Culture of Hoops

News & Rumors: Week of 12.1.13

Baller Mind Frame’s News & Rumors are quick blurbs mixed with personal opinion from our very own Aaron Lanton. Check it often and absorb the NBA goings-on. For more news and rumors visit our archives – June 2013 I July 2013I August 2013I September 2013I October 2013 I November 2013


“Shaqtin A’ Fool” is good for the soul. Great laughs to be had each time. – AL 

12/7/2013 – Arron Affalo studied tape of Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant over the summer to improve his game: Afflalo wanted to learn ways to create more space against one-on-one defenders, so he started studying two of the best pure scorers in NBA history in Jordan and Bryant. “I watched a lot of film on (Bryant), and I always have since I was growing up in L.A.,’’ Afflalo said. “And everybody wants to be Michael Jordan when they are little, so I’ve watched a lot of Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant. They’re the two best in my era. So this summer I watched a lot of their isolation moves and footwork to see how to frame myself up better for shots.’’ The offseason work has paid enormous benefits for Afflalo and the Magic this season. He’s averaging career bests in scoring (22.6 ppg.), rebounds (4.6 rpg.), assists (4.2 apg.) and 3-point shooting (46.3 percent). He’s scored 30 points in a game four times this season, including a career-best 43 points on Tuesday in a double-overtime loss to the Philadelphia 76ers. NBA  

12/7/2013 – Rudy Gay borrowed the idea to ban stat sheets from the Grizzlies: The idea, in theory, made sense. In order to promote team unity and keep the focus on winning, as opposed to individual statistics, Rudy Gay banned stat sheets from the Toronto Raptors locker room. “Actually, it happened in Memphis,” Gay told The Post recently when asked where the idea came from, referring to his stint with the Grizzlies. “It just promotes teamwork, I think, because you’re not playing for stats. “Nobody in there,” Gay continued, pointing towards the Raptors locker room, “is playing for stats. We’re just trying to get wins. That’s really the only stat that matters, at the end of the day.” New York Post


12/6/2013 – Knicks embarrass Nets in 30-point beatdown:


The “laughingstocks” won in a laugher. The Knicks resembled the division champions of a season ago rather than the biggest losers in New York, outplaying and even out-talking the Brooklyn Nets, who look like the real Big Apple busts. Carmelo Anthony had 19 points and 10 rebounds, Iman Shumpert scored a season-high 17 points, and the Knicks ended a nine-game losing streak with 113-83 romp Thursday night in the first meeting of the season between the city rivals. “I think everybody looked like they had that feeling that we were tired of losing,” Anthony said. “It showed from the tipoff.” The Knicks (4-13) snapped a tie with the Nets (5-14) for most losses in New York, winning the game and the crowd with a dominant second half that had Spike Lee and the rest of the fans wearing blue and orange cheering perhaps the Knicks’ most complete performance of the season. Andrea Bargnani scored 16 before he was ejected in the fourth quarter, Knicks fans roaring in support of him standing up to Kevin Garnett. Brook Lopez had 24 points and nine rebounds for the Nets, who again played without Paul Pierce, Deron Williams, or much passion in the second half. “We’re struggling but we’re going to come out of this, man, that’s the only way to think,” Garnett said. “I’m not going to think anything else.” ESPN

Including this game, three of the Knicks’ four wins have come when they have connected on 12 or more three-pointers. – AL


12/6/2013 – Derrick Rose vows to return as a franchise player:


