Category:NBA
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: March 1, 2012 12:11 am
Edited on: March 1, 2012 12:19 am
 

Bulls, Rose take something away from San Antonio

Posted by Royce Young

Rose closed the door on San Antonio Wednesday . (Getty Images)

There are certain moments in a season you can take with you. Certain moments you can put in your back pocket to call back on at a later time. Certain moments that are building blocks for the bigger picture.

Derrick Rose had a few of those moments Wednesday against the Spurs.

It's not just that he had a good game -- 29 points and four assists in just 30 minutes. It's that he came up big in big moments. Not that that's anything new. He won an MVP last season for it. But two shots against the Spurs stick out. The push shot off the backboard with the Bulls up one to make it 81-78 with 1:46 left. Then the jumper right after it answering a Tim Duncan hook to make it 83-80 with 1:09 left.



The Spurs charging the Bulls, their home crowd behind them, Gary Neal burying everything, and there Rose steps up with back-to-back baskets. Those type of shots aren't for the faint of heart. They're the type of shots you expect your star to make for you. That's why teams like Oklahoma City, Miami and Chicago have the best records. Because they have guys they can rely upon in those crazy, desperate moments.

Those are the moments the Bulls, and more specifically Rose, struggled with against the Heat last postseason. Those moments of finding looks, finding space to score and coming up with big baskets as another talented team stared you down. Rose couldn't shake free of the Heat. But against the Spurs, he came up with two big baskets as the Spurs hounded and doubled him. Then when San Antonio over-rotated to compensate for Rose, he kicked out to Ronnie Brewer who swung it Luol Deng for the dagger triple.

Smart basketball almost always wins. Almost. The Chicago formula has never been all that complicated. It's basically been grit things out, bottle you up offensively and hope No. 1 can carry the load just enough. It's worked a whole lot. The Bulls finished with the best record in the East last season and with Wednesday's 96-89 win, they're 28-8.

But against teams like the Heat, that formula failed, mainly because Rose couldn't hold up his end. Not for a lack of trying, but simply because he either couldn't find enough air to breathe from Miami's defense, or because he just missed a contested shot. Didn't happen against the Spurs, a team that's been wonderful at home (13-1 in San Antonio before Wednesday) and a team notorious for devising quality gameplans for stopping talented opponents.

The game showcased what makes Rose one of the toughest, most competitive winners in the league. He banged knees with Tony Parker in the first half and writhed on the ground in pain. No bother for the MVP, who checked back in and went to work. He would've had a decent excuse had he faded late in the game -- bad back, bruised knee, toe issues -- but Rose instead finished strong. He started the game 6-15 from the floor. He hit four of final eight attempts, including a perfect 8-8 from the line.

It was precisely these type of performances last season that won Rose the MVP. People could see how important he was to the Bulls' success, how he essentially had to drag that band of above average role players to an elite status. But when you deal with the pain of faltering in the big moments, something Rose puts squarely on his shoulders, it changes you. Those jumpers you hit in crunch-time against top tier teams like the Spurs mean a little more. They're something you can recall, something you can rely upon as you gear up for later showdowns.

Each time Rose closes for the Bulls, he's one step closer to being ready for what the Eastern playoffs will throw at him. On back-to-back nights, he made big shots for the Bulls. If you hit enough of them, they kind of start to become habit. They aren't so daunting anymore, don't carry that same pressure. Rose has always been willing to take the shots. Now he's making them. And that's something he can take with him.
Posted on: February 29, 2012 10:19 pm
Edited on: February 29, 2012 10:43 pm
 

Report: Mavs shopping Odom for Nash

Could the Mavericks trade Lamar Odom for Steve Nash? (Getty Images)
By Matt Moore 

Steve Nash has said a hundred times he doesn't want to be traded, and the Suns say they want to extend him. Lamar Odom isn't even with the Mavericks, as he's away on personal reasons (though Mark Cuban denies that he is considering missing the rest of the season). But there's a rumor being discussed which involves a swap for the two. From the Fort Worth Star-Telegram
The word on the streets is that the Mavs may trade Lamar Odom to Phoenix for Steve Nash. That will get Odom closer to his home in LA.
via Twitter / @DwainPrice: The word on the streets is ....

There are a lot of trade rumors which seem particularly stupid. This one transcends that and goes into its own world. This is the kind of trade rumor you hear on an absinthe binge. It is the "Fear and Loathing at the Trade Deadline" of trade rumors. I'm sure the talk on the street is legit, but there's just no way this trade gets constructed unless it's part of a much larger deal. 

