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Eddy Myers
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Suns Fan
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Sixers Fan

Suns' Zoran Dragic playing without regrets posted by Sixers Fan

With the game already put away and the Pheonix Suns looking at a loss to the Los Angeles Clippers, rookie Zoran Dragic came into the game amounting to a missed 3-pointer and a couple sprints up and back on the Staples Center floor last month.

That is all most people have seen of Suns rookie Zoran Dragic, who has spent nearly the entire season on the inactive list except for that two-minute cameo in mop-up duty against the Clippers.

It’s not necessarily surprising given that he is a rookie. In fact it was expected but perhaps not to Zoran, younger brother of Sun Goran Dragic, who played for ten years as a pro and starting for their national team on the way to the World Cup quarterfinals last summer.

Yet Zoran is keeping a positive attitude about the whole thing, or at least that’s what he’s telling himself and reporters. He says he has no regrets about negotiating a buyout from Spanish club Unicaja Malaga to come to the NBA, even if it means not seeing the floor and being relegated to developing through individual work and rare practices.

"I know it's my rookie year and that's how it is," Zoran said. "I must be patient and practice hard. When I get an opportunity, I need to show what I have.

"I am happy. Everybody basketball player's dream is to come to the NBA but my dream was to come here and stay in the NBA."

Zoran's first two weeks in the NBA were difficult. He came to the U.S. on the weekend before training camp and had to leave the country later to get a work visa. He was having difficulty adjusting to the culture and the league but living with his brother helped smooth the process.

Continue reading "Suns' Zoran Dragic playing without regrets"

Mavericks Fan

Turnovers catch up to Mavs in loss at Phoenix posted by Mavericks Fan

Carelessness with the ball and poor defense Tuesday night cost the Dallas Mavericks any chance they had at dethroning the Phoenix Suns.

Phoenix turned 20 Dallas turnovers into 28 points en route to subduing the Mavs 124-115 before a sellout crowd of 18,055 at US Airways Center.

This is just the second time all season the Mavs have lost more than one game in a row as their record fell to 20-10. Back on Nov. 22 and Nov. 24, the Mavs were upended in consecutive games by Houston (95-92) and Indiana (111-100).

Prior to hopping on a plane for Tuesday’s game, the Mavs lost at home Monday night to the Atlanta Hawks (105-102). And they didn’t fare much better against the streaky Suns, who converted 13 of 33 shots from behind the 3-point arc and always seemed to pull a 3-pointer out of the bag whenever the Mavs thought about inching closer.

 “Just too many [turnovers] early in the game,” coach Rick Carlisle said. ‘We got off to a pretty good start in a quarter-and-a-half, and the turnovers caught up with us.

“And we’re just struggling to defend. We’ve just got to do a better job of it.”

The Mavs battled to within nine with approximately two minutes left. But by then the Suns had put so much separation between themselves and Dallas that this one wasn’t going to end well.

In falling to 5-2 on the second night of a back-to-back, the Mavs are now 0-2 in the Rajon Rondo Era.

All things considered, Dallas actually was negotiating this second leg of a back-to-back pretty smoothly at the beginning. Behind Tyson Chandler and Rondo, the Mavs raced out to a 39-30 lead with 6:05 remaining in the first half.

Continue reading "Turnovers catch up to Mavs in loss at Phoenix"


Suns Fan

2014 Phoenix Suns Preseason Report posted by Suns Fan

Phoenix Suns were supposed to be in their downward spiral in 2013-14 season, but they managed to be the best team amongst teams that did not reach the playoffs. Ryan McDonough, the new general manager, before the starting of the season, gave up veterans, Luis Scola, Jared Dudley, and Macin Gortat, in trade. However, the new inclusions coexisted quite well, and Jeff Hornacek, the rookie coach, freed Bledsoe and Dragic for making plays and pushing the pace. Good comebacks were Gerald Green and Channing Frye, but when Bledsoe was injured, everything seemed bleak. However, Dragic came to the rescue by raising his game considerably. The Suns ended the season with a record of 48-34.

For the 2014-15 season, Ryan McDonough wants to bring back fast-paced offense with a lot of aggression, and build a team that can handle both the floor ends. In the previous draft, Phoenix selected Archie Goodwin and Alex Len, who are athletic and known for their two-way skills. With several picks in the current draft, Phoenix Suns select would be Alec Brown, Bogdan Bogdanovic, Tyler Ennis, and T.J. Warren. Ennis could be an upgrade from Ish Smith, as he is quite fluid, with a great handle. Even though he is not considered fast or athletic, Ennis makes up by this fast direction changes and quick bursts.

However, Phoenix Suns seemed to have passed certain players that could have fitted better into the system, such as Patric Young, K.J. McDaniels, Andreian Payne, and Garry Harris. Secondly, Goran Dragic, who is the best offense, might be more susceptible to injuries this season, as he has not rested at all. The Suns strategy seems to have shifted from two-way highly athletic players to prospects that can bring in skills and depth. The focus seems to be on intensifying and expanding, and the team seems to be satisfied with the existing athleticism.

Continue reading "2014 Phoenix Suns Preseason Report"


nbaball

Parker has no desire to transfer to other NBA teams posted by nbaball

The starting pointguard of the San Antonio Spurs has categorically denied persistent report that he had the desire to transfer to other National Basketball Association (NBA) teams.
Tony Parker told the media that there is no truth to the report since his heart belongs to the Spurs and he wants to stay with the team for many years to come.
Parker said he had a house in San Antonio and had no intention at the moment to move to other NBA teams other than the Spurs.
He revealed that he has confidence that a suitable agreement will be reached between him and the Spurs so that he will remain with the team for many years to come.
To show his desire to remain with the Spurs, Parker has decided to skip the World's Basketball Championship slated on August 28 to September 12 in Istambul, Turkey.
The superstar pointguard said he decided to forego his chance to play for France in the global basketball event to help the Spurs in the next NBA season by keeping himself from injury.
The 27-year-old pointguard had been a vital factor for the success of the Spurs the past 10 years wherein he won championship with the ball club.
Parker is very significant for the Spurs management since he do not only orchestrate plays but also contribute and offense and defense as well.
The Spurs was earlier defeated by the red-hot Phoenix Suns 4-0 in their best of seven NBA second round playoff match-up.
The French pointguard and the rest of the Spurs roster tried their very best to inflict defeat to the Suns but their effort were futile as the Suns proved hotter in the end.
Continue reading "Parker has no desire to transfer ..."


