Tag:Rajon Rondo
Posted on: December 10, 2010 11:25 am
Edited on: December 10, 2010 11:52 am
 

The Game Changer: Orlando missing some magic

Posted by Royce Young

Each game is made up of elements which help formulate the outcome. Monday through Friday, we'll bring you the elements from the night before's games in our own specialized version of the game recaps. It's not everything that happened, but it's an insight into what lead to the results you'll see in the box scores. This is the Game Changer.

THE BIG ONE: DWIGHT NEEDS HELP

The Blazers locked down on the Magic, winning a defensive scrum 97-83, with the Magic scoring just 34 second half points. It's probably the best win (and most needed) win for Portland and a loss for Orlando that showcased a few issues.

Two main points that were highlighted really well in this game:

1) The Blazers can defend with the best of them. I think one of the most beautiful things to watch is Portland playing at home with a late lead. It's like watching the Pittsburgh Steelers milk a lead. The Blazers run the ball, take each possession seriously, but aren't afraid to punt. Portland is so ridiculously disciplined and every player understands the importance of never giving ground and never letting their man beat them.

One possession sticks out to me. The Magic had the ball on the left wing, with Jameer Nelson trying to feed Rashard Lewis in the post with the smaller Wesley Matthews guarding. Matthews of course is giving around five inches on Lewis. But not only could Nelson not get a clear entry look at Lewis, Matthews also had Lewis pushed all the way out near the 3-point line. There's just this, "I'm not going to let you score on me" mentality there.

2) The Magic need another scorer badly.
Not to take anything away from the Blazers' defensive discipline and keep in mind most of the Magic roster is still battling a bit of the flu, but all of this was really aided by the fact the Magic can turn into a painfully one-dimensional team. The Blazers made a lot of that happen by taking away the drive and kick and forcing Orlando to work 20 seconds on the offensive end.

Portland was content letting Howard do his work in the post, rarely sending a double to help. Howard played really, really well but it's clear he's not the early decade Shaq. Early Decade Shaq would've had 50 in a game like this. His team could've just fed the post every time and relied on him to score. Howard doesn't have that ability. But then again, we're talking about Shaq, one of the three best centers ever.

Howard scored 26 points in the first half and finished with a season-high 39, but finished the game 2-8 from the field. Again, Portland let Howard do his work early and that led to a big Magic lead, but later in the game when things tightened up, Orlando just didn't have a clear option. The Magic went almost seven minutes in the fourth quarter without a field goal.

And the thing is, Orlando was determined to get the ball into Howard and his new and improved post game. But that meant they bypassed their bread and butter pick and roll. Again, Howard's not a consistent post scorer (yet). So there has to be an option for him to kick out to when things get shut down. Orlando can get away with this stuff against mediocre defenses, but against a group like the Blazers, everything gets exposed.

So again, it comes back to the help Howard needs. Vince Carter, Nelson, J.J. Redick -- someone -- had to step up and be able to score 10 fourth quarter points. 2008 Hedo Turkoglu was that guy for Orlando. Instead, the Magic suffered as their possessions were strung out, most of the time ending up with a long, contested jumper or a forced shot in the post. The next high scorer beside Howard was Lewis with 11. I think that says things well.

Is Gilbert Arenas the answer? Maybe. But at one point the TNT crew had Magic general manager Otis Smith standing, watching his unit toil away with yet another empty possession. And Smith had to be thinking about getting Howard some help. Clearly the team is an upper tier squad. They'll win 50 games in their sleep. But to win a title, they need help. It's going to be a risk, but it might be worth it for the potential reward.

GO-GO-GADGET LINES

Dwight Howard gets the gold star for the night with a season-high 39 points on 13-20 shooting, but more impressive was his 13-18 effort from the free throw line. Oh, and of course he added 15 rebounds and three blocks.

Runner-up: Rajon Rondo had another Rondo night with 19 points and 14 assists.

J.J. Barea gets a mention with 13 assists in just 27 minutes.

