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Tag:Report Card
Posted on: March 6, 2012 2:15 am
Edited on: March 6, 2012 2:22 am
 

Report Card 3.6.12: Celebrating revenge

The Bulls did some celebrating of their own in a beatdown of the Pacers. (Getty Images)

By Matt Moore

Each night, Eye on Basketball brings you what you need to know about the games of the NBA. From great performances to terrible clock management the report card evaluates and eviscerates the good, the bad, and the ugly from the night that was.

Bulls second-half defense The Bulls' win over the Pacers in a "revenge" game for celebration-gate earlier in the month was close in the first half. In fact, the Pacers lead. It was going well. The pace was how the Pacers want it, and the Bulls offense had resorted back to "Rose dribbles around and then passes to Noah in the pinch post who holds it for too long until passing it to someone for a mid-range jumper which misses. Then the third quarter happened, a 33-13 cannibalistic raid which started with the Bulls attacking the Pacers dribble furiously to create turnovers then running out for dunks and transition threes. It was like Chokeholds in Seven Seconds or Less and it turned a great battle into a rout before the Pacers could figure out they were hit.
OKC defense The Thunder won the free throw differential, again. The Thunder had some bizarre offensive possessions again. But when the Thunder absolutely needed to shut down the Mavericks, they did. The defense for OKC has come miles in the last three weeks. They blanketed Dirk and disrupted Dallas' playsets enough to completely block out any chance of a miracle tying bucket. They allowed too many Dirk Nowitzki threes early in the fourth, but their recovery down the stretch was championship level.
Orlando Magic/Toronto Raptors The Raptors have no center, no real power forward, and are playing Jamal Magloire and a series of tweeners. And yet outside of Dwight Howard's dominant 36 points, the Raptors hung with the Magic. That says a lot about both teams. The Magic needed a clutch J.J. Redick three to finish them off and this team simply had no frontcourt to defend Orlando with. That's a problem loss.
Sacramento Kings Essentially, twice against the Nuggets, all the Kings had to do was avoid the exact thing they wound up doing. Don't foul Arron Afflalo on a desperation three-pointer at the end of regulation. Don't miss free throws. Don't let Lawson go ISO with space. And yet they did all these things, twice blowing leads that seemed safe and tossing away a game they had every chance to win.
Clippers composure Kenyon Martin gets T'd up needlessly inside the final three minutes. Blake Griffin gets a technical for a bad fall into Luke Ridnour, then missed both of his free throws for the fouls which started it. Chris Paul misses a tying free throw. For whatever reason, the Timberwolves turn the Clippers into toddlers with buckets on their heads, running into walls and down stairs.



E FOR EFFORT
Dwight Howard (36 points on 20 shots, 13 rebounds, 2 blocks in 26 minutes)
Al Jefferson (25 points on 16 shots, 13 rebounds, 7 assists, 3 blocks)
Kevin Love (39 points, 17 rebounds, huge shot after huge shot in the win)
Posted on: March 2, 2012 12:25 am
 

Report Card: Flying fast breaks rule

Posted by Royce Young

 No-look oop? No big.

Each night, Eye on Basketball brings you what you need to know about the games of the NBA. From great performances to terrible clock management the report card evaluates and eviscerates the good, the bad, and the ugly from the night that was.


