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Basketball Wiretap
Basketball news gathered from around the net.

76ers Won't Be Favored In Any Of Remaining 69 Games

The Philadelphia 76ers are not currently scheduled to be favored in any of their remaining 69 games.

Their best odds to win are at 44.6 percent on March 30th when they host the Los Angeles Lakers.

The 76ers have yet to win a game this season.

Via Marc Stein/ESPN

LeBron James Remains Optimistic Despite 'Fragile' State Of Cavs

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."

Via Dave McMenamin/ESPN

Thunder Want Serge Ibaka To Keep Shooting 3-4 Three-Pointers Per Game

Serge Ibaka has already tied a career-high for three-point makes and attempts in a season with 23 and 60 respectively.

Ibaka's three-point shooting is expected to continue for the Oklahoma City Thunder after Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant.

“I think it continues,” Scott Brooks said. “He doesn’t necessarily have to live out there and shoot 10 a game. But three or four a game is a good number for him.”

Ibaka is shooting a team-best 38.3 percent from 3-point range — the equivalent of an efficient 1.15 points per shot attempt (or a 57.5 percent 2-point shooter).

“He’s a great shooter,” Brooks said. “He’s not just a great big-man shooter.”

Via Anthony Slater/The Oklahoman

Harden: Rockets Lacked Ariza's Leadership, Defense, Shot-Making Last Season

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."

Via Tim MacMahon/ESPN

Brett Brown: Nobody Knew Year 2 Would Be Like This

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."

Via Matt Breen/Philadelphia Inquirer

LeBron Believes Minutes For Cavs' Big 3 Have To Come Down

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.

Via Joe Vardon/Cleveland Plain Dealer

Andrei Kirilenko Out Of Nets' Rotation

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.”

Via Tim Bontemps/New York Post

LeBron's Relationship With Blatt Remains Work In Progress

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."

Via Joe Vardon/Northeast Ohio Media Group

Bosh Didn't Want 'Pressure' Of Joining Another Big 3 With Rockets

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.

Via Ken Berger/CBS Sports

Kobe: You're Crazy If You Think I Want To Shoot This Much At 36

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."

Via Dan Devine/Yahoo! Sports

Meyers Leonard Shifts Philosophy From 'Brute' Center To Stretch Forward

Meyers Leonard has shown development in his shooting and has a more defined role as a shooting big man who can stretch the defense.

Kobe 'Extremely Jealous' Of Spurs' Longevity Together

Kobe Bryant would love the opportunity to play another playoff series against the Spurs.

Jackson: Warriors' Turnover Issues Not Going To Change Overnight

Stephen Curry has averaged the second-most turnovers in the NBA at 4.4 per game.

Giannis Becoming More Comfortable At Power Forward

Giannis Antetokounmpo finished with 14 points and nine rebounds in 26 minutes.

Vasquez: Raptors Need 'Craziness, Energy' Of James Johnson

James Johnson played strong on-ball and off-ball defense and had 10 rebounds in just 21 minutes.

Anthony Davis Trying To 'Stay Within The System'

Anthony Davis is averaging 24.8 points, 13.0 rebounds, 2.0 assists, 2.5 steals and 4.2 blocks over the first six games of the season with a PER of 36.1.

Heat Using Same Principles On Offense Without LeBron

The Heat rank fifth in offense to start the season, a surprising start considering they're adapting to life without LeBron James.

Spurs Getting Fewer Open Catch-And-Shoot Jumpers

The Spurs are generating fewer open catch-and-shoot jumpers, as more of their shots are coming off the dribble and later in the shot clock.

Popovich: We'll Never Play Better Than Games 3-5 Of 2014 Finals

On a points per 100 possessions basis, the Spurs scored 131.0 in Game 3, 127.6 in Game 4 and 116.5 in Game 5.

Week 2 NBA Efficiency Diff. Rankings: Raptors, Rockets, Warriors In Top 3

The Raptors rank second in offense (113.7 points per 100 possessions) and are sixth in defense (101.4 points per 100 possessions allowed).

Bucks Encouraged By Progress Of Giannis In Small-Ball Power Forward Role

The Bucks have used Giannis Antetokounmpo as a small-ball power forward this season off the bench.

LeBron James Endorses Dion Waiters' New Reserve Role

LeBron James has endorsed the Cavaliers moving Dion Waiters to the bench as the sixth man, believing it will add more balance to the team.

Kings Taking 'Wait-And-See Approach' With Current Roster

The Kings have started the season with a 4-1 record and are comfortable with their roster now after a year in which they have been incredibly active in exploring trade scenarios.

Nowitzki Believes He Could Co-Exist With Aldridge

LaMarcus Aldridge has said he plans on signing a new five-year deal with the Blazers this summer.

Draymond Green To Remain In Warriors' Starting Lineup

Draymond Green scored a career-high 24 points on Wednesday and continues to start at power forward for the Warriors.

Cavs Rank 29th In Pace, 30th In AST Percentage, 27th In Defense

The Cavaliers rank 14th in offense at 105.7 points per 100 possessions (despite ranking 30th in AST%).

Rivers: Clippers Would Be Destroyed By Warriors In Playoff Series

Thge Clippers were blown out by the Warriors in a nationally televised game on Wednesday by a final score of 121-104.

Waiters: Catch-And-Shoot Isn't My Game

Dion Waiters worked out for an extra 40 minutes after the Cavaliers' shootaround on Tuesday primarily working on catch-and-shoot 3-pointers.

LeBron Trying New Leadership Style As Cavs 'Play Selfish Basketball And Lose'

LeBron James jogged through his final minutes in the Cavaliers' 101-82 loss to the Blazers.

Bullock Sees 14-15 As 'Do-Over' From Rookie Season

Reggie Bullock made four of six three-pointers in his season debut on Monday.
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