Micky Deming

posted by Micky Deming

Take a deep breath. Focus with me. This whole Lebron/Celtics thing was a crazy mess. I don’t know what to think of it, you don’t know what to think of it, nobody knows what is going on. It’s times like this where I like to recharge the batteries, shut down the engines and get back to neutral. 2:20 of this video

I understand why this is such a circus. I don’t even need to discuss all of the reasons why there is so much talk about Lebron and the Cavs right now. However, the amount we’re all hearing about him is absolutely absurd. Everyone and their brother is giving a guess on where he’ll play next year. My question is, “Who cares?” Nobody has the answer, these are all just guesses, and I’m sick of hearing about it now, when this same conversation is going to be happening all summer.

Meanwhile, the Conference Finals are about to start and there is plenty to look forward to. Reigning two-time MVP Lebron James won’t be joining the fun in the playoffs, but guess who will: the 2004, 05, 06 and 08 MVPs (Garnett, Nash twice, Kobe). Also the 08 and 09 champs and every team that played in the finals those two years.

Can we please put the Lebron shenanigans behind us for a month and enjoy what’s left of these playoffs? These two Conference Finals are great series, and as NBA fans we should be talking about how Boston took the Magic to 7 games last year without KG. And about Dwight Howard and Steve Nash looking for their first titles. Or the Lakers trying to defend their title – I never thought I’d say Kobe wasn’t getting enough attention from the media, but he’s going for his 5th ring and Phil Jackson his 11th.

Continue reading ""


Ryan Greyslak

The Sacramento Kings are the latest team rumored to be in the hunt for the Phoenix Suns Amare Stoudemire posted by Ryan Greyslak

The latest rumor according to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports has the Sacramento Kings discussing a trade with the Phoenix Suns for their All-Star Forward Amare Stoudemire centered on a returning piece of Kevin Martin. The Sacramento Kings would be an interesting trade partner with the Suns and have the ability to offer young talent, draft picks, and ending contracts, all of which the Suns reportedly want back for Stoudemire.

 

The main piece in this trade involves Stoudemire and The Kings Kevin Martin. There are no other issues discussed regarding this trade but it would probably look something like this…

 

http://games.espn.go.com/nba/tradeMachine?tradeId=yf48xo5

 

Phoenix Suns trade:

Amare Stoudemire

 

Sacramento Kings trade:

Kevin Martin 4 years 9.7 million

Jason Thompson 2 years 2 million

Hilton Armstrong 1 year 2.8 million

Unprotected first round draft pick

 

Kevin Martin has all-star potential but is consistently injured and because of this has missed many games over the past few seasons. He is a great shooter and could thrive in a situation where a good point guard created open shots for him. However he is not a great defender or rebounder and is still owed a considerable amount of money over the next 4 years. (Kind of like an Amare at the Sg position, can put up points but don't expect much else on a consistent basis) The Suns would really be biting the bullet taking on Martin and would not help their lack of defensive toughness. His contract and injury history is enough to scare most away.

Continue reading "The Sacramento Kings are the latest ..."


nbahawks

Hawks soaring high on new NBA season posted by nbahawks


The Atlanta Hawks is creating a lot of buzz in the new season of the National Basketball Association.Despite their less stellar lineup, the Hawks is on top of the leader-board in the young season of the premier professional basketball league in the planet. The Hawks is currently sporting an impressive 11-2 record after they defeated the Houston Rockets 105-103 Friday night.High flying Hawks power forward Josh Smith played hero for the top team in the NBA by scoring on a put back from a miss by Hawks top point guard Mike Bibby with 0.7 seconds remaining. Marvin Williams, the starting small forward of the Hawks top scored for the team with 29 points to help defeat the Rockets, one of the top teams in the NBA Western Conference.The recent victory of the Hawks is remarkable since the Rockets are on the verge of defeating the team and hand them their third loss but the impressive play of Smith saved the youth laden ball club to escaped with a victory. Prior to his game winning shot, Smith stayed mostly from the bench due to foul trouble but he was able to returned in the waning moments of the game and lead his team to victory.The strong and impressive plays of the Hawks is getting huge praise from basketball fans and experts. During the off-season, the Hawks is not among the top contenders for the NBA crown this season due to their less star studded roster. However, despite the lack of big named players in its lineup, the Hawks still showed class and impressive talent to defeat 11 teams so far.Aside from the strong plays of its veteran players Smith, Bibby and Joe Johnson, the Hawks also get huge contribution from newly acquired NBA veteran Jamal Crawford who contribute in both offence and defence for the team. Aside from the Hawks, the run and gun Phoenix Suns is also playing good this NBA season. NBA superstars point-guard Steve Nash and power forward Amare Stoudamire are playing well to lead the Suns to an impressive record in the NBA.Fans of Hawks team can buy the tickets to watch the NBA game live.

Continue reading "Hawks soaring high on new NBA season"


Scott Shepherd

Great TNT Double-Header Tonight posted by Scott Shepherd

The NBA league pass is awesome, but nothing beats a good TNT double-header.

Tonight, we get a great TNT double-header.

The night starts off with Cleveland at Miami. I’ve written this before, but LeBron vs. Wade is the best head-to-head matchup to watch in the NBA right now. These guys always bring out the best in each other.

In 19 career games against each other, LeBron is averaging 28.6 points per game, 5.6 rebounds, 7.7 assists and 1.2 steals. Wade is averaging 27.2 points per game, 5.4 rebounds, 6.8 assists, and 2.4 steals.

In seven of the last nine meetings, at least one of the two has dropped for at least 30. Twice in that span has each player scored 40 in the same game.