The injury follows Rose’s torn left ACL from April 2012 that sidelined him all of last season. That’s why Rose, wearing a red sweatshirt and steely gaze, was asked what he would say to anyone implying he can’t be trusted, is injury prone and that the Bulls’ moment with him as the franchise centerpiece has come and gone. “What can I say to that?” Rose asked rhetorically, pausing for 13 seconds before continuing. “You can be a fool if you want to.” Laughter followed — until Rose interrupted it. “Dead serious,” he said. “I know I’m going to be all right.” It seemed almost cruel that Rose hobbled into his news conference on crutches Thursday morning as the two-time defending champion Heat took the United Center court for their shootaround preparations. But with a mixture of defiance and drive, Rose, after admitting some initial bouts of “why me?” syndrome, eschewed the sympathetic route. “The hard part that I had to go through in life, period, is living in poverty and not being able to get what I want,” Rose said. “I have everything that I want. I just can’t play the game that I love playing. I have my son. He’s going to be huge in this process. “I don’t know if God wants me to slow down a little bit. … He has some plan for me. I don’t know what it is, but I can’t lose faith in him, just knowing that my story isn’t done yet. I’m going to try my hardest to get back on the court, and I know I should be out there pretty soon.” In fact, reviving the will-he-or-won’t-he public relations nightmare from last season, Rose cracked open the possibility of returning if the Bulls made a lengthy playoff run. “I mean if I’m healthy and the situation is right, I’m going to be back playing,” Rose said. “But if it’s something totally different and the outcome is not how I would want it to be, there is no need.” The Bulls publicly stated Rose will miss the rest of the season on Nov. 25 when team physicians Brian Cole and Chuck Bush-Joseph successfully repaired his medial meniscus. Sources indicated that meant the playoffs as well. Chicago Tribune

I think we can now say this kid is injury-prone. – AL

12/6/2013 – Dwight Howard voices frustration over Rockets’ lack of effort: From the moment the Rockets hit the free agent jackpot with Dwight Howard last summer and put him in the lineup with James Harden, there were always going to be questions about how they would put it all together and how long it might take. Those questions were not supposed to be about how hard they would try. “[Expletive] effort out there on defense and on offense,” said Howard. “The ball stuck … We didn’t move it and we can’t win that way.” Bumps in the road over the course of the long regular season are to be expected, but the Rockets have now run head-long into a boulder of indifference as a 97-88 home loss to the Suns Wednesday night came on the heels of a virtual no-show trip to Utah on Monday. NBA

12/5/2013 – Grantland breaks down the Miami Heat offense with Lebron James: This won’t surprise you: The Miami Heat have one of the best offenses in the NBA. But as entertaining as it is to watch the two-time defending NBA champions execute, it’s been equally fascinating to watch them evolve. The Heat’s approach to scoring has changed drastically over the past few years. Just ask LeBron James. “No one cares who shoots,” James told me. “We went from a team that played a lot of isolation basketball to [being] first or second in the league in assists. Everyone on the team feels so comfortable offensively. We get the ball from one side to the other side, shifting the defense then attacking it or spraying out for 3s.” Grantland

This is a must-read for NBA fans. James explains the Heat’s sets and how each player’s roles allow them to be the dominant offensive force in the NBA. – AL

How can you not love this? – AL

Stephen A. Smith has heard through the grapevine that Carmelo Anthony plans to leave the Knicks based on the horrible start. Who can blame him? – AL

12/5/2013 – Game between Timberwolves and Spurs postponed in Mexico City delayed because of fire: The Timberwolves and Spurs were supposed to play a game in Mexico City on Wednesday, but instead all both teams apparently did was take a little early season trip south of the border for no reason. Because of a malfunction with a generator, the arena was forced to be evacuated as smoke filled the lower bowl. The video above, via Wolves announcer Dave Benz, shows the arena clouded with smoke. After some confusion and some delays, it was announced the game was postponed with no makeup date set. CBS Sports


12/4/2013 – Pistons snap Heat’s 10-game winning streak:


Dwyane Wade missed this game and has been held out of 4 out of 18 games so far. – AL

