The Chicago Bulls took a 1-0 lead in their second round series against the Cleveland Cavaliers last night, stealing home court advantage and setting up something close to a must-win game for the Cavs in Game 2.
At the heart of the Cavs’ loss was a lackadaisical, curiously careless performance from their leader LeBron James.
James put up 19 points on 9-for-22 shooting with six turnovers – his lowest output since a 2-for-10 night in Game 5 of last year’s Conference Finals. He appeared to lack focus and a sense of urgency.
With a quarter of the regular season in the books, NBA All-Star balloting began in earnest yesterday.
Of course I took the first available opportunity to vote for my ten most deserving starters – three frontcourt players and two guards from each conference:
FC: Anthony Davis (New Orleans)
25.1 PPG, 10.6 RPG, 2.9 BPG, 32.9 PER, 10-11 record
The Chicago Bulls traded Luol Deng last night for a soon-to-be-waived Andrew Bynum and some maybe somewhat useful draft picks.
That Deng, whose contract expires this summer, is being given up for salary cap relief and second rounders is a reflection of the NBA’s financial realities and Chicago’s new long-term direction rather than his value as a player and accomplishments as a Bull. Let us appreciate that value and those accomplishments here as we celebrate the finest player to ever come out of Great Britain (and Sudan).
Here are three clips you probably won’t see on the NBA.com highlight reel from the Pacers’ spirited win over Miami last night:
1) George Hill does his best DeAndre Jordan impersonation:
Four quick observations from the Chicago Bulls’ 82-81 win over the New York Knicks last night (beyond the obvious – that Derrick Rose made a great play to win the game despite the rust he’s still clearly carrying):
1) This alternate jersey nonsense must stop.
Why are the Bulls playing their home opener in road jerseys? What are these hideous orange things the Knicks are wearing? They clash horribly with the red paint on the United Center floor, diminishing the viewing experience.
It’s opening night of the 2013/14 NBA season as the Miami Heat collect their championship rings and face a potential Conference Finals opponent: the Chicago Bulls. It’s time for a screenshot diary.
Is the arena full for the start of the ring ceremony? No, of course it’s not. The Miami Heat: a perennial finalist in the battle for worst fans in the NBA.
The over/under betting lines for team win totals have been released for the 2013/14 season. Which teams will win more games than Vegas predicts and which teams will win less? And how many will prove me right and ultimately win me some money? First up, let us tackle the Eastern Conference.
Atlanta Hawks: 39.5 wins; UNDER.
The Hawks won 44 games last year and have since lost their leading scorer and best defender (Josh Smith). Paul Millsap is a good pickup on a very good contract, but when he and Jeff Teague are your second and third best players and DeMarre Carroll is in your starting lineup, you’re not winning 40 games – which is fine by me, because any 6th-seeded team that finishes 26th in attendance deserves to never make the playoffs again (see below). Give a fanbase that actually cares a chance.
The 1990 Draft is one of the least revisited in NBA history. It was relatively weak in terms of impact players, but full of interesting case studies.
It produced one Hall of Famer (Gary Payton), a 3-time champ (Toni Kukoc), a hugely talented disappointment (Derrick Coleman), a 48th pick who made the All-Star team (Cedric Ceballos), a professional boxer (Kendall Gill), and a Tourette’s syndrome sufferer who refused to stand for the Star-Spangled Banner (Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf).
Here are the top 10 picks and their profiles, re-ordered with the benefit of hindsight:
1) Gary Payton (picked No. 2 by Seattle)
1,335 games, 35.3 minutes, 16.3 points, 6.7 assists, 3.9 rebounds, 1.8 steals, 46.6% FGs, 18.9 PER.
Best season: 1999/00 – 82 games, 24.2 points, 8.9 assists, 6.5 rebounds, 1.9 assists, 44.8% FGs, 23.6 PER, 45-37 record, All-NBA 1st team, All-Defense 1st team.