NBA Lord's NBA Blog

NBA Lord's NBA Blog

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Bear Territory Tuesday: How huge would it be for Cal to land Ivan Rabb?


     Despite the season being over, the buzz around Cal basketball is bigger than it was at any point during the season all because of one young man named Ivan Rabb, a 5-star McDonald's All-American power forward from Bishop O'Dowd High School in Oakland, CA. At 6'11'' and 220 lbs, Rabb has the ability to dominate on both ends of the floor with his length, explosiveness, and offensive moves. He is able to score in a variety of ways, both inside and out. He can beat you down on the block or take you out on the perimeter and sink a fade away jumper in your face.





     He appears to be the whole package, which is why Cal is drooling all over him and why NBADraft.net has him going #3 overall in the 2016 NBA Draft (Click here for that mock draft). So, how huge would be it be for Cal to land Ivan Rabb? It would be more than huge. It would be monstrous! The Cal basketball program hasn't had a player of this caliber since Jason Kidd in the early 1990s, who like Rabb was a local product debating between Cal and a traditional basketball powerhouse (Rabb is also considering Arizona and Kidd was considering Kansas).

      If Cal lands Ivan Rabb, they will be on the national stage with the likes of Kentucky, Kansas, Arizona, North Carolina, and Duke. The table will be set for Cal to land other big name recruits like Caleb Swanigan and Jaylen Brown. Even if those guys don't come to join him, Rabb's presence alone would be huge for the program because he would make Cal a destination for other big-name players to seriously consider.

     The impact landing Rabb would have on the program would be bigger than just his impact for one season. It would impact how Cuonzo Martin is able to recruit for years to come. Big-time recruits like Rabb are looking at college as a place to prepare themselves for the NBA. If Ivan Rabb plays well at Cal and goes on to have a stellar NBA career, Cuonzo Martin will be able to tell other big-name recruits that Cal is a great place to prepare yourself for the NBA. In addition, he'll have Ivan Rabb there to answer any questions.

     As far as what his impact would mean for next season, it's hard to say because there is still a lot of factors and variables that we don't know. We don't know how good Arizona is going to be, how good UCLA  and Utah will be, or what the national championship landscape will be as a whole. But assuming that Tyrone Wallace comes back, I don't see any reason to not expect Cal to make the NCAA tournament and make a run to the Sweet Sixteen. I wouldn't rule out a run to the Elite Eight or Final Four since Rabb would have plenty of quality veteran's around him, but I think that once you get to that point, you're asking for quite a bit of luck.

     In conclusion, landing Rabb would be huge for Cal. He would instantly become the face of the program and have an impact that would ripple through the program for many years to come. He would elevate Cal from the middle of the Pac-12 to the forefront of the national championship picture in a way similar to what we saw happen with Utah. Go Bears!

---Ben Parker: follow me on twitter @nba_lord for NBA and Cal basketball news 

Daily Dunks: 3/30-4/5

                                                 (Credit: Andy Melton. Click here for source) 

This is my Daily Dunks page for March 30, 2015 through  April 5, 2015. Throughout the week this page will be updated with the latest news and scores from across the NBA until a new Daily Dunks page is created for the following week.

Monday's Daily Dunks: 

#1. Rockets guard Patrick Beverley has undergone season-ending surgery on his left wrist (Click here for details).

#2. Texas center Myles Turner, Georgia State shooting guard R.J. Hunter, and  UNLV guard Rashad Vaughn are leaving for the NBA draft.

#3. Chris Mullin is leaving the Kings to take the head coaching job at St. John's (Click here for details).

#4. Timberwolves center Nikola Pekovic (ankle) is done for the season (Click here for details).

#5. Bulls point guard Derrick Rose has returned to full-contact practice. Still no timetable for when he plays in a game again (Click here for details).

#6. The Trail Blazers signed guard Tim Frazier for the remainder of the season (Click here for details).

#7. Kings forward Rudy Gay is out indefinitely with a concussion and won't play on Wednesday (Click here for details).

#8. The Trail Blazers have clinched a playoff spot.

#9. Andrew Wiggins and Rudy Gobert had some fun battles above the rim (Click here for a video)

#10. Warriors point guard Stephen Curry and Nets center Brook Lopez won player of the week honors for last week (Click here for details).

Monday's NBA Final Scores: 

Jazz 104 Timberwolves 84. Grizzlies 97 Kings 83. Lakers 113 76ers 111 (OT). Celtics 116 Hornets 104. Hawks 101 Bucks 88. Raptors 99 Rockets 96. Trail Blazers 109 Suns 86.

Tuesday's Daily Dunks: 

#1. The Suns signed shooting guard Jerel McNeal to a 10-day contract and released point guard A.J. Price (Click here for details).

#2. The Bucks may have a new logo (Click here for details).

#3. Spurs guard Patty Mills has been warned for flopping against the Grizzlies (Click here for details).

#4. Jazz rookie guard Rodney Hood has a concussion. He is out indefinitely (Click here for details).

#5.The Grizzlies recalled Jarnell Stokes and Russ Smith from the D-League (Click here for details).

#6. Kevin Durant underwent successful bone graft surgery on his foot. His out 4-6 months (Click here for details).

#7. Anthony Davis says James Harden should be MVP (Click here for details).

#8. Phil Jackson says Knicks fans should remain optimistic (Click here for details).

#9. Trail Blazers center Meyers Leonard has changed agencies (Click here for details).

#10. Clippers power forward Blake Griffin 40 points and 12 rebounds.

Tuesday's NBA Final Scores: 

Warriors 110 Clippers 106. Pistons 105 Hawks 95. Nets 111 Pacers 106. Spurs 95 Heat 81.

Wednesday's Daily Dunks: 

#1. Pelicans forward Ryan Anderson (knee) returned to the lineup. He had 17 points and 3 rebounds.

#2.The Kings signed center Sim Bhullar to a 10-day contract (Click here for details).

#3. Celtics shooting guard Evan Turner, Thunder point guard Russell Westbrook, and Kings center DeMarcus Cousins all had triple-doubles.

#4. Rockets shooting guard James Harden scored 51 points, a career high.

#5. The Lakers officially waived Steve Nash and signed Jabari Brown to a multi-year deal (Click here for details).

#6. David Blatt and Steve Kerr have won coach of the month honors for March (Click here for details).

#7. Heat point guard Shabazz Napier is done for the season after undergoing sports hernia surgery (Click here for details).

#8. The Mavericks have a ceiling when it comes to how much they'll pay Rajon Rondo to keep him around (Click here for details).

#9. Thunder center Enes Kanter had 30 points and 16 rebounds.

#10. 76ers point guard Ish Smith scored 23 points.

Wednesday's NBA Final Scores: 

Raptors 113 Timberwolves 99. Jazz 98 Nuggets 84. Spurs 103 Magic 91. Wizards 106 76ers 93. Hornets 102 Pistons 78. Celtics 100 Pacers 87. Nets 100 Knicks 98. Rockets 115 Kings 111. Bucks 95 Bulls 91. Mavericks 135 Thunder 131. Clippers 126 Trail Blazers 122. Pelicans 113 Lakers 92.

Thursday's Daily Dunks: 

#1. Timberwolves center Nikola Pekovic needs surgery on his Achilles (Click here for details).

#2. More details of the Bucks' new logo have emerged (Click here for details).

#3. Trail Blazers small forward Dorrell Wright is out indefinitely with a left hand fracture (Click here for details).

#4. The Lakers signed guard Dwight Buycks to a 10-day contract (Click here for details).

#5. The Lakers are expected to pick up power forward Jordan Hill's $9M option for next season (Click here for details).

#6. Talks of Billy Donovan leaving Florida for the NBA are heating up (Click here for details).

#7. Warriors small forward Harrison Barnes hit the game-winning shot to defeat the Suns (Click here for a video).

#8. Suns center Alex Len is out at least one week after undergoing surgery on his broken nose (Click here for details).

#9. Lakers shooting guard Wayne Ellington is done for the season due to a separated shoulder (Click here for details).

#10. Rockets forward Josh Smith had 15 points and 12 rebounds.

Thursday's NBA Final Scores: 

Warriors 107 Suns 106. Cavaliers 114 Heat 88. Rockets 108 Mavericks 101.

Friday's Daily Dunks: 

#1. The Hawks signed forward Austin Daye for the rest of the season. It's a multi-year deal (Click here for details).

#2. Trail Blazers forward Dorrell Wright (hand) is expected to be out 4-6 weeks (Click here for details).

#3. Heat shooting guard Dwyane Wade (knee) is questionable for Saturday. Likely to go on Sunday (Click here for details).

