Tag:Matt Moore
Posted on: March 7, 2012 10:09 am
Edited on: March 7, 2012 10:32 am
  •  
 

Mark Cuban says Mavs aren't making trade calls

By Matt Moore

The Mavericks have pretty much freaked everyone out. The Mavericks not only held off signing three of their major championship components to long-term deals, presumably because of the luxury-tax implications in two years under the new CBA, they didn't re-sign th
Mark Cuban says the Mavs won't be ringing up other teams at the deadline. (Getty Images)
em, period. They moved a trade exception to get Lamar Odom, despite knowing Odom has never really had a lot of success outside of the cocoon of L.A. and Phil Jackson (though there was absolutely no way to predict how many personal issues Odom would unfortunately undergo which have impacted his play). They are rumored to be pursuing Dwight Howard and Deron Williams, but if so, why aren't they active on the trade market? To put it the way one Western Conference exec told the San Francisco Chronicle
"I can't tell what Dallas is doing. I'm as confused as everybody else," one Warriors source said.
via Considering the Warriors' trade possibilities.

And the subterfuge continues. Mark Cuban himself told reporters before the Mavs' win over the Knicks that if fans are waiting for the Mavericks to dive into the trade pool with the deadline a week away, they shouldn't hold their breath.
If Mark Cuban can be believed, the Mavericks are only going to be players before the March 15 trade deadline if somebody blows them away with an offer.

It will not happen if teams are waiting on the Mavericks to start proposing deals.

"We're not calling anybody,'' Cuban said before Tuesday's game against New York. "I told Donnie (Nelson) to take calls, but we're not making any calls. There you have it.''
via Mark Cuban: Mavericks are not making trade calls | Dallas Mavericks Blog | Sports News | News for Dallas, Texas | The Dallas Morning News.

I know, I know. Cuban always says this. Teams always says this. Cuban said Saturday at the Sloan Sports Analytic Conference that they take pride in never letting trade talks leak. If we believed every GM, trades just spontaneously happen because no one ever calls anyone. But let's for the moment take his word. The Mavericks are closing in on a potential top-four seed and homecourt advantage in the first round. But from watching them, it's easy to see there's a big gap between them and the championship-caliber team of last year (in the shape of Tyson Chandler, specifically). And yet, the Mavericks remain painfully patient. So what gives?

Maybe it's the luxury tax and Cuban wanting to get space to make careful moves before the punitive measures take effect. Maybe it really is the big dream chase of Deron Williams and Dwight Howard in free agency, and wanting to boost Marion's value as much as possible. Maybe it's just a conceptual approach to flexibility. It may be smarter to simply allow yourself options down the road than aggressively pursue a plan.

But the fact remains, the Mavericks are baffling everyone and it's kind of freaking us out.
Posted on: March 6, 2012 5:33 pm
Edited on: March 6, 2012 5:45 pm
 

Podcast: Kevin Harlan on Wolves and March Madness

Kevin Harlan of CBS Sports and TNT discusses the Timberwolves' resurgence. (Getty Images)


By Matt Moore

Kevin Harlan is a staple of NBA life for fans. He's been calling NBA games for 23 years. So his perspective on ridiculous condensed season is pretty insightful given how connected he is to the league and its players. So we talked to him on the CBSSports.com NBA podcast. We also touch on the Timberwolves who he was play-by-play for for many years, and about Kevin Love being "the best power forward in the NBA" in Harlan's eyes, and we look forward to March Madness, which you can see on CBS and the Turner Sports family of networks this month. 

You can download the podcast here, and it's available on iTunes as well, so be sure to subscribe. Click here to pop out the podcastinto its own window and continue surfing the information superhighway.  

Posted on: March 6, 2012 3:02 pm
 

Report: The Warriors have spoken to everyone

By Matt Moore

The San Francisco Chronicle reports that the Warriors have spoken with about half the league regarding trades to be made at the deadline. It's a pretty leaky faucet the Warriors have somewhere. Among the remarks, the Chronicle reports the Warriors spoke with the Hawks about trading for their All-Star, Joe Johnson
Atlanta: The Warriors think they could get Joe Johnson but feel he's a more expensive and possibly inferior player to Monta Ellis. They'd like Josh Smith, but they haven't found the Hawks willing to part with the forward.
via Considering the Warriors' trade possibilities.

This is the first time a substnative rumor regarding the Hawks being open to Johnson has surfaced. Johnson is in the second year of a six-year max deal which was panned by essentially everyone at the time. Johnson is a six-time All-Star, but his field goal percentage has dropped to 42 percent this season along with his assists and asssist rates, as well as his rebound rates.

But there's a hitch here. While Ellis is only shooting a better and is a much better assist creator, Johnson is a far superior defensive player. With Mark Jackson's committment to improving defense on the Warriors, Johnson might be a better fit as the primary scoring weapon for the Warriors in a volume shooting capacity. The Hawks, on the other hand would be be getting a gift if the Warriors took Johnson. It clears their books, gives them an offensive threat to respond with and possibly move again. 

