Tag:San Antonio Spurs
Posted on: March 11, 2011 8:07 am
Posted by Matt Moore
In this week's edition of the Friday 5 with KB, we ask how far the Heat can go, where the Kings will be, and how the March slog will work out. All this and more in this week's Friday 5 with CBSSports.com's Ken Berger.
1. Point blank, right now, how far do you think the Heat go in the playoffs?
Ken Berger, CBSSports.com: A loaded question deserves a dance-and-dodge answer. First, it depends on who they play. In any round, I'd be concerned if I were the Heat playing Boston, Chicago or Atlanta. Boston obviously has their number, and the Bulls have a player capable of winning a playoff game by himself on the road -- plus, several of their core players have been through playoff series together in the past, which Miami's guys have not. For all their lack of defense and rebounding, the Knicks still impose a certain fear factor simply because of the offensive weaponry they have and because Carmelo is so good in the clutch. So in a roundabout way not to answer your question, I could see Miami getting bounced in the first round or getting to the conference finals. I don't see them going farther than that, and if I had to guess, I'd say they lose in the second round.
2. San Antonio got fairly detonated last Sunday against the Lakers. I have concerns about their defense in terms of length versus the Lakers and their ability to guard stretch fours like West, Aldridge, and Randolph. Am I nuts or is the San Antonio record not indicative of their playoff strength?
KB: I think you've pinpointed the Spurs' weakness fairly well, but I'm not as concerned about them as you are. Having said that, I do think Z-Bo or West could give them fits in a first-round series. I just think it's a different story in a best-of-7 when Duncan will have rest between games and Pop will have time to make adjustments and figure it out. While I think it's a little insulting to say the Spurs may not be as good as their record, the reality is that the playoffs are all about matchups. And if San Antonio consistently has a bad matchup against bigger teams or floor-spacing fours, their record won't help them win that series. I don't think that's hysterical; it's just a fair observation.
3. I don't mean to alarm anyone, but the extension for the Kings to file for relocation is coming up in the next few days. How does this play out from what you know now?
KB: Anaheim or bust is what it looks like to me. I've increasingly gotten the impression that the commissioner has run out of patience with Sacramento, and the Maloofs' posture is the definition of one foot out the door.
4. What are the teams most likely to tank from here on out? Are there any? We're not looking at a super strong draft class.
KB: I guess you could argue that Charlotte already tanked by trading Gerald Wallace, though their plan is more geared toward using the cachet of Michael Jordan to attract a marquee free agent in 2012. Also, there's no rule that says the Bobcats have to cede the eighth spot to Indiana; the Pacers have to earn it. Imagine that: Charlotte trades its best player for two first-round picks and still makes the playoffs. It could happen. Other than that, I don't envision tanking being nearly the storyline it's been in past years. For one, it's a weak draft to begin with and could get weaker if underclassman pull out due to lockout fears. Plus, in the West, all the teams on the bubble really want to make the playoffs -- Portland, Denver, New Orleans, Memphis, Phoenix, Utah and Houston. Same in the East with New York, Philly, Indiana, Charlotte and even Milwaukee.
5. This is what I refer to as the NBA's deathmarch, trying to slog through the days post-trade deadline, pre-playoffs. Are you looking forward to the quiet or does the endless stretch of March get to you on the beat?
KB: After the excruciating Melo saga -- which for me culminated with writing the breaking story of the trade from seat 27C on my Delta flight from Los Angeles to New York on Feb. 21 -- I welcome the sanity. The Melo story was all-consuming for weeks, even months, and the deadline was busier than most people in the basketball and media business expected. On the NBA beat, this is always the time of year to take a breath and try to recharge a bit. It's also a time when I typically welcome the opportunity to focus on, you know, basketball again. But I'm energized on a couple of fronts more so than I've been in deathmarches past. I'm interested in seeing how the Knicks thing works out with Carmelo and Amar'e, and eager to see how the Perkins trade affects Boston and Oklahoma City. Also, the playoff races at the bottom are tight, which will lead to more compelling March and April games than we've had in recent years. As mentioned above, there are five teams legitimately battling for the final three spots in the East and six teams vying for the final four spots in the West. So that means I will pay even less attention to the NCAA Tournament than I normally do. As soon as I catch my breath.
