Years ago, as a teenaged high school student, I first pondered the idea of creating my own NBA website. In 2010, three years after my graduation, I finally made it happen. Since then, I’ve treated this endeavor like a full-time job. I’ve been able to do so thanks in large part to my family, who’ve been so generous as to facilitate my nearly-expense-free existence. This allows me to dedicate 100% of my time during the winter months to NBA basketball. I do work plenty in the summertime, and I was actually punching a clock for a good portion of the first winter, but there’s no way I could’ve attacked this site the way I did for over two years had I been in a position where I had to work 40 or 50 hours a week year round. Though my situation remains essentially the same in the sense that I’m not being forced to quit spending my days writing and get a real job, I’ve decided it’s time for me to make some changes.
For the foreseeable future, I no longer plan to update NBA247365.COM. I apologize to those of you who love and support the site, but please understand what has always driven it — an organic passion for the NBA. I’ve blogged about the NBA because I’ve wanted to blog about the NBA, and that’s why NBA247365.COM has been worthwhile. Unfortunately, the fuel that feeds the fire has begun to run dry, and without it the site will fail to live up to its own standard. I refuse to allow that to happen.
I haven’t lost my passion for the game of basketball. I’ll continue to watch games on TV, and I’ll actually be able to play the sport more than I was before. I’ll still be on Twitter @NBA247OFFICIAL, and I’ll still be StroShow4 on many of the internet’s message boards. The Poster of the Day will continue for the duration of the season, but it’ll take place within the forums of InsideHoops.com. I’ll continue to pay the site’s bills so the archives will survive. Maybe, eventually, I’ll return to blogging in some capacity. However, it’s not like me to do something halfway; I do it or I don’t do it. For the time being, I’ll be doing other things.
More than any other isolated moment, ^this was the one that inspired NBA247365.COM. That dunk was put down on the 18th of January, 2004. Today happens to be the 18th of February, 2013. It’s been real.
Hey everyone, Scott from Crabdribbles.com here to bring to you the best of this past week in the D-League. Today, I’ve decided to bend the rules a little bit. Instead of handing out Performance of the Week honors to the person who had the most outstanding game, I’ve given it to someone who, after months and months of drama and controversy, actually made his long-awaited D-League debut.
Performance of the Week
As you may have ascertained from my bio, my loyalty lies with the Houston Rockets. I’ve been a diehard fan ever since Tracy McGrady stepped foot on the Toyota Center floor, and unless they amnesty James Harden tomorrow then I don’t see anything changing anytime soon. Anyway, the reason I’m telling you this is because last week was an exciting one for Red Nation. For the first time since October 26th, we got to watch our 16th overall pick, Royce White, put on a uniform and play some basketball.
This should’ve happened ages ago. Royce was assigned to the Rio Grande Valley Vipers way back in December, but he refused to play and stated that he had no plans of doing so “until a mental health protocol (was) in place.” None too pleased with the rookie’s defiance, the Rockets suspended him indefinitely. In protest, Royce engaged in something of a mental health crusade, attacking the Rockets via Twitter for their alleged lack of concern with his condition. It was a long, ugly battle, but the two sides finally came to an agreement at the end of the last month. Royce was set to make his debut on February 12th against the Maine Red Claws.
As soon as it was announced, I circled the date on my calendar. I, like many others, was ready to see how White would perform after all his time off. In that game, Royce showed exactly why everyone was so high on his talent coming into the draft. It may not appear that way based on a simple glance at his pedestrian statistics (seven points, eight rebounds, four assists), but he was throwing slick passes, pulling down rebounds with ease, and battling with opposing big men down low. He was, however, limited by his conditioning (or lack thereof). He was held to just 18 minutes as he committed three careless turnovers and picked up five early fouls.
For Royce, this All-Star weekend should be a blessing in disguise. It hopefully gave him some much needed time to get back into basketball shape, as it’s expected that he’ll be ready to go this Friday, when the Vipers host the Texas Legends. Although he had his moments in his debut, he’s still got a lot to prove. People are already skeptical about “just how committed [he] is to making the most of his chance at an NBA career.” He’s got a long way to go yet if he plans to put on a Rockets uniform ever again.
Top Five Plays of the Week
Due to the NBA’s All-Star Weekend, there weren’t very many D-League games this week, but there were just enough to scrounge up five sick plays, thanks to Jared Cunningham, Justin Dentmon, Glen Rice Jr., Terrence Jennings, and Dajuan Summers.