With Miami having only one loss so far this season, and Cleveland coming off a big win against the Magic, I would expect nothing less than a shootout tonight. I expect both superstars put their respective teams of their back and play out what, hopefully, is a very entertaining game to watch.

In the late game, the Suns make their way to the Staples Center to play the Lakers. It’s a battle for first place, and hopefully it reignites what was not too long ago a pretty intense little rivalry.

I couldn’t be happier that the Suns are 8-1 and have the best record in the league. Make no mistake, I hate the Suns. With a capitol “H”.

I hate Steve Nash; I hate the :07 seconds or less offense; I hate their owner; I hate their uniforms: I hate their mascot.

But I love the fact that after this hot start I keep reading things like, “The Suns are back!!”

Continue reading "Great TNT Double-Header Tonight"


Chase Hughes

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

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

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


Ryan Greyslak

The Phoenix Suns are NOT the worst defensive team in the NBA posted by Ryan Greyslak

The Phoenix Suns are not the worst defensive team in the NBA.

In a recent article released by Dime Magazine they claimed the Suns were the worst defensive team in the NBA.

http://dimemag.com/2009/09/the-phoenix-suns-are-the-worst-defensive-team-in-the-nba/

It is not a fair assumption to call the Suns out as the worst defensive team in the NBA next season. They never have been known for their defensive ability as a team but have been slowly putting pieces in place that will play defense. Some of the Suns younger players might actually become strong defenders in the league over the next couple of years.

There have always been the open holes defensively on the Suns roster. One of the biggest is Steve Nash, he gets substantially worse defensively each year and every point guard in the league gets giddy at the thought of going head to head with him. He can’t stop anybody off the dribble but has always been good at getting where he needs to be on the court to take the charge. Jason Richardson should be traded so Leandro Barbosa can start. He has never been a good defender and doesn’t really show the drive to become any better. Grant Hill is not getting any younger and Channing Frye has never showed the potential to be a strong defender. Even with some of these players on their roster it is not enough for them to already be considered the worst defensive team in the NBA. 

They have several young players and a few wild cards on the team this year that could put forth a strong defensive effort for the team this year.

Goran Dragic looked great in euro league play this summer. He is a quick physical defender that just needs to continue to build more confidence. Nash will need a lot of rest to stay healthy this season and Dragic could benefit greatly from that if he can step up. There is a strong chance that you will see a great improvement in Dragic this season.

Continue reading "The Phoenix Suns are NOT the worst ..."

Phoenix Suns News

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NBA Playoff Picture Update: Oklahoma City comes back to ruin the Suns' season (Ball Don't Li

With just a few weeks remaining until the NBA postseason, every night can impact the standings. NBA Playoff Picture keeps you up to date on all the most important news for all 16 berths and seeds. [DraftKings: FREE entry to huge cash Fantasy Basketball Contest with first deposit ] Oklahoma City Downs a Dream: The Phoenix Suns aren’t entirely out of the playoff picture at this point, but it will be hard to recover from what the Thunder managed to do to them in 24 swift minutes on Sunday evening. Down 20 early in the offering, the Thunder utilized small lineups and desperate chances on its way to a borderline stunning 109-97 win . The team outscored Phoenix by 20 over the game’s final 24 minutes, with Russell Westbrook nearing yet another triple-double (33 points on 27 shots, nine rebounds, seven assists), Dion Waiters offering his bi-weekly “this is why we still take chances on him”contribution of 18 points on 20 shots, and bench performers D.J. Augustin and Anthony Morrow combined for 30 points on only 15 attempts from the field. Phoenix never seemed to find a defensive rhythm after the lay-up line that was the first half, and as a result the team is now four games back in the race for the final postseason berth in the West. OKC also moved to 2.5 games up over the New Orleans Pelicans, keeping pace in spite of NOLA’s 22-point win over the hapless (and clearly tanking, as the team’s coaching staff went away from productive lineups in the second half) Minnesota Timberwolves. Rockets Ascend: Afforded the national TV showing and a frustrated opponent to tee off upon, the Houston Rockets elbowed their way into the Western Conference’s second-best record on Sunday afternoon. Despite injuries to three former starters, the Rox rode James Harden’s 9-10 touch from the free throw line to a 99-91 win that was more lopsided than the final score would indicate. Dwight Howard managed a double-double despite playing just 18 minutes, as the Wizards solidified their slot as The Fifth Seed That Can’t Wait for 2014-15 To Be Over . Memphis Blues Again: The Grizzlies