Tag:Jason Terry
Posted on: May 22, 2011 7:09 pm
Edited on: May 22, 2011 7:10 pm
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NBA rescinds Chandler technical after Harden flop

The NBA has rescinded a technical foul on Dallas Mavericks center Tyson Chandler after Oklahoma City Thunder guard James Harden flopped. Posted by Ben Golliver.

On Saturday night, Oklahoma City Thunder guard James Harden took a serious dive during Game 3 of the Western Conference finals, pretending to be elbowed in the face by Dallas Mavericks center Tyson Chandler. On Sunday, ESPNDallas.com reported that the NBA league office stepped in to rescind the technical foul whistled on Chandler during the altercation, ruling that the play was "incidental and not unsportsmanlike."

With Dallas leading 64-44 in the third quarter and the Thunder desperate to get back in the game, Harden drove hard to the hoop and made a running layup. As he turned to run back on defense, he initiated contact with Chandler, who had collected the ball and was moving towards the baseline to inbound it. Chandler raised his arms while moving forward and, as he did so, Harden simulated taking an elbow to the face, collapsing to the court and writhing in pain in embarrassing fashion.

On Sunday, Chandler had the following to say to ESPNDallas.com: "It was not a vicious elbow. I did not throw an elbow. I was trying to take the ball out of bounds. He tried to initiate contact and did a good job of flopping."
Here's video of the altercation and Harden's flop.




Chandler also had a technical foul rescinded after Game 1 of the Western Conference finals after he mixed it up with Thunder center Kendrick Perkins.
Posted on: May 22, 2011 5:45 pm
Edited on: May 22, 2011 7:08 pm
 

Thunder vet: Westbrook thinks he's better than KD

Posted by Royce Young



Did you think maybe we were finally done talking about Russell Westbrook? You'd be wrong.

Westbrook responded well to his so-called "benching" in Game 3, putting up 30 points for Oklahoma City that included eight straight points in the fourth quarter to get the Thunder back in the game. In the end, they lost to the Mavericks, but Westbrook bounced back strong.

Controvsery over? Hardly. Via the New York Daily News, one Thunder veteran says that Westbrook has an ego and that's what's interfered:
What undoubtedly fueled Westbrook's fiery response is a sense of entitlement. As one Thunder veteran said, privately, "He thinks he's better than Kevin Durant."

Not only that, but Westbrook has the backing of Thunder GM Sam Presti, who made a name for himself with his drafting of Westbrook with the fourth pick in 2008. Presti's micromanagement behind the scenes has caused some friction between the head of the front office and his coaches, but Brooks didn't pay any attention to that when he saw that Maynor was his best option to even the series.

Who is this mystery vet? Kevin Ollie? Desmond Mason? Robert Swift? Who knows. And who knows why he felt the need to pass along this information either.

But just that line alone -- Westbrook thinks he's better than Durant -- is going to stir the pot. But when you're an All-Star, a second-team All-NBA player that's as confident in yourself as Westbrook, would you really not think you're better than Durant. Not us in the general public here. We all know Durant is better. In terms of Westbrook, is it really so bad to think that? In fact, isn't it probably a good thing?

Everyone is biased about themselves. Other than maybe your mother, your biggest fan is normally you. Westbrook isn't any different. But that line reeks of ego and arrogance, therefore stirring the Westbrook vs. Durant pot a bit more.

And Westbrook has always played with a chip on his shoulder and an absurd amount of emotion. That's who he is and how he's always been. Westbrook probably thinks he's better than not just Durant, but Kobe Bryant, LeBron James and pretty much every player you toss out there. That's how great players think. They believe in themselves to the greatest degree. Kobe thinks he's better than Michael Jordan, even if we all know that it isn't true.

But here's a fun stat: Did you know entering Game 3 Saturday, Westbrook had assisted on 54 of Durant's field goals this postseason? Why is that number significant? Because it leads the NBA not just by a little, but doubles the next closest tandem (27 for Rajon Rondo to Paul Pierce and Jason Kidd to Dirk Nowitzki). It's not like Westbrook keeps the ball away from Durant here people. Durant has led the league in scoring the last two years and leads the playoffs this year with Westbrook as his point guard.