Josh Smith is a polarizing player. Some consider him every bit as good as the tremendous highlights and monster box scores, while others point to his iffy attitude and questionable shot selection. Honestly, I don’t know how to rate Josh Smith. He brings an awful lot to the table, including the coveted ability to score on the block (when the mood strikes him, of course), and yet… something is missing. His insistence on taking those fall-away jumpers indicates a lack of consistent effort and focus. Smith will still get max money this summer, and watching how he responds to it will be interesting. Maybe a change of scenery will do him well, or maybe Josh Smith is set in his ways.
It’s been awesome to watch the NBA begin to embrace advanced statistics. On Thursday, the league publicly opened the doors to its massive database, which was previously available only to media members.
Jared Dubin tries to make sense of the muddled Western Conference playoff picture.
The weekend is already upon us, but you ought to take a listen to Bo Churney and Robert Kalland’s delightful anti All-Star podcast.
The BBVA Rising Stars Challenge, formerly and informally known as the Rookie/Sophomore game, is generally a rather uninspiring event. Only twice in the past 11 years has the challenge been decided by fewer than 10 points, and it’s pretty much become tradition that the game concludes with an impromptu dunk contest. Basically, it’s like the actual All-Star game… except with players that aren’t quite as good trying even less hard. I always watch it, but it’s probably the number one NBA event I wouldn’t mind missing if ever I were to have something better to do.
The 2013 edition was anything but an exception to the rule. Featuring an eye-popping final score of 163-135, its 198 total points set a new event record (keep in mind that these games last just 40 minutes). The only participant who actually displayed consistent effort was Kenneth Faried, who earned MVP honors for his 40 points and 10 rebounds. Such exhibitions are typically dominated by perimeter players, but Faried’s outstanding numbers are unsurprising considering that he doesn’t know how not to work his ass off.
As the young Manimal dunked his way to top honors, a familiar face dazzled in defeat. Kyrie Irving, 2012′s Rookie of the Year and Rising Stars MVP, scored 32 points for the losing squad, but dominated his one-on-one battle with fellow 2011 draftee Brandon Knight, which broke out with approximately six minutes to go in the second half.
Though Kenneth Faried was deemed the man of the hour (and deservedly so), Kyrie Irving’s streetball explosion will be the sole reason the 2013 Rising Stars Challenge ever gets mentioned in the future. Way to be, Kyrie!
This particular play would’ve been cooler had the Cavaliers maintained the three-point lead that it gave them, but hey, a dunk on two Spurs is a dunk on two Spurs. Austin Carr thought it was fantastic, and it’s not like he’s ever been known to be overly excitable.
Something every NBA fan should know: CJ Miles the… um… adult film star has more Twitter followers than CJ Miles the basketball player. Nearly five times as many, in fact. So, if for any reason you are ever in search of CJ Miles information, just proceed with caution. Especially in a work setting.
The Bulls find themselves in a sticky situation with Carlos Boozer. He isn’t helping the team — I’d argue that he’s doing quite the opposite, as a matter of fact — and what the Bulls choose to do with him will be a developing storyline as we approach the trade deadline (and this summer, if he isn’t gone by then). He’s on the books for approximately $15 million next year, and his salary only climbs higher (to $16.8 million) the year after that. He’s 31 years old right now, so he doesn’t figure to improve any time soon. Even more troubling is the fact that his backup, Taj Gibson, will play his next four seasons under a $38 million deal. If Chicago can’t find any takers on Boozer in the upcoming weeks then the amnesty provision may be an option.
In the wake of Nerlens Noel’s devastating knee injury, Tom Ziller rails against the NBA age minimum and the NBAPA’s lack of action.
Your 10 worst mid-range shooters in the NBA with 100+ attempts: Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (23.5%), Anthony Davis (26%), Eric Bledsoe (30%), Josh Smith (30.2%), Jason Maxiell (32%), Andre Iguodala (32%), Tony Allen (32.4%), Greg Monroe (32.6%), DeMarcus Cousins (32.7%), E’Twaun Moore (32.8%). Welcome to the poor shot selection club.
Kyrie Irving is often criticized for his lax defense, but he has actually been much better this year, as Sam Vecenie points out.
A lot can change in nine seconds. For instance, take what appeared to be turning into the most memorable game of Dion Waiters’ NBA career. Against the West-leading Spurs, Waiters had scored a team-leading 20 points, including the go-ahead jump shot over the best perimeter defender in the building. To score a game-winner in the NBA is something every basketball player has dreamt about, but Dion’s dream would quickly turn into a nightmare due to a critical defensive error on his part. As Kawhi Leonard receives the ball and squares up for the decisive three-pointer, note the lack of attention paid by Waiters.
