Monthly Archives: July 2017

Hawks top Knicks in four-OT thriller; a look inside the numbers

The Knicks and Hawks kept playing and playing Sunday in Atlanta, until they had played the longest game in the NBA this season. They went four overtimes before the host Hawks prevailed 142-139.

The game almost went into a fifth OT, which would have tied the record for the league’s shot-clock era, but the Knicks’ Courtney Lee barely missed a 3-point attempt at the horn. Lee had forced a third OT with a 3.

A game of this length is bound to produce some quirky stats. A quick look at the most interesting ones from this game:

“I started trying to pull them out, but I couldn’t because my hands were so weak. The nurses came running in to stop me. You ever had a really bad dream, where you’re trying to run away from a monster or some shit, and you just can’t run? Your legs don’t work like they should, and the monster is coming right behind you, and it’s like you’re in slow motion. That’s what it felt like.”

“After all the shit I had done, I was surprised to see her. Honestly, that’s when I knew that I was probably in bad shape.”

“At that point in my life, I was doing coke every day. Pretty much every second of free time that I had, I was doing coke. I couldn’t control it. … I didn’t want to control it.”

Furthermore, Porter is incredibly efficient in all of those areas. You wouldn’t expect someone who scores 6.0 spot-up points per game (a number only Kawhi Leonard can match) to rank in the 98.3 percentile with 1.41 points per possession. As you can see in the table below, Porter even ranks in the 95.6 percentile in scoring off of cuts, 84.3 percentile in converting putbacks and 73.0 percentile in transition scoring. He’s basically a superstar of role players.rangers_574-115x115

Let’s enhance our enjoyment by peeking at what each five-man roster may have looked like in New Orleans

Think of the matchup strategy possibilities at a coach’s disposal. Go all guards. All bigs. A point guard and two slashing wings. With five guys to use in a three-man rotation, it would be a strategist’s dream.

The number of All-Stars would expand from 24 to 30, making the game appealing to more markets and more fans.

Authentic Kids Jim Brown Jersey 3-on-3 basketball is kind of hot right now and something any recreational player can relate to.

Kony Ealy Game Jersey You’re complaining that a half-court game would rob fans of high-flying, fast-break dunks? Who cares? Isn’t that part of the problem? Players are getting out on fast breaks and nobody is trying to stop them. Not a lot of fun in that.

But how much fun does this sound?

Let’s enhance our enjoyment by peeking at what each five-man roster may have looked like in New Orleans, based largely on how actual All-Star voting went down. In our format, though, the ballots would change so that teams would be selected by division, not conference.

But what about sharp-shooting Anthony Morrow? After Morrow famously changed up his shooting stroke last season to get his shot off quicker, his accuracy has disappeared. The nine-year vet is shooting a brutal 29.4 percent from deep this season, and his 3-point percentage has actually dipped each of the last three years. That’s even tougher to stomach considering Morrow is the only qualifying player in the NBA averaging fewer than one rebound and one assist per game this season. In his current state, he won’t do much to improve Chicago’s league-worst 3-point percentage of 31.6.

It’s rare to hear a shooter complain about being open

With him, there are still a lot of questions, and like a lot of big men — not just Jonas — you have to try to find their place in the way everyone is playing the game now, one general manager told SN. He is talented and he still is young. But he is pretty much the same player he was three years ago. So what his national team coach said about him, about dedication, that sticks out. I think that hung over their ability to trade him these last few months.

Again, the reputation is not necessarily fair. Valanciunas is effective when he gets the ball (he averaged 1.28 points per possession as the roll man in the pick-and-roll, among the league’s best). But he does not get the ball enough in the Raptors’ offense, which is increasingly focused on All-Stars DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry.

Toronto has sought to deal Valanciunas since the February trade deadline. They’d had conversations with Detroit and New Orleans then, sources said, and continued to have discussions around Valanciunas at the draft, but talks with the likes of Sacramento, Phoenix, Charlotte, Portland and Atlanta did not get very far.
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It’s rare to hear a shooter complain about being open, but for Korver, it was a bit of an adjustment.

