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Jazz Fan

Alec Burks, Gordon Hayward lead Jazz past Grizzlies posted by Jazz Fan

After losing to Eastern Conference foes Chicago and Cleveland over the weekend, Memphis showed signs of fatigue in not being able to counter Utah's youth, allowing the Jazz to beat the Grizzlies 97-91 on Monday night.

Alec Burks scored 23 points and Gordon Hayward added 21 to lead the Jazz, who withstood a late push by hitting eight of 10 free throws down the stretch for their third win in the last four.

Derrick Favors finished with 15 points, while Enes Kanter added 13 points and nine rebounds. Rudy Gobert had a career-best 16 rebounds as the Jazz dominated the boards 49-34.

"I think our offensive game started with our defense," Hayward said. "We have a goal of not letting teams score over 24 points per quarter, and we won on three of four quarters."

Utah connected on 9 of 19 from outside the arc to create a buffer from Memphis. Another factor, beyond the rebounding margin, was the Jazz converting 20 of 27 free throws, while Memphis went to the line only nine times in the game, making eight.

Utah led through much of the second half until Gasol connected with 5:32 left for a 77-75 Memphis lead. Burks answered with a 3-pointer, and Utah never let go of the lead the final 5 minutes in rebounding from a 104-86 loss Saturday at Charlotte.

"It was big for our confidence to be able to come back and get a road win here in Memphis after a poor performance in Charlotte," Jazz guard Trey Burke said.

The Jazz pushed the lead to six points in the third quarter, and managed to keep the Grizzlies at bay through most of the period as Hayward had nine points and Kanter added seven.

Continue reading "Alec Burks, Gordon Hayward lead Jazz ..."

Magic Fan

Magic Hang Tight With Cavs Before Falling Short posted by Magic Fan

Midway through Friday’s second quarter, the Magic were in possession of a feel-good 10-point lead on the star-studded Cleveland Cavaliers, confetti inexplicably starting falling from the rafters.

It was a case of premature celebration considering LeBron James’ propensity for taking games over late and the Magic’s struggles in the clutch in recent weeks.

Orlando started strong and matched the Cavs blow for blow most of the night only to see James come alive in the fourth quarter as the Magic went cold at the wrong time. James ended up with 29 points – one more than the Magic over the final 12 minutes of the game – to lead Cleveland to a 98-89 victory that wrecked Orlando’s hopes of capturing a signature win.

``You just watch the film on the game and you will see two different teams. One from the first three quarters and one from the last quarter, especially the last five minutes of the game,’’ frustrated forward Tobias Harris said.

``A big part of this league is at the end of the game having the ability to put the basketball in someone’s hands and that person makes a play,’’ Magic coach Jacque Vaughn said. ``How many possessions at the end of the game was the ball in LeBron’s hands? He made the plays for himself and for his teammates.

``We’re still growing and understand where we want the ball and in whose hands,’’ Vaughn continued. ``And we’re still learning how to finish once the ball is in that person’s hands.’’

Continue reading "Magic Hang Tight With Cavs Before Falling Short"

Heat Fan

Miami fans should applaud LeBron, and he should return the favor posted by Heat Fan

Four Finals appearances in four years? Two championships? I'd say James delivered on his promise when he the Heat in 2010.

When he left Cleveland, he was the game's biggest individual talent who hadn't won anything. He needed validation; needed to begin his ring count before it was too late.

His four years in Miami built leadership qualities and maturity that were lacking before. And his time in the South Florida sun removed the stigma of being the best player in the world who hadn't won a championship. When it was all over, the experience had given him the confidence to return home and try to build something new.

As he returns to face his buddy, Dwyane Wade, on Thursday, here's a question: Is it possible that James' four years in Miami will wind up being the apex of his career? That he'll never have another run like that again?

It's more than possible. Only three teams have been to the Finals four consecutive times -- the Lakers and Celtics in the '80s and the Heat of James, Wade and Bosh. The odds that James could accomplish that feat a second time with another team? Pretty slim.

Even slimmer when you consider how much the NBA landscape has changed since James formed his Big Three in 2010. That was the last hurrah under the old collective bargaining agreement, and the deal struck after the 2011 lockout has fundamentally changed how teams are being built.

This is not to say that the Big Three model can't or won't work one more time for James in Cleveland. But with the landscape changing all around him, it's a reminder of how special his four years in Miami really were.

Continue reading "Miami fans should applaud LeBron, ..."

Houston Rockets

Corey Brewer to Rockets. posted by Houston Rockets

The Minnesota Timberwolves' wing is a little less crowded after Friday, as they've agreed to trade swingman Corey Brewer to the Houston Rockets.

Brewer, 28, is averaging 10.5 points, 3.9 rebounds and 2.3 steals per game on 41.8 percent shooting. One of Minnesota's first players off the bench in most contests, a Brewer trade nonetheless became inevitable.

The former Florida star isn't a superstar by any stretch, but he's a smart player who knows what he is at this point in his career. Most of Brewer's best shots come in transition and semi-transition, where he's an expert at using the open floor to get to the rim. A subpar shooter from beyond the arc in his career, Brewer has almost abandoned the three-point shot entirely this season.

