29 May 2015 at 12:12pm
First off, can we just agree that player comparisons ? especially player comparisons that transcend eras ? are pretty dumb? [ Follow Dunks Don't Lie on Tumblr: The best slams from all of basketball ] Michael Jordan retired, for the third and final time, two months before LeBron James was drafted into the NBA. He plays around the same position as James, in a lot of ways the shooting guard and small forward slot are interchangeable, and both players (eight years for James, seven for MJ) took a long and tortured route to their first championship. They dunk a lot, and unless LeBron is working out of Miami, they wear the same number. They?re one of just five players on the court at a time, and they do a lot of similar things in a team game that can be dominated by a lone individual. This is why we compare them. It?s silly, but we do. And on Thursday, possibly motivated by decades-long enmity toward Michael Jordan, Bill Laimbeer went on the Dan Patrick Show to not just compare LeBron and Michael, but to cast a vote for the younger model: There's no question I would take LeBron James. He can do more. Michael Jordan could score and make big shots and look spectacular at times with wild flying dunks, but LeBron can get you 18 rebounds, get you 15 assists or score 50 if he wants to. The triple threat the he poses is just phenomenal, and the size, he just physically dominates. It's impressive. Look at what LeBron has in the Finals right now. Could anybody else in the world have led this team of role players to the Finals right now? I don't think so. Jordan could not have led this team to the Finals. LeBron came into the league knowing how to play basketball and involve his teammates. Jordan had to learn that, and they had to assemble some great teammates around him in order for him to win. ( Transcription courtesy Ananth Pandian at CBS Sports .) This is infuriating. This is biased. This is scheming. This is self-serving. This also might be right! The current, ball-dominating version of LeBron, despite his advanced age, distinctly reminds of the Michael Jordan that led the Chicago Bulls in 1989 and 1990. That second season, ostensibly, featured Michael working within the triangle offense, but he and his emerging teammates were still figuring that structure out, and Jordan had to act as a big-point and big-assist guy for his growing team to merely compete against great outfits. Those teams fell twice to Laimbeer?s Detroit Pistons, a Piston team that would go on to win the championship in both those years. LeBron?s 2015 Cavaliers had no such championship team (or even championship contender) in the postseason bracket, so it?s more than probable that Jordan?s colt-legged Bulls could have made it past this year?s Celtics, Bulls and Hawks and into the Finals. In taking LeBron over MJ, Laimbeer only heightened the similarities between the two. With Kevin Love out for most of the post season and Kyrie Irving either out or hobbling in these playoffs, James has put up brilliant box score numbers. His usage rate, however, is through the roof and his efficiency has shot down from its typical heights as he?s had to force every possession (even the clangs that turn into Tristan Thompson put-backs) through his hands. Comparing LeBron and Jordan isn?t sacrilege. They both have their faults ? Jordan would look off teammates and hurt his team, LeBron has lost playoffs series? on his own by declining to take over Jordan-style ? but it?s just fine for even an obvious dung-stirrer like Laimbeer to do so. LeBron James entered this league with the game?s express written consent to finish his career as The Greatest Ever, and in a lot of ways it will be a disappointment if he doesn?t reach that status. Jordan pushed himself to maddening heights before, after three years of hinting at burnout, he retired in 1993 because he badly needed a break. LeBron has taken no such break, and yet he?s still the subject of taunts and dull internet memes for cramping up deep into May and June despite playing deep into May and June for ten seasons now. Jordan ?only? went that long from 1988-1993, and made the Finals three times before having to step aside. LeBron is about to playing in his fifth straight Finals, and sixth overall. From there, the comparisons (especially daft ones that include points per game and the like) have to take a breather. Jordan spent his late teens and early 20s playing 30 games a year at North Carolina. James spent the same space of time averaging 40 minutes a night playing against grown men in the NBA. Jordan played international ball just once while working in the pros and credited it for part of his burnout, while James has toured with Team USA in the summer five different times. On top of that? It?s a team game. One can rule above all, but context matters. Bill Laimbeer is acting the roll of the buffoonish troll yet again. Still, it is perfectly acceptable to name both Michael Jordan and LeBron James in the same sentence. It?s not acceptable to list Bill Laimbeer in the same sentence, however, which is why we avoided it in the previous sentence. - - - - - - - Kelly Dwyer is an editor for Ball Don't Lie on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at KDonhoops@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @KDonhoops
29 May 2015 at 12:38am
The Bulls tried to humiliate Tom Thibodeau after firing him. In doing so, they shed more light on the franchise's screwed-up culture.
28 May 2015 at 11:02pm
Mike Gallagher discusses the Tom Thibodeau situation with some other notes from Thursday.
28 May 2015 at 7:34pm
Warriors assistant Alvin Gentry and former Rockets and Knicks coach Jeff Van Gundy are considered frontrunners for the position.
28 May 2015 at 5:57pm
Coach Tom Thibodeau was fired by the Chicago Bulls on Thursday, ending a mostly successful run that netted 255 wins in five seasons. The Bulls were eliminated by the Cleveland Cavaliers in the Eastern Conference semifinals earlier this month. Thibodeau has two years and $9 million remaining on his contract.