Mike Pennel Womens Jersey I was too open, Korver said. It took me a minute to get used to it. But this teams needs me to let it fly. So I’ll figure it out.

Korver struggled to start the season in Atlanta. He shot 40.9 percent from 3-point range in 32 games and ended up losing his starting spot. Playing near the blustery winds off Lake Erie have warmed up Korver’s shooting. He’s hitting 3-pointers at a 50.3 percent clip.

It’s a new system. It’s a much different style of play, Korver said. I felt like searching out shots a lot more in Atlanta. I was working off screens and moving around a lot. And here you’re kinda waiting. Well, not so much waiting, but more than that you’re waiting for the ball to come to you. You’re waiting for plays to evolve rather than chasing shots.

Suns’ starting lineup was youngest in NBA history, younger than Sweet 16 teams

The Suns have a lot of promising young talent, and they put it on full display Thursday night against the Nets as Phoenix brought out the youngest starting lineup in NBA history.

Phoenix started Tyler Ulis (21), Devin Booker (20), Derrick Jones Jr. (20), Marquese Chriss (19) and Alex Len (23), bringing together an average age of 21 years and 14 days. The young group got off to a fast start, taking a 32-22 first-quarter lead over Brooklyn, but it didn’t last.

Authentic Youth Lance Dunbar Jersey Instead of leaving the game, Towns remained in his seat and he knee began to swell considerably. By the end, he couldn’t put weight on his knee, and he was provided crutches as he left the arena to go to a hospital.

No lawsuit has been filed, but Towns is still considering his options. Suing the team your son plays for isn’t a good look, and could hurt the younger Towns’ future with the franchise. At the same time, Towns appears to have suffered a fairly serious injury as he was spotted with crutches three weeks later at All-Star weekend.
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As SI writer and legal expert Michael McCann notes, a lawsuit isn’t good for anyone. According to him, this issue will likely be resolved out of court.

The Clippers started off the season on a 14-2 tear, playing in sync and showcasing an elevated defensive intensity not seen in years past. They have stumbled since that hot start due to those key injuries and a drop in defensive efficiency, something coach Doc Rivers and his players have certainly noticed throughout the season.

The core of Paul, Griffin, Redick and DeAndre Jordan continues to accumulate wins, but a title remains elusive. How much longer is the Clippers’ championship window open? With unrestricted free agency coming after the 2016-17 season, will Redick stick with the stars in LA?

Warriors fan wins new car with 3-point marksmanship

Even Warriors fans are pretty good shooters.

Well, at least one of their fans, named Evan, who knocked down four 3-pointers in under 30 seconds during a break in Golden State’s loss to the Celtics on Wednesday to win a new car – a Kia, but still.

In order to be handed the keys, Evan had to sink more long-range shots in 30 seconds than the three Zaza Pachulia made in a video showed to the home crowd, per KNBR.com.

For context, it’s not like Evan was asked to compete against Stephen Curry or Klay Thompson. Pachulia, a 6-11 center, is 0-for-25 in 3-point attempts over his 14-year NBA career.

Still, it took Evan just 22 seconds to beat Pachulia’s mark:

For Warriors fans, a 13-point home loss, especially one in which their team scores just 12 points in the fourth quarter, has to sting. But going home with the keys to a new car surely eases the pain.

When it comes to shooting guards, the Mamba takes a back seat to only one, Michael Jordan. There never was another Jordan, but Bryant arguably came the closest. He arrived right out high school ready for the challenge. His private workout for the Lakers at the age of 17 became the stuff of legend, with Jerry West, then GM, departing after 15 minutes convinced that Bryant was better than anyone on L.A.’s roster.

“At 17 years old,” West later said, “I’d never seen anyone with the skill level that he had.”

