Archive for December 26th, 2013

Here’s ESPN New York on a key Knicks defensive issue:

Knicks having trouble defending the pick-and-roll

More often than not, defending the pick-and-roll has been a mystery for the Knicks this year.

According to Synergy Sports, they are giving up the second-most points per play in the NBA to both the ball handler and the screener on pick-and-roll plays this season.

At issue is the Knicks’ decision to switch defenders on pick-and-rolls. Often, the switching leads to a mismatch (think small guard defending big man or plodding big man defending a quick point guard).

Mike Woodson wants all of the switching to stop.

“I don’t want to switch,” Woodson said after Thursday’s practice. “I’ve always wanted to put the emphasis on our perimeter guys to guard perimeter players. Bigs are supposed to guard bigs and when there’s some breakdowns there is supposed to be help. It’s a team defense.”

The Philadelphia 76ers today announced that they have assigned guard Lorenzo Brown to the Delaware 87ers of the NBA Development League.

Brown was a member of the Springfield Armor before signing as a free agent with the Sixers on Nov. 20. He was the third GATORADE Call-Up of the NBADL season. Brown has appeared in 13 games with the Sixers.

Blake Griffin

Rod Thorn, NBA President, Basketball Operations, issued the following statement today regarding the ejection of Los Angeles Clippers forward Blake Griffin with 10:43 remaining in the fourth quarter of the Golden State Warriors’ 105-103 win over the Clippers on Dec. 25, at Oracle Arena:

“After a league review of the Clippers-Warriors game, we have come to the conclusion that Blake Griffin should not have been ejected from the game. A common foul should have been called on Griffin for initially attempting to dislodge the Warriors’ Andrew Bogut and a technical foul should have been assessed to Bogut for grabbing Griffin by the shirt and wrestling with him.”

According to the Associated Press, “With Griffin gone, the Clippers missed several key chances in the waning moments. “If you look at it, I didn’t do anything and I got thrown out of the game. It all boils down to they (referees) fell for it,” Griffin said after the game. “To me, it’s cowardly basketball. I don’t know their intentions, but it worked. … If I knew the answer I’d probably be in a different position. Tonight I got two technicals for nothing.”

The Detroit Pistons announced today that the team has assigned rookie forward Tony Mitchell and rookie guard Peyton Siva to the Fort Wayne Mad Ants of the NBA Development League (D-League).

Mitchell has appeared in 10 games this season with the Pistons averaging 1.1 points and 1.1 rebounds in 4.0 minutes per game. He was drafted 37th overall out of North Texas where he led the Sun Belt Conference in blocks at 2.7 per game.

Siva has appeared in 13 games this season with the Pistons averaging 0.3 points, 0.6 rebounds and 0.8 assists in 5.8 minutes per game. Siva, the 56th selection in the second round of the 2013 NBA Draft, won an NCAA Championship and was named to the Final Four All-Tournament Team as a senior at Louisville last year.

Here’s the Fort Worth Star-Telegram on DeJuan Blair of the Dallas Mavericks, who may be quite excited to battle his former team:

DeJuan Blair plans to have fun tonight against the Spurs

If there’s ever a player who wears his emotions on his sleeves, it’s DeJuan Blair.

And right now, the Dallas Mavericks’ center is walking around with a lot of pin-up emotions.

Blair is still steamed at the way the San Antonio Spurs treated him last season. Especially since they barely played him at all against Miami during the NBA Finals in a series Blair believes he could have helped the Spurs win if given the chance to play.

Thus, when Blair became a free agent, signed a one-year, $884,293 contract with the Mavs, and then saw that their first game against the Spurs was today, he made a big fat circle around it on his calendar.

The Chicago Bulls announced today the team has assigned guard Marquis Teague to the Iowa Energy of the NBA Development League (D-League).

Teague (6-2, 190) has appeared in 19 games (two starts) for the Bulls this season and averaged 2.4 ppg, 1.5 apg and 1.0 rpg in 12.7 mpg.

Teague was selected by Chicago in the first round (29th overall) of the 2012 NBA Draft, after helping lead the University of Kentucky to the 2012 NCAA Championship.

Here’s the New York Daily News reporting on the Brooklyn Nets, who on Wednesday lost at home to the Chicago Bulls:

The Nets have now dropped four straight games, and the holiday season only grows more desperate from here. After one gimme at home Friday against Milwaukee, they embark on a three-game road trip to Indiana, San Antonio and Oklahoma City. So you can put them down right now for seven losses in eight games and a probable 10-22 mark, as they fade even faster than the Knicks. The Nets are free-falling into such a deep hole right now that Kidd has begun to look and sound as defeated as his team, rarely getting off his chair anymore to rally the disheartened, inert troops.

Kidd has now scolded his players many times for their performances, to no avail. He has benched guys. He has tried to simplify the offense. He’s euphemized all the slumps as “a process.” He has demoted Lawrence Frank, the defensive specialist. He doesn’t appear to have any tricks left. If Mikhail Prokhorov finally threatens to replace his coach, you get the feeling Kidd might quote Humphrey Bogart in “Casablanca”: “Go ahead and shoot. You’ll be doing me a favor.”

The rout on Wednesday was all too remindful of what happened last spring, when Chicago came to Brooklyn and stole Game 7 in the playoffs. That defeat resulted in the firing of P.J. Carlesimo and the mortgaging of the team’s future for a core of Celtic players who were supposed to transform the Nets into something much tougher and meaner than this.

Here’s the Houston Chronicle with a report on Rockets center Omer Asik, who has been on the trading block for much of this season:

Omer Asik struggles with recovery from knee injury

The Rockets were not only still without center Omer Asik – and will not have him for the immediate future at least – they were also still unsure why he has been unable to make improvement from his injury.

Asik has repeatedly been able to make strides and greatly increase workouts, but each time he seems close to being able to return, the swelling in his knee returns. The Rockets sent him for the more detailed MRI last week, but it showed no damage to the knee. They have sent those test results to another expert, hoping to get a better idea of why the problem remains so persistent.

Asik initially went out after a bruised thigh Dec. 2. Swelling developed in his knee soon after, forcing him to miss the next 11 games, an absence made an even greater issue with backup center Greg Smith also out.

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