First off, if the Suns are finally, after all this time, going to move their franchise player, former-two-time-MVP, all-world point guard and leader, are they going to do so for Odom's remaining salary when he's understandably struggled with personal issues and conditioning after being traded from L.A. which he clearly did not want to leave. There would have to be more involved, but the Mavericks aren't really in a position to add considerably more for Nash. There's Rodrigue Beaubois, and Dominique Jones, and sure, the Mavericks might give Marion back to clear space for a big 2012 free agent, but that's just it. If they're clearing space, they're going to want to clear space for both Deron Williams and Howard. 

This could be being talked about, but it's missing a bunch of much bigger components if so.
Posted on: February 29, 2012 10:02 pm
 

Kevin Love out Wednesday versus Lakers

Posted by Royce Young

Minnesota's All-Star power forward Kevin Love will miss Wednesday's game against the Lakers because of flu-like symptoms. It's expected that Derrick Williams will start in his place.

Love has also been dealing with rib and back injuries, but it's an illness that's holding him out in this one. He played against the Clippers Tuesday, but only saw 25 minutes and had an uncharacteristically unproductive game, putting up just 10 points and seven rebounds.

On the season, Love is averaging 24.5 points and 13.8 rebounds per game.
Posted on: February 29, 2012 6:53 pm
Edited on: March 1, 2012 9:47 am
 

Clippers statement regarding 'Clipper Darrell'

Posted by Royce Young

Clipper Darrell is no more, but the Clippers say he never was. (Getty Images)

The franchise's most famous fan, Clipper Darrell, put up a post on his website Wednesday titled "I AM DEVASTATED!!!" detailing that the Los Angeles Clippers are having him remove the word "Clipper" from his superfan moniker.

It sparked some serious backlash in just a few short hours with Chris Paul, Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan all tweeting support for Clipper Darrell, while the L.A. superfan actually trended on Twitter for about an hour. The Clippers, an organization that doesn't have a sparkling public image, released a statement regarding the issue.

Via the O.C. Register, here's the statement in full:
“The Clippers have done absolutely nothing wrong or inappropriate as it concerns Darrell Bailey. His claims are absurd and unfounded. He has never been an employee or representative of the Clippers organization, and therefore cannot be terminated. The Clippers have never engaged Mr. Bailey’s services. When he has been in need, the organization has regularly provided him a seat for games. No good deed goes unpunished.

"We have had multiple conversations with him concerning his inappropriate use of the Clippers’ team name and trademark for his own unmonitored commercial gain. We have spoken to him repeatedly about his desire to make public appearances in ways which improperly suggest that he is officially affiliated with our organization. In all cases and over a long period of time, he has consistently rejected our efforts to operate in consultation.

"In a conversation with an authoritative and tenured Clippers’ executive last week, he was asked again to either consult with the team on all public appearances and/or commercial ventures, or stop undertaking those opportunities representing himself inappropriately. His response was an offer to stop representing himself commercially in that way and his offer was accepted in principle.

"The next thing we heard was the baseless claims he has made today and the ensuing media rush to judgment.

"We hold all of our fans in the highest esteem and we have been patient and generous with Mr. Bailey. He has not returned our support in an honorable way. He is not actually a fan of the Clippers, but a fan of what he can make off of the Clippers.  We are no longer interested in that kind of association with him, and that is why we accepted his offer to remove our team name from his stage name.”

Wow. So not only did they deny the accuracy of Darrell's story, they burned Clipper Darrell to the ground. "He is not actually a fan of the Clippers, but a fan of what he can make off of the Clippers." That's... wow. 

There likely has been a rush to judgment and I'm sure we all don't know the extent of the relationship and all the details involved. But that's the point of PR. To make sure the message is clear and the story is handled well. Even if the Clippers have a point, you can't deny that this is a bad look. And that release certainly isn't going to help things. They basically assassinated the fanhood of their most famous fan.

Obviously this wouldn't be a big deal as the organization certainly has a point about Clipper Darrell's portrayal as a team employee, but the timing is awful. Right when the Clippers have risen to a popular, successful team following a blockbuster trade, they alienate their most vocal and visible fan.

But then again, should we really be all that surprised?

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 5:12 pm
Edited on: February 29, 2012 5:23 pm
 

Clippers put an end to 'Clipper Darrell'?

From now on, he's just Darrell. (Getty Images)
Posted by Royce Young

You probably have no idea who Darrell Bailey is. But Clipper Darrell? You know exactly who that is.

He's the most visible, most loyal, most supportive Los Angeles Clipper fan there is. He's been a fixture at home games for the last 15 seasons. Through all the bad, very bad, and super bad, Darrell has stuck with them staying positive and upbeat.