have lost 11 of 20 since Feb. 25. This is a bit of a problem, a problem that can’t be solved by sliding Vince Carter into the starting lineup or making snarky remarks about Jeff Green. Working on the road, in the home of the San Antonio franchise that the Grizzlies famously downed in the first-round of the 2011 playoffs, Memphis had no answer for Kawhi Leonard’s length and touch on Sunday evening . In a 103-89 loss that allowed Houston to vault past Memphis and into the West’s second seed, the Grizz were continually kept at arm’s length by a Spurs squad that seemed to have a rotation answer for every Memphis run. Working small by design, the Grizzlies could not keep Leonard (25 points, 10 rebounds) away from his preferred spots close to the basket. San Antonio dominated the glass, kept the ball moving (25 assists; hardly home cooking from the local scorers’crew), and barely broke a sweat in winning its sixth game in seven tries. Quietly, per the team’s custom, the Spurs moved into second place in terms of defensive efficiency on the season over the weekend. Nets Appeal: Smirking in the face of the whole of NBA fandom, the Brooklyn Nets managed to ride into the East’s playoff bracket by taking advantage of a miserable Los Angeles Lakers team, ticking off those of whom that want nothing to do with watching BKN past the third week of April. Joe Johnson, still a guy that plays basketball for a lot of money, helped helm his team’s fourth quarter stand after the Lakers threatened. Brooklyn center Brook Lopez continued to add to what has been a fabulous March turn by adding 30 points in the face of a Laker frontcourt that seemed to have no idea what to do with a big man that can walk and chew gum at the same time. The team’s 107-99 win put the trillion-dollar squad a half game up over the same Boston Celtics team that …Boston Blows It : The Celtics shouldn’t have been favored against a Los Angeles Clippers team that had no business losing to a C’s group working eight games below .500 in late March, and yet the Celtics still managed to make it worse with lethargic and uninspired play from the outset. Brad Stevens’crew managed to make an interesting game in spite of the slow start, returning to force former Celtics coach Doc Rivers to put his Clipper starters in late in the fourth quarter following a Boston run, but the same spark that inspired the Marcus Smart-driven run in recent weeks just wasn’t there for the Celtics. Smart, in particular, appears to have hit the rookie wall. Celtic wing Jae Crowder had his moments, and the application of a Hack-a-DeAndre Jordan acted as an intelligent move as the Celtics came back, but Boston dug itself too deep a hole in the opening moments. As a result, following the 119-106 dive , the team now stands a half-game behind Brooklyn for the East’s final postseason seed. Miami Acts its Age : Officially listed as “questionable”heading into an anonymous Sunday afternoon game in Detroit, Dwyane Wade managed to turn back the clock on his way to a 40-point outing in the Heat’s win over the Pistons. That total ranks as the second-highest output of Wade’s season thus far, made all the more impressive in the face of the fact that helper Luol Deng had to leave the game after just 18 unproductive minutes due to a painful knee contusion. With 21-year old (!) Andre Drummond adding a season-high 32 points, the Heat needed everything they could get from their franchise player in the 109-102 win . (There’s also the whole part about Dwyane Wade having to drain fluid out of his troublesome left knee just a day before keeping his Heat a game and a half up on the Nets for the seventh spot in the East.) Quickly : The Pacers badly needed Rodney Stuckey to return in order to keep their playoff hopes alive, which somehow isn’t the saddest thing to happen in Indiana this month …Cleveland and Philadelphia paid tribute to the NCAA Tournament by missing a ton of shots and taking far too long to finish their game on Sunday afternoon, the Cavs eventually held on despite Kevin Love’s back injury …Pesto goes with anything. Monday's Most Important Games Boston at Charlotte , 7:00 p.m. ET: It’s to the discredit of all involved that a 32-41 team and a 31-41 outfit are battling in late March for the chance to make the playoffs in the East, but this is what happenswhen Danny Ainge intelligently decides to rebuild on the fly and Michael Jordan decides that he wants to prove himself to Jerry Krause. The C’s have lost two of three to Charlotte on the year, but the Hornets will be likely working with a hobbled Al Jefferson and Mo Williams. Houston at Toronto , 7:30 p.m. ET: This could act as the trappiest of all trap games, as the Rockets are coming off of a solid road win over the Wizards and the Raptors could be looking to turn things around after not bothering to guard anyone in the 2015 calendar year. Toronto has it in them to down the West’s current second seed at full strength, but with Kyle Lowry likely out the Raps will be up against it. Milwaukee at Atlanta , 7:30 p.m. ET: The Hawks might sit all of their starters again, and Milwaukee might still struggle to score 78 points. - - - - - - - Kelly Dwyer is an editor for Ball Don't Lie on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at KDonhoops@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @KDonhoops [read full article]

