The Fundamentals

» November 26, 2008 8:42 AM | By Brandon Hoffman

Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports:  “They should get used to it in Cleveland, because LeBron James has fallen wildly, madly in love with the courtship of LeBron James. He had come to Madison Square Garden sounding like a boxing promoter pushing a fight-night pay-per-view card. The date tumbled out of his mouth over and over – July 1, 2010. He loves the intrigue, the scenarios, the endless possibilities. Ask him anything about it. He’ll go on and on. At this rate, James is threatening to become the first free agent ever fined for tampering with himself. ‘If you guys want to go to sleep right now and not wake up until July 1, 2010, then go ahead because it’s going to be a big day,’ James said with a smile late Tuesday. Most of his teammates had showered and gone to the bus, a 119-101 embarrassment of the Knicks complete. But James was still talking at the Garden.”

Jerome Soloman of the Houston Chronicle:  “Nearly a year ago, Ford took a nasty fall in Atlanta after being scraped across the face by Al Horford. Ford landed on his back, and his head bounced violently off the floor. He lay motionless for a moment, then left the stadium strapped to a stretcher. It was scary, particularly for a player who had previous spinal issues. Ford was diagnosed with a condition called spinal stenosis, a congenital narrowing of the spinal column, in 2001. He missed the 2004-05 season because of a bruised spinal cord suffered in a collision with Mark Madsen in February of ’04. When Ford returned home last Christmas, he briefly considered retiring. Episodes with stingers and the accompanying temporary paralysis were wearing on him. Instead, he went back to work, strengthening his body for a return to the game he loves and changing his style of play a bit to minimize the danger.”

Tim Kawakami of the San Jose Mercury News:  “Could Nelson be in trouble, the way Jordan and Carlesimo suddenly got in trouble? NO, OF COURSE NOT. Nelson can’t get into trouble with the Warriors. Won’t happen, no matter what the record is, since Robert Rowell has guaranteed Nelson’s predominance. Nelson is the king of the Warriors these days, having seized control of all things in the last few weeks and inked a two-year, $12M extension through 2010-’11. I’m just throwing this DN-jeopardy headline out there as an exercise. As a thought-bubble. Gee, what if things weren’t perceived the way they are in the Warriors’ offices right now?”

Kate Fagan of the Philadelphia Inquirer:  “Through 14 games this season, the 76ers have rarely resembled the playoff-bound team they were expected to be. There have been flashes – strong quarters, sometimes even halves – but mostly the Sixers have struggled through the first portion of their schedule. The latest games were supposed to allow them to gain a little breathing room between themselves and .500. Instead, after finishing a five-game stretch against sub-.500 teams, the Sixers are 7-7 and staring at a much more difficult road. Starting at 7:30 tonight against the Orlando Magic at the Wachovia Center, the Sixers enter a nine-game stretch that includes the Boston Celtics, the Los Angeles Lakers, Allen Iverson’s Detroit Pistons, and LeBron James’ Cleveland Cavaliers – all considered championship contenders this season.”

Jeff McDonald of the San Antonio Express-News:  “After shootaround Monday morning, just minutes after the gathered media (read: me and another dude) learned Ginobili would be making his season debut that night against the Grizz, Manu found himself in the fight of his life. He was playing H-O-R-S-E with Blake Ahearn. And losing. It was a fascinating turn of events: Ginobili, unofficially regarded as the H-O-R-S-E champion of the NBA, locked in a white-knuckle battle with a guy who had all of 15 games on his NBA resume. The two traded bank shots off the shot clock, and another silly one that Ahearn invented, spinning the ball on his finger for about 30 seconds before bumping it into the hoop. Ginobili scored points by head-butting the ball into the hoop from about 8 feet out.”

Jeff McDonald of the San Antonio Express-News:  “The Spurs are coming off a 94-81 victory Monday at Memphis, their sixth victory in eight games. In five of those triumphs, they held their opponent to fewer than 90 points. The turnaround has been stark. Five games into the season, the Spurs were 1-4 and allowing 105.2 points per game. Eight games later, the Spurs are giving up 92.2 points per game, fifth-best in the league. Not coincidentally, they have run their record to 7-6 heading into tonight’s home game against Chicago.”

48 Minutes of Hell:  Graydon Gordon (Spurs), Dream Shake (Rockets) and Forum Blue & Gold (Lakers) discuss Robert Horry’s chances of being inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame

Jason Quick of The Oregonian:  “Since he broke out of his shell near the end of his rookie year, scoring 30 points against Charlotte, Aldridge has never gone more than four games without scoring 20 or without making at least half of his shots. During his current nine-game slump, he is shooting 38.5percent (47-for-122) — more than 10 percentage points off his career average of 48.9percent. When his slump started, he was averaging 19.3 points a game. Now, he is averaging 15.0 points and is shooting 42.4percent. All of it, apparently, because his mind has become twisted like a pretzel.”