Minnesota's willingness to move him despite a fine start is an indicator head coach and team president Flip Saunders has come around to a full-scale rebuild. The Wolves' trade of Kevin Love to Cleveland this offseason started the project, but it seemed like Saunders was taking half-measures by signing veterans in free agency and trading for Thaddeus Young.

But a 5-19 start leaves the Timberwolves with little excuse not to see what they have in their young talent.

Getting Brewer is about the best Houston could hope to do given its salary situation. Brewer is by no means a lockdown defender, but he's a high-energy guy who consistently fights his way to a couple turnovers per game.

Offensively, he is more of a noticeable minus, where his penchant for leaking out for transition buckets can sometimes lead to some questionable decision-making. That, of course, is also an issue defensively when the opposing team gets the offensive board.

Continue reading "Corey Brewer to Rockets."

Cavaliers Fan

Cavs rally to beat Magic 98-89 without Kyrie Irving; Kevin Love sits fourth quarter posted by Cavaliers Fan

LeBron James had 29 points and eight assists, Kevin Love scored 22 points despite sitting out the fourth quarter and the Cavs beat the Orlando Magic 98-89 Friday without Kyrie Irving.

Irving was a late scratch with his bothersome left knee. Coach David Blatt thought he would be able to play, but Irving tested the knee prior to the game and determined he couldn’t go.

The Cavs’ defense was terrible throughout the first half when the Magic shot 60 percent, but the effort improved in the second half to win after trailing by 10 in the third quarter.

Love scored 13 points in the first quarter, including a pair of 3-pointers then was relatively quiet the rest of the night. That has been a recurring trend with the third member of the Cavs’ Big Three.

Love played the entire third quarter, shot 1-for-6 and struggled at times defensively. He started the fourth quarter on the bench and didn’t return to the game.

James put the game away in the final minute. With the Cavas already leading92-89, James blew past Tobias Harris for a basket and foul. He made the free throw to extend the lead to six with 40 seconds left.

Tristan Thompson had nine points and 13 rebounds as the new starting center and Dion Waiters scored 17 points off the bench for the Cavs, who rebounded from Thursday’s disappointing loss at Miami.

The Cavs have been playing hurt lately. James’ left knee has been bothering him, Irving aggravated his knee in Thursday’s loss at Miami and Anderson Varejao has been lost for the season with a torn Achilles.

Continue reading "Cavs rally to beat Magic 98-89 without ..."


Cavaliers Fan

Cleveland Cavaliers Preseason Report 2014 posted by Cavaliers Fan

Unfortunately, missing on the playoffs, the Cleveland Cavaliers were quite difficult to figure out, from the start. The team had accumulated lottery picks for three seasons, which made them bring back Mike Brown, and they were confident in succeeding in the Eastern playoffs. Since the East lacked talent and depth, the Cavaliers had an easy task before them, but they missed it by eight games, finishing the season with 33-49. The team lacked consistency, and every time, it kept taking steps forwards and backwards by winning and losing several games in a row.

Before Luol Deng was traded in January, the Cavaliers seemed to have a good defense, but their offense was horrible and ranked 28th. However, acquisition of Spencer Hawes helped the offense considerably, and their rank jumped to 14th. The team had many requirements and objectives to fulfill for the offseason. They needed LeBron to come back and a new coach would have been ideal. Even though the Cavaliers had young talent like Anthony Bennett, Tyler Zeller, and Tristan Thompson, they needed somebody anchoring the rotation. Anderson Varejao had the capacity but had missed many games in the last four seasons.

Cavaliers had the number one draft pick three times in four years, and their choice came down to Jabari Parker from Duke and Andrew Wiggins from Kansas. The team decided to take Wiggins, who was a potential all-rounder, and would pair ideally with Irving. Cavaliers also picked Joe Harris who was a good shooter in the wings. Dwight Powell was also taken in, on a trade for Alonzo Gee.

Cleveland Cavaliers had the number one pick and they selected a possible future star. They also hired an excellent coach who can adapt to almost any roster and situation. Cavaliers might still have other big moves up their sleeve, which might include trading Wiggins for Kevin Love.

Continue reading "Cleveland Cavaliers Preseason Report 2014"


Omari Prince

NBA Draft Recap posted by Omari Prince

This is a 3 part blog that I'll talk about regarding the 2011 NBA Draft

Last Thursday the annual NBA Draft took place in New Jersey and to nobody's surprise, the Cleveland Cavaliers took Kyrie Irving with the first pick. Coach Byron Scott played poker with the media but finally reveled his has when they drafted the former one & done freshmen from Duke. Why Irving was chosen first even though he only played eight games all year is simple: much like the quarterback in football, point guard is the most important position in basketball and they're an extension of the coach on the floor. Had Irving been healthy during the season, Duke easily defeats Arizona and most likely would have advanced to the Final 4 this past March. 