12/4/2013 – Warriors’ Jermaine O’Neal gave halftime speech that sparked this season’s largest comeback win: Thirty minutes after fueling Golden State’s largest fourth-quarter comeback in more than 50 years, Klay Thompson pointed to a halftime speech by teammate Jermaine O’Neal as the difference. It turns out the Warriors’ backup big man knew just what buttons to push. Thompson made four 3-pointers during the dramatic fourth, Stephen Curry added a pair of shots from beyond the arc down the stretch and the Golden State Warriors rallied from 27 points down in the second half to beat the Toronto Raptors 112-103 on Tuesday night. Oracle Arena erupted at the final buzzer after being a den of silence for much of the game. Team owner Joe Lacob and general manager Bob Myers ducked into a private room and let out a loud shout while the Warriors celebrated the NBA’s biggest comeback this season while jogging off the court. Afterward, all anyone wanted to talk about was O’Neal’s pep talk. “(He) gave a great speech at halftime,” Thompson said. “Honestly, that was what was our turning point. It wasn’t in the fourth quarter or the third quarter. It was at halftime.” No one would reveal what O’Neal said. Golden State’s comeback from 18 points down after three quarters was its biggest since storming back from a 19-point deficit to beat the Boston Celtics 126-124 on Feb. 9, 1962. Warriors coach Mark Jackson, never at a loss for words, could only smile. “This being my third year here, there has not been a bigger win,” Jackson said. “We were not sharp, we were not crisp and we allowed (Toronto) to get it going. To our credit, we began to defend.” ESPN

Shrug, Derrick Rose deserves that joke. – AL

12/4/2013 – Bulls still hope to re-sign Luol Deng: General manager Gar Forman is still hopeful the Chicago Bulls can work out an extension with Luol Deng. “We value Luol a lot,” Forman said on “The Waddle & Silvy Show” Tuesday on ESPN Chicago 1000. “And Luol is a big piece of the success we’ve had the last several years though we haven’t gotten to our ultimate goal. We think Luol is going to continue to be a big piece, a big part of what we’re doing. I know a lot was said about that we couldn’t come to an extension last summer but if you guys really study the NBA, especially since this new CBA — going into the CBA and since the new CBA has been in effect, it’s very, very rare that extensions get done so the fact that one didn’t get done was not an indicator of where we’re at with Luol at all.” Deng, who is in the final year of his contract, couldn’t get an extension worked out last summer. He told’s Chris Broussard earlier this year that he would like to retire as a Bull but his name has surfaced as a possible trade target given the fact that the Bulls’ championship aspirations evaporated when Derrick Rose went down with another knee injury. ESPN Chicago


12/3/2013 – Tim Duncan hits game-winner to defeat the Hawks:


Tim Duncan finished with 23 points and 21 rebounds which makes him the oldest player ever to compile 20 points and 20 rebounds at age 37. – AL

12/3/2013 – Roy Hibbert makes Twitter joke about LaMarcus Aldridge’s physical play:

[youtube][/youtube] LaMarcus Aldridge hit Hibbert in the man-region a few other times during the fourth quarter of the Blazers’ 106-102 win. – AL 12/3/2013

12/3/2013 – Pelicans outlast Bulls in triple-overtime thriller: After three overtimes and playing nearly 50 minutes, Jrue Holiday was happy to get off the court. Winning the game was a nice bonus, too. Holiday made a three-point play with 2.6 seconds left, and the New Orleans Pelicans outlasted the Chicago Bulls 131-128 on Monday night. “I really just wanted the game to be over, to be honest,” he said. “I felt we had some calls that didn’t go our way, but in the third overtime, we had a chance to finally close it out.” That’s something neither team could do before that point. The Pelicans called a timeout with 4.5 seconds, but coach Monty Williams wasn’t about to take credit for the mad scramble that left Holiday with a clear path to the basket. ”That’s just something stupid,” Williams said. “Jrue just makes the play. I’m not that bright. Sometimes I try to out-think myself. He just made a great play. “I’d love to tell you I’m that bright, but I’m not. We draw it up for a certain thing to happen, and he just made a good play. All the credit goes to him.” Holiday had 19 points and 12 assists. The point guard made an 18-foot shot with 3.9 seconds remaining in regulation to tie the score at 103 and force overtime. Ryan Anderson had a career-high 36 points on 12-of-20 shooting, including 7-for-11 on 3-pointers for the Pelicans. Eric Gordon added 23 points. Luol Deng led the Bulls with 37 points, and added eight rebounds and seven assists. Reserve Taj Gibson had 26 points and 14 rebounds. Mike Dunleavy added 23 points, and Joakim Noah had a double-double with 19 points and 10 rebounds. It was the Bulls’ first game at home following a 1-5 trip while the circus took over the United Center for two weeks. The Bulls lost for the first time at home after winning five in a row and now have dropped six of seven. ESPN

