Tag:Shawn Marion
Posted on: February 19, 2012 5:13 pm
Edited on: February 19, 2012 5:39 pm
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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: January 26, 2012 2:12 pm
Edited on: January 26, 2012 2:13 pm
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Posted on: October 12, 2011 12:11 pm
 

Video: Marion, Chandler and Love are locked in

Posted by Royce Young

The lockout is giving me a serious case of the sads, so props to Funny Or Die for at least trying to cheer everyone up. Kevin Love, Shawn Marion and Tyson Chandler misunderstand the lockout and go to a high school lock-in. Whoa boy! Hijinks ensue!

One thing you can be sure of: The longer this lockout goes, the more of this type of stuff we'll see. Players are supposed to be on the daily grind of an NBA season by now. They're bored.

Posted on: August 5, 2011 6:45 pm
Edited on: August 6, 2011 1:14 am
 

The EOB Elite 100, 71-80: Young and old alike

Posted by Ben Golliver

grant-hill-old

This is the third segment of the CBSSports.com Eye on Basketball Elite 100, counting down the top-100 players in the NBA. 

Check out the earlier installments: 100-91 | 90-81

If you can play the game of basketball, the NBA will find a place for you, and this segment of CBSSports.com’s Elite 100 underscores that point in fine fashion.

This might blow your mind: Sacramento Kings big man DeMarcus Cousins, ranked No. 77, was born in 1990, just weeks before Phoenix Suns wing Grant Hill showed up on campus for fall semester as a freshman at Duke University. By the time Cousins was in kindergarten, Hill had won two titles as a Blue Devil and was a highly-touted pro prospect, drafted No. 3 overall in 1994. As Cousins finished up elementary school and entered junior high, Hill looked like another talented NBA player robbed of reaching his potential due to injuries. By the time Cousins emerged on the national scene as a highly-ranked high school prospect, Hill was finding rejuvenation in the desert, extending his career and re-inventing his game as a member of the Phoenix Suns. A month or so before Cousins was drafted with the No. 5 pick in the 2010 NBA Draft, Hill was a key piece on a Suns team that made the Western Conference Finals.

As of last season, Cousins was the sixth-youngest player in the NBA at 20 years of age; Hill became the second oldest, one day younger than Chicago Bulls forward Kurt Thomas, after Boston Celtics center Shaquille O’Neal retired earlier this summer.  

The two players contrast in so many ways. Hill graduated from Duke; Cousins went one-and-done at Kentucky. Hill has won sportsmanship awards; Cousins required a babysitter with the Kings and was suspended for fighting with a teammate. Hill hangs with United States President Barack Obama; Cousins has palled around with rapper Drake. Hill no longer has the explosive athleticism that was his calling card but has mastered every last veteran trick; Cousins possesses an incredibly rare combination of size, strength and quickness but has yet to harness his full potential.

Despite those differences both players have found their way to the NBA and to this list. Let’s take a look at who accompanies them here.

80. Grant Hill, F, age 38, Phoenix Suns

2011 Stats: 13.2 points, 4.2 rebounds, 2.5 assists, .8 steals, 48.4 FG%, 14.8 PER

Composite rankings (random order): 78, 73, 87 

The only modern equivalent for Grant Hill’s agelessness is Halle Berry. About to turn 39, Hill has missed just three regular season games in the last three seasons, a remarkable achievement considering he played just 47 combined games from 2000-2002. Hill never achieved his full potential as a player because of injuries, but his legacy won’t be stained because of that. His resolve, resourcefulness and consistency have made him a model teammate and league ambassador for as long as anyone can remember.

Hill still contributes in a variety of ways: scoring fairly efficiently, defending multiple positions and chipping in on the glass. His game is mostly floor-bound these days but that fact makes him potentially productive into his 40s.

79. Tyrus Thomas, F, age 24, Charlotte Bobcats

2011 Stats: 10.2 points, 5.5 rebounds, 1.6 blocks, 47.1 FG%, 18.25 PER

Composite rankings (random order):  95, 82, 61

Thomas is a bit of a forgotten man. That can be said for anyone that plays for the Bobcats but is doubly true in his case because he missed a fairly long stretch of last season with a knee injury.

A one-time high lottery pick, Thomas is a guy who is perpetually trying to figure it out. That fact didn’t stop the Bobcats from committing big dollars after acquiring him in a trade from Chicago and it hasn’t stopped him from being an excellent contributor on defense, where he blocks shots with abandon and uses his length to its full advantage. The Bobcats have cleared the decks for next season so Thomas should have every possibility to earn minutes and touches. Remarkably, he’s still just 24 and his best days are certainly ahead of him.  