Derrick Rose and John Wall were the previous point guards selected first overall and are the leaders on their team. With the departure of LeBron James last summer, Kyrie Irving realizes he's no Lebron but he has to put the city of Cleveland and the Cavaliers on his back. That's the cost of being drafted 1st overall. The verdict is still out if his turf toe injury is completely healed but when healthy, Irving has lighting speed, low turnover ratio, and extremely athletic. With this new team, he should not have any problem taking over the leadership (this team lost 26 consecutive games) since he hails from a winning high school & college program. Most scout are comparing him to Chris Paul but I see a more athletic Kevin Johnson in Irving. Remember KJ was a scoring PG who also dished 10 assist per game. 

Continue reading "NBA Draft Recap"


Randolph Charlotin

Refreshed Bench posted by Randolph Charlotin

Focus on the last names:

 

Jeff GREEN.

 

Troy MURPHY.

 

They were meant to be Celtics.

 

If Danny Ainge stopped his trade deadline dealings at the two-for-two swap that sent C Kendrick Perkins and G Nate Robinson to Oklahoma City for Green and Nenad Kristic, then fan dread over Boston’s chances in the playoffs would be understandable.

 

But Trader Dan was far from done. Often with Ainge, he makes a deal with complementary moves in mind. The two trades that followed Perkins’ departure cleared room for productive veteran players on the bench and improved versatility.

 

Celtic fans have a tough time accepting change from a winning formula. Perkins was the anchor in the middle of the defense, an intimidator that protected the paint from intruders. The Celtics hung their hat on being a physical defense-first team and was the cornerstone.

 

Health permitting, Boston could had claimed their NBA-record 18th championship. But health hasn’t been on the Celtics’ side this season. Already down are the two O’Neals (Jermaine and Shaquille) and G/F Marquis Daniels. Ainge decided not to wait and hope for modern medicine.

 Upon arrival Kristic was in the starting lineup and Green came off the bench. Regardless of their performance (they helped the Celtics win against the Los Angeles Clippers), they were available to play, which is something Perkins and Daniels can’t do right now. Perkins is expected to miss his first two to three weeks while Daniels might not play another game this season.

Continue reading "Refreshed Bench"


Joe Franciosa, Jr.

Dice-man rolls 7, C's just roll. posted by Joe Franciosa, Jr.

No walks.

 Matsuzaka, the pitcher who up until now had presumably preffered to pitch from the stretch, put no runners on base. He pounded the strike zone. He gave up only one run in the 6th. He pitched like the Dice-man that was advertised in '07. If he can do that consistently, the Sox will have the pitching staff that folks expected coming into this season.

Meanwhile, the Celtics essentially played by themselves in Cleveland. Lebron was all but absent from this game. 0-4 in the first half. Staring off into the crowd during team time-outs. Appearing winded on the court. Removing his "protective arm sleeve" and still throwing up LeBrick after LeBrick.

 Now, the rest of the Cavalier team was not doing much to help its MVP star. Delonte West was a non-factor. Mo Williams is a former All-star and he wasn't hitting shots. Shaq had 20 points, and almost took out Glenn Davis when he landed on Shaq's foot after coming down from a jump shot.

 Meanwhile, the big 3 scored 64 of the C's 120 points. Pierce finally warmed up and ended 3 assists shy of a triple double. Garnett hit key shots to stop a Cav's run. Ray Allen was just deadly from beyond the arc. Rondo didn't have a huge game, but he didn't have to. Indeed, he sat longer in this game than he did the entire rest of the series.

 So now that series comes back to Boston. The good news is that the C's are 31-1 when up 3-2 in a seven game series. The bad news is that one loss came just last year against the Orlando Magic. Of course, Garnett was out for that series, and Rondo did not have the experience he does now. Look for the Celtics to come out strong. And for you lucky fans who will be in the Garden Thursday night. You better be cheering and yelling as loudly as I will be at my television set.

Continue reading "Dice-man rolls 7, C's just roll."


Joe Franciosa, Jr.

The Tri-fecta, the Trinity, TGIF for Boston Sports. posted by Joe Franciosa, Jr.

Red Sox vs. Yankees. Celtics vs. Cavaliers in game 3 of a 1-1 series. Bruins vs. Flyers in possible series sweep.

There are so many story lines for this Friday night in Boston Sports.

Red Sox: You just swept the Angels. The Angels have problems of their own, being staked to a 4-0 lead after the ist inning thanks to the Dice-man's proclivity to gamble on his pitches. I understand that the Japanese strike-zone is different than MLB...but Dice-dude, you've been here 3 years now. I know you can speak English. You have to at least understand it, or else what exactly is V-mart and his own heavy accent conveying to you when he goes to chat on the mound after you walk 3 straight? What does John Farrell say while the umpire walks all the way out to the mound to break the conversation up. That's always a great way to get on the Ump's good side. Throw a ton of balls, and then make the Ump actually walk the 60'6" to the pitchers mound. In any event, the Sox offense again came up huge. The Angels certainly helped, but at this point we'll take whatever help we can get. On a 4 game win-streak, Bring on the Yankees!