DRAWING UP A WIN FOR BOSTON

The Celtics and 76ers traded go-ahead buckets with under a minute left in really one of the most fun games of the season so far. And with the Sixers leading 101-100 with 6.6 seconds left, Boston called its last timeout and Doc Rivers went to drawing up a play.

I think everyone assumed it would be an isolation for Paul Pierce where he gets to the elbow for a game-winner. Instead, Pierce was decoyed in a faux pick and pop, while Rondo dished to Kevin Garnett for a game-winning layup.



After watching the play about 15 times, I still can't decide if that was just Rondo audibling out of the original play or if that was the way Rivers drew it up.

But the key is how Garnett shows a screen as Pierce comes for another on the other side. The Sixers likely anticipate the ball going to Pierce so Jrue Holliday switches to Garnett immediately. Rondo sees the mis-match and lobs the ball beautifully to Garnett for the winner. A lot of it was a nice design, some was poor decisions by Thaddeus Young and Holliday, but most of it was a great play by Rondo. 

THIS ONE GOES TO 11

The Mavericks took their winning streak to 11 games with a 102-89 take-care-of-business style home win over the Nets. Really, it was about as formulaic a game as you'd expect between an 18-4 team and a 6-17 team.

The Mavs led 30-19 after one and really just kind of played like a bully keeping the smaller kid at arms length. The Nets would edge back in the game and then Dirk Nowitzki would hit a jumper. Or Jason Kidd would hit a 3. Or the Nets would go five minutes without a field goal.

What's so impressive about the Mavs right now is that it almost seems easy. Dirk led them with 21, but it was on 8-10 shooting. After that, it was Shawn Marion with 18 off the bench, Jason Terry and Caron Butler with 15 apiece and then everyone else was in single-digits. But all 10 plays that played scored.

PARTING THOUGHT

On the wrong end of Garnett's game-winner though was a dejected, heartbroken Sixers team that really fought hard in a losing effort. Philly coach Doug Collins after the loss: "It's like a kick in the gut." The Sixers are now 1-11 in games decided by less than 10 points.
Posted on: December 8, 2010 9:51 am
 

Shootaround: 12.8.10: The NBA's most underpaid

Posted by Royce Young
  • Forbes released its list of the NBA's most underpaid players. And LeBron is on top: "Yes, at $15.8 million, LeBron was the NBA's most underpaid player in 2009-'10. At almost 30 points and nine assists per game, 50.5% shooting and 39 minutes a night on the floor, James produced more wins for his club (27.2) than any player in the league. All while earning less than Zach Randolph and Pau Gasol, and about the same as slightly lesser stars Dwight Howard and James' new Miami runningmate, Dwayne Wade."
  • Ian Thompson of SI with great stuff on the Hornets situation: "Unless fans swarm to the New Orleans Arena in order to keep their franchise at home for the shortterm, the new owner of the Hornets will place New Orleans in a pool among larger available markets, including Chicago, Anaheim, San Jose and Kansas City. There hasn't been a lot of talk elsewhere about Chicago, but it is the third biggest market in North America and it has only one NBA team. New York will have two franchises when the Nets move to Brooklyn in two years, and Los Angeles has two. In suburban Chicago near O'Hare Airport, the Allstate Arena could serve as a temporary NBA home until a new arena could be built, depending on the resources of the new owner."
  • Everyone's favrorite crazy owner, Michael Heisley, doesn't get what's wrong with his Grizzlies: "I don't know what's happening. We're having a difficult time and I don't know what the reason for it is. I started the season with high hopes for the team. It's not living up to what I'd hope. I don't know what else to say. I've racked my brain trying to figure it out."
  • Jimmy Smith of The Times-Picayune: "When the NBA stepped in to purchase the New Orleans Hornets on Monday, the league was faced with the situation of an owner who was heavily in debt and borrowing to pay the team’s on-going operations, according to an audit of the franchise’s finances posted on the website Deadspin.com Tuesday evening. While the team actually made an operating profit in 2009, the problem for owner George Shinn was the team’s long-term debt. At the end of 2009 - the second of the two years which the audit covers - the Hornets’ long-term debt was $111 million. And they had to pay $8.9 million in interest on it. That wiped out an operating profit of $5.8 million."
  • Steve Kelley of the Seattle Times: "We won't forgive Stern for what he did. But there is no satisfaction in continuing to hate him. It's time to forget. Who knows if Steve Ballmer wants to own an NBA team? Or if he can put together the same well-intentioned would-be-saviors who introduced a viable 11th-hour plan to keep the Sonics before they left for Oklahoma City? Ballmer could be a hero for Seattle. He could add a touch of class for a league that could use a little. The New Orleans Hornets are for sale. Is Ballmer in a buying mood?"
Posted on: December 4, 2010 12:09 am
 