78. Roy Hibbert, C, age 24, Indiana Pacers

2011 Stats: 12.7 points, 7.5 rebounds, 1.8 blocks, 46.1 FG%, 15.96 PER

Composite rankings (random order): 92, 91, 52

Hibbert is one of the last of a dying breed: A true back-to-the-basket center whose hulking frame and stiff game would probably have been a better fit in the 1990s. As is, he’s a solid, productive player who does what’s expected for a guy his size: rebounds, blocks shots and finishes plays around the rim.

Last season, Hibbert’s third, wasn’t all smooth sailing. He struggled with his shooting and confidence, and performed much better after Jim O’Brien was replaced as head coach by Frank Vogel. His lack of lateral quickness will likely remain an issue for the rest of his career. It’s unlikely Hibbert will ever develop into a star but he’s an excellent cog for a young, developing team like Indiana.

77. DeMarcus Cousins, F, age 20, Sacramento Kings

2011 Stats: 14.1 points, 8.6 rebounds, .8 blocks, 43.0 FG%, 14.62 PER

Composite rankings (random order): 84, 76, 72

Cousins was a top-10 knucklehead last year. He was benched for making a choke sign at an opponent during a free throw attempt. He was thrown off the team plane for fighting with a teammate. He was kicked out of practice. He was fined for undisclosed reasons. He was ejected from a game for shoving Martell Webster during a fracas. The list goes on and on.

There were two bigger concerns than all of that immaturity: turnovers and efficiency. Cousins committed 3.3 turnovers in just 28.5 minutes per game and shot just 43% from the field. It’s not unusual for young big men to deal with those issues, though, and improvement in both categories going forward is a virtual certainty, as Cousins learns how to adjust to the NBA game, NBA officials and figures out how to best use his huge frame and excellent instincts around the basket. Despite his many flaws, Cousins’ size and skill give him a chance to be a top-25 NBA player far more quickly than you might expect. The talent and potential are there, lurking beneath the surface.

76. DeMar DeRozan, F, age 21, Toronto Raptors

2011 Stats: 17.2 points, 3.8 rebounds, 1.8 assists, 1.0 steals, 46.7 FG%, 14.52 PER

Composite rankings (random order): 80, 49, unranked

We’re supposed to keep the rankings anonymous but in this case I feel compelled to confess: I did not rank DeRozan in the top-100 nor do I think he belongs here. He was an inefficient scorer with no range playing on a terrible team last season, one of the least valuable things you can be.

Still, his presence on this list speaks to his upward career trajectory. DeRozan used his ridiculous leaping and finishing abilities to double his scoring average from his rookie year last season, putting up 17.2 points per game. He also boasts the physical tools – size, length, quickness – to be a plus-defender. He’s really held back by his lack of three-point range, though, and he will continue to be an incomplete offensive player until his spot-up shooting is at least passable. His highlight reel capability, solid personality and pure marketability make him a bright spot on a roster that needs them. His hard-working, positive approach on a day-in and day-out basis make him especially intriguing to watch develop over the next 3-5 years.

75. Shawn Marion, F, age 33, Dallas Mavericks

2011 Stats: 12.5 points, 6.9 rebounds, 1.4 assists, .9 steals, 52.0 FG%, 17.09 PER

Composite rankings (random order): 67, unranked, 58

2011 was such a dream season for Marion that he will forgive us for vastly underrating him on this list. A do-everything forward long known best for his unorthodox and downright hideous jumper, Marion was a crucial piece to the Mavericks championship puzzle.

Marion was big on both ends, using excellent shot selection and an underrated post game to get his points, while rebounding at a solid clip for his position. He shined brightest defensively as he was part of a corps of Mavericks defenders that limited some of the league’s elite scorers during the posteason: Kobe Bryant, Kevin Durant and LeBron James, to name a few. His unwavering confidence was crucial, too, especially when the Mavericks fell behind the Heat in the Finals. He never gave up and neither did Dallas.

74. Anderson Varejao, F, Age 28, Cleveland Cavaliers

2011 Stats: 9.1 points, 9.7 rebounds, 1.5 assists, 1.2 blocks, 52.8 FG%, 15.21 PER

Composite rankings (random order): 76, 56, 92

Varejao became a permanent starting player for the first time in his career after LeBron James, Shaquille O’Neal and Shaquille O’Neal departed during the summer of 2010. He rose to the challenge nicely, posting career highs in points, rebounds and blocks until a foot injury prematurely ended his season.

Best known as an energy guy, Varejao has double-double potential now that he’s in his prime age years and playing on a roster that needs every ounce of production that he can provide. Just about everyone would like to see him traded to a contender so his hustle, defense and heady play can impact postseason games. The Cavaliers, to their credit, realize the asset they have and seem to be hoping he can help lead their rebuild.