Celtics: You have the momentum. Keep it. Don't come out flat. Don't wait for the crowd to get you going. Get the crowd going and you'll get yourselves further into the play-offs. The Cav's think they have the experience and the talent to finally get Lebron a ring. If Lebron is at 80%, and the rest of his team can't pick up any of that other 20%, do they really deserve to advance? Celtic basketball is better than Cavalier basketball. Enough said.

Continue reading "The Tri-fecta, the Trinity, TGIF ..."

Cleveland Cavaliers News

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Minnesota Timberwolves win 2015 NBA draft lottery, Lakers leapfrog Knicks to No. 2 (Ball Don't

The Minnesota Timberwolves won the 2015 NBA draft lottery on Tuesday night, earning the right to make the first overall selection in the NBA draft for the first time in franchise history. [ Follow Dunks Don't Lie on Tumblr: The best slams from all of basketball] The Timberwolves, who finished last season with a league-worst 16-66 record, entered the lottery with a 25 percent chance of landing the No. 1 overall pick, the best odds among any of the 14 teams in the running. But actually coming away with the top spot is something of an upset — only three times in the previous 21 lotteries had the team that entered with the highest likelihood of taking the No. 1 spot actually come away with the first pick, and it hadn't happened since the Orlando Magic won the opportunity to select Dwight Howard back in 2004. "It's very important to us," Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor said after his team's lottery victory. "We have a very young team, and one more outstanding young man will really help us." Taylor demurred when asked which hole on the Minnesota roster he believed the No. 1 pick might fill. "We just want a young man that's got a great heart and a great mind," he said. Team president and head coach Flip Saunders, too, said there was not yet any consensus on which player the Wolves plan to take first overall: Flip adamant they haven't decided who they are taking No. 1. — Jon Krawczynski (@APkrawczynski) May 20, 2015 "We're in this for big stakes," Saunders said, according to The Associated Press . "The big thing about this is getting good talent that can blend together. This is another big step." All that "big" talk might betray Minnesota's likely path, as many observers expect the Wolves to look for size at No. 1 overall. Kentucky's Karl-Anthony Towns and Duke's Jahlil Okafor profile as the top two big-man prospects in the draft, with Okafor considered the more refined offensive player when it comes to scoring and facilitating out of the low post, and some evaluators pegging Towns as the superior defensive player and thinking he might have the higher ceiling of the two. Whichever player Saunders and company identify as their preferred target, the fans assembled at Target Center on Tuesday night sure seemed thrilled by the opportunity to add this year's No. 1 pick to add to last year's No. 1 overall selection, Rookie of the Year Andrew Wiggins, as well as Minnesota's 2014 first-rounder, the electric Zach LaVine, and passing-savant point guard Ricky Rubio — plus, we are contractually obligated to mention 2013 No. 1 choice Anthony Bennett — in a talented young core that may or may not get to learn under future Hall of Famer and Minnesota legend Kevin Garnett: . @TargetCenterMN as #1 pick is announced. #NBADraftLottery pic.twitter.com/gGsSwDPhjP — Alan Horton (@WolvesRadio) May 20, 2015 And, judging by the reaction of Saunders and his staff in the Minny war room, those fans aren't alone: We'll just let Flip and his staff sum up how excited we are about that No.1 spot... #NBADraftLottery #EyesOnTheRise https://t.co/Q3dfceFBsI — MN Timberwolves (@MNTimberwolves) May 20, 2015 The Los Angeles Lakers, who came into the lottery with an 11.9 percent chance of picking first, moved up from their fourth-place spot into the No. 2 slot in June's draft. In so doing, they will hang onto their 2015 pick, which could have gone to the Philadelphia 76ers, by virtue of a pair of past trades involving L.A.'s '15 first-rounder. Now, not only do they keep their selection, but they'll have an even wider array of top-flight prospects from which to choose in making their pick. This result clearly pleased Lakers legend Kobe Bryant, who was none too thrilled about having to suffer through an