Posted on: March 13, 2012 12:48 pm
Edited on: March 13, 2012 1:05 pm
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Posted on: March 8, 2012 10:44 pm
Edited on: March 8, 2012 11:33 pm
Posted by Ben Golliver
Orlando Magic forward Hedo Turkoglu was whistled for a technical foul during the fourth quarter of a Thursday night game against the Chicago Bulls after he touched NBA referee Karl Lane with both of his hands while protesting a no-call on a drive.
It's likely that Turkoglu will be suspended for Sunday night's game against the Indiana Pacers.
The NBA rule book notes: "Any player or coach guilty of intentional physical contact with an official shall automatically be suspended without pay for one game. A fine and/or longer period of suspension will result if circumstances so dictate."
The sequence occurred with just less than four minutes remaining in the fourth quarter, with the Magic leading the Bulls 89-88. Turkoglu drove through multiple defenders and was stripped of the ball as he rose to attempt a lay-up. Turkoglu went over to Lane to protest the call and put both of his hands on Lane's shoulders while arguing. He then continued to argue with referee Bill Spooner, making contact with him as well, before he was able to be settled down so that play could continue.
The Magic went on to defeat the Bulls 99-94 at the United Center. Turkoglu finished with 13 points, 6 rebounds, 6 assists and 1 steal on 3-for-10 shooting in 39 minutes.
Here's the video of Orlando Magic forward Hedo Turkoglu making contact with official Karl Lane during a game against the Chicago Bulls.
Posted on: March 8, 2012 9:12 am
Edited on: March 8, 2012 2:12 pm
By Matt Moore and Ben Golliver
Wednesday night was one of those nights in the NBA. Multiple game winners, so many that we decided we need to break them down, power rankings style.
1. Rose does MJ: Derrick Rose's game winner had to be the best of the night for pure elegance. It had everything we look for from a winner: at the buzzer, walk off, isolation, high degree of difficulty, total calm, nothing but net. So much was going on in this one. He read the defense patiently, unleashed some crippling dribble moves, created and took the exact shot he wanted and even had large swaths of a road crowd cheering for him. Watch that thing and try not to think Michael Jordan.
2. Kyrie Irving's end-to-end. Irving's dash to the rim for what would be the game winner wasn't 94 feet of basketball brilliance, but it was as close as you want it to be. The fact that Byron Scott had the confidence in Irving to navigate all that space and the tactical knowledge to know the Nuggets wouldn't expect Irving to just get a running start and barrel to the basket deserves some points, while Irving's approach to switch hands on approach shows off his handle. That kid is something special.
3. Isaiah Thomas read-and-react. Thomas, at his best, is the type of undersized guard that just makes you marvel. That he was the 2011 NBA Draft's "Mr. Irrelevant" just makes the story that much better. Thomas was at his best on Wednesday night, intercepting an idiotic entry pass at full stretch and with perfect timing. Thomas' game is all action/reaction/action and he made an incredibly heady play to move the ball forward to a streaking John Salmons, hitting him in stride. No second-guessing, no covering the ball to allow the defense to react. Just pure open court instinct in a very unusual game situation. The only downside is that it wasn't a walk off winner, or the Power Balance Pavilion might have stormed the court. Thomas' growing reputation for putting smiles on faces continues to grow.
4. DWill trusts Farmar. What? Why aren't people flipping out over Deron Williams passing up the crucial shot in the Nets' win over the Clippers like they did with LeBron James? Regardless, Williams made a great play and Farmar didn't get too excited or go hero-mode. He just lined up and knocked down the open jumper. You know, the right basketball play. On the opposite end of the spectrum,CP3 was never going to take that pass, and gambling on it meant he couldn't run Farmar off. Big mistake as Farmar's been en fuego from the outside this year.
5. Nick Young has daggers on daggers. If this was later in the game, it would be a top-three candidate. After all, Young did rise and fear to knock off the master of rise and fire. But alas, we had more free throws and missed Kobe Bryant threes to get through before it was said and done. But make no mistake, Nick Young's dagger to punch the Lakers' comeback attempt was the game winner in the Wizards' stunner over L.A..
Posted on: March 7, 2012 11:07 pm
Edited on: March 8, 2012 1:53 am
Posted by Ben Golliver
The Milwaukee Bucks elected not to send a second defender at Derrick Rose, and the reigning NBA MVP made them pay.
With the score tied at 104 and just seconds remaining on the clock, the Chicago Bulls spread the floor to allow Rose to work on Brandon Jennings one-on-one on the perimeter. Rose took his time, methodically dribbling to the right of center court as he eyed Carlos Delfino to see whether he would offer a double-team. Delfino instead chose simply to clog the paint, discouraging a drive. Recognizing that Jennings was by himself, Rose hit him with a right-to-left crossover and a leap back gather step, easily creating a clean look as Jennings flailed a bit in closing the gap.
Jennings rose to contest Rose's resulting fadeaway jumper but it didn't matter, as the shot looked good as soon as it left Rose's hands. The ball swished cleanly through the net as the buzzer sounded, and Chicago left the Bradley Center with a dramatic 106-104 victory on Wednesday night. Rose finished with a game-high 30 points, 11 assists, 8 rebounds, 11 steal and 1 block in 39 minutes.
"I’m blessed to be on this team," Rose said aftewards, according to the Chicago Tribune. "They gave me the ball at the end. It shows how much respect they have for me."
Here's the video of Derrick Rose's dramatic game-winner against the Milwaukee Bucks via YouTube user chiddybang40.
Posted on: March 7, 2012 4:10 pm
Edited on: March 7, 2012 4:43 pm
Will we see two hectic NBA trade deadline days in a row? Las Vegas seems to think so.
