Tag:Matt Moore
Posted on: March 1, 2012 10:50 am
Edited on: March 1, 2012 11:16 am
 

Report: Magic 'reach out' for Monta Ellis

Monta Howard is rumored to be targeted by the Magic. (Getty Images)
By Matt Moore 

ESPN reports that the Magic are not only trying to keep Dwight Howard with this Magic team, they're trying to improve the one they have. 
The Orlando Magic have reached out to the Golden State Warriors about trading for Monta Ellis, according to league sources.No deal is imminent, but Orlando is trying to add Ellis to its roster in hopes of appeasing Dwight Howard. Rather than aggressively pursuing a trade of Howard before the March 15 deadline, the Magic are desperately seeking a move that will convince Howard he can stay in Orlando.
via Source -- Orlando Magic reach out to Golden State Warriors about Monta Ellis trade - ESPN.

ESPN notes that the Warriors are essentially "meh" on the idea, so Orlando's having to pull in a third team. That's the theme of this year, really. The Magic have laden themselves with such terrible contracts they only have Ryan Anderson to move in a potentially big deal, but he's not a star, isn't a veteran, and if they lose Howard, they desperately need to keep him. So they not only have to find a third team, but they have to find a third team interested in the poor trade pieces they have, whether it's Glen Davis, Jason Richardson, Hedo Turkoglu and his monster contract, or Jameer Nelson.

That won't be easy.

Ellis and Howard would be a great fit, though. Ellis can create off the dribble and score in bunches, which would make life easier for Howard. He's a remarkably good post-up guard, and can create some assists in the right situation. Defense is always the question, but Stan Van Gundy could probably work some magic there like he has with so many. But is Ellis enough to get Howard to stay? That's always the question and the more desperate Orlando becomes to keep Howard, the worse their odds become, you would think.
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 29, 2012 5:56 pm
Edited on: February 29, 2012 6:10 pm
 

Barkley on Rome: LeBron defers too much

Charles Barkley says LeBron defers to Dwyane Wade too much. (Getty Images)


By Matt Moore
 

Charles Barkley had more to say on Jim Rome than just wishing someone could shoot 20 percent of NBA fans. 

Rome asked Barkley about his feelings on LeBron James, and well, you know Chuck. 

 

This is the eternal debate with James. And the biggest problem, honestly, is Michael Jordan. 

You see, Jordan set a new bar for alpha dogs. It wasn't enough to make the game winning play. To be the best, you have to rise up and knock down a mid-range jumper, preferably fading away, to win the game. That's the bar. Passing may be the best play, it may be the right play, it may be considered the best thing to do the other 47 minutes of a game, but when things get close down the stretch, that jumper's what you're expected to do. Problem is, James isn't very good at it. He's gotten better at it, but he's not automatic. This, maybe more than anything else, defines him. 

Consider this. Inside three minutes to go in a game separated by five points or less, James has seven of the Heat's ten total assists in that range this season. By comparison, James has 11 field goal attempts, the same as Wade and just one more than Bosh, in that same situation. He has made just three of them. (Wade is 5 of 11, Bosh 7 of 10.)

So James is handling the ball a lot. He's just not hitting. And he's passing the most as well, at least on made buckets. The assertion remains that James is the best player on the team, and he keeps deferring to lesser players. But it's entirely possible that James simply isn't the best player in these situations. At least not right now, with this team, with where his game is at now. 

(For comparison's sake, Kobe Bryant is 9-35 this season in that same situation. He also has seven assists in that situation, though the Lakers have been in far more tight games than the Heat.)

("ROME with Jim Rome" debuts on CBS Sports Network April 3rd.  You can follow him on Twitter @JimRome.)
Posted on: February 29, 2012 3:01 pm
Edited on: February 29, 2012 9:56 pm
 

Kobe clears tests, will play Wednesday

By Matt Moore

UPDATE: Kobe will play Wednesday, wearing a mask.

---

Kobe Bryant may not miss any action after all. (Getty)
You knew Kobe Bryant would do everything in his power to make it back to the floor for Wednesday night's game against the Timberwolves. And early reports indicate that's exactly what's happening. As part of the NBA's new concussion policy, Bryant had to clear a series of neurological tests as well as a series of performance drills without suffering any lingering symptoms of the concussion he suffered from Dwyane Wade's foul during the All-Star Game last sunday. 
Kobe has passed all of the tests mandated thus far (neurological, bicycle, Axon and treadmill).
via Twitter / @LakersReporter: Kobe has passed all of the ....
Bottom line is that if Kobe passes the 2-on-2 hoops test now, & another w/neurologist pregame, he may well be able to play.
via Twitter / @LakersReporter: Bottom line is that if Kob ....