#4. Clippers shooting guard Jamal Crawford (calf) has returned to practice and is targeting a Tuesday return (Click here for details).

#5. Celtics forward Jared Sullinger made a surprise return. He played 3 minutes (Click here for details on his status).

#6. The Nuggets reportedly wanted to deal Ty Lawson at the deadline (Click here for details).

#7. Magic power forward Nikola Vucevic had 37 points and 17 rebounds.

#8. Grizzlies small forward Jeff Green had 22 points and 5 assists.

#9. Wizards small forward Otto Porter, Jr. had 17 points.

#10. Knicks guard Ricky Ledo had 21 points and 9 rebounds.

Friday's NBA Final Scores: 

Magic 97 Timberwolves 84. Grizzlies 100 Thunder 92. Pacers 93 Hornets 74. Wizards 101 Knicks 87. Bucks 110 Celtics 101. Nets 114 Raptors 109. Bulls 88 Pistons 82. Spurs 123 Nuggets 93. Pelicans 101 Kings 95. Trail Blazers 107 Lakers 77.

Saturday's Daily Dunks: 

#1. Paul George will return on Sunday (Click here for details).

#2. The Hornets may shut down Al Jefferson (knee) for the season (Click here for details).

#3. Lakers shooting guard Nick Young is likely done for the season (Click here for details).

#4. Mark Jackson's MVP vote goes to James Harden. Stephen Curry is surprised (Click here for details).

#5. Timberwolves point guard Ricky Rubio (ankle) is done for the season (Click here for details).

#6. Cavaliers power forward Kevin Love will return on Sunday (Click here for details).

#7. Jazz rookie shooting guard Rodney Hood was cleared to play on Saturday after having a concussion (Click here for details).

#8. Warriors head coach Steve Kerr has set the NBA record for most wins by a rookie head coach (Click here for details).

#9. Marcus Smart hit the game-winning shot for the Celtics in OT, giving the Celtics the #8 seed in the East for the moment (Click here for a video).

#10. Clippers shooting guard J.J. Redick had 25 points.

Saturday's NBA Final Scores: 

Wizards 92 Grizzlies 83. Warriors 123 Mavericks 110. Suns 87 Jazz 85. Hornets 92 76ers 91. Hawks 131 Nets 99. Pistons 99 Heat 98. Celtics 117 Raptors 116 (OT). Magic 97 Bucks 90. Clippers 107 Nuggets 92. Trail Blazers 99 Pelicans 90.

Sunday's Daily Dunks: 

#1. The Wizards are signing guard Will Bynum for the rest of the season (Click here for details).

#2.The Nets signed Earl Clark to a two-year deal with a team option for next season (Click here for details).

#3. Derrick Rose could return this upcoming week (Click here for details).

#4. In his return, Pacers forward Paul George had 13 points and 2 rebounds.

#5. Warriors guard Shaun Livingston was suspended for Sunday's game due to punching Dirk Nowitzki in the groin (Click here for details).

#6. Rockets shooting guard James Harden had 41 points, 6 rebounds, and 6 assists against the Thunder.

#7. Thunder point guard Russell Westbrook had 41 points, 11 rebounds, and 13 assists against the Rockets.

#8. Thunder center Enes Kanter had 21 points and 17 rebounds against the Rockets.

#9. Cavaliers small forward LeBron James had 20 points, 10 rebounds, and 12 assists against the Bulls.

#10. Cavaliers point guard Kyrie Irving had 27 points, 5 rebounds, and 4 assists against the Bulls.

Sunday's NBA Final Scores: 

Spurs 107 Warriors 92. Jazz 101 Kings 95. Rockets 115 Thunder 112. Cavaliers 99 Bulls 94. Pacers 112 Heat 89. Knicks 101 76ers 91. Clippers 106 Lakers 78.


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


Thursday, March 26, 2015

Bear Territory Thursday: Looking back on Cal's NCAA Tournament victory over Duke in '93



     I thought that with the Sweet 16 starting today, it would be fun to take a trip down memory lane and revisit Cal's huge upset over Duke in the 1993 NCAA Tournament. The 82-77 victory propelled Cal to the Sweet 16 and the loss ended Duke's hopes of winning three-straight national titles. The heroes for Cal were point guard Jason Kidd and forward Lamond Murray who combined for 39 points, 28 of which were scored by Murray. As for Duke, point guard Bobby Hurley, a senior, scored 32 points and dished out 9 assists.

     What struck me the most about this game as a result of watching it in its entirety, was how Cal dominated Duke for almost the entire game. Yes, the final two minutes were nerve racking, but for the vast bulk of the game, Cal was the better team. Cal took a 47-37 lead into the half thanks to a 13-0 run sparked by Jerod Haase and Monty Buckley. In the second half, Cal had a lead as big as 55-37 and continued to dominate Duke, going up 70-53.

     So while Jason Kidd referred to this win as a "miracle" in the "The Players' Tribune" earlier this week, it shouldn't be forgotten that Cal dominated Duke for much of this game. The biggest reason why Cal dominated Duke was that Cal played a much cleaner game. 11 of Cal's first 29 points were off of Duke turnovers while at that point of the game, Duke had scored just 4 points off of Cal turnovers. Cal simply took better care of the basketball and as a result, they took a 47-37 lead into the half.

     The only thing that Cal didn't do a good job of in the first half was keeping Duke away from the foul line. Duke shot around 15 foul shots in the first half, and made almost every one. If it weren't for Duke's ability to get to the foul line, Cal would have probably taken a 20 point lead into the half.

     What got Duke back into the game in the second half was Cal showing the signs of a young and inexperienced team. 11 players on Cal's roster were either freshman or sophomores and their star Jason Kidd was a freshman. As for Duke, they were captained by Bobby Hurley, a senior who still is the NCAA's all-time leader in assists. Cal's youth and inexperience caused them to turn the ball over a lot in the second-half (9+ turnovers) and Duke, being the veteran team that they were, made Cal pay.

     However, it took Duke quite a while to eventually get the lead, and when they did, Cal took it right back thanks to Jason Kidd hitting a miracle shot in the paint which lead to a three-point play. With Cal up 79-77, Duke wasn't able to take the lead again, partly due to some luck for Cal and also the law of averages, which states that when you go down by double-digits against a really good team, you aren't likely to come back.

     Some of the lucky breaks for Cal in the final two minutes include Duke forward Grant Hill traveling, Cal getting the ball back after Jason Kidd missed a free throw, and Cal retaining the ball after it appeared to go off of Jason Kidd on a no-call near the basket. In addition, Cal was lucky that Lamond Murray was able to play in the second half after suffering an ankle sprain while Duke center Cherokee Parks sat out the second half due to an ankle sprain of his own.

     There is no doubt that the basketball gods smiled on Cal on March 20, 1993, but make no mistake that Cal was the better team that day. They dominated Duke early in the game, and held on for the win. In many ways, the game was won when Cal went on that 13-0 run in the first half. While it is true that Duke did eventually take the lead, it was only for a brief moment and they appeared to be gassed down the stretch.

     When Cal basketball players, coaches, and fans look back on this game, they shouldn't take inspiration from the fact that miracles can happen. They should take inspiration from the fact that Cal dominated Duke. Cal didn't win that game because they got lucky. Cal won that game because they were better than Duke. It's that simple.

(Note: If you want to read Jason Kidd's write up about the game in "The Players' Tribune", click here)

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

   

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Wednesday Windmill: The Clippers are not getting any better

     The Los Angeles Clippers are not getting any better. In the 2012-13 season, they won 56 games; last season, they won 57 games; and this season, they are on pace to win 54 games if you round up to the nearest whole number. Despite kicking Vinny Del Negro and Donald Sterling to the curb and replacing them with Doc Rivers and Steve Ballmer, the Clippers have not made any progress over the past three seasons. If anything, they are regressing.
   
     What Clippers fans will probably say in defense is that Blake Griffin has missed 16 games this season, but even with that, they probably don't win any more than 57 games, the same number they won last season. Part of the problem is that Chris Paul is stagnating. He's playing great basketball, averaging 18.8 points, 10.1 assists, and 1.9 steals per game, but he isn't going to be any better than what he is. He's turning 30 in May, which means he likely has 4-5 good seasons left in him before he officially enters the "bonus round". But over those next 4-5 seasons, he isn't going to be any more productive than what he already is.

      In addition, Blake Griffin isn't improving enough to make the Clippers championship contenders. Don't get me wrong, he's improving his game, but he hasn't yet become a guy who the Clippers can rely on to lead them to a championship. As for DeAndre Jordan, while his rebounding and shot-blocking abilities are outstanding, he's still averaging just a shade over 11 points per game and still unable to make a shot outside of eight feet.

