Tag: Miami Heat

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All You Need Is Love

Kevin Love will opt out of his current deal and head to Cleveland, in a deal said to be agreed upon by the Cavaliers and the Timberwolves early this morning.

According to multiple sources, the 25 year old Wolves All Star is finally getting his wish, and will be traded to the already stacked Cleveland Cavaliers after the August 23 rookie contract deadline. The block buster trade will see Love head to Northeast Ohio while 2014 number one pick Andrew Wiggins and 2013 number on pick Anthony Bennett will take their talents to Minnesota, along with a protected future first round pick.

LeBron James, who had preached patience and leadership with his young Cavs team just last month, is evidently far removed from his initial outlook, and very much dedicated to the Cavs competing for a title this coming season. In a report earlier this week, we learned that James had instigated no contact with his young rookies, including Andrew Wiggins, and was fully invested in the pursuit of Kevin Love.

Patience and leadership be damned. 

Kevin Love has spent much of his career trying to lead an underwhelming Wolves team into the playoffs, but despite his best efforts, has never been able to drag them into the post season. His inclusion alongside James, point guard Kyrie Irving, shooting guard Dion Waiters and center Anderson Varejao will most certainly turn heads next season, with the Cavs the far and away favorites to take out the East in 2015.

But while this is a super team in every aspect of the phrase, there are many questions to be answered. Love and Irving have both succumbed to injury clouds throughout their careers, while defense isn’t a strong point either. Will these factors become an issue for the Cavs? Coupled with serious depth issues at multiple spots, and the inevitable question of chemistry, there is every chance this team won’t produce to the extent many expect. 

LeBron James is again sitting atop the pile in terms of favoritism, and the Cavs have completed an NBA summer heist of mammoth proportions, but one does begin to question the validity of his true metal. We really have never seen LeBron stick it out through the hard times, and drag a team out of mediocrity to the top before. I for one, would have loved to see that from him in Miami – Or to a further extent, Cleveland in 2010. But here we are.

Regardless of what happens in Cleveland, there will be excitement in Minnesota, with the acquisition of Andrew Wiggins and Zach LaVine undoubtedly providing their long-suffering fans with something to cheer about. Wiggins is an out and out talent, with a ceiling unparalleled by any draft prospect in recent memory and while the Wolves may have a long road ahead of them, they’ve at least gained something special from the loss of Kevin Love. 

Will the Cavs come to rue the day they traded Andrew Wiggins? Impossible to say, but for now, they’re in the box seat and LeBron James is once again the cream of Cleveland’s crop. 



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LeBron James Still Unsure of Free Agency Decision

[Update 2.50pm 07/07/2014] Multiple sources confirm that the Cavaliers have made a significant push for LeBron James, by trying to free up enough cap space to offer him a max contract. Dan Gilbert has reportedly flown to South Florida with his entourage for a brief meeting with LeBron’s agent, who informed Gilbert they are impressed with the outlook for the team and like what they’ve done with the roster. Further reports indicate LeBron will meet with Heat president Pat Riley later this week, but not much more is known beyond this.

[Update 1:30PM 04/07/2014] ESPN LA’s Ramona Shelburne reports the LA Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak is flying to Cleveland to meet with LeBron James’ agent Paul Rich

While Carmelo Anthony continues to entertain teams yearning for his signature, LeBron James’ camp has remained relatively tight lipped about the prospect of where the world’s best player will end up at the start of next season.

James, who has stressed that he is willing to provide the Miami Heat with enough time to construct a competitive roster, has now reportedly decided to look elsewhere, and listen to offers from rival teams. After opting out of his deal with the Heat, along with Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh, it now appears as though the King may be looking to take his talents away from South Beach.

While reports are still patchy, it has been said that LeBron’s agent Paul Rich has been given the green light to speak with teams and while those teams aren’t necessarily a sure thing, there are good cases for the few lucky enough to get a meeting.

The Rockets, Mavericks, Suns and Cavaliers have all had the opportunity to speak with Rich, while James enjoys his summer vacation in South America. At present, these are the only teams that have been granted an opportunity, indicating that LeBron may have already compiled a list of possible destinations.

No other NBA teams have scheduled meetings with Rich, although ESPN have reported that there is significant interest.

Pat Riley and the Heat remain confident that they can assemble a roster worthy of James’ attention, and are currently in Los Angeles, meeting with Lakers FA Pau Gasol, amongst others. It is not yet clear exactly what will result for the other two thirds of the big three, with both Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh yet to accept (receive?) offers.

Their goal remains re-signing LeBron James.

 



Patty Mills For PM

Politics and basketball. You wouldn’t think they go together, right?… Wrong! Both the major parties in Australia are struggling for support and I see only one solution to this. Bring in a new major party. The Spurs Party and have Patty Mills as Australia’s new Prime Minister.

Prime Minister

This is a no brainer. The popularity of Patty Mills is through the roof in Australia at the moment. He has given people with no interest in basketball a reason to watch and connect with the game. Patty has done his time on the bench and is ready to move up to the big time. Last season Patty was a glorified mascot. Waving towels and getting trash minutes at the ends of games to show what he could do. This season was a different story all together. Patty showed himself to be one of the better back up point guards in the league. A spark that Miami had no answer for in the NBA Finals. Patty was the dagger in the heart of the Heat fans and players alike in the third quarter of Game 5. The game was still a contest until Mills came out a splashed 3’s from everywhere and brought the crowd into the game with his energetic defense. This shows a new level of maturity for Mills. He made all the right decisions and is ready to become Australia’s Prime Minister.

Deputy Prime Minister

Technically Aron Baynes was born in New Zealand but Aussies love to claim a kiwi. Baynes now joins the likes of Phar Lap, Russell Crowe, Crowded House, Keith Urban and the somewhat contentious Weet-Bix as items and people that Australia have lovingly claimed as their own. Granted Baynes did not get a great deal of court time which means he will have plenty of time to help out his Prime Minister at anytime and we’ve seen that Baynes is also capable of stepping into a starting role for the Spurs and he did not look out of place.

Minister for Foreign Affairs

Logically this role has to go to Tony Parker. For starters he is French and it is difficult to say no to anyone with a french accent. Being on the Spurs lineup it is also obvious that Parker gets along well with people from other countries. The Spurs have the most nationalities represented in the NBA with  their roster registering 10 internationals at the beginning of the 2013-2014 season. Parker has also shown that he wants to be friendly with everyone. Parker proved this in his short lived marriage to Eva Longoria. Lovely lady and watching Desperate Housewives is worth it just for her but this wasn’t enough for Tony. He wanted more Foreign Affairs experience (see what I did there?) This is a great trait for Australia and will see Australia making many new international allies.

Treasurer

Kawhi Leonard. This kid (22 years old!) proved his worth in the NBA Finals, scoring points at will with aggressive moves to the hoop and deft jump shots but he also played outstanding defense against one of the best in the league, Lebron James. Kawhi has earnt his spot as Treasurer in the Spurs Party because he started at the bottom and wasn’t expected to rise so quickly so Kawhi understands the value of money but his endorsements and contracts are only going to grow bigger from here. This experience with discussing contracts with multi-billion dollar companies and understanding how to best spread the wealth will make Kawhi the perfect Treasurer.

Minister for Education

Coach Pop. All you need to do is look at what he has done for the Spurs to see this man knows how to educate others. Pop is arguably the most respected coach in the game and all players thrive under Pop’s coaching theories and ideals. On draft night Pop always manages to spring a few surprises. He was one of the first to see the value in drafting international ballers. Players who had already stood out in a team orientated style of play and players he knew would understand and respect a team game. Look at the expansion and growth of the team under Pop. Manu wasn’t always a superstar. He grew into the role and learnt from the best coach in the game. Parker is the same. If you need some more recent evidence just look at the growth of Belinelli and Patty Mills this season. Pop is the only choice for Minister of Education.

