Gonzaga has so much talent on the offensive end that opposing coaches will have a nightmare game planning against them. With a solid defense, Mark Few has a team that can be legitimate national title contenders. Read More. Written by Cameron Schott on Nov 20, 2014
LeBron James framed the Cleveland Cavaliers' state as "fragile" after the team dropped to 5-7 with a 110-93 home loss to Toronto Raptors on Saturday.
"We're a very fragile team right now," James said. "Well, we were a fragile team from the beginning. Any little adversity hits us, we just shell up. That's something that will come with experience.
"This is not even the lowest it's going to get for us. You guys know, the lowest it can get is up 17 in the fourth quarter of Game 2 of the Finals and losing. It can get that low. Or being up 2-1 and going to Game 4 and lose three straight in the Finals. That's very low. So, I'm very optimistic. I'm very positive. More positive than I thought I would be right now, so, we look at what we did wrong, things that we did well and get ready for Orlando coming in on Monday."
James Harden discussed the difference that Trevor Ariza has made in the Houston Rockets' lineup this season.
“His leadership, his defensive abilities, his shot-making -- all three of those things are something that we were lacking last year,” Harden said. “[Ariza] brings that ability to the table this year.”
Harden downplayed the impact of Parsons' departure over the summer, describing himself and Howard as Houston’s cornerstones and the rest of the roster as role players.
Parsons has said he does not pay attention to Ariza's play.
"I don't pay any attention to him," Parsons said recently. "Listen, many people replace many people every year in this league. He's a good, proven player in this league. He's supposed to play good for them."
The Philadelphia 76ers have lost their first 11 games and are eight losses away from the longest-season opening losing streak.
"That's where we're at, everybody," he said. "And we're not crying about it. We don't want sympathy. We come to work. I get it."
The 14 players who have played so far this season for the 76ers have an average age of 23.3 years.
"When I first took this job, when [general manager] Sam [Hinkie] took his job, nobody knew that year two was going to play out like this," Brown said after practice Thursday.
The 76ers were expecting a big improvement with two first round picks, but they instead selected an injured player (Joel Embiid) and one that would remain in Europe (Dario Saric).
"We put our big-boy pants on and made a decision that is best for the club long-term," Brown said. "Time will tell. But the year that we are all now living in is a result of those types of decisions. That's why you look on the floor and see a roster like you do and resumés like you do."
LeBron James is averaging the third-most minutes per game in the NBA at 39.1. Fourth and fifth on that list are Kyrie Irving (38.4 mpg) and Kevin Love (37.0 mpg).
"That has to come down," James said Tuesday, referring to the playing time for the Cleveland Cavaliers' Big 3.
"For me, I don't want to do that all year," James added. "Obviously right now it's difficult because we're trying to find a groove and we're trying to find a rhythm and we're trying to find something that you can't really, you don't want to shortcut it but at the same time you gotta be smart about it."
James played 41 minutes in the Cavaliers' 106-97 loss to the Denver Nuggets on Monday.
Andrei Kirilenko has fallen out of the Brooklyn Nets' rotation and was a healthy inactive for their game against the Miami Heat on Monday, saying he has "no idea" when he could receive playing time again.
“It’s tough, but there’s nothing I can do,” Kirilenko said. “I’m not the one making decisions, and it is what it is.”
Kirilenko has scored just three points in the 35 minutes he’s played across seven games. Kirilenko said Lionel Hollins has been open with him about his decision to leave him out of the rotation.
“I really appreciate it,” Kirilenko said, “but it doesn’t make things easier.”
LeBron James and David Blatt continue to be a work in progress understanding each other.
"Every day we continue to learn each other, as a group, as individuals," James said before the Cleveland Cavaliers' loss on Monday to the Denver Nuggets. "He's an intense guy, very intense guy. Wants to win, wants to do it the right way. He doesn't want to mess around too much with the process, and you can respect that. He gets on us when we do something wrong and he gives us a pat on the back when we do something right. It's been more getting on us than pats on the back thus far, but it's a good thing. It's good for our team."
Blatt was disappointed with the Cavs' energy.
"We just didn't come with the proper mindset and with the energy level that we had the other night and have had the last several games," said Blatt.
"I didn't feel it," James said, refuting that the Cavaliers lacked energy. "It's easy to say that after the fact."
The pressure of joining another Big 3 played a part in Chris Bosh's decision not to sign with the Houston Rockets and instead remain with the Miami Heat on a five-year, $118 million contract.
Bosh had just spent the past four seasons perceived as the third best player in a Big 3 behind LeBron James and Dwyane Wade.
"I could see where people would think that's an attractive site," Bosh told CBSSports.com. "They were trying to win right away. And I was really happy to be touted that I possibly could've been out there. But you know, that doesn't guarantee anything, and I know that. All that guarantees is a bunch of pressure."
"Bottom line, he enjoyed his four years in Miami and believes they can still compete for championships," Bosh's agent, Henry Thomas, told CBSSports.com.
Kobe Bryant scored 44 points on 34 shots from the field in the Los Angeles Lakers' loss on Sunday to the Golden State Warriors.
“I’m more than willing to sit back,” Bryant said after the game, according to Janis Carr of the Orange County Register. “If you think I want to shoot this many times and be as aggressive at 36 years old, you’re freaking crazy.”
"I'd always rather get guys involved and play," Bryant added, according to Baxter Holmes at ESPN Los Angeles. "That's always the intent at the start of the ball game. But [when] you're 10, 12 points in the hole, I've got to try to keep us in the ball game at some point. But it's tough. It's tough."
Meyer Leonard was unsure of himself in his first two NBA seasons, when he was asked to be a traditional "brute" and back-to-the-basket center.
This season, Leonard has shown development in his shooting and has a more defined role as a shooting big man who can stretch the defense.
"There are a lot of things I feel like that have gone against me,'' Leonard said. "And people are like, 'What the heck? We took him early (11th pick in 2012), we're expecting a lot' ... and I think it's just taking a little bit of time.'
"I think people see a 7-footer ... pretty strong ... big ... wide shoulders ... and everyone thought I was a five,'' Leonard said.
Leonard scored seven points and grabbed 12 rebounds in place of LaMarcus Aldridge in the Portland Trail Blazers' 97-87 win over the Brooklyn Nets on Saturday. He was able to pull defenders away from the paint due to his shooting.
"It was kind of me,'' Leonard said of the shift in philosophy. "There was no point in trying to impress people in something that I was not that great at. I wanted to continue to work on defense and rebounding, but also be what they brought me in to do: Be skilled. Run the floor. Shoot the ball when you are open. Be athletic.'
"Once coach started to see me shoot more threes after practice, and shoot them during camps, and in games and summer run ... that's when coach realized 'He can really help us.'"