Clips,Blazers,Rockets,Bulls,Suns,Jazz,Celts,Warriors,P’n’R D

- Doc Rivers gets universal praise for Clippers leadership (from Robert Morales, Long Beach Press-Telegram):

“After a year off to work in the broadcast booth, Rivers began his nine-year stint with the Boston Celtics in 2004. In 2007-08 he led them to the NBA championship. He had earned that ultimate respect as a coach. Not that he boasts about it.

“Well, good,” said Rivers, when told his current players credit his experience for helping them set another franchise record with 57 victories this season. “I don’t happen to know that. I don’t know if I really believe that anyway. I really don’t. It’s great to say and I’ll pay them all later. But I really don’t know that.

“I think the experience is what they’re going to experience. I can’t experience it with them or for them. As a team I can because we’re on the same team. But they know how to play and that’s what I keep telling them. We know how to play basketball, we just have to make sure we know how to play it together.”

That was Rivers’ goal when he arrived. He knew he had lots of individual talent, and he wanted to make sure it could be formed into that collective superpower.”

Read it here: http://www.dailynews.com/sports/20140417/doc-rivers-gets-universal-praise-for-clippers-leadership

- Trail Blazers-Rockets matchups: Strengths of Damian Lillard and Patrick Beverley collide at point guard (from Jason Quick, The Oregonian):

” On the court they have shoved each other. Exchanged words. Drawn simultaneous technical fouls. And each fouled out in the same game.

Off the court, they have expressed opinions about the other’s actions, little of it complimentary.

But behind the bravado and name-calling between Portland point guard Damian Lillard and his Houston counterpart, Patrick Beverley, lies a substantive matchup that could very well dictate this first-round playoff series.

It’s strength versus strength, with Lillard’s explosive offense against Beverley’s tenacious defense.”

Read it here: http://www.oregonlive.com/blazers/index.ssf/2014/04/blazers-rockets_playoffs_at_point_guard_the_streng.html

- The Maestro: Noah orchestrates Bulls on both ends of court (from Lee Jenkins, Sports Illustrated):

” Noah’s passion is as celebrated as Tim Duncan‘s footwork and Chris Paul‘s vision, but equally reductive. Depicting him purely as a 29-year-old “hustle guy” does him no justice. It took more than chase-down blocks and primal roars to become the best playmaking center in three decades — a floor general and rim protector all at once — whose versatility prompts one NBA assistant coach to remark, “I haven’t seen anything like him since Bill Walton in ’77.”
Yes, Noah still treats every trip downcourt like a 30-yard suicide and every loose ball like a treasured African artifact. Blue-collar defense — hard shows and crisp rotations — used to define him. But there is increased artistry to what he does, turning rebounds into rollicking fast breaks and passing from the high post as if he’s picking out slot receivers at Soldier Field…He can’t pretend to be just a grinder anymore. Like it or not, he’s a performer.

- 37 Things that Grantland’s Zach Lowe liked and didn’t like about the 2013-14 regular season:
- Jeff Hornacek talks Suns’ 48-win season (from Jeff Caplan, NBA.com):
“The Phoenix Suns added their name to a very short list of teams to win 48 games and not make the playoffs. Their pleasantly stunning season has sparked increased debate about whether the NBA should look at ditching the conference model and put the 16 teams with the best record into the postseason.Suns coach Jeff Hornacek vaulted to the top of the Coach of the Year discussion early on and, like his team, never faded. Phoenix was believed to be a team headed for major ping-pong balls come the lottery, a team constructed of journeymen and unproven parts expected to top out at around 25 victories.The first-time head coach will have competition from Chicago’s Tom Thibodeau, Portland’s Terry Stotts, Charlotte’s Steve Clifford, Toronto’s Dwane Casey and San Antonio’s Gregg Popovich.

“Jeff is an awesome coach,” Suns point guard and team MVP Goran Dragic said. “He was a great player and he understands the game. As a coach, he sees things differently and he is always calm and gives us that extra confidence. He works hard with young players after practice and he gives us the strength to fight the whole season.”

