Tag:Matt Moore
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 2:18 pm

Jeremy Lin showing out vs. Mavericks

At the half of Knicks-Mavericks, Jeremy Lin has 12 points, 6 assists, 2 steals and just one turnover as the Knicks lead 48-45.. Attempts to trap with Shawn Marion proved futile for Dallas, as Lin split the double-team and scored with floaters. He also dished to J.R. Smith making his Knicks debut. Smith started hot before cooling off in the second quarter, finishing with 9 points on 8 shots and 2 rebounds. Lin has made better decisions and managed to control the offense much better than in the Knicks' loss to the Hornets Friday night. The rest seems to have helped Lin, who has talked about the schedule wearing him down. 

The Mavericks made a furious run to get back in the game after going down double-digits, led by Jason Terry and Dirk Nowitzki. I know, you're stunned. Nowitzki has 14 to lead Dallas.

Follow Ken Berger on Twitter for live updates from Madison Square Garden.  
Posted on: February 19, 2012 12:07 pm

Melo out vs. Mavericks, Smith, Baron active

By Matt Moore 

The Knicks announced Sunday morning that Carmelo Anthony will not play vs. the Mavericks at Madison Square Garden. Baron Davis and J.R. Smith will both be active for the first time but are not expected to log heavy minutes, as Davis continues to work into game shape and recover from a back injury and Smith tries to learn the playbook having only gotten back to the United States from China within the past five days. 

Anthony will miss his seventh game with injury. Questions have been raised as to how he and Jeremy Lin will work together in the offense, due to Melo's tendencies towards isolation, versus the success the Knicks have had with Lin in the pick and roll set. Against the Mavericks, Lin will need the same kind of performance he had against the Lakers earlier this month. Lin's coming off of his first loss since gaining heavy minutes in the Knicks rotation. The Mavericks have a world of experience in defending the pick and roll well so it'll be interesting to see what approach they take with Lin and if Lin can recover from a series of poor games in terms of turnovers. If not, the Knicks could be on a losing streak and Linsanity could be fading from the popular consciousness.  

Seeing Smith operate in the offense without any real knowledge of the playbook should be an adventure as well.  
Posted on: February 18, 2012 5:15 pm
Edited on: February 18, 2012 5:30 pm

Indoor soccer team offers Iverson spot

Allen Iverson, indoor soccer star? Not so much. (Getty Images)
By Matt Moore 

Well, if Allen Iverson's comeback attempt doesn't work out, it's good to know he's got options. The Major Indoor Soccer League's Rochester Lancers have offered The Answer a spot on their team. 
The Rochester Lancers, of the MISL’s top level of pro indoor soccer, today announced a contract offer to former NBA star, Allen Iverson.

The Rochester Lancers host two remaining regular season home games to conclude their season.  The offer stands at $20,000 per game, with a bonus of $5,000 per goal scored, win bonuses, and merchandise bonuses.  There are over 12 goals scored on average per game.

"Allen Iverson is one of the premier athletes of our time," said Rich Randall, Vice President of the Rochester Lancers.  "With his athleticism and competitive hunger, I think he can be a great fit with our team and fans as we make an important playoff push, while also driving interest to an exciting, growing sport."

$20,000 a game? Really? Because that's not bad, really. Iverson could work it into his stints with the NBA D-League he's talking about. Could play his way into shape, make some money...

OK, of course this is not going to happen.

But there's a reason they made this offer to Iverson and not Kobe Bryant. It's because it's within the frame of probability, as in "the odds you will have a piano dropped on your head today" versus Bryant which is more "the odds space clowns abduct you and transport you to their home planet where they worship Bob Netolicky." Iverson's desperate to get back into the pro game right now, trying to get back in the league. But, you know, the professional basketball league. Not so much with soccer. These minor league stunts are jokes, but this one just seems sad. 

Steve Nash, though? Nash might do it when he retires. Just becasue he's awesome like that. 

Via Josh Hakala.