So wouldn't it be the most Clipper thing ever that when they finally get relevant and have a bunch of bandwagon fans jumping on board, that they'd pick on what of their most loyal and vocal fans?

Unfortunately, that's exactly what they've done. Clipper Darrell is losing his first name. Now, he'll just be "Darrell." Via Clipper Darrell's blog, in a post titled "I AM DEVASTATED!!!":
It is with great sadness that I must report to all those in NBA NATION that I have been told by Clipper management they no longer want me to be Clipper Darrell, a name that was given to me by the media because of my unwavering support and team spirit. I am devastated!!!!

I have been a season ticket holder for over a decade and a FAN for over 15 years and have dedicated a major part of my life to support the Clipper organization and it’s players no matter what the season’s outcome. Over the years (400 home games) I have gone to great lengths to show my appreciation and loyalty in my attire, the car I drive and in my very own home. I’ve taken seriously the mantra of being “Clipper Darrell” in performing community service, mentoring young children and my participation in outreach programs. I’ve appreciated the struggles of the team to overcome obstacles as I’ve done in my life.

I felt vindicated for all the years we as Clipper fans have gone through trials and tribulations and NOW we have a team that can win it all. Yesterday was the hardest day of my life, I felt powerless as a fan, as I was stripped of my identity however, no one can take away my heart and the love I have for my team!
So to recap, the Clippers have never had a problem with this over the last 15 years, but now that they're good and relevant, they do? Yep, all that talk about the Clippers organization moving forward from the past -- all crap. That free publicity Darrell gave and all that support in the past doesn't count, I guess.

From the organization's point of view, with the rise of the Clippers as a more visible franchise, Darrell is trying to capitalize on it too. He's selling Clipper Darrell merchandize such as wristbands and shirts. With the brand building, the Clippers weren't willing to just let Darrell keep on with it.

Media Bistro has some more details:
According to Bailey, the Clippers offered him an additional free season ticket if he dropped the Clipper nickname.

“That’s when everything went haywire and they said I was trying to make money off sponsorships,” Bailey added. “If people are going to pay me to do some things, why not do it? I don’t see any harm in it as long as I’m not hurting the brand itself. I’m going to high schools, charity events, I do it all. They told me at the end of the conversation that, ‘We would like you not to be Clipper Darrell anymore and would like you to go back to Darrell Bailey.’”

The backlash has been fierce already, with support piling in for Darrell. Blake Griffin tweeted, "Bring back #ClipperDarrell." DeAndre Jordan tweeted: "I love Clipper Darrell....#ClipperDarrell." Chris Paul tweeted at Darrell, "WE GOT YOU!!!"

Not entirely sure what CP3 and others can do other than make their voices heard, but it's not a good look for the Clippers. For an organization trying to move past the stereotypes of being incompetant and sad, they are taking two steps backward.
Posted on: February 29, 2012 4:44 pm
Edited on: February 29, 2012 5:24 pm
 

Barkley: 20 percent of NBA fans should be shot

Charles Barkley wants to pare down on NBA fans. Just by 20 percent. (Getty Images)
Posted by Royce Young

So, you already know this, but Charles Barkley likes to say stuff. Stuff he believes, but stuff that certainly grabs attention. He says what he really thinks and sometimes, that's part of the problem.

On Jim Rome's radio show Wednesday, Barkley was talking about NBA fans and how some go a bit too far in their support. And he might've gone a bit too far himself. He was on for 35 straight minutes, so as you might imagine, give Barkley that long to talk and he's bound to say something.

"Fans man. They love their team and their player. They don't want to hear any criticisms. They just want you to be 100 percent for their team period," Barkley said. "I think it's only a small faction. I think 80 percent are great. Twenty percent, I wish you could take them out back and just shoot them."

Rome jumped in there and says, "Well, maybe not shoot them, Chuck."  But Barkley doubled down.

"No, I meant that Jim," he said. Eighty percent of the fans are fantastic. But 20 percent of them are so mean-spirited and say the most nasty things to you, because they know you can't grab them."

Yikes. Barkley's not wrong. Some fans are crazy. Check any comments section, any radio call-in show, any team forum and you'll see the fringe fans that take their anonimity to the farthest reaches they can. Barkley speaks his mind about your team, tells it like it is and doesn't hold back. He's been especially critical of the Oklahoma City Thunder of late, saying he doesn't think they're a top four team and not a true contender. That's the type of stuff that fires up fanbases to the point of saying regrettable things.

And fires up Sir Charles to the same point as well too.

("ROME with Jim Rome" debuts on CBS Sports Network April 3rd.  You can follow him on Twitter @JimRome.)
Category: NBA
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com