Basketball Wiretap

LeBron: We've Improved Mentally More Than Anything

Jan 26, 2015 10:34 AM

LeBron James had 34 points, seven rebounds and five assists in 39 minutes in the Cleveland Cavaliers' 108-98 home win over the Oklahoma City Thunder.

"We've improved, mentally more than anything," LeBron James said.

The Cavaliers have won six straight games.

"We're a confident bunch, but for us, we're a humble bunch," James said. "It's one game, against a very experienced team, a very talented team, very good team that's been together for a while and it shows that we can match up with that caliber team."

"I felt the atmosphere was a playoff atmosphere," Blatt added. "I'm glad we responded well to that kind of matchup."

Joe Vardon/Cleveland Plain-Dealer

Tags: LeBron James, Cleveland Cavaliers, NBA, NBA B-Ball IQ

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Cavs' Unbalanced Roster Led To Poor Body Language, Effort

Jan 25, 2015 7:13 PM

Several unnamed players on the Cleveland Cavaliers came to the realization that their roster was not built to get any further than the second round before they made a series of trades in January.

One player said the frustration of an "unbalanced roster probably contributed" to the players' poor body language and effort level.

Another said "it was never Coach [David] Blatt's fault."

The Cavaliers had just two functional big men following Anderson Varejao's injury, but Timofey Mozgov has made a huge difference.

The backcourt was also improved with J.R. Smith and Iman Shumpert.

Chris Haynes/Cleveland Plain Dealer (via Fear The Sword)

Tags: Cleveland Cavaliers, NBA, NBA B-Ball IQ

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Jeremy Lin Receives Healthy DNP-CD

Jan 24, 2015 3:29 PM

Jeremy Lin was a healthy scratch, DNP-CD during the Los Angeles Lakers' loss to the San Antonio Spurs on Friday.

Jordan Clarkson got the start at point guard, with Ronnie Price backing him up.

"He just looked like he was very poised and the moment wasn't too big for him," Byron Scott said of Clarkson.

"I know what Jeremy can do, so the next game it might be different."

Lin left the locker room after talking to one reporter while a majority of them were still interviewing Scott outside the door.

Mike Bresnahan/Los Angeles Times

Tags: Jeremy Lin, Los Angeles Lakers, NBA, NBA B-Ball IQ

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LeBron: Cavs Now 'Clicking' Due To Timofey Mozgov

Jan 22, 2015 11:08 AM

Timofey Mozgov has averaged 10.3 points, 9.3 rebounds and 1.1 blocks in seven games since being traded to the Cleveland Cavaliers.

The Cavaliers lost their first three games with Mozgov, but have since won four in a row and LeBron James believes they're now "clicking."

Mozgov's biggest impact is on defense protecting the rim.

"It's funny, I was talking to my friend the other day and I said he's probably the best, as far as big, true big," James said. "You know, Chris Bosh is a great big, Kevin Love is a great big. But I'm talking about a true, 7-foot, big guy. He's probably the best one I've played with since Z (Zydrunas Ilgauskas).

"They have different skill sets, but they both have skill. They know how to play. Some times you get a lot of bigs that are just big. He knows how to play and it's great to have him out there."

Anderson Varejao brings a lot of intangibles to the Cavaliers, but he has never been a real rim protector.

"Having a big guy to protect the rim like that is huge," James said. "It helps Kevin out, it helps us guards, knowing that if we get beat you're going to have someone protecting the rim. And he's big at all times.

"Every time you drive you know he's going to be there. Either you're going to have to make a tough shot, he's going to block a shot, he's going to change a shot or foul you. To have that kind of protection is huge for us."

Joe Vardon/Cleveland Plain Dealer

Tags: Timofey Mozgov, Cleveland Cavaliers, NBA, NBA B-Ball IQ

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Dion Waiters Treated 'With Love' By Thunder, Gets To Touch The Ball

Jan 20, 2015 4:50 PM

Dion Waiters was averaging 14.4 points, 2.2 rebounds and 1.6 assists per game over his first five with the Oklahoma City Thunder before Tuesday's game.

“They brought me in since Day One with love,” Waiters said. “It seems like I’ve been here forever. It seems like I’ve been playing with them forever, too. When I came here, we clicked right away.”

Waiters was in and out of the Cleveland Cavaliers starting lineup during his first two NBA seasons and then became an afterthought with the arrival of LeBron James and Kevin Love.

“Listen, they give me the ball," said Waiters. "Like, I touch the ball. Like, I actually, like, you know, touch the ball.”

