Archive for June 14th, 2012

james harden

The Heat’s defense is hounding Harden. Miami is making things tough by blowing up ball screens and aggressively attacking Harden in the pick-and-roll, preventing him from either turning the corner or resorting to his preferred method of splitting the screen and driving into the paint. The Heat’s aggression has taken Harden completely out of the offense.

“The three times we’ve played them, they’ve done a good job with James; of really attacking his dribble and trapping his pick-and-rolls,” said Thunder coach Scott Brooks following his team’s shootaround Thursday morning. “But he has to figure that out by moving it quickly and attacking the outside foot of the bigs. I expect him to do that much better tonight.”

Miami’s small lineup is causing Harden most of his problems. With LeBron James, Shane Battier and Udonis Haslem serving as the Heat’s “bigs,” Harden is being met by athletic wings in James and Battier, and an agile power forward in Haslem, after using the screen. They’re effectively cutting off his space and forcing Harden to give up the ball.

“That’s the Heat’s DNA, they always do a great job on pick-and-roll situations,” said Kevin Durant.

– Reported by Darnell Mayberry of the Oklahoman (Blog)

Nene provided big boost for Wizards

nene

The 6′-11″ center showed why he got a huge contract from Denver prior to last season, scoring 22 points and grabbing 10 rebounds in his debut as the Wizards beat New Jersey in mid-March.

After missing 10 games in early April, Nene returned from injury to help the Wizards go on that six-game winning streak to close out the season.

Nene and Wizards’ point guard John Wall had some solid moments executing the two-man game, including a brilliant pick-and-roll that resulted in Nene getting a great pass from Wall for the game-winning layup at the buzzer over Miami late in the season.

Wall credited the team’s late success to the arrival of Nene. Wall pointed to Nene’s locker room presence and leadership as a key factor for the team playing inspired basketball the final month of the season when the Wizards reeled off a season high 6-straight wins to close out the season.

– Reported by Frank Hanrahan of CSN Washington

dwyane wade

Wade, who was part of the 2008 “Redeem Team” and is a possible — though not certain — participant in the 2012 Games in London, was just 10 at the time. As a viewer, he was most amused by John Stockton getting off the bus and shooting video of fans who didn’t recognize the 6-foot-1, average-looking Jazz point guard.

He was most intrigued by the interactions.

“I didn’t know the relationships that them guys had or didn’t have,” Wade said. “I think the biggest thing that surprised me was probably Michael Jordan and (late Detroit and U.S. coach) Chuck Daly. I know the rivalry between Chicago and Detroit, and for those guys to go out and golf and have the relationship they had, I found that very shocking…. But you understand it, especially playing on the Olympic game, with all these great players and different personalities, and knowing how our team came together.”

– Reported by Ethan J. Skolnick of the Palm Beach Post (Blog)

kevin durant

Shane Battier began the practice of sticking his hand in an opposing shooter’s face midway through his career and, by now, is known for it around the league. Oklahoma City’s Kevin Durant said he “hates” it, the first time Battier says any player has acknowledged it.

“Kobe would never say that,” Battier said. “He’d swear up and down on all his championship trophies it doesn’t bother him. He wouldn’t give you anything.”

Battier said he respects Durant as much as anyone in the game for how he carries himself and plays the game. The public talk of Battier’s defense surprised the Heat player, though.

Asked if anyone else in the league face–guards opponents like he does, Battier said: “A couple of guys do it to me just to piss me off. But their technique needs work. It wasn’t effective.”

– Reported by Dave Hyde of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel

Jay-Z and his 40/40 club are taking full advantage of the Nets move to Brooklyn, and doing it in style.

The 40/40 Club will open its new location at the Barclays Center, the new sports and entertainment venue and home to the Brooklyn Nets.  The $1 billion arena will house the 9,000 square-foot restaurant slated to debut on the arena’s opening night when Jay-Z performs in concert on September 28, 2012.

“There is no better home for another 40/40 Club location than the new Barclays Center in Brooklyn,” stated Jay-Z.  “The 40/40 Club has revolutionized restaurants in a way I anticipate Barclays Center to transform the arena watching experience.”

Located on the Barclays Brownstone Suite Level, The 40/40 Club will feature key materials and design concepts from its newly renovated New York City flagship location, including the custom illuminated amber resin bar top.  The design for the space is by SHoP Architects with consultation from designer Jeffrey Beers to ensure a consistent look and feel with the flagship venue.  The new location in Barclays Center will feature 36 TVs, including eight 80’’ TVs on the outside of the bar soffit, and will also offer great views of the basketball court.

“The 40/40 Club at Barclays Center will provide a dynamic environment to complement the experience of attending Brooklyn Nets games and other select events,” said Barclays Center and Brooklyn Nets CEO Brett Yormark. “The 40/40 Club will deliver the best in service and cuisine, while creating a vibe fitting for such a spectacularly designed venue.”

Sounds like the Nets will keep the party going both before and after games.

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