Kevin Durant
How's this: Durant: 18 points on 5-of-6 in the fourth quarter. Orlando, 21 points on 8-of-25 shooting. The Magic had Oklahoma City beat, but that KD guy hit a couple tough shots, one impossible shot and closed out Orlando, finishing with 38 total. It's really no coincidence that the Thunder are 29-7. They just figure out how to win.
Awesome fast breaks
The two best fastbreaking teams in the league both put up nominees for "Fast break oop of the night." The Heat's (above) included a Dwyane Wade no-look lob to a flying LeBron. The Thunder's featured a no-dribble break that went Durant-Westbrook-Durant for a soaring finish. Take your pick. Both were awesome.
Steve Nash
The ageless one piled up 17 assists to go with 13 points as the Suns took down Minnesota. Oh, and if that wasn't enough, how about eight rebounds too. I really don't know how Nash is doing it. At this point, if you told me he'd be averaging a double-double when he's 58, I'd believe you.
Jimmer Fredette
The Kings lost, but there were small flashes of brilliance from Jimmer. It's March, so it might be Jimmer Time. He scored only 11 points, but hit 3-of-4 from 3 and started to play with a little of that BYU swag that made him such a scoring machine.
Dwight Howard
Howard finished with 33 points on 20 shots, but was a non-factor as the Orlando offense sputtered to a halt late in the game. Howard only got a couple of baskets -- a lob, a putback dunk, another cutting dunk and a couple free throws. He wants to be a part of the late game offense, but it's really hard to see how he can be. The Thunder used Kendrick Perkins on Howard one-on-one in the post and Perkins basically stopped him.
Orlando Magic's fourth quarter As mentioned above, the Magic scored only 21 points in the fourth. The problem with that being Oklahoma City had 35. Orlando blew an 11-point lead as the Thunder came back and took a tough one from the Magic. The offense had no idea where to look for baskets outside of just chucking a deep 3 and hoping Howard could clean up the glass.
Beasley and Williams
A night after going for a combined 54 on 20-25 shooting, Michael Beasley and Derrick Williams combined for nine points on 3-15 shooting.
Posted on: March 1, 2012 1:58 am
 

Report Card 2.29.12: Rose takes over

Russell Westbrook worked the Sixers on the glass Wednesday night. (Getty Images)

By Matt Moore 

Each night, Eye on Basketball brings you what you need to know about the games of the NBA. From great performances to terrible clock management the report card evaluates and eviscerates the good, the bad, and the ugly from the night that was.

Chicago Bulls Even without Manu, that's a statement win. On the road against an elite team with a few matchup advantages and several Hall of Famers, the Bulls took care of business in an efficient and rambunxious way. They held off several runs by the Spurs and in the end, it was Derrick Rose making plays with an off-glass floater, a pull-up jumper, and pass out of the double to kickstart a rotation for the Luol Deng dagger that sealed it. They attacked the glass, they challenged the Spurs at every turn, and they made big shots. Great win for the Bulls.
OKC offensive rebounding They only pull in a B because the Sixers simply don't have a good team to control the glass with, especially against the athletic riot the Thunder employ, but Russell Westbrook did some downright incredible things in tracking down misses, both his and others'. The Thunder ground the Sixers into dirt late in this game when the Sixers were in a great position to steal it. It's the kind of game they would have lost last year, albeit only by a handful of points. This time they won it in emphatic fashion, and their ability to create extra possessions and frustrate the Sixers was a big reason why.
Cleveland Cavaliers Back-to-back road losses without Varejao are usually pretty acceptable. The Cavaliers played well enough in the first half to set themselves up to roll out but let the Knicks back in it in the third, then watched them fly by. They played well enough in the first half and more importantly, gave Kyrie Irving and Tristan Thompson minutes, which may be more important than how they played.
Charlotte Bobcats You lose to Detroit by double digits, you get an F. The end.


E FOR EFFORT
Kobe Bryant (31 points, 7 rebounds, 8 assists, one concussion played through, one mask used)
Russell Westbrook (22 points, 13 rebounds, 4 assists, monster board work)
Greg Monroe (19 points, 20 rebounds)
Posted on: February 28, 2012 11:01 pm
Edited on: February 29, 2012 1:03 am
 

Report Card: Brook Lopez dominates in Big D

Posted by Royce Young

 Brook Lopez definitely grabbed some attention Tuesday. (Getty Images)

Each night, Eye on Basketball brings you what you need to know about the games of the NBA. From great performances to terrible clock management the report card evaluates and eviscerates the good, the bad, and the ugly from the night that was.