Waiters is given more freedom with the Thunder.

“I’m able to feel the game out, knowing when to take the shot, when not to,” Waiters said. “Like I said, we got a great group of guys on this team who’s very unselfish and they want you to be successful. So I think I came into a great situation.”


Darnell Mayberry/Oklahoman

Tags: Dion Waiters, Oklahoma City Thunder, Cleveland Cavaliers, NBA, NBA B-Ball IQ

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Derrick Rose Believes Bulls Not On 'Same Page'

Jan 20, 2015 10:38 AM

Derrick Rose expressed frustration after the Chicago Bulls suffered their sixth loss in eight games.

"Everybody has to be on the same page," Rose said. "Until then, we're going to continue to get our ass kicked."

Rose was asked who was not on the same page.

"It's just the whole team," he said.


The Bulls aren't playing with the same type of intensity they have typically shown under Tom Thibodeau.

"I think communication is huge," Rose said. "We're quiet when we're out there, and it's leading to them getting easy baskets. We got to give a better effort. It seems like we're not even competing, and it's f---ing irritating."


Nick Friedell/ESPN

Tags: Derrick Rose, Chicago Bulls, NBA, NBA B-Ball IQ

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Joel Embiid Now Weighs 300 Pounds, 76ers Concerned With His Work Ethic

Jan 18, 2015 11:41 AM

Joel Embiid now weighs close to 300 pounds, representing a substantial gain from his 250 pounds while at Kansas last year.

Embiid's work ethic is being question by some within the Philadelphia 76ers.

Embiid had a blowup with assistant strength and conditioning coach James Davis, which is one of the reasons he was sent home during the team's recent West Coast road trip.

"He's a young, 20-year-old kid who is trying to figure his way into being a professional basketball player and learning life," Luc Mbah a Moute said.

Because of his foot injury, his conditioning has been limited. Embiid can only do things such as use the antigravity treadmill and take long walks to generate a rapid heart rate.

The Sixers are trying to address the added weight. Embiid, however, hasn't always been a willing workout participant, according to sources. He's even blown off conditioning drills, one source added.

Keith Pompey/Philadelphia Inquirer

Tags: Joel Embiid, Philadelphia Sixers, NBA, NBA Misc Rumor, NBA Injury, NBA B-Ball IQ

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Durant: I Like What We Have In Here, Low Post Scoring Not Our Problem

Jan 16, 2015 7:29 PM

The Oklahoma City Thunder were working towards a Brook Lopez trade this week before the Brooklyn Nets decided to keep him for now.

Kevin Durant was asked if he believes the Thunder need more post scoring.

"We put up a lot of points," said Durant. "That's what we do. No matter where it comes from, we score a lot. Adding a good player to your team always helps, but I like what have in here. We put up points. That's not our problem."

The Thunder would have traded away Kendrick Perkins as part of the deal for Lopez.

Anthony Slater/Oklahoman

Tags: Kevin Durant, Brook Lopez, Oklahoma City Thunder, Brooklyn Nets, NBA, NBA Misc Rumor, NBA B-Ball IQ

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Nowitzki In Extended Shooting Slump

Jan 16, 2015 12:59 PM

Dirk Nowitzki is shooting just 46.4 percent from the floor and 34.1 percent on three-point attempts after a strong start to the season.

In December, Nowitzki shot 43.5 percent overall and 27.8 percent from three. 

According to, Nowitzki is hitting 47.7 percent of his "open" two point shots that are greater than 10 feet from the basket -- midrange jumpers, essentially. defines open as the closest defender 4-6 feet away. For comparison, Nowitzki shot 51.8 percent on those shots last season.

Josh Bowe/Mavs Moneyball

Tags: Dirk Nowitzki, Dallas Mavericks, NBA, NBA B-Ball IQ

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Ainge Rebuilding Celtics With Mind On Similar Strategy As 2007

Jan 13, 2015 11:07 AM

Danny Ainge continues to stockpile draft picks for the Boston Celtics, but he admits he's attempting a similar strategy as the one that eventually netted Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen in 2007.

“I think you have to build through the draft, but like last time we built through the draft and we developed players and we were able to trade to get some veteran guys in that were ready to win that were more compatible with Paul (Pierce) at the time, but we did it through the draft. That’s how I look at it and right now we’ll do the same thing; we’ll draft players, we’ll develop players and we’ll look for opportunities to take steps forward.”

Ainge doesn't believe it's possible for the Celtics to have too many draft picks.

