Tag:Jeremy Lin
Posted on: February 21, 2012 8:32 pm
 

Chase Budinger prepares for the dunk contest

Posted by Royce Young



Most everyone wasn't exactly blown away when this year's All-Star slam dunk contest participants were announced. Derrick Williams, Paul George, Iman Shumpert and Chase Budinger isn't exactly a field that gets you pumped up.

But that's not so say those guys aren't taking things seriously and aren't going to try and put on a real show.

In what's clearly a planned video featuring teammate Chandler Parsons and a cardboard cutout of Yao Ming, Budinger is caught practicing a dunk over the likeness of the former 7-6 Houston Rocket. I don't know if that's one he's really planning, but points for thinking outside the box. Maybe we shouldn't write this dunk contest off quite yet.
Posted on: February 21, 2012 1:19 am
Edited on: February 21, 2012 1:57 am
 

With Melo back in, fit with Lin questions begin.

Carmelo Anthony returned to the Linsanity but the Knicks lost to the Nets. Can they co-exist? (Getty Images)

By Matt Moore 

In a seasony as jam-packed with storylines as this one, you knew it had to happen like this. The Jeremy-Lin-lead Knicks played their first game with Carmelo Anthony back in the lineup after a five-game absence, with Amar'e Stoudemire, Melo, Baron Davis, and J.R. Smith all on the active roster, and of course, they lost. To the Nets. At home. Deron Williams, who was the player victimized when Linsanity started, made it his own personal mission in life to shut down, discourage, and otherwise outshine Lin on his way to 38 points and six assists. You can read more about Williams' vendetta from Ken Berger of CBSSports.com. But of particular interest long-term for the Knicks, Ken Berger spoke with a scout at Madison Square Garden who had this to say about how Melo fits into Mike D'Antoni's system which has flourished with Lin running the show. 
Straight from a scout who has watched Anthony’s career extensively, here are the issues: Anthony and Stoudemire like to operate in the same area of the floor, and that’s something D’Antoni has to figure out regardless of who the point guard is. The way Lin has played for the first 11 games of this run, it will be easier for him to figure out than it was for any of the other point guards the Knicks have tried.

Here’s the other, and perhaps more important issue: Anthony likes to set up and call for the ball in an area that is between the low block and the 3-point line, a little wider than most mid-post isolation scorers want the ball. Anthony has been effective his entire career from that area, because he has so many options from there. But he also takes up a lot of space, thus killing the corner 3-pointer – so crucial to D’Antoni’s style – on that side of the floor, and also crowding out the pick-and-roll and wing penetration. One game is a little soon to call it a failure, though I’m sure that won’t stop it from happening.

“We are not in panic mode,” Lin said. Now, back to the real star of the show.
via Against Lin, D-Will restores sanity - CBSSports.com.

Here's what that scout's talking about, from Anthony's shot chart for 2-point jump-shots this season with New York, courtesy of Pro-Basketball-Reference.com




Melo was just 4-11 Monday night, and there were two big caveats to this performance. His first game back from injury and you know there is going to be rust. Second, the Knicks have so many players who weren't playing together a month ago, there's a huge challenge for them to figure out the offense. For reference, here's what Melo's night from the floor looked like. You can see even in a tiny sample size that extended elbow effect. 





So you can see what the scout was talking about.  If you want an idea of the impact on the corner three, again, in a tiny sample size, or at least an idea of the difference in success for the Knicks when they turn to the corner three versus other options, here's a look at Sunday's shot chart versus the Mavericks. check the corner threes: 


Now observe the chart and corner threes against the Nets: 


Clearly the Knicks didn't produce as many corner three attempts or makes. Whether that's a product of Anthony or not is a complicated question with an unclear answer. But the results in a win and loss and three-point production do lead you in a direction of concern, though not something that can't be resolved easily with more time together for this group of players. 

Maybe most interesting was twice when Melo's penetration lead to buckets for Lin, once on the perimeter and once on a catch-pump-and-drive. So there are signs that this can work between the two. Amar'e Stoudemire looked better in this game, more active and aggressive, though he wound up with as many points as shots for what feels like the 20th time this season (in reality it was his tenth of 27 games). 