Minister for Communications

The leader of the Spurs. Tim Duncan. He doesn’t often say much but when he does people listen. Timmy knows when communication is needed and when it should be stopped. Remember back to Timmy dragging a talkative Tony Parker away from the officials to stop a certain tech foul. Tony did not complain. Tony, along with the Spurs lineup, know that when Timmy Duncan talks, you listen. Opposition players know that Timmy is the man to talk to when playing the Spurs. He has the respect of every baller in the NBA and was Lebron’s first point of call when it came welcoming the Spurs to the Finals.

Minister for Health and Sport

Will Sevening, the coaches and staff at the San Antonio Spurs. But mostly Will. Will is the Head Trainer at the Spurs. The Spurs aren’t exactly the youngest team in the league. They have an average age of somewhere around 30. Three of their main players; Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobilli are 37, 31 and 36 respectfully. Will has to put these “veterans” through their paces on a daily basis but also has to ensure Duncan and co. are at their physical peaks, remain uninjured and have the required rest breaks to thrive. It’s a fine line to walk but Will has done it with ease and thus gets the gig as Minister for Health and Sport.

Minister for Defence

Danny Green may not be the guy you think of when it comes to defence but look at the job he did throughout the NBA Finals. Scoring important steals. Swaying the momentum of the game to the favour of the Spurs and shutting down the potent offensive force that is Dwayne Wade. Green still has plenty of improving to do but he has shown the potential to be a star in the future. Not only did he shut down Wade and take countless steals, he is also a menace when shooting the long bomb, a pre-requisite when it comes to being a Minister for Defence.

Minister for Arts

Marco Belinelli. Coach Pop has never been a fan of the three-point shot, openly stating he doesn’t like the role the shot has in the game. This season though things changed. Coach Pop started running plays for long range bombs. Embraced the shot and made it a huge part of the Spurs Championship winning attack. With shooters like Patty Mills, Danny Green, Manu Ginobilli and Marco Belinelli, Pop had little choice but to use the three ball. Belinelli’s shot is like a work of art. He has the balance, poise and a sense of occasion when pocketing the long ball. Not only is his shot a masterpiece but Belinelli is also Italian and everything sounds arty and awesome in Italian. Pizza. Spaghetti. Gelato. Point proven.

Minister for Agriculture

Honestly I found it hard to choose a Minister for Agriculture on the Spurs but Matt Bonner does look like the ultimate country boy. The ginger hair, beard, freckles and his awkwardness on the floor, all pre-requisites when it comes to being a Minister for Agriculture. Personally I think he’d be a better farmer than baller but he does have a Championship Ring which is more than I can say about myself.

Minister for Finance

Peter Holt is the owner of the Spurs. I’m not sure if it is entirely his doing but how Holt has managed to keep Manu, Duncan and Parker on the same team for so long when they could have been earning millions more elsewhere is some kind of voodoo magic. Each of the three are legit stars in their own right but have bought into the Spurs game and Holt is a wizard on the books. Not only has he kept the big three together but also brought in players with potential and has shown a willingness in keeping these potential superstars around and continued to develop them. Just look at Patty Mills, Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green. Congratulations Peter Australia’s new Minister for Finance.

Minister for Social Services

A person who on the court is always looking out for others. More concerned with getting the assist. Hitting the right player at the right time in the right position. The choice for this spot was easy. Boris Diaw. A passing big man. A player who seems to have eyes in the back of his head. Kawhi did get Finals MVP but for me Diaw wasn’t far behind. Diaw doesn’t need to put the ball through the hoop to earn his pay, he does it through a subtle bounce pass through the key or a pass to the corner for the open three. Boris didn’t get many starts throughout the regular season but as soon as the Finals came Diaw stepped into the center position with ease and proved worth his weight in gold.

Minister for Trade and Investment

Tiago Splitter. A big man from Brazil. Splitter wasn’t brought over to the NBA straight away. He was given time to develop in European and Brazilian Leagues. Tiago would’ve been a superstar if he’d stayed in the Euro Leagues but once the time was right decided to ply his wares in the NBA. Splitter has proved to be adequate back up for Tim Duncan, giving the Big Fundamental time for his body to recover. All the time and effort that the Spurs invested into Splitter paid off with his huge block on Dwayne Wade during the NBA Finals (may have been a goal tend).

Minister for Employment

I was struggling at this stage to come up with positions but I had one spot left and one person to go so it is what it is. Manu Ginobilli you are now Australia’s Minister for Employment. It is because of you and your team orientated brand of ball that has allowed the Spurs to stay strong and consistent for many years. Manu, with Argentina, showed the rest of the world the importance of team basketball. Focusing on passing and team plays rather than individual brilliance. The NBA stood up and took notice incorporating this team style into NBA playbooks and also drafting many international ballers into the NBA. Thanks Manu.

There it is. Australia take note. The Spurs have solved all your problems. As you can see the entire roster has the resume required to thrive in their new positions and should obviously be brought in immediately (or not)…

 



Trash or Treasure: The Lance Stephenson Edition

Pacers V Heat. A match up many didn’t think would happen with Indiana being so out of form but the Pacers lifted when they needed to and are right in their Eastern Conference Final against the defending champion Miami Heat. It’s a very intriguing match up. The superstar in waiting Paul George, up against the current King Lebron James. Roy Hibbert against his rebounding demons. The under performing Pacers bench against the canned heat of the Miami bench but I’m going to focus on an individual. Lance Stephenson. Some say he was robbed of an all-star spot. Others say he is a head case who too easily loses focus. Let’s take a look in a cheesy, radio segment kind of way. Welcome to Lance Stephenson, Trash or Treasure.   (more…)



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Finals Cooking – @jLmcKern

Boof is here with another cracking write up! Fresh off the back of our joint venture with the Hoops Podcast, the boys will be contributing articles for the site as well so keep an eye out for more great content

NBA teams are like recipes from a cookbook, the good ones are simple and subtle yet have plenty of flavor whereas the bad ones can be confusing and taste like something that expired weeks earlier.

We are down to the point in the season were the remaining teams need every little piece of the recipe to come together and perfect that ideal meal.

In the Western Conference right now it looks like a complete mismatch, it’s a cook off going on between Heston Blumenthal and a burger flipper at your local McDonalds.

The Spurs have long been the Masterchefs of perfecting a rotation and having all of the key ingredients play their part without overpowering the entirety of the meal.

This showcase has somehow, beyond the realms of possibility, gone to another level this postseason. At times you feel sorry for the team on the other side of the court but as a fan you are left sitting in your chair watching on with your jaw to the floor.

Yes the Thunder have been weakened by injuries, losing Ibaka is like making a shepherds pie without the base. They have lost their foundation and without it they have simply fallen apart and look like a complete mess.

Now they face their biggest challenge yet, yes bigger than the NBA Finals from two years ago, they find themselves in a 0-2 hole and have the advantage of being at home, they will not won’t to disappoint their home audience.

In order to showcase their abilities and get this meal back on course to being a winner, they need the rest of their ingredients to evolve into pieces they are not used to being. The big men have to stand up and take the burden on and prove that they are not simple burger flippers but master class workers.

In the Eastern Conference you find a complete different story, it’s a battle of two 3 Michelin Star teams. Something that even right before the Playoffs began seemed like mission impossible as the big teams were all falling into the post season.

As we prepare ourselves for an epic game three battle, we dissect the two courses we have already devoured and dined on. The beauty of having such a spotlight on these games is that when somebody isn’t delivering as they normally would you can notice the ripple effect on the rest of the team.

Picture one of your favorite meals and the herbs and spices that may go into it, now remove one of them and the difference is monumental.

Both the Pacers and the Heat are missing ingredients from the first two games and whichever team can find the salt shaker or locate a different herb from their cupboard to replace the original will go a major way in deciding who wins the battle.

In Game 1 the Heat severely missed one of their key ingredients in Chris Bosh, the big man went an awful 4-12 from the field and a shattering 0-5 from deep. He ended the game with a +/- of -16 and the Heat showed that without his input and impact they are not what we expect. Let’s not get carried away, his second game wasn’t a thing of beauty but he showed a lot more effort and ended with a (-4) however the Heat won.

Game 2 for the Pacers wasn’t a complete disaster however there is evidence that the kitchen wasn’t far away from burning down. Paul George was the only starter who had major struggles from the starting group but the root of the problems lay beyond the main foundations, the bench was a complete shambles.