Read the Q&A here: http://hangtime.blogs.nba.com/2014/04/17/jeff-hornacek-talks-suns-48-win-season/

- A complete guide to how NBA teams defend the pick and roll (from Doug Eberhardt, SBNatiion):

” The pick and roll is the genesis of the modern NBA offense. It forces the defense to make a decision on each and every possession. That decision then opens up a multitude of offensive options: the pull-up jumper, the drive to the paint, the pass to the rolling or popping man, the kick-out pass, the dish to someone coming off an action on the opposite side, etc. There is so much going on.

As a result, NBA defenses have come up with a smorgasbord of defensive coverages to combat it. Every team has multiple ways to play the pick and roll, depending on individual matchups and their overall defensive philosophy. Almost every defensive decision in the NBA begins and ends with how you choose to play the pick and roll.

This leads to a variety of questions. What are you willing to give up? What is the number one thing you’re trying to take away? How does your personnel fit with what you would ideally want to do? Or, a better question: how can you play the pick and roll with your existing personnel?

The goal: try and make it so the pick and roll can only beat you one way. That one way must be something that’s most different than their successful habits. If you ask the offense to make decisions that are new to them, you’ve blown up the foundation of their offensive actions.”

Read and view Doug’s analysis/description of the various ways p’n’r is defended here:

http://www.sbnation.com/2014/4/18/5601402/nba-pick-and-roll-defense-playoffs-2014

- Trey Burke says NBA reality was a pleasant surprise (from Jim Burton, Standard-Examiner):

” Before he got to the Jazz, rookie point guard Trey Burke heard whispers about NBA veterans and what goes on behind the scenes.

Petty stuff.

Selfish stuff.

Obnoxious stuff.

“Before I got in the league you always hear guys telling you, ‘Look out for those guys that (are) behind you or that play that same position,’ ” Burke said Thursday, fewer than 24 hours after Utah’s 2013-14 season ended.

But John Lucas III wasn’t like that. The veteran point guard was supportive, understanding and helpful, Burke said.

“He’s been like a big brother to me,” he said. “I could talk to him about anything. We competed against each other every day and I’m sure he was frustrated not playing as much as he did in the beginning of the season.””

Read it here: http://www.standard.net/stories/2014/04/18/burke-says-nba-reality-was-pleasant-surprise

- The Celtics’ necessary business of losing (from Paul Flannery, SBNation):

” This was a painful, albeit necessary, step in Danny Ainge’s quest to rebuild the franchise. The goal, contrary to popular local sentiment, was not necessarily lottery combinations or draft positioning. It was acquiring flexibility.

If they wind up with a top-three pick: great. That’s another asset for Ainge to throw into the pile of proposals he’ll go through in the next few months. He’s been on record as suggesting the draft is overrated and lacks a clear franchise game-changer at the top.

Maybe he’s bluffing or maybe he’s tempering expectations, but the likelier outcome is that Ainge will try to replicate his 2007 blueprint when he traded seven players and three first-round draft picks for Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett. Of those seven, four were developed by the Celtics and a fifth — Sebastian Telfair — was a recent lottery pick.”

Read it here: http://www.sbnation.com/2014/4/17/5624534/boston-celtics-nba-draft-2014-losing-danny-ainge-future

- The All-Court Influence of Andrew Bogut’s Absence (from Jack Winter, Hardwood Paroxysm):

” That analysis of the crushing impact Andrew Bogut’s indefinite absence will have on the Warriors playoff hopes has been relegated to one side of the ball is extremely telling. Golden State was a defensive team first and foremost this season, after all, due in large part to the supreme influence of its seven-foot Aussie. But his near-dominance on that end of the floor not withstanding, we’d be remiss to continue acting as if the loss of Bogut won’t prove detrimental to the Warriors offense, too. “

Read it here: http://hardwoodparoxysm.com/2014/04/17/the-crippling-all-court-influence-of-andrew-boguts-absence/

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