 The Lakers also indicated that Bryant has been symptom-free since yesterday afternoon when the specialist he saw advised an additonal MRI and a visit with the neurologist. Those are all positive signs. While Bryant will try and push through, the team and league will be very cautious with their approach considering the nature of the injury and the fact that his symptoms lasted more than 24 hours. But, you know Kobe...
If Bryant is cleared by the neurologist before the game, he WILL start and play against the Timberwolves.
via Twitter / @LakersReporter: If Bryant is cleared by th ....

We'll keep you updated on Bryant's status before gametime.
Posted on: February 29, 2012 12:26 pm
Edited on: February 29, 2012 12:30 pm
 

Melo must change to be great

Will Carmelo Anthony's legacy be more than just that of a pure shooter? (Getty Images)

By Matt Moore
 

Gregg Doyel of CBSSports.com writes Wednesday of how Carmelo Anthony has a chance to be special and thus far... simply hasn't. Doyel specifically outlines a fact debated and wrought over constantly when it comes to Anthony, the fact that he is primarily a scorer. In these here blog circles, it's a bit more narrow than that: Melo can best be described as a volume shooter. Scorer's can be efficient, sharp-shooting, bucket-filling maniacs who don't excel at much of anything else, but what they do, they do exceptionally well. Anthony, on the other hand, is going to shoot roughly the same amount from game to game. There are nights when he's going to be brutally efficient. There are nights when he's going to be brutally inefficient. The approach never changes. And that may be the biggest problem of all with Anthony's game.

Doyel talks about the threat of winding up like a pre-Boston Kevin Garnett, what with the high praise and no substantive playoff success outside of a single season. Two thoughts there:

  • The immediate response is to bring up Anthony's Nuggets' 2009 run to the Western Conference Finals. There are a number of things to note in that regard, however. First, the Nuggets' second-round win over the Mavericks was about as tough as a series that short can be, with a crucial non-call on an intentional foul late providing quite a bit of drama in the proceedings. Second, the West that year was paper thin. It was essentially the Lakers and that's it. This isn't to take away from that Denver team, but it needs to be noted. And third, that Denver team was the same as it was for years with Melo; their success was as much due to Anthony's brilliance as it was to George Karl's ability to coach around Anthony's talents. The two things worked side-by-side, they just didn't necessarily work together. It was like "The Nuggets do this, this, and this well, and also Carmelo Anthony is very good." 
  • Doyel mentions that Garnett did everything else in his time in Minnesota, "scored, rebounded, assisted, defended, hustled, led."
And it's that last part that seems particularly relevant as the Knicks continue to try and adjust to life with his nearly entirely new lineup from the start of the season (and without a major trade!). Jeremy Lin, J.R. Smith, Melo, Amar'e Stoudemire, and Tyson Chandler. How does Anthony fit? We've talked about some x's and o's, but there are some other questions invovled.

For starters, most volume shooters are that because they are not good at any other particular area. Is Anthony that kind of player? Well, no. He's averaged 6.3 rebounds for his career, with a high of 7.3, very good for a small forward. Anthony can have games where he controls the defensive glass. What about passing? The 2009 Western Conference Finals run from Anthony's Nuggets featured him dishing 4.1 assists per game. He had a 19.8 percent assist rate that season (percentage of team assists), higher than any regular season for Anthony before... this one? We'll come back to that in a minute. And what about defense? There are metrics I could run at you, but let's just say this. 

The Nuggets' most successful season with Anthony, that 2009 run, came when Anthony became a lock down defender for about 30 games. He was simply phenomenal. That may be the most frustrating thing about Anthony, who is widely regarded as a turnstyle defensively. He can be an excellent defender. He can lock up guys, destroy their spacing, ruin their day. He just... doesn't. 

The key for Anthony may be honestly to get as far away from one of his biggest mentors' approaches as possible. Anthony and Kobe Bryant share a kinship in their approach to the game. But Bryant's success in essentially doing things his way 100 percent of the time is nearly impossible to duplicate. Maybe if Anthony had Phil Jackson, it would be easier. But he doesn't. And if he wants to be successful right now, moving away from an intractable approach and towards a dominance in versatility is the best thing for him. He needs to do everything.

There are signs Melo is trying. He worked off ball for much of the first-half against the Heat, making cuts to get to the rim. It was only after the Heat had buried the Knicks (and Lin) with their suffocating defense that Anthony returned to blistering the offensive flow with Isolation sets shallow in the shot clock. His assist rate, as previously mentioned, is the highest of his career at 22.7 percent, over four per game. He's clearly trying to get his teammates involved. He's eighth among small forwards playing 30 minutes or more this season in assist rate. With the kind of talent around him, is that enough? How much can we reasonably expect?