From Yahoo Sports

NBA Playoff Picture Update: Oklahoma City comes back to ruin the Suns' season (Ball Don't Li

With just a few weeks remaining until the NBA postseason, every night can impact the standings. NBA Playoff Picture keeps you up to date on all the most important news for all 16 berths and seeds. [DraftKings: FREE entry to huge cash Fantasy Basketball Contest with first deposit ] Oklahoma City Downs a Dream: The Phoenix Suns aren’t entirely out of the playoff picture at this point, but it will be hard to recover from what the Thunder managed to do to them in 24 swift minutes on Sunday evening. Down 20 early in the offering, the Thunder utilized small lineups and desperate chances on its way to a borderline stunning 109-97 win . The team outscored Phoenix by 20 over the game’s final 24 minutes, with Russell Westbrook nearing yet another triple-double (33 points on 27 shots, nine rebounds, seven assists), Dion Waiters offering his bi-weekly “this is why we still take chances on him”contribution of 18 points on 20 shots, and bench performers D.J. Augustin and Anthony Morrow combined for 30 points on only 15 attempts from the field. Phoenix never seemed to find a defensive rhythm after the lay-up line that was the first half, and as a result the team is now four games back in the race for the final postseason berth in the West. OKC also moved to 2.5 games up over the New Orleans Pelicans, keeping pace in spite of NOLA’s 22-point win over the hapless (and clearly tanking, as the team’s coaching staff went away from productive lineups in the second half) Minnesota Timberwolves. Rockets Ascend: Afforded the national TV showing and a frustrated opponent to tee off upon, the Houston Rockets elbowed their way into the Western Conference’s second-best record on Sunday afternoon. Despite injuries to three former starters, the Rox rode James Harden’s 9-10 touch from the free throw line to a 99-91 win that was more lopsided than the final score would indicate. Dwight Howard managed a double-double despite playing just 18 minutes, as the Wizards solidified their slot as The Fifth Seed That Can’t Wait for 2014-15 To Be Over . Memphis Blues Again: The Grizzlies have lost 11 of 20 since Feb. 25. This is a bit of a problem, a problem that can’t be solved by sliding Vince Carter into the starting lineup or making snarky remarks about Jeff Green. Working on the road, in the home of the San Antonio franchise that the Grizzlies famously downed in the first-round of the 2011 playoffs, Memphis had no answer for Kawhi Leonard’s length and touch on Sunday evening . In a 103-89 loss that allowed Houston to vault past Memphis and into the West’s second seed, the Grizz were continually kept at arm’s length by a Spurs squad that seemed to have a rotation answer for every Memphis run. Working small by design, the Grizzlies could not keep Leonard (25 points, 10 rebounds) away from his preferred spots close to the basket. San Antonio dominated the glass, kept the ball moving (25 assists; hardly home cooking from the local scorers’crew), and barely broke a sweat in winning its sixth game in seven tries. Quietly, per the team’s custom, the Spurs moved into second place in terms of defensive efficiency on the season over the weekend. Nets Appeal: Smirking in the face of the whole of NBA fandom, the Brooklyn Nets managed to ride into the East’s playoff bracket by taking advantage of a miserable Los Angeles Lakers team, ticking off those of whom that want nothing to do with watching BKN past the third week of April. Joe Johnson, still a guy that plays basketball for a lot of money, helped helm his team’s fourth quarter stand after the Lakers threatened. Brooklyn center Brook Lopez continued to add to what has been a fabulous March turn by adding 30 points in the face of a Laker frontcourt that seemed to have no idea what to do with a big man that can walk and chew gum at the same time. The team’s 107-99 win put the trillion-dollar squad a half game up over the same Boston Celtics team that …Boston Blows It : The Celtics shouldn’t have been favored against a Los Angeles Clippers team that had no business losing to a C’s group working eight games below .500 in late March, and yet the Celtics still managed to make it worse with lethargic and uninspired play from the outset. Brad Stevens’crew managed to make an interesting game in spite of the slow start, returning to force former Celtics coach Doc Rivers to put his Clipper starters in late in the fourth quarter following a Boston run, but the same spark that inspired the Marcus Smart-driven run in recent weeks just wasn’t there for the Celtics. Smart, in particular, appears to have hit the rookie wall. Celtic wing Jae Crowder had his moments, and the application of a Hack-a-DeAndre Jordan acted as an intelligent move as the Celtics came back, but Boston dug itself too deep a hole in the opening moments. As a result, following the 119-106 dive , the team now stands a half-game behind Brooklyn for the East’s final postseason seed. Miami Acts its Age : Officially listed as “questionable”heading into an anonymous Sunday afternoon game in Detroit, Dwyane Wade managed to turn back the clock on his way to a 40-point outing in the Heat’s win over the Pistons. That total ranks as the second-highest output of Wade’s season thus far, made all the more impressive in the face of the fact that helper Luol Deng had to leave the game after just 18 unproductive minutes due to a painful knee contusion. With 21-year old (!) Andre Drummond adding a season-high 32 points, the Heat needed everything they could get from their franchise player in the 109-102 win . (There’s also the whole part about Dwyane Wade having to drain fluid out of his troublesome left knee just a day before keeping his Heat a game and a half up on the Nets for the seventh spot in the East.) Quickly : The Pacers badly needed Rodney Stuckey to return in order to keep their playoff hopes alive, which somehow isn’t the saddest thing to happen in Indiana this month …Cleveland and Philadelphia paid tribute to the NCAA Tournament by missing a ton of shots and taking far too long to finish their game on Sunday afternoon, the Cavs eventually held on despite Kevin Love’s back injury …Pesto goes with anything. Monday's Most Important Games Boston at Charlotte , 7:00 p.m. ET: It’s to the discredit of all involved that a 32-41 team and a 31-41 outfit are battling in late March for the chance to make the playoffs in the East, but this is what happens when Danny Ainge intelligently decides to rebuild on the fly and Michael Jordan decides that he wants to prove himself to Jerry Krause. The C’s have lost two of three to Charlotte on the year, but the Hornets will be likely working with a hobbled Al Jefferson and Mo Williams. Houston at Toronto , 7:30 p.m. ET: This could act as the trappiest of all trap games, as the Rockets are coming off of a solid road win over the Wizards and the Raptors could be looking to turn things around after not bothering to guard anyone in the 2015 calendar year. Toronto has it in them to down the West’s current second seed at full strength, but with Kyle Lowry likely out the Raps will be up against it. Milwaukee at Atlanta , 7:30 p.m. ET: The Hawks might sit all of their starters again, and Milwaukee might still struggle to score 78 points. - - - - - - - Kelly Dwyer is an editor for Ball Don't Lie on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at KDonhoops@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @KDonhoops [read full article]

From Yahoo Sports

NBA Playoff Picture Update: Oklahoma City comes back to ruin the Suns' season (Ball Don't Li