     Plus, Jamal Crawford, who averages 16 points per game, is already 35 years old and possibly done for the season with a calf injury. There's no telling how much basketball he has left in him, but at the moment, he appears to rapidly be heading for retirement.

     What's alarming about all of this is that these are the four guys who the Clippers are depending on to win them a championship, and so far it doesn't look like this quartet can get the job done. They can get the Clippers to the playoffs and possibly out of the first round, but that's about it. They don't have what it takes to contend with the likes of the Warriors, Grizzlies, Rockets, and even Trail Blazers, all teams which keep getting better every season.

     The real conundrum for the Clippers is that they obviously don't want to blow up the whole team since what they have is still very competitive. However, if winning a championship is the goal, they have to look at moving at least a couple of these four guys in hopes of striking it rich. The two guys who make the most sense to move are Chris Paul and Jamal Crawford. Both guys are getting up there in age and both guys are still in a position to help a contending team out.

     The Clippers might be best off trading those guys for assets, missing the playoffs for a year or two, and adding some quality young players in the draft. If the Clippers are content with being a playoff team that doesn't threaten to win the NBA championship, then they should stick with what they have. But if they want to really make a run at a championship with Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan as their front court, then they really have to entertain the idea of letting Paul and Crawford go via trade.

     Moving Jamal Crawford shouldn't be too hard since he has only one year left on his contract for about $5.7M, but moving Chris Paul could be a serious challenge given that he has three-years left on his contract with each year paying him more money ($21.5M, $22.8M, and $24.3M). The only teams that would be willing to pay Chris Paul that kind of money are teams that are either one player away from winning a championship or the Los Angeles Lakers, whose front office would be willing to sniff cocaine in a dark alley for four straight hours to get another superstar.

     The Lakers actually might be a perfect team to trade Paul to. They would be willing to pay Chris Paul the money and also be willing to give up a boat load of assets to get him. The Lakers are stuck in this delusional fantasy land where winning has to happen instantly and there can be no "rebuilding" of any kind. Landing Chris Paul would fit right into their fantasy plans of winning an NBA championship in less than three years, something that wouldn't happen if the other 29 teams in the league spotted them 15 points every night.

      But back to my point, the Clippers have to consider moving Chris Paul if it's at all possible. He's stagnating and certainly won't be worth $24.3M in three seasons. The problem, is that it's going to be harder to move him with each passing season. But perhaps they could get something good for him before the 2016 trade deadline and start building towards winning an NBA championship as opposed to another first round exit in the playoffs.

     Things aren't bad for the Clippers except for the fact that things aren't getting any better, and that in and of itself is bad. The Clippers almost seem to be a team that had a good idea for a championship recipe, but it just didn't deliver. It appears as though it's time they go in a different direction, but at the moment it isn't entirely clear what their next move should be.

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

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Daily Dunks: 3/23-3/29

                                                  (Credit: Andy Melton. Click here for source)

     Here is my Daily Dunks page for March 23, 2015 through March 29, 2015. Throughout the week, this page will be updated with news, scores, and rumors from across the NBA until a new daily dunks page is created for the following week.

Monday's Daily Dunks: 

#1. The NBA has taken away Russell Westbrook's triple-double from Sunday (Click here for details).

#2. Warriors shooting guard Klay Thompson (ankle) returned on Monday. He played 18 minutes and scored 8 points.

#3. Bulls shooting guard Jimmy Butler (elbow) returned on Monday. He scored 19 points and grabbed 9 rebounds in 40 minutes of playing.

#4. The Bulls and Grizzlies clinched playoff spots.

#5. Knicks point guard Jose Calderon has undergone season-ending surgery on his Achilles (Click here for details).

#6. Paul George update: The Pacers have no timetable for his return (Click here for details).

#7. Grizzlies center Marc Gasol says he has not ruled out signing with the Knicks in free agency, contrary to previous reports (Click here for details).

#8. JaVale McGee is still interested in joining a playoff team (Click here for details).

#9. There appears to be some friction between Monta Ellis and the Mavericks (Click here for details).

#10. The Kings signed forward David Wear to a 10-day contract (Click here for details).

Monday's NBA Final Scores: 

Grizzlies 103 Knicks 82. Timberwolves 106 Jazz 104 (OT). Warriors 107 Wizards 76. Rockets 110 Pacers 100. Celtics 110 Nets 91. Bulls 98 Hornets 86.

Tuesday's Daily Dunks: 

#1. Forward Austin Daye signed a second 10-day contract with the Hawks (Click here for details).

#2. Spurs guard Manu Ginobili returned from his ankle injury. He played 16 minutes.

#3. The Warriors have claimed the Pacific Division title for the first time since the 1975-76 season.

#4. The Pelicans re-signed guard Toney Douglas for the remainder of the season (Click here for details).

#5. Rockets center Dwight Howard is expected to play on Wednesday (Click here for details).

#6. Rockets point guard Patrick Beverly (wrist) could be done for the season (Click here for details).

#7. Metta World Peace signed with a team in Italy (Click here for details).

#8. Battery charges against Blake Griffin have been dropped (Click here for details).

#9. Thunder shooting guard Andre Roberson (ankle) is out two-three weeks (Click here for details).

#10. Mavericks shooting guard Monta Ellis scored 38 points against the Spurs.

Tuesday's NBA Final Scores: 

Warriors 122 Trail Blazers 108. Pistons 108 Raptors 104. Bucks 89 Heat 88. Thunder 127 Lakers 117. Mavericks 101 Spurs 94. Kings 107 76ers 106.

Wednesday's Daily Dunks: 

#1. Pelicans forward Ryan Anderson (knee) could be back in one week (Click here for details).

#2. Rockets point guard Patrick Beverly has a torn ligament in his wrist. He'll decide on treatment in 7-10 days (Click here for details).

#3. Knicks guard Alexey Shved is out two-three weeks with a rib fracture. His season is likely over (Click here for details).

#4. Celtics point guard Isaiah Thomas returned (Click here for details).

#5. Hawks guard Thabo Sefolosha returned (Click here for details).

#6. Florida guard Michael Frazier II is leaving for the NBA (Click here for details).

#7. LSU power forward Jarell Martin is leaving for the NBA (Click here for details).

#8. Heat center Hassan Whiteside (hand laceration) didn't play on Wednesday. He is questionable for Friday (Click here for details).

#9. Bulls point guard Derrick Rose (knee) expects to be cleared for contact soon (Click here for details).

#10. Hornets assistant Mark Price is leaving the team to be the head coach at UNC-Charlotte (Click here for details).

Wednesday's NBA Final Scores: 

Lakers 101 Timberwolves 99 (OT). Cavaliers 111 Grizzlies 89. Trail Blazers 92 Jazz 89. Clippers 111 Knicks 80. Hawks 95 Magic 83. Pacers 103 Wizards 101. Nets 91 Hornets 88. Bulls 116 Raptors 103. Heat 93 Celtics 86. Rockets 95 Pelicans 93. 76ers 99 Nuggets 85. Spurs 130 Thunder 91. Kings 108 Suns 99.

Thursday's Daily Dunks: 

#1. The Wizards signed guard Will Bynum and waived guard Toure' Murry (Click here for details).

#2. Due to his knee injury, the Clippers are holding off on signing Nate Robinson for the rest of the season (Click here for details).

#3. Nets forward Thaddeus Young has a left knee strain (Click here for details).

#4. The Jazz waived guard Ian Clark (Click here for details).

#5. The Jazz signed forward Chris Johnson to a multi-year deal (Click here for details).

#6. The Jazz signed forward Jack Cooley to a multi-year deal (Click here for details).

#7. Andrei Kirilenko plans to retire after his season with CSKA Moscow (Click here for details).

#8. Nuggets forward Darrell Arthur is dealing with some lingering/nagging injuries (Click here for details).

#9. Amar'e Stoudemire doesn't plan to retire soon (Click here for details).

#10. Will Barton is interested in staying with the Nuggets past this season (Click here for details).

Thursday's NBA Final Scores: 

Bucks 111 Pacers 107.

Friday's NBA Daily Dunks: 

#1. Kevin Durant is will undergo season-ending foot surgery (Click here for details).

#2. UNLV freshman guard Rashad Vaughn may or may not be leaving for the NBA draft (Click here for details).

#3. The Nets have signed forward Earl Clark to a 10-day contract (Click here for details).

