Archive for the ‘Basketball’ Category

Raptors need to stay the course with DeRozan

Tuesday, January 24th, 2012

If the Raptors actual intent this season is to try to win as many games as possible, then, Dwane Casey needs to make an adjustment in his current starting line-up.

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Casey considers changes

Following Sunday’s loss in Los Angeles, a game that was once again dominated and all but determined by a listless first-quarter Raptors performance, Casey is no longer content to stay with the status quo. At the very least he’s seriously considering changing a few pieces.

It’s not so much the mounting losses, although that’s clearly part of it, but how the losses are coming.

For the first time this year on Sunday, Casey called out one of his players for a lack of effort, clearly identifying Amir Johnson in the process.

Casey went to great lengths on Sunday to emphasize that he wasn’t placing blame on any one player. In fairness the questions Sunday left him little choice but to address the fact that Johnson played only seven minutes.

He had to explain why he wasn’t out there and the truth was Aaron Gray was running hard and ensuring DeAndre Jordan didn’t add to the number of crowd inciting lob-finishing dunks he was throwing down much to the appreciation of the Staples Center crowd.

Monday in Phoenix, though, Casey pointedly said that were any changes coming, it wasn’t going to be done to single out any individual’s performance or lack thereof.

“We still have a couple of positions we’re looking at,” Casey said. “Right now, we’re going to sleep on it again tonight. Everything we’re aiming to do is nothing that’s an indictment of any one player, it’s more of us having balance, finding the right combination to get off to quick starts and a balanced game.

“We’ve got too many ebbs and flows with the game as far as our points production, our defensive focus and the whole nine yards. That’s what we’re trying for more than: ‘Hey, it’s this one guy’ (that’s the reason) we’re not winning.”

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STAT Joe Johnson Leandro Barbosa DeMar DeRozan
GP 18 17 17
GS 18 0 17
MP 657 388 564
FGM 124 82 92
FGA 291 190 242
FTM 58 38 55
FTA 65 47 69
REB 70 35 60
AST 65 19 22
TO 28 30 38
ST 17 11 17
BS 6 2 5
PF 29 41 48
PTS 344 218 251
kPER +271 +105 +97
kPER/GP +15.06 +5.71 +6.18
kPER/MP +0.412 +0.250 +0.186
LEGEND:
GP – Games Played; MP – Minutes Played; FGM – Field Goals Made; FGA – Field Goals Attempted; FTM – Free Throws Made; FTA – Free Throws Attempted; REB – Rebounds; AST – Assists; TO – Turnovers; ST – Steals; BS – Blocked Shots; PF – Personal Fouls; PTS – Points Scored; kPER – khandor’s Player Efficiency Rating [i.e. PTS – (FGA-FGM) – (FTA-FTM) + REB +AST – TO + ST + BS – PF]; kPER/GP – khandor’s Player Efficiency Rating Per Game Played; kPER/MP – khandor’s Player Efficiency Rating Per Minute Played.

If, however, the Raptors actual intent this season is to try to lose as many games as possible – so that they can obtain as high a pick as possible in the 2012 NBA Draft Lottery … which is precisely what it SHOULD be – then, Dwane Casey needs to keep using DeMar DeRozan [OG] exactly how he has been used in Toronto’s line-up for all 17 games thus far this year.

Wizards need to get W against Raptors this evening

Tuesday, January 10th, 2012

When you look at the early schedule for the Washington Wizards what you should see:

DATE Home Home Line Away Result W-L Rec Top Scorer Top Rebounder Top Assists
M-Dec 26 Was -4.5 Njn L, 84-90 0-1 Young/16 Blatche/10 Wall/5
W-Dec 28 Atl * -9 Was L, 83-101 0-2 Young/21 McGee/12 Wall/6
F-Dec 30 Mil * -8.5 Was L, 81-102 0-3 Crawford/24 Blatche/10 Wall/7
U-Jan 1 Was +7 Bos * L, 86-94 0-4 Wall/19 McGee/14 Wall/8
M-Jan 2 Bos * -12 Was L, 92-100 0-5 Blatche/28 McGee/14 Wall/8
W-Jan 4 Orl * -13 Was L, 85-103 0-6 Young/17 Crawford/7 Wall/5
F-Jan 6 Was +6 Nyk * L, 96-99 0-7 Young/24 McGee/10 Wall/9
U-Jan 8 Was +2 Min L, 72-93 0-8 Young/14 Blatche/9 Wall/6
T-Jan 10 Was -2 Tor L-? 0-9, ?
W-Jan 11 Chi * Was L-? 0-10, ?
F-Jan 13 Phi * Was L-? 0-11, ?
S-Jan 14 Was Phi * L-? 0-12, ?
M-Jan 16 Was Hou * L-? 0-13, ?
W-Jan 18 Was Okl * L-? 0-14, ?
F-Jan 20 Was Den * L-? 0-15, ?
U-Jan 22 Bos * L-? 0-16, ?
M-Jan 23 Phi * Was L-? 0-17, ?
T-Jan 24 Was Cha W-? 1-17, ?
LEGEND: Bold – Wizards home game; Bolded & Italicized – Wizards home game as favourite; * – Expected to be playoff contender.

is that tonight’s home game against the Toronto Raptors actually qualifies as an almost “must-win” situation … at least, if they are going to be able to avoid a prolonged losing streak to begin the season.

If both teams are healthy for this game:

Pos.Toronto
Raptors
ADVWASHINGTON
WIZARDS
Pos.
STARTERS
PGCalderon<--WallPG
OGDeRozan=YoungOG
SFJ/Johnson-->LewisSF/PF
PFA/Johnson=BlatchePF
CBargnani=McGeePF/C
1 x 4 = 41 x 4 = 4
KEY SUBS
PG/OGCarter=CrawfordPG/OG
OG/PGBarbosa<--MackOG/PG
OG/SFButler=SingletonSF
PFDavis=VeselyPF
CMagloire-->TuriafPF/C
1 X 3 = 31 x 3 = 3
RESERVES
OG/SFForbesMasonPG/OG
CAlabiSeraphinPF
COACHING
HCCasey-->Saunders
0 X 2 = 01 X 2 = 2
SUMMARY
4 + 3 + 0 = 74 + 3 + 2 = 9

then, the Wizards will have a solid opportunity to get a W, depending on the work done by Flip Saunders vs Dwane Casey.

Related:

Wizards need more than just better talent, need culture change

Understanding how the Pistons were demolished by the Bulls last night

Tuesday, January 10th, 2012

This is the Box Score and the Play-By-Play for last night’s game between the Detroit Pistons and the Chicago Bulls.

This is the GameFlow Chart.

When you look at the different combinations Lawrence Frank used at the Point Guard and Off Guard positions in this game:

PG OG Start Time End Time Duration Differential
Knight Gordon Q1, 12:00 Q1, 03:02 08:58 -9
Bynum Gordon Q1, 03:02 Q1, 01:31 01:31 +5
Bynum Daye Q1, 01:31 Q2, 08:49 04:42 0
Knight Daye Q2, 08:49 Q2, 06:26 02:23 -5
Knight Gordon Q2, 06:26 Q2, 05:18 01:08 +1
Knight Wilkens Q2, 05:18 Q2, 01:10 04:08 -1
Bynum Wilkens Q2, 01:10 Q2, 00:00 01:10 0
Knight Gordon Q3, 12:00 Q3, 04:37 07:23 +2
Knight Wilkens Q3, 04:37 Q3, 00:04.4 04:32.6 0
Bynum Gordon Q3, 00:04.4 Q4, 08:01 04:03.4 -9
Knight Gordon Q4, 08:01 Q4, 04:00 04:01 -6
Knight Daye Q4, 04:00 Q4, 00:00 04:00 -2
TOTAL 48:00 -24

 

PG OG +/- MP Total +/- Total MP
Knight Gordon -9,+1,+2,-6 08:58,01:08,07:23,04:01 -12 21:30
Bynum Gordon +5,-9 01:31,04:03.4 -4 05:34.4
Bynum Daye 0 04:42 0 04:42
Knight Daye -5,-2 02:23,04:00 -7 06:23
Knight Wilkens -1,0 04:08,04:32.6 -1 08:40.6
Bynum Wilkens 0 01:10 0 01:10