If anything Anthony seemed to be trying to make a point by passing, forcing up six turnovers and trying to create for Lin and everyone. Anthony is a scorer, but if he shoots, he'll be criticized. As it stands, he passed, so it's difficult to criticize him for it. It'll take time to figure out where to start from, where to finish, and how to manage Lin as Lin learns to manage him. 

Maybe more concerning than the Knicks' offensive effort were the problems of the Knicks systemically and Lin individually to contain Deron Williams. Williams is an elite player, and it's too much to ask Lin as young as he is to be an elite defender, but that was certainly more to blame than the Knicks' offensive issues. 

New York is a work in progress. The problem is that it takes time to figure out all their new parts and how they figure together. 

As someone famous said, they don't have time.
Posted on: February 20, 2012 3:39 pm
Edited on: February 20, 2012 3:43 pm
 

Vegas odds on Jeremy Lin / Kim Kardashian date

Run away, Jeremy, run away. (Getty Images)
Posted by Ben Golliver   

Las Vegas thinks there's a decent chance that Jeremy Lin is fronting when it comes to his interest in reality star Kim Kardashian.

The New York Knicks guard turned global sensation said in an interview aired on Monday's Good Morning America that the two are not a likely romantic match. USAToday.com has the quote.
"Stuff about me dating Kim Kardashian, I mean, I have no idea where that came from and all these other rumors," said Lin, adding he doesn't think they're each others "type."
Gossip website MediaTakeOut.com reported last week that Kardashian, 31, thought Lin, 23, was"cute" and that she was interested in going on a date with him. Kardashian, of course, divorced New Jersey Nets forward Kris Humphries after just 72 days of marriage back in October. Kim's sister, Khloe, is married to Dallas Mavericks forward Lamar Odom.

The speculation surrounding Kardashian and Lin has led gambling website Bovada.LV to post odds on whether Lin and Kardashian go on a date, settling the line at 5/1. For the bet to pay, the pair must go on a date prior to the conclusion of the 2012 NBA Finals.

This is not the first time Lin has attracted attention from Vegas oddsmakers. Last week, we noted that Lin's strong play as a starter improved New York's odds at winning the 2012 NBA Finals from 40/1 to 18/1. Lin is also 40/1 to win the 2012 NBA MVP award.

Go ahead and take a shower. After reading this post, you've earned it.
Posted on: February 20, 2012 12:42 pm
Edited on: February 20, 2012 1:05 pm
 

Eye on Basketball Midseason Awards

LeBron James is having one of the best seasons of his career and is the midseason NBA MVP. (Getty Images)

By Matt Moore
 

The 2012 NBA All-Star break begins this week as this season continues to fly by on a shortened lockout schedule. Already we've seen an incredible year, even in the midst of some ugly, ugly, ugly basketball. The Heat look better than ever, the Bulls are still dominant through injury, the Sixers are impressively complete. The Dwight Howard saga drags on. The Lakers and Celtics are struggling to find their dominant gear. The Thunder are blistering offensively, the Timberwolves surprising and of course, Jeremy Lin, Jeremy Lin all the time. 

With that, here are the 2012 NBA Midseason Awards, based on where we stand on February 20th, 2012. 

Eastern Conference Most Valuable Player: LeBron James


When CBSSports.com's Gregg Doyel wrote that LeBron was different this year, he was spot-on. James has talked about how he spent the summer re-discovering his love of basketball, getting away from all the criticism, and getting back to the person he wants to be. He and the Heat have admitted that the resounding backlash to "The Decision" played a large part in their mental approach to last season. In short, James is not comfortable being bitter, angry, resentful. He's at his best when driven by a simple love of the game. That's the dichotomy with James. He is inarguably the single most arrogant and out-of-touch player in the Association, and yet he does possess a genuine love of basketball. It's always playing at his home. It's something he lights up when he gets to talk about instead of storylines. Basketball came easily to James athletically, but it's also something he works obsessively at. History teaches that you have to hate your opponent, have to be driven by anger and resentment. James is simply not built that way. In reality, he may be too goofy, too fun-loving to ever reach the kind of iconic play that is necessary to be considered one of the best, to have the killer instinct that so many criticize him for lacking, which he himself has admitted he may lack.