Posted on: March 7, 2011 2:28 pm
Posted by Royce Young
See, it's funny because it's Ron Artest. And because this poor Spurs fan gets a face full of hot coffee. We'll just all have to wonder for the rest of forever what "Bob" was doing in his courtside seat as a 6-7, 240-pound man steamrolled at hime. He wasn't paying attention, that's for sure.
Posted on: March 7, 2011 8:20 am
Edited on: March 7, 2011 8:33 am
The Miami Heat choke again, the Los Angeles Lakers don't show class (?), Chris Paul is going to be OK and a whole bunch more in a Monday morning roundup of all the latest NBA happenings. Posted by Ben Golliver.
Posted on: March 2, 2011 5:17 pm
Edited on: March 2, 2011 7:16 pm
Corey Brewer will reportedly sign with the Dallas Mavericks. Posted by Ben Golliver.
On Monday, we noted that the New York Knicks were set to make a surprising decision by buying out and releasing forward Corey Brewer, who was acquired from the Minnesota Timberwolves in the Carmelo Anthony three-team trade. Brewer, a serviceable do-the-little-things forward who works hard on defense, fits a mold for the type of player targeted by contenders looking to improve their depth.
On Wednesday, multiple reports surfaced that Brewer is set to sign with the Dallas Mavericks once he clears waivers, a team that has been looking to shore up their wings ever since Caron Butler went down with a knee injury.
ESPN.com reported: "Mavs close to completing free-agent deal with Corey Brewer. Closing in on multi-year deal if Brewer clears waivers. Deal will start in $2 million range. Mavs capitalize on fact they could outspend Spurs and Celts, who made strong impressions on Brewer." Later, ESPN reported the deal at three years and "worth between $7 and $8 million."
Yahoo! Sports reported: "Corey Brewer has agreed to sign a multiyear contract with the Dallas Mavericks, a league source told Yahoo! Sports. After securing a buyout from the New York Knicks, Brewer became one of the most desirable free agents for his athleticism and defensive versatility. Most of the NBA’s contenders – including Boston, San Antonio and Dallas – pursued the 6-foot-9 forward over the past several days."
The Mavericks were quiet at the NBA trade deadline, choosing not to cash in Butler's expiring contract or trade promising guard Roddy Beaubois for a piece that could help bolster a title run in the short-term. The acquisition of Brewer, however, makes up for that silence by addressing the biggest hole in the Mavericks' rotation without requiring the major long-term financial outlay that would have been needed if the Mavericks were to have traded for a player like Gerald Wallace or Stephen Jackson.
Although it's likely been an emotional rollercoaster ride for Brewer over the last few weeks, once he gets settled in Texas he will realize he just went from the Western Conference's worst team in Minnesota to arguably its second best team in Dallas, as the Mavericks are currently 44-16 and poised for a deep playoff run.
In what has been an unpredictable trade season this is one move that makes sense for everyone involved.
Posted on: March 2, 2011 12:32 am
Posted by Royce Young
THE BIG ONE: FREE THROW CONTEST IN ORLANDOHere's a fun stat from the Knicks-Magic game: Combined, the two teams attempted 97 free throws. Ninety-seven! The Knicks took 47, the Magic 50. And somehow, someway, the game didn't last six and a half hours. Really, that's a basketball miracle.
The Magic took the game 116-110 largely due to better late game execution, better shooting and some well-timed defense. It was kind of ugly as the Knicks took 17 more shot attempts because of 15 Orlando turnovers, but what we already knew was on display for this Knick team: They aren't ready.
