TrueHoop: Jodie Meeks

Westbrook's long-range shots down Lakers

December, 8, 2012
By ESPN Stats & Info
Despite Kobe Bryant's team-high 35 points, the Los Angeles Lakers came up short of getting back to .500 this season, losing to the Oklahoma City Thunder 114-108.

The Lakers have not won consecutive games under Mike D'Antoni who falls to 4-6 since taking over the team.

They are 1-8 this season when Bryant scores at least 30 points and have lost six straight games.

It was the Thunder's 11th straight game scoring at least 100 points, the longest streak by the franchise since Jan.-Feb. 1995 when they had 19 straight.

Russell Westbrook was a big reason why the Lakers fell to 2-6 on the road this season as he scored 27 of his 33 points in the first half including five 3-pointers. It was the most first-half points in his career.

Russell Westbrook's hot hand in the first half helped the Thunder beat the Lakers.
Westbrook made eight of his 14 field goals from at least 15 feet Friday, his most made shots from that distance in a game this season.

Westbrook entered Friday shooting 32.9 percent from 15+ feet and 49.7 percent inside 15 feet, but reversed that trend against the Lakers.

The Thunder used their transition game to outscore the Lakers by 15 points in the second quarter Friday and build a lead they never relinquished.

Eighteen of Oklahoma City’s season-high 41 second-quarter points came in transition and the Thunder continue to be the most efficient transition team in the NBA this season, averaging 1.32 points per play.

Jodie Meeks scored 17 of the Lakers 19 points off the bench.

The Lakers’ bench entered Friday next-to-last in scoring averaging 23.4 points. The Lakers fall to just 1-10 this season when recording 20 or fewer points off the bench.

The Lakers fall to 1-11 this season in games decided by 10-or-fewer points, the worst in the NBA.

They won more than 66 percent of such games in the previous five seasons, the highest percentage in the NBA.

Heat finding most effective means to win

December, 5, 2010
By ESPN Stats & Info
The Miami Heat seem to be figuring things out from a statistical perspective.

In Saturday's 89-77 win over the Hawks, the Heat never had a lineup on the floor in which Dwyane Wade and LeBron James were both in the game and Chris Bosh was on the bench. Smart move.
Coming into the game, lineups featuring Wade, James, and no Bosh, had been outscored, 180-135 in 75 minutes and 31 seconds of action.

Now, Wade and Bosh seem to be in sync during this four-game win streak, combining for 53 points and 20 rebounds Saturday. During the streak, Miami is +32.1 per 48 minutes with both on the floor, +1.7 when one or both are on the bench.

The Heat also continued their strong transition offense, scoring a season-high 23 fast-break points. In transition points (fast-break points plus points from free throws off fast-break fouls) James (137) and Wade (110) rank first and second in the NBA.

Elsewhere in the NBA, with a little help from

• Derrick Rose had 30 points, 10 assists and five steals for the Chicago Bulls. In the last 25 seasons, the only other Bulls with that stat combo are Michael Jordan (four times) and Scottie Pippen (twice).

• The Minnesota Timberwolves hit a franchise record 18 3-point field goals, shooting them at a 69.2 percent clip. It's the best 3-point field goal percentage by a team that made at least 18 threes since the 1996-97 Hawks went 19-for-27 (70.4 percent) on December 17, 1996 (thanks to a 7-for-7 combo effort from Willie Burton and Eldridge Recasner). Kevin Love had 20 points, 15 rebounds, and was 5-for-5 from 3-point range, the sixth player in the last 25 years to score 20, grab 15 rebounds, and shoot at least three 3-pointers without missing. Last to do it? Michael Beasley for the Heat against the New York Knicks in 2009.

• Jodie Meeks, who had an 18-point quarter against the Heat earlier this season, scored 20 points in the first quarter for the Philadelphia 76ers. He hit his first six 3-pointers and finished one point shy of Julius Erving's franchise record for points in the first quarter (March 28, 1979 vs Bulls).