None of this changes the fact that there are only three things which can stop James from earning his third MVP this season, should he continue to play as he has for the first half of the year. The first is largely the same reason he failed to win it last season: vengeance. Voters showed their disapproval of James by not truly considering him for the award. Whether it was a distaste for the arrogance of James' approach to leaving Cleveland on national television, a disgust at the preseason championship comments at the presser with the smoke and fireworks, or disappointment with James seeking to team up with two great players instead of winning on his own (an element neither Carmelo Anthony nor Chris Paul have received criticism for), James was shut out, when by most measures, he simply played better than Derrick Rose. Rose was a phenomenal player last season and a wonderful story, well-worthy of the award. However, James was better. Those sentiments have cooled this season, but if voters decide to maintain their teeth-grinding disapproval of James, that could cost him. The second is simple injury. James has only missed a small handful of games, but that can always derail a player's path. And the third is the most likely impediment: minutes.

The Heat did not take the tactic of prioritizing homecourt last season. It wouldn't have mattered, the Bulls were simply better in every way during the course of the regular season. But the Heat were clearly more focused on being healthy for the playoffs than capturing homecourt. And it's likely to be the same this year. The Heat have managed to handle the compact schedule well, outside of some Dwyane Wade bumps and bruises as to be expected. But when March rolls around, this team will start looking for rest, and that means James could sit out several games. The Heat will happily trade in April wins, provided they have a top four seed, for rest. James could lose momentum in that case as he watches from the sideline and another worthy candidate pushes his way to the finish line.

What makes James worthy of the award this year? Pick one. The Heat are the best team in the East, and you may claim that Dwyane Wade is still the focal point of the offense, metrics be damned, and that's fine, but James' overall work on both ends of the floor still takes the notch. Without resorting to statistics, you see James take over games as if he's a one-man army. He's seemingly everywhere, interrupting passes, working in the post, snatching rebounds, blocking shots, lobbing to Wade, dishing to Chalmers, attacking the rim over and over again. It's awe-inspiring basketball. You don't need metrics to see he's the best player in the game this season. This is all factoring in the fact he's taken a step back defensively. He's turned it on the past five or six games, but this hasn't been a season of his usual defensive dominance... and he's still been this good overall.

But if you want them, they bear it out as well. James is enjoying a career high (tied) in points per 36 minutes, rebounds per game and 36 minutes, field goal percentage, True Shooting percentage (factoring 3-point shooting and free throws), and of course PER. The confusion with PER most often is that it somehow measures value, that it establishes how good a player is. Instead, it's just what it's defined as. Player Efficiency Rating. It establishes who produces the most per minute, considering how many possessions they use in doing so. And right now, James is doing the most of any player in history in that department.



So that's fun.

James may not win MVP this year, for a variety of reasons. But there is absolutely no question at this season's halfway mark, that he's the best player in the league, and most valuable.

Western Conference Most Valuable Player: Kevin Durant

If you prefer the classic mold of the MVP, AKA a scoring machine, Kevin Durant fits pretty well. He's a jump-shooter shooting 52 percent from the field. Think about that. The league average is 36 percent. Durant is hitting 15 more shots for every 100 attempts from the hardest place on the floor to knock them down. That's ridiculous. That's just absurd. He is the best pure-scoring machine in the league. Kobe Bryant may topple him for the scoring crown, but he'll need five to six more attempts to do so. The cherry on Durant's Sunday has to be his 51-point explosion Sunday night. He managed 51 points on 28 shots.

And really quietly, Durant's become an elite defender. He's allowing just 26 percent from the field in ISO situations according to Synergy Sports. Defense was a huge weakness in Durant's game over the past few seasons and he's really hit his stride this season. The Thunder aren't even that great defensively, Durant has just been individually incredible.

For him to catch James, he would need for the Thunder to continue their impressive winning percentage. He would need to top the league in scoring, and for his impressive uptick in rebounding rates to continue. It's a tall order, but there's no question he's within range. Durant has become the most impressive offensive force in the league.

He is 23 years of age.

Rookie of the Year: Kyrie Irving

Ricky Rubio is dazzling. He's a phenom. He changes the course of games and wows you with the eyes. No rookie has impressed more than Rubio, who has silenced all his critics, of which I was very much one, regarding his ability translate his game to the NBA level. Rubio is honestly poetry in motion, and the feel he has for the game is joy-inspiring more than awe-inspiring. It is such a fluid and spectacular range of abilities, it makes the Timberwolves so much fun to watch.

And Kyre Irving is a better player.

It's not really close.