So yeah, Dion, it’s probably a good idea to keep an eye on your man in situations such as this, especially when your man is a 39% three-point shooter. If not, at least be ready to make a play on Tony Parker’s pass. This is no time to enter some sort of trance.
Though the Cavs fell just one brain fart short of beating the Spurs, Kyrie Irving had one of his worst NBA games to date. He went 2-15 from the floor, scored just six points to Tony Parker’s game-high 24, missed all of his shots in the second half, and tripped twice during his own attempt to win the game.
Over 19,000 people attended the Rudy Gay/Carmelo Anthony brickfest in New York City. In one of the least exciting four-point games you’ll ever see, Rudy and Melo combined to make just 9 of their 45 shot attempts (that’s 20%). It was a particularly ugly affair for the Knicks, who shot 35% and missed three consecutive layups with about a minute to go in a four-point game. As the Knicks went basket-less between the 2:59 and :19 marks of the fourth, John Lucas III buried the dagger. Actually, the Raptors may have won without that shot — it’s not like the Knicks were going to score — but I bring it up because Lucas, who scored 12 points on 4-5, is suddenly averaging 10 PPG on 50% for the month of February. He’s now come up huge in consecutive fourth quarters and has scored in double figures three straight times.
Landry Fields scored just four points in his return to New York, but he did get engaged to a super model, proving that it’s good to be an NBA player — even one who averages five points a game on 11% from beyond the three-point line.
It’s fashion week in New York City. The Knicks have lost twice, and their biggest divas are struggling mightily. Amare Stoudemire: nine points, six rebounds on 36%. Tyson Chandler: eight points, 10 rebounds. In all seriousness, I refuse to believe that this is a coincidence. According to the NY Daily News and the New York Times, Tyson Chandler has been busy attending diet detox parties as well as various runway shows.
The Clippers scored 46 points in the first quarter of their 106-96 victory over the Rockets. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you DeAndre Jordan:
That was only DJ’s best right-handed alley-oop hammer smash. He had others.
As well as the Clippers’ starters played (especially Chauncey Billups, who had 19 points in 20 minutes), their bench was atrocious (12 turnovers, 39%). Chris Paul and Blake Griffin were both forced to check back in during the fourth quarter as the Rockets closed from down 20+ to within 12. Ryan Hollins couldn’t guard Donatas Motiejunas, who was a bright spot for Houston; his 12-point explosion in that fourth quarter was basically the reason why Del Negro had to go back to his starters. James Anderson also played pretty well for the Rockets; he had 14 on 4-7.
In Indiana, Charlotte’s win streak ended at one game. Paul George met little resistance in anything he tried to do, resulting in his first career triple-double (23/12/12). The Bobcats shot 31.7%, gave up 50 points in the paint, and the Pacers won by 24.
Vince CarterMJ-shrugged past Larry Bird into the 29th spot on the all-time scoring list (SWAG!) as the Mavs creamed the Kings 123-100. That shot, which gave Carter his 21,794th career point, was his third three-pointer in a row (he went back-to-back-to-back over a span of 1:05) and his sixth of the game. VC led the Mavs with 26 points, his most in any non-overtime game of the past two seasons.
Alec Burks may have saved Utah from blowing a 13-point lead in less than three minutes. In Minnesota, Ricky Rubio (18/9/10) led the Wolves on a late 9-0 charge that brought them to within four points of the Jazz. Rubio didn’t score during the run, but he assisted on three consecutive scores, making him the clear catalyst. After jumping in a passing lane to steal the ball from Earl Watson, Rubio had a great opportunity to cut it to a one-possession game… but he wasn’t able to do so because the aforementioned Burks chased him down and blocked the layup. Rubio should’ve gone reverse, obviously, but credit Burks for the hustle. He’s spent more time on the bench than he’s deserved to over his first couple seasons in the league, but he’s getting an opportunity to play right now and he’s certainly capitalizing. Burks had nine points, seven rebounds, and six assists in this one, and he’s averaging 10 PPG in February.