Brook Lopez
Probably about halfway through Tuesday's New Jersey game against the Mavericks, Billy King called Otis Smith and said, "Hey, just wanted to make sure you're watching this." Because in his third game after returning to the floor after a foot injury, Lopez was dominant. He finished with 38 points on 17-28 shooting leading the Nets to a one-point win over the Mavs in Dallas.
Minnesota Timberwolves
On a night where Kevin Love scored just 10 and Ricky Rubio only two while Blake Griffin had 30 and Chris Paul 27, you'd assume the Clippers handled the Wolves with ease, right? Wrong. Instead it was a big 109-97 win for Minnesota. So how'd they do it? Behind a career night from rookie Derrick Williams who finished with 27 points on 9-10 shooting and Michael Beasley who had 27 on 11-15 shooting. That's right, 54 points on 20-25 shooting. That'll get it done.
Middle-of-the-pack Eastern teams
Both the Pacers and 76ers limped a bit into the All-Star break, revealing some issues. But both came out roaring with the Sixers topping Detroit by 29 and the Pacers whipping the Warriors by 24. Good start to the second half for both.
Derrick Rose
The Bulls made it far closer than it should've been against the Hornets, but Rose came to the rescue for Chicago, scoring 32 points, including the last four for the Bulls. He hit a big jumper with 19 seconds left to put Chicago up two, then picked up a block on a Jarrett Jack drive that would've tied it and then hit two free throws to seal it.
Boston Celtics
Boston ended a five-game losing streak with a win over Cleveland, but still, it's obvious there are problems. They look slow, old and have problems scoring. Rajon Rondo was outscored by Kyrie Irving 24-0 -- that's right, zero points for Rondo -- and outside of Ray Allen's solid game, the Celtics weren't very good. It's not that the Celtics are disappointing anymore, mainly because expectations are constantly being lowered.
Chicago Bulls not named Derrick The bench combined for only 18 points and the other four starters only had 49. Without Rose in the game, the Bulls blew an 11-point lead and had to be rescued by the MVP in the last couple minutes.
Dallas Mavericks
It's one thing to blow a game to the Nets at home, but the Mavs' failure in the last minute to execute was just bad. Jason Kidd's heave to win the game was off a horrible set that exploded in Dallas's face. And Dirk Nowitzki -- you know, the guy that's seven feet tall and as clutch as it gets -- didn't take a shot in the Mavs' last two possessions.
New Orleans Hornets
The Bulls won a game they were supposed to, but the Hornets made it tough on them. So why an F? Because they had it. After a 13-0 run to go up 95-91 with 1:30 left, the Hornets watched the Bulls close on an 8-0 run. Here were their possessions: turnover, blocked shot, blocked shot, turnover. Derrick Rose hit a big shot, but the Hornets really showcased exactly why they have such a horrendous record.

Posted on: February 26, 2012 12:16 am
Edited on: February 26, 2012 1:27 am
 

Dunk Contest Report Card: Bottom heavy

Posted by Royce Young

Jeremy Evans basically won the dunk contest with one dunk.

ORLANDO -- You know things didn't go all that well for the Dunk Contest when it was up for discussion if the Three-Point Contest was more exciting.

It started painfully slow with highly orchestrated dunks and then picked up a little momentum in the second round of dunks. But then fizzled at the end with a dead arena throwing a smattering of boos out when Jeremy Evans had his name called as the winner.

It was left up to a fan vote this season and more than three million cast their votes, and Evans gathered 29 percent. After it finished, some were looking for a fifth option: "E, none of the above." But still, let's grade it out.

