December 2012 Basketball Wiretap

Skiles Likes Mbah a Moute At Power Forward Spot

Dec 29, 2012 10:33 PM

The Milwaukee Bucks have won six of their last nine games with Luc Mbah a Moute starting at the power forward position.

"He's always had his most success playing there," Scott Skiles said of Mbah a Moute at the four. "The way he's playing right now, when we've had him in the game at the three, he's been able to post up other three's. I don't think it really matters anymore, either spot."

Mbah a Moute operates best from the elbows, where he can free himself up for drives to the basket.

"He's driving the ball and drawing contact," Skiles said. "If you are going 1 for 2 (from the line), you are still getting fouled. It allows us to get into the penalty earlier and somebody else gets fouled and can make two free throws. It has kind of a ripple effect."

Andrew Gruman/FOXSportsWisconsin

Tags: Luc Mbah a Moute, Milwaukee Bucks, NBA, NBA B-Ball IQ

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LeBron On Pace To Join Bird, Kareem, Wilt For Record Month

Dec 28, 2012 11:27 AM

LeBron James is averaging 26.2 points, 8.4 rebounds and 7.4 assists for December.

If James can sustain those numbers over the final three games of December, he will join Larry Bird, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Wilt Chamberlain as the only players to post such numbers in a month in the past 45 years.

Brid was the last to accomplish the feat in March of 1987.

“We don’t take LeBron’s talent for granted,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. “We never do. He gets it done on both ends. He takes a big workload for us and took over in the fourth quarter again [Wednesday] and made some big plays for us.”

Andre C. Fernandez/Miami Herald

Tags: LeBron James, Miami Heat, NBA, NBA B-Ball IQ

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Del Negro Seeks Continued Improvement As Clippers' Streak Hits 15

Dec 28, 2012 11:19 AM

The Los Angeles Clippers have won 15 consecutive games, but Vinny Del Negro has identified multiple areas where he wants his team to improve.

"Sometimes when you win, as coaches, you still see mistakes and things that we have to get better at," Del Negro said. "If you don't improve, eventually it's going to catch up to you. So it's a never-ending process."

Del Negro lists rebounding, trust on defense, reducing turnovers and better three-point defense as areas the Clippers need to improve upon.

"We're making a number of mistakes, that's for sure, but overall I think we're playing hard," Del Negro said. "We're playing better for longer stretches, which is good."

Broderick Turner/Los Angeles Times

Tags: Los Angeles Clippers, NBA, NBA B-Ball IQ

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Exec: Dwight Currently Playing Like Koufos

Dec 27, 2012 12:45 PM

Dwight Howard is visibly not the same player he was before undergoing back surgery.

"Dwight Howard is basically Kosta Koufos," said one NBA executive on Wednesday.

"If you dropped in from another planet and had no idea who the players were, you would never know that Dwight Howard was one of the best players," said another executive.

Howard was ejected from Wednesday's loss by the Lakers to the Nuggets.

Kevin Ding/Orange County Register

Tags: Dwight Howard, Los Angeles Lakers, NBA, NBA B-Ball IQ

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Austin Rivers Currently Having NBA's Worst WARP Season On Record

Dec 26, 2012 2:43 PM

Austin Rivers projects to rate nearly seven wins worse than a replacement-level player by a player metric developed by Kevin Pelton, which would be the worst WARP score in the 34 seasons on record. The data pool starts with 1979-80, the first NBA season with the 3-point line.

Jason Collins, Adam Morrison, Michael Curry and Desmond Mason are the five other players with the worst WARP seasons.

Rivers is making just 34.6 percent of his attempts inside the 3-point line.

Kevin Pelton/ESPN

Tags: Austin Rivers, New Orleans Pelicans, NBA, NBA B-Ball IQ

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Mavericks Focusing More On Player Development

Dec 26, 2012 12:32 PM

The Dallas Mavericks are four games under .500 and the 12-13 season could end up being more about player development than contending.

Jae Crowder, Bernard James and Jared Cunningham, Dominique Jones, Rodrigue Beaubois and Chris Douglas-Roberts are figure to receive more minutes.

"Player development is a major focus of our team," Carlisle said. "In large part, we've had two second-round picks in our rotation the majority of the year. Now, they've had to be in there in a lot of cases. With Dirk [Nowitzki] back, that will change somewhat."

Dwaine Price/Star-Telegram

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

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Rockets Want To Attack, Play Faster Than Opponent

Dec 26, 2012 11:29 AM

The Houston Rockets blew out the Chicago Bulls on Tuesday by a final score of 120-97.

Omer Asik had 20 points, 18 rebounds and three blocks against his former team.

“We just want to attack,” Asik said. “We don’t care … how many points we are down or how many points we are up. We just want to attack and play faster than the other team. That’s our mindset.”

“Our best offense is our defense, hands down,” said Chandler Parsons. “We’re so much more efficient on the break when we can make plays, space the floor and let James (Harden) do his thing or let me or Jeremy (Lin) push the ball. And it starts with O (Asik).”

Jonathan Feigen/Houston Chronicle

Tags: Houston Rockets, NBA, NBA B-Ball IQ

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Heat Retain Confidence In Chalmers In Big Situations

Dec 26, 2012 11:25 AM

Mario Chalmers scored 20 points in the Miami Heat's 103-97 win on Christmas over the Thunder.