73. Danilo Gallinari, F, Age 22, Denver Nuggets

2011 Stats: 15.6 points, 4.9 rebounds, 1.7 assists, .8 steals, 41.4 FG%, 15.71 PER

Composite rankings (random order): 99, 37, 86

The young Italian was a key piece in the package that landed All-Star forward Carmelo Anthony in New York. He’s a long, silky perimeter player with shot-making ability and a desire to deliver in the clutch. Given his height, 6-foot-10, his rebounding contributions are not overwhelming and he’ll need to continue improving to approach his ceiling as a player.

Gallinari is tantalizing, more than anything, given the fluidity of his play at his size. There are plenty of questions to be answered in Denver – especially concerning the future of Nene and J.R. Smith – but Gallinari’s youth provides hope should there be widespread defections in free agency. He won’t ever replace Anthony but he won’t cost nearly as much, won’t demand as many shots and he is unlikely to hijack the franchise for the foreseeable future. That package is worth something, for sure.

72. Devin Harris, G, Age 28, Utah Jazz

2011 Stats: 15.2 points, 7.1 assists, 1.0 steals, 42.2 FG%, 17.22 PER

Composite rankings (random order): 66, 69, 86

A big guard with a solid skillset, Harris needs to shake the “loser” label and questions about his durability that developed during his time in New Jersey. He was perceived as the best player on a 12-win team and that’s never, ever a good thing for a player’s legacy and reputation.

Still, Harris gets a fresh start in Utah, as he was traded to the Jazz in the deal that sent All-Star guard Deron Williams to the Nets. Utah is clearly in a rebuilding, find-itself phase now that Williams is gone and it’s no guarantee that Harris, who is theoretically entering his prime, is necessarily their point guard of the future. We will learn a lot about Harris in 2011-2012.

71. Jameer Nelson, G, Age 29, Orlando Magic

2011 Stats: 13.1 points, 6.0 assists, 1.0 steals, 44.6%, 15.47 PER

Composite rankings (random order): 72, 82, 66

Nelson has a lot going for himself. He’s tough, scrappy, productive, has three-point range and is on a reasonable contract. Nelson can beat his man off the dribble for the drive-and-kick or stretch the defense as a knock-down shooter. He isn’t a star, though, and that’s what Orlando needed last year. Indeed, a second star is what they need next year too if center Dwight Howard is to remain in town.

Nelson's turnovers and his lack of size and elite athleticism prevent him from really serving as a game-changer offensively and occasionally make him a liability defensively. Right now, Nelson falls into the fairly wide category of “too talented to dump, not good enough to get real value in return.”

Posted on: June 16, 2011 12:26 pm
 

Mavericks take on Letterman Top 10 as champs

Posted by Matt Moore

The World Champion Dallas Mavericks took to the Late Show with David Letterman on Wednesday to give the Top Ten Good Things About Winning the NBA Championship. Check it out. 

 

I think my personal favorite is Tyson Chandler's. Because this? This is awesome. 

 
Posted on: June 14, 2011 12:32 pm
Edited on: June 14, 2011 3:20 pm
 

Heat partied with Mavericks after Game 6?

Posted by Matt Moore

See, when people question their will to win? This is what they're talking about.

Reports surfaced Monday on 790 The Ticket in Miami that some Heat players joined the Mavericks on Sunday night while the new NBA champs partied on South Beach (photos!) after their Game 6 win. One trusted member of Mavs media confirmed that Erick Dampier was one of the Miami members in attendance, along with unnamed others. 

Just so we're clear on this. The Mavs trash-talked you all series long, dashed your title hopes, put even more criticism on your squad, celebrated on your floor and then in your city, and you go party with them? Nice chemistry guys. A few assorted thoughts:

  • The Big Three reportedly were not part of the celebration, but would it surprise you in the slightest if they were? Would that shock you in any way? If LeBron James had gone down there to party with JET, it would have been just more delight for the millions of people that took abject glee in the fall of the Heat and James in particular. It's a good thing they didn't head down there as far as we knew.
  • On the flip side of this, I tried explaining to people how much of this entire process is theatrics. Do the Mavs and Heat organizations like each other? No. Do Dirk and Wade get along? Probably not. But it's not personal, and all of these players consider themselves part of a brotherhood of players. Once the buzzer sounds, most of them are friends with one another. We like to think of these as blood rivalries like the one that existed with the Celtics and Lakers of the 80's but things aren't like that. Kevin Garnett and Kobe Bryant are buds, though they try and keep that one quiet for PR purposes. That said, KG would never celebrate with the team that defeated him.
  • How does one make that decision? "Well, I just lost the NBA Finals. What can I do? I guess I'll go out, since I live in Miami. Hmm. Maybe I should go drink and dance with the guys that just made me look like a group of slugs offensively and shut us down on our own floor. That sounds fun! Surely no one will see me!"
  • There likely won't be repercussions from this for Maimi, but there should be. Players that partake in that kind of behavior shouldn't be allowed to return to the team. Dampier is old enough to where he probably doesn't care, and after so many years in Dallas, you can understand him wanting to see his guys celebrate. But at the same time, one of the Heat's biggest issues this year was chemistry, and having guys who aren't fully committed to the organization is part of that. 
  • It's an insult to Chris Bosh, who was emotionally wrecked after the loss. Say what you want about Bosh, he played his face off in the postseason and wanted to win badly. He cared. 