Bulls show they're not quite 'elite'

Bulls, hammered by Celtics in second half, may have to realize they're not quite elite yet. 
Posted by Matt Moore




Instead of following up with caveats, let's start off with reasons why tonight's blowout of the Celtics over the Bulls should not be overly concerning for Bulls fans:
  • This was Carlos Boozer's second game back from injury, his second game this season, his second game with the Bulls. So a 12-points-on-10-shots, 2 rebounds, 2 turnover night from him isn't the end of the world, and a better performance from him would have gone a long way to closing the gap. 
  • It's still really early.
  • This was on the road against a rabid Friday night crowd in Boston who wanted this win against a team that very much seems like a rival to them. 
  • Seriously. Really early, still. 
With that out of the way and most Bulls fans probably on their way, we can continue. It wasn't necessarily the fact that Boston handled the Bulls so well, it was that it was hard to see where the Bulls could possibly find matchup advantages should these two teams resume their rivalry in the playoffs this spring. It was also hard to see what this team's blueprint is for reaching "elite" status. Because as currently constructed, even at their peak, they're simply not. 

This isn't to say they're not very good. They are. They could find themselves as high as the third seed in the East should things go their way. But the opening tip was a pretty big omen of how this one was going to go. The Celtics pushed the ball to Kevin Garnett, he worked over Carlos Boozer in the post, and drained a hook over him. From there, it was off to the races. 

Thing is, this game actually was close for the first half. Here's the first half game flow courtesy of GameTracker



Pretty close, right? Here's the second half:


So close... and then, not so much.  The second half was an absolute blitzkrieg from Boston, who responded with abject fury once they got rolling. The bench for Boston wasn't much, but they didn't need to be with the starters all landing in double digits. Rajon Rondo had another absolutely ridiculous night with 19 assists and Kevin Garnett dominated both Boozer and Taj Gibson

The Bulls were relying on their frontcourt to be more versatile this year. After all, the Bulls opted to push for Boozer instead of Amar'e Stoudemire (who dropped 34 on the Hornets tonight). The Bulls will likely play to a draw with Rondo, and lost at the small guard position with Ray Allen dropping in his threes. They'll have a hard time at the small forward position with Luol Deng being reliant on whether his jumper is wet, but they absolutely must have production from Boozer and Noah. As good as Joakim Noah is, he gets absolutely swalled up by Boston's revamped frontcourt with Shaquille O'Neal, and then having Garnett (who was injured for their 2009 playoff series when Noah shined) switch to him when the big fella is out. With Boozer and Noah both ineffective, the Celtics racked up 56 points in the paint to the Bulls' 40. 

The Bulls are a better team than they were last year at this time. Their performance on the Circus Road Trip shows that. And Derrick Rose is a phenomenal talent when it comes to getting to the rim for floaters and drive-and-kick assists. But the Bulls were hopeful of being an Eastern Conference contender coming into this season. From how they've done against playoff teams in the East this year (a combined 0-4 against Boston, Orlando, and New York), they seem to be miles away, with little room to target improvements. 