Chalmers entered the game averaging 6.5 points per game.

“No one ever doubts Rio in big games,” Erik Spoelstra said.

“You want him in your foxhole when the pressure is high.”

Chalmers helped the Heat extend their fourth quarter lead with five consecutive points.

“We’re clearly a better team when he is at his best,” Spoelstra said. “You have to have everyone as a live offensive threat. Everyone has to have balance.”

Joseph Goodman/Miami Herald

Tags: Mario Chalmers, Miami Heat, NBA, NBA B-Ball IQ

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Wizards Have 'Cancerous' Situation

Dec 24, 2012 2:04 PM

The Washington Wizards are 3-22 on the season and turmoil amongst the players is increasing.

"It's like there's a cancer in here," said one player.

There exists a lack of accountability among the players, according to sources.

"When you play with confidence, and you're together, it's different," Nene said. "You feel, you know your teammates know you, and you give your best. But right here, right now, it's the opposite. Total opposite."

David Aldridge/NBA.com

Tags: Washington Wizards, NBA, NBA B-Ball IQ

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Pacers Return Augustin To Backup Role

Dec 24, 2012 1:12 PM

The Indiana Pacers have elevated D.J. Augustin to again be George Hill's backup at point guard.

The Pacers had experimented with giving backup minutes to Ben Hansbrough.

Mike Wells/Indianapolis Star

Tags: D.J. Augustin, Ben Hansbrough, Indiana Pacers, NBA, NBA B-Ball IQ

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Gasol, D'Antoni Meet To Clear Air
Pau Gasol and Mike D'Antoni met on Wednesday evening at a Manhattan Beach restaurant to discuss their differences.

Mike Bresnahan/Los Angeles Times

Del Negro Successfully Managing Clippers' Depth
Vinny Del Negro has successfully managed minutes for a deep Clippers' team.

Broderick Turner/Los Angeles Times

Blazers Win 4th Consecutive Game, Relying On Playing Hard
The Blazers have won four games in a row to get back to .500 for the season.

Mike Tokito/Oregonian

Rockets Believe Harden, Lin Issue Will Dissipate When Defense Improves
The Rockets continue to believe that James Harden and Jeremy Lin will develop better chemistry over time.

Brian T. Smith/Houston Chronicle

Heat Receiving Better Production At PG
The point guard position is beginning to become an area of production for the Heat.

Steph Rogers/Miam Herald

Williams' Stance On Nets' Offense Remains Unchanged
Deron Williams stepped back from his comments about preferring Jerry Sloan's offense in comparison to Avery Johnson's.

Stefan Bondy/New York Daily News

Warriors Prefer To Remain Below Tax But Don't Have Mandate
The Warriors are one of the few teams in the NBA to never pay the luxury tax threshold, though they are currently over the threshold.

Tim Kawakami/San Jose Mercury News

Gasol Has More Issue With D'Antoni's System Than Playing With Howard
Pau Gasol returned to the Lakers' lineup on Tuesday.

Sam Amick/USA Today

Deron Williams Admits Preference For Sloan's System
Deron Williams recently admitted that the system he played under while with Jerry Sloan was a better fit than the one he currently plays under with Avery Johnson.

Ryan Carreon/Deseret News

Copeland Scores 29 In 28 Minutes
With Carmelo Anthony out, Chris Copeland had 29 points and five rebounds in 28 minutes.

Pat Leonard/New York Daily News

Daye Receiving Opportunity To Prove He Belongs In Rotation
Austin Daye spent most of the season practicing at power forward, but he has a chance to stick in the rotation at small forward.

David Mayo/MLive

Bulls' Offense Struggles With Hinrich Back, Teague To Bench
Marquis Teague returned to the Bulls' bench on Monday after two strong games with Kirk Hinrich injured.

K.C. Johnson/Chicago Tribune

Calderon Taking Lead Role For Raptors
Jose Calderon has been outstanding for the Raptors over their past two games, correcting course on what had been a disappointing season to date.

Doug Smith/Toronto Star

Bynum: Dwight Will Have To Adjust Playing With Kobe
Andrew Bynum said playing with Kobe Bryant stunted his development as a player.

Mike Bresnahan/Los Angeles Times

Wizards Become Only Team In NBA Not Averaging At Least 90 PPG
The Wizards have struggled offensively throughout the season and have been particularly inefficient since A.J. Price broke his right hand four games ago.

Michael Lee/Washington Post

Heat Settle In On Starting Haslem Over Battier
Udonis Haslem is starting at power forward for the Heat instead of Shane Battier.

Joseph Goodman/Miami Herald

Drummond Stays Consistent With Pregame Routine
Andre Drummond follows the same routine before every game.

David Borges/New Haven Register

Spurs To Increase Usage Of Duncan-Splitter Combo
The Spurs are beginning to give Tim Duncan and Tiago Splitter extended minutes together.

Mike Monroe/San Antonio Express-News

Howard Still Not Fully Recovered From Back Surgery
Dwight Howard has said he still needs to get his timing and explosiveness back.

Mark Medina/Los Angeles Daily News

Kobe Sees Dwight Maturing
When Dwight Howard was traded to the Lakers in August, Kobe Bryant said the center's "clown act" would not be accepted on his new team.

Adrian Wojnarowski/Yahoo! Sports