Basketball Wiretap

DeMar DeRozan, James Harden Named Players Of The Week

Mar 27, 2017 4:33 PM

DeMar DeRozan and James Harden have been named the NBA's Players of the Week.

DeRozan paced the league in scoring (33.3 ppg) and added 5.7 assists, 5.3 rebounds and 1.3 steals as the Raptors went 3-0 for the week, extending their winning streak to five and clinching a playoff berth for the fourth straight season.

Harden led the Rockets to a 3-0 record for the week, averaging 33.0 points, 13.3 assists, 6.3 rebounds, and 2.00 steals while shooting 48.5% from the floor.  He had at least 20 points and 10 assists in all three games for the week and has done so 46 times this season.

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Tags: Houston Rockets, Toronto Raptors, NBA, NBA Award

Hassan Whiteside, Damian Lillard Named Players Of The Week

Mar 20, 2017 3:58 PM

The Miami Heat’s Hassan Whiteside and the Portland Trail Blazers’ Damian Lillard were named NBA Eastern and Western Conference Players of the Week, respectively, for games played Monday, March 13 through Sunday, March 19. 

Whiteside finished second in the East in rebounding (13.7 rpg) and 11th in scoring (20.0 ppg) while shooting an NBA-best 73.0 percent from the field as the Heat went 2-1 for the week.  He also paced the East in blocked shots (2.67 bpg) and extended his streak with a block to a season-high 26 straight games.  The 27-year-old center posted double-doubles in all three games to set the franchise record for consecutive double-doubles with 12.  With 14 rebounds in a 123-105 win against the Minnesota Timberwolves on March 17, Whiteside became only the second player in team history to grab 900 rebounds in a season, joining Rony Seikaly (1991-92).   

Lillard led the Trail Blazers to a 3-1 week, with all of Portland’s wins coming on the road.  He paced the league in scoring (35.3 ppg) and added 4.5 rebounds and 4.0 assists while shooting 55.1 percent from the field and 59.4 percent from three-point range.  Lillard was also 36-for-36 from the free throw line.  On March 15, the 26-year-old guard scored 36 points in a 110-106 win against the San Antonio Spurs.  Lillard closed the week by scoring a season-high 49 points and matching a career high with nine three-pointers in a 115-104 win over the Heat on March 19.

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Tags: Miami Heat, Portland Trail Blazers, NBA, NBA Award

Straw Poll Of 106 Media Members Shows Harden Ahead Of Westbrook In MVP Race

Mar 16, 2017 4:12 PM

In a straw poll of 106 media members who cover the NBA, James Harden placed first with 910 points ahead of Russell Westbrook with 768.

Harden received 53 first-place votes while Westbrook had 26 first-place votes. Harden finished second in MVP voting in 2015 behind Stephen Curry.

Kawhi Leonard (658) and LeBron James (600) finished third and fourth in the poll.

Isaiah Thomas or John Wall are vying to round out the top-5.

Tim Bontemps/Washington Post

Tags: James Harden, Russell Westbrook, Houston Rockets, Oklahoma City Thunder, NBA, NBA Award

John Wall, Karl-Anthony Towns Named Players Of Week

Mar 13, 2017 4:14 PM

The Washington Wizards’ John Wall and the Minnesota Timberwolves’ Karl-Anthony Towns today were named NBA Eastern and Western Conference Players of the Week, respectively, for games played Monday, March 6 through Sunday, March 12.

Wall led the Wizards to a 4-0 week, with all of Washington’s wins coming on the road. He paced the East in scoring (29.8 ppg) and assists (11.3 apg) while adding 3.3 rebounds and 1.5 steals. On March 7, the 26-year-old recorded 25 points, 14 assists, four rebounds, three steals and two blocks in a 131-127 victory over the Phoenix Suns. On March 11, Wall tallied 39 points and nine assists as Wizards erased a 21-point halftime deficit in a 125-124 overtime win over the Portland Trail Blazers.