The Nets parlayed their come-from-behind victory at Indiana into a two-game win streak with a 119-108 victory over the Nuggets, who’ve suddenly dropped three in a row. Though not fully healthy, Denver has to be disappointed that they’ve completely wasted what has arguably been the greatest three-game stretch of Ty Lawson’s NBA career (at the offensive end, at least). Coming off of a pair of 29-point efforts, Lawson scorched the Nets for 26 (and nine assists) on 8-11. However…
…Lawson’s counterpart, CJ Watson, nearly matched him with 25 points on 8-12. Lawson and Watson were just two of nine players to score double figures in the game, which featured 227 total points. Joe Johnson led all scorers with 26, but no one reached 14 as spectacularly as JaVale McGee, who may have completed the longest alley-oop dunk in NBA history:
Seventy-five feet is an exaggerated estimate, but still. Andre Miller let it fly from near the opposite three-point line, which would make it a 65-foot toss. That’s nuts.
Who wants to get humiliated by LeBron James and the Heat? Not the 76ers! Against eighth-place Milwaukee, ninth-place Philly picked up a huge 94-92 loss. In doing so, they passed the crucial head-to-head tie-breaker off to the Bucks. Credit Royal Ivey, who stepped up and swallowed his pride for the good of the team. Overall, Ivey struggled — he recorded a +/- of 0 and prevented a Bucks basket by blocking a shot — but with under five seconds to go, he passed the ball directly to Prince Luc Richard Mbah-A-Moute, assuring defeat. Without the tie-breaker it’ll be quite difficult for the Sixers to catch the Bucks, who’ve taken a comfortable lead of four games. Huge play by Ivey, who wasn’t even credited with a turnover. Unsung hero.
Box Score Observations: The Blazers scored a whopping 63 points and lost to the Hornets by 36 (remember, the Clippers scored 46 in one quarter). The Portlanders shot just 32% in the Bayou, but did make all 13 of their free throws. Josh Smith did 30/10/5 in a 108-76 blowout at the Magic Kingdom. Kyle O’Quinn participated for a career-high 22 minutes. Will Bynum and Jose Calderon combined for 44 points as the Pistons defeated the Wizards 96-85. It should probably be noted that Greg Monroe had 16/18.
Approximately seven minutes into Tuesday’s matchup with the Raptors, Timofey Mozgov checked in for the first time in three games. He was forced into action in the stead of JaVale McGee, who happened to re-aggravate a leg injury that’s been giving him problems lately. In fairness to Mozgov, the Raptors seemed to be making a concerted effort to take the ball to the rim even before his surprise appearance. They’d already attempted six shots in the painted area, but there’s little doubt in my mind that DeMaR DeRoZaN’s decision to attempt one of the biggest dunks of the season thus far was positively influenced by the presence of the bumbling Mozgov rather than that of McGee, one of the league’s finest athletes and premier shot blockers.
Not surprisingly, this brutal basketball homicide took place just five minutes and 45 seconds into Timofey’s first stint of the night. With the acquisitions of high-flyers like Rudy Gay and Terrence Ross, Toronto is no longer any place for a lumbering clodhopper like Mozgov. R.I.P., again (this dude is like a cat with his nine lives).
The Heat remain the only team in the league able to flip the switch at a moments notice. They have the highest third quarter net rating in the NBA and their net rating of 30.2 in clutch situations (less than five minutes remaining, margin of five) is also at the top of the league. Yes, at the end of close games they are outscoring their opponents by around 30 points per 100 possessions. They showed this on Sunday as they quickly pulled away from the Lakers in the fourth quarter (this has actually been a pattern throughout their six-game win streak; they’ve built and expanded leads late in four of the six victories).
Kyle Korver is one of the best three point shooters in the league and has thrived in Atlanta. Robby Kalland takes a look at how the Hawks are using Korver.
The Warriors net rating (offensive rating – defensive rating) is below that of a .500 team when Jarrett Jack is off the court. Thus, their four straight losses without Jack were no coincidence. His return wasn’t quite enough to snap the streak against Houston, but his return to full health should coincide with sustained Warriors success.
Steve McPherson of Hardwood Paroxysm profiles everyone’s favorite 35-year-old Argentinian rookie, Pablo Prigioni.
Andre Drummond is rehabbing his injured back in a creative way.
Kawhi Leonard is allowing a mere 32% shooting in ISOs against him.
A number of Western Conference all-stars are presently out of commission with the break quickly approaching. Who might replace them? Rob Mahoney ranks ‘em
By scoring 30 points on 11-15 from the floor in a 117-104 victory over the Blazers, LeBron James established a new standard for individual efficiency in NBA basketball. As you’ve probably heard, this was LeBron’s sixth consecutive game of 30+ points on 60+ percent from the floor. Never before — not in the entire 67-year history of the National Basketball Association — has anyone been able to sustain such a scoring streak. Not Michael, not Wilt, not Shaquille, not Kobe (let that sink in for a moment). Never in my lifetime have I seen anyone play this sport at the level that LeBron James is playing it at this very moment. That’s the only way I can put into words what he is doing. Below are his highlights from Tuesday’s game as well as links to his complete highlights from the other five games composing the historic streak.
