was able to succeed at moving the Sonics to Oklahoma City, he was happy.


     The only good that came out of the departure of the Seattle SuperSonics was the fact that the team name was changed to "Oklahoma City Thunder", which would allow a possible return of the "SuperSonics" nickname to Seattle. Given the fact that there are other arenas across the country ready to house NBA franchises and that Seattle sports fans are foaming at the mouth for the return of the Sonics, the NBA has to do what is right and bring back the Seattle SuperSonics within the next five years. 

     Rather than uprooting another team and angering more fans, the NBA needs to instead expand to 32 teams, placing one team in Seattle and another team somewhere else that is also deserving of an NBA franchise. The only real argument against expansion is that it dilutes the talent pool and creates two more terrible teams. I find this argument to not be all that convincing. The reality is that such an expansion would be a great thing for the NBA. 

     First of all, such an expansion would put fans across the league at ease and it would put an end to talks of relocation. Los Angeles has two teams; New York has two teams; Chicago has a team; Boston has a team; Texas has three teams; and the greater Bay Area has two teams with the Warriors and the Kings.  By bringing back the Seattle SuperSonics, the NBA would have a team in every major market in the United States of America, which would be a great thing for the league. Fans would stop freaking out if their team goes for sale and greedy billionaires in Seattle would stop trying to poach a team from another market. 

     Secondly, it would give the NBA an opportunity to realign the conferences. The two most likely cities to also get a team are Kansas City and Louisville, both of which have new arenas capable of housing an NBA team. Louisville geographically is an Eastern Conference city and Kansas City geographically is a Western Conference city, but either way, the addition of a 32nd team would allow the NBA to put either the Memphis Grizzlies or New Orleans Pelicans in the Eastern Conference if they wanted to make the conferences more fair and balanced. 

     In addition, the NBA could also realign the divisions within the conferences to make things more geographically coherent. The Northwest Division is a mess geographically thanks to the the Sonics moving to Oklahoma City and by expanding to 32 teams, the NBA would certainly be able to realign the divisions and make everything more orderly for the sake of travel and competitive balance.  

     Lastly, as sort of an appeal to nostalgia, who wouldn't want the Seattle SuperSonics back in the NBA? Gary Payton and Shawn Kemp did so much to put the Seattle SuperSonics on the map that it's sad there is nothing left to remind us of their legacy. The return of the SuperSonics would bring back fond memories and restore a tradition and history that never should have left us. 

     What I'm saying is that the NBA needs the Seattle SuperSonics. There is a hole created by their absence and it won't be filled until they return. I say "until" because the Seattle SuperSonics aren't dead. They are just waiting to be brought home. 

---Ben Parker: follow me on twitter @nba_lord  

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Daily Dunks: 1/19-1/25

                                                   (Credit: Andy Melton. Click here for source)

Here are the Daily Dunks for January 19, 2015 through January 25, 2015. This page will get updated throughout the week with all the important news. So keep checking this page until a new page is created next week.

Monday's Daily Dunks

#1. The Bucks signed power forward Kenyon Martin to a second 10-day contract (Click here for more info).

#2. Trail Blazers power forward LaMarcus Aldridge suffered a left thumb injury (Click here for more info).

#3. Hornets center Al Jefferson returned against the Timberwolves from his groin injury. He had 8 points and 5 rebounds.

#4. The Knicks signed power forward Lou Amundson and small forward Lance Thomas to second 10-day contracts (Click here for more info).

#5. Pistons center Andre Drummond has been warned for flopping (Click here for more info).

#6. The Heat have put point guard Norris Cole on the trade block (Click here for more info).

#7. Grizzlies point guard Mike Conley returned from his ankle injuries and played against the Mavericks.

#8. Nuggets small forward Danilo Gallinari is targeting a Friday return (Click here for more info).

#9. In the Knicks' win, shooting guard Langston Galloway had 21 points and 5 rebounds.

#10. J.R. Smith had 20 points for the Cavaliers in their win over the Bulls.

Monday's NBA Final Scores

Hornets 105 Timberwolves 80. Warriors 122 Nuggets 79. Mavericks 103 Grizzlies 95.
Wizards 111 76ers 76. Hawks 93 Pistons 82. Clippers 102 Celtics 93. Rockets 110 Pacers 98.
Knicks 99 Pelicans 92. Cavaliers 108 Bulls 94. Raptors 92 Bucks 89. Trail Blazers 98 Kings 94. Suns 115 Lakers 100.