28 May 2015 at 5:37pm
The Chicago Bulls fired head coach Tom Thibodeau on Thursday, bringing an end to years of palace intrigue within United Center and weeks of speculation that the increasingly contentious relationship between the Bulls' front office and the hard-charging and remarkably successful coach had run its course after five seasons. Thibodeau exits Chicago with a career regular-season record of 255-139 , giving him the seventh-highest winning percentage among coaches who have spent at least three years on the bench. He led the Bulls to three 50-win seasons ? including the best record in the NBA in each of his first two campaigns, winning Coach of the Year honors after the 2010-11 season ? and five consecutive playoff berths. He did this despite being without MVP point guard Derrick Rose for the bulk of the last three seasons due to injury, working without other key contributors missing time, and consistently having to make the best out of shuffled-up benches after management allowed valuable rotation players to exit, stage left . He developed the likes of Luol Deng, Joakim Noah and Jimmy Butler into All-Stars, coaxed game-saving play out of castoffs like Nate Robinson, D.J. Augustin and Aaron Brooks, and, after being elevated to a top job following his much-praised stint as the defensive coordinator for Doc Rivers' championship-winning Boston Celtics, popularized a style of defense that helped usher in revolutionary changes on both sides of the ball. [Slideshow: Coaches sent packing despite winning ] He also clashed, frequently , with Bulls general manager Gar Forman and vice president of basketball operations John Paxson on a number of issues ? his tendency to heap massive and perhaps inadvisable workloads on some players, chiefly Deng, Butler and Noah; his reticence to utilize young pieces like Tony Snell, Doug McDermott and, at times, Nikola Mirotic; the organization's decision not to bring back trusted Thibs lieutenant Ron Adams, now brilliantly running the defense for Steve Kerr's Finals-bound Golden State Warriors; and, reportedly, many others. Based on the Bulls' statement announcing Thibodeau's dismissal ? with two years and approximately $9 million remaining on the contract extension he received in the fall of 2012 (and apparently didn't formally sign until six months later ) ? that ever-widening rift between the coach and the front office had finally become too vast for even the longest-lasting period of prosperity since Jordan left to soan. ?The Chicago Bulls have a history of achieving great success on and off the court," wrote Bulls chairman Jerry Reinsdorf in the team's statement. "These accomplishments have been possible because of an organizational culture where input from all parts of the organization has been welcomed and valued, there has been a willingness to participate in a free flow of information, and there have been clear and consistent goals. While the head of each department of the organization must be free to make final decisions regarding his department, there must be free and open interdepartmental discussion and consideration of everyone's ideas and opinions. These internal discussions must not be considered an invasion of turf, and must remain private. "Teams that consistently perform at the highest levels are able to come together and be unified across the organization ? staff, players, coaches, management and ownership," he continued. "When everyone is on the same page, trust develops and teams can grow and succeed together. Unfortunately, there has been a departure from this culture. To ensure that the Chicago Bulls can continue to grow and succeed, we have decided that a change in the head coaching position is required. "Days like today are difficult, but necessary for us to achieve our goals and fulfill our commitments to our fans. I appreciate the contributions that Tom Thibodeau made to the Bulls organization. I have always respected his love of the game and wish him well in the future.? Forman struck a similar "times have changed" tone in his remarks. "When Tom was hired in 2010, he was right for our team and system at that time, and over the last five years we have had some success with Tom as our head coach,? he wrote. ?But as we looked ahead and evaluated how we as a team and an organization could continue to grow and improve, we believed a change in approach was needed." That's a significantly more verbose farewell than the Bulls offered to the last head coach they fired, Thibodeau's predecessor, Vinny Del Negro: Vinny Del Negro's firing email was much more, um, succinct. pic.twitter.com/SLXsztZYfn ? jon greenberg (@jon_greenberg) May 28, 2015 "Some success" sure seems to damn Thibodeau with faint praise considering what he accomplished in his half-decade in Chicago. The bigger issue, though, appears to be the repeated invocation of phrases like "organizational culture" and "trust," and ? more to the point ? the emphasis on "invasion of turf," "internal discussions" and privacy. That would seem to indicate that the public rebuke that the Bulls organization received on national television from ESPN's Jeff Van Gundy ? for whom Thibodeau served as lead assistant during his stints with the New York Knicks and Houston Rockets ? didn't set especially well with the front office. Thibodeau, for his part, thanked the Bulls for the opportunity to coach them in a statement released to Yahoo Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski: "I want to thank, and will deeply miss, our incredible fans and the entire city of Chicago. I also want to thank my staff and all of the talented players and their wonderful families who have honored me and the Bulls by their effort, love, dedication and professionalism. I appreciate the opportunity that Jerry Reinsdorf gave me. We are proud of our many accomplishments, fought through adversity, and tried to give our fans the full commitment to excellence they deserve. I love this game and am excited about what?s ahead for me with USA Basketball and the next coaching opportunity in the NBA." With the long-rumored separation now complete, both the Bulls and Thibodeau will move on. Iowa State head coach Fred Hoiberg, who played for the Bulls from three years between 1999 and 2002, is considered by many to be the organization's top target for the job. Thibodeau, meanwhile, is expected to draw interest from the New Orleans Pelicans, who have recently interviewed Van Gundy and met with Warriors assistant Alvin Gentry about their vacancy, and from the Orlando Magic, although former Bulls and Milwaukee Bucks coach Scott Skiles is reportedly the front-runner for that position. On one hand, you'd expect a playoff-contending roster in a major market to be a significant draw for coaching candidates, and for a well-decorated coach to be an attractive candidate for any organization in need of a new sideline stalker. It will be interesting to see, however, whether a messy resolution from which neither the Bulls nor Thibodeau seem to emerge unscathed will give prospective suitors of either cause for concern and a reason to be cautious in their pursuits. - - - - - - - Dan Devine is an editor for Ball Don't Lie on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
28 May 2015 at 5:22pm
In five seasons under Tom Thibodeau, the Chicago Bulls soared to heights they had not reached since Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen were collecting championships. The Bulls fired Thibodeau on Thursday, parting ways with the strong-willed coach who took the team to the playoffs in each of his five seasons only to have his success overshadowed by his strained relationship with the front office.
28 May 2015 at 3:00pm
Tom Thibodeau was fired as coach of the Chicago Bulls on Thursday, unable to bring playoff success despite five winning campaigns with the NBA club. Thibodeau went 255-139 in his tenure as coach, guiding the Bulls to Central division crowns in 2010-11 and 2011-12. "When Tom was hired in 2010, he was right for our team and system at that time, and over the last five years we have had some success with Tom as our head coach," Bulls general manager Gar Forman said.
28 May 2015 at 1:47pm
28 May 2015 at 1:29pm
US President Barack Obama took questions regarding climate change via Twitter on Thursday, but also commented on two hot basketball topics, the NBA Finals and his favorite team, the Chicago Bulls. Taking advantage of the #AskPOTUS opportunity, Obama was asked about the firing just minutes earlier of Tom Thibodeau, coach of the Bulls, after five seasons in the role. Sorry to see him go but expect he will be snatched up soon by another team," Obama tweeted.