I'm reminded of the playoffs last year where the Thunder pushed the Lakers to six games. Multiple times in that series Westbrook had a wide open dunk of his own on a fast break but decided instead to drop off a pass to Durant trailing behind him. Westbrook put it simply when he was asked about why he did it. He said, "It's my job to get guys going and KD needed to get going." Doesn't sound like a guy too wrapped up in himself, does it?
Posted on: May 22, 2011 4:17 pm
 

Carlisle questions 'legal limits' of D on Dirk

Posted by Royce Young

OKLAHOMA CITY -- Look at the box score from Saturday's Thunder-Mavericks Game 3 in Oklahoma City. Notice anything funny? No, not that the Thunder shot just 1-17 from 3. No, not that Dirk Nowitzki had as many turnovers as made baskets (seven).

What's striking is that Dirk only took one -- count it, one -- free throw. And it came via a technical foul no less. This after he took 34 in the first two games, including a historic 24-24 from the stripe in Game 1.

There's no doubt that Nick Collison's defense on Dirk has been almost inspiring. Collison has earned a reputation in the postseason for being one of the best defensive big men stoppers in the game with the way he covered Zach Randolph and now how he's made life tough on Dirk. But one of the strategies Collison employs is being physical with Dirk, both on and off the ball.

Mavs coach Rick Carlisle was impressed with Collison's defense saying he's one of the "best post defenders in basketball," but added a caveat to it.

"Now, I don't know in terms of legal limits. I believe the line may have been crossed at times, and if so, I mean, the league will see that."

In other words, "He's fouling my guy! But I'm also trying to choose my words carefully as to not get a fine."

Dirk didn't really complain about it though.

"I obviously didn't get a lot of whistles going to the basket," Nowitzki said. "So I had to go with the one or two dribbles and up."

On the floor though, Dirk did his fair share though. After a hard drive to the basket where he obviously thought there was contact, Dirk turned to official Bob Delaney and informed him that the legal limits were indeed crossed on that particular play.

It's always kind of funny how things change with different officiating crews. In Game 1, Joey Crawford and his group saw almost everything as a foul. It was called fairly on both ends as both teams got the benefit of a touchy whistle. Game 2, a bit more was allowed. Game 3, Dirk got roughed up a bit. Collison for the most part played within the legal limits I'd say, doing a good job of using his body and not his hands to defend Dirk. Twice Collison anticipated Dirk putting the ball on the floor and forced a jump ball. No foul, no line-crossing there. Just great defense.

At the same time, you typically see stars such as Dirk get calls in most of those situations though. I think it's a credit to Game 3's crew for not feeling an obligation to just reward Dirk because he's Dirk.

The fact Dirk went just 7-21 from the floor and turned it over seven times has a lot less to do with the officiating and lot more to do with Collison. But within that, Collison was enabled by being allowed to push some boundaries. Carlisle may be right. The Thunder's approach may have crossed a line. But it's pretty simple: If they don't call it, then it wasn't a foul.
Posted on: May 22, 2011 1:58 am
Edited on: May 22, 2011 2:19 am
 

NBA Playoffs Thunder-Mavericks: Matrix Reloaded

Shawn Marion was the difference for Dallas in Game 3 in Oklahoma City. 

Posted by Matt Moore



A surprising number of people entering the Western Conference Finals completely overlooked Shawn Marion. Despite Marion being a seasoned veteran who has still contributed at both ends for the Mavericks this season, he was written off as being a non-factor, despite being in great condition at 33 years old. When the topic of Kevin Durant was discussed, the assessment was that Maron was an afterthought to be sacrificed to the Durantula God. 

Instead, in Game 3 amongst the rabid throng in Oklahoma City, it was Marion who made the biggest difference on both ends of the floor. Marion shadowed Durant aggressively off-ball, limiting his ability to find open opportunities. While Durant did his damage on drives, mostly at the free throw line, Durant was just 7-22 from the field, thanks largely to Marion who kept up with Durant on his cuts and didn't lose him as often. The result was fewer minutes for Peja Stojakovic and DeShawn Stevenson, which meant less offense. Or, at least that's normally what it means. But Marion justified Carlisle's decision by also showing up on the offensive end.

Marion was 9-13 from the field for 18 shots, and added 4 rebounds, 2 steals and 2 blocks. His offense wasn't just dump-off passes from Kidd or cutters from a double off Dirk, either. Marion flashed the kind of offensive production he showed so consistently and brilliantly in Phoenix during the Seven Seconds or Less era in Phoenix. Marion hit a floater in the lane to punish the Thunder's adjustment to aggressively defend the perimeter. Marion's work was all done on the inside. In Game 2, the Thunder lived with the Mavericks working the pick-and-roll with Tyson Chandler due to their ability to guard size with size. But Marion worked much more effectively, getting dunks with his remaining explosiveness.