Get past the fact that Irving has been shooting at historic levels, that his overall production is in line with some of the all-time greats in this league in their first years. Irving has a mastery of the game that Rubio does not, even after so many more years of playing professionally. Irving can run an offense more completely and calmly, and is a superb crunch time scorer (Rubio is brilliant in that area in his own right). But if you want numbers, it's simple. Rubio's a 38 percent shooter. Irving is a 48 percent shooter. You can talk about how you would prefer your point guard pass than score, but Irving's numbers are truncated by a lack of talent on the Cavaliers, while Rubio has Kevin Love, Michael Beasley (a scorer for all his faults), an emerging Nikolai Pekovic and Derrick Williams.

Rubio would be a fine choice. He's the most exciting rookie. Maybe even the most impactful rookie.

Kyrie Irving is the Rookie of the Year, halfway through. This one will be tight to the finish.

Defensive Player of the Year: Andre Iguodala

I know. It's always Dwight Howard! It has to be Dwight Howard! But here's the thing. Howard's effort hasn't been as consistent this season. Whether it's the trade talk, the lockout schedule effect, coaching, whatever, it hasn't been there. His rebound rate is there, it's the highest of his career. He actually is allowing fewer points per possession than he did last year, but if we consider the lockout effects on all shooting percentages, Howard has slipped from the 96th percentile to the 77th percentile in rank on points per possession. Howard is maybe the most impactful defensive player in the league. But his performance hasn't been worthy of the award this year.

Iguodala, on the other hand, is the star defender on the league's best defense (Philly is tops in defensive efficiency, points per 100 possessions), and is most often given the toughest assignment night in and night out in this league. He is tasked with stopping the best perimeter threat on offense each game, and in doing so, has limited opponents to 35 percent shooting. He is able to body up larger opponents, stick with smaller ones, switch, shift, deter, block, steal, cajole, harass and otherwise make his opponent's life miserable and has done so for the majority of the season.

A close second on this list is Luol Deng, who actually has better marks via Synergy. But a combination of Deng's missed time due to injury, and the Bulls' reliance on help defense under Tom Thibodeau's system barely, and I mean barely, gives Iguodala the edge here. Dwight Howard will wind up winning this award, but ask yourself, is it more difficult to shut down perimeter elite scorers in this league or to stop the awful, horrible batch of big men currently roaming the lanes?

6th Man of the Year: James Harden

Harden should be starting. By any and all accounts, he is a much better player than Thabo Seofolosha, or Daequan Cook, or whoever you want to start at two-guard for the best offense in the land. Harden should be the starter, he plays starters minutes, he finishes like a starter, he's close with the starters, he's a star in his own right. And yet, he's much better off the bench. He provides the Thunder with not only a scorer off the pine, but an offensive creator, maybe his best asset. Harden can run the offense, he facilitates, and can make a play go even off-ball. He's a capable if not excellent defender, and his decision making and effort is often times the difference in close wins and losses for OKC.

This award has been wrapped up for a good long time.

Coach of the Year: Doug Collins

The Philadelphia 76ers have the third seed in the East as of this writing, with signature wins over the Lakers, Bulls, Magic, and just about everyone not from South Beach. Doug Collins has managed to turn a team without a central star, without an Isolation scoring threat, without a dominant big man or an all-world point guard (no offense to the brilliant Jrue Holiday) into a powerhouse that overwhelms teams with defense, savvy, bench scoring, team play, and fortitude.

The players genuinely love to play for Collins and he's gotten through to them to a man. Spencer Hawes is playing well, for crying out loud. Elton Brand is producing. Iguodala is having the best overall season of his career by the eye test. They have the best defense, the best bench, the best record in a tough division. Collins has done an incredible job and is every bit deserving of this award as much for his process as the results it has garnered.

Most Improved Player: Jeremy Lin

What were you expecting? Usually second-year players are exempt in my eyes. They're supposed to develop and improve in their second season. But Lin is a special case. Lost in the Linsanity and all the great storylines surround him is the fact he has talked a lot about what the D-League did for him. This league too often doesn't allow players to develop, simply shreds them through and only the strong survive. Lin is a testament to the idea that players can develop, can improve, can learn this game and get better to the point of success. He's improved the most simply by making himself relevant, let alone raising New York from the dead for 15 percent of the season.
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 19, 2012 6:23 pm
Edited on: February 19, 2012 8:20 pm
 

Video: Lin dunks on Mavs, nails three over Dirk

By Matt Moore 

Consider this your obligatory "Jeremy Lin did amazing things" highlights post. 