28 May 2015 at 12:49pm
(Reuters) - The Chicago Bulls fired Tom Thibodeau as head coach of the National Basketball Association team on Thursday, ending a five-year tenure marked by a deteriorating relationship with the front office. The defensive-minded Thibodeau, who had $9 million remaining on his contract, compiled a strong .647 winning percentage, but his Bulls went 23-28 in five trips to the playoffs. Chicago went 52-32 this past season, finishing second in the Central Division to the Cleveland Cavaliers, who eliminated them from the playoffs in the Eastern Conference semi-finals.
28 May 2015 at 12:45pm
The Chicago Bulls fired Tom Thibodeau as head coach of the National Basketball Association team on Thursday, ending a five-year tenure marked by a deteriorating relationship with the front office. The defensive-minded Thibodeau, who had $9 million remaining on his contract, compiled a strong .647 winning percentage, but his Bulls went 23-28 in five trips to the playoffs. Chicago went 52-32 this past season, finishing second in the Central Division to the Cleveland Cavaliers, who eliminated them from the playoffs in the Eastern Conference semi-finals.
28 May 2015 at 12:00pm
In July of 1998, the Chicago Bulls held a news conference to announce that Tim Floyd had been hired as the team?s ?director of basketball operations.? The job title was completely made-up; an insult to anyone attending who had to write those four words in their press report. The Bulls left Floyd to answer questions from the confused about why, after over a year and a half of speculation, that he hadn?t been hired as Bulls coach. [ Follow Dunks Don't Lie on Tumblr: The best slams from all of basketball ] Earlier in the press conference, while the true ?director of basketball operations? and official general manager Jerry Krause seethed, team owner Jerry Reinsdorf publicly told anyone that would listen that he would like player and coach free agents Michael Jordan, Phil Jackson, Scottie Pippen and Dennis Rodman to return to the team. It was about as pathetic as sham moves get, with the NBA already in a player lockout that wouldn?t resolve itself for another 5 1/2 months, and with Jackson already having been told by Krause exactly a year earlier that 1997-98 would be his last season in Chicago even if he?d run up a perfect 82-0 season. It was a tone-deaf, staged and telling affair run by a franchise that thought it was putting one past us. Some 17 years later, with Reinsdorf still in charge and Floyd acolyte Gar Forman helping run the show, the tradition continues. The Chicago Bulls fired coach Tom Thibodeau on Thursday , as they should have. The team emerged from a miserable Eastern Conference semifinals loss to Cleveland thinking, somehow, that it could squeeze some sort of compensation from New Orleans, Orlando or some other hoped-for outfit in exchange for the ability to interview and eventually hire Thibodeau as coach with two years left on his Chicago contract. It would help offset Reinsdorf?s distaste for paying the fired coach a bit more than what he?s paying Jose Quintana to pitch this year, and give Chicago the ?See?!?-He-wanted-to-go!-We-didn?t-want-to-fire-the-really-talented-guy!? excuse it had long craved. [Slideshow: Coaches sent packing despite winning ] No team was ever going to offer anything, despite Thibodeau?s obvious talents, for a coach most knew midseason in 2014-15 that Chicago?s front office wanted nothing to do with. The gambit failed, Chicago will pay and the Bulls nearly stranded themselves out of letting teams in New Orleans and Orlando offset Thibodeau?s guaranteed salary, had the Magic and Pelicans hired new coaches prior to the dismissal. A firing on Thursday allows Thibodeau to head to NOLA or elsewhere, and also allows the Bulls to pay only the difference between what Chicago owes the former coach, and what his next team will pay him. Tom Thibodeau didn?t deserve the process, but he?s earned the dismissal. No coach works harder, but in mistaking activity for achievement Tom Thibodeau has created an unsustainable relationship with his bosses, his players and reality. Yes, there were injuries ? there are always injuries in this town ? but to create an offense this staid and predictable with this rotation in 2015 is an art crime. Thibodeau?s defensive sets revolutionized pro basketball a few years ago, but he also failed to think on his feet just as distressingly on that end in 2014-15, failing to recognize the strengths and weaknesses of his players while still assuming that Omer Asik was about to come in off that bench. The reason Omer Asik doesn?t come off the Chicago bench is because this franchise has every excuse in place. They?ll always have excuses, and the ability to argue things away. You can?t pay the luxury tax, and a $15 million yearly contract for Asik, for a team that will be without Derrick Rose for most if not all of 2012-13. You can?t pay the repeater tax as you attempt to surround Rose and others with mid-priced helpers. What?s the point of Kyle Korver when you badly need a competent ball handler with Rose out for most, if not all, of 2012-13? Chicago has a good front office. It was heartless and cold in dealing Luol Deng for a first-round draft pick that it, maybe, will someday get from Sacramento when it was clear that Deng was about to fall off the table like a Bruce Sutter split-fingered fastball due to years of overuse by Thibodeau ? but that doesn?t mean it wasn?t the absolute right basketball move to make. The Bulls have drafted expertly. Despite the Korver and Kirk Hinrich fiasco, they have done fantastic work in putting together what should have been the NBA?s deepest team in 2014-15. They also, apparently, barely raised a hackle when Thibodeau routinely kept Rose and Joakim Noah in games late in blowout wins during his first season, or when Thibodeau played Rose massive minutes directly after he sat games with injury during the lockout-compressed 2011-12 run. Noah was put through the paces for far too many minutes early in 2012-13 and he predictably broke down after running much farther (at 7-feet tall!) than any other player during that season. The front office, in spite of its attempts to limit the minutes in recent years, was complicit in creating this culture. It won them the NBA?s best record for two years running, and though there is no substantive proof that overuse led to Rose?s one-move downfall in the spring of 2012, it certainly led to the shell of a player that Noah certainly was in 2014-15. All sides should be ashamed of that. Those minutes restrictions appeared to baffle Thibodeau, which should be just as baffling to anyone who has paid attention to basketball for most of their lives, which is baffling because no person has paid more attention to basketball in their lifetime than Tom Thibodeau. Yelling ?ICE! ICE!? while covering all corners of the court defensively, prior to icing down every aching extremity following the game, hardly combats the way one has to run themselves weary in the modern game. A modern game that, to his credit, Tom Thibodeau helped create. This game, however, has always been about modern-as-tomorrow angularity. It never stops teaching us things and, once we think we?ve got it all figured out, we?re left behind. Tom Thibodeau, a brilliant coach who has done more with a dry erase board by breakfast than you?ll do all day, has been left behind. Consider : "I don't