Michael Grange of the Globe and Mail:  “The Raptors’ shooting guards – Anthony Parker, basically – are being completely overwhelmed by the opposition. The average PER of the opponents shooting guards is 19.9. The Raptors’ shooting guard PER is 11.0. There are only two teams who are at that much of a deficit at any position: The Washingto Wizards, who are down 11.2 at point guard and the Oklahoma City Thunder, who are down 9.0 at centre. Combined they are 2-23 and have fired two coaches. Oh, one other team is worse off, sorry. That’s San Antonio, who are down 12.4 at small forward, thanks to injuries, and they’re a potential Finals team struggling to stay in the playoff race out west.”

Tom Ziller of NBA FanHouse:  Anti-Joe Johnson Bias Hurting Hawks? No

Truman Reed for Bucks.com:  “He began playing at age 12 for AMVJ Rotterdam, now known as Rotterdam Basketball. Not long afterward, though, he gave up the sport, but not because he didn’t enjoy it or showed no proficiency at it. Elson was 13 years old when his brother, Patrick, died at the age of 21 while playing basketball for a club team in Rotterdam. Francisco’s parents chose not to have an autopsy performed on his brother, so the cause of his death is unknown, though the preliminary diagnosis was a heart attack. The tragedy delivered a devastating blow to Elson and to his passion for basketball. There was also the fear that whatever caused his brother’s death could be genetic and put Francisco in peril if he continued to play the game. ‘When my brother passed away, it was a heartbreak for the whole family and still is today,’ Elson said. ‘My family didn’t want me to play anymore, so I quit playing basketball.’ Elson shifted his attention to other sports such as swimming, soccer and karate (in which he possesses a brown belt). Elson got the itch — and some encouragement from a gym teacher — to resume playing basketball several years later. When he reached 18 years of age, he began to play the game relentlessly as a way to honor his brother’s memory.”

Neil Paine of Basketball-Reference.com:  “Exactly how good have the Lakers been so far? Well, here at Basketball-Reference.com, one of our favorite tools for measuring team quality is something we call the “Simple Rating System“. It’s basically a team’s average point differential per game, but also adjusted for strength of schedule, and we’ve already proven that it’s one of the best predictors of future performance available. Through 13 games, the Lakers’ SRS is an eye-popping 14.00, easily tops in the league (Cleveland is 2nd with 9.64). Just for comparison’s sake, last year’s Celtics, who streamrolled the league en route to 66 wins and an NBA title, had an SRS of “only” 9.31. In fact, the best full-season SRS mark ever belongs to the 1970-71 Milwaukee Bucks, who also rolled up 66 wins and an NBA crown, thanks to the efforts of Oscar Robertson and league MVP Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. Their SRS score that year? 11.91, more than two points per game worse than L.A.’s current clip.”

Julian Benbow of the Boston Globe:  “Kendrick Perkins has eight techs in about a month. Feel free to grab a calculator. But Perkins isn’t checking his bank balance. ‘Yeah they fine me,’ said Perkins after practice yesterday, two days after a dunk, a yell, and a mix-up with Chris Bosh in Toronto earned him his eighth technical of the season, and a fine total of $9,500. ‘But I don’t really see it like that. It ain’t really putting a dent in my pocket.’ If the league is going to take the money, Perkins said, it will take it. And if the referees are going to call the techs, he said, then they call them. His point is that it’s out of his control.”

Paul Coro of The Arizona Republic:  “Each season, Suns forward Matt Barnes had to be the hungriest of players – either to get into the NBA, to stay in it or to carve out a lasting role. That desire came through in his energy, which still defines Barnes’ play even as he becomes a full-time starter for the first time in his career. Though much is made of Grant Hill’s transition to reserve duty, it was a change for Barnes to be an opening-night starter. It just didn’t look like it when he hit his first three 3-pointers – and the winning 3-pointer – Tuesday night. He’s still hungry. ‘Definitely, because I really haven’t made no really good money,’ said Barnes, who is playing for $926,678 this season but hopes to re-sign with the Suns. ‘I’m on a good team. I want to win a championship. I also want to financially be taken care of. There’s still that hunger, the same hunger I’ve had since Day 1.’”

Aaron J. Lopez of the Rocky Mountain News:  “In trading center Marcus Camby four months ago, the Nuggets gambled on Nene and Kenyon Martin to fill the void in the middle. As Denver prepares to play the Camby and the Los Angeles Clippers on Wednesday night, the reward has validated the risk. Though the Nuggets rank lower overall in points-in-the-paint, team rebounding and blocked shots in the Postcambian Era, the dropoff has been negligible considering their 9-5 start to the season.`You all made it a question,’ Martin reminded us knuckleheaded reporters this week. `Guys here didn’t make it an issue. We miss Marcus and the things he brought to the table, but we’re professionals. We get paid to do a job. There was no question in our mind, no doubt in our mind, that we were going to do the job.’ Martin and Nene are averaging a combined 29 points and 14 rebounds per game to help offset the nine points and 13 rebounds they lost when Camby was jettisoned in a fiscally motivated move.”

