- Beckley Mason, NBA
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John Hollinger (Insider) offers a way for the Celtics to score some points against the Heat: "But there is one hope for Boston to generate high-value looks against Miami: the corner 3-pointer. Miami's defensive principles tend to leave the corners open, which is a sweet spot for opposing shooters. The Heat allowed a slightly above-average number of corner 3-point attempts on the season -- about five a game -- and opponents converted 40.2 percent of them; only seven teams were worse. This should be music to Boston's ears, as the Celtics made 43.5 percent of their corners 3s this season, the third-best mark in the league. Meanwhile, Miami was the league's second-best team in the restricted area, permitting 55.5 percent shooting. It didn't take a rocket scientist to see this in Game 1, as Boston forays to the rim repeatedly ended in volleyball spikes. Meanwhile, Boston took only three corner 3s in Game 1 -- one by Pierce, one by Allen and one by Keyon Dooling."
Ahead of the Draft Lottery, Dan Feldman is full of (mostly hilarious) conspiracy theories.
How electric were the Spurs in Game 2? The shot chart says it all.
I've watched this play twenty times, and still can't quite tell if James Harden traveled.
Wizards owner Ted Leonsis gives a fairly glowing self-assessment of how Washington has done in the draft since he purchased the team in 2010. Leonsis is sending his son to the lottery for good luck, but you can vote on who they should have sent here.
Good question: What's the plan in New Jersey?
The Spurs got a taste of their own medicine when the Thunder intentionally fouled Tiago Splitter on five third quarter possessions. It didn't make much of a dent in the score, but it certainly seemed to affect the Spurs. San Antonio was playing on a higher plane of consciousness, and this ugly stretch interrupted the basketball nirvana.
Gregg Popovich has remarked that rookie Kawhi Leonard came to the Spurs ready for the NBA. Apparently that includes mastering San Antonio's renowned ability to give a terrible interview.
Dwyane Wade's on court personality can be a bit grating, and he's said some unfortunate things with recorders rolling. But that has hardly reversed all the goodwill he received after his 2006 Finals MVP performance.
ESPN's own Israel Gutierrez on Ray Allen's troubling shooting slump: "Allen missed four free throws in 39 minutes in Game 1 against Miami (3-of-7). Allen missed 12 free throws in the entire 2008-09 season (237-of-249). Allen once hit 100 consecutive free throws in a workout session. Then he just stopped shooting. 'Because I believed if I kept going I could make 500 in a row,' Allen said. 'Unless I'm doing it for a record or somebody's challenging me, I'm like Forrest Gump. I just stop running.'" Related: According to ESPN's Chris Forsberg, here's what Allen had to say about the possibility of missing time at shootaround this morning: "'Hell no,' he said. 'This is not the time to sit down.'"
DeMarcus Cousins made some great strides between his rookie and second seasons, but he still has a puzzling inability to finish around the rim.
Jesse Blanchard of 48 Minutes of Hell chronicles Oklahoma City's ongoing nightmare: "A little over two minutes into the third quarter Boris Diaw zips a long outlet pass to Parker, quickly getting the Spurs into a side pick and roll between the two with Green and Kawhi Leonard on the opposite corner and Tim Duncan trailing the action as a release valve. With surgical precision the Spurs quickly move the ball side-to-side, sending the defense into frantic rotations. As Leonard drives baseline on a hard closeout, Diaw matches his every step towards the rim with a step back toward the top of the key, maintaining perfect spacing and creating another long rotation point for the defense to deal with. At the exact moment Leonard threads a bounce pass to Diaw, Duncan is setting a pick for Green in the weak side. The timing is such that Diaw delivers the pass to Green just as he is freed in the corner for the three-pointer. All five players touch the ball on the possession."
Royce Young of Daily Thunder has seen enough of Derek Fisher: "Then the other question mark is why Fisher played the entire fourth. Yes, that big 3-pointer was always in the bag for Fisher, but with the Thunder needing stops and rebounds on nearly every possession, having Fisher in the game hurt the Thunder on the defensive end and glass. My question, as it’s been for a lot of the season in this situation, is why not Daequan Cook? He’s a better rebounder, an equal defender and can space the floor as well as Fisher. I understand resisting Thabo, though I think he’s the right call. But Fisher isn’t the answer in the smallball lineup."
The Lakers have exactly one season to determine whether to rest the franchise's hopes on the broad but unsteady shoulders of Andrew Bynum.
John Hollinger (Insider) offers a way for the Celtics to score some points against the Heat: "But there is one hope for Boston to generate high-value looks against Miami: the corner 3-pointer.