They (Mahinmi, Watson, Scola & Butler) combined for a total of 9 points, 5 rebounds and 1 assist.

Most chefs will tell you that the best pieces of any meal consist of the hidden parts that nobody gives attention to; in basketball this is your bench. The players who hardly ever garner attention but make as much of an impact as the key players, if the Pacers bench can’t contribute to the recipe the Pacers team along with the fans will be left with a sour taste as they rue yet another lost season.

Which team will work their magic with the cookbook they possess and produce the better tasting dish?

James McKern



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Coach-of-the-year award wide, wide open

When it comes to voting for the 2013-14 NBA Coach of the Year, I wish those ‘fortunate’ enough to be asked to fill out a ballot all the very best of luck.

Always a hotly contested award, this season has an even deeper field of worthy recipients, for which I personally struggle to nominate the one eventual winner.

Though there remain roughly 20 games left to play for each team in the regular season, it’s already evident that a number of coaches will be deserving of the accolade.

Stop me if you’ve heard this before, but San Antonio’s Gregg Popovich has done a remarkable job of managing his roster through injures and advanced age, and once again has the Spurs positioned as one of the best teams in the West.

Image Courtesy of BallerBall.com

Image Courtesy of BallerBall.com

Pop’s use of his bench has once again been brilliant, and the Spurs propensity to move and share the ball is a credit to their coach. They’ll once again make the playoffs, and it would be a brave man that writes off their chances of making the Finals for the second year in a row.

At the beginning of the season, I struggled to see how the Phoenix Suns would win double figure games. They promptly achieved that feat in the opening month of the season. Egg meet face.

Ex-Suns guard Jeff Hornacek has done a wonderful job with the team, who compete every night, and despite lacking the elite-level talent of other teams, play with energy and hustle.

Though any young team should play with enthusiasm, the most surprising aspect of the Suns’ season is their intelligence. The team plays smart basketball, and full praise for that must go to their coach.

Chicago Bulls Tom Thibodeau has become a victim of his own success. It’s now simply a given that his teams will be outstanding defensively, hustle their butts off, and do their best of overcome their offensive limitations via solid teamwork. And do so in every single game.

Never mind the fact the Bulls are once again without their most talented player and only true creator, Derrick Rose. Never mind the fact that Chicago are currently third in the Eastern Conference. Never mind the fact that they are still beating the league’s best teams despite all evidence suggesting they shouldn’t be.

Image Courtesy of NBA.com

Image Courtesy of NBA.com

‘Thibs’ deserves way more recognition than he gets. The Bulls aren’t just staying afloat and competitive; they actually remain an upper echelon team. It’s an amazing achievement, which could see Thibs take home his second Coach of the Year award.

Not much was expected of the Dallas Mavericks at the start of the year, but via a resurgent Dirk Nowitzki, the surprisingly steady play of Monta Ellis, and the tactical brilliance of Rick Carlisle, the Mavs are right in the thick of the playoff hunt in the ultra-competitive Western Conference.

The Mavs execute extremely well, and though the players receive the ultimate kudos, Carlisle is the mastermind behind it all.

Erik Spoelstra is criminally underrated as a coach. I can only assume he doesn’t receive the respect he deserves because people believe that any coach should have success with the stars on Miami’s roster. While there is unquestionably some truth to that sentiment, ‘success’ is subjective until you actually win the title, something Spoelstra has now done twice.

It also shouldn’t be forgotten that handling egos is a difficult but vital aspect of NBA coaching, for talent alone doesn’t guarantee championships.

Image Courtesy of ESPN.com

Image Courtesy of ESPN.com

Yet even beyond the excellent man-management skills, Spoelstra has shown himself to be a great tactician. It was Spoelstra who implemented the offence which capitilises on LeBron James’ unique skill set. It was ‘Spo’ who refuses to give players traditional positions, but rather relies on a system that has constant movement and flexibility.

Miami’s smothering defense – particularly their half court press – is further proof that the Heat are a well coached side, of which Spolestra is the chief architect.

Scotty Brooks deserves credit for keeping the Oklahoma City Thunder at the top of the Western Conference standings, despite the fact he has been without the services of his second best player, Russell Westbrook, for large chunks of the season.

Brooks has made some subtle changes to OKC’s offense, however one feels that Kevin Durant will receive much of the kudos for keeping the Thunder rolling – rather than their coach – with KD’s sublime season probably having the averse effect of robbing Brooks of some votes.

Image Courtesy of BallerBall.com

Image Courtesy of BallerBall.com

That’s six coaches I’ve already named as potential recipients of the Coach of the Year award, yet it is far from an exhaustive list.

I could very easily be talked into Portland’s Terry Stotts, Indiana’s Frank Vogel, Los Angles’ Doc Rivers and Houston’s Kevin McHale being legitimate candidates as well.

Even the Charlotte Bobcats’ Steve Clifford has done a fantastic job reconfiguring the team around the offensive skills of Al Jefferson, and may be lucky enough to have the odd ballot with his name on it, yet I doubt he’ll actually take home the hardware.

Likewise, would anyone be really upset if Dwayne Casey’s effort in Toronto was recognised? The Warriors’ Mark Jackson? The Grizzlies’ David Joerger?

It’s a large field, and to those tasked with naming the NBA Coach of the Year, I don’t envy your job one little bit.



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Finally, a legitimate NBA MVP debate – @RyanOak

After a number of seasons of forced and artificial debate over which NBA star is the Most Valuable Player, the 2013/14 season has finally provided us with a race worthy of heated discussion.

In recent times, LeBron James has had a mortgage on the prestigious award. Over the past five seasons, ‘The King’ has taken home the trophy four times, and rightfully so.

During that span, the lone time LeBron didn’t win was in 2010/11, when Derrick Rose was named the league’s best player. Rose had a fine season, yet it’s debatable whether he should have even been the runner-up, let alone the winner.

However, it was a ‘nice’ story to have the classy Rose named MVP, while conversely the same could not be said if LeBron took home the silverware that year.

It was LeBron’s first season in Miami after unceremoniously dumping his previous team, the Cleveland Cavaliers, via the now infamous The Decision television special on ESPN. As such, LeBron was public enemy No.1, and the voting journalists appeared unable – or unwilling – to see past that.

Conspiracy theorists may claim that it was a calculated move by the journalists, as the snubbing of LeBron helped grow the narrative of LeBron’s newfound villainy and the drama surrounding it. Drama which, in turn, sold papers and increased hits on sites.

However, whatever you believe, LeBron simply couldn’t be denied his greatness the two following seasons, with his sublime play resulting in two historically brilliant statistical campaigns, two championships and two MVP trophies.

Though some pundits made a half-hearted case for Kevin Durant in that time, it never carried any serious weight, for LeBron was simply better in every way you could conceivably measure.

This was especially true last year when LeBron was just one vote shy of becoming the first unanimous MVP in history.

Of 121 journalists, 120 placed LeBron number one on their ballot. Somewhat comically, in hindsight, the lone other vote didn’t even go to the eventual runner-up Durant.
Instead, some idiot – Gary Washburn to be precise – voted for Carmelo Anthony. That decision still defies belief, but I digress.

This season is a different story.

Though LeBron has once again been outstanding, he has slipped ever so slightly, while players like Paul George and LaMarcus Aldridge are playing outstanding ball and have their respective teams racking up the wins.

Yet it’s perennial bridesmaid Kevin Durant who has taken his game to another level, and threatens LeBron’s stranglehold on the MVP plaudits.

Missing fellow All-Star Russell Westbrook through injury for the majority of the season, Durant has put his Oklahoma City Thunder teammates on his back and carried them to the second best record in the league.

Durant is leading the league in scoring – nothing new, as he’s already achieved this feat three times in his young career – by a full four points per game over Melo, and is shooting with his usual eye-popping percentages.

He’s also improved his playmaking and defence, while his rebounding has remained extremely impressive for a small forward with a slight frame.

Perhaps most remarkable, Durant leads the league in PER (Player Efficiency Rating), a category that LeBron has finished first in for the past six seasons.