With just a few weeks remaining until the NBA postseason, every night can impact the standings. NBA Playoff Picture keeps you up to date on all the most important news for all 16 berths and seeds. [DraftKings: FREE entry to huge cash Fantasy Basketball Contest with first deposit ] Oklahoma City Downs a Dream: The Phoenix Suns aren’t entirely out of the playoff picture at this point, but it will be hard to recover from what the Thunder managed to do to them in 24 swift minutes on Sunday evening. Down 20 early in the offering, the Thunder utilized small lineups and desperate chances on its way to a borderline stunning 109-97 win . The team outscored Phoenix by 20 over the game’s final 24 minutes, with Russell Westbrook nearing yet another triple-double (33 points on 27 shots, nine rebounds, seven assists), Dion Waiters offering his bi-weekly “this is why we still take chances on him”contribution of 18 points on 20 shots, and bench performers D.J. Augustin and Anthony Morrow combined for 30 points on only 15 attempts from the field. Phoenix never seemed to find a defensive rhythm after the lay-up line that was the first half, and as a result the team is now four games back in the race for the final postseason berth in the West. OKC also moved to 2.5 games up over the New Orleans Pelicans, keeping pace in spite of NOLA’s 22-point win over the hapless (and clearly tanking, as the team’s coaching staff went away from productive lineups in the second half) Minnesota Timberwolves. Rockets Ascend: Afforded the national TV showing and a frustrated opponent to tee off upon, the Houston Rockets elbowed their way into the Western Conference’s second-best record on Sunday afternoon. Despite injuries to three former starters, the Rox rode James Harden’s 9-10 touch from the free throw line to a 99-91 win that was more lopsided than the final score would indicate. Dwight Howard managed a double-double despite playing just 18 minutes, as the Wizards solidified their slot as The Fifth Seed That Can’t Wait for 2014-15 To Be Over . Memphis Blues Again: The Grizzlies have lost 11 of 20 since Feb. 25. This is a bit of a problem, a problem that can’t be solved by sliding Vince Carter into the starting lineup or making snarky remarks about Jeff Green. Working on the road, in the home of the San Antonio franchise that the Grizzlies famously downed in the first-round of the 2011 playoffs, Memphis had no answer for Kawhi Leonard’s length and touch on Sunday evening . In a 103-89 loss that allowed Houston to vault past Memphis and into the West’s second seed, the Grizz were continually kept at arm’s length by a Spurs squad that seemed to have a rotation answer for every Memphis run. Working small by design, the Grizzlies could not keep Leonard (25 points, 10 rebounds) away from his preferred spots close to the basket. San Antonio dominated the glass, kept the ball moving (25 assists; hardly home cooking from the local scorers’crew), and barely broke a sweat in winning its sixth game in seven tries. Quietly, per the team’s custom, the Spurs moved into second place in terms of defensive efficiency on the season over the weekend. Nets Appeal: Smirking in the face of the whole of NBA fandom, the Brooklyn Nets managed to ride into the East’s playoff bracket by taking advantage of a miserable Los Angeles Lakers team, ticking off those of whom that want nothing to do with watching BKN past the third week of April. Joe Johnson, still a guy that plays basketball for a lot of money, helped helm his team’s fourth quarter stand after the Lakers threatened. Brooklyn center Brook Lopez continued to add to what has been a fabulous March turn by adding 30 points in the face of a Laker frontcourt that seemed to have no idea what to do with a big man that can walk and chew gum at the same time. The team’s 107-99 win put the trillion-dollar squad a half game up over the same Boston Celtics team that …Boston Blows It : The Celtics shouldn’t have been favored against a Los Angeles Clippers team that had no business losing to a C’s group working eight games below .500 in late March, and yet the Celtics still managed to make it worse with lethargic and uninspired play from the outset. Brad Stevens’crew managed to make an interesting game in spite of the slow start, returning to force former Celtics coach Doc Rivers to put his Clipper starters in late in the fourth quarter following a Boston run, but the same spark that inspired the Marcus Smart-driven run in recent weeks just wasn’t there for the Celtics. Smart, in particular, appears to have hit the rookie wall. Celtic wing Jae Crowder had his moments, and the application of a Hack-a-DeAndre Jordan acted as an intelligent move as the Celtics came back, but Boston dug itself too deep a hole in the opening moments. As a result, following the 119-106 dive , the team now stands a half-game behind Brooklyn for the East’s final postseason seed. Miami Acts its Age : Officially listed as “questionable”heading into an anonymous Sunday afternoon game in Detroit, Dwyane Wade managed to turn back the clock on his way to a 40-point outing in the Heat’s win over the Pistons. That total ranks as the second-highest output of Wade’s season thus far, made all the more impressive in the face of the fact that helper Luol Deng had to leave the game after just 18 unproductive minutes due to a painful knee contusion. With 21-year old (!) Andre Drummond adding a season-high 32 points, the Heat needed everything they could get from their franchise player in the 109-102 win . (There’s also the whole part about Dwyane Wade having to drain fluid out of his troublesome left knee just a day before keeping his Heat a game and a half up on the Nets for the seventh spot in the East.) Quickly : The Pacers badly needed Rodney Stuckey to return in order to keep their playoff hopes alive, which somehow isn’t the saddest thing to happen in Indiana this month …Cleveland and Philadelphia paid tribute to the NCAA Tournament by missing a ton of shots and taking far too long to finish their game on Sunday afternoon, the Cavs eventually held on despite Kevin Love’s back injury …Pesto goes with anything. Monday's Most Important Games Boston at Charlotte , 7:00 p.m. ET: It’s to the discredit of all involved that a 32-41 team and a 31-41 outfit are battling in late March for the chance to make the playoffs in the East, but this is what happens when Danny Ainge intelligently decides to rebuild on the fly and Michael Jordan decides that he wants to prove himself to Jerry Krause. The C’s have lost two of three to Charlotte on the year, but the Hornets will be likely working with a hobbled Al Jefferson and Mo Williams. Houston at Toronto , 7:30 p.m. ET: This could act as the trappiest of all trap games, as the Rockets are coming off of a solid road win over the Wizards and the Raptors could be looking to turn things around after not bothering to guard anyone in the 2015 calendar year. Toronto has it in them to down the West’s current second seed at full strength, but with Kyle Lowry likely out the Raps will be up against it. Milwaukee at Atlanta , 7:30 p.m. ET: The Hawks might sit all of their starters again, and Milwaukee might still struggle to score 78 points. - - - - - - - Kelly Dwyer is an editor for Ball Don't Lie on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at KDonhoops@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @KDonhoops [read full article]

From Yahoo Sports

NBA Playoff Picture Update: Oklahoma City comes back to ruin the Suns' season (Ball Don't Li