Jeremy Evans' double oop Easily the dunk of the night. With Gordon Hayward sitting on a stool, he threw two basketballs up for Evans to dunk -- over the top of him. He missed the first attempt, which was to be expected with that degree of difficulty. It had the looks of the kind of dunk he'd miss five or six times and then give up on, but Evans nailed it on his second attempt, soaring over Hayward. It was good enough that despite two other fairly meh dunks, Evans won the contest.
Derrick Williams off-the-side-of-the-backboard It's been done before, but with Ricky Rubio assisting, Williams pulled off a finish with an extremely high degree of difficulty. Rubio tossed the ball off the side of the backboard and Williams pulled an inverted 360. It was impressive mostly because it looked like Williams had no shot at finishing it, but he stretched out and got it. Bonus points for the giant smile on Rubio's face too.
Paul George as a human glowstick Combining creativity with style is the way to go. And George pulled it off well. He came out wearing and all yellow Pacers uniform, but asked for the lights to be turned off. When they went down, he lit up like a glowstick. He used a quality 360 dunk, and did it in the dark.
Chase Budinger and "White Men Can't Jump"
The first dunk of the night set the tone a bit as a long intro, with Diddy, set up Budinger. Diddy said his favorite basketball movie was "White Men Can't Jump" and that's when Budinger appeared wearing a snapback hat and big t-shirt. He jumped over Diddy, which wasn't all that cool, but seeing as Budinger was, uh, different than the other contestants, it was clever.
George jumps a giant Jumping over someone in a dunk contest is a pretty played out move, but leaping a 7-2 guy is going to be impressive no matter what. George brought out teammate Roy Hibbert with the original plan being Dahntay Jones standing in front to throw a lob. After it failed twice, George just took control and went over the top.
Evans gets a delivery
I can appreciate giving a nod to your franchise's past, but the jersey tribute thing is pretty played. Evans got a special delivery from comedian Kevin Hart who was dressed as a mailman. The delivery? A jersey of The Mailman, Karl Malone. Evans put it on and dunked over Hart, who is probably 4-foot-5, or something close to it.
Williams jumps the shark True story: On Friday night I saw a motorcycle under the arena and joked to someone that it was probably a prop for this year's dunk contest. So you can imagine the surprise when it was actually rolled out for Williams to jump over. I don't think it could be said better than ESPN.com's John Hollinger: "Maybe they should just have an actual shark for this Derrick Williams dunk."
Budinger goes blindfolded
Paying homage to a Cedric Ceballos dunk, Budinger blindfolded himself. He sold it pretty well faking the first attempt with a horrible miss and then had the crowd count his steps on the second try. He ended up making a reserve two-handed dunk but we'll never know if he was actually blind. And it definitely didn't make anyone say "OOOHHH!!!" which is kind of what you need.
Budinger's average windmill
New rule: You shouldn't use a pregame warmup dunk in the dunk contest. The slow motion replay made it look a little bit better, but it was still a pretty average finish. And he missed it on the first two tries.
George uses a sticket of Larry Bird The sticker schtick isn't new, and it's bad when you have to have extra stickers on hand. Because George missed his dunk using a sticker of Larry Bird's face five times. He had a backup sticker, but after that, he just started slapping the backboard. Degree of difficultly was high and the dunk itself was impressive, but mulitple misses plus the sticker thing were bad.
Williams' miss-it-a-lot dunk Nothing is worse than someone missing a dunk over and over and over. Williams ended up going 1-for-8 with an off-the-backboard between-the-legs attempt and with each miss, it got exponentially more awkward. But the end, he just gave up on it as the clock started ticking down.
Evans first person point of view dunk Oh my. Gimmick dunks can work, but that one was just a bad idea from the start. It required a replay to be appreciated and the dunk itself was something you wouldn't even take notice of in a game. You knew it was sad when Evans tried to pull himself up on the rim to make it look better. Tell-tale sign a dunk was lame.

Posted on: February 22, 2012 12:22 am
 

Report Card: Pop gets an A, his team gets an F

Posted by Royce Young

Popovich made a smart move, but his team didn't back him up much. (Getty Images)

Each night, Eye on Basketball brings you what you need to know about the games of the NBA. From great performances to terrible clock management the report card evaluates and eviscerates the good, the bad, and the ugly from the night that was.


Gregg Popovich
The Spurs got destroyed by the Blazers, 137-97. So an A for Popovich? What? Nobody keeps the big picture in mind better than Coach Pop. Even though the Spurs were working on an 11-game win streak, Popovich decided to sit both Tim Duncan and Tony Parker, essentially conceding the game to the Blazers. The Spurs were coming off a game the night before and have another tough one Thursday against the Nuggets before the All-Star break. By sitting Parker and Duncan, Popovich was buying his guys some much-needed rest at the back end of their rodeo road trip.
Dwyane Wade
The Kings looked to be game for the Heat early on, but behind Wade's 30 points (on 11-16 shooting), 10 assists and four rebounds, the Heat were able to pull away late.
Portland Trail Blazers
The Spurs brought their b-team to the Rose Garden Tuesday, but the blowout sure was impressive regardless. In starting for Raymond Felton, Jamal Crawford was brilliant and Felton was actually solid off the bench. A night after getting it handed to them in Los Angeles, the Blazers bounced back and put it on the Spurs, a team that had won 11 straight.
Cleveland Cavaliers
The Cavs rallied from 17 down to come back and beat the Pistons. Not the craziest feat in the world and yeah, it was the Pistons but I continue to be intrigued by this young team. Kyrie Irving led the spark that did it finishing with 25 and any time a growing, evolving team can put these type of wins in their pocket, it means a little more than just having another tally in the win column.
Isaiah Thomas
The rookie point guard finished with 24 points and hit four 3s in the third quarter. Problem was, he didn't score in the fourth. Still, a nice game in a losing effort to one of the league's three best teams.
Detroit Pistons  They blew a 17-point lead to the Cavs and were outscored 35-22 in the fourth quarter. They wasted really nice games from Greg Monroe and Brandon Knight. In other words, just another night for the Pistons.
San Antonio Spurs
Yep, Popovich gets an A, but his team gets an F. Just because he made a smart move sitting Duncan and Parker doesn't mean the rest of the team is allowed to completely take a dump on the game.