injury-plagued season and watch his once-proud franchise flounder with the likes of the also-rans down at the bottom of the standings in search of some lottery luck: We played like crap all season so it's only right we get the #2 pick HA #lakerluck #goodday — Kobe Bryant (@kobebryant) May 20, 2015 (Also, he made a poop joke.) With Bryant back in the fold for his 20th pro season, their 2014 lottery pick, power forward Julius Randle, healthy after suffering a fractured right tibia during his first NBA game, surprising All-Rookie First Team point guard Jordan Clarkson providing a jolt of youth and athleticism in the backcourt, and a boatload of money to spend in free agency, the Lakers' stay in the depths of the Western Conference's dungeon could be short-lived. The 76ers' own selection, which had a 15.6 percent shot of landing atop the draft board, slotted in at No. 3. Philadelphia will wind up making only its own pick in this year's draft, as both the Lakers and the Miami Heat (whose first-rounder would have landed in Pennsylvania had it fallen outside the top 10) held onto their protected picks. Despite their #OneSixEleven dreams failing to materialize, Philly fans seem psyched at the prospect of adding the No. 3 pick — perhaps a point guard, like Emmanuel Mudiay or Ohio State's D'Angelo Russell, or a wing player like Duke's Justise Winslow — to a young core that already features a pair of highly touted bigs, 2013 first-rounder Nerlens Noel and 2014 first-rounder Joel Embiid: PROCESS pic.twitter.com/Vzc6ZC4PJf — Andrew Sharp (@andrewsharp) May 20, 2015 The New York Knicks entered the lottery with a 19.9 percent chance of landing the No. 1 overall pick, and a 55.8 percent chance of selecting in the top three. Instead, they dropped down to No. 4 when the Lakers rose up. They were the only one of the 14 teams in the lottery to fall below their initial odds in the final drawing. The response from Knicks fans, as you might expect, was disappointment : UGGGGGGGHHHHHH pic.twitter.com/s4RCFKjKeF — Desus Nice (@desusnice) May 20, 2015 Knicks Lottery viewing party reaction: pic.twitter.com/oHiR8zJlX5 — Abe Schwadron (@abe_squad) May 20, 2015 Judging by his response on the draft dais, that's precisely what Knicks general manager Steve Mills was feeling, too: The NEW YORK KNICKS have the 4th Pick… pic.twitter.com/5vgkjzhrr9 — Steve Noah (@Steve_OS) May 20, 2015 Yeah, that seems about right. (This is where we remind downtrodden Knicks fans that diamonds are often found outside the top three of the NBA draft, and that winding up with one of the draft's most highly regarded point guards, two-way perimeter players or even a defensive-minded big man like Kentucky's Willie Cauley-Stein might not be the worst thing in the world. Deep breaths, New York. Deep breaths.) Here's the full video of the pre-broadcast lottery drawing itself, in the event you still believe these things are rigged: The full first-round order is now set: 1. Minnesota Timberwolves 2. Los Angeles Lakers 3. Philadelphia 76ers 4. New York Knicks 5. Orlando Magic 6. Sacramento Kings 7. Denver Nuggets 8. Detroit Pistons 9. Charlotte Hornets 10. Miami Heat 11. Indiana Pacers 12. Utah Jazz 13. Phoenix Suns 14. Oklahoma City Thunder 15. Atlanta Hawks (via Brooklyn Nets, in a pick-swap included in the Joe Johnson trade back in 2012 ) 16. Boston Celtics 17. Milwaukee Bucks 18. Houston Rockets (via New Orleans Pelicans, as part of last summer's Omer Asik trade) 19. Washington Wizards 20. Toronto Raptors 21. Dallas Mavericks 22. Chicago Bulls 23. Portland Trail Blazers 24. Cleveland Cavaliers 25. Memphis Grizzlies 26. San Antonio Spurs 27. Lakers (via Rockets, as part of last summer's Jeremy Lin trade) 28. Celtics (via Los Angeles Clippers, as part of the 2013 deal that allowed Doc Rivers to leave Boston to coach in L.A.) 29. Nets (via Hawks, on the other end of the Johnson pick swap) 30. Golden State Warriors The 2015 NBA draft will take place on Thursday, June 25, at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y. More NBA draft coverage: - - - - - - - Dan Devine is an editor for Ball Don't Lie on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at devine@yahoo-inc.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @YourManDevine Stay connected with Ball Don't Lie on Twitter @YahooBDL , "Like" BDL on Facebook and follow Dunks Don't Lie on Tumblr for year-round NBA talk, jokes and more. [read full article]