(HT: BDL via PBT)
Posted on: June 13, 2011 7:45 pm
Edited on: June 13, 2011 8:13 pm
 

Rick Carlisle and strategic believing

Posted by Matt Moore

MIAMI -- The word "believe" is one that pretty much passes through me these days. I mean, it couldn't get more cliche, could it? It's said so often in sports, it has the same impact as "points" or "effort." It's nothing more than an overused phrase that players and coaches use to deflect the conversation into the most bland terms. It doesn't actually mean anything. 

Right?

All series long, all  playoffs long, all season long,  Carlisle has preached the word "believe." When asked about their resiliency in coming back from fourth-quarter deficits time and time again, Carlisle would talk about how the team believed. When facing a 2-1 deficit going into Game 4 against the Heat, Carlisle said they needed to believe in themselves. And each time I rolled my eyes. They don't actually think this. It's about strategic adjustments, and about focus.

Right?

But then there's Shawn Marion, screaming his face off in a tiny visitor's locker room that reeks of sweat and stale champagne, running his mouth constantly but pausing to talk about Carlisle.

"Coach just told us to keep believing in ourselves," Marion said, "and that's what we did. We believed in this team." 

Then there's Ian Mahinmi, basking in the glow of finally contributing in a meaningful way on his way to a championship, just two years after he left the NBA D-League. I asked him what it was that gave Carlisle the ability to get all these role players, to get every single player to be ready to go full bore and make the right plays at a moment's notice. 

"He just kept telling us to believe in ourselves. Going into a game like this, there's so much pressure, you don't want to be the one to make a mistake, and he just kept telling me how much he believed in what I could do."

The tenth guy on the roster, and he's ready to go because Carlisle had him believing it. Carlisle was asked by a bombastic reporter to talk himself up after Game 4 and simply laughed the question off. He refused to take any credit, even after it was his strategic decisions that helped the Mavericks shut down the best talent in the league, even after it was his motivational work that got a team of players who are quite honestly old to be the first to the ball every time. Carlisle still wouldn't take his bow. 

Carlisle in his post-game comments credited "the collective toughness" of his team, Dirk Nowitkzi, Jason Terry, Jason Kidd, Ian Mahinmi, Brian Cardinal, ownership, everyone but himself.  The man had just finished off one of the best postseasons of any coach since the turn of the century, and done it with an aging roster and using players like a 5-10 (if that) former D-League player and a throwaway from the Caron Butler trade (oh, yeah, and Butler was injured). And he still wouldn't take credit. 

Don't be mistaken, Carlisle's tactical adjustments were the key to this series. Starting J.J. Barea and providing that initial burst of speed allowing Stevenson to guard James late as a backup to Marion and putting together a pick and roll defense strategy against one of the best combinations of talent this league has ever seen, those are the strategic elements that brought the Mavs the title. They were always going to get an amazing performance from Dirk Nowitzki

There was a possession in the second quarter of Game 6. After Tyson Chandler beat his man once again to the offensive rebound and the possession reset, Jason Kidd went around a wing pick, and when the double came, immediately slung the ball to J.J. Barea. For the Heat, or most teams, really, this is either a contested three from Barea, a dribble probe, or some other individual effort with the clock winding down. Barea instantly slung a sidearm pass to a cutting Shawn Marion who went right to the basket, his defender back screened by Chandler. It was cohesive, it was flawless, it was the type of play you need veterans for. But more importantly, that play requires a coach to drill consistency and an understanding of teammates in. There was no improvisation, it was a practiced set that worked to perfection, performed by players that understand the sacrifice and devotion to the team concept that can lead to real success.

After the play, Carlisle merely nodded his head, acknowledging the good work, then turned his attention to the defensive end.

After so many years of good work in Indiana and Detroit, it finally came home for Carlisle Sunday night. He adds his second ring, his first as a coach, and even in the presser, he didn't bask in the warm glow of his greatness like so many coaches at the top of the Western Conference outside of Texas would. He just credited his players and sat back amazed at what this incredible group of players had accomplished, in his mind, for him. Hopefully somewhere he knows just how much of a hand he had in it. There's talk today of the Mavericks' future with aging players and what tomorrow brings. But with Carlisle at the helm, the Mavericks will always know what they're getting, what they got this year that rewarded them with a championship: a winning coach that understands the way the game should be played.  

And a guy who made believers out of everyone.
 
 
 
 
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