With just a few weeks remaining until the NBA postseason, every night can impact the standings. NBA Playoff Picture keeps you up to date on all the most important news for all 16 berths and seeds. [DraftKings: FREE entry to huge cash Fantasy Basketball Contest with first deposit ] Oklahoma City Downs a Dream: The Phoenix Suns aren’t entirely out of the playoff picture at this point, but it will be hard to recover from what the Thunder managed to do to them in 24 swift minutes on Sunday evening. Down 20 early in the offering, the Thunder utilized small lineups and desperate chances on its way to a borderline stunning 109-97 win . The team outscored Phoenix by 20 over the game’s final 24 minutes, with Russell Westbrook nearing yet another triple-double (33 points on 27 shots, nine rebounds, seven assists), Dion Waiters offering his bi-weekly “this is why we still take chances on him”contribution of 18 points on 20 shots, and bench performers D.J. Augustin and Anthony Morrow combined for 30 points on only 15 attempts from the field. Phoenix never seemed to find a defensive rhythm after the lay-up line that was the first half, and as a result the team is now four games back in the race for the final postseason berth in the West. OKC also moved to 2.5 games up over the New Orleans Pelicans, keeping pace in spite of NOLA’s 22-point win over the hapless (and clearly tanking, as the team’s coaching staff went away from productive lineups in the second half) Minnesota Timberwolves. Rockets Ascend: Afforded the national TV showing and a frustrated opponent to tee off upon, the Houston Rockets elbowed their way into the Western Conference’s second-best record on Sunday afternoon. Despite injuries to three former starters, the Rox rode James Harden’s 9-10 touch from the free throw line to a 99-91 win that was more lopsided than the final score would indicate. Dwight Howard managed a double-double despite playing just 18 minutes, as the Wizards solidified their slot as The Fifth Seed That Can’t Wait for 2014-15 To Be Over . Memphis Blues Again: The Grizzlies have lost 11 of 20 since Feb. 25. This is a bit of a problem, a problem that can’t be solved by sliding Vince Carter into the starting lineup or making snarky remarks about Jeff Green. Working on the road, in the home of the San Antonio franchise that the Grizzlies famously downed in the first-round of the 2011 playoffs, Memphis had no answer for Kawhi Leonard’s length and touch on Sunday evening . In a 103-89 loss that allowed Houston to vault past Memphis and into the West’s second seed, the Grizz were continually kept at arm’s length by a Spurs squad that seemed to have a rotation answer for every Memphis run. Working small by design, the Grizzlies could not keep Leonard (25 points, 10 rebounds) away from his preferred spots close to the basket. San Antonio dominated the glass, kept the ball moving (25 assists; hardly home cooking from the local scorers’crew), and barely broke a sweat in winning its sixth game in seven tries. Quietly, per the team’s custom, the Spurs moved into second place in terms of defensive efficiency on the season over the weekend. Nets Appeal: Smirking in the face of the whole of NBA fandom, the Brooklyn Nets managed to ride into the East’s playoff bracket by taking advantage of a miserable Los Angeles Lakers team, ticking off those of whom that want nothing to do with watching BKN past the third week of April. Joe Johnson, still a guy that plays basketball for a lot of money, helped helm his team’s fourth quarter stand after the Lakers threatened. Brooklyn center Brook Lopez continued to add to what has been a fabulous March turn by adding 30 points in the face of a Laker frontcourt that seemed to have no idea what to do with a big man that can walk and chew gum at the same time. The team’s 107-99 win put the trillion-dollar squad a half game up over the same Boston Celtics team that …Boston Blows It : The Celtics shouldn’t have been favored against a Los Angeles Clippers team that had no business losing to a C’sgroup working eight games below .500 in late March, and yet the Celtics still managed to make it worse with lethargic and uninspired play from the outset. Brad Stevens’crew managed to make an interesting game in spite of the slow start, returning to force former Celtics coach Doc Rivers to put his Clipper starters in late in the fourth quarter following a Boston run, but the same spark that inspired the Marcus Smart-driven run in recent weeks just wasn’t there for the Celtics. Smart, in particular, appears to have hit the rookie wall. Celtic wing Jae Crowder had his moments, and the application of a Hack-a-DeAndre Jordan acted as an intelligent move as the Celtics came back, but Boston dug itself too deep a hole in the opening moments. As a result, following the 119-106 dive , the team now stands a half-game behind Brooklyn for the East’s final postseason seed. Miami Acts its Age : Officially listed as “questionable”heading into an anonymous Sunday afternoon game in Detroit, Dwyane Wade managed to turn back the clock on his way to a 40-point outing in the Heat’s win over the Pistons. That total ranks as the second-highest output of Wade’s season thus far, made all the more impressive in the face of the fact that helper Luol Deng had to leave the game after just 18 unproductive minutes due to a painful knee contusion. With 21-year old (!) Andre Drummond adding a season-high 32 points, the Heat needed everything they could get from their franchise player in the 109-102 win . (There’s also the whole part about Dwyane Wade having to drain fluid out of his troublesome left knee just a day before keeping his Heat a game and a half up on the Nets for the seventh spot in the East.) Quickly : The Pacers badly needed Rodney Stuckey to return in order to keep their playoff hopes alive, which somehow isn’t the saddest thing to happen in Indiana this month …Cleveland and Philadelphia paid tribute to the NCAA Tournament by missing a ton of shots and taking far too long to finish their game on Sunday afternoon, the Cavs eventually held on despite Kevin Love’s back injury …Pesto goes with anything. Monday's Most Important Games Boston at Charlotte , 7:00 p.m. ET: It’s to the discredit of all involved that a 32-41 team and a 31-41 outfit are battling in late March for the chance to make the playoffs in the East, but this is what happens when Danny Ainge intelligently decides to rebuild on the fly and Michael Jordan decides that he wants to prove himself to Jerry Krause. The C’s have lost two of three to Charlotte on the year, but the Hornets will be likely working with a hobbled Al Jefferson and Mo Williams. Houston at Toronto , 7:30 p.m. ET: This could act as the trappiest of all trap games, as the Rockets are coming off of a solid road win over the Wizards and the Raptors could be looking to turn things around after not bothering to guard anyone in the 2015 calendar year. Toronto has it in them to down the West’s current second seed at full strength, but with Kyle Lowry likely out the Raps will be up against it. Milwaukee at Atlanta , 7:30 p.m. ET: The Hawks might sit all of their starters again, and Milwaukee might still struggle to score 78 points. - - - - - - - Kelly Dwyer is an editor for Ball Don't Lie on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at KDonhoops@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @KDonhoops [read full article]

From Yahoo Sports

NBA Playoff Picture Update: Oklahoma City comes back to ruin the Suns' season (Ball Don't Li

