December 2014 Basketball Wiretap

LeBron: 'Chill Mode' Had Nothing To Do With Not Giving My All

Dec 30, 2014 2:22 PM

LeBron James elaborated on describing his disposition as "chill mode" in the Cleveland Cavaliers' 98-89 win over the Orlando Magic last week.

"It had absolutely nothing to do with me not giving my all," James said. "I just took it to another level."

James has heard people say the comments could mean he was not giving his all on the court.

"It was the second game of a back-to-back and I was just feeling the game out like I always do," James said. "Kevin [Love] had it going, so there was no need to force anything.

"I just went off [offensively] after that [altercation]. It had nothing to do with me not playing hard. I'm always leaving it out on the floor. I approach each game differently and adjust accordingly throughout the game. That's what happened."

Chris Haynes/Cleveland Plain Dealer

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

Serge Ibaka Continues To Refrain From Complaining About Lack Of 4th Quarter Looks

Dec 30, 2014 10:52 AM

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.

On Sunday, Ibaka had 24 points through three quarters and didn't score in the fourth.

Ibaka has never publicly complained about the issue.

“That’s basketball, man. I’m not really worried about that,” Ibaka said. “We’ve got great players on the team. We were playing against a good team, too. We’ve got players like Reggie (Jackson) and Russ that can make plays and (Anthony) Morrow can shoot the ball. I was not the only one player on the court that can shoot the ball. That happens sometimes. But it’s not something I’m worried about. I’m sure the most important thing is we’re going to learn from the mistakes and get better next game.”

Darnell Mayberry/Oklahoman

Tags: Serge Ibaka, Oklahoma City Thunder, NBA, NBA B-Ball IQ

Chris Bosh Wants To Play In Post More As Heat Break Habits Of Playing With LeBron

Dec 30, 2014 10:48 AM

Chris Bosh would like to not play with so much frequency on the perimeter and move into the post now that LeBron James is not the focal point of the Miami Heat offense.

"Old habits die hard," Bosh said. "It's what I've been doing for four years. That's what we needed, we needed to spread the floor. Now, we can kind of play in the interior a little more. We don't have that 6-8, 260-pound point guard that can get in the lane."


Missing eight games because of a calf strain allowed Bosh to reflect on what his game was lacking.


The Heat want Bosh to be more of a post presence. 

"Just getting closer to the basket," Bosh said. "I think I've been outside a little bit too much. It's a little easier to kind of float around and shoot a couple more threes but I need to get back to my game, which is 15 feet and in. I want to get to the post a lot more and I think I'm a lot deadlier when I'm closer to the basket. Those two-point shots are a lot better than 20 feet."

Shandel Richardson/South Florida Sun Sentinel

Tags: Chris Bosh, Miami Heat, NBA, NBA B-Ball IQ

LeBron: Cavs Not Very Good Right Now

Dec 29, 2014 12:52 AM

LeBron James assessed the Cleveland Cavaliers' play so far, after dropping 18-12 for the season with Sunday's blowout home loss to the Detroit Pistons.

"We're not a very good team," James said. "As far as on the court, we're still trying to find our way as well. We've won some good games, we've lost some games. But right now, we're just not very good in every aspect of the game that we need to be to compete every night."

The Cavaliers are 11-6 at home.

"I can't tell you what it was," Kevin Love said. "We need to play better in front of our home crowd, home fans, and it's just unacceptable."

Dave McMenamin/ESPN

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

Mavs Praise Shooting, Readiness Of Charlie Villanueva

Dec 28, 2014 5:24 PM

Charlie Villanueva signed with the Dallas Mavericks to attend training camp on a non-guaranteed deal and earned a roster spot.

The Mavericks have praised Villanueva's readiness and shooting in limited minutes. He has averaged 11.3 points in 13.9 minutes over the last four games.