 

PG OG Total +/- Total MP
Bynum [Small] Daye [Big] 0 04:42
Bynum [Small] Wilkens [Ave] 0 01:10
Knight [Small] Wilkens [Ave] -1 08:40.6
Bynum [Small] Gordon [Small] -4 05:34.4
Knight [Small] Daye [Big] -7 06:23
Knight [Small] Gordon [Small] -12 21:30

you should get a clear picture of a main reason Detroit lost this game by a margin of 24 points … and it isn’t because:

A. Carlos Boozer [PF] was a 1-man wrecking crew; or,
B. The players on the Pistons roster, as a whole, simply are not “good enough” to compete effectively with a team that has an overall “talent level” like Chicago.

Lawrence Frank is a good NBA head coach who actually knows what he’s doing.

Hopefully it doesn’t take him too long to figure out a workable solution to Detroit’s rotation problem at the guard positions, whenever Rodney Stuckey is not available to play.

Sound ROI: Raptors to get home W vs injury-depleted Nets

Friday, January 6th, 2012

If there is going to be 1 home game on their regular season schedule this year that the Raptors will most definitely come away with a W it will be this evening’s contest against the Nets:

Pos.TORONTO
RAPTORS
ADVNEW JERSEY
NETS
Pos.
STARTERS
PGCalderon<--GainesPG
OGDeRozan<--MorrowOG
SFJ/Johnson=JamesSF
CA/Johnson=She-WilliamsPF
CBargnani<--OkurC
3 x 4 = 120 x 5 = 0
KEY SUBS
PGCarter-->FarmarPG
OGBarbosa<--StevensonOG
SFButler<--Sha-WilliamsSF/PF
PFDavis<--J-WilliamsPF
CMagloire=PetroC
3 x 3 = 91 x 3 = 3
COACHING
HCCasey=JohnsonHC
0 x 2 = 00 x 2 = 0
SUMMARY
12 + 9 + 0 = 210 + 3 + 0 = 3

The published wagering line for tonight’s game [as of 1:00 PM this afternoon] is:

TORONTO RAPTORS -270

Even though this price certainly qualifies as a “Big Ticket”, with Deron Williams [PG], Kris Humphries [PF] and MarShon Brooks [OG] all absent from New Jersey’s line-up this evening, and Toronto playing the 1st of 7 games in a span of only 9 days, with a back-to-back on the road tomorrow night, in Philadelphia

Season’s Greetings! :-)

It’s the ‘coach’ who needs to be held accountable for the on-court conduct of his players

Friday, January 6th, 2012

On occasion, certain highly charged – and mis-directed – young men can, unfortunately, make the mistake of acting like an out-of-control adolescent without the knowledge of the actual difference between right and wrong.

In this specific instance, however …

The person who MOST needs to be held accountable for the egregious repeated on-court actions of Masters Cole Vanderbilt and Kennan VanHollebeke is … not the group of Three seemingly Blind Mice with the responsibility of “officiating” this contest properly, but … his wholly irresponsible head coach, Mr. Oscar Garza.

With due respect to all involved parties …

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The national attention and negativity of this situation has drawn a statement from the high school basketball coach of Cole Vanderbilt.

“[Cole Vanderbilt] a tough kid, but those that know him know he’s a teddy bear,” Connell coach Oscar Garza told the Tri-City Herald. “My 7-year-old son loves him and lights up when he’s around. But on (YouTube) he’s the world’s meanest, ugliest kid. It’s not fair, but I just want him to know his teammates and coaches are behind him.”

The biggest question I have is, where were the officials? What were they watching? They have just one job and that is to officiate the game at hand so that it is safe for the kids to play. If there is one or two youngsters not playing basketball the proper way, they should be kicked off the floor and suspended from their respective teams.

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The most important question is …

Going forward, what – if anything – is Mr. Garza going to do to ensure that the players in his charge conduct themselves in a civilised way?