Michael Lee of the Washington Post:  “After the Wizards fired their second Jordan in less than six years on Monday, Falk called to voice his frustration about the man he blames for the Wizards’ woeful 1-10 start this season. You’d be right if your guess is it wasn’t Eddie Jordan … or Ernie Grunfeld. Falk said he likes and respects both Eddie Jordan and Grunfeld, but added that Pollin is to blame for signing Gilbert Arenas to a $111 million last summer and not having the patience to understand that the team was going to struggle. ‘It’s not Eddie’s fault and it’s not Ernie’s fault. The owner decided, when he decided to pay a guy that kind of money when he knows he’s going to be out the first three or four months of the season. Why blame it on the general manager or the coach?’ Falk said. ‘This is what’s wrong with Wizards basketball. The buck stops at the top, it doesn’t stop at the bottom. This is the owner’s responsibility. He made the decision to sign Arenas. When you make the decision, you know the team is going to get off to a rocky start. You’re missing your leading scorer, and in theory, based on the way they’ve paid him, he’s their franchise player, right? What team expects to win when their franchise goes down?’”

Ivan Carter of the Washington Post:  “While every situation is unique, recent NBA history suggests that replacing coaches during the season does not trigger major improvement. Since the start of the 2004-05 season, 13 teams have replaced coaches during a season and only one of those changes resulted in a drastic improvement (the 2004-05 Denver Nuggets finished 32-8 under George Karl after starting 13-15 under Jeff Bzdelik).”

Ronald Tillery of the Memphis Commercial Appeal:  “Of the Grizzlies’ five perimeter players that log significant minutes, rookie O.J. Mayo leads with 43 percent shooting. The next best shooter is reserve Quinton Ross at a 41 percent clip in 18 minutes per game. From there, the drop-off is dramatic. Forward Rudy Gay, the team’s first option, is shooting 40 percent overall and a distressing 25 percent from beyond the 3-point arc. Point guards Mike Conley and Kyle Lowry (37 percent each) aren’t reliable threats. Memphis is shooting 43 percent through 14 contests — 25th in the NBA heading into its road game tonight against the Utah Jazz. The Grizzlies have misfired at 41 percent in the past seven losses.”

Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer:  “I had to chuckle Monday night, listening to a friend describe how the Charlotte Bobcats’ coaching change added to his workload. This guy is an advance scout for another Eastern Conference team. He says the Bobcats firing Sam Vincent and hiring Larry Brown changed them from the easiest team to scout to the hardest. The way this scout put it, Vincent ran the same 10 plays the same way all last season, so other than personnel, nothing much changed between scouting reports. Brown’s plays expand and evolve by the week.”

Steve Aschburner of CNNSI.com:  “It’s been noted before that the NBA, like second grade and CEOs in search of bailouts, is a copycat league. Something that works for one person or team — a half-court set, combo guards, a luxury-tax loophole or the champagne-cooler upgrade in the back seat of the Maybach — hurriedly gets adopted by some other person or team. C’mon, you didn’t think the headband renaissance was the result of spontaneous perspiration. The same goes for Hack-a-Shaq and isolation plays. And, from the early look of things, for defense, too. What worked so well for the Celtics in chasing down the 2008 NBA championship, what served as their calling card, was their ability to choke off the other guys’ offense. Fans and media labored all season to capture the essence of the eventual champs in a catchy nickname for their three All-Star performers, but nothing ever stuck. While Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Ray Allen provided the foundation of that team, its identity came on the defensive end. Boston’s signature move last season was five guys rotating and helping as one; at its best, it was as stunning as a Chris Paul crossover, as masterful as a day at the office for Mozart or Monet. So, natch, other teams are nosing around now for a piece of that action. Again, it’s early, a mere four weeks into the 2008-09 regular season. But as they say on Wall Street — or as they used to say, anyway — the numbers are trending in the right direction.”

Harvey Araton of The New York Times:  “As he took the most unsteady walk of his 25 years, away from his team and into an uncertain future, Delonte West had no idea the leader of the pack was advancing from behind. Quietly, LeBron James had followed him off the practice floor, into the hall, all the way to the elevator that would carry West to a nearly two-week absence from the Cleveland Cavaliers last month to tackle a years-long struggle with depression. ‘Whatever you’ve got to do, I want you to know that we’ll be right here, waiting for you,’ James told his teammate. They hugged, and West went off to begin treatment with a thought he didn’t mind sharing, weeks after his return. ‘LeBron’s a better person than he is a basketball player,’ West said, before James and the Cavs laid a 119-101 beating on what’s left of the reconstituted Knicks on Tuesday night at Madison Square Garden.”


5 Responses to “The Fundamentals”

  1. splinterfd123 Says:

    I think that Kobe is going to blow his knee out this year and then they are going to get LeBron will bring the magic back to the lakers

  2. splinterfd123 Says:

    This is a really cool site…good work.

  3. Rock Says:

    That last article on LeBron and Delonte West is superb. It’s too bad it took the NY media to find this story. Where was the Cleveland media on this?

  4. Football Fanatics Says:

    The NBA wants Lebron in NYC. It will happen.

  5. dusty Says:

    man the cavs are playing championship caliber basketball.

    far better than they have in any of legone’s previous regular seasons.

    and all anyone wants to talk about is new york.

    what a pity.

    KOBE!! for MVP!

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