“All he needs is minutes. He can fill it up,” Chandler Parsons said. “He can really shoot the ball, probably our best shooter on the roster. He just has a knack for scoring and we need that.” 

Added Dirk Nowitzki: “He’s got a flamethrower out there, and it’s always ready to roll. He’s been fun to watch.”

"Teams can’t lose him or leave him. If they do, he makes them pay for it," Tyson Chandler said.

Tim MacMahon/ESPN

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

Kerr Wants Warriors To Be Preemptive In Avoiding Playoff Pain

Dec 28, 2014 11:31 AM

The Golden State Warriors ended their losing streak, but were a little out of sync in their win over the Minnesota Timberwolves.

One of the Warriors' main issues has been turnovers.

"I think our team has poor habits that we're trying to solve, that we're trying to get better with," Steve Kerr said. "The history of the league is good teams kind of have to go through playoff pain before they really get it, before they take that next step. I want to be pre-emptive.

"I want our guys to understand that we're good enough now to play with anybody. Our record shows that. Let's get rid of those bad habits now and not have to sit here in May and wonder, 'Gosh, if I hadn't just made seven careless plays. ...' "

Diamond Leung/San Jose Mercury News

Tags: Golden State Warriors, NBA, NBA B-Ball IQ

Chris Paul Impressed With Lowry, How Free Raptors Play

Dec 28, 2014 11:23 AM

Kyle Lowry had 25 points and seven assists in the Toronto Raptors' win over Chris Paul and the Los Angeles Clippers.

Lowry is no longer obsessed with individual battles, but he clearly enjoyed beating Paul.

“It’s about the wins for me,” Lowry said. “It’s always great to go against a likely Hall of Fame point guard and it’s always great to have that competition but for me it’s about my team.”

Paul seemed particularly impressed with the flow of the Raptors.

“You see how free they play,” Paul said. “Kyle (Lowry) is tough. He has been playing amazing this year, but that team is playing with a lot of confidence. They are playing very free. They are really good.”

Mike Ganter/Toronto Sun

Tags: Kyle Lowry, Toronto Raptors, NBA, NBA B-Ball IQ

Derek Fisher Focused On Bigger Picture

Dec 28, 2014 11:19 AM

Derek Fisher is having a tough time in his first season as head coach, but he insists the New York Knicks are taking the longview.

“For me, it’s just the beginning,” said Fisher. “For our team and organization, in terms of what we’re trying to build and where we’re going, it’s just the beginning.”

Fisher went straight from playing to coaching, unlike another Phil Jackson disciple in Brian Shaw. Jackson advised Shaw to get away from the game for a year before trying to become a coach.

“Given time and the right personnel, I think that he’ll get things in order," Shaw said of Fisher. “Phil Jackson has a track record of success, though this is his first time in this role. Once they get the pieces they need and the type of players that they need in that system, I think they’ll be fine.”

“He’s a guy that’s always cool, calm and collected, regardless of what the situation is,” Carmelo Anthony said. “He’s our leader, so if he’s discombobulated, then everybody’s going to be discombobulated. I think he’s doing a great job kind of staying the course and going through the journey with us.”

“It’s tough for him,” Stoudemire said. “He’s coaching a team where most of the guys are on the last year of their deals. So some players are playing for egos, some players are playing for different personal reasons. It’s tough to manage those types of personalities when it comes down to that type of contract structure.”

Andrew Keh/New York Times

Tags: Derek Fisher, New York Knicks, NBA, NBA B-Ball IQ

Bulls Experiment With Nikola Mirotic At Small Forward

Dec 28, 2014 11:09 AM

Tom Thibodeau experimented with using Nikola Mirotic at small forward in Saturday's game for the Chicago Bulls against the New Orleans Pelicans.

Mirotic has been very productive in his minutes, which the Bulls are looking to expand.

"I just wanted to get a look at it," said Thibodeau. "It was a start. I want to look at the film."

Thibodeau was asked if he may use Mirotic more at small forward.