12/3/2013 – Lakers’ Jordan Farmar out a month with hamstring injury: Jordan Farmar will miss approximately four weeks with a torn left hamstring, according to the Lakers. Farmar played just 56 seconds against the Portland Trail Blazers on Sunday night before asking to be pulled from the game. An MRI on Monday revealed the tear. Leading up to the Lakers’ loss Sunday (114-108), Farmar was shooting the ball extremely well off the bench, shooting 58.3% from the field over his previous five games, averaging 14.6 points and 5.0 assists. The Lakers are already short a point guard with Steve Nash struggling to work his way to health with back, nerve and hamstring issues. If Nash is unable to play on Friday when the Lakers visit the Sacramento Kings, Steve Blake will be the only point guard in uniform. Los Angeles Times


12/2/2013 – Anthony Davis out indefinitely with a fractured left hand: New Orleans Pelicans star Anthony Davis suffered a non-displaced fracture in his left hand during the Pelicans’ game against the New York Knicks on Sunday night, the team announced. Davis won’t return to the game and his timetable to come back from the injury has yet to be determined. SB Nation

Hibbert is referring to ESPN’s coverage of the Clippers-Pacers game. – AL

12/2/2013 – The Houston Rockets are asking a lot in order to trade for Omer Asik: The name that is dominating the early rumors is Omer Asik of the Rockets. The disgruntled center can be had, but Houston isn’t just giving him away. In fact, the Rockets are setting the market high for Asik, with a demand of two first round picks in any deal. That eliminates the Knicks, who have given away enough first rounders over the last few years. They can’t move one until 2018. Even if they did, Asik’s luxury tax hit next season is the same as Jeremy Lin’s ($15 million), which would make it an expensive transaction. Alan Hahn of MSG Networks

My preseason prediction for Omer Asik is not looking too hot right now… – AL

12/1/2013 – Kobe Bryant expected back on the floor Friday night: Kobe Bryant has been ruled out of Sunday’s game against the Portland Trail Blazers, but the Los Angeles Lakers acknowledged he could return Friday in Sacramento if he feels ready after a week of practices. Los Angeles has no games between Sunday and Friday. Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni said Bryant will use the three practice days to evaluate how he feels before determining whether he’s ready to return from a ruptured Achilles tendon that’s kept him out since April 12. “I don’t want to anticipate anything,” D’Antoni said after practice Saturday. “Those are days that he can work and see, re-evaluate how he feels after the three days and then make a decision going forward. ESPN

12/1/2013 – Clippers’ J.J. Redick 6-8 weeks with a broken hand: The Los Angeles Clippers are expected to be without J.J. Redick for six to eight weeks after he broke a small bone in his right shooting hand and tore the ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow, the team announced Sunday. Redick was injured when he took a hard spill in the second quarter of Friday’s win at the Sacramento Kings. USA Today

12/1/2013 – Mike D’Antoni says Nick Young should receive strong consideration for Sixth Man of the Year: Within a two-month span, Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni has viewed Nick Young as a streaky shooter and inconsistent defender to a candidate for the NBA’s Sixth Man of the Year award. “He should. If we can get our record [good],” D’Antoni said. “That’s going to be the product of the team. He’s playing well enough. But if we surprise people, get in the playoffs and do really well, yeah, he’ll have a really good chance at it.” Ever since D’Antoni demoted him as a starting small forward to a reserve, Young has jokingly touted himself as a sixth man of the year candidate. Young has backed up those words said in jest with his play. Young has averaged 16.5 points on 47.4 percent shooting in 27.1 minutes through 11 games as a reserve. Young has also overseen a bench unit that ranks first in the NBA in scoring (47 points per game). Young has also shed his reputation as a poor defender, such as making a key charge that secured the Lakers’ 106-102 victory Friday over the Detroit Pistons. Inside SoCal

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