Tuesday's Daily Dunks: 

#1. 76ers guard Tony Wroten is flying to California to see a knee specialist (Click here for details).

#2. Jazz rookie guard Rodney Hood is out until after the all-star break with a left foot inflammation (Click here for details).

#3. The Nuggets assigned guard Erick Green to the D-League to join the Fort Wayne Mad Ants (Click here for details).

#4. The Spurs assigned forward Kyle Anderson to the D-League to join the Austin Spurs (Click here for details).

#5. The Pistons recalled forward Gigi Datome and  guard Spcncer Dinwiddie from the D-League (Click here for details).

#6. Heat center Hassan Whiteside (ankle) is day-to-day and did not travel to Charlotte (Click here for details).

#7. Cavaliers small forward LeBron James (flu) didn't practice and is questionable for Wednesday's game against the Jazz (Click here for details).

#8. The Bucks signed forward Kenyon Martin for the rest of the season (Click here for details).

#9. Trail Blazers power forward LaMarcus Aldridge didn't travel to Phoenix. He will see a hand specialist and get an MRI (Click here for details).

#10. Spurs point guard Tony Parker had 18 points and 7 assists.

Tuesday's NBA Final Scores: 

Thunder 94 Heat 86. Spurs 109 Nuggets 99.

Wednesday's Daily Dunks: 

#1. The Bucks and power forward Larry Sanders are working on a buyout  (Click here for details).

#2. The Celtics signed guard Andre Dawkins to a 10-day contract (Click here for details).

#3. The Knicks signed forward Lance Thomas to a second 10-day contract (Click here for details).

#4. Pelicans power forward Anthony Davis returned from a three-game absence. He had 29 points, 8 rebounds, 3 steals, and 4 blocks.

#5. LeBron James has talked with Ray Allen about a return (Click here for more info).

#6. The GM of the Bulls denies that head coach Tom Thibodeau is in the hot seat (Click here for more info).

#7. Hawks head coach Mike Budenholzer will coach the Eastern Conference in the All-Star Game (Click here for more info).

#8. Zach LaVine, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Victor Oladipo, and Mason Plumlee are in the dunk contest (Click here for more info).

#9. Lakers shooting guard Kobe Bryant tore his rotator cuff against the Pelicans (Click here for more info).

#10. Thunder point guard Russell Westbrook scored 32 points and Thunder small forward Kevin Durant scored 34 points in their win over the Wizards.

Wednesday's NBA Final Scores: 

Cavaliers 106 Jazz 92. Mavericks 98 Timberwolves 75. Grizzlies 92 Raptors 86. Warriors 126 Rockets 113. Knicks 98 76ers 91. Hornets 78 Heat 76. Hawks 110 Pacers 91. Pistons 128 Magic 118. Pelicans 96 Lakers 80. Thunder 105 Wizards 103 (OT). Suns 118 Trail Blazers 113. Nets 103 Kings 100.

Thursday's Daily Dunks: 

#1. The Bulls plan to match any offer sheet for Jimmy Butler (Click here for more info).

#2. Trail Blazers forward Nicolas Batum has a wrist injury (Click here for more info).

#3. Hawks small forward Kyle Korver headlines the 3-point shootout at All-Star Weekend (Click here for more info).

#4. The Knicks are shopping guard Pablo Prigioni (Click here for more info).

#5. Bulls point guard Derrick Rose has been cleared to play extended minutes (Click here for more info).

#6. The Grizzlies signed forward Tyrus Thomas to a 10-day contract (Click here for more info).

#7. Here are the NBA All-Star Starters: Eastern Conference: John Wall, Kyle Lowry, LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, and Pau Gasol. Western Conference: Stephen Curry, Kobe Bryant, Anthony Davis, Marc  Gasol, and Blake Griffin.

#8. Trail Blazers power forward LaMarcus Aldridge has a ligament tear in his thumb and will miss 6-8 weeks after surgery (Click here for more details).

#9. Cavaliers small forward Shawn Marion will retire after this season (Click here for more info).

#10. Pelicans point guard Jrue Holiday is out 2-4 weeks with a stress reaction in his right leg (Click here for more info).

Thursday's NBA Final Scores: 

Jazz 101 Bucks 99. Bulls 104 Spurs 81. Celtics 90 Trail Blazers 89. Clippers 123 Nets 84.