#4. Rockets forward Donatas Motiejunas is out 1-2 weeks with pain and stiffness in his lower back (Click here for details).

#5. The Raptors clinched the Atlantic Division title. The Hawks clinched the #1 overall seed in the East. The Rockets and Clippers clinched playoff spots in the West.

#6. Long time Utah Jazz announcer "Hot Rod" Hundley passed away. May he rest in peace (Click here for details).

#7. Manu Ginobili won't play for Argentina this summer (Click here for details).

#8. Shaquille O'Neal says he regrets leaving the Magic (Click here for details).

#9. The NBA salary cap could rise to $105M in the 2017-18 season (Click here for details).

#10. Stephen Curry scored 38 points in the Warriors' win over the Grizzlies.

Friday's NBA Final Scores: 

Rockets 120 Timberwolves 110. Warriors 107 Grizzlies 84. Nuggets 107 Jazz 91. Pistons 111 Magic 97. Clippers 119 76ers 98. Wizards 110 Hornets 107 (2OT). Hawks 99 Heat 86. Nets 106 Cavaliers 98. Celtics 96 Knicks 92. Raptors 94 Lakers 83. Pelicans 102 Kings 88. Spurs 94 Mavericks 76. Trail Blazers 87 Suns 81.

Saturday's Daily Dunks: 

#1. Kentucky and Wisconsin advanced to the Final Four.

#2. The Nuggets claimed guard Ian Clark off waivers from the Jazz (Click here for details).

#3. The NBA and the Pacers released a join statement about Indiana's Religious Freedom Restoration Act (Click here for details).

#4. Thunder center Enes Kanter publicly trashed the Utah Jazz (Click here for details).

#5. Jazz forward Trevor Booker fired back at Enes Kanter (Click here for details).

#6. Kevin Love gets along well with Russell Westbrook (Click here for details).

#7. Anthony Davis made 100 free throws after the Pelicans' loss to the Rockets (Click here for details).

#8. Jazz point guard Trey Burke had 22 points.

#9. Warriors point guard Stephen Curry had 25 points and 6 assists.

#10. Trail Blazers power forward LaMarcus Aldridge had 32 points and 11 rebounds.

Saturday's NBA Final Scores: 

Warriors 108 Bucks 95. Jazz 94 Thunder 89. Hornets 115 Hawks 100. Bulls 111 Knicks 80. Trail Blazers 120 Nuggets 114.

Sunday's Daily Dunks: 

#1. The Knicks have lost a franchise worst 60 games this season.

#2. The Celtics plan to go after Kawhi Leonard in restricted free agency (Click here for details).

#3. The Magic plan to give their general manager Rob Hennigan a contract extension (Click here for details).

#4. The Clippers have signed guard Lester Hudson to a 10-day contract (Click here for details).

#5. Mavericks guard Monta Ellis didn't play on Sunday due to a calf injury. He's out indefinitely (Click here for details).

#6. The Knicks signed guard Ricky Ledo to a second 10-day contract (Click here for details).

#7. Thoughts and prayers for Craig Sager. He says his cancer has returned (Click here for details).

#8. Heat shooting guard Dwyane Wade scored 40 points against the Pistons.

#9. Clippers power forward Blake Griffin scored 21 points and grabbed 9 rebounds against the Celtics.

#10. Thunder guard Russell Westbrook had 33 points, 9 rebounds, and 7 assists against the Suns.

Sunday's NBA Final Scores: 

Pelicans 110 Timberwolves 88. Spurs 103 Grizzlies 89. Rockets 99 Wizards 91. Nets 107 Lakers 99. Cavaliers 87 76ers 86. Clippers 119 Celtics 106. Heat 109 Pistons 102. Pacers 104 Mavericks 99. Thunder 109 Suns 97.

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

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Wednesday Windmill: The Lakers are doomed


     The Los Angeles Lakers are doomed and there is nothing that can save them.  Ever since the death of Dr. Jerry Buss, their transcendent emperor, the Lakers have done nothing but make a series of asinine decisions courtesy of their slow-witted general manger Mitch Kupchak, Dr. Buss' slimy daughter Jeanie, and Magic Johnson, who despite being the most beloved Laker of all-time, finds ways to get in the press for making pompous statements laced with bitterness.

     The decision to sign Kobe Bryant to a 2 year, $48M contract isn't the only wrong that these monkeys have done. They ran Dwight Howard out of town after naming him the second coming of Shaquille O'Neal, signed Jeremy Lin with the hopes of him being the face of the franchise, and convinced Steve Nash to not retire so that they could trade his $9.7M expiring contract before the trade deadline (Click here for more details on that story).

     While there is the assumption that the Lakers will turn things around shortly due to their brand, location, and history, there is nothing that their current management has done to convince us that such a turnaround will ever happen. As a matter of fact, if their current trend of incompetence continues, the Lakers will soon become a traveling circus. They will play the Harlem Globetrotters in pick up basketball games and travel overseas to take pictures with insane leaders of third world countries as a token of good will from the United States.

     "We should send the Lakers", the President will say. "Word of the Lakers' shameful play hasn't yet reached that part of the world. They will be greeted as heroes and everybody will get a good chuckle from Kobe Bryant, who is able to tell jokes in many languages. They may be our only hope."

     The only exciting player on the entire Lakers' roster right now is Nick Young, a talented and quick-triggered shooting guard with a flair for entertaining. He fully embraces the Hollywood life, dating an Australian hip-hop sensation named Iggy Azalea and wearing flashy clothes after games. He's living the life and playing good basketball while he's at it. While he isn't a player who the Lakers can build a championship team around, he is at least a player who will get people to come to the games. The Lakers desperately need somebody to get people to come watch them play and they have found their man in Nick Young.

     What is alarming about all of this, is that the Lakers have fallen to the point that they just want a player who can put butts in the seats. Teams that have had this problem are some of the worst teams we've ever seen. Teams like the Clippers and Warriors from the 90s, the Wizards from the early 2000s, and the Denver Nuggets of every generation, are teams that have been in the market for these types of players. They know they can't win games, so they might as well lose while providing their fans with some quality entertainment.

     The fact that the Lakers are going down this path has to be alarming for Lakers fans, and what's worse is that there appears to be no turning back. So long as the current management is at the helm, I see no reason to believe that things will EVER get better for the Lakers. The Lakers are doomed and they will forever be a doormat for every other team in the NBA.

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

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Bear Territory Tuesday: Pac-12 tournament ends in a fitting way for Cal


     The California Men's Basketball team did not accomplish their lofty goal of winning the Pac-12 tournament last week. As a matter of fact, they didn't even come close. After blowing the doors off of Washington State 84-59 in their opening round game, Cal fell back to earth the next day against the top-seeded Arizona Wildcats, losing 73-51.

     While the result wasn't a happy one for Cal fans, it was a fitting result to end the season for Cal, who despite showing flashes of brilliance, never was able to fully get their act together all season. The fact that Cal looked dominant one day and inferior the next day pretty much sums up the entire season for Cal. They either looked really good or really bad.

     Now, in the game against Arizona, I thought Cal actually did a lot of things well. They played hard and physical, and they didn't let Arizona destroy them like they did the last time they faced each other in Tucson. Jabari Bird himself said after the game: "We went out there, competed, played hard. We didn't give up like we did the last game." The fact that Cal played hard, competed, and didn't just roll over and die was certainly a nice thing to see, but all the same, it was still a 20+ point loss and a reminder that this program has a long ways to go before they can actually compete for a national championship.

     Probably the best part of the Bears' trip to Vegas was watching David Kravish go out on a high note. Yeah, he struggled against Arizona, but against Washington State he was dominant, scoring 25 points and grabbing 8 rebounds. To see him end his collegiate career with a dominant performance like that was certainly heart-warming knowing how hard he has worked and what he has meant to the program. Cal fans should definitely remember this trip to Vegas for his dominant performance over Washington State.

     Going back to my point about this being a fitting end for Cal, head coach Cuonzo Martin has to find ways to get Cal to play more consistently next season. There was certainly enough talent on this roster to make the NCAA tournament, but what did Cal in was their inability to consistently play at a high level. If Cal played every game like they did against Washington State and even Arizona, they would have made the field of 68. Instead, Cal struggled to consistently bring the same level of intensity and passion to the floor every night, and that is why the best they could do was go to the CBI, an invitation that Cuonzo Martin declined.