The 2011 trade season was crazy, but the biggest deals -- Carmelo Anthony to the New York Knicks and Deron Williams to the New Jersey Nets -- were both completed in advance of the Feb. 24 deadline. Even so, Gerald Wallace, Kendrick Perkins, Baron Davis, Shane Battier, Aaron Brooks and Jeff Green were just some of the names that moved on the final day of the trade season.
This year, Vegas oddsmaker Bovada anticipates a similar level of activity. On Wednesday, the site set the over/under on trades that will happen on the March 15th deadline at 6.5. Of course, this number is for entertainment purposes only.
It goes without saying that the biggest potential trade chips are Orlando Magic center Dwight Howard and Los Angeles Lakers forward Pau Gasol. Both are listed at even odds if you want to bet "yes" on them moving.
So will we see seven trades? Given the slow run-up of rumors it looks a little bleak right now. Let's take a look from both sides.
If this does wind up being a quiet trade season, you can bet on the following factors emerging as explanations after the fact.
Teams with top-tier assets are on hold as they wait for the Howard situation to clear up. If it gets closer to the deadline and he winds up staying in Orlando, rival GMs will have the choice of scrambling to execute a back-up plan or simply holding their cards until the offseason. It's essentially the same thing if he winds up moving late. For teams not in the transaction, they won't have days to weigh their options as they did following the Anthony and Williams trades last year.
The delayed start to the 2011-2012 season also pushed back the trade deadline. With six weeks until the playoffs, the temptation to fold the tent and wait until Draft season could be strong for teams that either aren't true contenders or have already dropped out of the playoff chase. It's much easier to write-off a 66-game season than it is an 82-game season. A number of teams have tanked hard since the beginning of the season using the same logic.
Established dominance in the East
In the East, Chicago and Miami have separated themselves so far from the pack that GMs may have trouble selling their owners on a win-now move that requires taking on salary. Why stock up only to get cut down by two truly elite teams? That train of thought is compounded by what is expected to be a strong free agency class. Taking on salary now means less flexibility later.
If, on the other hand, we do see a flurry of deals, here are a few factors that might trigger them.
Wide open West
If there's activity for basketball reasons, there's a good chance it happens out West given the possibility that 4.5 games separate seeds 3 through 11. If someone wants to pay to make a push, they will be able to do so. The Clippers, Lakers, Mavericks, Rockets and Timberwolves would all seem to have interest in making their team better for a little postseason fun.
Under the new collective bargaining agreement, high payroll teams are set to be hit with major fines for going over -- and eventually, for staying over -- the luxury tax line. Already, we saw one high-profile salary dump for tax purposes, when the Lakers moved Lamar Odom to the Mavericks. It doesn't have to be big names or big salary numbers that move, though. Simply shipping an extraneous smaller-salary (over multiple years) guy to a team with cap space for oblique future Draft considerations could wind up saving a taxpayer real money when everything is added up down the line.
The Boston Celtics are always active and this year they have assets galore plus plenty of motivation to move them given the uncertain direction going forward. Last year, Ainge made trades both big (Kendrick Perkins) and small (Luke Harangody). It's difficult to imagine he could sit on his hands with Boston limping along as the No. 7 seed.
Posted on: March 6, 2012 2:15 am
Edited on: March 6, 2012 2:22 am
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.
Posted on: March 5, 2012 3:57 pm
Edited on: March 5, 2012 4:07 pm
Posted by Ben Golliver
Sure, gasoline is $14 a gallon and North Korea and Iran are in a race to see who can be first to end humanity as we know it. But it's all good, because United States President Barack Obama got the correct answer when asked the world's most important question: Who is the greatest basketball player of all time?
During a podcast interview with ESPN.com, Obama didn't hesitate in making his selection: legendary Chicago Bulls guard and Naismith Basketball Hall of Famer Michael Jordan.
"You've got to go with Jordan," Obama said.
Point for point, Obama hit on all the major arguments in Jordan's favor: rings, passion, skill, clutch ability, marketing impact and swagger.
"You've got guys who are comparable in terms of talent," Obama said. "I think LeBron [James] is as talented as Michael is. You've got guys like [Larry] Bird or Magic [Johnson] who had that same will to win. But combining that package and then just always being there at the moment. Very rarely not hitting that shot. Like, Utah at the end... And the grace with which he played. There was a charisma to him on the court. You could not not watch him. Unbelievable."
Obama, a senator from Illinois before he became president and a big-time Bulls fan, was asked whether his selection was influenced by those factors.
"That's an NBA pick [and not a Chicago pick]. You never had a combination of talent and fierce will to win and longevity and rising to the occasion. I haven't seen it."
Since Jordan retired, the "Greatest of All Time" question has never been anything more than a two-player debate: Jordan or Boston Celtics center Bill Russell. No one else comes close when it comes to rings, individual accomplishments and overall dominance of their era. Jordan is the right choice, given his global impact and command over a larger, better, smarter league.
But Russell doesn't go home empty-handed. After all, Obama awarded him the Presidential Medal Of Freedom back in Feb. 2011.
"Bill Russell is the former Boston Celtics’ Captain who almost single-handedly redefined the game of basketball," Obama said in a White House statement at the time. "Russell led the Celtics to a virtually unparalleled string of eleven championships in thirteen years and was named the NBA’s Most Valuable Player five times. The first African American to coach in the NBA—indeed he was the first to coach a major sport at the professional level in the United States—Bill Russell is also an impassioned advocate of human rights. He marched with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and has been a consistent advocate of equality."
Posted on: March 1, 2012 12:11 am
Edited on: March 1, 2012 12:19 am
Posted by Royce Young
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.