get lost," Thibodeau said during the postseason, describing his mindset amid all of the speculation. "It's easy to get distracted in this league. Just lock into what you need to do each and every day. That's it." This doesn?t work when you?re a head coach. That is not how a leader handles things. You?re not an assistant, charged with breaking down sets. Pro sports don?t actually work one game at a time. You?re a leader of men, men you need at full strength in June, not January. Leaders don?t confuse a front office?s multitasking and pound-proper management with distraction. To that end, no NBA coach has dealt with more distraction in the last five years than Tom Thibodeau. The first season was a breeze. The second season, despite the nagging injuries, seemed right on track for revenge against LeBron and Co. until Derrick Rose planted wrong. The next offseason was marked with needless but Bulls-level ?we-have-our-reasons? roster upheaval. The following season, one that Rose sat out completely, featured an endless barrages of ?when will?? followed by a frustrated series of ?what ifs?? Rose lost most of the next season because of an entirely different injury, and returned this year to a truncated campaign that saw the Bulls taking their best shots ( a Rose game-winner against Golden State , a Rose game-winner against Cleveland ) after playing endless minutes of borderline-infuriating and unsustainable basketball. All the while Thibodeau, the longtime assistant who couldn?t get a head gig until 2010 despite working as the lead man on several fantastic coaching staffs, had to answer for all of it. Even when he screwed up , selling out his favorite player when everyone in the arena knew that something terrible was up, the front office stayed behind the curtain . This is the same thin-skinned front office that fired the top assistant coach in basketball ? the guy who helped orchestrate the best defense in basketball, one that pushed James Harden to 13 turnovers on Thursday ? because he dared wonder if building a roster to take all of 2012-13 off was a good idea. This is the same front office that lost its mind when Jeff Van Gundy got it right on a basic cable contest that nobody would have remembered had they acted as grown-ups. This is the same front office that took a correct idea ? ?Why are you playing Joakim Noah so many minutes?? ? and literally ran roughshod with it . This is also the same front office that put together a fantastic roster. This is the same coach who put together a fantastic game plan. This is also the same coach who started his season by all but assuring that his two rookies, Doug McDermott and Nikola Mirotic, would be out of the rotation as the team attempted a championship run. Great coaches don?t do that. Good coaches get by on the will and talents of players who will work hard and play talented basketball even for bad coaches. Great coaches take chances, they work through their own and their players? mistakes, and they recognize a big picture that somehow beams beyond Tuesday?s game in Charlotte. In December. Tom Thibodeau failed in that regard. Strangely, in a city that favors the latter over the former, talent and hard work did not win out. The whole affair was stubborn and stupid, with the players all looking on while the grown-ups were fighting. Both the front office and the coaching staff cost Chicago the chance to see a team that worked as something greater than the sum of its parts, which is infuriating. Chicago might win 65 games next year with its next lusted-after head coach. Tom Thibodeau will certainly get it right in his first season with his brand new team. Both sides will be happy with the monetary considerations. Good for them, and their futures. I hope they understand what they could have had. - - - - - - - Kelly Dwyer is an editor for Ball Don't Lie on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at KDonhoops@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @KDonhoops
28 May 2015 at 11:30am
CHICAGO (AP) -- Chicago Bulls fire coach Tom Thibodeau.
28 May 2015 at 7:21am
Ryan Knaus covers the Dubs' Game 5 victory, James Harden's record 13 turnovers, Klay Thompson's potential concussion and much more in Thursday's Dose.
27 May 2015 at 1:25pm
A look around the league and the Web that covers it. It's also important to note that the rotation order and starting nods aren't always listed in order of importance. That's for you, dear reader, to figure out. C : ESPN.com . Kevin Arnovitz on the state of the Atlanta Hawks' system-over-superstars experiment in the moments after having the best season in franchise history ended by the biggest superstar there is . PF : SB Nation and Bleacher Report . For more smart meditations on the "stars vs. structures" debate, we turn to Paul Flannery, Tom Ziller and Howard Beck. SF : The Triangle . A good read from Zach Lowe on how switch-heavy defenses have led to something of a resurgence in the value of post-up play as a vehicle for creating double teams and open passes, and the possibility of passing out of the post becoming the next coveted skill-set among NBA roster-builders. SG : Sports Illustrated . Stanley Kay on the relationship between NBA players ? like Carmelo Anthony , LeBron James , Derrick Rose , the Miami Heat , Los Angeles Clippers and Los Angeles Lakers , among others ? and the "new civil rights movement" of social-media-fueled protests of injustice. PG : The Morning TIp . In a similar vein, David Aldridge reports on the disconnect between the Cavaliers' tremendous run and the tenor over the weekend in Cleveland, where protestors took to the streets to decry the acquittal of patrolman Michael Brelo in the 2012 shooting deaths of Timothy Russell and Malissa Williams. One protestor Aldridge spoke with laid things out with a bracing line: "Maybe people would start caring about black lives if they realized their entire basketball team might be murdered." 6th : ESPN Chicago . Nick Friedell runs down how the relationship between Tom Thibodeau and the Chicago Bulls' Gar Forman and John Paxson-led front office deteriorated to the point that many expect the two sides to part ways this summer . 7th : Memphis Commercial Appeal . Chris Herrington offers a tremendous breakdown of the summertime questions facing the Memphis Grizzlies after another successful season that wasn't quite as successful as Grindhouse denizens might have hoped. 8th : Brew Hoop . The Milwaukee Bucks had a surprisingly sensational season, but their offense continued to seem stuck in the mud. Should Jason Kidd's club be shooting more 3-pointers? Eric Nehm investigates. 9th : Knickerblogger . On "the Checketts Doctrine" that has dictated the New York Knicks' decision-making over the past couple of decades, and the chances that Phil Jackson actually meaningfully reverses course this summer. 10th : InPredictable . Mike Beuoy sifts through SportVU data on free-throw shooting in search of a model for analyzing the arc of players' shots, with some really interesting results. One fun line: " To paraphrase Tolstoy, good free throw shooters all look alike, but crappy free throw shooters are all crappy in their own way." - - - - - - - Dan Devine is an editor for Ball Don't Lie on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @YourManDevine Stay connected with Ball Don't Lie on Twitter @YahooBDL , "Like" BDL on Facebook and follow BDL's Tumblr for year-round NBA talk, jokes and more.