The Bulls very much are still a work in progress. 
Posted on: December 2, 2010 10:19 am
Edited on: December 2, 2010 11:28 am
 

Shootaround 12.2.10: Judgment Day

Rondo has a nickname, Sanders has a bunch of blocks, and oh, yeah, some guy comes back to Ohio today, all in today's Shootaround. Posted by Matt Moore
  • At CavsBlog, John Krolik welcomes back the Chosen One to the city he abandoned: "Welcome back to the Q. Last time you were here, you went 3-14 in a 32-point loss. Maybe the booing will motivate you to do better this time. I am fairly confident that you will not always be hated the way you are now. You will probably be loved someday. But you will never be loved with the kind of passion that Cleveland hates you with now. I am fairly confident of this. You may as well embrace that, because it’s far too late to try and change it."
  • A different take which I was curious if it would exist today: Terry Pluto for Cleveland.com feels more sadness than anger at the return of LeBron:"But one night on ESPN changed all that. It's not tragic. It's not the end of Northeast Ohio. It's not something that dramatically impacts the lives of most people here. It's just sad . . . and James should have known better."
  • Fear The Swords is swelling with pride for a place so often draped in disappointment and failure as a day of judgment for their city arrives. 
Posted on: November 30, 2010 3:35 pm
 

Award-O-Matic MVP 11.30.10: CP3 as MVP

NBA F&R breaks down the MVP candidates after the first month of the season by dissecting the award down to three parts: Most Valuable, Most Important, and Most Oustanding Player. CP3 is in control.
Posted by Matt Moore with contributions from Ben Golliver and Royce Young




Well, we're a month into the season and the context of this year has begun to take shape. While certainly a long way from the finish line, we've already gotten a glimpse of who's playing well, who's playing average, and who ... not so much. And so it is that we begin our monthly look at awards. On a regular basis we'll take you around the award contenders and give you a look at who is in contention for the NBA's major awards by breaking down what they really mean in our Award-O-Matic. Today we start with the MVP.

The problem, as has been elucidated approximately a million times by various media members, is that the MVP is a nebulous, hard to define award. Its name is Most Valuable, but it most often goes to the Most Outstanding Player on a winning team. If your play is other-worldly but your team doesn't win, you have no shot. If you contribute the most to a winning team but your numbers aren't stellar, again, your chances are slim. It takes a combination of three factors: value, performance, and importance to snag the award. As such, we decided to break the award into those three categories, tally them up with the top player getting 3 points, the second 2, the third 1, then summing to see if we could come up with a list.

First up?

Most Valuable Player (To Their Team): Who is most responsible for their team's success? Or, to put it another way, whose team suffers the most without them?


Matt Moore:


1. Dirk Nowitzki: Without him that offense is anemic and it's been his rebounding that's kept them in games at points.
2. Carmelo Anthony: Seriously, Nuggets. Cliff. Teetering. Melo's the only thing keeping the truck from smashing into pieces.
3. Dwight Howard: Get him in foul trouble and the Magic turn into a Mid-Major college team, just wining it from perimeter to perimeter.

Ben Golliver:

1. Chris Paul:
  I like Darren Collison as much as the next guy, but CP3's return from injury to lead New Orleans' absurd hot start, despite an unimpressive supporting cast, reveals exactly how valuable the league's best point guard is.
2. Rajon Rondo Boston would still be good without Rondo, but his game ownership places them on an elite level and makes them the odds on favorite to win the East yet again. 10.6 points, 14.2 assists (what!), 4.8 rebounds and 2.5 steals through the end of November. Crazy.
3. Kevin Durant The Thunder have had an up-and-down start but imagining this team with Russell Westbrook at the helm by himself, dragging an ineffective Jeff Green along for the ride, would be a recipe for a guaranteed lottery team. KD will get better -- perhaps much better -- over the course of the season, and he's already easily leading the NBA in scoring again.

Royce Young:

1. Chris Paul:   Subtract Paul and what do you have. I can promise you it's not an 8-1 team. It's really as simple as that.
2. Dirk Nowitzki:   The Mavericks are dangerous in every fourth quarter that they're close in. The reason is because Dirk can score in every situation, at any time. He essentially is the Maverick offense.
3. Steve Nash:   Take Nash away and yes, there's Goran Dragic who can dazzle in stretches. But without Nash this Suns team is nothing more than a 35-win club. With Nash, there's potential to push for the playoffs.