Posted by Kevin Arnovitz

The Milwaukee Bucks became the first team to complete its Summer League schedule with their 84-83 loss to Toronto on Thursday afternoon. The Bucks have looked strong, particularly their starting guards, Brandon Jennings -- chosen No. 10 overall -- and second-round pick, Jodie Meeks. With each game, the pair of rookies have cultivated better and better chemistry, the kind of symbiosis you love to see in the backcourt. Jennings knows exactly when Meeks is ready along the arc for a spot-up, both on the break, and in halfcourt drive-and-kick schemes.  

We caught up with Jennings after the game. Jennings spoke about the on-court dynamic between him and Meeks, but really lit up when we asked him about his new relationship with Steve Shenbaum, who coaches athletes on how to communicate with the media. Jennings has experienced a couple of hiccups in recent weeks. First, he threw a little trash talk Ricky Rubio's way prior to the draft. Then there was the somewhat incriminating, off-the-cuff conversation (in the eyes and ears of many) that made its way around the interwebs at lightning speed. 

It turns out Shenbaum was also in Cox Pavilion to see some of his clients at work. After our brief conversation with pupil Jennings, we visited with teacher Shenbaum:


Posted by Kevin Arnovitz

  • Anthony Morrow set a new Summer League record with 47 points against the Hornets
  • Joe Alexander, as much as anyone on the Bucks' roster, will benefit from Brandon Jennings' fluency at running the break. Alexander can run the floor well for a combo forward, and knows how to fill the lane in transition. Thursday, he also harnessed his athleticism and got points driving to the hole with authority against some slower Toronto defenders. He also ran the pick-and-roll as the ball man effectively. All in all, another good outing for Alexander. 
  • DeMar DeRozan: moving well off the ball. In the second quarter against the Bucks, he made a beautiful back door cut to the hole from the weak side the instant he recognized that the defense was sloughing off him a bit. The result? A perfect lob pass from Quincy Douby, and a vicious slam by DeRozan. He was also undeterred by tight coverage from Jodie Meeks at about 15 feet off the left block. Even with Meeks on top of him, DeRozan managed to get remarkable separation and elevation on his jumper under pressure. Coming hard off screens, DeRozan easily got free from Jodie Meeks. More on DeRozan from Holly MacKenzie here
  • Chase Budinger Chase Budinger: Averaging 17.8 point per game on 68% shooting.
    (Garrett Ellwood/NBA via Getty Images)