Category: NBA
Posted on: February 18, 2012 3:36 pm
Edited on: February 18, 2012 3:45 pm

Bryant says Gasol affected by trade rumors

Pau Gasol has been the subject of trade rumors all season long in L.A.. (Getty Images)
By Matt Moore 

Kobe Bryant told reporters Friday that he believes the constant trade rumors surrounding Pau Gasol have negatively impacted him. From the Los Angeles Times: 
Though it appears pointing out a discrepancy involves splitting hairs, Bryant believes reports linking Gasol in a trade has made it "an emotional couple of days for him."

"Personally I don't understand that crap," Bryant said regarding the Lakers' effort to trade Gasol. "But it is what it is. It's important for him to know we support him. I support him especially. I just want him to go out there and play hard and do what he does best for us."
via Kobe Bryant: Trade speculation has made Pau Gasol emotional - latimes.com.

Now that's nothing new, with Gasol having off-court issues affect his performance as they did during an understandably rough time in the playoffs last spring. But it is telling that both Bryant and Gasol are not denying that he's on the block or being shopped constantly. This is yet another impact of the vetoed Chris Paul trade and subsequent fallout.

The Lakers took a step backward when they were forced to trade Lamar Odom because of his sense of betrayal over being involved in the Paul deal David Stern vetoed. In order to overcome that, the Lakers are considering a trade, which will have to involve Gasol due to the low value of their supporting players, ownership's belief in Andrew Bynum, and the fact they have to trade for a significant upgrade at the star level and not role players support. So Gasol is discussed, and with media so prevalent, rumors get out, as well as I'm sure discussions being held with Gasol regarding this situation. 

For his part, Gasol says things are not affecting him, that he's blocking it out and playing, and to be fair, his numbers aren't significantly down, outside of his field goal percentage which is below 50 percent for the first time in nearly a decade. But there's an impact, and it's continuing to keep the Lakers out of the elite tier of teams. Until this situation is resolved one way or another, Gasol will have to play through it. 
Posted on: February 17, 2012 4:59 pm

Skiles and Jackson aren't getting along

Stephen Jackson and Scott Skiles are not getting along in Milwaukee. (Getty Images)
By Matt Moore 

In news that will surprise exactly no one, Scott Skiles and Stephen Jackson are not getting along. Jackson was initially reticent about being traded to the Bucks, and has struggled mightily on the floor. It was thought Jackson's perimeter shooting and commitment to defense would be a perfect fit for the offensively inept Bucks, but the Racine Journal Times reports that things have already hit a pretty low point: 

After Stephen Jackson was benched for the second half of a game against Denver Jan. 17, I asked the Bucks veteran swingman whether he had any inkling Bucks coach Scott Skiles was going to do that.

Jackson said he didn't get any advance warning and he didn't get any explanation after the game, either.

It was abundantly clear even then that Jackson, whom the Bucks acquired from Charlotte last June and was expected to be a key piece to the Bucks' puzzle this season, wasn't on the same page with Skiles.

Now, a month later, Jackson's relationship with Skiles seemingly has disintegrated. In an interview with Rod Burks of Channel 4 (NBC) in Milwaukee, Jackson said: "We don't have no relationship like I've had with other coaches and I don't expect to have one. Too much stuff has happened."
via BUCKS BEAT: Jackson, Skiles are all business.

Yeah, that's not good.

The Warriors were criticized for handing Jackson his last massive extension, the Bobcats were criticized for trading for that contract, and the Bucks were criticized for trading for that contract the Bobcats had traded for. That Jackson has seemingly fallen off the age cliff just makes matters worse. He's the worst kind of asset when he doesn't fit in with the team culture. He's an outspoken veteran who won't fall in line just to fall in line, who can be great in the right situation and terrible in the wrong, on a massive contract with years remaining and a declining skill set.