Yet it’s Durant’s leadership and intensity that have really stood out this season.

He’s now willing to get in the face of teammates when required, or talk trash to opponents. Furthermore, he rarely lets the game drift away from him without attempting to ‘take charge’ of the game situation.

Though the improvement has come somewhat through necessity, courtesy of Westbrook’s absence, one cannot deny that it’s definitely helped Durant’s game, and his team.

So much so that should he maintain his play, he very well may steal LeBron’s MVP trophy.

LeBron’s fans will rightly point out that the season is only halfway over. ‘The King’ has plenty of time to defend his throne, and he’s realistically only slightly behind Durant on the imaginary MVP ladder.

The second half of the season may see an intense race to the finish line, and ensure that we have a legitimate MVP debate on our hands.

(This content was originally published on The Roar at www.theroar.com.au)



Stop with the Comparisons!

Jordan, Kobe, Lebron. Lebron, Jordan, Kobe. Kobe, Lebron, Jordan. When will it stop? Why does there need to be such a constant comparison between the three? They are three of the best to ever grace the game. Each has brought something different to the court. You could even say that each has revolutionised how the great game of hoops is played. But do we really need to say who is the best? Personally, I’m over it. Here’s what I’m going to do. I’m going to put the whole comparing thing to bed. Finish it once and for all so that we never need to hear about how so and so is the best.

The whole conversation reminds me of my childhood. You’d have your mates over for a party. Mum would make fairy bread. You’d drink so much soft drink you’d be physically ill. Lollies would be found in the dirt but you’d still force them down but as the day turned to night the conversation amongst the friends would become heated. As adults you never talk about sex, religion or politics at the dinner table. The equivalent for children was to decide who had the best dad. “My dad is better than your dad because he made me a sweet cubby house”. “Pfffft! My dad is better than your dad because he built our house”. “Whatever! My dad is better than your dad because he built Sydney. All of it!”. “Well my dad wrestled an elephant!” “My dad punched out Chuck Norris!” and so on and so forth. It was a discussion that could never be won no matter what anybody would say because you already had your mind set on your dad being the best and were determined to one up everyone else even if it meant stretching the truth. Jordan Vs Kobe Vs Lebron is exactly the same. Consider them your basketball fathers. Everyone has a favourite and it doesn’t matter what anyone else says your mind will never change. If anyone badmouths your basketball dad you come out swinging with stats and stories and whatever else you can think of and ignore what anybody else has to say.

All great players. But they cannot be compared. Each plays a different brand of ball. Lebron has size and muscle that the other two don’t, meaning Lebron can rely on his physical strength to get to the rack or back down a defender. Jordan would make every player around him better. Look at what he did for Scottie. Jordan made his weaknesses strengths. Critics said he couldn’t shoot. So he proved them wrong. Critics said he couldn’t play D but MJ worked as hard, if not harder at the defensive end of the floor. Kobe has his self belief as a massive strength. Kobe believes he can win in all situations.

But Lebron had to move to Miami to win his championships. Kobe couldn’t do it without Shaq. MJ couldn’t beat the Bad Boy Pistons. Kobe and Jordan stuck with the one team. Kobe only has one MVP. Lebron only gets awards because Stern loves him. Jordan can’t win without Pippen… Sound familiar?? I’m sure it does. It’s because of conversations like these that there will never be a consensus. Because there cannot be a consensus there’s no point to the conversation. It’ll just be a never ending circle of one upmanship of why your basketball dad is better than someone else’s basketball dad.

Nathan Darby 



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Weekly Hoop Scoop #2

So last week’s edition of the weekly hoop scoop was M.I.A due to some much deserved, OK, maybe just needed, holiday time for myself and now that I’m back in the realm of weekly drudgery, a few kilos heavier and with an even bigger drinking habit than before I left, I felt it was time to get back to informing our loyal readers with all that’s been happening in the world of the NBA.

There’s been a veritable plethora of action as per usual this week so welcome back to the Weekly Hoop Scoop at NBA Nation Australia.

Monday November 11th

San Antonio Spurs 120 – New York Knicks 89.

The New York Knicks horror start continued when they were blown out by last year’s NBA finalists the San Antonio Spurs. The Spurs were led by the stellar three point shooting of Danny Green and by the ever improving Kawhi Leonard. Green had 24 points and went 6 of 9 from the behind the arc and Leonard added 18 points on 7 of 10 shooting.

The Knicks shooting was abysmal, 37.8% from the field and 27.3% from three point range. Carmelo Anthony had 18 points and 8 rebounds but it was nowhere near enough to keep the Knicks in the game. The pressure mounts for Coach Mike Woodson.

Oklahoma City Thunder 106 – Washington Wizards 105.

OKC and the Wizards fought out a memorable clash in Oklahoma City. The Thunder got the win in overtime thanks to superstar Kevin Durant’s 33 points, 13 rebounds and 6 assists, including a game tying 3 point shot in regular time and the go ahead free throws to win in overtime. The game was a fierce battle which included a heated exchange between Russell Westbrook and Nene which ended with both players being ejected. Westbrook might want to hit the weight room or try pushing someone more akin to his own size next time, I don’t think Nene moved at all!

Bradley Beal was superb for the visiting Wizards scoring a career high 34 points, which included 6 of 8 shooting from behind the arc. John Wall had a particularly frustrating night shooting just 3 of 13 from the field.

Phoenix Suns 101 – New Orleans Pelicans 94.

Markieff Morris and Eric Bledsoe continued their scintillating, early season form as the Phoenix Suns brought up win number five for the season over the New Orleans Pelicans. Morris had 23 points, 8 rebounds and 2 blocks on 9 of 12 shooting and Bledsoe had 24 points, 6 assists and 4 rebounds as he continues to flourish in his new role out of the shadow of Chris Paul.

The Pelicans were led by the play of big man Jason Smith as he scored 22 points and grabbed 8 boards. They dropped to a 3-4 record after the loss.

Minnesota Timberwolves 113 – Los Angeles Lakers 90.

The ‘Dwightmare’ may be over but the nightmare continues for the Lakers. They lost to Minnesota after having won the last 22 times against the Timberwolves. Minnesota were led by the maestro, Ricky Rubio. Rubio registered a triple double with 12 points, 14 assists and 10 rebounds on 5 of 9 shooting and had a +/- of +27 for the game. Kevin Love added 25 points and Kevin Martin, who looks to have found a suitable home in Minnesota added 27.

The Lakers are a mess; they shot 38% from the field and 55.6% from the line, were out rebounded and only had three players with double figure points and not one player score more than 19 for the game. Next seasons draft is shaping up as a very important one for this proud franchise.

Tuesday November 12th

Chicago Bulls 96 – Cleveland Cavaliers 81.

The Chicago Bulls started the season with very high expectations and so far, its safe to say they have been way below them. They may have got the win against their Central Division rivals today but it came at the cost of an injury to Derrick Rose.

The Bulls were led by the one player who has been phenomenal for them so far this season, Carlos Boozer. Boozer is probably the most unheralded of the Bulls starting five but has produced so far this season when others have not. He had 17 points on 7 of 11 shooting, 7 rebounds and 4 assists in the victory.

The game was billed as a matchup between two of the NBA’s best point guards, Derrick Rose and Kyrie Irving, two stars who hadn’t played each other in a game before but neither point guard played well in the contest.

Derrick Rose left the game with a strained hamstring as his horror start to the season continues.

Atlanta Hawks 103 – Charlotte Bobcats 94.

The Atlanta Hawks got the win on the road against the Bobcats thanks to the play of big man Al Horford and some great fourth quarter shooting from Cartier Martin. Horford had 24 points, 5 rebounds and 4 assists and shot 9 of 15 from the field whilst Martin added 16 points including three triples in the final term to help the Hawks secure the win.

The Bobcats dropped to a 3-4 record and a 2-2 home record with the loss. Josh McRoberts led them with 19 points, 6 rebounds and 7 assists.

Indiana Pacers 95 – Memphis Grizzlies 79.

