May 23, 2013 12:38 PM EDT
Frank Vogel decided to leave Roy Hibbert on the bench in two key defensive plays late in the Indiana Pacers' overtime loss to the Miami Heat in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals.
Hibbert is one of the NBA's best rim protectors, but struggles to defend the perimeter. Vogel was concerned that guarding Chris Bosh on the perimeter would negate Hibbert's usefulness at the basket. Nevertheless, the Pacers would surely prefer to be beat on a jumper than a LeBron James' layup.
"I've grown as a player, this is my fifth year and maybe I need to start talking up more," Hibbert told Yahoo! Sports. "They pay me [max-contract money] for a reason.
"I didn't say anything, and I wish I did. From now on, I need to speak up."
Vogel admitted after the game that he will almost certainly not make the same mistake again in the series.
"I would say we'll probably have him in next time," Vogel said.
May 18, 2013 7:46 PM EDT
LeBron James sought the advice of Ray Allen on how to shoot free throws and the four-time MVP is beginning to reap the benefits.
James shot 80.8 percent from the stripe in the Eastern Conference semifinals.
"We’ve talked ad nauseam about his bad habits when he misses free throws, so he kind of has a better idea of it," Allen said. "He should watch real film of it. Not just game film, but on the court practicing. And then find that routine and stick to it and give himself a better chance."
James has taken to challenging Allen to free throw competitions during practice.
"You don’t want to look crazy making six out of 10 when he’s making 10 out of 10 every time," James said. "So, he puts pressure on me to make free throws, and I just try to translate what we do in practice into the game."
May 17, 2013 7:56 PM EDT
Due to the injury to David Lee, the Golden State Warriors were forced to be inventive and play Harrison Barnes minutes at power forward.
Many in the media had proposed that Barnes play as the Warriors' small ball power forward previously in the season in order to space the floor due to their lack of playmakers able to get to the basket off the dribble.
"It was fun to kind of play that style," said Barnes. "We’d never really done that before this season. Really, I’d never really played that at Carolina. I’ve always been so accustomed to having two bigs, especially fixtures on the block.
"So just to be able to play that spread out basketball, kind of drive and kick… it was fun to have four people who could handle the ball, just get out on the break, we all had different mis-matches. It was exciting."
May 16, 2013 12:21 PM EDT
Kendrick Perkins finished the 2013 NBA Playoffs with a PER of -0.7, which is the worst on record for a player with 200 or more minutes.
Perkins had 24 turnovers, 24 points, 39 fouls, five blocks and a plus/minus of -40 in the playoffs.
Perkins was acquired by the Oklahoma City Thunder in 2011 in a trade involving Jeff Green.
Scott Brooks played Perkins 23.3 minutes per game in the Conference Semifinals against the Memphis Grizzlies despite clearly being ineffective.
May 16, 2013 12:21 PM EDT
Flip Saunders would like to add more shooters to the Minnesota Timberwolves’ roster.
"We need more shooters,'' Saunders said. "You can't play with one (Budinger) or two (Luke Ridnour). A healthy Kevin Love will help there, but if we put shooters on the floor, you're going to see a much better (Ricky) Rubio.''
The Timberwolves were the worst three-point shooting team in the NBA, finishing at 30.5 percent.
J.J. Barea led the Timberwolves in three-point shooting percentage at 34.6 percent, while Alexey Shved paced the team in total attempts with 288.
May 15, 2013 5:21 PM EDT
The Miami Heat have played key stretches without a point guard, playing Shane Battier and Ray Allen with LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh.
But Erik Spoelstra is opting to use either Mario Chalmers or Norris Cole on the floor at virtually all times during the Eastern Conference Semifinals against the Chicago Bulls.
Chalmers and Cole are averaging a combined 20.3 points in the series. Cole is the third leading scorer for the Heat in the series at 12.5 points per game.
“We felt we had one of the younger point guard tandems in the league that we can build on and offer us championship minutes now,” Erik Spoelstra said.
“We felt very good about moving forward with them. That’s one of the main reasons we didn’t sign a veteran point guard. We’ve moved in a direction of playing more point guard basketball this year than we have the last two years. Less with hybrid point guards, more with them."
May 15, 2013 1:13 PM EDT
During Chris Bosh's tenure with the Toronto Raptors, the roster was built around him as their franchise player.
When joining the Miami Heat in 2010, Bosh was expected to take on a more complementary role on offense alongside LeBron James and Dwyane Wade.
“Everybody says they want to win,’’ said Bosh. “But it’s always about what you’re willing to sacrifice to win. My situation is totally different. I rarely get play calls and before I was getting about 20 touches a game just off play calls (with Toronto). And that’s just something that I had to get used to. Just trying to match a different role in a different situation, it’s been extremely difficult for me. But I’ve kind of embraced that challenge and it continues to be a challenge. It’s never been easy. I try to rise to the top no matter what I do.’’