Towns averaged 29.0 points (fourth in the West) on 63.3 percent shooting and 12.3 rebounds (tied for fourth) as the Timberwolves went 2-1. On March 8, he scored 29 points on 14-for-21 shooting and added 14 rebounds in a 107-91 win over the L.A. Clippers. On March 11, the 21-year-old scored a game-high 35 points on 14-for-21 shooting to go with 14 rebounds and two blocks in 102-95 loss to the Milwaukee Bucks. It was the 13th time this season that Towns has scored at least 30 points.

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Tags: John Wall, Karl-Anthony Towns, Minnesota Timberwolves, Washington Wizards, NBA, NBA Award

Joel Embiid Endorses Dario Saric For Rookie Of The Year

Mar 13, 2017 12:03 PM

Joel Embiid is endorsing Dario Saric for Rookie of the Year.

Saric scored a career high 29 points to go with seven rebounds, five assists, two steals and one block in the Philadelphia 76ers' 118-116 win over the Los Angeles Lakers.

“He’s the rookie of the year,” Embiid said of his rookie teammate. “That’s the guy.”

Embiid was the frontrunner for Rookie of the Year until his knee injury.

“It doesn’t surprise me,” Brett Brown said of Embiid’s comment. “I’ve heard Joel say that, not a lot, but he means it. I think it’s a reflection of Joel first. I think it’s an example that it’s a very close team and I think it confirms our belief that one of those two is going to end up with rookie of the year.”

Keith Pompey/Philadelphia Inquirer

Tags: Dario Saric, Joel Embiid, Philadelphia Sixers, NBA, NBA Award

Kawhi Leonard, Kemba Walker Named Players Of The Week

Mar 6, 2017 4:22 PM

Kemba Walker has been named Eastern Conference Player of the Week for games played Monday, Feb. 27 through Sunday, March 5. Kawhi Leonard received the award for the Western Conference.

During the week, Walker, who led the Hornets to a 2-1 record, ranked third in the Eastern Conference in points per game (27.7) and was tied for the most three-point field goals per game (4.3) in the NBA. He also averaged 6.3 assists and 4.3 rebounds per game, shooting .429 percent from the field, .448 percent from the three-point line and .941 percent from the free throw line during the week. He was one of only two Eastern Conference players to average at least 25.0 points, 6.0 rebounds and 4.0 assists. Additionally, the sixth-year pro connected on the most road three-pointers in the NBA (13).

Leonard averaged 32.0 points, 9.0 rebounds, 4.3 assists and 4.00 steals in 39.4 minutes, leading the team in scoring with 30-plus points in all three games and helping the Spurs go 3-0 for the week. He started off the week by hitting a game-winning shot with 2.4 seconds remaining and scoring 31 points (11-22 FG, 6-6 FT) to go along with 10 rebounds, 2 assists and 3 steals in 34 minutes in a 100-99 victory against Indiana on March 1. 

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Tags: NBA, NBA Award

Mark Cuban Doesn't Put Russell Westbrook In MVP Conversation

Mar 6, 2017 10:53 AM

Mark Cuban continues to discount the play of Russell Westbrook.

Cuban said Sunday that the MVP battle is a "toss-up" between Houston's James Harden and Cleveland's LeBron James, with San Antonio's Kawhi Leonard also deserving of mention in the conversation.

Cuban was then asked where Westbrook is in his consideration for MVP.


"He's not," Cuban said.

Cuban acknowledges that Westbrook is "an amazing athlete" who is the "most explosive" player in the league and has the "best motor."

"The criteria hasn't changed," Cuban said. With a wry smile, he added: "And if I changed my mind, it would ruin all the fun for you guys."

Cuban has consistently said in the past that he doesn't consider Westbrook to be one of the NBA's superstars.


Tim MacMahon/ESPN

Tags: Dallas Mavericks, Oklahoma City Thunder, NBA, NBA Award

LeBron James, Russell Westbrook Named Players Of The Month For February

Mar 2, 2017 3:34 PM

LeBron James and Russell Westbrook have been named the NBA's Players of the Month for February.