25 May 2015 at 1:10am
Horford was ejected for only the second time in his career and has only two career flagrant fouls. He is considered one of the NBA's model citizens, but admitted he should have responded better in Game 3.
25 May 2015 at 12:53am
Al Horford threw an elbow at Matthew Dellavedova during the game. Horford was assessed a Flagrant 2 foul and tossed from Game 3 of the Eastern Conference finals on Sunday night for striking Dellavedova above his shoulders late in the first half. Horford and Dellavedova got tangled on the floor while scrambling for a loose ball, and as Dellavedova was rolling up on his right knee, Horford brought his right arm down hard and struck the side of the scrappy Australian guard's head.
24 May 2015 at 9:14pm
Already having lost both of their opening home games to the Cleveland Cavaliers, the Atlanta Hawks suffered another major blow late in the second quarter of Game 3 of the Eastern Conference finals at Quicken Loans Arena. [ Follow Dunks Don't Lie on Tumblr: The best slams from all of basketball] With 34 seconds remaining in the first half, Hawks All-Star center Al Horford struck Cavs guard Matthew Dellavedova with an elbow after the two tangled and tussled for a rebound. Replays showed that Dellavedova had fallen into Horford's leg, thereby risking injury, and Horford appears to have retaliated for what he perceived as a dirty play. Dellavedova was handed a technical foul (although not clearly for his fall), but Horford received a flagrant-2 foul, triggering an automatic ejection. Take a look at the incident here: The NBA explained the call on Twitter: Explanation (1/3): 34.3 seconds left/Q2: Horford threw an unnecessary and excessive forearm/elbow to Dellavedova, making contact..... ? NBA Official (@NBAOfficial) May 25, 2015 Explanation (2/3): 34.3 seconds left/Q2: ... Above the shoulders, therefore a Flagrant 2 foul was called on Horford... ? NBA Official (@NBAOfficial) May 25, 2015 Explanation (3/3): 34.3 seconds left/Q2: ... Who was ejected from the game, and Dellavedova received a technical. ? NBA Official (@NBAOfficial) May 25, 2015 The referees' decision was immediately controversial, primarily due to Dellavedova's growing reputation as a pest and instigator. In Game 5 of the Eastern Conference semifinals, he trapped the leg of Chicago Bulls forward Taj Gibson , which caused the big man to kick at him as he attempted to get up, which in turn got referees to eject Gibson. More important to the context of the Horford incident, Dellavedova seemingly inadvertently rolled into Hawks wing Kyle Korver in Game 2, causing a high ankle sprain that will keep Korver out of the rest of the postseason. There's not a ton of evidence that Dellavedova is intentionally doing these things, but he certainly doesn't seem to be a player who consciously avoids putting others in danger. On the other hand, it's difficult to explain away loading up and elbowing an opponent. If Dellavedova is a pest, then Horford allowed him to be successful with this move. Officials have been fairly consistent in ejecting players for non-basketball actions like this one, so the ejection cannot come as much of a surprise even if there appears to be some reason behind what Horford did. It's more difficult to explain why Dellavedova was given a technical foul without further punishment because he would not seem to deserve any punishment if he didn't fall into Horford on purpose. Regardless of the justness of the resolution, Horford's ejection put the Hawks in serious jeopardy of falling behind 3-0 in the series. Up 49-48 at halftime, Atlanta had to move forward without its most consistent postseason performer at both ends. Horford is essential to the Hawks' system and had a first-half high 14 points on 7-of-10 shooting. However, Atlanta exceeded expectations and had a chance to win on the final possession of regulation when Jeff Teague missed a buzzer-beating three-pointer to send the game to overtime. The Hawks led late but succumbed to five points by LeBron James in the final minute as the Cavs won 114-111 . They now have the chance to eliminate the Hawks in Tuesday's Game 4 in Cleveland. - - - - - - - Eric Freeman is a writer for Ball Don't Lie on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter! Follow @FreemanEric
24 May 2015 at 12:41am
23 May 2015 at 8:32pm
Previously, on "The Hawks and The Cavaliers" ... Sing it, Terrance : OK, fine. There was other stuff. [ Follow Dunks Don't Lie on Tumblr: The best slams from all of basketball] The Cleveland Cavaliers' defense continued to short-circuit the Atlanta Hawks' offense. The Cavs mostly kept the Hawks' starters whisper-quiet, holding Mike Budenholzer's club to 41.8 percent shooting from the floor, a 6-for-26 mark from 3-point range, and a rate of offensive efficiency (92.4 points per 100 possessions) comfortably below the woeful Philadelphia 76ers' dead-last regular-season mark. Tristan Thompson repeatedly beat Atlanta's lackadaisical boxouts, grabbing 16 boards, five of which came on the offensive glass. The soon-to-be restricted free agent vacuumed up more than 21 percent of available misses while he was on the court, which would've been the NBA's fourth-best rebounding rate this season. Cleveland's supplementary wings, who figured to be especially important with All-Star point guard Kyrie Irving ruled out due to left knee tendinitis , came through. After contributing just four points on 1-for-16 shooting in the Cavs' Game 1 win , Matthew Dellavedova, Iman Shumpert and James Jones bounced back in a big way, combining for 36 points on 13-for-29 shooting, including a 9-for-18 mark from downtown. Mostly, though, it was LeBron James, who can do absolutely everything and who absolutely did. The four-time MVP turned in a 30-point, 11-assist, nine-rebound masterpiece in a 94-82 win that gave Cleveland a 2-0 lead in the Eastern Conference finals, and a chance to close out the Hawks in Ohio. Three Things to Look For in Game 3 The Cavs' suffocating defense
23 May 2015 at 10:29am
Magic general manager Rob Hennigan has discussed the opening with several possible candidates, but Skiles has clearly separated himself in the process.