From Yahoo Sports


Magic hire former player Scott Skiles as head coach (Yahoo Sports)

[read full article]

From Yahoo Sports


Minnesota Timberwolves win 2015 NBA draft lottery, Lakers leapfrog Knicks to No. 2 (Ball Don't

The Minnesota Timberwolves won the 2015 NBA draft lottery on Tuesday night, earning the right to make the first overall selection in the NBA draft for the first time in franchise history. [ Follow Dunks Don't Lie on Tumblr: The best slams from all of basketball] The Timberwolves, who finished last season with a league-worst 16-66 record, entered the lottery with a 25 percent chance of landing the No. 1 overall pick, the best odds among any of the 14 teams in the running. But actually coming away with the top spot is something of an upset — only three times in the previous 21 lotteries had the team that entered with the highest likelihood of taking the No. 1 spot actually come away with the first pick, and it hadn't happened since the Orlando Magic won the opportunity to select Dwight Howard back in 2004. "It's very important to us," Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor said after his team's lottery victory. "We have a very young team, and one more outstanding young man will really help us." Taylor demurred when asked which hole on the Minnesota roster he believed the No. 1 pick might fill. "We just want a young man that's got a great heart and a great mind," he said. Team president and head coach Flip Saunders, too, said there was not yet any consensus on which player the Wolves plan to take first overall: Flip adamant they haven't decided who they are taking No. 1. — Jon Krawczynski (@APkrawczynski) May 20, 2015 "We're in this for big stakes," Saunders said, according to The Associated Press . "The big thing about this is getting good talent that can blend together. This is another big step." All that "big" talk might betray Minnesota's likely path, as many observers expect the Wolves to look for size at No. 1 overall. Kentucky's Karl-Anthony Towns and Duke's Jahlil Okafor profile as the top two big-man prospects in the draft, with Okafor considered the more refined offensive player when it comes to scoring and facilitating out of the low post, and some evaluators pegging Towns as the superior defensive player and thinking he might have the higher ceiling of the two. Whichever player Saunders and company identify as their preferred target, the fans assembled at Target Center on Tuesday night sure seemed thrilled by the opportunity to add this year's No. 1 pick to add to last year's No. 1 overall selection, Rookie of the Year Andrew Wiggins, as well as Minnesota's 2014 first-rounder, the electric Zach LaVine, and passing-savant point guard Ricky Rubio — plus, we are contractually obligated to mention 2013 No. 1 choice Anthony Bennett — in a talented young core that may or may not get to learn under future Hall of Famer and Minnesota legend Kevin Garnett: . @TargetCenterMN as #1 pick is announced. #NBADraftLottery pic.twitter.com/gGsSwDPhjP — Alan Horton (@WolvesRadio) May 20, 2015 And, judging by the reaction of Saunders and his staff in the Minny war room, those fans aren't alone: We'll just let Flip and his staff sum up how excited we are about that No.1 spot... #NBADraftLottery #EyesOnTheRise https://t.co/Q3dfceFBsI — MN Timberwolves (@MNTimberwolves) May 20, 2015 The Los Angeles Lakers, who came into the lottery with an 11.9 percent chance of picking first, moved up from their fourth-place spot into the No. 2 slot in June's draft. In so doing, they will hang onto their 2015 pick, which could have gone to the Philadelphia 76ers, by virtue of a pair of past trades involving L.A.'s '15 first-rounder. Now, not only do they keep their selection, but they'll have an even wider array of top-flight prospects from which to choose in making their pick. This result clearly pleased Lakers legend Kobe Bryant, who was none too thrilled about having to suffer through an injury-plagued season and watch his once-proud franchise flounder with the likes of the also-rans down at the bottom of the standings in search of some lottery luck: We played like crap all season so it's only right we get the #2 pick HA #lakerluck #goodday — Kobe Bryant (@kobebryant) May 20, 2015 (Also, he made a poop joke.) With Bryant back in the fold for his 20th pro season, their 2014 lottery pick, power forward Julius Randle, healthy after suffering a fractured right tibia during his first NBA game, surprising All-Rookie First Team point guard Jordan Clarkson providing a jolt of youth and athleticism in the backcourt, and a boatload of money to spend in free agency, the Lakers' stay in the depths of the Western Conference's dungeon could be short-lived. The 76ers' own selection, which had a 15.6 percent shot of landing atop the draft board, slotted in at No. 3. Philadelphia will wind up making only its own pick in this year's draft, as both the Lakers and the Miami Heat (whose first-rounder would have landed in Pennsylvania had it fallen outside the top 10) held onto their protected picks. Despite their #OneSixEleven dreams failing to materialize, Philly fans seem psyched at the prospect of adding the No. 3 pick — perhaps a point guard, like Emmanuel Mudiay or Ohio State's D'Angelo Russell, or a wing player like Duke's Justise Winslow — to a young core that already features a pair of highly touted bigs, 2013 first-rounder Nerlens Noel and 2014 first-rounder Joel Embiid: PROCESS pic.twitter.com/Vzc6ZC4PJf — Andrew Sharp (@andrewsharp) May 20, 2015 The New York Knicks entered the lottery with a 19.9 percent chance of landing the No. 1 overall pick, and a 55.8 percent chance of selecting in the top three. Instead, they dropped down to No. 4 when the Lakers rose up. They were the only one of the 14 teams in the lottery to fall below their initial odds in the final drawing. The response from Knicks fans, as you might expect, was disappointment : UGGGGGGGHHHHHH pic.twitter.com/s4RCFKjKeF — Desus Nice (@desusnice) May 20, 2015 Knicks Lottery viewing party reaction: pic.twitter.com/oHiR8zJlX5 — Abe Schwadron (@abe_squad) May 20, 2015 Judging by his response on the draft dais, that's precisely what Knicks general manager Steve Mills was feeling, too: The NEW YORK KNICKS have the 4th Pick… pic.twitter.com/5vgkjzhrr9 — Steve Noah (@Steve_OS) May 20, 2015 Yeah, that seems about right. (This is where we remind downtrodden Knicks fans that diamonds are often found outside the top three of the NBA draft, and that winding up with one of the draft's most highly regarded point guards, two-way perimeter players or even a defensive-minded big man like Kentucky's Willie Cauley-Stein might not be the worst thing in the world. Deep breaths, New York. Deep breaths.) Here's the full video of the pre-broadcast lottery drawing itself, in the event you still believe these things are rigged: The full first-round order is now set: 1. Minnesota Timberwolves 2. Los Angeles Lakers 3. Philadelphia 76ers 4. New York Knicks 5. Orlando Magic 6. Sacramento Kings 7. Denver Nuggets 8. Detroit Pistons 9. Charlotte Hornets 10. Miami Heat 11. Indiana Pacers 12. Utah Jazz 13. Phoenix Suns 14. Oklahoma City Thunder 15. Atlanta Hawks (via Brooklyn Nets, in a pick-swap included in the Joe Johnson trade back in 2012 ) 16. Boston Celtics 17. Milwaukee Bucks 18. Houston Rockets (via New Orleans Pelicans, as part of last summer's Omer Asik trade) 19. Washington Wizards 20. Toronto Raptors 21. Dallas Mavericks 22. Chicago Bulls 23. Portland Trail Blazers 24. Cleveland Cavaliers 25. Memphis Grizzlies 26. San Antonio Spurs 27. Lakers (via Rockets, as part of last summer's Jeremy Lin trade) 28. Celtics (via Los Angeles Clippers, as part of the 2013 deal that allowed Doc Rivers to leave Boston to coach in L.A.) 29. Nets (via Hawks, on the other end of the Johnson pick swap) 30. Golden State Warriors The 2015 NBA draft will take place on Thursday, June 25, at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y. More NBA draft coverage: - - - - - - - Dan Devine is an editor for Ball Don't Lie on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at devine@yahoo-inc.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @YourManDevine Stay connected with Ball Don't Lie on Twitter @YahooBDL , "Like" BDL on Facebook and follow Dunks Don't Lie on Tumblr for year-round NBA talk, jokes and more. [read full article]