E FOR EFFORT
Roy Hibbert (30 points on 11-for-17 shooting, 13 rebounds and three blocks in a win over the Hornets)
Antawn Jamison (32 points, 11-for-22 shooting and 10 rebounds in a win over the Pistons)
Greg Monroe (19 points, 11 rebounds and seven assists in a loss to Cleveland)
Marc Gasol (15 points, 14 rebounds and seven assists in a win over Philadelphia)

Posted on: February 20, 2012 1:58 am
 

Report Card 2.20.12: Durant goes OFF

Kevin Durant scored 51 in the Thunder's win over Denver Sunday. (Getty Images)

By Matt Moore 

Each night, Eye on Basketball brings you what you need to know about the games of the NBA. From great performances to terrible clock management the report card evaluates and eviscerates the good, the bad, and the ugly from the night that was.

Kevin Durant These are numbers, but they are important numbers. 51 points on 28 shots, 19-28 from the field, 5-6 from three, 9-10 from the stripe. Eight rebounds, three assists, 4 steals and a huge win over the Nuggets in overtime. Denver was without two starters but dug deep and forced the Thunder to the edge. But Durant put on a performance for the ages, the shine on his MVP candidacy and lifted OKC to a win. It was the kind of performance you tell your friends about, your kids about, the kind you start the water cooler conversation about. He was unstoppable from the elbow, unstoppable from the perimeter, unstoppable at the rim. It was a transcendent performance, and this is alongside Russell Westbrook with 40 points and nine assists and Serge Ibaka's triple double in points, rebounds, and blocks. This Thunder team may not be good enough defensively to win a title, but they may wind up as one to remember for a long, long time.
LeBron James The surges are becoming more pronounced, the dropoffs less so. James is solving defensive adjustments used against him. He's finding open shooters in the corner who are actually knocking them down this year, he's battling more inside, he's still a freak of nature in transition, and on Sunday, he guarded Dwight Howard on a handful of possessions. James buried the Magic by doing all the things he does, and true to form, did them in less than 40 minutes of time. 25-11-8, a full-court lob to Wade, just one miss from the stripe, just five misses from the field. There are games where James feels like a one-man horde, storming the opponent's gates. Sunday was such a game and the Magic had no defense.
Jeremy Lin Defending champs? No problem. Shawn Marion who helped shut down Kobe Bryant, Kevin Durant, and LeBron James last year? No problem. Increased expectations, a Sunday afternoon double-header on national television, and the grind of interviews and a compact schedule? No problem. Jeremy Lin did his thing again, the Knicks won again, and Linsanity rages on. Lin managed the offense as well as he has. Were the turnovers great? No, clearly not. But a 2:1 turnover ratio is acceptable given his usage, and turning Steve Novak into a scoring machine deserves a reward all its own.
Denver Nuggets They were short-handed, and still the Nuggets managed to push the Thunder to the brink before a furious comeback landed them in overtime and a few good shots (a good roll for Westbrook on a three) and some Durant brilliance downed them. The Nuggets were without Nene and Danilo Gallinari, but they were stil stranded without a closer. Denver had such a good approach in the first half, attacking a weak Thunder interior (those Ibaka blocks all come on the weakside, not man-up) and killing them on the glass. They abandoned it in the second half and it cost them as the Lakers topped off a 2-0 run.
The Old Guard Boston loses to Detroit for the second time in a month. The Lakers get whacked by the Suns in a game that wasn't competitive after the first quarter. Neither side has any real idea of where they're going or if they can perform as needed to compete for a title. There's constant trade talk surrounding both teams. They look slow, they look old, they struggle to score and they struggle to defend. These teams were the two Finals squads two years ago. Time marches on.
Charlotte Bobcats After three quarters against the Pacers, the Bobcats, a professional basketball team by strict definition (only), were down 88-48. For-ty-poi-nts. That's embarrassing. That's disgusting. That's... not totally surprising. There is no hope in Charlotte right now. Not even with the rookies. It's all bad, all the time. This performance was worthy of inventing a new letter beneath F just to give it to them.