22 May 2015 at 11:26pm
22 May 2015 at 6:19pm
The Cleveland Cavaliers announced point guard Kyrie Irving will not play in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference finals against the Atlanta Hawks on Friday. The All-Star and newly minted All-NBA Third Teamer skipped Friday morning's shootaround and was examined by Dr. James Andrews as he continues to struggle with the left knee tendinitis that has plagued him for the past couple of weeks . [ Follow Dunks Don't Lie on Tumblr: The best slams from all of basketball]
22 May 2015 at 12:24pm
The NBA's draft order is set. Here's an early look at who might be going where.
21 May 2015 at 11:48pm
Golden State's Stephen Curry, the league MVP, and LeBron James are the only unanimous selections to the All-NBA first team. New Orleans' Anthony Davis and Memphis center Marc Gasol joined Curry as newcomers on the team. Curry and James, who are three victories from meeting in the NBA Finals, each received first-team votes on all 129 ballots Thursday.
21 May 2015 at 4:52pm
This has gotten out of hand, and there isn?t much our hands can do about it. [ Follow Dunks Don't Lie on Tumblr: The best slams from all of basketball ] Wednesday night?s DeMarre Carroll injury marked the latest in a significant strain of nasty setbacks that has made the 2015 playoffs a walkthrough of the walking wounded. Carroll will be just fine, in terms relative to the scare we saw in Game 1 of his team?s loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers. He?s still in significant pain and questionable for the rest of his team?s series, however long that lasts. We start with him, as we document a postseason gone twisted. Literally. DeMarre Carroll, sprained left knee . It looked bad. It really looked bad . Carroll planted on his left knee after a Eurostep in the fourth quarter of Game 1 of the Eastern finals, and his knee just decided not to give back as DeMarre rose for a layup. He clutched that knee in agony after falling to the floor and could not put weight on it while being lifted to the locker room. He left the arena on crutches, as the whole of the viewing public assumed the worst for an overachiever that is set to make a deserved dent on the free agent market this summer. Impact : Currently listed as ?day-to-day,? the ?every-other-day-to-day? schedule of the Eastern Conference finals does Carroll no favors. He may not have torn anything, but the Hawks? leading playoff scorer will not be the same player as his team?s dream season moves along. Kevin Love, separated left shoulder . It wasn?t intentional, but it sure looked like it. Boston Celtics big man Kelly Olynyk basically ended Love?s season with a clumsy rebounding move that ripped Love?s shoulder from its socket, necessitating 4-to-6 months? worth of rehab and knocking the Cleveland Cavalier forward out of the playoffs. Love charged Olynyk with making the move on purpose , something the second-year Celtic denied, and while Olynyk may not have been attempting to end Love?s first postseason run, man, you just can?t do that. Impact : Love?s absence, combined with a J.R. Smith suspension and a Game 1 Chicago Bulls win in the next round, was thought to put Cleveland?s championship hopes on ice. Instead, the Cavs roared back against a listless Bulls squad to take that series, and they currently hold a 1-0 lead over Atlanta as LeBron James goes it alone . Thabo Sefolosha, broken right fibula and torn ligaments . What you want to do is write 4200 words. What you have to do, until all the lawsuits and investigations have cleared, is mind your space and hope that that we still live in a society where just the facts, ma?am, will come out. As if that was ever the case. Sefolosha was reportedly barely in the vicinity of an altercation between Indiana Pacers forward Chris Copeland and a would-be assailant in the early hours of April 8 . A TMZ video showed Sefolosha being pulled to the ground by several NYPD officers, reportedly a hundred feet from Copeland?s incident, while compliant. Sefolosha, choosing his words carefully as the National Basketball Players Association readied a lawsuit against the NYPD , later told reporters that his season-ending injury was ?caused by the police.? Impact : In pure, stupid, basketball terms Thabo?s injury was already a crucial blow long before DeMarre Carroll went down with his knee sprain. A gifted defender and passer, Sefolosha was hired with the express written consent of defending LeBron James in the playoffs, and the Hawks will miss him on several levels. Donatas Motiejunas, back surgery . Motiejunas acted as a needed jack of all trades for Houston this year, utilizing solid enough spacing and surprising low post pep while acting as the squad?s fourth leading scorer. The Rockets rallied to make it to the West?s second seed before the team?s regular season ended, but Motiejunas had to watch from afar over the season?s final three weeks. Impact : Houston has done well to make the Western Conference finals for the first time since 1997, but it sure would be nice to see Motiejunas bounding around in a matchup against Golden State that seems perfectly suited for his style of in-and-out play. He scored double-figure points in three of his four games against the Warriors during the regular season. Rajon Rondo, back injury . Rajon Rondo never liked playing under Dallas Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle. Rick Carlisle never liked the way Rondo dismantled Dallas? previously top-ranked offense with his ball-dominating ways. The injury was a sham, the benching was real, and the gamble was a loss . Impact : The Mavericks declined to give Rondo a playoff bonus , and it is safe to say Rondo?s cap hold won?t be a nagging factor for Dallas this offseason. Jrue Holiday, right leg injury . This is a lingering concern, dating back a year and a half , and a frightening one for the NBA?s first player to be born in the 1990s. The New Orleans Pelican guard is reported to want to undergo yet another surgery to take the screw out of his surgically repaired right leg , and that seems the safest maneuver possible in the wake of another season mostly lost to constant pain and limited action. Impact : Holiday missed 12 of 19 shots spread out over three games in the 2015 postseason, and he had to sit out Game 4 of his team?s first round sweep at the hands of the Golden State Warriors. Wesley Matthews, torn Achilles . After his Portland Trail Blazers gutted out a wrist injury to LaMarcus Aldridge and a surprising second half step backward from star guard Damian Lillard, the team?s heart and soul had to sit the final five weeks of the regular season and eventually the postseason with a torn Achilles. Matthews, who was shooting 39 percent from long range while averaging 15.9 points per game, handled his injury with his typical grace and humor . Impact : The Blazers smartly reached out to acquire shooting guard Arron Afflalo in an attempt to circle the wagons prior to Wes? injury, and he responded by hitting 40 percent of his threes as a Blazer. Afflalo hurt his shoulder in early April , however, and was an afterthought during the postseason as Portland bowed out in the first round. How this affects Matthews and Afflalo?s free agent turns remains to be seen. LaMarcus Aldridge, left thumb injury . Some of us were wrong. He didn?t just want an All-Star Game bonus. He wasn?t just, understandably, looking out for his free agent future. LaMarcus Aldridge played through a significant amount of pain with a thumb injury that should have put him out for two months, staying on the court as his Blazers fought to retain their status as a Western Conference postseason perennial. He waited until the offseason to have surgery, but not before leading his team to a gutty run that ended in the first round of the playoffs. Impact : Aldridge will be healthy by the time training camp starts following surgery, and his injury hardly left him as an approximation of his usual self ? a testament to his ability to play through pain. He will explore the free agent market as he decides what to do with his last big contract, and last few years as a franchise-level player. Chris Paul, strained left hamstring . Paul, who made a point to play 82 games after what has been an injury-plagued career thus far, had to time this perfectly. He had to wait until Game 7 of his team?s Finals-worthy showdown with the defending champion San Antonio Spurs for things to go pear-shaped. It had to happen at the exact worst time. Chris Paul always has an excuse, right? Impact : It didn?t matter .