Johnson is the star of the franchise, but Al Horford was also given a huge extension last year and something has to be figured out with Josh Smith as well as Jeff Teague

The Hawks will likely make the asking price too high, but it's interesting the Warriors have gone down that path at all.  
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 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 6, 2012 12:19 am
 

Video: Ty Lawson goes Lawesome in OT

By Matt Moore

Ty Lawson is stepping up and becoming a regular clutch machine. After hitting a game winner just days ago, Lawson stepped up in overtime and helped the Nuggets overcome a 5 point deficit with 15 seconds to go in a win over the Kings

 

The Nuggets are starting to find that they have two closers, Arron Afflalo and Lawson. Both players played huge roles in the comeback Monday night, and both have the ability to score out of the ISO set, the preferred NBA offensive set. With big shots against Houston and Portland in the last week, the Nuggets are recovering their momentum they lost due to injuries. 

It's nice to see Lawson taking the next step. 


Posted on: March 5, 2012 6:16 pm
 

Fun day, Sunday for Rondo, Williams

By Matt Moore

It's an interesting debate, to be honest. And the answer to the question says a lot about who you are. The question, in reality, is more interesting than the answer, as the answer is impossible. 

The question... in question, so to speak? Which one is better: 

Whose Sunday was better?
Deron Williams (57 points, 16-29 from the field, 4-11 from three-point land, 21-21 from FT line, six rebounds, 7 assists, 1 steal, 1 block. Five turnovers. )
Rajon Rondo (18 points, 17 rebounds, 20 assists, 1 steal, 1 block. 7-20 shooting, 4 turnovers.)


Rondo put together the kind of all-around game that very few players can put together. Guys can score points, but they can't score points (even with 20 attempts), and snare that many rebounds, and dish that many assists. Actually there are few that can dish that many assists on their own. Only two players have come close to what Rondo did, Oscar Robertson and Wilt Chamberlain. You know. Those guys. Even against the Knicks who Rondo always manages to slice and dice to pieces couldn't have expected a performance like that. The numbers just leap off the page at you. That kind of production is essentially that of two players. The shooting numbers are bad. But you cannot say anything but that Rondo was the biggest reason the Celtics won in overtime over the Knicks. 

Williams, on the other hand, set the Nets franchise record and the NBA season high for 2012. And, well, he scored a double-nickel-plus-two. Williams was blistering, efficient and unstoppable. He was facing the Bobcats, but then, Kobe's 81 was against a terrible Raptors team. You do what you have to in order to win, and Williams needed to score 57.

So who you got?

 
Posted on: March 5, 2012 1:39 pm
 

Baseline Awards: Lakers on the hunt

Kobe Bryant and the Lakers are playing their best ball of the season (Getty Images)

By Matt Moore


The Baseline Awards celebrate the week that was and give you a track of where the awards are at throughout the NBA season. Some are serious, some are not, but all took way longer than necessary to compile. 

Eastern Conference Player of the Week: Rajon Rondo

Three guys have had a triple-double like the one Rajon Rondo had Sunday against the Knicks. Wilt Chamberlain, Oscar Robertson, and Rondo. That's the list. Rondo's 18-point, 17-rebound, 20-assist 3D is the stuff of legend. It's enough for him to win outright this week. We're a league absolutely obsessed with the pull-up mid-range jumpshot. We make a big deal about dunks, and we talk a big game about team defense, but really, what we care about is rising up and hitting a mid-range jumper with a hand in the face. That's what Jordan did, and many of us are colored one way or another by the Jordan era. What Rondo does is so phenomenally different in its style than anyone else's approach, it almost makes Sunday's game more impressive.

The Celtics need so much every night and Rondo continues to provide it. He wasn't even offensively efficient on Sunday. But he creates so much action on a per-minute basis that you're left wondering if he's the entire Celtics team, in reality. These trade rumors are nonsense, barring an unbelievable offer. Rondo's one of the best in the game.


Western Conference Player of the Week: Kobe Bryant


There's a perception that those that look at advanced metrics and efficiency "have it out" for Kobe Bryant. Or "are haterzzzz" or whatever. But as a guy who's a big fan of analytics and efficiency, I'm telling you right now, Kobe Bryant is playing his best ball of the season. Yes, better than the 40-point stretch. He's working in the flow of the offense, finding good shots, hitting them at a great clip, getting to the line, everything. He's been simply brilliant. He's creating for his teammates, he's playing better than usual defense (and his defense is usually above-average). These are the stretches for Bryant where you understand the constant calls for him as the best player in the world. That those are usually based on inconsistent and flawed data regarding "ringz" and "clutch" are irrelevant. The Black Mamba is striking everything right now.