  • Speaking of Meeks, he's still primarily a spot-up threat, which limits his ability to get to the line (23 attempts from the floor, but only one from the line), so it was nice to see him take it to the hole on occasion ... and finish.
  • Meeks and Jennings had great chemistry on Thursday, especially in the third quarter. On a high pick-and-roll for Jennings, the rookie point guard beat the trap. When the help sloughed off Meeks, Jennings kicked a perfect pass to his shooter, and Meeks drained the shot. Meeks' next two buckets from Jennings came in transition. On both breaks, Jennings waited patiently for Meeks to spot up, then perfectly timed his pass to Meeks, hitting him in rhythm. Both shots fell. On a crucial possession in the game's final minute, Jennings found Meeks again on the drive-and-kick, for a 3-pointer that put the Bucks ahead a point. Meeks finished the game with 29 points, including 4-for-8 from beyond the arc. 
  • Brandon Jennings was really aggressive off screens when he split the trap and recognized that the back line rotation was slow. As a result, he forced fewer bad shots and had an easier time finishing at the cup.
  • Apart from Adam Morrison, the Lakers have few recognizable names on their Summer League roster. Morrison didn't play Thursday, which left some additional shots for David Monds. The journeyman forward took full advantage of the opportunities, nailing a slew of mid-range jumpers on his way to 14 points and 6 rebounds -- may not sound like a lot, but the Lakers' summer league team is a little impoverished. 
  • Chase Budinger put up the best line of the day outside of Anthony Morrow: 25 points on 13 possessions. The forward out of Arizona might have the sweetest stroke in town. The challenge for most pure shooters in the NBA, of course, is finding good looks. This week, Budinger hasn't had any trouble. "He has a knack for getting open," Rockets' assistant Eltson Turner said. "He moves well without the basketball, and you can't leave him. That fits our style."
  • On the day he signed a 4-year, $3.8 million contract, DeJuan Blair gave the Spurs a good look at their investment against the Thunder, scoring 20 points on 13 possessions. Blair battled underneath all afternoon, muscling up for putbacks. But there was more to Blair's repertoire, including some wily dribble moves from the top of the key. "They shouldn't have passed on me," Blair said of the Thunder. 
  • Thunder general manager Sam Presti is collecting versatile pieces to round out an increasingly mature Oklahoma City roster. To that end, Kyle Weaver's game is hard not to like. He wasn't the Thunder's top scorer Thursday, but he gave his team a reliable handle, solid on-ball defense for most of the night on George Hill, and some timely shooting. The Thunder's backcourt is standing room only, but in Weaver, Scott Brooks has a guy who knows his way around the court. For more on Weaver, check out Darnell Mayberry's profile in the Oklahoman.
  • In the first half of the Clippers-Grizzlies game, Blake Griffin (No. 1 overall) goes for 12 points and 11 boards, while Hasheem Thabeet (No. 2 overall) goes for 4 points (0 field goals) and 1 rebound. David Thorpe at halftime: "Griffin played as if he was an undrafted player from Bulgaria trying to impress everyone in the place, in search of a job next year. Thabeet jogged around, bumped a few people, and generally seemed uninterested. Passion is a talent."
  • Tarence Kinsey wins the Kevin Martin Award: 20 points on two field goals ... but 16-for-18 from the stripe.
  • The Warriors' rookies serenade Anthony Randolph on his 20th birthday

Posted by Kevin Arnovitz 

Five days down, five to go at Las Vegas Summer League. Some teams are nearly through with their schedule, while others are just rolling into town. Since we're halfway through, it's a good moment to take inventory of what we've seen so far, and hand out some early awards.

Keep in mind that some teams have played only a single game and some stellar performances might not be acknowledged (read: Jerryd Bayless): 

All-Rookie Team

  • Tyreke Evans (SAC): Evans' one-on-one power game has produced a sick line. In three games, Evans has averaged 24.7 points and 7.7 rebounds per game. Most impressively, Evans has attempted 41 free throws in three games. His transition to point guard is a work in progress, but he'll be a scoring machine no matter where he plays on the floor.

    Tyreke Evans Tyreke Evans has shown the ability to score points at will.
    (Garrett Ellwood/NBA via Getty Images)

  • Blake Griffin (LAC): Griffin followed up his momentous 27-point, 12-rebound debut Monday night with a hum-drum 16-point, 9-rebound, 5-assist performance. Griffin directs traffic on both ends of the floor, and has been a pleasant surprise on pick-and-roll defense -- something he didn't encounter a whole lot at the college level. 
  • Darren Collison (NOH): The Hornets' first-round pick has brought the discipline and patience of his UCLA pedigree to the pro game. He matched George Hill mano-a-mano in his first game, then came back Tuesday night with 23 points. He's also a perfect 16-for-16 from the stripe in his two games. 
  • Roddy Beaubois (DAL): Before the Mavericks' rookie point guard took a scary spill Monday night in his third outing, he was electrifying crowds in Cox Pavilion with his combination of speed and range. He ran up 34 points against the Rockets Saturday night, including 7-for-12 from beyond the arc. 
  • Jodie Meeks (MIL): The second-round pick out of Kentucky might not be one of the more athletic two-guards here, but he has lit it up from midrange, averaging 16.7 points per game on 60 percent shooting. The Bucks' brass is said to be very, very pleased.