Most Important Player: Who is most crucial to their team's success? Ex. Last year I argued that Josh Smith was MIP because when he did Josh Smith-y things, the Hawks were nearly unstoppable, and when he didn't, they were much more beatable.


Matt Moore:

1. Chris Paul:
He does everything and it starts and stops with him. This is even more clearly illustrated by their recent struggles down the stretch where he hasn't been involved.
2. Al Horford: The level of production Horford is creating right now is simply astonishing. More astonishing is how overlooked he is.
3. Pau Gasol: It's him that's carrying the Lakers. Even as Kobe scores all the high points, the most dominant Laker performances this season are from Gasol.

Ben Golliver:


1. Pau Gasol: His virtuoso early season performance has single-handedly made Andrew Bynum an afterthought. What more needs to be said?
2. Deron Williams:   Utah's streak of comebacks begins with Williams' tough-minded leadership and ends with his play-making and shot-making.
3. Dirk Nowitzki:   Another banner start from Dirk singlehandedly puts a Dallas roster loaded with question marks in the playoff mix.

Royce Young:

1. Pau Gasol: Having Gasol as part of the triangle has been like a revelation. He's really what makes the Lakers so darn dangerous.
2. Kevin Garnett:
We saw what an impact his has in regard to the Celtic defense two seasons ago when his knee was injured.
3. Nick Collison:   He's a classic no-stats All-Star. He's only played for a few weeks so far this season for Oklahoma City but his value is immeasurable and impact immediate. He tips rebounds that become extra possessions, takes charges, sets outstanding screens and makes two or three small (but big) plays a game.


Most Outstanding Player: Who has simply wowed you?


Matt Moore:

1. Rajon Rondo: Key plays every time he's on the floor and he makes it look easy, There are a lot of moments where he looks like he's just on a different plane from everyone else.. and he's got three Hall of Famers on his team.
2. Russell Westbrook: Westbrook has managed to take over the game down the stretch. His turnovers are down, assists are up, he's got range and that mid-key pull-up jumper is as deadly as it ever has been. He's been simply phenomenal in half-court and full-court sets.
3. Deron Williams: Three point guards? Yup. Check Deron at the end of the clock with the game on the line. Money. And that's after all the assists, rebounds, key plays and floor leadership. Man's a ninja, no joke.

Ben Golliver:


1. Dwight Howard:
  Lost in the Miami Heat wave, Howard is quietly putting up 22.6 points, 11.9 rebounds and 2.4 blocks as the defensive and rebounding engine that will make Orlando a title contender for years to come. By the way, Orlando sits atop the Southeast Division -- 3.5 games ahead of the Heat.
2. LeBron James: His numbers are crazy and his highlights are spectacular. It's a wonder he can jump so high and dunk so hard carrying the burden of Chris Bosh and Erik Spoelstra's corpse on his shoulders.
3. John Wall:   Wall doesn't belong in the MVP discussion -- there are too many holes in his game (jumper, turnovers) and his team is terrible -- but for sheer "outstanding-ness" and "wow factor" he merits inclusion here. His assist numbers have been great and his speed is tops in the league; he's a lot further along the NBA readiness scale than even his biggest fans could have imagined.

Royce Young:

1. Rajon Rondo: He's been nothing but insanely ridiculous. Manages the game perfectly, understand his place within an offense and runs the show beautifully.
2. Kevin Love: When given the time on the floor, he's a legitimate 20-20 threat every single night. How many players can you really say that about?
3. Russell Westbrook: There's a case to be legitimately made for Westbrook as an MVP contender. Kevin Durant is still leading the league in scoring, but Westbrook is what's kept the team winning games. But his play has been just insane this year (23.8 ppg, 8.4 apg, 5.1 rpg) and he's a super-highlight waiting to happen.