21 May 2015 at 1:18pm
The NBA announced its 2014-15 All-NBA teams on Thursday, with newly minted Most Valuable Player Stephen Curry of the Golden State Warriors and Cleveland Cavaliers superstar LeBron James ranking as the lone unanimous selections to this year's top squad, receiving First Team bids on all 129 ballots cast by sportswriters and broadcasters this season. [ Follow Dunks Don't Lie on Tumblr: The best slams from all of basketball] This is the ninth time in James' 12-year career that he's earned a First Team spot, tying him on the all-time list with Oscar Robertson, Larry Bird and Magic Johnson. Only Kobe Bryant, Karl Malone, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Tim Duncan, Bob Cousy, Jerry West, Michael Jordan, Bob Pettit and Elgin Baylor have more First Team appearances. It's the second straight All-NBA selection for Curry, but his first to the top team. Joining Curry and James on the First Team were MVP runner-up James Harden of the Houston Rockets (third All-NBA selection overall, second straight to the First Team); Memphis Grizzlies center Marc Gasol (second All-NBA selection, first to the First Team); and New Orleans Pelicans phenom Anthony Davis, who makes his first appearance on any All-NBA squad, and becomes just the fifth player in league history to appear on the First Team during his age 21 season , joining LeBron, Rick Barry, Tim Duncan and Kevin Durant. The Beard and the 'Brow were both very popular selections, as Harden received First Team votes on 125 of 129 ballots, while Davis appeared in the first five on 119 of the 129. Gasol, the Memphis All-Star who took a step forward on the offensive end early in the season before receding a bit as the campaign stretched on, received 65 of a possible 129 First Team votes to slot in at center and give the Grizzlies their first First Teamer in franchise history. Here's how the Second and Third Teams shook out: Second Team> ? F/C: LaMarcus Aldridge, Portland Trail Blazers (13 First Team votes, third All-NBA selection) ? C/F: DeMarcus Cousins, Sacramento Kings (18 First Team votes, first All-NBA selection) ? C: Pau Gasol, Chicago Bulls (15 First Team votes, fourth All-NBA selection) ? G: Russell Westbrook, Oklahoma City Thunder (10 First Team votes, fourth All-NBA selection ? Chris Paul, Los Angeles Clippers (one First Team vote, seventh All-NBA selection) Third Team ? F: Blake Griffin, Clippers (two First Team votes, fourth All-NBA selection) ? F/C: Tim Duncan, San Antonio Spurs (six First Team votes, 15th All-NBA selection, tying Kobe and Kareem for most all-time) ? C: DeAndre Jordan, Clippers (12 First Team votes, first All-NBA selection) ? G: Klay Thompson, Warriors (no First Team votes, first All-NBA selection) ? G: Kyrie Irving, Cavaliers (no First Team votes, first All-NBA selection) As is always the case, the voting results were met in some quarters with criticism. Why isn't Westbrook on the First Team? (Seems awful tough to knock either Curry or Harden off ... then again, let's not forget what Westbrook did over the last few months of the season.) No spot for Defensive Player of the Year Kawhi Leonard? No love for Most Improved Player Jimmy Butler? What about DPoY and MIP runner-up Draymond Green, arguably the title-favorite Warriors' most important player beside Curry? No members of the Atlanta Hawks, despite a franchise-record 60 wins and the No. 1 seed in the East? And, hey, wait a second, where's John Wall? Didn't he start his second straight All-Star Game, serve as arguably the second or third best player in the East this season, and tear up the playoffs to the tune of a postseason-topping 28.4 points created by assist per game ? Well, they all received All-NBA votes and "award points" ? five points for a First Team vote, three for a Second Team vote, one for a Third Team vote. Leonard actually received more points (155) than either Thompson (122) or Irving (112), but because the teams require voters to pick two forwards, two guards and a center ? and because Kawhi can't claim hybrid forward/guard status after spending just 1 percent of his floor time at the two for San Antonio this year, according to Basketball-Reference.com's play-by-play data ? he comes up short. We're sure the famously hot-tempered Leonard is angry enough to use his manhole-cover-sized hands to start flipping over tables as a result of his "snub." Then again, maybe he's outsourced his angst to Duncan, who can really wreck shop like a rock star: Your five nearest misses, post-Kawhi: ? Paul Millsap, Hawks (70 total award points): Averaged 16.7 points, 7.8 rebounds, 3.1 assists and 1.8 steals in 32.7 minutes per game for the 60-win Hawks, making his second consecutive All-Star appearance and ranking in the top 10 in steals per game and steal percentage for the third straight year; ? Al Horford, Hawks (one First Team vote, 64 total points): Averaged 15.2 points, 7.2 rebounds, 3.2 assists and 1.3 blocks in 30.5 minutes per game for East-leading Atlanta, made his third All-Star Game and finished sixth in the league in field goal percentage while anchoring the Hawks' No. 6-ranked defense; ? Wall, Washington Wizards (50 total award points): Sixth in the league in minutes, second in both total assists and assists per game, third in assist percentage, ninth in total steals and 12th in steals per game, one of only two players in the league ( along with CP3 ) to average at least 10 points and 10 dimes per game this season, made his second straight All-Star Game and his first appearance in the starting lineup. The Washington star offered a brief response to not making the top 15: More Motivation...Keep Sleeping !! ? John Wall (@JohnWall) May 21, 2015 ? Butler, Bulls (32 total award points): Led the league in minutes per game, averaged career highs in points, rebounds, assists and blocks per game, as well as free-throw shooting percentage; had the league's 10th lowest turnover percentage despite a sharp increase in his usage percentage as a secondary ball-handler for Tom Thibodeau; made these offensive strides while continuing to play All-Defensive Second Team-caliber defense . ? Damian Lillard, Blazers (22 total award points): Fourth in total minutes, second in 3-point attempts, sixth in 3-pointers made, 13th in scoring at a career-high 21 points per game. - - - - - - - Dan Devine is an editor for Ball Don't Lie on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at email@example.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.