The Puzzling Enigma Award: Strangest week from player or team


Phoenix Suns

How have they won three in a row? How? How is this possible? Schedule advantages aside, they knocked off a near-playoff team in Minnesota, a playoff team in the Clippers, and a feisty Kings team. All at home, sure. But that's three games in a row and they're within spitting distance of .500 and throwing distance of the 8th seed. Steve Nash is still doing this at his age. It's incredible. I have zero understanding of how they are even out of the basement.


The Horde Award: Team you should fear


Los Angeles Lakers

There are a lot of teams on impressive runs right now. But the Lakers are playing their best ball of the season. They're just tearing through teams right now. Sunday's win over the Heat was a statement game. The fact remains that if this team gets home court advantage they're going to be a killer out in the playoffs. With their size and wing defenders starting to play well, their only real deficit is at point guard and they're getting by. They're not the invincible Lakers of years past, but they're exceptionally good.


Cub Scout Troop Award: Team you should not fear


Portland Trail Blazers

It's a train wreck. The players are divided in the locker room by all accounts, there's rampant talk of Nate McMillan getting fired, and they're losing games along with the soul of their team. There isn't a more mentally weak opponent right now


Searching For Bobby Fischer Award for Stratagem:


Tom Thibodeau's late-game adjustments to San Antonio. Thibodeau recognized the damage perimeter penetration was creating and packed the lane against the Spurs, daring them to beat them on rushed shots from the outside against a super-long lineup. It worked, Tony Parker was stymied, and the Bulls got a big win over the Spurs.


Awkward Water Cooler Conversation Award for Coaching Struggle:


Doug Collins late-game scoring options

The Sixers need to seize on the wonderful season Andre Iguodala is having and put the ball in his hands late in games. He doesn't have to shoot it all the time, but Lou Williams is trying to go NBA Jam every time and opponents know it. They need to be able to close and even if Iguodala isn't a superstar he can play one for thirty seconds. Against the Bulls and Thunder the Sixers blew opportunities to get their daggers in by squandering possessions. Rare criticism for the presumptive Coach of the Year.


Blog of the Week: SilverScreenAndRoll.com

The Lakers have a pretty nutso fanbase, I'm going to be honest. All fans are nuts. Lakers fans think they can trade Luke Walton for Chris Paul and Matt Barnes for Andre Iguodala. To be fair, they've been on the receiving end of some of the most lopsided trades in history. But they take it far. Which is why it's great SilverScreenAndRoll.com exists. It's a site that clearly shows the Laker side of history but gives hones and open criticism, has a sense of humor about itself, and doens't stray into too much cheerleading or moping. It gives great insight into multiple ways to approach the game and should be essential reading for you.


MVP rankings:

1. LeBron James: Yup, even still. Sorry, I'm not going to throw out being the most dominant force on the planet for 45 minutes because he passes to an open man in the 48th. His legacy is compromised, his MVP resume is not.
2. Kevin Durant: Started chucking a bit against Atlanta, and falls back to the pack a bit. If James falls out because of the clutch nonsense or because they rest him, it's going to be a fight down the stretch between Durant and the two behind him.
3. Derrick Rose: Oh, hey Derrick. Good to see you back. What's that, you want to destroy all of us in a fire of impossible floaters? OK.
4. Kobe Bryant: If he does what he does and doesn't need as many bad shots to do it, this is the best pound-for-pound offensive player on the planet Earth.
5. Chris Paul: Hard to get the kind of assist numbers he should have when none of is guys can hit a shot right now.
6. Tony Parker: I'm one of the few who believes there's a big gap between Parker and the top five based on his perimeter defense. Parker ballhawks but too often is caught out of position. Which would be a problem if he hadn't been insanely brilliant this year.
7. Andre Iguodala: If I'm willing to say he's the DPOY (and I am), he should get a shot here.

(Honestly, this completes the list at this point.)


ROY Rankings:


1. Kyrie Irving: That Anderson Varejao injury may have cost us the chance to see Irving put the Fear of God in someone in the first round of the playoffs, Rose '09 style.
2. Ricky Rubio: If Rubio bounced a pass off his nose like a seal for an assist, would you be surprised? Me either.
3. Isaiah Thomas: Mr. Irrelvant is doing some special things in Sacramento, if you can bear to watch.
4. Kemba Walker: I was impressed with Walker's control during the Nets game, improving more than I thought he would.
5. MarShon Brooks: The re-emergence of Brook Lopez is giving him some issues in terms of flow. Just 20 points total in his last three games.


DPOY Rankings
1. Andre Iguodala: Night and night out the most versatile defender in the NBA.
2. Luol Deng: When Deng sticks you it's like getting snuggied by an anaconda.
3. Dwight Howard: He's so good his effort level is way down this season and he's still third.
4. LeBron James: Same deal as Howard.
5. Tony Allen: Dwane Casey called him "a pitbull." Here was his response.

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