The hottest team in the NBA right now continued to sizzle with a win over the Memphis Grizzlies to take them to a league best 8-0 start for the season. Lance Stephenson registered his first career triple double with 13 points, 11 rebounds and 12 assists and Paul George added 23 points on 9 of 16 shooting with a +/- of +24 for the game.

The Pacers are the first team since 2000 to start 8-0 and the 18th in NBA history to achieve the feat.

The Grizzlies Marc Gasol top scored for the visiting team with 15 points as the Grizz drop to 3-4 for the season.

San Antonio Spurs 109 – Philadelphia 76ers 85.

Danny Green continues to shine, he drained 5 of 7 threes as the San Antonio Spurs made light work of the 76ers. Green top scored for San Antonio with 18 points and added 7 rebounds and 3 assists.

Sixers rookie Michael Carter-Williams fell back to earth as he shot 2 of 11 for the game and Evan Turner top scored for Philly with 20 points on just 9 of 21 shooting.

San Antonio led for the entire game apart from a brief period where they were down by one point but they were quick to regain the lead and take a fairly easy victory.

Boston Celtics 120 – Orlando Magic 105.

The Boston Celtics had a fairly convincing win against the Orlando Magic at the The Garden in Boston. Avery Bradley top scored for the Celtics with 24 points on 10 of 15 from the field and Jordan Crawford had 16 points, 10 assists and 5 rebounds. Boston shot a phenomenal 60% from the field for the game and 41.7% from three point range and only turned the ball over 13 times in the win.

The Magic’s Nikola Vucevic had 15 points and 10 rebounds, 4 assists and 3 steals in the loss as the Magic’s record dropped to 3-5 for the season.

Houston Rockets 110 – Toronto Raptors 104.

The Houston Rockets took out a thriller at the Toyota Center in Houston as they defeated the Toronto Raptors in double overtime. James Harden missed a shot to win the game in regulation which sent the game into overtime where it was Rudy Gay who had the final shot for Toronto to send it to double OT, where James Harden took over to close it out for the Rockets.

The Rockets were led by the trio of Jeremy Lin, Dwight Howard and James Harden. Lin had 31 points on 10 of 17 from the field, Howard had 18 points and 24 rebounds and Harden had 26 points and 10 dimes in the game.

The Raptors shot the ball poorly at 33.3% for the game and Rudy Gay, whilst he had 29 points went 11 for 37 from the field.

Denver Nuggets 100 – Utah Jazz 81.

The hapless Utah Jazz are still winless this season as they fell to the Denver Nuggets at home. They have now started the season 0-8 and things are looking decidedly glum in Utah. The Nuggets were led by Ty Lawson’s 17 points, 10 assists and 6 rebounds. J.J Hickson had a huge dunk over Marvin Williams which pretty much sums up just how much every team is abusing the Jazz so far this season.

Utah shot 40.3% from the field and an abysmal 17.6% from behind the arc, were out rebounded 52-35 and the question still remains as to when they will get their maiden win this season.

Portland Trail Blazers 109 – Detroit Pistons 103.

Portland registered its third straight victory with a win over the Pistons at home. Their three point shooting continues to impress as they went 11 for 23 from behind the arc. Last year’s Rookie of the Year Damian Lillard had 25 points including 5 of 8 from three, 5 rebounds and 4 assists for the game.

Detroit’s ball control was excellent throughout the game as they only turned the ball over 8 times but struggled with their shooting, 46.2% from the field and 21.4% from three point territory. Brandon Jennings top scored with 28 points and Andre Drummond added 16 points and 16 rebounds.

Los Angeles Clippers 109 –Minnesota Timberwolves 107.

The Los Angeles Clippers won a tight one at Staples against the Minnesota Timberwolves in a game where two of the games best power forwards, Blake Griffin and Kevin Love went at it. Griffin had 25 points, 10 rebounds and 5 assists for the game whilst Kevin Love had 23 points including 4 of 8 from long range, 19 rebounds and 7 assists but missed a tip in to tie the game and send it to overtime.

Jamal Crawford added 18 points on 7 of 11 shooting for the Clippers whose record improves to 5-3 as the Timberwolves record drops to the same mark, 5-3.

Wednesday November 13th

Miami Heat 118 – Milwaukee Bucks 95.

The Bucks were never in the contest against the Heat as LeBron James dropped 33 points on 13 of 21 shooting, including 4 of 7 from long range.

The Bucks defensive efforts were all but in vain as Miami shot 58.2% from the field, 52.2% from behind the arc, turned the ball over only 13 times, in fact the box score really doesn’t do the Bucks any favours, the only major statistical category they bettered Miami in was steals, 10-9.

A rout if there ever was one.

Dallas Mavericks 105 – Washington Wizards.

Dirk Nowitzki passed Jerry West on the NBA’s All Time Scoring list as the Dallas Mavericks beat the Washington Wizards courtesy of a big second quarter where they outscored the Wizards 28-15.

Nowitzki had 19 points which took him to 16th in career scoring in the NBA, surpassing Jerry West’s 25,192 points. He also had 8 rebounds and 2 assists in the contest.

The Wizards Trevor Ariza had a game high 27 points on 10 of 17 shooting including five treys.

Golden State Warriors 113 – Detroit Pistons 95.

The Golden State Warriors got the jump out of the gate, basically winning the game in the first quarter thanks to a 35-16 start. Steph Curry led the Warriors with 25 points on 7 of 10 shooting with 8 assists and 2 rebounds. Jermaine O’Neal turned back the clock with his performance, scoring 17 points on 7 of 8 shooting with 6 rebounds.

Golden State shot 60% from the field, 50% from three point range, were +9 in rebounds, +12 in assists but turned the ball over 23 times.

Detroit shot just 16.7% from three point range, 3 for 18 for the game.

Los Angeles Lakers 116 – New Orleans Pelicans 95.

Jordan Hill had a night to remember for the Lakers as he posted 21 points on 7 of 12 shooting, 11 rebounds, 2 assists and 2 steals as the Lakers got a big win over the visiting New Orleans Pelicans.

The Lakers were very efficient in the win; shooting 55.7% from the field, 55% from behind the arc and 81% from the charity stripe.

The game will be best remembered for Xavier Henry’s huge dunk over rookie big man Jeff Withey. Henry completely posterised Withey as he attempted to take the charge under the basket. Check it out here – http://nbanationaustralia.com/2013/11/13/put-it-on-a-poster-lakers-xavier-henrys-gigantic-slam-video/

Jrue Holiday continued his shooting woes for the new season going 2 for 11 in the loss.

Thursday November 14th

Orlando Magic 94 – Milwaukee Bucks 91.

The Orlando Magic rallied back after a slow start to get a victory over the visiting Milwaukee Bucks. The Magic were led by Aaron Afflalo who scored 36 points on 11 of 15 shooting with an amazing 8 treys. He also had 8 rebounds, 6 assists and 2 steals in the huge performance.

The Bucks had the better of things early on and took the lead into the break but the Magic came home strong and took the win in a close fought affair.

O.J Mayo top scored for the Bucks with 25 points and Khris Middleton added 19 points, 8 rebounds, 4 assists and 3 steals.

Philadelphia 76ers 123 – Houston Rockets 117.

A bruised left foot was the catalyst for keeping both James Harden and Michael Carter-Williams out of the game and the loss of Harden proved to be too much for the Rockets as they went down to the surprisingly good Philadelphia team.

Tony Wroten, in his first career start, registered a triple double for Philly with 18 points, 10 rebounds and 11 assists whilst James Anderson added a career high 36 points on 12 of 16 shooting.

The Rockets Jeremy Lin scored 34 points and dished out 12 assists but it wasn’t to be enough to beat the underdog 76ers.

Charlotte Bobcats 89 – Boston Celtics 83.

The Charlotte Bobcats biggest off season signing Al Jefferson led them to a victory over the Boston Celtics at The Garden in Boston. Jefferson scored 22 points, grabbed 11 rebounds and had 3 assists and 2 blocks in the victory.

The expectation of both teams at the commencement of the season was quite low and whilst they have both exceeded expectations so far this game wasn’t one for the casual fan. Both teams shot the ball poorly, below 40% as the low score line suggests.

