As promised, here is Part II (“Bonus Coverage”) of today’s best stories:
-Portland Trail Blazers vs. Sacramento Kings (from Dave Deckard at Blazersedge.com):
“Damian Lillard pours in a historical flurry in the last two minutes as the Portland Trail Blazers catch up to the Sacramento Kings but shoddy defense and the skills of DeMarcus Cousins and Rudy Gay undercut the effort.”
- How The Blazers Got Damian Lillard An Open Three When it Mattered The Most (from Scott Rafferty at Hardwood Paroxysm):
“Thanks to a third quarter meltdown which saw their five point half-time lead evaporate into thin air, the Portland Trail Blazers found themselves with their backs against the wall in the final 12 minutes of last night’s game against the Sacramento Kings. In fact, with just over six minutes to go in regulation, the Kings extended their lead to 18 points after a pair of made free throws by Derrick Williams and the game seemed all but over. But then, Damian Lillard woke Sleep Train Arena up by catching fire, scoring 18 of the team’s final 28 points and giving the Blazers a chance at pulling off the unlikely comeback.
At the end of the night, the second year point guard finished with a career-high 41 points and scored a franchise record 26 points – on 5-for-6 shooting from downtown – in the fourth quarter alone. But his most important bucket of the night came off of an in-bounds play with 25.1 seconds remaining in regulation. Faced with a six point deficit, it was a make or break moment for the Trail Blazers and they were in dire need of something to keep them in the game. So, in the timeout, Terry Stotts drew up a fantastic play, which got Lillard a wide-open look at a corner three. He knocked it down, the lead was trimmed to three and we had ourselves a ball game.
And because that play was so beautifully designed, here’s a little breakdown of what went on.”
Read about it and view it here: http://hardwoodparoxysm.com/2014/01/08/how-the-blazers-got-damian-lillard-an-open-three-when-it-mattered-the-most/
- Streaking Golden State Warriors blending old with new (from Mike Prada, SBNation):
“The Warriors have hit the soft underbelly of their schedule and have feasted accordingly, led by the brilliant Stephen Curry, a resurgent David Lee and an elite defense
“The NBA season is 82 games long. Each team plays 52 games against teams from its own conference and 30 from the other conference. Each team plays 41 games in their building and 41 in another team’s. Each team has long homestands, difficult road trips, back-to-backs, four-in-five stretches and trips to several cities in a short span.
But not all of those teams go through those types of stretches at the same time. Consider the Golden State Warriors, for example. Early on, their place in the Western Conference hierarchy was disrupted by a mediocre 14-13 start. The Bay Area was filled with much angst, with some calling for Mark Jackson’s firing.
All this happened even though the Warriors had a brutal start to the season. Fourteen of their first 22 games were away from Oracle Arena. Of their first 31 games, three were against the awful Eastern Conference. Over that same time period, the Portland Trail Blazers, the darlings of the NBA, played 10 games against the East. Thirteen of the Warriors’ first 30 games have come against the nine other best teams in the league. Only six of their first 30 games have been against the 10 worst teams in the league. Throw in a couple injuries (Andre Iguodala, most notably), and you can see why the Warriors struggled early on.
Now, the schedule is starting to get easier, and the Warriors are soaring.”
- Spurs vs. Grizzlies: Revisiting a wild finish (from Jason Patt at SBNation.com):
Read & view it here: http://www.sbnation.com/nba/2014/1/8/5287692/spurs-grizzlies-wild-finish-nba
- Spurs 110, Memphis 108 (OT): A great game that never should have been ( from Dan McCarney at MySanAntonio.com/spursnation):
- The 2014 Luke Walton All-Stars (from Zach Lowe, Grantland.com):
Read Zach’s “who’s who of non-serious players that are getting serious minutes” here: http://www.grantland.com/story/_/id/10253152/the-3rd-annual-how-guy-relevant-all-stars
- The Extensive History of Deron Williams’ Ankle Issues and the Associated Uncertainty (from Jeff Stotts at InStreetClothes.com):
Read it here: http://instreetclothes.com/blog/
And if you missed Part I of today’s top stories this morning, check it out here: http://basketballintelligence.wordpress.com/2014/01/08/dwight-bosh-anthony-bennett-kirilenko-pekovic-beal-raptors-josh-howard/