Until Mr. Garza provides an appropriate answer to it … in the view of yours truly … he has no business being allowed to coach high school basketball, while permitting his players to commit the range of outright dirty plays shown in this video clip from just this one game.

Will Bynum filling proper role with Pistons, at last

Tuesday, January 3rd, 2012

There has been a very good reason why the Detroit Pistons have under-achieved for the last few seasons:

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Will Bynum currently out of Pistons’ rotation

Pistons coach Lawrence Frank has chose to go with a three-guard lineup of Rodney Stuckey, Ben Gordon and Brandon Knight as of late. That has left Will Bynum out of the rotation.

Other than the final three minutes in the loss at Boston on Dec. 30, Bynum has not played in the Pistons last three games.

“It’s hard,” Frank said. “Will’s a very, very good player. He’s obviously a guy we see as a game changer, especially on the offensive end. Someone who … is one of our better pick-and-roll players. But it’s hard to play three point guards, especially cause outside of Rodney our guards are small.

“Will’s definitely going to have his day in the sun. He’s going to help us win games, but right now this is where we’re at.

“Especially with a new coach and a new system the one thing I’ve said to the group and I also say to myself is, ‘Flexibility.’ We don’t have all the answers right now. Will we feel is part of the solution. We’ll just see how it all fits.”

Bynum played nearly 13 minutes in the season opener, finishing with six points on 1 for 5 shooting, three assists, three rebounds and two turnovers. Bynum did not play in the home opener against Cleveland, played the final 3:25 at Boston on Dec. 30 and did not play in the Pistons win over Indiana on New Year’s Eve.

Even though Bynum hasn’t been playing, Frank still feels he can be a part of the team’s success.

“Even when you’re not playing you can contribute and part of that is being a good teammate, being involved, especially as a point guard you should really be engaged in the game,” Frank said. “Everyone on this level can play. A lot of it is about opportunity and combinations on the floor. What may be your lineup today could be different a week from now, could be different a month from now. Really the guys play determines how much they do or do not play.

“(With) Will, it’s not a lack of confidence, a lack of faith, a lack of belief or lack of ability. It’s just we have small guards and we’re not a good rebounding team. Defensive rebounding takes precedent and we’ll go from there. But Will will have his day.”

———————————————

and, the fact is … despite what certain so-called “stats gurus” might like to perpetuate throughout the blogosphere:

———————————————

Detroit Pistons Are Who We Thought They Were

Why the Pistons are Misbehaving

John Kuester was not the problem: Part 1

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… it’s had absolutely nothing to do with the overall “poor quality” of the players on their roster.

PS. Team Cohesion is a much bigger part of success and failure in the NBA than most observers understand, and by keeping Will Bynum completely out of the Pistons’ rotation … something which yours truly first recommended to Pistons fans, back in the summer of 2009, in a now-defunct thread concerning the proper use of Rodney Stuckey, Richard Hamilton, Ben Gordon and Will Bynum, at a fan-based site named “Detroit Bad Boys” … Lawrence Frank is demonstrating that he actually knows what he’s doing, as a competent NBA-level head coach, unlike John Kuester.

PPS. Btw … He who laughs last, laughs best. :-)

Initial Assessment of Team Rosters in NBA’s Eastern Conference

Tuesday, January 3rd, 2012

There are three main phases to the game of basketball:

i. Offense;
ii. Defense; and,
iii. Rebounding.

Developing an accurate understanding of the overall NBA talent which exists on the roster for each team at the beginning of the season is a fundamental aspect of properly evaluating the day-to-day goings-on across the league over the course of the season.

INITIAL ASSESSMENT OF TEAM ROSTERS IN NBA’S EASTERN CONFERENCE [as of Sun-Dec-25-2011]

Whenever Coach Pop speaks, others should listen intently

Tuesday, January 3rd, 2012

Rubio’s fourth quarter poise gets noticed

On the merits of the T-Wolves’ increased use of the Pick-and-Roll:

———————————————

After Monday’s morning shootaround Popovich talked at some length about his impressions of Rubio and the retooled Wolves lineup.