Jordan Crawford and Jeff Green were the only Celtics to score more than 10 points in the game.

Toronto Raptors 103 – Memphis Grizzlies 87.

The Memphis Grizzlies disappointing start to their 2013/14 NBA campaign continues as they lost to the Toronto Raptors at home in Memphis. The Raptors ball control, (13 turnovers) and defense, they kept the Grizzlies to 42.7% shooting, were the main reasons behind the surprise win for Toronto.

Rudy Gay led the charge with 23 points, 6 rebounds and 4 assists but his shooting woes continue as he shot 5 of 18 from the field and his field goal percentage sits at 36.5% for the season so far.

The Grizzlies won the battle in the paint by outscoring Toronto 36-24 but their 17 turnovers and overall shooting percentage cost them the game.

Minnesota Timberwolves 124 – Cleveland Cavaliers 95.

The Minnesota Timberwolves are beginning to look like the real deal this season. Led by the stellar play of stars Kevin Love and Ricky Rubio they completely blew out the Cleveland Cavaliers to take their record to 6-3 this season.

All five of their starters scored in double figures for the game with Kevin Love leading the way with his 33 points, 8 rebounds and 6 assists whilst Corey Brewer added 27 points and Ricky Rubio had 16 assists.

The Cavaliers, a team that many people were banking on having a big season, have started poorly and drop to 3-6 for the season. Kyrie Irving led them with 20 points in the loss.

New York Knicks 95 – Atlanta Hawks 91.

The New York Knicks won for the fifth straight time against the Hawks with Carmelo Anthony and Andrea Bargnani leading the way. Anthony, playing in the power forward position for the first time this season scored 25 points and Bargnani continued his surprising recent form by adding 20 points and 11 rebounds on 8 of 15 shooting.

The Hawks were led by Jeff Teague with 25 points but lost their first game at home for the season and drop to 4-4 for the year.

San Antonio 92 – Washington Wizards 79.

The Spurs have always been a team that doesn’t garner too much mainstream media attention in the regular season and this continues to be the same as they racked up their eighth win of the season against the Washington Wizards.

San Antonio had it all their own way as they led the contest from start to finish and never looked in any serious trouble. Their brand of team basketball was reflected in the box scores as they had six players score in double figures.

8-1 on the season and 4-0 at home, you know this team will be as dangerous as ever come the post season.

The Wizards however are a team that’s struggling to find their rhythm and they drop to 2-6 for the year.

Denver Nuggets 111 – Los Angeles Lakers 99.

Kenneth Faried may have been the target of many a trade rumour recently but he hasn’t let it affect his game. He scored 23 points on 8 of 13 shooting and grabbed 13 boards to lead the Denver Nuggets to a victory over the Los Angeles Lakers.

The Nuggets led the game from start to finish and despite having the inferior record to the Lakers, they had things mostly their own way. Timofey Mosgov had 23 points, 9 rebounds and 4 blocks in the win.

Jordan Hill continues to impress for a Laker team that’s in fairly unfamiliar territory as they struggle to keep close to .500 this year.

Utah Jazz 111 – New Orleans Pelicans 105.

It was bound to happen eventually. The Utah Jazz registered their first win of the season in their ninth attempt with a victory over the Pelicans.

Gordon Hayward has been putting up some huge numbers but to no avail as the Jazz have been on the losing end of things until now. Hayward scored 27 points and dished out 10 dimes in the win and his season averages stand at 20.3 ppg, 6 rpg and 5 apg.

The Pelicans Anthony Davis continued his break out season with 29 points and 15 rebounds but the Pelicans drop to 3-6 for the season.

Portland Trail Blazers 90 – Phoenix Suns 89.

A late layup basket by Damian Lillard sealed a close fought win for the Portland Trail Blazers over the Phoenix Suns at the Moda Center in Portland.

The Blazers were led by the play of big man Robin Lopez who had 13 points and 15 rebounds in the win. Thomas Robinson top scored for Portland off the bench with 15 points as he attempts to find his way in what has been a fairly underwhelming NBA career to date.

The Suns Eric Bledsoe was their best on court, scoring 23 points with 6 assists and 3 rebounds.

Sacramento Kings 107 – Brooklyn Nets 86.

The Brooklyn Nets, the super-rich, fully stacked, albeit long in tooth team with a payroll bigger than most countries GDP have endured a more than disappointing start to this season and the disappointment continued with a blowout loss to the Sacramento Kings.

The Kings were led by the play of Marcus Thornton with 24 points and Greivis Vasquez with 17 points and 12 assists.

Brooklyn shot the ball woefully at 37.8% from the field and 23.1% from behind the arc. They fall to 2-5 for the season and a certain Russian billionaire is undoubtedly fuming at his lack of return on his big investment so far this year.

Los Angeles Clippers 111 – Oklahoma City Thunder 103.

The Clippers got the win over the Oklahoma City Thunder in a controversial game where both Matt Barnes and Serge Ibaka were ejected.

The ejections came after a scuffle that occurred in the dying seconds of the second quarter. Ibaka became tangled up with Blake Griffin, a player with which he has some history with, and pushed him off before Matt Barnes took offense at Ibaka and shoved him. The ensuing scuffle, or lack of, caused the ejection of both players.

The Clippers would go on to win the game led by Griffin’s 22 points, 12 rebounds and 7 assists. Chris Paul had 16 assists in the game and he continues to lead the league in dimes.

Kevin Durant had 33 points, 6 rebounds and 10 assists in the loss between two of the western conference’s better teams.

Friday November 15th

Houston Rockets 109 – New York Knicks 106.

Carmelo Anthony dropped 45 points and grabbed 10 boards, Andrea Bargnani bested Dwight Howard and kept him to just 7 points on 1 of 5 shooting but it wasn’t enough to see the New York Knicks get the win at Madison Square Garden.

The Rockets won a hard fought battle thanks in most part to the play of James Harden, who scored 36 points and added 9 boards for the Rockets.

Howard was disappointing in a matchup which for all intents and purposes looked to be one that favoured him. He did well on the glass grabbing 15 rebounds but will need to have more of an impact offensively should the Rockets look to be a serious contender come playoff time.

The Knicks fell to 3-5 for the season and the pressure of playing in New York City just never goes away, especially when they’re losing more than they’re winning.

Golden State Warriors 116 – Oklahoma City Thunder 115.

The Oklahoma City Thunder lost their second game in two days with a close loss to the Warriors on the road in Oakland.

Golden State were led by the stellar play of sharp shooter Klay Thompson who scored 27 points on 10 of 15 shooting including 6 three pointers. His partner in crime Steph Curry added 4 threes of his own and 22 points.

The Warriors ball control was excellent as they only turned the ball over 7 times in the contest and shot the lights out from long range hitting 60.9% of three pointers.

OKC were led by Russell Westbrook’s 31 points, 9 rebounds and 5 assists.

Saturday November 16th

Chicago Bulls 96 – Toronto Raptors 80.

The Chicago Bulls Derrick Rose sat out this one due to a strained hamstring and the Bulls looked none the worse for it as they completely dominated the Toronto Raptors on the road. All five of the Bulls starters scored in double figures for the game as they kept the Raptors to 35.4% shooting.

Luol Deng led the Bulls with 19 points, 9 rebounds and 3 assists and an impressive +/- of +24.

DeMar DeRozan dropped 37 points and Rudy Gay added 20 points but the other ten players to see court time for the Raptors could only manage a combined 23 points, a truly forgettable game for Toronto fans.

Indiana Pacers 104 – Milwaukee Bucks 77.

The difference in class was more than apparent in this game between the undefeated Pacers and the 2-5 Bucks.

The Pacers made easy work of Milwaukee and were led by the play of big man Roy Hibbert who scored 24 points, grabbed 10 boards and blocked a phenomenal 8 shots on the game. Hibbert is now averaging 4.78 blocks per game and whilst its early days that number would be good enough for fourth all time for a single season in NBA history.

Paul George added 22 points for the Pacers in the win but it was the defensive efforts for Indiana which kept the Bucks to 34.1% shooting that led them to such a blowout win.