E FOR EFFORT
Jeremy Lin (28 points, 14 assists, general linsanity, magical powers)
Ersan Ilyasova (29 points, 25 rebounds in a win over New Jersey)
Kyle Lowry (32 points, 9 assists in a win over Utah)
LeBron James (25 points, 11 rebounds, 8 assists)
Posted on: February 17, 2012 1:23 am
Edited on: February 17, 2012 1:25 am
 

Report Card: Boozer blasts the Celtics

Posted by Royce Young

So Boozer might've blown this layup, but he made a lot more against the Celtics. (Getty Images)

Each night, Eye on Basketball brings you what you need to know about the games of the NBA. From great performances to terrible clock management the report card evaluates and eviscerates the good, the bad, and the ugly from the night that was.

Carlos Boozer
I'm not so sure that wasn't Boozer's best game as a Chicago Bull. 23 points on 11-of-15 shooting, 15 rebounds, five assists and a win over the Celtics. Other than blowing a wide open layup, Boozer was on point the entire night, scoring on the block and in the pick-and-roll with C.J. Watson. Boozer has been inconsistent in Chicago, but that type of performance is something that terrifies Eastern teams, especially when you think about it happening without Derrick Rose.
Luol Deng Somebody has to pick up for Rose while he's out and lately, it's been All-Star Luol Deng. Against Boston he finished with 23 points and 10 assists, with 13 points coming in the fourth quarter. It was a game where points came at a premium so every little bit that Deng gave was of big time value. The Bulls scored 89 points and Deng had a part in half of those. That's a big time performance.
 Chris Paul It was a bad three quarters for CP3. He didn't score, didn't assist much and was a part of the Clippers digging themselves into an 18-point hold. But all of that is forgotten because of a terrific fourth. Paul scored all 13 of his points in the fourth and completely owned the last couple minutes hitting a big 3 and two other jumpers to seal a nice Clipper comeback win in Portland. 
Chicago shooters From 3, 10-21 (47.6 percent). From 2, 20-55 (36.3 percent).
Attractive basketball
Just because a game is low scoring doesn't mean it can't be great. There are plenty of games played in the 80s that were well executed. The two national TV games were not. In both games there were just ugly stretches of offense, bad shooting and anything even resembling much flair or flash. Both games were competitive and close, but disgusting. An example from the Bulls-Celtics game: On back-to-back possessions, Carlos Boozer and Kevin Garnett missed wide open layups. It was a missed layup kind of night.
Raymond Felton
F is for Felton. Against the Clips he went 0-7 from the floor, had five turnovers and just two assists. And worse, he was benched by Nate McMillan the last three minutes. Felton's time not just in the starting five might be in trouble, but his place getting real rotation minutes.
Paul Pierce Pierce is being put in spots he's not entirely comfortable with. He's not the type of offensive player that wants to carry a team on his back for 48 minutes. But with as bad as the Boston offense can be, he almost needs to. A 6-16, 14-point effort against the Bulls just isn't cutting it.

E FOR EFFORT
Danny Granger (32 points on 10-for-20 shooting and five rebounds in a win over the Nets)
Kris Humphries (24 points, 11-for-14 shooting, 10 rebounds and three blocks in a loss to the Pacers)
Joakim Noah (15 points and 16 rebounds in a win over Boston)
Blake Griffin (21 points on 9-of-15 shooting and 14 rebounds in a road win over Portland)

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