"We just have to figure out what we have to do, where we can play efficiently with him on the floor."

Cody Westerlund/CBS Sports

Tags: Nikola Mirotic, Chicago Bulls, NBA, NBA B-Ball IQ

Kevin Love Sits In 4th Quarter For First Time Of Career

Dec 27, 2014 6:31 PM

The Cleveland Cavaliers used a smaller lineup during the fourth quarter of their win over the Orlando Magic.

A small lineup of Matthew Dellavedova, Dion Waiters, Mike Miller, LeBron James and Tristan Thompson was being used down the stretch to combat Orlando's small-ball unit.


Kevin Love didn't register a single minute in the fourth and he wasn't injured. 

"The way that Orlando was playing, they didn't make a particular substitution and we were just matched up so well defensively, we decided to not to go with it," Blatt said about not putting Love in the game. "Certainly to Kevin's credit, he actually kind of recognized it and supported that."


Love said he did not recall ever sitting out a fourth quarter without being fouled out or injured. 

"It's all about the matchup," Love said. "Had it been different, it might have been a tough pill to swallow. Tristan was doing a phenomenal job on [Nikola] Vucevic, forcing him into tough shots and blocking shots. It was really how they matched up. They went small. It wasn't hard for me at all. I was up pretty much every play I could be."

"Kevin Love sacrificed in the fourth quarter. He didn't play and was helping, cheering, slapping hands every time we came to the sidelines," James said of Love's engagement. "We took a step forward in that and I hope everyone seen that. I hope everyone saw it. I know I did. I saw it."

Chris Haynes/Cleveland Plain Dealer

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

Faried: Meeting With Shaw Has Helped 110 Percent

Nicki Jhabvala/Denver Post

Bucks Use Facial Coding Expert To Gain Edge In Roster Decisions

Kevin Randall/New York Times

Klay Thompson Trying To Leave 'Bashful' Demeanor In Past

Ethan Sherwood Strauss/ESPN

Jazz Studying Grizzlies On How To Effectively Use Bigs

David Locke/1280 The Zone

Rondo To Study Film Of New Teammates To Ease Transition

Dwaine Price/Star-Telegram

Silver Believes Some Teams Are Going Through 'Legitimate Rebuilding Process'

Andy Katz/ESPN

Lin Understands Kobe's Game-Winner Attempts, But 'I Would Love To Shoot Some'

Baxter Holmes/ESPN

Elfrid Payton Not Trying To Emulate Rondo's Game

Josh Robbins/Orlando Sentinel

ROY Winner Has Led In Combined Per-Game Stats For 26 Of Past 27 Awards

Kevin Pelton/ESPN

Ranadive Wants Kings' Next Coach To Be Offensive-Minded 'Jazz Director'

James Ham/ESPN

Durant Strongly Refutes Notion Players Don't Want To Play With Kobe

Sam Amick/USA Today

Kobe: You Can't Get To Supreme Level Without Channeling Dark Side

Ramona Shelburne/ESPN

Kings To Use Version Of 4-On-5 Defense

Adrian Wojnarowski/Yahoo! Sports

Jimmy Butler Credits Mentorship Of Deng For Development

K.C. Johnson/Chicago Tribune

LeBron Has 'Expanded Rest Of His Game' While Athleticism Declines

Dave McMenamin/ESPN

Brett Brown Upset By 76ers' Decision To Trade Brandon Davies

Dei Lyman/Comcast

Steve Kerr Using Seahawks' Practice Atmosphere After Visiting Carroll

Tim Kawakami/San Jose Mercury News

Byron Scott Considering Starting Kobe At Point Guard

Bill Oram/Orange County Register

Knicks' Players Don't Like Triangle, Hope To Run Different System

Chris Broussard/ESPN

Wolves Ready To Turn Season Into Rebuild Instead Of Retool

Jerry Zgoda/Star Tribune