The answer's not in the empirical, it's in the perceptible. The shift needs to continue to be Anthony working to get out of his comfort zone. Bryant has remarked several times about hoping Anthony doesn't shift his approach due to the criticism. Thing is, that criticism isn't (always) unwarranted or about devaluing his elite gifts as a scorer. It's about fit, and flow, and making the Knicks the best they can be. Michael Jordan got to play the way he wanted because he was the greatest of all time. Kobe Bryant has been able to because he's the second greatest shooting guard of all time and he was granted a team specifically built to provide him with the best support possible. Anthony is trying to fit in with a team of good players, and he is not one of the greatest of all time.

Anthony can do something "special" as Doyel describes, but he's got to become versatile, he's got to take the same approach to the other parts of the game that he does to scoring. He's always going to get the ball late with a chance to win. He's always going to get a chance to rise and fire. But for it to matter he has to take on the rest of the things that make up a complete game. 

Anthony can be great, if he chooses to be. Making this Knicks team work isn't easy. When life is hard, you have to change.
Posted on: February 28, 2012 6:53 pm
 

Kobe still suffering symptoms from Wade foul



By Matt Moore 

Lakers' team reporter Mike Trudell is reporting that Kobe Bryant is still suffering from symptoms of his nasal fracture and concussion sustained Sunday after a hard foul from Dwyane Wade, and is being referred for an MRI. From Lakers.com: 
Kobe Bryant went to see ear, nose and throat specialist Dr. John Rehm on Tuesday after suffering a broken nose at Sunday’s All-Star game, and because Bryant is experiencing further symptoms, Dr. Rehm recommended an MRI and that Bryant see a neurologist.

Bryant, who did not practice with the team on Tuesday, is expected to see the neurologist and undergo the exam this afternoon; the Lakers will provide an update as soon as one becomes available.
via Kobe Bryant Injury Update « Lakers Blog.

With the NBA's new concussion policy stipulating that a player must pass a series of neurologic tests before being cleared for play, Bryant's availability for Wednesday's game against Minnesota in L.A. continues to be in doubt.

Wade told reporters Tuesday he "sent a message" of apology to Bryant during the All-Star Game, whatever that means. The Lakers face the Heat at Staples Center on Sunday. Bryant had told reporters he planned to practice Tuesday but obviously did not, and given the nature of the injury, it's likely that the team will be exceedingly cautious with regards to the injury.
Posted on: February 28, 2012 6:29 pm
 

Report: Warriors still chasing Dwight

The Warriors reportedly continue to pursue Dwight Howard. (Getty Images)
By Matt Moore 

The Warriors, reportedly, are not messing around.

Golden State has long been rumored to be chasing Dwight Howard, despite his exclusion of the Warriors from his team of preferred trade destinations (read: places he will consider re-signing with). What's more, Golden State has been rumored to be interested in trading for Howard without assurances he'll stay. That's the ultimate Russian Roulette gamble. If you miss out with convincing Howard, you will have traded everything you have and have nothing to show for it. Talks had died down in the din of Nets chatter that continues. But a report today from NBA.com says that the Warriors aren't done chasing the rabbit down the hole.

From Scott Howard Cooper of NBA.com on Twitter:
Warriors continuing push for Dwight Howard deal even without DH commitment to re-signing. Not backing off from risky move, source says.
via Twitter / @SHowardCooper: Warriors continuing push f ....
Biedrins has zero trade value, so GSW offer has to be 3-4 key pieces. Imagine moving Monta, Klay, others and DH walks. But Dubs staying in.
via Twitter / @SHowardCooper: Biedrins has zero trade va ....

Monta Ellis is a very good player, if not a "star" or "superstar." Klay Thompson looks to be a great rookie. They have Ekpe Udoh as a talented young big man along with Biedrins' expiring contract. The Magic have reportedly wanted to stay in the playoff hunt, which means they want talented veterans, though,and outside of Ellis, the Warriors are short on that. That's what makes the Magic request so baffling, that they wouldn't be trying to work away to get Stephen Curry, draft picks, and Udoh out of Golden State. 

And all of this for a situation in which Howard could vanish outright. It's a monstrous gamble. But let's look at the best-case, worst-case scenario here.