20 May 2015 at 8:52pm
NEW YORK (AP) -- Defensive Player of the Year Kawhi Leonard of San Antonio was the leading vote-getter for the NBA's All-Defensive first team, where he was joined by Los Angeles Clippers teammates Chris Paul and DeAndre Jordan.
20 May 2015 at 2:32pm
Hey, Tony Allen, where did you think you'd end up in the All-Defensive Team voting this year again? [ Follow Dunks Don't Lie on Tumblr: The best slams from all of basketball] Right you are, "Grindfather." Right you are. The score-stopping Memphis Grizzlies guard was named to the 2014-15 All-Defensive First Team on Wednesday, marking his third career appearance on the NBA's top defensive squad and his fourth All-Defensive nod overall, including a Second Team berth after the 2010-11 season. He's joined on the First Team by Defensive Player of the Year winner Kawhi Leonard of the San Antonio Spurs and DPoY runner-up Draymond Green of the Golden State Warriors in the forward slots. Los Angeles Clippers bookends DeAndre Jordan and Chris Paul round out the first five in the center and second guard spot. Leonard led all players with 116 First-Team votes from the 129 sportswriters and broadcasters with official ballots, and also received a league-high 242 "total points." (You get two points for each First Team selection, and one point for each Second Team nod.) Green received 106 First Team votes, followed by Allen's 88, Jordan's 84 and Paul's 67. It's the first All-Defensive selection for both Green and Jordan, and the first First-Team nod for Leonard, who made the Second Team last season. It's Paul's fourth straight First-Team berth, and the fifth of his career; he's also made the Second Team twice. Chicago Bulls swingman Jimmy Butler added to his Most Improved Player hardware by making his second consecutive appearance on the league's All-Defensive Second Team. He's joined in the Second Team backcourt by Washington Wizards point guard John Wall, who line up alongside forwards Anthony Davis of the New Orleans Pelicans and Spurs legend Tim Duncan, with the Warriors' Andrew Bogut in the middle. It's the first All-Defense appearance for Davis, who received 47 First-Team votes and 155 total points; Wall, who received seven First-Team votes and 67 total points; and, somewhat surprisingly, for Bogut, who's long been a defensive stalwart but who had never cracked the top 10 before receiving 33 First-Team votes and 102 total points this season. Thanks to his All-Defense breakthrough, he's now more like Andrew Bonus: Andrew Bogut gets $1.9 mil bonus for all-defense team. I get same if I make it through column without a typo. Never collected. ? Jeff Schultz (@JeffSchultzAJC) May 20, 2015 Go ahead and dap yourself up , Andrew. You've earned it. Unlike Davis, Wall and Bogut, this is very, very, very much not Tim Duncan's first All-Defense nod. The "Big Fundamental" has now made one of the top two squads 15 times in his illustrious 18-year career, with eight selections to the First Team and seven to the Second. Voters were asked to pick two forwards, two guards and one center for each of the two teams "at the position they play regularly," which led to some tough decisions for some voters: I had to change votes (& I wasn't alone) b/c of league's All-defense position structure. Wish rules were more flexible based on bigs/wings ? Sam Amick (@sam_amick) May 20, 2015 The league insisted that Gobert was a center only, while Duncan could get in as a forward though. Case in point. https://t.co/ccOl1UxUHE ? Sam Amick (@sam_amick) May 20, 2015 There was certainly a strong argument to be made for Rudy Gobert of the Utah Jazz, who held opponents to the league's lowest shooting percentage at the rim among rotation bigs and whose elevation into the starting lineup helped the Utah Jazz transform into the NBA's stingiest defense after the All-Star break , over Jordan or Bogut or, had the voting procedures allowed, over Duncan or Davis. Reasonable people can disagree without becoming especially incensed, because these are all very good and impactful defensive players we're talking about, and nobody should burst a blood vessel over it. (Nobody who doesn't have a vested financial interest in it, that is.) Your leading vote-getters who didn't crack the top 10, and thus find themselves in arguable snub territory: ? Gobert, who got five First-Team votes and 54 total points, leading him to unleash this absolutely scathing and scorching post-vote tweet: Congrats to the 10 Best defensive players in the league ? rudy gobert (@rudygobert27) May 20, 2015 ? LeBron James (six First-Team votes, 47 total points) and Russell Westbrook (13 First-Team votes, 35 total points), which seems much more in line with the fact that they are very famous than with the degree to which they were very helpful defenders this season; ? Avery Bradley of the Boston Celtics (five First-Team votes, 26 total points) and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist of the Charlotte Hornets (two First-Team votes, 21 total points), both of whom would seem to these eyes to have more legitimate gripes about getting overlooked than either of the starrier players one bullet point to the north; ? Danny Green of the Spurs, who didn't get a single First-Team vote and wishes we'd all quit sleeping on him. ??? https://t.co/s7vt3Ec2j9 ? Danny Green (@DGreen_14) May 20, 2015 We hope Danny's wounds will be salved by the eight-figure contract he's going to receive as arguably the premier 3-and-D player in unrestricted free agency this summer. - - - - - - - Dan Devine is an editor for Ball Don't Lie on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org 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.