All-Sophomore Team

  • Anthony Randolph (GSW): Quite simply, the most dominant, skilled, devastating player in town. On Tuesday, his 42 points tied a Summer League record. His current averages through four games: 26.8 points, 8.5 rebounds, 3.0 blocks on 60.9 percent shooting from the field.
  • George Hill (SAS): Hill has demonstrated a complete command of the Spurs offense. He has picked his spots offensively, and finished -- unlike last year, when he shot eight percent from the field in Summer League action. He's averaging 20.5 points per game and getting to the line at will.
  • Eric Gordon (LAC): In his two games, the Clippers' second-year guard has muscled his way to the hole for 21 and 22 points, respectively. His 21-for-22 totals from the free-throw line demonstrate that strategy is working well. 
  • Robin Lopez (PHX): The question surrounding Lopez has been one of resolve, but Lopez looked fierce in his first Summer League game, racking up 24 points, 16 boards, and a couple of blocks.
  • DeAndre Jordan (LAC): Jordan's athletic attributes have never been in question. Whether he could package it all together into a coherent low-post game was another matter. So far, Jordan has dominated the interior for the Clippers. He's shooting 15-for-19 from the field. He's shown sharp recognition in the post and is winning every race to the basket.  

All-Vets & Journeymen Team

  • Quincy Douby (TOR): Douby has been working hard on his game, and his effort is paying off in Las Vegas. He's shooting the ball efficiently from distance, racking up assists, and keeping turnovers to a minimum. Toronto may not have room for him in their backcourt, but his 19 points per game on 61.1 percent shooting should catch someone's attention. 
  • Nick Young (WAS): The Wizards haven't even unpacked, but Nick Young's first game Tuesday night was a revelation. The third-year guard went insane, running up 36 points on 13-for-19 shooting, against the Cavs' hapless perimeter defenders. 
  • Adam Morrison (LAL): It might not be the most efficient stat line of the week, but Morrison has put together a nice series of games. He's scored from distance, off cuts, and by putting the ball on the deck. It's a long road back for Morrison, but this week has served as a solid stepping stone back to respectability. 
  • David Monds (LAL): The forward spent last summer in the D-League, and has been a solid contributor to the Lakers' 3-1 Summer League record thus far. He's averaging 14 points and five rebounds, and only 0.5 turnovers per game. He's also shooting an efficient 64.1 percent from the field.
  • Walker Russell, Jr. (D-League Select): A sentimental choice off the D-League Select roster, Russell is a creative, pass-first point guard. He sees the floor with an uncanny awareness of exactly where his teammates are, and where they want the ball. His pinpoint passes were the highlight of the Select team's victory over the Timberwolves. 

All-The-Week-Isn't-Working-Out-So-Far Team

David Thorpe shares his thoughts about who's had a disappointing week in Vegas

  • Stephen Curry Curry has struggled with his shooting touch, while Randolph can't seem to miss.
    (Garrett Ellwood/NBA via Getty Images)

    Stephen Curry (GSW): The good news for Curry is that he's been able to get shots -- largely because the ball has been in his hand. He's picking his opportunities. Unfortunately, he's picking far too many of them. Although he's averaging 19.5 points per game, he's doing it on only 31.4 percent shooting. His assist/turnover ratio? 4.5 to 3.75. 
  • Donte Greene (SAC): Greene is a bit of collateral damage playing next to Tyreke Evans. He needs the ball in the right spots, and Evans can't deliver those passes yet. So Greene is struggling to score efficiently, shooting only 8-for-27 over three games. 
  • Mike Taylor (LAC): Taylor can shoot, is lightning quick, and plays with spirit. But he's not been able to put it together and doesn't look like a rotation point guard. 
  • Bobby Brown (MIN): Sorry to break fellow Titan Marc Stein's heart, but for a team that just drafted two rookie PGs, Brown hoped to show this week that he could be part of the Timberwolves' backcourt rotation. That's looking unlikely. He's shooting 35.7 percent from the field, and not giving the 'Wolves much else. 
  • Luc Mbah a Moute (MIL): Mbah a Moute has already proved he's a rotation player in this league. He was hoping to show that he can be more than just a tough defender. Thus far, that hasn't happen