     As for what I'll be blogging about on "Bear Territory Tuesday" during the off-season, I don't entirely know, but rest assured that I'll keep this segment chugging along as a staple of my blog during the off-season and for years to come. There are some exciting things that I can turn my attention to like recruiting, the NBA draft, and even how some other Cal Bears are doing now that they are pros. I'll find things to talk about during the off-season, but I just haven't mapped out what it is exactly that I'll be talking about each week. But that's part of the fun. I'm in just as much suspense as you are. As a matter of fact, 45 minutes ago, I didn't even know what exactly I was going to write about this week. A lot of things just come at the spur of the moment.

      I've had a great time blogging about Cal hoops on here and I am even more excited to see how things go during the off-season as I continue to build "Bear Territory Tuesday". And yes, you may have noticed that sometimes it's Tuesdays and Thursdays. But if there is one thing I can tell you for sure, it's going to be on Tuesdays from now on. The main reason is that it fits better with the flow of the basketball season. Cal plays games typically on Wednesdays or Thursdays and either Saturdays or Sundays, sometimes Fridays.

     Anyways, rarely is there a Tuesday game and Tuesday is a nice time of the week to recap what happened in the past week.  So I guess while there is a lot of mystery of as to what I'll blog about on "Bear Territory Tuesday" going forward, it's nice to know that it will firmly be on Tuesdays. I guess that's a start! Go Bears!

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

Daily Dunks: 3/16-3/22

                                                  (Credit: Andy Melton. Click here for source)

     Here is my Daily Dunks page for March 16 through March 22, 2015. Keep checking this page for all the latest news and updates from around the NBA until a new Daily Dunks page is created next week!

Monday's Daily Dunks: 

#1. Hawks small forward Kyle Korver (broken nose) will miss at least three games including Monday's game (Click here for details).

#2. The Clippers are planning to sign guard Jordan Hamilton for the rest of the season (Click here for details).

#3. The Clippers are signing guard Nate Robinson to a second 10-day contract (Click here for details).

#4. Rockets center Dwight Howard is expected to be 10-14 more days (Click here for details).

#5. Celtics guard Isaiah Thomas is at least three games away from returning (Click here for details).

#6. The Mavericks are no longer interested in JaVale McGee (Click here for details).

#7. Thunder power forward Serge Ibaka underwent a knee procedure. He is out indefinitely (Click here for details).

#8. The Jazz signed point guard Bryce Cotton to a multi-year deal (Click here for details).

#9. The Jazz signed forward Jack Cooley to a second 10-day contract (Click here for details).

#10. Greg Miller is stepping down as CEO of the Jazz. Changes are coming to ownership (Click here for details).

Monday's NBA Final Scores: 

Nets 122 Timberwolves 106. Grizzlies 92 Nuggets 81. Jazz 94 Hornets 66. Warriors 108 Lakers 105. Raptors 117 Pacers 98. Wizards 105 Trail Blazers 97. Celtics 108 76ers 89. Heat 106 Cavaliers 92. Mavericks 119 Thunder 115. Hawks 110 Kings 103.

Tuesday's Daily Dunks: 

#1. Update on Thunder power forward Serge Ibaka: He underwent a knee procedure and is out 4-6 weeks (Click here for details).

#2. Warriors guard Klay Thompson is out 7-10 days with an ankle injury (Click here for details).

#3. Timberwolves head coach Flip Saunders won't coach on Wednesday for personal reasons (Click here for details).

#4. Nuggets GM Tim Connelly says their current head coach Melvin Hunt is being considered to be their long-term head coach (Click here for details).

#5. The Warriors plan to match any offer sheet for Draymond Green (Click here for details).

#6. The Heat signed Michael Beasley for the rest of the season (Click here for details).

#7. The Knicks and Andrea Bargnani have mutual interest in a agreeing on a new deal (Click here for details).

#8. Kevin Love will play on Wednesday for the Cavaliers (Click here for details).

#9. Bulls shooting guard Jimmy Butler and Bulls power forward Taj Gibson could be back by the weekend after going through a full practice (Click here for details).

#10. Bulls point guard Derrick Rose participated in non-contact portions of practice on Tuesday. He may return ahead of schedule (Click here for details).

Tuesday's NBA Final Scores: 

Pistons 105 Grizzlies 95. Knicks 104 Spurs 100 (OT). Pelicans 85 Bucks 84. Rockets 107 Magic 94. Clippers 99 Hornets 92.

Note: Tony Parker, Danny Green, Kawhi Leonard, and Tim Duncan all played 34+ minutes against the Knicks, so the Knicks actually beat them. Lou Amundson led the Knicks with 12 points and 17 rebounds.

Wednesday's Daily Dunks: 

#1. Former NBA player Jack Haley passed away due to heart disease (Click here for details).

#2. Clippers center DeAndre Jordan says he will look around and keep his options open (Click here for details).

#3. Hornets forward Michael Kidd-Gilchrist says he wants to be the best defender of all-time (Click here for details).

#4. Cool story: The Rockets signed a 16-year old kid to a one-day contract via the Make-A-Wish foundation (Click here for details).

#5. Adam Silver isn't yet going to talk about potential work stoppage in 2017 (Click here for details).

#6. The Nuggets are resting players primarily to improve their draft stock (Click here for details).

#7. Ronnie Price wants to stay with the Lakers (Click here for details).

#8. Dwight Howard hopes to be back soon for the Rockets (Click here for details).

#9. Al Harrington has retired (Click here for details).

#10. The Kings signed guard Ricky Ledo to a 10-day contract (Click here for details).

Wednesday's NBA Final Scores: 

Raptors 105 Timberwolves 100. Warriors 114 Hawks 95. Wizards 88 Jazz 84. Cavaliers 117 Nets 92. 76ers 94 Pistons 83. Heat 108 Trail Blazers 104. Bulls 103 Pacers 86. Spurs 114 Bucks 103. Thunder 122 Celtics 118. Mavericks 107 Magic 102. Clippers 116 Kings 105.

Thursday's Daily Dunks: 

#1. The Timberwolves signed guard Sean Kilpatrick to a 10-day contract. He is their 16th player, which means they signed him via the hardship exception, which can be granted if you have four injured players (Click here for more details).

#2. Wizards center Marcin Gortat has been fined $5K for flopping (Click here for details).

#3. Knicks team physician Dr. Lisa Callahan has won the NBA's physician of the year award (Click here for details).

#4. The Spurs may go after Marc Gasol (Click here for details).

#5. Kevin Durant is still out indefinitely (Click here for details).

#6. Paul George plans to participate in Team USA minicamp (Click here for details).

#7. The Wizards are signing guard Toure' Murry to a second 10-day contract (Click here for details).

#8. Rockets forward Terrence Jones is out indefinitely with a rib injury (Click here for details).

#9. Hawks shooting guard Thabo Sefolosha (calf) should return from a two-month absence on Sunday (Click here for details).

#10. Al Harrington will work with the Nuggets as an assistant coach after retiring (Click here for details).

Thursday's NBA Final Scores: 

Timberwolves 95 Knicks 92 (OT). Jazz 80 Lakers 73. Rockets 118 Nuggets 108. Suns 74 Pelicans 72.

Note: Rockets shooting guard James Harden scored 50 points and had 10 rebounds.

Friday's Daily Dunks: 

#1. Thunder small forward Kevin Durant may be done for the season (Click here for details).

#2. The Lakers signed guard Jabari Brown to another 10-day contract (Click here for details).

#3. The Suns signed guard A.J. Price to a 10-day contract and released guard Seth Curry (Click here for details).

#4. Rockets forward Terrence Jones has a partially collapsed lung. He will miss at least one week (Click here for details).

#5. Pacers small forward Paul George is targeting a return within the next 7 days (Click here for details).

#6. Thunder center Enes Kanter (ankle) did not play on Friday (Click here for details).

#7. Bucks head coach Jason Kidd says there is no timetable for the return of O.J. Mayo (hamstring) and Jared Dudley (back) (Click here for details).

#8. The Clippers have officially signed forward Jordan Hamilton for the rest of the season (Click here for details).

#9. Tyrone Corbin is in the mix for the head coaching job at DePaul University (Click here for details).

#10. Magic guard Elfrid Payton has his second straight triple-double. Thunder point guard Russell Westbrook had his ninth triple-double of the season.

Friday's NBA Final Scores: 

Grizzlies 112 Mavericks 101. Warriors 112 Pelicans 96. Magic 111 Trail Blazers 104. 76ers 97 Knicks 81. Cavaliers 95 Pacers 92. Heat 108 Nuggets 91. Nets 129 Bucks 127 (3OT). Bulls 108 Raptors 92. Thunder 123 Hawks 115. Spurs 101 Celtics 89. Kings 101 Hornets 91. Clippers 113 Wizards 99.