Atlanta Hawks 113 – Philadelphia 76ers 103.

Jeff Teague scored a career high 33 points to lead the Atlanta Hawks to a 113 -103 win over the Philadelphia 76ers. Teague shot 10 of 16, grabbed 4 rebounds and dished out 10 assists in the win. DeMarre Carroll added 21 points and Al Horford 20.

Evan Turner continued his great season by top scoring for the 76ers with 27 but it wasn’t enough as Philly drops to 5-5 for the season.

Portland Trail Blazers 109 – Boston Celtics 96.

The Portland Trail Blazers won their fifth straight game when they defeated the Boston Celtics at The Garden in Boston. They take their season record to a surprising 7-2.

LaMarcus Aldridge led the Blazers with 27 points and 12 boards. Nicolas Batum added 18 points including four treys and Mo Williams had 18 on 8 of 13 shooting.

The Celtics Jared Sullinger had 26 points in the loss on 11 of 18 shooting but the Celtics were badly beaten on the glass being out rebounded 47-34.

Charlotte Bobcats 86 – Cleveland Cavaliers 80.

The Bobcats, led by Michael Kidd-Gilchrist defeated the Cavaliers on the road to take their season record to 5-4. Kidd-Gilchrist had 16 points and 8 rebounds in the win which was the Cavaliers the first home loss this season.

Charlotte had five players score in double figures in the game.

Cleveland who were led by Kyrie Irving, 18 points and 10 assists, drop to a disappointing 3-7 for the year.

Miami Heat 110 – Dallas Mavericks 104.

LeBron James scored a season high 39 points as the Heat won a hard fought battle over the Dallas Mavericks in Miami. James shot 14 of 18, grabbed 6 rebounds and dished out 4 dimes in the win.

Both teams shot over 50% in what was a very entertaining clash. Dallas suffered with their ball control as they turned it over 24 times in the game.

Dirk Nowitzki had 28 points, 6 rebounds and 3 assists in the loss and Monta Ellis added 20 points.

Denver Nuggets 117 – Minnesota Timberwolves 113.

Expectations for the Nuggets weren’t exactly sky high this season for most pundits, but they continue to play hard and sit at 4-4 after a good win against the Minnesota Timberwolves at home in the Pepsi Center.

Kenneth Faried led the way with 16 points and 10 rebounds and Wilson Chandler in his second game back scored 19 points including 3 of 4 from long range.

Kevin Love’s big numbers were once again on display as he put up 28 points on 10 of 20 shooting with 10 rebounds, 3 steals and 2 blocks but the Timberwolves drop to 6-4.

Brooklyn Nets 100 – Phoenix Suns 98.

Joe Johnson was responsible for Brooklyn escaping with a last second win over the Phoenix Suns. Johnson hit a floater with 30 seconds left in regulation to send the game into overtime and then with the clock winding down in the overtime period he hit a buzzer beater to win the game for the Nets.

Despite hitting two very important shots Johnson didn’t have the best of games shooting just 6 of 19 for the game. Big man Brook Lopez was Brooklyn’s best with 27 points and 7 rebounds.

The Suns who were led by Goran Dragic’s 19 points drop to 5-4 on the season while the Nets improve to 3-5.

San Antonio Spurs 91 – Utah Jazz 82.

The Utah Jazz started their game against the Spurs with a 29-16 run in the first quarter but the Spurs were good enough to weather the storm and when it really counted they made their move, outscoring the Jazz 31-15 in the fourth.

Tony Parker led the Spurs with 22 points and 6 assists as they improved to 9-1 on the season.

The Jazz drop to 1-9 for the season and it seems the lottery is their final destination this season. Derrick Favors scored 20 points and grabbed 18 boards in the loss but the Jazz shot a woeful 38.5% from the field.

Memphis Grizzlies 89 – Los Angeles Lakers 86.

The Grizzlies and the Lakers were two teams desperate for a win coming in to this one but it was Memphis who took out the win in a tight one in Los Angeles.

Zach Randolph led the Grizzlies with 28 points including 14 in the final term. Marc Gasol added 18 points for Memphis in the win but it was the play of Z Bo that will be remembered as the catalyst for the victory.

Jodie Meeks played well for L.A with 25 points on 10 of 16 shooting with 5 threes.

The Lakers drop to 4-7 for the season as their fans start to talk lottery and Memphis improve to 4-5.

Detroit Pistons 97 – Sacramento Kings 90.

The Sacramento Kings fans set a world record for arena decibel levels during the game but on the court things weren’t so loud for the Kings. They went down to the visiting Detroit Pistons in a close one.

Josh Smith was outstanding for Detroit and fantasy owners would have been more than impressed with his numbers. He put up 21 points, 8 rebounds, 7 assists, 5 steals and 4 blocks in the win. The Pistons improved their record to 3-5 whilst the Kings drop to 2-6.

DeMarcus Cousins played well for Sacramento in the loss scoring 26 points and grabbing 13 boards.

Sunday November 17th

Chicago Bulls 110 – Indiana Pacers 94.

The Chicago Bulls haven’t had the start that many expected but a big win over the undefeated Indiana Pacers should go a long way towards building some much needed confidence for the Bulls and their star point guard Derrick Rose, who also looked very good in the win.

Rose scored 20 points on 7 of 16 shooting including 6 of 11 from behind the arc. He also managed to not the turn the ball over once in the game, something with which he has had a lot of trouble with so far this season.

Luol Deng looked like the All Star he is by adding 23 points, 7 rebounds and 2 steals and kept Pacers star Paul George to 12 points on 3 of 14 shooting.

The Pacers drop their first game of the season and sit at 9-1 while the Bulls improve to 5-3 with the big win.

Miami Heat 97 – Charlotte Bobcats 81.

The Miami Heat made light work of the Bobcats in Charlotte as LeBron James scored 30 points on 13 of 18 shooting with 7 assists and 4 rebounds. James is shooting the lights out this season as his 62.2% from the field for the season attests to and it was more of the same in Charlotte for ‘The King’.

New addition to the Heat squad, Michael Beasley, played some good minutes in the game and added 15 points on 7 of 14 shooting.

Kemba Walker was the Bobcats best in the loss with 22 points including three treys.

Dallas Mavericks 108 – Orlando Magic 100.

The Dallas Mavericks defeated the Orlando Magic in Orlando in what was an entertaining game between the two teams. Both teams shot the ball at better than 50% but it was the Mavericks experience that shone through in the end.

Monta Ellis led the Mavericks with 19 points on 8 of 18 shooting with 8 assists and Dirk Nowitzki added 18 points of his own including four threes.

The Magic’s Aaron Afflalo scored 25 points in the loss which saw the Magic drop to 4-6 while Dallas improved to 6-4 for the season.

Cleveland Cavaliers 103 – Washington Wizards 96.

The Cleveland Cavaliers won a thrilling contest in Washington as two of the NBA’s best point guards battled it out.

The Cavaliers Kyrie Irving had the better of things with his 41 points in the overtime win while Wizards point guard John Wall, who looked phenomenal early on, scored just 9 points on 3 of 13 shooting but had 12 assists in the game.

Aussie Matthew Dellavedova played 31 minutes in the game including most of the overtime period and while he only put up 2 points, 5 rebounds and 2 assists his contribution to the game went beyond the box score and will no doubt give him confidence in the fact that Mike Brown gave him such an opportunity.

Atlanta Hawks 110 – New York Knicks 90.

The Knicks lost their fifth straight home game to the Atlanta Hawks, who are playing some seriously good team ball, took out the win.

The Hawks had eight of their ten players score in double figures in the win and they shot an impressive 56.4% from the field against what can only be described as a hapless Knicks team who played little to no defense.

Paul Millsap had 14 point and 13 boards in the win.

The Knicks drop to 3-6 and 1-5 at home with the loss and the pressure of playing in NYC just keeps rising.

Houston Rockets 122 – Denver Nuggets 111.