From Yahoo Sports

Minnesota Timberwolves win 2015 NBA draft lottery, Lakers leapfrog Knicks to No. 2 (Ball Don't

The Minnesota Timberwolves won the 2015 NBA draft lottery on Tuesday night, earning the right to make the first overall selection in the NBA draft for the first time in franchise history. [ Follow Dunks Don't Lie on Tumblr: The best slams from all of basketball] The Timberwolves, who finished last season with a league-worst 16-66 record, entered the lottery with a 25 percent chance of landing the No. 1 overall pick, the best odds among any of the 14 teams in the running. But actually coming away with the top spot is something of an upset — only three times in the previous 21 lotteries had the team that entered with the highest likelihood of taking the No. 1 spot actually come away with the first pick, and it hadn't happened since the Orlando Magic won the opportunity to select Dwight Howard back in 2004. "It's very important to us," Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor said after his team's lottery victory. "We have a very young team, and one more outstanding young man will really help us." Taylor demurred when asked which hole on the Minnesota roster he believed the No. 1 pick might fill. "We just want a young man that's got a great heart and a great mind," he said. Team president and head coach Flip Saunders, too, said there was not yet any consensus on which player the Wolves plan to take first overall: Flip adamant they haven't decided who they are taking No. 1. — Jon Krawczynski (@APkrawczynski) May 20, 2015 "We're in this for big stakes," Saunders said, according to The Associated Press . "The big thing about this is getting good talent that can blend together. This is another big step." All that "big" talk might betray Minnesota's likely path, as many observers expect the Wolves to look for size at No. 1 overall. Kentucky's Karl-Anthony Towns and Duke's Jahlil Okafor profile as the top two big-man prospects in the draft, with Okafor considered the more refined offensive player when it comes to scoring and facilitating out of the low post, and some evaluators pegging Towns as the superior defensive player and thinking he might have the higher ceiling of the two. Whichever player Saunders and company identify as their preferred target, the fans assembled at Target Center on Tuesday night sure seemed thrilled by the opportunity to add this year's No. 1 pick to add to last year's No. 1 overall selection, Rookie of the Year Andrew Wiggins, as well as Minnesota's 2014 first-rounder, the electric Zach LaVine, and passing-savant point guard Ricky Rubio — plus, we are contractually obligated to mention 2013 No. 1 choice Anthony Bennett — in a talented young core that may or may not get to learn under future Hall of Famer and Minnesota legend Kevin Garnett: . @TargetCenterMN as #1 pick is announced. #NBADraftLottery pic.twitter.com/gGsSwDPhjP — Alan Horton (@WolvesRadio) May 20, 2015 And, judging by the reaction of Saunders and his staff in the Minny war room, those fans aren't alone: We'll just let Flip and his staff sum up how excited we are about that No.1 spot... #NBADraftLottery #EyesOnTheRise https://t.co/Q3dfceFBsI — MN Timberwolves (@MNTimberwolves) May 20, 2015 The Los Angeles Lakers, who came into the lottery with an 11.9 percent chance of picking first, moved up from their fourth-place spot into the No. 2 slot in June's draft. In so doing, they will hang onto their 2015 pick, which could have gone to the Philadelphia 76ers, by virtue of a pair of past trades involving L.A.'s '15 first-rounder. Now, not only do they keep their selection, but they'll have an even wider array of top-flight prospects from which to choose in making their pick. This result clearly pleased Lakers legend Kobe Bryant, who was none too thrilled about having to suffer through an injury-plagued season and watch his once-proud franchise flounder with the likes of the also-rans down at the bottom of the standings in search of some lottery luck: We played like crap all season so it's only right we get the #2 pick HA #lakerluck #goodday — Kobe Bryant (@kobebryant) May 20, 2015 (Also, he made a poop joke.) With Bryant back in the fold for his 20th pro season, their 2014 lottery pick, power forward Julius Randle, healthy after suffering a fractured right tibia during his first NBA game, surprising All-Rookie First Team point guard Jordan Clarkson providing a jolt of youth and athleticism in the