Here are the tallies:

Most Valuable Player:
1. Chris Paul (6)
2. Dirk Nowitzki (5)
Tied for 3rd: Carmelo Anthony, Rajon Rondo (2)
Tied for 4th: Kevin Durant, Dwight Howard, Steve Nash (1)

Most Important Player:
1. Pau Gasol (7)
2. Chris Paul (3)
Tied for 3rd: Deron Williams, Al Horford, Kevin Garnett (2)
Tied for 4th: Dirk Nowitzki, Nick Collison (1)

Most Outstanding Player :

1. Rajon Rondo (6)
Tied for 2nd: Russell Westbrook, Dwight Howard (3)
Tied for 3rd: Kevin Love, LeBron James (2)
Tied for 4th: John Wall, Deron Williams (1)

Top 5 in Totals:
1. Chris Paul: 9
2. Rajon Rondo (8)
3. Pau Gasol (7)
4. Dirk Nowitzki (6)
5. Dwight Howard (4)
Posted on: November 30, 2010 12:28 pm
Edited on: November 30, 2010 1:35 pm
 

Westbrook gets the best of CP3 in big PG showdown

Posted by Royce Young

OKLAHOMA CITY -- NBA fans, probably more than any other group, love to debate and argue. Mostly about who is the best at this position, who is the best overall, or if you're a Laker fan, you just yell "KOBE KOBE KOBE" when asked about anything.

Kobe or LeBron used to dominate every message board and comment section, but really, 2010-11 has become the season of the Great Point Guard. At the beginning of the year, it was Rajon Rondo with all those history-making assists. Then it was Chris Paul again as he led his Hornets to a surprising start. Then of course there's Deron Williams, who is consistently excellent. Oh yeah, Derrick Rose who wows us with his up-and-unders, plus is carrying the Bulls to one of their best starts in years.

Everyone has a favorite in the race, but the lineup is pretty well settled. Those four really make up the current pantheon of great point men in the league. But there's another player that's standing at the door, asking for an invitation to the club.

I think it's time to start talking about Russell Westbrook.

Monday night in Oklahoma City, we were treated to a duel between Westbrook and Paul and by the end of the game, we were getting exactly what we wanted. Both players were going right after each other, trying to put their team on their back. Everyone expected Paul to have the edge. But it was Westbrook who came out on top.

In the fourth quarter, Westbrook scored 12 of his 25 points, while going a perfect 4-4 from the field. He also finished with 11 assists, five rebounds and five steals. He hit the game-clinching shot too, a 3-pointer right in the face of Paul with 1:38 left that put OKC up 88-81. Westbrook took over the game entirely, and did it against maybe the best player in the league at his position.

"It's the new Russell man," Kevin Durant said after the game. "He’s just taking over games and controlling games. That’s what we need for us to win.”

It's true. While Durant is Oklahoma City's de facto best player, Westbrook has probably been the team's MVP in the opening month. While Durant has struggled shooting the ball, Westbrook has found a way to pick up the slack, scoring in bunches all while running a fluent point guard. He's the team's unquestioned emotional spark and Westbrook has developed a knack for the dramatic in big moments.

Westbrook was so terrific in the game that his eight turnovers almost went unnoticed until you looked at the box score. It's true - Westbrook was out of control at times and four of those turnovers were completely unforced. But it speaks to something when a guy can shake that off and still put up the effort he did against one of the best defending guards in the league.

"Russell made big plays for us, which was helpful in getting the victory," said Thunder forward Jeff Green. "That's what Russell does. He's been doing it all season for us. Russell has been playing big all year and hopefully, will continue."

Here's a fun fact: Westbrook is one of two players averaging over 20 points, five assists and five rebounds a game. The other guy sharing that honor is LeBron James. Actually though, save rebounds where James hold a slim edge, Westbrook is averaging more points and assists than the reigning two-time MVP.

In head-to-head matchups with the game's other elite point guards (Williams, Paul, Rondo and Rose), Westbrook is averaging 24.0 points, 7.5 assists and 4.5 rebounds per game. Plus, his team is 4-2.

The West is stacked with Steve Nash, Paul, Williams and Jason Kidd so getting an invitation to the All-Star Game won't be easy. But Westbrook's putting together a nice early campaign and he's got the attention of opposing coaches.