The Miami win Sunday was a thing of beauty and something to obviously get charged about. But in order to take another step, it takes winning consistently. And New York isn't ready to do that. Their main weakness -- the interior -- was on prime display as Dwight Howard chewed them apart for 30 points, 16 rebounds and six blocks.
New York though, is slowly figuring out the Carmelo Anthony conundrum: He shoots a lot. And sometimes, doesn't score a whole lot. Melo is definitely one of the most gifted offensive forces in the league, but there are nights where he performs like he did Tuesday. As in 24 shots to get 25 points.
Amar'e Stoudemire, Chauncey Billups and Melo combined to score 85 of the Knicks total 110 points, as was the fear, the rest of the team all drops duds. The bench scored 11, the other two starters (Shawne Williams and Landry Fields) combined for 14.
The Knicks, much like the Heat, have a formidable three-headed monster. But it comes down to what the other guys can do. And not only is the New York trio not as good as the Miami one, the Knicks don't have near the role players either. Hence, they're still a ways off from being a legit threat.
Can they jump up and surprise on any given night? Absolutely. But in terms of consistent winning, there's work to do.
AN INDIVIDUAL NOTEDwight Howard averaged 26.6 points, 14.8 rebounds and 2.0 blocks per game in February, plus shot 67 percent from the field. And to start March, he dropped 30 points, 16 rebounds and six blocks on the Knicks. Let's all have a moment of silence for this.
PARKER-LESS Spurs DROP IN MEMPHISWhen word that Tony Parker would miss a couple weeks because of a strained calf dropped, nobody really panicked. First, the Spurs have a pretty big cushion in the standings. Second, George Hill is a fine backup point guard. Third, the rest of the team is really good.
But in their first tilt without Parker, San Antonio struggled against the surging Grizzlies, losing 109-93 in Memphis.
Before you blame this entirely on the Spurs missing Parker, you've got to give credit to the Grizzlies. This team is quietly becoming 2011's Thunder. They've jumped up the Western standings, beating good teams behind solid defense and have even overcome some pretty big injuries and team issues. They're getting great contributions from role players, Zach Randolph has been great and Lionel Hollins deserves serious Coach of the Year consideration. So give Memphis some credit here.
However, the Spurs definitely missed Parker. The San Antonio offense just entirely out of sorts. Check this out: The Spurs had all 12 active players score, but only one guy finished in double figures (Gary Neal, 14). It was just a really weird night for the Spurs and it showed how important Parker is to diversifying their offense. Without him, they become almost exclusively a jumpshooting team. They need Parker's creating and slashing ability badly. It helps free shooters, which the Spurs have a heavy helping of.
They'll survive the next few weeks, no doubt. But the first run without Parker definitely wasn't pretty.
RIP RETURNS (AGAIN)First, it was a return from being inactive for two weeks. Now, Richard Hamilton returned from being in coach John Kuester's doghouse. Hamilton scored 10 points in 26 minutes but on 4-17 shooting. After the game, Hamilton said he wasn't loving his shot.
"My shot felt terrible," Hamilton said. "It felt terrible. The good thing is that I was able to get to where I wanted to get to on the floor, but every bread and butter shot that I pride myself on I missed.
"I expect it," he said. "That was only my second game in almost two months. I didn't expect it was going to be great. I just told myself, talk to your legs."
GO-GO-GADGET LINESDwight Howard: 30 points on 15 shots, 16 rebounds and six blocks.
Jose Calderon: 22 points and 16 assists in Toronto's big win over the Hornets.
Jason Terry: 30 points off the bench for Dallas.
Chauncey Billups: 30 points on just 12 shots (4-9 from 3, 18-20 from the free throw line).
PARTING THOUGHTCan someone please tell me what to think of the Hornets? They randomly lost to the Raptors 96-90 in what can only be described as a dumb loss. I just wish I could understand that team. They're all win streaks and dumb losses.