backcourt, and a boatload of money to spend in free agency, the Lakers' stay in the depths of the Western Conference's dungeon could be short-lived. The 76ers' own selection, which had a 15.6 percent shot of landing atop the draft board, slotted in at No. 3. Philadelphia will wind up making only its own pick in this year's draft, as both the Lakers and the Miami Heat (whose first-rounder would have landed in Pennsylvania had it fallen outside the top 10) held onto their protected picks. Despite their #OneSixEleven dreams failing to materialize, Philly fans seem psyched at the prospect of adding the No. 3 pick — perhaps a point guard, like Emmanuel Mudiay or Ohio State's D'Angelo Russell, or a wing player like Duke's Justise Winslow — to a young core that already features a pair of highly touted bigs, 2013 first-rounder Nerlens Noel and 2014 first-rounder Joel Embiid: PROCESS pic.twitter.com/Vzc6ZC4PJf — Andrew Sharp (@andrewsharp) May 20, 2015 The New York Knicks entered the lottery with a 19.9 percent chance of landing the No. 1 overall pick, and a 55.8 percent chance of selecting in the top three. Instead, they dropped down to No. 4 when the Lakers rose up. They were the only one of the 14 teams in the lottery to fall below their initial odds in the final drawing. The response from Knicks fans, as you might expect, was disappointment : UGGGGGGGHHHHHH pic.twitter.com/s4RCFKjKeF — Desus Nice (@desusnice) May 20, 2015 Knicks Lottery viewing party reaction: pic.twitter.com/oHiR8zJlX5 — Abe Schwadron (@abe_squad) May 20, 2015 Judging by his response on the draft dais, that's precisely what Knicks general manager Steve Mills was feeling, too: The NEW YORK KNICKS have the 4th Pick… pic.twitter.com/5vgkjzhrr9 — Steve Noah (@Steve_OS) May 20, 2015 Yeah, that seems about right. (This is where we remind downtrodden Knicks fans that diamonds are often found outside the top three of the NBA draft, and that winding up with one of the draft's most highly regarded point guards, two-way perimeter players or even a defensive-minded big man like Kentucky's Willie Cauley-Stein might not be the worst thing in the world. Deep breaths, New York. Deep breaths.) Here's the full video of the pre-broadcast lottery drawing itself, in the event you still believe these things are rigged: The full first-round order is now set: 1. Minnesota Timberwolves 2. Los Angeles Lakers 3. Philadelphia 76ers 4. New York Knicks 5. Orlando Magic 6. Sacramento Kings 7. Denver Nuggets 8. Detroit Pistons 9. Charlotte Hornets 10. Miami Heat 11. Indiana Pacers 12. Utah Jazz 13. Phoenix Suns 14. Oklahoma City Thunder 15. Atlanta Hawks (via Brooklyn Nets, in a pick-swap included in the Joe Johnson trade back in 2012 ) 16. Boston Celtics 17. Milwaukee Bucks 18. Houston Rockets (via New Orleans Pelicans, as part of last summer's Omer Asik trade) 19. Washington Wizards 20. Toronto Raptors 21. Dallas Mavericks 22. Chicago Bulls 23. Portland Trail Blazers 24. Cleveland Cavaliers 25. Memphis Grizzlies 26. San Antonio Spurs 27. Lakers (via Rockets, as part of last summer's Jeremy Lin trade) 28. Celtics (via Los Angeles Clippers, as part of the 2013 deal that allowed Doc Rivers to leave Boston to coach in L.A.) 29. Nets (via Hawks, on the other end of the Johnson pick swap) 30. Golden State Warriors The 2015 NBA draft will take place on Thursday, June 25, at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y. More NBA draft coverage: - - - - - - - Dan Devine is an editor for Ball Don't Lie on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at devine@yahoo-inc.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @YourManDevine Stay connected with Ball Don't Lie on Twitter @YahooBDL , "Like" BDL on Facebook and follow Dunks Don't Lie on Tumblr for year-round NBA talk, jokes and more. [read full article]

From Yahoo Sports


And now, we wait: Cavs and Warriors get time to rest (Yahoo Sports)

Golden State coach Steve Kerr was chatting with assistant Luke Walton a few minutes before what became the Warriors' clinching victory in the Western Conference Finals, and a realization popped into his head. ''You know what we do now?'' Kerr asked, somewhat rhetorically. The NBA Finals won't start until June 4, meaning both the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Warriors will have more than a full week to rest, recover, scout and plan for Game 1 of the title matchup. [read full article]

From Yahoo Sports

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