Friday's Daily Dunks: 

#1. Lakers shooting guard Kobe Bryant is likely done for the season (Click here for more info).

#2. The Pelicans signed guard Nate Wolters to a second 10-day contract (Click here for more info).

#3. Celtics center Kelly Olynyk is out one month with an ankle sprain (Click here for more info).

#4. Nets forward Mirza Teletovic is out for the season due to due multiple blood clots in his lungs (Click here for more info).

#5. The Celtics assigned guard Andre Dawkins to the D-League (Click here for more info).

#6. 76ers guard Tony Wroten has a partially torn ACL in his right knee. He'll kneed surgery and is out indefinitely (Click here for more info).

#7. Nuggets guard Ty Lawson got arrested for a DUI (Click here for more info).

#8. Klay Thompson scored 52 points and an NBA record 37 points in the Warriors' win over the Kings.

#9. LeBron James had 25 points, 6 rebounds, and 9 assists for the Cavaliers in their win over the Hornets.

#10. Rockets shooting guard James Harden had 33 points, 6 rebounds, and 10 assists in their win over the Suns.

Friday's NBA Final Scores: 

Pelicans 92 Timberwolves 84. Warriors 126 Kings 101. Raptors 91 76ers 86. Hawks 103 Thunder 93. Cavaliers 129 Hornets 90. Heat 89 Pacers 87. Knicks 113 Magic 106. Bulls 102 Mavericks 98. Spurs 99 Lakers 85. Celtics 100 Nuggets 99. Rockets 113 Suns 111.

Saturday's Daily Dunks: 

#1. Trail Blazers power forward LaMarcus Aldridge decided put off thumb surgery. He played against the Wizards and had 26 points and 9 rebounds (Click here for more info).

#2. The Jazz signed guard Elijah Millsap to a three-year deal (Click here fore more details).

#3. Rockets center Dwight Howard injured his ankle and is out indefinitely (Click here for more info).

#4. The Clippers signed guard Dahntay Jones to a second 10-day contract (Click here for more info).

#5. Pistons point guard Brandon Jennings suffered a torn left Achilles' tendon, ending his season (Click here for more info).

#6. Heat shooting guard Dwyane Wade says NBA players need to be protected from crazy fans (Click here for more info).

#7. The Lakers will make a final decision on Kobe Bryant's injury on Monday (Click here for more info).

#8. Cavaliers players  have "lost faith" in their season (Click here for more info).

#9. Grizzlies small forward Jeff Green had 18 points against the 76ers.

#10. Jazz small forward Gordon Hayward had 24 points, 4 rebounds, 3 assists, and 3 steals against the Nets.

Saturday's NBA Final Scores: 

Grizzlies 101 76ers 83. Jazz 108 Nets 73. Hornets 76 Knicks 71. Bucks 101 Pistons 86. Trail Blazers 103 Wizards 96.

Sunday's Daily Dunks:

#1. Metta World Peace is done in China. He's hoping to sign with an NBA team (Click here for details).

#2. The Kings signed forward Quincy Miller to a second 10-day contract (Click here for details).

#3. Pistons center Andre Drummond  has been warned for flopping (Click here for details).

#4. The Pistons need another point guard with Brandon Jennings out and the Knicks are trying to unload Pablo Prigioni. A trade could happen (Click here for details).

#5. The Hornets and Nets are reportedly discussing a Lance Stephenson/Joe Johnson swap (Click here for details).

#6. Timberwolves forward Robbie Hummel has a fracture in his right hand and is out indefinitely (Click here for details).

#7. Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski has won 1,000 career games (Click here for details).

#8. Clippers guard J.J. Redick has been warned for flopping (Click here for details).

#9 Heat center Hassan Whiteside had 14 points, 13 rebounds, and 12 blocks against the Bulls.

#10.  Danilo Gallinari returned for the Nuggets on Friday from his knee injury (Click here for details).

Sunday's NBA Final Scores: 

Hawks 112 Timberwolves 100. Warriors 114 Celtics 111. Heat 96 Bulls 84. Cavaliers 108 Thunder 98. Pelicans 109 Mavericks 106. Pacers 106 Magic 99. Clippers 120 Suns 100. Spurs 101 Bucks 95. Raptors 114 Pistons 110. Wizards 117 Nuggets 115 (OT). Rockets 99 Lakers 87.

---Ben Parker: follow me on twitter @nba_lord for more NBA news