Saturday's Daily Dunks: 

#1. Steve Nash announced his retirement from basketball (Click here for details).

#2. Hawks shooting guard Thabo Sefolosha (calf) won't play on Sunday (Click here for details).

#3. Hawks small forward Kyle Korver (nose) is questionable for Sunday (Click here for details).

#4. Celtics point guard Marcus Smart has been suspended 1 game for punching Spurs forward Matt Bonner in the groin (Click here for details).

#5. Thunder power forward Nick Collison is out 7-10 days with a sprained left ankle (Click here for details).

#6. The Cavaliers have clinched a playoff spot.

#7. Mavericks power forward Amar'e Stoudemire was fined $15K after his ejection against the Grizzlies for verbally berating an official and not leaving the court in a timely fashion (Click here for details).

#8. Thunder power forward Serge Ibaka hopes to be back in 3-4 weeks (Click here for details).

#9. Real Madrid guard Sergio Llull, whose rights are owned by the Rockets, may come over to join the Rockets next year (Click here for details).

#10. Fred Hoiberg is on the Bulls' radar should they make a coaching change away from Tom Thibodeau (Click here for details).

Saturday's NBA Final Scores: 

Grizzlies 97 Trail Blazers 86. Warriors 106 Jazz 91. Nets 123 Pacers 111. Pistons 107 Bulls 91. Suns 117 Rockets 102.

Sunday's Daily Dunks: 

#1. The Wizards signed guard Toure' Murry to a second 10-day contract (Click here for details).

#2. Thunder point guard Russell Westbrook had his 10th triple-double of the season (12 points, 10 rebounds, and 17 assists).

#3. Nuggets forward Danilo Gallinari scored 40 points against the Magic.

#4. Josh McRoberts is now able to fly with the Miami Heat on road trips (Click here for details).

#5. Lakers head coach Byron Scott won't travel with the team for Tuesday's game or Wednesday's game due to the death of his mother (Click here for details).

#6. Hawks small forward Kyle Korver (nose) returned and started.

#7. Clippers shooting guard Jamal Crawford (calf) could be done for the season (Click here for details).

#8. The Cavaliers almost got Steve Nash (Click here for details).

#9. Trail Blazers power forward LaMarcus Aldridge sprained his left index finger and is doubtful for Tuesday's game against the Warriors (Click here for details).

#10. Billy Donovan may leave Florida to coach in the NBA (Click here for details).

Sunday's NBA Final Scores: 

Hornets 109 Timberwolves 98. Spurs 114 Hornets 95. Cavaliers 108 Bucks 90. Thunder 93 Heat 75. Clippers 107 Pelicans 100. Raptors 106 Knicks 98. Pistons 105 Celtics 97. Nuggets 119 Magic 100. Kings 109 Wizards 86. Suns 98 Mavericks 92. Lakers 101 76ers 87.

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

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Saturday Slam: David Blatt has to use Kevin Love in the 4th quarter


         
     In the 4th quarter and overtime of the Cleveland Cavaliers' 128-125 victory over the San Antonio Spurs this past week, Kevin Love was nowhere to be seen on the basketball court. He was just chilling on the bench not doing anything productive. If he had ordered a coke and a hot dog and headed for the showers, head coach David Blatt probably wouldn't have noticed, and he certainly wouldn't have cared.

     The reason for Love's benching is obviously due to the fact that he isn't a great defensive player and David Blatt wants defense at the end of games. On paper, Blatt's reasoning sounds logical and agreeable: Kevin Love doesn't play defense; defense wins basketball games; basketball games are won in the fourth quarter; therefore, Kevin Love sits in the 4th quarter.

      There is one important fact that gets ignored in this argument and that fact is that the Cleveland Cavaliers are paying Kevin Love $16.74M this season. When was the last time you heard of a player getting paid $16.74M while simultaneously not get used in the 4th quarter? I can't think of anybody. Kevin Love is one of the Cavaliers' money players and as a rule of thumb, you have to play your money players in crunch time because that's why they are getting paid that amount of money.

     Whether David Blatt likes it or not, the Cavaliers' front office is paying Kevin Love to help them win a championship, which going back to the last argument, implies he needs to be playing in the 4th quarter. If Blatt isn't going to be playing Kevin Love in the 4th quarter, then he might as well tell Kevin Love to pack his bags in free agency, because there is no way Kevin Love comes back to a team that doesn't utilize his services at the end of games.

     Last season, Kevin Love averaged 26.1 points and 12.5 rebounds per game on the Timberwolves. I don't care if the Timberwolves were bad. Kevin Love put those numbers up against other NBA players, which means that Kevin Love is a damn good basketball player that can be utilized as a weapon during crunch time. There is no way anybody can convince me that the Cavaliers are better off with Kevin Love on the bench in the 4th quarter than they are with him on the floor. He can bring a terrific scoring threat and a tenacious rebounding presence to the floor that outweighs any deficiencies he has on defense.

     Sometimes coaches can over-think things and not using Love in the 4th quarter to gain a defensive edge appears to be an example of a coach over-thinking. Blatt is doing something that one can convince themselves to do only after doing too much thinking. On its face, it seems absurd to not use Kevin Love in the 4th quarter because it is in fact absurd. Kevin Love is one of the league's most talented big men and he needs to be utilized in the 4th quarter. If your scheme doesn't work well with his talents, maybe you need a new scheme because Kevin Love, last I checked, is one of the Top 25 basketball players on the planet.

     In conclusion, David Blatt needs to find a way to use Kevin Love in the 4th quarter of basketball games. I know that Love doesn't get benched in the 4th quarter all the time, but it happens enough that it's alarming. What's alarming is the thought of Kevin Love getting benched in the 4th quarter of a Game 7 in the playoffs, and what's even more alarming, is that it looks like that could very well happen.

     The Cavaliers have improved tremendously over the course of the season, but the one weakness they have is their inability to properly integrate Kevin Love into their fold. He's an elite player who is getting paid like an like an elite player. It's time the Cavaliers treat him like one and play to his strengths as opposed to using him as a "stretch four" who is incapable of being on the floor at the end of games.

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

Friday, March 13, 2015

Friday Fresh NBA Power Rankings: March 13, 2015

                                                    NBA Power Rankings

     Here are my NBA Power Rankings for Friday March 13, 2015. Enjoy!


#1. Golden State Warriors (51-12): They're not going to get 70+ wins, but they'll come very close. So long as they lock up home court advantage, I see no reason to pick against them.

#2. Atlanta Hawks (50-14): Everybody thinks it is a foregone conclusion that the Cavaliers are coming out of the Eastern Conference and that the Hawks will at some point roll over and die. Well, so far the Hawks are showing no signs of doing that. They're the first team in the NBA to clinch a playoff spot and they've won 7 of their last 10 games.

#3. Cleveland Cavaliers (42-25): Kyrie Irving dropping 57 points on the Spurs is nothing short of incredible. It's no wonder LeBron James left Miami when you see what Kyrie Irving can do. Still, this team has to find ways to use Kevin Love at the end of games. I know his defense isn't great, but you gotta have your money players on the floor during crunch time.

#4. Portland Trail Blazers (42-20): They've won six of their last seven games with wins over the Thunder, Spurs, Clippers, Mavericks, and Rockets. Oddly enough, their one loss during this stretch was at Minnesota, but that loss appears to be an anomaly and nothing more.

#5. Memphis Grizzlies (45-20): The Grizzlies' four-game road trip to New Orleans, Chicago, Boston, and Washington wasn't very kind to them, only picking up a win in Chicago. Their next two games at home against the Bucks and Nuggets will be crucial.

#6. Houston Rockets (43-22): They've hung in their really well without Dwight Howard, but all the same, they need him back.

#7. San Antonio Spurs (40-24): After appearing like zombies in February, the Spurs have really picked it up in March. As a matter of fact, Thursday's loss to the Cavaliers was their first loss in the month of March since 2013.

#8. Los Angeles Clippers (42-23): Getting Blake Griffin back will be a huge boost to this team. He could be back as soon as Sunday.

#9. Dallas Mavericks (41-25): The addition of Amar'e Stoudemire isn't doing much to boost their place in the standings and Rajon Rondo is creating friction. I don't see this team making a deep playoff run.

#10. Chicago Bulls (40-26): Treading water without Derrick Rose is what they do best.

#11. New Orleans Pelicans (36-29): The Pelicans have won 8 of their last 10 games and are currently the #8 seed in the Western Conference. They might prove me wrong after I said they had a 12% of making the playoffs back in January.

#12. Oklahoma City Thunder (35-29) : Kevin Durant is out for approximately 10 more days, and possibly longer. They could very well miss the playoffs.