With just a few weeks remaining until the NBA postseason, every night can impact the standings. NBA Playoff Picture keeps you up to date on all the most important news for all 16 berths and seeds. [DraftKings: FREE entry to huge cash Fantasy Basketball Contest with first deposit ] Oklahoma City Downs a Dream: The Phoenix Suns aren’t entirely out of the playoff picture at this point, but it will be hard to recover from what the Thunder managed to do to them in 24 swift minutes on Sunday evening. Down 20 early in the offering, the Thunder utilized small lineups and desperate chances on its way to a borderline stunning 109-97 win . The team outscored Phoenix by 20 over the game’s final 24 minutes, with Russell Westbrook nearing yet another triple-double (33 points on 27 shots, nine rebounds, seven assists), Dion Waiters offering his bi-weekly “this is why we still take chances on him”contribution of 18 points on 20 shots, and bench performers D.J. Augustin and Anthony Morrow combined for 30 points on only 15 attempts from the field. Phoenix never seemed to find a defensive rhythm after the lay-up line that was the first half, and as a result the team is now four games back in the race for the final postseason berth in the West. OKC also moved to 2.5 games up over the New Orleans Pelicans, keeping pace in spite of NOLA’s 22-point win over the hapless (and clearly tanking, as the team’s coaching staff went away from productive lineups in the second half) Minnesota Timberwolves. Rockets Ascend: Afforded the national TV showing and a frustrated opponent to tee off upon, the Houston Rockets elbowed their way into the Western Conference’s second-best record on Sunday afternoon. Despite injuries to three former starters, the Rox rode James Harden’s 9-10 touch from the free throw line to a 99-91 win that was more lopsided than the final score would indicate. Dwight Howard managed a double-double despite playing just 18 minutes, as the Wizards solidified their slot as The Fifth Seed That Can’t Wait for 2014-15 To Be Over . Memphis Blues Again: The Grizzlies have lost 11 of 20 since Feb. 25. This is a bit of a problem, a problem that can’t be solved by sliding Vince Carter into the starting lineup or making snarky remarks about Jeff Green. Working on the road, in the home of the San Antonio franchise that the Grizzlies famously downed in the first-round of the 2011 playoffs, Memphis had no answer for Kawhi Leonard’s length and touch on Sunday evening . In a 103-89 loss that allowed Houston to vault past Memphis and into the West’s second seed, the Grizz were continually kept at arm’s length by a Spurs squad that seemed to have a rotation answer for every Memphis run. Working small by design, the Grizzlies could not keep Leonard (25 points, 10 rebounds) away from his preferred spots close to the basket. San Antonio dominated the glass, kept the ball moving (25 assists; hardly home cooking from the local scorers’crew), and barely broke a sweat in winning its sixth game in seven tries. Quietly, per the team’s custom, the Spurs moved into second place in terms of defensive efficiency on the season over the weekend. Nets Appeal: Smirking in the face of the whole of NBA fandom, the Brooklyn Nets managed to ride into the East’s playoff bracket by taking advantage of a miserable Los Angeles Lakers team, ticking off those of whom that want nothing to do with watching BKN past the third week of April. Joe Johnson, still a guy that plays basketball for a lot of money, helped helm his team’s fourth quarter stand after the Lakers threatened. Brooklyn center Brook Lopez continued to add to what has been a fabulous March turn by adding 30 points in the face of a Laker frontcourt that seemed to have no idea what to do with a big man that can walk and chew gum at the same time. The team’s 107-99 win put the trillion-dollar squad a half game up over the same Boston Celtics team that …Boston Blows It : The Celtics shouldn’t have been favored against a Los Angeles Clippers team that had no business losing to a C’s group working eight games below .500 in late March, and yet the Celtics still managed to make it worse with lethargic and uninspired play from the outset. Brad Stevens’crew managed to make an interesting game in spite of the slow start, returning to force former Celtics coach Doc Rivers to put his Clipper starters in late in the fourth quarter following a Boston run, but the same spark that inspired the Marcus Smart-driven run in recent weeks just wasn’t there for the Celtics. Smart, in particular, appears to have hit the rookie wall. Celtic wing Jae Crowder had his moments, and the application of a Hack-a-DeAndre Jordan acted as an intelligent move as the Celtics came back, but Boston dug itself too deep a hole in the opening moments. As a result, following the 119-106 dive , the team now stands a half-game behind Brooklyn for the East’s final postseason seed. Miami Acts its Age : Officially listed as “questionable”heading into an anonymous Sunday afternoon game in Detroit, Dwyane Wade managed to turn back the clock on his way to a 40-point outing in the Heat’s win over the Pistons. That total ranks as the second-highest output of Wade’s season thus far, made all the more impressive in the face of the fact that helper Luol Deng had to leave the game after just 18 unproductive minutes due to a painful knee contusion. With 21-year old (!) Andre Drummond adding a season-high 32 points, the Heat needed everything they could get from their franchise player in the 109-102 win . (There’s also the whole part about Dwyane Wade having to drain fluid out of his troublesome left knee just a day before keeping his Heat a game and a half up on the Nets for the seventh spot in the East.) Quickly : The Pacers badly needed Rodney Stuckey to return in order to keep their playoff hopes alive, which somehow isn’t the saddest thing to happen in Indiana this month …Cleveland and Philadelphia paid tribute to the NCAA Tournament by missing a ton of shots and taking far too long to finish their game on Sunday afternoon, the Cavs eventually held on despite Kevin Love’s back injury …Pesto goes with anything. Monday's Most Important Games Boston at Charlotte , 7:00 p.m. ET: It’s to the discredit of all involved that a 32-41 team and a 31-41 outfit are battling in late March for the chance to make the playoffs in the East, but this is what happens when Danny Ainge intelligently decides to rebuild on the fly and Michael Jordan decides that he wants to prove himself to Jerry Krause. The C’s have lost two of three to Charlotte on the year, but the Hornets will be likely working with a hobbled Al Jefferson and Mo Williams. Houston at Toronto , 7:30 p.m. ET: This could act as the trappiest of all trap games, as the Rockets are coming off of a solid road win over the Wizards and the Raptors could be looking to turn things around after not bothering to guard anyone in the 2015 calendar year. Toronto has it in them to down the West’s current second seed at full strength, but with Kyle Lowry likely out the Raps will be up against it. Milwaukee at Atlanta , 7:30 p.m. ET: The Hawks might sit all of their starters again, and Milwaukee might still struggle to score 78 points. - - - - - - - Kelly Dwyer is an editor for Ball Don't Lie on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at KDonhoops@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @KDonhoops [read full article]

From Yahoo Sports

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