May 15, 2013 10:42 AM EDT
The New York Knicks trail the Indiana Pacers 3-1 after losing 93-82 in Game 4.
“My frustration with myself is extremely high. I take the blame for this whole series,” J.R. Smith said. “It started off in (Game 5) in Boston... I haven’t been playing (like) myself. I haven’t been playing my part.
“I’ve been letting my teammates down. I’ve been letting my coaches down. And it doesn’t feel good.”
Smith went 7-for-22 in Game 4 and is now shooting 28.6 percent over this last six games.
“Everybody’s been encouraging me, ‘Keep shooting, keep shooting, keep shooting,’” Smith said. “I’m still trying to get to the basket, trying to get easy ones, easy layups, get to the free-throw line.
“But I’m even missing layups, too. I missed a technical free throw tonight. It’s just frustrating.”
May 14, 2013 5:46 PM EDT
Sam Hinkie has been officially hired as general manager of the Philadelphia 76ers.
“Houston Rockets owner Leslie Alexander hired me to bring a data-driven approach to their front office and general manager Daryl Morey allowed me to flourish. I am so fortunate and grateful for the opportunities they both afforded me,” said Hinkie. “I agreed to come lead the Sixers because the first, and to my mind, the most important building block is in place: A thoughtful ownership group committed to building a basketball operation that is data-driven, strategic and relentlessly innovative. The challenge ahead of us is real, but I am invigorated to build something lasting for Philadelphia.”
Hinkie graduated summa cum laude from the University of Oklahoma and received his MBA from Stanford.
While with the Rockets, Hinkie utilized data to improve decision making in the NBA Draft, via free agency and trades, and in-game strategy. Additionally, Hinkie provided day-to-day management of basketball operations, managed the Rockets' salary cap and scouted prospects in person across the collegiate and professional ranks
May 14, 2013 12:52 PM EDT
LeBron James played one fewer minute per game in the opening round of the 2013 NBA Playoffs compared to 2012 (37.8 to 36.8) and 1.2 fewer minutes in the Conference Semifinals (42.2 to 41.0).
Perhaps more importantly, James and the Miami Heat are on pace to play fewer games and fewer cumulative minutes.
The Heat needed five games to defeat the New York Knicks in the opening round last season, allowing this season's sweep of the Milwaukee Bucks to result in 42 fewer minutes for James.
If the Heat beat the Bulls in Game 5 and James plays 40 minutes, he will have played 49 fewer total minutes.
The Boston Celtics extended last season's Eastern Conference Finals to seven games and 320 total minutes for James.
If the Heat ultimately advance to The Finals in five games, James will enter the final round having played in approximately 180 fewer minutes than last season.
James showed no signs of fatigue in last season's Finals, but it was certainly a concern for many observers considering what he was being assigned to do on both sides of the floor.
Since the NBA expanded to the best of seven format for the entire postseason in 2003, 89 percent of teams that were the first to win two consecutive games ultimately won the series.
When Chris Bosh and Mario Chalmers engaged in an argument on the floor about a mistaken defensive assignment in Game 3, Joakim Noah elevated the situation by demonstratively clapping in their direction.
Lance Stephenson increased his overall shooting percentage from 37.6 in 2011-12 to 45.9 this season.
Roy Hibbert finished 10th in the voting for Defensive Player of the Year this season.
Mark Jackson called Monta Ellis the third best shooting guard in the NBA when he was hired.
Klay Thompson had 29 points while shooting 7-for-8 on three-pointers in the first half.
The Grizzlies are allowing Kevin Durant to average 35.5 points, 13 rebounds and 7.5 assists.
Michael Curry has been associate head coach of the 76ers for three seasons.
Darius Miller averaged 2.3 points and 1.5 rebounds while with the Pelicans and most impressively shot 39.3 percent from three.
Joakim Noah is one of the NBA's best big men, but he also continue to get measurably better.
Dirk Nowitzki had a PER of 23.4 during the 10-11 season, but it has dropped to 21.7 and 19.8 in the past two seasons.
LeBron James said he "wouldn't be surprised" if Erik Spoelstra "stuck" him onto Nate Robinson late in games.
May 07, 2013 | Elias Sports
Teams up by 16 points at the four-minute mark had won 392 consecutive games.
David Joerger, currently an assistant coach under Lionel Hollins with the Grizzlies, is considered one of the top candidates for head coaching jobs in the future.
LeBron James shot 40.6 percent on three point attempts this season, which was easily the best mark of his career.
The Nuggets won a franchise-record 57 games in the regular season.
Kendrick Perkins will receive plenty of minutes against the Grizzlies, who are anchored by Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph.
Carmelo Anthony has struggled in isolation in the postseason.
Apr 29, 2013 | Zach Lowe/ESPN
Kevin Durant dribbled the ball 377 times in Game 3.
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The Bulls have studied how minutes played might correlate with injuries.
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