The Cavaliers were 9-1 with James in the lineup as he averaged 25.9 points, 10.6 assists and 7.2 rebounds per game.

Westbrook averaged a triple-double of 33.4 points, 11.0 rebounds and 10.0 assists as the Thunder went 7-4 in February. Westbrook posted six triple-doubles in February.

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Tags: Cleveland Cavaliers, Oklahoma City Thunder, NBA, NBA Award

Dario Saric, Yogi Ferrell Named Rookies Of The Month For February

Mar 2, 2017 3:32 PM

The Philadelphia 76ers’ Dario Saric and the Dallas Mavericks’ Yogi Ferrell were named the NBA Eastern and Western Conference Rookies of the Month, respectively, for games played in February.

Saric, the 12th pick in NBA Draft 2014, led all rookies in scoring (17.0 ppg) and ranked second in rebounding (7.9 rpg) for the month.  Among Eastern Conference rookies, he was first in minutes (30.1 mpg), tied for second in steals (1.0 spg) and third in assists (2.8 apg).  The 22-year-old forward from Croatia scored in double figures in 11 of 12 games during February, including five appearances with at least 20 points.  Saric recorded four straight point-rebound double-doubles from Feb. 13-25, capped by a 19-point, 15-rebound, five-assist performance in a 110-109 loss to the New York Knicks on Feb. 25.

Ferrell, who was not selected in NBA Draft 2016, paced all Western Conference rookies in scoring (12.0 ppg), assists (4.7 apg) and minutes (31.5 mpg) in February.  He led all rookies in three-pointers made (21).  The 23-year-old guard was playing on a 10-day contract when he equaled an NBA rookie record with nine three-pointers on his way to scoring 32 points in Dallas’ 108-104 victory over the Portland Trail Blazers on Feb. 3.  Four days later, the Mavericks signed him to a multiyear contract.  Before joining Dallas, Ferrell played 10 games with the Brooklyn Nets and 18 games with the NBA Development League’s Long Island Nets.

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Tags: Dario Saric, Yogi Ferrell, Dallas Mavericks, Philadelphia Sixers, NBA, NBA Award

Erik Spoelstra, Gregg Popovich Named NBA Coaches Of The Month

Mar 2, 2017 11:14 AM

The Miami Heat’s Erik Spoelstra and the San Antonio Spurs’ Gregg Popovich were named the NBA Eastern and Western Conference Coaches of the Month, respectively, for games played in February. 

Spoelstra led the Heat to an 8-3 record, the second-best mark in the Eastern Conference, as Miami played only four games at home (3-1) and seven on the road (5-2).  Miami won its first five games in February to extend its winning streak to 13, the longest in the NBA this season and the third-longest in franchise history.  The Heat also won three of its final four games of the month, with each victory coming against a team currently in position to make the playoffs (Houston Rockets, Atlanta Hawks and Indiana Pacers).  For the month, Miami ranked third in the East in scoring (110.3 ppg) and second in points allowed (101.6 ppg).

Popovich guided the Spurs to a Western Conference-best 8-2 record in February, going 6-2 on the road and 2-0 at home.  San Antonio closed the month with four consecutive victories, all on the road.  When the Spurs defeated the Denver Nuggets 121-97 on Feb. 4, Popovich recorded his 1,128th victory as San Antonio head coach and passed former Utah Jazz head coach Jerry Sloan for the most wins with one franchise in NBA history.  With a 110-106 victory over the Indiana Pacers on Feb. 13, the Spurs set an NBA record by clinching their 20th straight winning season.

Other nominees for the NBA Eastern and Western Conference Coaches of the Month were Boston’s Brad Stevens, Cleveland’s Tyronn Lue, Detroit’s Stan Van Gundy, Golden State’s Steve Kerr, Houston’s Mike D’Antoni, Memphis’ David Fizdale, Oklahoma City’s Billy Donovan, Utah’s Quin Snyder and Washington’s Scott Brooks.

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Tags: Miami Heat, San Antonio Spurs, NBA, NBA Award