Best-case: Howard and Ellis/Curry click. Howard finally has a co-star worthy of his stature while he's also clearly the alpha dog. The Bay Area market allows for him to cash in on endorsements and media opportunities, while enjoying the California weather, even if it's a bit colder and ranier than southern California. Mark Jackson gets the defensive rock he covets, ownership gets a star to build everything around. Shooters plus creator plus Dwight = success. They hold his bird rights which means Howard has to walk away from the $30-million-plus afforded him in re-signing with his current team in free agency. That's a big stone to hold. 

Worst-case: Howard leaves, and the gap from the assets traded for him creates an unbalanced roster full of misfits who have to be traded off. Meanwhile, the organization clears over $15 million in cap space and has the ability to clean house on a team that has been fundamentally flawed for the past decade, cycling in the same style of players. A clean slate erupts, with the worst part being a potentially unhappy Curry/Ellis but the Warriors now have unlimited flexibility to retool their roster.

Is drastic change that bad of a worst-case scenario? If Howard and Ellis/Curry works, he could very well stay, and that's great. If it doesn't, he leaves anyway and the Warriors start over again which they've needed to do forever, and that's great. It would look bad, and would create a painful rebuilding process. But if you want to make an omelet you have to break a few eggs. A move like this would prove the new ownership really is the kind of bold leadership they say they are, unwilling to stand on the sidelines while other teams make the franchise-changing moves.

It's just a question of how brave are they, and if Orlando will finally bite the bullet for their offer.
Posted on: February 28, 2012 5:30 pm
Edited on: February 28, 2012 5:42 pm
 

Antawn Jamison, the consummate pro

With his career winding down, Antawn Jamison is still a consummate pro. (Getty Images)

By Matt Moore
 

I've called for Antawn Jamison to be traded, to be benched, to be removed from the Cavaliers by any means necessary. I have an extraordinary quick trigger with rebuilding projects. Lose your best player? Trade absolutely everyone not on a rookie contract for picks and space, bring in D-League guys to try and find a diamond in the rough (like, you know, the Knicks found in Jeremy Lin, because they were lacking in star power). There's no point in veterans on a team like that, no value to their contrct taking up space, their consistent if unspectacular play drowning out younger players. Jamison has no long-term future with the Cavs, is shooting 42 percent from the field, and his usage is tied for fourth higest in his career. 

But beyond all that, you still have to be in the locker room, to talk to these guys to understand why players get the time they do, why Antawn has the role he still has on the Cavaliers (outside of his 19.2 points per 36 minutes and 17.9 PER). Ohio sports blog Waiting for Next Year did a phenomenal post on Jamison and his role with the Cavaliers. A few things struck me:

  • Jamison, despite the God-awful torrent of the past two years of his life which have included the Gilbert-Arenas-gun-fiasco, failing to be the piece to help LeBron get a ring in Cleveland, the 26-consecutive-losses debacle a year ago, and the fact that he started this season horribly, still talks after the game, still goes in depth on every loss like it's something new. That doesn't mean much to fans because, well, who cares about a guy making the media's job easier? Everyone hates the media. But Jamison isn't helping the media, he's taking the responsibility for the team, he's not ducking away or hiding. That takes some brass.
  • He worked out over the summer with Stephen Curry and Anthony Morrow during the lockout in North Carolina. There are so many guys in this league who do nothing to pay forward the help and mentorship they received from older players, so to hear Jamison taking that kind of role in his offseason along with working hard to develop a brotherly relationship with Tristan Thompson is really pretty incredible. 
  • Byron Scott is hard on rookies, like a lot of coaches. The fact that he can count on Jamison to do what he's supposed to is pretty vital. Scot has given Kyrie Irving a shot to lead this team, to take the reins of the franchise. The fact that Jamison is still doing enough to provide support for that and isn't causing issues, like, say, Stephen Jackson is remarkable. (It should be noted Jackson is a reknown teammate and emotional leader for guys.)
  • His story only serves to make the fact that the Cavaliers couldn't win a title that much worse. Boston was such a tough matchup for that team, and was on a such an unlikely and desperate roll. That Cavs team is considered such a failure, but it really was good for most of the year, even if Jamison was still learning to fit in.  
It's worth realizing in this story that there are reasons players aren't traded that have little to do with on-court performance. Jamison's minutes are going to go somewhere, why not to a veteran who creates a positive locker room enviornment? Why not to a leader who does as his coach asks? There will be time for Tristan Thompson, there will be time for others, and Jamison will take that demotion in stride like he did last year when J.J. Hickson (!) replaced him in the starting lineup. 

But maybe it's OK that teams don't run for the hills of youthful failure at warp speed. Maybe there's still room in this superstar, ego-driven league for players like Jamison, good guys who just do their job.  

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