"He's an All-Star," said New Orleans head coach Monty Williams. "He probably won't get the votes unless [the commissioner] puts him in the game. But that guy is playing at a level that you scout for him about 10-15 minutes of your practice because of his pick-and-roll, how he's shooting the ball now, and he gets to the free throw line about 10 times a game. If you said that and just left the name blank, you'd say that's an All-Star."

Funny to think about this time last season people were still wondering if Westbrook was really even a point guard. Now the question is, is if he one of the best in the game. Right now, it's kind of hard to argue against it.
Posted on: November 24, 2010 9:02 pm
 

Delonte West breaks wrist - what's Boston to do?

Posted by Royce Young

After a big spill Wednesday against the Nets, Celtics guard Delonte West suffered a fairly significant right wrist injury. Significant meaning it's broken.

Ouch, Celtics.

After making a driving layup with a couple minutes left in the first half, West went immediately down and clutched at his right wrist. Boston's trainer checked him for an extended time and West walked off the court holding his wrist close to his body. After getting X-rayed, it was discovered West broke the wrist. Typically, that's something that'll keep West out for months and depending on the break or if surgery is needed, longer.

If you have a good memory, this is the same wrist West broke two years ago in a similar fashion. A shame for a guy that was finally getting his season started. West just can't seem to catch a break (pun sort of intended).

This could be a significant blow to the Celtics as Rajon Rondo is dealing with a few different things. Rondo missed his third straight game Wednesday sitting out with a sore left hamstring. But Rondo is also battling plantar fasciitis in his right foot. So with the Celtics' point guard situation having some issues, it's possible that they could be looking to bring in some added help, tweeted Gary Washburn of the Boston Globe.

Right now, Nate Robinson and rookie Avery Bradley are the only healthy options for Boston at point guard so it's very likely someone will get brought in. The once very deep Celtic bench just got a bit thinner. And depending on Rondo's health, the Celtics' season could be taking a turn as well.
Posted on: November 15, 2010 11:21 pm
Edited on: November 15, 2010 11:39 pm
 

Mavs zero in on Paul to give Hornets first loss

Dirk and Terry help Mavericks send Hornets to first season loss as they corral Chris Paul in second half. Posted by Matt Moore

Well, it had to happen sometime. The Hornets had managed to gun out to a franchise-best 8-0 start this season with new head coach Monty Williams leading revamped bench and wing units alongside a healthy Chris Paul. But Dirk Nowitzki and a very solid overall performance from the Mavericks proved too much and the Hornets suffered their first loss this season in Dallas 95-98 .

The Mavericks have now knocked off Rajon Rondo and Chris Paul in a week, and though Paul dropped a line of 22 points, 9 assists, and 4 rebounds, the widely regarded best-point-guard in the league had 20, 5, and 4 at halftime. In the second half, Dallas threw a combination of hard hedges off the pick and roll and constant run-outs on the drive and kick to contain Paul. Paul often wound up late in the shot clock, having to hoist off-balance fade-aways as the Mavericks used many of the same tricks they used against Rondo to keep Paul out of the paint.

On the offensive end, Jason Terry was en fuego. While the Horents actually played great defense, their focus was on trying to stop Dirk Nowitzki (they didn't, he finished with 25 on just 12 shots), and Terry managed to slip out in transition or get open off offensive rebounds. The Hornets controlled the glass, but Dallas was more patient on offense, pulling in a higher free throw rate.

Now that the Hornets have suffered their first loss, the question now will become if they can go back to their winning ways or if this streak of play was a combination of things going right. A lot went right for New Orleans tonight, with Willie Green and Peja Stojakovic playing well in a rare appearance. Their defense suffered at the hands of good ball movement and Dirk-caliber play from Dirk. But if they keep up the kind of effort they've given in the first nine games, it's hard to see the Hornets not maintaining their spot near the top of the West.

For Dallas? Look out. Once again, this is a great team, deep and talented, and they've just solved two of the best point guards in the league. You can't stop those guys, as proven by their stat lines. But by committing your defensive scheme to stop them, you can make life hard enough to get a win.


 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com