“No, because draft picks are always tradable; players are not. Draft picks are always assets until sometimes they’re drafted, until they become players, or until they become paid. I don’t believe so, no.”

Brian Robb/Boston Globe

Tags: Boston Celtics, NBA, NBA B-Ball IQ

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Cavaliers -26 Over 286 Minutes With Love-Irving Combo Minus LeBron
The Cavaliers have struggled this season with LeBron James out of the lineup.

Tom Haberstroh/ESPN

Grizzlies Pursued Jeff Green Trade For At Least One Year
The Grizzlies thought they might acquire Jeff Green as part of last season's trade with the Celtics for Courtney Lee.

Marc Stein/ESPN

Veteran Player: Nobody Wants To Play For 76ers
The Sixers hope their team will become a desired destination for free agents in a few seasons.

Keith Pompey/Philadelphia Inquirer

Blatt: Kevin Love's Not A Max Player Yet
David Blatt had an exchange with a reporter about why they're not winning despite still having Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love in the lineup.

Blake Ellington/Sactown Royalty

Phil Jackson Takes Blame For Knicks' Struggles
Phil Jackson thought the Knicks would be a playoff team this season, but they instead have the worst record in the NBA at 5-35.

Ian Begley/ESPN

Hammond: Bucks Never Had Interest In Trading John Henson
John Henson has shot 58 percent since returning from injury and is playing a Tyson Chandler type of role.

Zach Lowe/Grantland

James Harden Leads NBA In Three-Pointers Created
James Harden leads the NBA in three-point field goals produced with 195 combined made three's and assisted three's.

Kirk Goldsberry/Grantland

Carmelo: Everything Starts Now With Trusting Phil's Plan
Carmelo Anthony hasn't spoken to Phil Jackson since the trade.

Marc Berman/New York Post

Durant To Make Waiters Feel Wanted, Hopes He Develops Into Harden-Like Bench Scorer
Kevin Durant believes Dion Waiters could give the Thunder a similar offensive punch off the bench as what James Harden once provided.

Marc J. Spears/Yahoo! Sports

Casey: Raptors' Offense Works With Long 2's Due To High Foul Rate
The Raptors rank 29th in assist rate and 27th in passes per game with only the Lakers attempting more pull-up jumpers.

Zach Lowe/Grantland

Ujiri Could Make Trade But Won't Compromise Long-Term Growth
The Raptors have an extra future first round pick from the trade with the Knicks that they can flip to acquire an established player to improve their title chances this season.

Zach Lowe/Grantland

Ben Gordon: My Game Is Back
Ben Gordon is averaging 7.5 points in 15.5 minutes per game.

Brian Schmitz/Orlando Sentinel

Thompson Credits Trying To Keep Up With Curry For Improvement In Offense
There have seemingly been more elements of Stephen Curry's game in Klay Thompson.

Jonathan Abrams/Grantland

Stan Van Gundy Optimistic About Direction Of Pistons In Long-Term
Stan Van Gundy had a mini state-of-the-roster address during the Detroit Pistons' trip to New York.

David Mayo/MLive

Raptors Fall Into Bottom-10 On Defense
The Raptors have struggled defensively since Thanksgiving, ranking 27th in points allowed per 100 possessions in games played since then.

John Schuhmann/

76ers View Nerlens Noel's Primary Position As Center
The 76ers have experimented at times this season with playing Nerlens Noel at power forward.

Keith Pompey/Philadelphia Inquirer

Budenholzer: DeMarre Carroll Sets Tone, Identity For Hawks' Defense
DeMarre Carroll is the best player on defense for Mike Budenholzer, routinely guarding the opposing team's best perimeter scorer.

Chris Vivlamore/Atlanta Journal Sentinel

LeBron: 'Chill Mode' Had Nothing To Do With Not Giving My All
LeBron James elaborated on describing his disposition as "chill mode" in the Cavaliers' 98-89 win over the Magic last week.

Chris Haynes/Cleveland Plain Dealer

Serge Ibaka Continues To Refrain From Complaining About Lack Of 4th Quarter Looks
Serge Ibaka continues to not get very many looks on offense in the fourth quarter, averaging only 3.4 points on just 2.6 shot attempts.

Darnell Mayberry/Oklahoman

Chris Bosh Wants To Play In Post More As Heat Break Habits Of Playing With LeBron
Chris Bosh was a perimeter option on offense with LeBron James.

Shandel Richardson/South Florida Sun Sentinel

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