#13. Phoenix Suns (34-32): The Suns appear to be fading, having gone just 5-5 in their last 10 games. They have three very important home games coming up against the Hawks, Knicks, and Pelicans. They have to win all three games.

#14. Milwaukee Bucks (34-31): They have started to cool off, going 3-7 in their last 10 games. Still, the turnaround of this team has been very impressive. Jason Kidd definitely deserves some Coach of the Year votes.

#15. Toronto Raptors (38-26): After getting off to such a hot start, the Raptors have cooled off substantially, losing 9 of their last 10 games going into Friday's game against the Heat.

#16. Washington Wizards (37-28): This team has been in a funk, but perhaps two straight wins against the Hornets and Grizzlies will jump start their battery.

#17. Indiana Pacers (30-34): Their record looks weak, but don't be deceived. They've won 9 of their last 10 games.

#18. Miami Heat (29-35): This team has been up and down all year, but I expect them to ultimately continue to trend downwards.

#19. Charlotte Hornets (28-35): With Kemba Walker back, they should be able to sneak in the playoffs. The only concern is the Celtics are nipping at their heels and the Pacers are starting to lock up the #7 seed.

#20. Utah Jazz (28-36): If Rudy Gobert keeps playing like he has been, then it was definitely a good thing that the Jazz traded Enes Kanter.

#21. Boston Celtics (27-36): The Celtics are heating up, having won 7 of their last 10 games. Isaiah Thomas has been a terrific fit so far.

#22. Brooklyn Nets (25-38): Mikhail Prokhorov botched his attempt to sell the Nets and they have lost 5 straight games. This team is a mess.

#23. Denver Nuggets (24-41): Melvin Hunt may be man for the job to coach this team. They're doing better since Brian Shaw got fired.

#24. Detroit Pistons (23-41): If Brandon Jennings wasn't out for the season, they would be the #8 seed in the Eastern Conference. It is really sad how they have fallen apart since he went down.

#25. Sacramento Kings (22-41): George Karl is a good hire at head coach, but they still have a lot of work to do.

#26. Orlando Magic (21-45): I think the most troubling part of this team's season is the lack of production they have gotten from Aaron Gordon, their number four overall pick.

#27. Los Angeles Lakers (17-47): I'm just going to say it now. Kobe Bryant needs to retire. This team will not move forward until he does.

#28. Minnesota Timberwolves (14-49): The return of Kevin Garnett is really cool and the fact that they have the best rookie in the NBA in Andrew Wiggins is also really comforting. Things are looking bright in Minnesota.

#29. Philadelphia 76ers (14-50): Joel Embiid is doing some cool dunks in pre-game warmups. There's something to make them optimistic.

#30. New York Knicks (13-51): This team is a walking accident waiting to happen every time they step on a basketball court.

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

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Bear Territory Tuesday: Five things Cal must do to be successful in Vegas


     The Pac-12 tournament starts on Wednesday and it all starts with #8 seeded Cal squaring off against #9 seeded Washington State at 12:00 PM PST on Pac-12 Networks. Both Cal and Washington State come in with 7-11 records in the conference while also splitting the season series. In addition, the winner of this game will face #1 Arizona in the quarterfinals. There is no way of getting around it. While the road to winning the Pac-12 tournament is tough, I still believe that Cal has a shot to make some magic happen in Las Vegas provided they do five things.

     #1. Cal needs to get quality production from their "core four". If Cal is going to have any shot of winning the Pac-12 tournament this week, they have to get quality production from Tyrone Wallace, Jordan Mathews, Jabari Bird, and David Kravish. They need to get all four of those guys clicking and on the same page. The best barometer for this will be whether or not all four guys are scoring in double figures. If they are, then things are probably going pretty well. If they aren't, then odds are good Cal is heading back to Berkeley empty handed.

     Let me give you an example of what would be a good game for Cal's "core four": Tyrone Wallace has 19 points, 7 rebounds, and 5 assists. Jabari Bird has 18 points, 6 rebounds, and 2 steals. Jordan Mathews has 15 points, 5 rebounds, and 2 assists. David Kravish has 13 points, 11 rebounds, and 2 blocks. What makes this a good game, is that all four players are producing and in the flow of the game. Everybody is relying on each other and doesn't have the pressure of having to take over the game.

     On the flip side, here is an example of what would not be a good game: Tyrone Wallace has 25 points, 8 rebounds, and 7 assists. Jabari Bird has 13 points, 5 rebounds, and 1 steal. Jordan Mathews has 10 points, 4 rebounds, and 2 assists. David Kravish has 8 points, 9 rebounds, and 2 blocks. The problem with this type of box score is there is no balance among all four players. In this instance, Tyrone Wallace is carrying the load and nobody else is really giving him any help.

     Too often, this has been the problem for Cal. They get one of their "core four" players to have a big night and nobody else steps up. When this happens, Cal more often than not loses or at least finds themselves on the verge of losing. Cal could maybe beat Washington State playing like this, but against Arizona and everybody else, they have to get the kind of balance displayed in the first example.

     #2. Cal needs to hit their free throws. A high school basketball coach once told me: "The two most important shots in basketball are layups and free throws." That quote has always stuck with me because it's true. If Cal is going to go far in Vegas, they have to hit their foul shots. Cal has no problem getting to the foul line (especially Tyrone Wallace), but they have a hard time converting their foul shots. Cal needs to target a free throw percentage of at least 70% this week.

     #3. Cal needs to get some help off the bench. Tyrone Wallace, Jabari Bird, Jordan Mathews, and David Kravish may be the guys who have to do all the heavy lifting, but they need to get some help from their bench. Sam Singer is the most likely guy to produce off the bench, but Dwight Tarwater, Christian Behrens, and Brandon Chauca also need to be productive. If the bench for Cal is able to knock down some shots, things will be a lot easier for the starting lineup to do their job. If on the other hand, the bench is ineffective, then Cal will need an above average performance from their starters to compensate.

     #4.  Cal needs to keep teams off the glass. Cal likes to go small a lot, which can work against certain teams in certain scenarios, but they risk giving up a lot of rebounds when they do. If they are going to be successful this week, they have to find ways to win the battle on the glass or at least make it very close. This is why I think 7'1 freshman Kingsley Okoroh has to be a difference maker. He doesn't have to score to make an impact. If he is able to block some shots and grab some boards, he could prove to be invaluable. In addition, David Kravish, Christian Behrens, and Dwight Tarwater will have to really clean up the glass whenever a shot is missed.

     #5. Cal needs to play at a fast tempo. Cal plays best when they are running up and down the floor at a fast pace since they have a lot of guys who love to play in the fast break. Sam Singer, Tyrone Wallace, Jordan Mathews, and Jabari Bird are all fantastic fast break players. If they can get out on the fast break a lot, things should be going well. If on the other hand, they find themselves in the half court, there could be trouble. If Cal is going to be successful at getting out on the fast break, they're going to have to get a lot of rebounds off the defensive glass.

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

Daily Dunks: 3/9-3/15

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

Here is the Daily Dunks page for Monday, March 9 through Sunday, March 15, 2015. Throughout the week this page will be updated with all the latest news and scores from around the NBA until a new Daily Dunks page is created for the following week.

     Monday's Daily Dunks: 

     #1. The Knicks are interested in re-signing forward Andrea Bargnani (Click here for details).

     #2. 76ers center Joel Embiid (foot) is experiencing setbacks, so he is in a walking boot (Click here for details).

     #3. The Hawks made a franchise record 20 three-point shots against the Kings.

     #4. Hornets point guard Mo Williams and Thunder point guard Russell Westbrook won player of the week honors (Click here for details).

     #5. Thunder center Steven Adams (hand) returned (Click here for details).

     #6. Clippers guard Dahntay Jones bumped Warriors forward Draymond Green on Sunday while Green was doing his post-game interview. Jones got fined $10K (Click here for details).

     #7. Cavaliers small forward Shawn Marion (hip) returned to practice and could be back by the end of the road trip (Click here for details).

     #8. Kobe Bryant wants Rajon Rondo to join the Lakers (Click here for details).

     #9. Warriors point guard Stephen Curry had 36 points, 6 rebounds, and 5 assists.

     #10. Pelicans power forward Anthony Davis had 43 points, 10 rebounds, 6 assists, and 2 blocks.

     Monday's NBA Final Scores: 

     Grizzlies 101 Bulls 91. Warriors 98 Suns 80. Clippers 89 Timberwolves 76. Wizards 95 Hornets 69. Hawks 130 Kings 105. Celtics 100 Heat 90. Pelicans 114 Bucks 103. Nuggets 106 Knicks 78.