First, a half-court steal and finish to cap off a furious run to cut the lead before the fourth after the Mavericks had pushed the lead to double-digits:



 

And from the "monster stones" department, this three over Dirk Nowitzki with the Big German closing out on him: 





Are you not entertained? Are you not entertained? 

And from the Department of Awesome (and SBNation), here's Steve Novak celebrating with a Discount Double Check a la Aaron Rodgers Championship Belt move.

 
Posted on: February 19, 2012 5:13 pm
Edited on: February 19, 2012 5:39 pm
 

No question now, Lin is for real

Jeremy Lin did it again Sunday, leading the Knicks to 104-97 win over Dallas. (Getty Images)
By Matt Moore 

It is no longer a surprise. It is no longer unbelievable. It is no longer improbable. And that makes it no less fun to experience. The Jeremy Lin Experience is very, very real. 

Lin lead the the Knicks  to a 104-97 win over the Dallas Mavericks Sunday as Madison Square Garden was once again taken over by Linsanity. Lin finished with 28 points, 14 assists, 7 turnovers, and 5 steals against the 4th best defensive efficiency squad in the league, as he returned to his double-team-splitting, drive-and-dish-kicking, absolute takeover mode we saw through his first seven games and recovered from the Knicks' loss to the Hornets. He still turned the ball over at a high rate, but after 46 minutes and with that much usage, you have to expect some mistakes, and Lin more than made up for it with his efficiency (28 points on 20 shots), and five steals to convert opportunities for the Knicks. 

The Mavericks tried Shawn Marion on Lin, the same Matrix who shut down LeBron James in the Finals. They tried Jason Kidd, Jason Terry, hedging, trapping, rolling. Some of the traps worked. Dominique Jones put in good minutes on him. But Lin adjusted. That was the question with Lin, whether he could change his game to match how teams would attack him. He did, and made the Mavericks pay.

There isn't much you can say at this point that hasn't been said. But this was a statement game for Lin and the Knicks' belief in him as a legitimate starting point guard. Beating the Lakers with 38 points was his real arrival on the scene. Downing the Mavericks on national television after the Mavs are considered to be one of the best scouting teams in the league? That's putting his stamp on the league. Even if he did need to go right every time to do it (via GameTracker): 




Lin definitely got help from his teammates. J.R. Smith made his Knicks debut, and finished with 15 points. He slumped after a hot start, but also cherry picked a clinching bucket late to help bury the Mavs' last chance. More astonishing that Lin in this game may have been Steve Novak, another fringe player at the start of the season, absolutely lit up the Mavericks, working from the corner and hitting 4-5 threes. It was a pretty absurd shooting display on his way to 14 points off the bench. The Knicks' bench outscored Dallas' deep supporting unit by 10, 33-23.

Lin is a legitimate starter in the NBA. Right now, he's a legitimate star. It's possible he could fade, that he just caught the Mavericks (and Lakers and Raptors and Nets...) on a bad day. But the odds of that are now the same as any other great young player in this league. He's done it against the best competition, and he continues to improve as his team does. Mike D'Antoni has his point guard. The Knicks have a leader. And New York has a bonafide sensation worth getting behind.

The Jeremy Lin Experience is real.
Posted on: February 19, 2012 2:19 pm
Edited on: February 19, 2012 2:26 pm
 

Video: Saturday Night Live gets Linsane

Posted by Royce Young



It was only appropriate that Saturday Night Live took on Linsanity. Especially considered the New York based show already got in on Tebow Mania. And honestly, it was actually a pretty quality media critique of how some have handled the rise of Jeremy Lin and the conversation surrounding his Asian-American heritage.

Sometimes, the best way to communicate how absurd some of those racially charged jokes are is to throw them out there, just like this. The double-standard some are employing with Lin is beyond ridiculous. And the sketch does a pretty great job illustrating that. Jokes about Lin being "sweet and sour" and being "good fortune" were all good, but as soon as one of the pretend analysts made a fried chicken reference when talking about Kobe, it was over the line with Bil Hader's character saying, "Hey, let's leave race out of this."

It was done in good humor of course here, but there's a message here as well. And one we should all pay attention to.
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com