“There are a lot of changes, not just Ricky Rubio,” Popovich said. “But you can see a lot of good.”

Especially when it comes to the relatively pared-down Wolves offense late in games.

“It’s basketball,” he said. “We all run the pick-and-roll. John [Stockton] and Karl [Malone] ran the pick-and-roll [in Utah] for a gazillion years. It was pretty simple, but it depends on who’s doing it. And [Rubio] is very good at it. No reason to make something complicated if someone is great at doing something simple.”

———————————————

On the improvement of Kevin Love:

———————————————

He’s more confident than ever. In the past he wondered, ‘Should I shoot this shot or not?’ Now he knows. He knows he’s a stud. He’s out there to win and to kick … ”

Well, you can finish the rest.

He’s a complete pro at this point who knows he’s one of the best players in the league,” Popovich said.

———————————————

On the coaching ability of Rick Adelman:

———————————————

“Rick has, in many ways, been under the radar for a long time,” Popovich said. “He’s always one of the first people owners want to hire, but he always manages to stay in the background, because he’s that kind of guy. But he probably did a better job than anybody in the league for two, three, four years in Houston with all the injuries they had. I’m not sure anybody figured that out.”

———————————————

On the recent direction of so-called ‘American culture’:

———————————————

“These guys, they travel around the world,” Popovich said of international players such as Rubio and Ginobili. “They’re more cultured than we are. Everyone acts like Americans are the ones … we have sort of an arrogance about us. Like we’re the cultured ones? Are you serious?

”Have you watched TV lately? Have you seen what Americans do? How many languages do you speak? And you wonder how they’re going to adjust to our culture? I hope they avoid it and keep their own!

———————————————

Classic stuff, on several fronts, from one of the very best coaches in the history of the NBA.

Raptors in near perfect ‘Win-Lose-Win’ situation vs Knicks this evening

Monday, January 2nd, 2012

The Toronto Raptors might not find themselves in a better “road win”, or “close road loss,” situation for the rest of this season than what should exist for their contest this evening against the New York Knicks:

Pos.Toronto RaptorsADVNEW YORK KNICKSPos.
STARTERS
PGCalderon<--DouglasPG
OGDeRozan=FieldsOG
SFJ/Johnson-->>AnthonySF
PFA/Johnson<--HarrellsonPF
CBargnani=ChandlerC
2 x 4 = 82 x 4 = 8
KEY SUBS
PG/OGCarter=BibbyPG
OG/PGBarbosa=WalkerSF
OG/SFButler=BalkmanPF/SF
PFDavis<--NovakPF
CMagloire<--JordanC
2 x 3 = 60 x 3 = 0
COACHING
HCCasey=D'AntoniHC
0 x 2 = 00 x 2 = 0
SUMMARY
8 + 8 + 6 = 228 + 0 + 0 = 8

given that:

i. Amare Stoudemire [PF/C] missed New York’s most recent game against Sacramento Kings with a sprained ankle;

ii. Baron Davis [PG] has not yet joined the Knicks’ rotation;

iii. The Knicks will be playing their first game at home after just returning from a mini West Coast road trip; and,

iii. The wagering line for this game, as of 1:00 PM ET, was New York Knicks -8.5/-102.

If Dwane Casey is, in fact, as good a coach as this corner thinks he is, then, this game should eventually play out as a “near perfect” scenario for the long term health of the Raptors franchise, i.e. with the visitors playing a highly competitive brand of physical basketball [Win], before losing by less than 8 points [Lose] and, simultaneously, improving their chances of securing a high end selection in the NBA’s 2012 Draft Lottery [Win].

The long term goal of any professional sports franchise should be to win its League Championship … and, the best way for the Raptors to acquire the type of marquee talent necessary to become a legitimate contender in the NBA, one day in the not-too-distant future, is by losing games like this and, thereby, finishing in 30th, 29th or 28th place in the final standings this season.

Don’t ever forget that you’re never alone …

Monday, December 26th, 2011

Welcome back NBA. :-)