The first two games of this series were defined entirely by offense. Game 3 was decided when the Mavericks decided to commit to defense. For the first time in the series, a team was held to a below-100 offensive efficiency as OKC struggled from the field. Offense drove the Mavericks to outshoot the Lakers. After the first two games in the Western Conference Finals, Rick Carlisle has made the first significant adjustment, refocusing his rotations to defense. Marion rewarded that strategy by not only making the difference on the Thunder's best weapon, but by adding offense. The result? Dallas regains homecourt advantage and quiets that rabid crowd. 

Posted on: May 22, 2011 1:27 am
Edited on: May 22, 2011 1:47 am
 

Thunder go Bricktown in Game 3 loss to Mavericks

The Oklahoma City Thunder lost Game 3 to the Dallas Mavericks and now trail in the Western Conference finals 2-1. Posted by Ben Golliver.

Downtown Oklahoma City is known as "Bricktown," but this isn't what they meant.

On Saturday night, the Thunder dropped Game 3 at home to the Dallas Mavericks, 93-87, thanks in part to some historically horrific outside shooting. 

As a team, OKC shot just 1-for-17 from deep... good for a paltry 6%. The Thunder set a new season-low for three-point percentage, eclipsing their previous mark of 9% (2-22) in a Jan. 17 loss to the Lakers. They also tied a season-low for made three-pointers, as they shot 1-7 from deep against the San Antonio Spurs in a Jan. 1 loss. 

A search of Basketball-Reference.com reveals only one worse shooting performance in which the Thunder franchise made at least one attempt in the last 25 years: A 1-18 night in a loss to the Atlanta Hawks in 2003.

To help visualize how bad things got, here's a chart with OKC's three-point shooting percentage by game during the 2010-2011 campaign. Game 3 is on the far right, in a chasm all by itself.

okc-thunder-3s

The main culprit was All-Star forward Kevin Durant, who shot 0-8 from deep, a number only trumped this season by an 0-10 outing in a Nov. 3, 2010, loss to the Los Angeles Clippers. Defended for much of the night by Mavericks forward Shawn Marion, Durant looked dejected, frustrated and rushed at various points, and he was clearly pressing in his attempt to pull the Thunder back into the game after they dug themselves a 23-point first half deficit. 

Game 3, obviously, was the Thunder's biggest game of the season, a chance to go up 2-1, to maintain homecourt advantage and to provide the first true mental test that the Mavericks have faced so far in the postseason. That they were betrayed by their three-point shooting is surprising, but not overwhelmingly so. On the season, the Thunder were 19th in the league at 34.7% from deep and that number had dropped to 33.8% in the playoffs prior to Saturday night. Durant has seen a similar drop in his outside shooting: from 35% in the regular season to 33% in the playoffs.

On Saturday, the Thunder missed from deep in every conceivable way. In addition to Durant forcing the issue, Russell Westbrook got a little too giddy late in the game, badly overshooting an attempt that would have brought the Thunder back within three points with just less than three minutes to go in the fourth quarter. That was immediately followed by a Daequan Cook three that nearly airballed. 

No doubt some of the Thunder's struggles can be attributed to jitters on the big stage. The Mavericks also deserve some credit. After allowing the Thunder to score 100+ in both Games 1 and 2, Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle spent all of Friday and Saturday morning talking about the need for Dallas' defense to show up big. On Saturday night, he got exactly what he was looking for. 

"We played championship level defense for the first time in the series," Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle said. "Now the challenge is to sustain it."

It's very unlikely that the Mavericks can sustain the 1-17 three-point shooting result by the Thunder, but maintaining that level of intensity is definitely possible. In shutting down the Portland Trail Blazers and Los Angeles Lakers earlier in the playoffs, Dallas' defensive rotations were steady and its communication on that side of the ball was excellent. As a result, the Mavericks forced their opponents to shoot a lot of contested, deep shots and created turnovers at a solid clip.

The Mavericks got back to that formula in Game 3. Their rewards: regaining homecourt advantage and sending the Thunder to do some serious soul-searching.
Posted on: May 21, 2011 8:10 pm
 

LiveChat: Thunder-Mavericks Game 3

We're chatting for Thunder-Mavericks Game 3. Topics include: 

  • What high-velocity device did Brendan Haywood throw Peja under the bus with?
  • Russell Westbrook: Devil incarnate or super-saint?
  • What random role player will step up and play way over their ceiling tonight?
Chat starts at 9 p.m. EST.