Fun Fact: This Heat victory was the 1,000th in their regular-season history.
Kobe Bryant appeared to have a predetermined agenda against the Suns, and that agenda did not involve shooting the basketball. Bryant was shot-less with six assists and four turnovers at halftime, and though the Lakers led the Suns at that point… it hadn’t exactly been pretty. Clearly, Bryant was forcing the issue as far as the passing. Even when the Suns began to play him for the pass he refused to take a shot. He turned down layups to dish off to Antawn Jamison and tried to toss lobs when he should’ve completed the play on his own. He was out there lookin’ like Brandon Jennings trying to set the assist record in the McDonald’s All-American game, and the Lakers weren’t better for it. They did manage to beat the Suns 91-85, but it required a 26-14 fourth quarter. Bryant finished 1-8 with 4 points, 9 assists, and 8 turnovers.
The Suns dug their own grave in this one by ceding nine offensive rebounds in that aforementioned fourth quarter. Give the Lakers credit, though — Antawn Jamison (19/10) and Dwight Howard (19/18) made concentrated efforts to crash the boards, and their hard work led directly to the Lakers’ 10 second-chance points, without which they wouldn’t have won. The Lakers actually came up with three offensive rebounds on one possession before Kobe scored his first bucket, a layup around the two-minute mark, that essentially iced the game by putting LA up eight.
For Rudy Gay, all of those big-time shots that weren’t falling in Memphis have been falling in Toronto. His overall floor percentage is only marginally improved (went just 6-14 for 17 points vs Denver), but he’s suddenly batting 1.000 on game-winning jumpers. Teams may want to consider forcing Rudy to his left; he seems to feel quite comfortable taking a few dribbles to his right and pulling up along the baseline.
Ty Lawson had himself another huge night. As he did in Boston, Lawson finished with 29 points and 9 assists, except he did it in regulation this time. Lawson’s penetration was the key to Denver’s offensive success (108 points, 70 in the paint, 52% from the floor) without Gallinari, Chandler, Iguodala, and McGee (played just five minutes); he scored seven (or possibly eight… ESPN’s shot charts never seem right) of his 12 field goals in the key as he used his strength to ward off defenders during impressive forays to the rack. He missed a potential game-winner at the buzzer, but he had to shoot it more quickly than he wanted to due to a botched handoff from Anthony Randolph.
Speaking of Anthony Randolph, he had a season-high 16 points on 6-13 from the floor. Randolph, along with Jordan Hamilton, Evan Fournier, and Timofey Mozgov, played significant minutes due to the various Nugget injuries. He played very hard and reasonably well at the offensive end, but Denver’s defense certainly suffered without many of their rotation regulars.
John Lucas III made four three-pointers in the fourth quarter. He’s 9-11 from three in his last two games.
Kevin Durant really seems to be taking this “not nice” campaign to heart. Late in the fourth quarter of OKC’s 109-94 loss to Utah, Durant dropped his shoulder into a driving Alec Burks, resulting in the first flagrant foul of his six-year career. Time for a neck tatt, Kevin! In fairness, Durant had reason to be frustrated. He dropped 33 points on just 16 shots, but his fellow frontcourtsmen were destroyed by the bigs of the Jazz. Led by Al Jefferson, who had another outstanding game with 23 points and 7 boards, Utah’s four-man PF/C rotation gave Kendrick Perkins and Serg Abaka (he ain’t ’bout dis Salt Lake life) a combined 58 and 25.
For the lulz, watch Perkins complain about being cited for an elbow that even Dikembe Mutombo would’ve acknowledged:
Box Score Observations: It took him 22 shots, but James Harden racked up 27 points to lead the Rockets past the Warriors 116-107. He played much of the game on a bad wheel so I think we can cut him some slack. Jeremy Lin had 13 and 10 in his return to Oracle, but did shoot just 3-11. The Memphis Grizzlies shot 55% from the floor and connected on 6 of 13 from range, ending Sacramento’s little two-game win streak in a 108-101 victory. Marc Gasol led the way with 24 and 12, but Tony Allen’s 19 on 8-12 stand out.
Highlight Recap, Tyreke Evans Edition: I miss those days when ‘Reke was a 20-5-5 player. We deserve more of this…