Tuesday's Daily Dunks: 

#1. Heat center Hassan Whiteside has been suspended 1 game for elbowing Celtics center Kelly Olynyk (Click here for details).

#2. The Lakers signed guard Jabari Brown to a 10-day contract (Click here for details).

#3. Suns point guard Brandon Knight is dealing with an ankle injury. He'll miss at least one game (Click here for details).

#4. The Suns signed guard Seth Curry to a 10-day contract (Click here for details).

#5. Trail Blazers forward Nicolas Batum will play for France's national team this summer (Click here for details).

#6. Rumor: Russell Westbrook's play is upping the odds of the Thunder trading Kevin Durant next season (Click here for details).

#7.  Lou Williams wants to stay with the Raptors (Click here for details).

#8. Clippers power forward Glen Davis has been warned for flopping (Click here for details).

#9. Hornets point guard Kemba Walker will return on Wednesday (Click here for details).

#10. Clippers power forward Blake Griffin could return on Sunday from the staph infection in his elbow (Click here for details).

Tuesday's NBA Final Scores: 

Jazz 87 Knicks 82. Pacers 118 Magic 86. Pelicans 111 Nets 91. Cavaliers 127 Mavericks 94. Spurs 117 Raptors 107. Lakers 93 Pistons 85.

Wednesday's Daily Dunks: 

#1. Kevin Durant (foot) has been re-evaluated and is expected to be back in 1-2 weeks (Click here for details).

#2. Pacers small forward Paul George is still "a ways away" from playing (Click here for details).

#3. Mikhail Prokhorov may no longer be selling the Nets (Click here for details).

#4. Rockets center Dwight Howard is expects to be back stronger than he has ever been this season (Click here for details).

#5. The Wizards signed guard Toure' Murry to a 10-day contract due to guard Garrett Temple going down with a hamstring injury (Click here for details).

#6. The Mavericks have assigned Dwight Powell to the D-League to join the Texas Legends, but he should be back with the team on Friday (Click here for details).

#7. Nets small forward Sergey Karasev is done for the season with a torn MCL (Click here for details).

#8. LeBron James is now the Cavaliers' all-time assist leader.

#9. Celtics point guard Isaiah Thomas (back) didn't play on Wednesday. He could be out Friday and Saturday as well (Click here for details). As for  Celtics guard Avery Bradley, he returned after a three-game absence from an elbow injury.

#10. Hawks power forward Pero Antic (ankle) has returned from a two game absence (Click here for details).

Wednesday's NBA Final Scores: 

Celtics 95 Grizzlies 92. Suns 106 Timberwolves 97. Warriors 105 Pistons 98. Bulls 104 76ers 95 (OT).
Kings 113 Hornets 106. Heat 104 Nets 98. Bucks 97 Magic 91. Clippers 120 Thunder 108.
Nuggets 115 Hawks 102. Trail Blazers 105 Rockets 100.

Thursday's Daily Dunks: 

#1. Forward Quincy Miller signed a 2 year deal to stay with the Pistons (Click here for details).

#2. Shaquille O'Neal will be inducted into the Orlando Magic Hall of Fame (Click here for details).

#3. The Heat signed forward Henry Walker for the rest of the season (Click here for details).

#4.  The Suns signed center Earl Barron for the rest of the season (Click here for details).

#5. Rockets center Dwight Howard expects to be back in two weeks (Click here for details).

#6. A Clippers spokesman says a return is "possible" for Blake Griffin on Sunday (Click here for details).

#7. The Raptors sent center Lucas Nogueira to the D-League (Click here for details).

#8. The Warriors recalled forward James Michael McAdoo from the D-League (Click here for details).

#9. Phil Jackson calls the Knicks season a "project gone awry" (Click here for details).

#10. Pero Antic hopes to stay with the Hawks (Click here for details).

Thursday's NBA Final Scores: 

Wizards 107 Grizzlies 87. Jazz 109 Rockets 91. Pacers 109 Bucks 103 (OT). Cavaliers 128 Spurs 125 (OT). Knicks 101 Lakers 94.

Cavaliers point guard Kyrie Irving had 57 points. Jazz center Rudy Gobert had 19 points, 22 rebounds, and 4 blocks.

Friday's Daily Dunks: 

#1. The Hawks signed forward Austin Daye to a 10-day contract and released Jarell Eddie. Also, Hawks forward Mike Scott is out indefinitely with a broken toe (Click here for details).

#2. Hornets center Al Jefferson remains out indefinitely, but good news is MRI showed no structural damage to his knee (Click here for details).

#3. Paul George is "on the fence" about returning this season (Click here for details).

#4. Clippers center DeAndre Jordan hit a three against the Mavericks (Click here to watch).

#5. Henry Walker's contract with the Heat is guaranteed for the rest of the season and includes an option for next season (Click here for details).

#6. Thunder point guard Russell Westbrook has been warned for flopping (Click here for details).

#7. Blake Griffin should be back for the Clippers on Sunday or Tuesday (Click here for details).

#8. Warriors center Mareese Speights didn't play Friday because he was suspended one game for reckless driving (Click here for details).

#9. Nets forward Sergey Karasev has undergone successful surgery on his knee. His season is over (Click here for details).

#10. Rodney Stuckey hopes to remain with the Pacers (Click here for details).

Friday's NBA Final Scores: 

Thunder 113 Timberwolves 99. Nuggets 114 Warriors 103. 76ers 114 Kings 107. Hornets 101 Bulls 91. Celtics 95 Magic 88. Raptors 102 Heat 92. Mavericks 129 Clippers 99. Hawks 96 Suns 87. Trail Blazers 118 Pistons 99.

Friday's Top Performers: Thunder point guard Russell Westbrook had 29 points, 10 rebounds, and 12 assists. Thunder center Enes Kanter had 23 points and 15 rebounds. Kings center DeMarcus Cousins had 39 points and 24 rebounds.

Saturday's Daily Dunks: 

#1. The Bucks signed small forward Chris Johnson to a second 10-day contract (Click here for details).

#2. Joel Freeland of the Trail Blazers and Shawne Williams of the Pistons got suspended one game for head butting each other (Click here for details).

#3. The Pelicans signed guard Elliot Williams to a second 10-day deal (Click here for details).

#4. Grizzlies point guard Mike Conley (ankle) didn't play Thursday or Saturday (Click here for details).

#5. Phil Jackson says he's planning to build the Knicks via free agency (Click here for details).

#6. Jazz center Rudy Gobert had 10 points and 19 rebounds.

#7. Wizards point guard John Wall had 31 points and 12 assists.

#8. Grizzlies shooting guard Courtney Lee had 17 points.

#9. Warriors shooting guard Klay Thompson had 27 points.

#10. Nets forward Thaddeus Young had 21 points and 9 rebounds.

Saturday's NBA Final Scores: 

Grizzlies 96 Bucks 83. Jazz 88 Pistons 85. Warriors 125 Knicks 94. Celtics 93 Pacers 89. Wizards 113 Kings 97. Nets 94 76ers 87.

Sunday's Daily Dunks: 

#1. The NCAA Tournament bracket got revealed. Click here in case you haven't yet seen it.

#2. Pistons center Andre Drummond has a concussion (Click here for details).

#3. The Knicks are unsure if guard Jose Calderon (Achilles) will play again this season (Click here for details).

#4. Clippers power forward Blake Griffin returned from his elbow injury. He played 41 minutes, scored 11 points, and grabbed 11 rebounds (Click here for details).

#5. Cavaliers power forward Kevin Love (rest) did not play (Click here for details).

#6. Hawks small forward Kyle Korver broke his nose (Click here for details).

#7. Spurs shooting guard Manu Ginobili sprained his ankle and is out 7-10 days (Click here for details).

#8. Pelicans power forward Anthony Davis had 36 points, 14 rebounds, and 7 assists in a double overtime loss to the Nuggets.

#9. Lakers head coach Byron Scott plans to start Jeremy Lin at point guard down the stretch (Click here for details).

#10. Bulls center Joakim Noah is still facing a 32 minute playing time restriction (Click here for details).

Sunday's NBA Final Scores: 

Spurs 123 Timberwolves 97. Thunder 109 Bulls 100. Rockets 100 Clippers 98. Nuggets 118 Pelicans 111 (2OT). Cavaliers 123 Magic 108. Trail Blazers 113 Raptors 97. Suns 102 Knicks 89. Hawks 91 Lakers 86.
---Ben Parker: follow me on twitter @nba_lord for NBA news.