Posted on: February 28, 2011 4:10 pm
Edited on: February 28, 2011 8:51 pm
Posted by Royce Young
The San Antonio Spurs on Monday announced that guard Tony Parker has been diagnosed with a strained left soleus after undergoing an MRI. He is expected to miss two to four weeks and will not accompany the team on this week’s road trip to Memphis and Cleveland in order to begin his rehabilitation program in San Antonio.
What is a strained left soleus, you ask? It's part of your calf right above the heel and is one of the big muscles that helps you jump.
Parker has of course been a major part of the Spurs' league-best 49-10 record. He's averaging 17.1 points, 6.6 assists, 3.1 rebounds and 1.24 steals per game while shooting .518 from the field. Parker is one of two players in the NBA to average at least 15.0 points, 5.0 assists and 3.0 rebounds and shoot at least .500 from the field.
Fortunately for the Spurs though, they have one of the game's best backup point guards behind Parker in George Hill. Combine Hill with Gary Neal, who has shown ability to create off the dribble and distribute as well, San Antonio should be able to weather the storm of Parker's injury.
Of course a strained soleus is the type of injury that can be re-aggravated easily, but the Spurs won't rush Parker.
Good health has been a key to the veteran Spurs. Before today, Tim Duncan, Parker, Manu Ginobili, Richard Jefferson and DeJuan Blair hadn't missed a single game this season.
Posted on: February 19, 2011 1:02 pm
Edited on: February 19, 2011 1:25 pm
LOS ANGELES -- At 34 years old, San Antonio Spurs big man Tim Duncan now officially stands as the old guard NBA All-Star, the senior member of the 2011 West’s team and the second oldest All-Star overall.
But if there was a year for Duncan to feel younger than his age this would be it. After getting bounced in the second round last year and the first round the year before, his Spurs entered the All-Star break with a league-best record of 46-10, all while Duncan has seen his role reduced to the point that he’s playing under thirty minutes for the first time in his career.
That combination of winning and a lighter load had Duncan in a jovial mood on All-Star Friday, even as he sat one table over from Carmelo Anthony, his small, mostly local media contingent dwarfed by the media madhouse jockeying for the latest from the Denver's All-Star with the uncertain future.
Casually dressed, Duncan surveyed the madness with a shake of the head, looking glad that he wasn't in the middle of it and a touch annoyed that he had been seated next to it. It didn't bother him for long, though, and he went back to fiddling with his iPhone like his 20-something teammates (“My wife is more important than you guys”) and played along when a reporter joked that he must have threatened to walk out on the rest of the season if Spurs coach Gregg Popovich didn’t name him as a replacement for Yao Ming in the West’s starting lineup on Sunday ("That got out?”).
You don’t play more than 1,000 career games and 170 career playoff games without developing a perspective that favors drama-free steadiness and experience, and Duncan settled back into that role quickly, repeatedly pointing to the importance of his team’s health and making it clear the Spurs are focused on making a title run in a crowded field of elders this year.
“A lot of the best teams in the league right now have an older core,” Duncan said. “If we’re healthy enough and we’re able to stay healthy I think we have a good chance to be a contender. We’ve been blessed enough to be healthy with our starting lineup, the core of our team, and it’s shown. We went through a bit of a rough one last year but we had a lot of the same core guys and that experience is paying off a bunch right now … I feel as healthy as I have been in 3, 4, 5 years.”
Given his reduced role, Duncan has averaged career-lows in points (13.4) and rebounds (9.2) this season. Despite the statistical decline, he made a convincing case that he can still reach top speed when necessary. “I do believe I can double-double any time. I can do 20-10 just about … well, not any time, but I can get those kinds of numbers on some nights. That’s not what I’m being asked to do right now. My role has changed, I’m kind of a different player. I’m working with what I’ve got.”
What Duncan’s got also includes experience going through an NBA labor negotiation, and he said he feels an obligation to the league’s younger players to get involved, although he wouldn’t commit to specific plans. “We went through the lockout when I was in my second year in the league. A lot of the older guys kind of stepped up and knew what it was about, and I want to make sure I can do that for the future generation of NBA players. Stepping up and doing my part in that respect.”