 
Posted on: May 21, 2011 4:43 pm
 

Haywood blames Peja, coach for Kevin Durant dunk

After getting posterized by Kevin Durant, Brendan Haywood points the finger at Peja Stojakovic. Posted by Ben Golliver.

On Thursday night, Oklahoma City Thunder All-Star forward Kevin Durant threw down one of the best dunks of the NBA playoffs, soaring up and over Dallas Mavericks center Brendan Haywood to forcefully throw down a one-handed flush, while drawing a foul too.

Before he dunked on Haywood, Durant blew by Mavericks forward Peja Stojakovic on the perimeter, going hard to his right and leaving Stojakovic in the dust.

That fact was something that Haywood wasn't entirely happy about. Haywood threw both Stojakovic and his coaching staff under the bus in comments to ESPNDallas.com.
"It was a great play, but I'm not even really worried about that. I'm more worried about how bad our perimeter defense was. I'm like, 'Peja, uh, can you close the gate a little bit maybe?' "

"Man, everybody is going to remember the dunk, but it's more about how we lined up all night and got beat on basically one dribble," Haywood said. "There's no defense for that. If you make a guy take two or three dribbles to get to the hole, then your defensive rotation will be there. If you get beat on one dribble, you're going to get beat and be giving up over 100 every night."
Even though Stojakovic reportedly apologized for his lapse afterwards, Haywood continued.
"I was like, 'A little late for that, Peja. I don't really want to hear your bad. Just move your feet a little bit better next time. Just move your feet,' " Haywood said. "I think that's the problem. There's no way in the world we should have had Peja on Durant. That's wrong. We're going to blame that on a coaching error. If Peja is on Durant, we should automatically as a team yell zone. It should definitely be a zone."
Yikes. 

Haywood has a point here. Obviously. Everyone knows that Stojakovic, never an elite defender, should not be matched up against the league's best and most consistent scorer one-on-one.

But calling out a teammate so blatantly and personally during the conference finals? Usually those kinds of comments only come from superstars, not reserve centers that average less than 19 minutes per game during the regular season and shoot 36% from the free throw line. Questioning your coaching staff's acumen? Arguably an even worse look.

Just take your posterization like a man, big fella. Durant got you. He might get you again. There's no need to get all salty about it. 

Here's a look at Durant's dunk on Haywood again in case you missed it. 


Posted on: May 21, 2011 3:12 pm
 

Westbrook comments again on the 'controversy'

Posted by Royce Young

 

OKLAHOMA CITY -- Following Game 2 where Russell Westbrook sat the entire fourth quarter and watched as four bench players and Kevin Durant won the biggest game of the season, most expected the young, fiery, emotional point guard to respond negatively. Some expected him to skip the media, maybe toss a veiled shot at coach Scott Brooks or just plain say he was upset.

He didn't do any of that. So much so that it knocked the socks off our own Gregg Doyel. Doyel wrote, "I'm just saying ... a lesser man would have handled this differently than Russell Westbrook handled it."

A pretty big compliment for a bold, 22-year-old point guard that most have probably unfairly labeled with having a big ego. Chip on the shoulder? Yes. But ego? Nah. Westbrook said it simply: "We was winning, man." He may have been lying through his teeth, but if we're to take him at his word, he said he was cool. His actions backed it up too as he popped up off the bench during every timeout in the fourth to cheer and high-five his guys.

Westbrook was once again presented the same line of questioning this morning at the Thunder's shootaround and the normally short, to-the-point guard unleashed a pretty impressive quote.

"It's important for the team to play well," he told reporters. "I think the problem is you guys are worried about how I'm playing and what my numbers look like instead of what our team is doing. My main focus is we've got this far because our team is doing well, not if I'm doing good or bad."

I've been around Russell Westbrook a lot this year and I definitely didn't see such a well-worded, smart quote like this coming from him. Normally, he just brushes things off and always makes sure to say the most right thing he can possibly say. Here, he spoke truth. Again, you can think he's just saying the right thing and with the way athletes are, I wouldn't blame you for thinking that. But with the way Westbrook typically speaks to the media, the way he expanded like this tells me it's what he's really thinking.

He's heard all the criticism after every game. He's become the most scrutinized player of the postseason, with every play going under the microscope. He's let every bit of it roll off his back and as he puts it, continued to play his game. The Thunder probably can't rely on the bench to close things again in a big Game 3 at home tonight. They'll need Westbrook and they'll need him to play his game.
 
 
 
 
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