The Nuggets played ‘Hack a Howard’ and for once the big man made a team pay by hitting most of his free throws. Howard scored 25 points in the win and shot 17 of 24 from behind the stripe. All five of Houston’s starters scored in double figures and the team shot the ball well at 50.6% from the field.

The Nuggets Ty Lawson had a spectacular game albeit in a losing team as he scored 28 points on 11 of 19 shooting and dished out a huge 17 assists.

Houston improved to 7-4 on the season while the Nuggets drop to 4-5.

Minnesota Timberwolves 106 – Boston Celtics 88.

It was always going to be a tough ask for the visiting Boston Celtics to get a win in Minnesota and it played out exactly that way. Minnesota are proving to be a tough ask for most teams this season. Kevin Love led them to victory with his 23 points and 12 rebounds while Nikola Pekovic added 20 points and 12 rebounds of his own.

The Celtics Avery Bradley top scored with 27 on 12 of 23 shooting but it wasn’t enough as there were only three players who scored in double figures in the game for Boston.

Boston drop to 4-7 while Minnesota improved to 7-4.

New Orleans Pelicans 135 – Philadelphia 76ers 98.

New Orleans completely blew the 76ers away thanks to a huge game for Ryan Anderson in his return to play. Anderson scored 26 points off the bench and shot 6 of 10 from downtown. Anthony Davis scored 13 points, grabbed 9 rebounds and blocked 8 shots in the win and continues to keep fantasy owners very happy this season.

The Pelicans had seven players score in double digits and shot an unheard of 60.5% from the field and 46.4% from three point range.

The 76ers conversely shot 42.1% from the field and drop to 5-6 on the season with a loss they would be best to forget quick smart.

Oklahoma City Thunder 92 – Milwaukee Bucks 79.

Russell Westbrook’s comeback continues to be a success as he led the Thunder to a win over the Bucks in Milwaukee.

Westbrook scored 26 points on 10 of 20 shooting, Kevin Durant added 24 of his own and Serge Ibaka added 15 points and a huge 20 boards in the win.

The Bucks poor shooting, 34.9% from the field, was the catalyst for another disappointing loss for them and they drop to 2-7 on the season. They’re looking more and more like a lottery team with each game that passes.

Golden State Warriors 102 – Utah Jazz 88.

The Utah Jazz are becoming seriously embarrassing. They lost their tenth game of the season when the Golden State Warriors blew them away 102-88 in Oakland.

The Warriors were led by Klay Thompson’s 25 points, 4 rebounds and 2 assists. Thompson shot 9 of 14 and 5 of 8 from three point range and is having a breakout season currently averaging 20.9 points per game on 55.2% shooting.

The Jazz were no match for the Warriors and it showed. It’s a long road to the NBA draft for Jazz fans this year.

Los Angeles Clippers 110 – Brooklyn Nets 103.

The Brooklyn Nets were without big name players Deron Williams, Kevin Garnett, Brook Lopez and Paul Pierce so the odds were well and truly stacked against them against a red hot Clippers team.

The Clippers were led by Blake Griffin who had 30 points and 12 boards for the game. The Clippers had to rally late in the game to ensure they got the victory and despite the loss the Nets played well, all things considered.

Brooklyn drop to 3-6 and the Clippers improve to a 7-3 record for the season.

Keep an eye out next Monday for another edition of the Weekly Hoop Scoop and don’t forget, Pierre is watching you….

Thanks to http://believethehypenba.com/ for the picture.

Thanks to http://believethehypenba.com/ for the picture.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



NBA: San Antonio Spurs at Golden State Warriors

Two Minutes With: Aron Baynes

As promised, here is the next instalment of Two Minutes With. 

I was really excited about the opportunity to have a word with Aron, not only due to the fact that he’s an Aussie playing in the NBA but because he’s had to take the long road and battle to get there.

I got the opportunity to talk with him last month, here’s what he had to say.

 

Matt: You started your career playing in the Lithuanian league, followed by stints in Germany, Greece and Slovenia before being signed by the Spurs. Many people have said that the European leagues are a relatively untapped resource and that NBA teams should be paying more attention to them. What’s your take on the level of the game over there and was it hard making the switch?

Aron: Yeah it’s definitely very competitive in Europe. With most teams playing in 2 or 3 different leagues there is an opportunity to play a lot of games all at a high level. I was always tested when I played there and it helped me improve a lot each year I spent in Europe. As for making the switch, the NBA is a faster and more athletic league but the understanding of how to play the game is the same in the Euroleague.

 

Matt: I managed to catch the game against the Hawks on the 17/10/13 and I’ve got to say, it was pretty sweet to see you sink the match winner, especially after the dish from Patty.  How has this preseason differed from the ones before?

Aron: Thanks, it was definitely fun to be able to close out the game against the Hawks. This has been my first NBA pre-season so I’m trying to learn as much as I can from the coaches and veteran players on the team. Also as it’s my first NBA pre-season I’ve wanted to come into it in the best shape of my life and I think it’s paid off.

 

 

 Matt: Speaking of Patty, you guys are Boomers teammates, does playing together at club and international level help with cohesion in terms of understanding each other’s games?

Aron: Yeah, we’re lucky to be able to play with each other throughout the season. Even over the last few preseason games I’ve been able to learn and see what Patty likes to do and where he can really excel if put in the right situation. It definitely helps us when we step into the boomers program over the summer, as we know how to put each other into a situation where we can do well.

 

Matt: You’ve played with the Boomers alongside Dante Exum, he’s projected to go in the top 3 of the 2015 draft, some even pegging him at the potential first pick.
If you were to take a stab in the dark, where do you think he’ll be drafted on the board and how do you think he’ll fair in the NBA?

 Aron: As far as the draft I really don’t know, a lot comes down to the teams needs and who have the picks. Although Dante has exceptional talent and will only keep improving, and these are things teams will and have noticed. I’m sure he’ll be top 5 and as far as playing in the NBA, he has a great work ethic and a competitive drive so he’ll do very well.

 

Matt: You started your first ever NBA match in Game 4 of the playoff series against the Lakers last year and your matchup was Dwight Howard. It can’t be understated how well you played in that game. You physically dominated him and made him very uncomfortable, which was key in getting the win. Can you tell me what was going through your mind during that matchup?

 Aron: Before the game Coach Pop told me what he wanted me to do and that was play defence. So from the jump ball I just wanted to be a presence and effect how and where he got the ball, as well as playing team defence. That was all I really focused on and then just tried to play within myself.

 

Matt: Speaking of tough matchups, who is the toughest player you’ve either played against or with? 

Aron: Getting to go out and guard Tim Duncan most days at practice is a good challenge for me. He’s still playing at a really high level and is a tough matchup.

 

Matt: Last years final series versus the Miami Heat became an instant classic, with many hailing it as one of the greatest finals series ever played. Tell me, what goes through you mind in the closing stages of a series like that and how did you feel making the NBA Finals in your first year in the league? 

Aron: It was a great opportunity for me to learn; I’ve seen what it takes to get there and the amount of work needed. That’s what has driven me over the summer to get better; we want to get back to the Finals.

 

Matt: Can you tell us a bit about playing with Tim Duncan? You’re both frontcourt players and Tim is arguably one of the best forwards the game has ever seen. Have you learned anything playing alongside a player of that calibre? 

Aron: I’m very lucky to be on the same team as Tim and to learn from him. Playing against him makes me a better both offensively and defensively. He also has a lot of pointers and suggestions which make me a better player as well.

 

Matt: The Commonwealth Games are next year, is that a goal you’ve set for yourself? How do you see Australia doing in that competition without the likes of the US team?

Aron: As far as international competitions, next year we are focused on the Basketball World Championships in Spain. The boomers have never medalled in a World Championships or Olympics and we want to achieve that.

 

Matt: Lastly, as a guy who had to battle his way to the NBA, do you have any advice for any aspiring ballers who are a part of our readership who may hold similar dreams?

Aron: Every time you step on the court try and get better at one thing. Setting myself goals has been a big part of my development. Also it’s not just practice that makes you better, but doing it the right way.

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Thank you Aron for taking the time to chat with me. Goodluck with the rest of the upcoming season and I look forward to talking to you sometime in the near future!