That stuff, it was clear, remains on his personal back burner for the moment, as he's focused on seeing through his team's best start in memory. “All we ever worry about are the chances right in front of us. We’re not worrying about the years in the future or the years past. This year, right in front us, we’re playing great. It’s the opportunity we have to focus on right now.”
And don’t for a second thing Duncan is totally resigned to Father Time just yet. He still feels like he’s got some time left before midnight.
“It’s been our ‘last chance’ for our last three, four or five years. That’s what everybody keeps telling us. I can’t say it’s our last chance, but it’s as good a chance as we’ve had in years.”
Posted on: February 17, 2011 11:29 pm
Edited on: February 17, 2011 11:30 pm
Derrick Rose takes over to beat Spurs with 42 points and 8 assists. What is it that makes him not only so good, but different from the other elite point guards?
Posted by Matt Moore
When Derrick Rose said that this game was a "statement" game, he apparently had more than one thing he wanted to make a statement about.
"The Bulls are good enough to beat the Spurs." Check.
"The Bulls are a legit Eastern Conference contender." Check.
"The Bulls will rise to the challenge when facing the great teams." Check.
"Derrick Rose is an MVP candidate." Check.
The Chicago Bulls have improved in a lot of ways this season, particularly defensively. They're a more complete team, have better perimeter scoring, better interior defense, a legit post presence in Carlos Boozer, and a better knowledge of how to execute in key situations. But Thursday night the biggest reason for their improvement was clear: Rose. Rose dropped 18-28 from the field, lobbed 8 assists, grabbed 5 rebounds and had but one turnover against the Spurs, a virtuoso performance which encapsulated his best attributes.
There are so many great point guards in this league and everyone has their own favorite. Recently Royce Young argued that Chris Paul was still rule of the roost, but that Rose was on his way. However, tonight's performance served as an excellent example of what makes Rose so transcendent. He's blessed with a point guard's skills and a small forward's ability. His scoring ability is elite, there's no question of that now. Typcially this season, Rose's three-point shot has been on and his mid-range jumper has struggled. Against the Spurs it was the opposite, as he went 0-4 from the perimeter but nailed all but two of 13 jumpers inside the arc. That range forces the defense to step up, at which point, said defense is ruined, along with said defense's mother, face, and hope for the future. Rose showcased a floater that is as good as any player in the league, often off jump-stops or pump fakes, creating and-one opportunities.
Rose's eight assists, though, don't come like Rajon Rondo's twisting, turning exploitations, or Chris Paul's seamless extensions of the offense like it was a part of him. Instead, Rose continually finds assists where there are seemingly none to be found. He is often credited with things described as "winning plays" and "big-time plays." In reality, this is a reflection of his ability to convert on low-percentage situations. Against the Spurs, Rose swung passes over triple-teams from defenders trying to stop the gushing wound caused by Rose's dribble penetration. The result are wide open threes. Whereas Rondo and even Paul to an extent, create scoring opportunities with the threat of their passing ability, Rose creates passing abilities through the onslaught of his offensive repertoire. Essentially, he gouges you until you try and protect the wound, then he hurts you where you're revealed yourself.
For the Spurs, it's a downer going into the All-Star break, especially because of the defensive implications. For a while Gregg Popovich has been harping on the defense, and in a situation against an amped opponent who was willing to work even on the last game before the vacation, they found those problems amplified. The Spurs are a fantastic team with just ten losses. But if they don't improve their defensive ability, it will all be for naught.
And for Chicago? Luol Deng played great. Carlos Boozer was solid when he wasn't getting blocked by Tim Duncan, and the Bulls' wings did a nice job on Manu Ginobili. But the statement in reality is fairly simple.
Derrick Rose hasn't just arrived. He's taking the next step, and that's what should leave the rest of the league petrified.