So, no, the Bucks will not have an easy time finding a suitor. That said, there's always someone out there looking for veteran scorers, and Milwaukee should definitely accept taking a bath on the investment in order to clear Jackson's money off the books. It wasn't a terrible idea to bring in Jackson, it just didn't work. Seems like so many ideas under the current regime in Milwaukee, unfortunately. 
Posted on: February 17, 2012 2:03 pm

Friday 5 with KB: All-Star level Linsanity

By Matt Moore

In this week's edition of 
the Friday 5, Ken Berger discusses Linsanity, Bulls minutes, and who's on the trade block headed into All-Star Weekend. You can follow Ken Berger on Twitter @KBergCBS

1. So, hey, that Jeremy Lin kid's pretty good. We've beaten the subject into the ground here at CBSSports.com this week, but it bears opening the Friday 5 nonetheless. Let's forget about how Melo fits in, or D'Antoni, or even Lin's play directly. Is the best thing for the Knicks about this run that it's brought the locker room together and they're having fun again?

Ken Berger: Well, I think that's a by-product of what Lin has brought to the table. Among the many elements of this perfect storm was the fact that the Knicks were running the most point guard-dependent offense in the sport and had some of the worst point-guard play anyone had ever seen. Plug in a competent point guard, and the Knicks would've played better. Plug in someone performing as well as Lin has performed, and you have the makings of something special. So it started with Lin's production, which has instilled confidence in the locker room and made everyone relax in an environment that can be extremely high on stress. The Knicks now believe they can win, and confidence is a big part of the battle.

2. You wrote in Post-Ups this week about the Heat flying under the radar. How good is that for them to avoid the spotlight for a few weeks?

KB: Who? Oh, the Heat. I'm not sure it's either good or bad for them. I think it's great for the league as a whole that people are captivated by something other that how LeBron and Wade are getting along or playing together on any given day. And the fact that people are captivated by basketball being played the right way, an enjoyable way, is a pleasing diversion from the usual poisoned brew of trade demands, coaches getting fired, agent agendas, egos colliding and the like.

3. I've been critical of Tom Thibodeau and his approach to minutes with Luol Deng and Derrick Rose with various injuries considering the long-term goals of the Bulls in this insane schedule. But I'm not a doctor and I'm not a trainer. In your mind, if the doc's say it's fine and the trainers say it's fine, should Thibodeau just disregard the notion of exhaustion, and if so, is it because they really do need that top seed?
KB: I'm not a doctor or a trainer, either. And Thibodeau presumably learned how to manage minutes from one of the masters in that department, Doc Rivers. I think the time off due to back spasms will do Rose some good. But to a degree, when he's healthy, he's going to be on the floor for 38-plus minutes. Same goes for Deng, especially if you're in a close game and the opponent (like the Celtics, for example, with Paul Pierce) has an elite wing scorer who needs to be dealt with. It's a fine line with this schedule for coaches between resting their stars and winning as many games as possible. To get where they want to go, the Bulls need homecourt advantage. Once they secure that, Rose and Deng and anybody else who needs to put themselves back together for the playoffs can have as many minutes off as they need.

4. Ken, I know you've enjoyed writing about actual basketball for the past few weeks. But trade season's back, bro. Who are you expecting to be chattering next weekend in Orlando?

KB: Well, of course there will be the Dwight-fest. After that, I think the biggest name being discussed will be Steve Nash. A point guard could make all the difference in the world to the Lakers and Magic. For the same reason, Ramon Sessions will be on the radar.

5. With J.R. Smith joining the Knicks, what was the driving force behind his decision and what should the Knicks be concerned about with him, if anything?

KB: J.R. seemed to enjoying the process of being recruited, and will wind up with more money at the end of the day by joining the Knicks. The way Lin has the Knicks' offense humming, J.R. could see a lot of future dollar signs swishing through the Nets at Madison Square Garden. Even off the bench, he could be an electrifying scorer in Mike D'Antoni's offense. Plus, he's played with Anthony before, so there's a comfort level there, and Knicks official Mark Warkentien was a big supporter of Smith when both were in Denver. Concerns? What concerns? Oh, yeah, J.R. is a knucklehead. But he's a knucklehead who can make a jump shot. So the risk-reward is pretty heavily in the Knicks' favor.
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