Bryant also proved to have what all the great ones possess — the desire to excel and a love for the game. During 20 seasons in LA, he racked up the third-highest point total in league history, with 33,643. Among his bold-type achievements: One regular-season MVP, two Finals MVPs, five championships, a record 15 All-Star Game starts and 24 50-point games, third only to Jordan and Chamberlain. His 81-point blitzing of Toronto is No. 2 on the NBA’s scoring list for a single game.saints_016-223x223

Baseball’s five biggest second-half stories, by the numbers

Baseball fans, your long (two-day) national nightmare is over. The season’s second half kicks into gear Friday night, and with it come a number of intriguing storylines. There have been a lot of big surprises this year, and watching how things play out through the late summer and early fall should be fascinating.

Alexander Edler Elite Jersey Which of those storylines are the most interesting? Let’s take a different approach and dive into five of them — by the numbers:

A guy with a high curveball spin rate is probably more likely to be getting grounders, because curves have topspin, and the spin helps to push the pitch into the dirt. But of course, none of this is in isolation: Location, velocity, deception, spin… it all works together. Even a 100-mph fastball will get hit if it’s straight and a hitter knows it’s coming. Spin is another piece of the puzzle that helps to explain things like how Chris Young gets outs with an 86-mph fastballs, or how Justin Verlander bounced back.
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The Astros are a great example. They are throwing more two-seamers than have ever before in the MLB this season and throwing offspeed pitches nearly 50 percent of the time. Other teams have followed suit as well because straight pitches get hit, even if they’re 100-mph.

So how does Judge come in here? Well, the consensus for years has been when pitching to long and tall men like Judge to throw up and in to eliminate his bat speed. The more a player like him gets his arms extended, the more bat speed and power he has. But two-seamers are not thrown up and in. It would be silly to because the pitch is slightly slower and naturally moves down away from the hands and into the dropping bat head. Of Judge’s 30 home runs this year, just four have come off of four-seam fastballs. Meanwhile, 13 came off of two-seamers.

He hit a sacrifice fly to score a run during a two-run sixth inning.

The Yankees appeared to take control in the fifth when Aaron Judge gave them a 4-2 lead with a solo homer that was his MLB-best 30th home run of the season. But there were no more Brewers mistakes as reliever Josh Hader retired the next three batters.

That’s when Aguilar really got going. He hit a sacrifice fly to score a run during a two-run sixth inning. His grand slam in the seventh was part of a five-spot that broke the game open.

Aguilar finished the game 3 of 4 and his seven RBIs tied a franchise record originally set by Ted Kubiak in 1970, and tied by Jose Hernandez in 2001 and Richie Sexson in 2002.

The last time the Brewers committed five errors in a game was last July 27, in an 8-1 loss to the Diamondbacks. But thanks to Aguilar’s big bat, the National League Central-leading Brewers took the first game of a three-game series at Yankee Stadium before the All-Star break.
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The Grizzlies traded for the No. 35 pick from Orlando in return for the Nets’ 2019 second-round pick, which Memphis owned.

The Sixers weren’t content with trading up to land the No. 1 pick in the draft, Markelle Fultz. On draft night, they obtained the Magic’s No. 25 pick (Anzejs Pasecniks) for their 2020 first-round pick (via Oklahoma City) and 2020 second-round pick.
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Judge’s latest home run moved him passed Joe DiMaggio for most home runs by a Yankees rookie. He also became just the second rookie to hit 30-plus home runs by the All-Star break, joining Mark McGwire in 1987.

But for now, the what takes precedence over the why. What will teams do with Darnold committing to an extra year of college? Better yet, what have teams already done?

In other words, who is everybody tanking for now? And is it too late to un-tank now?

Barry Bonds shared pregnancy tips with former teammate’s wife — and it worked

Elite Brent Urban Jersey The Giants honored Barry Bonds with a plaque on AT&T Park’s Wall of Fame Saturday afternoon, a fitting tribute for the player who won five of his seven MVP Awards with the team, and whose exploits helped get the stadium built.

So it was a perfect time for Bonds to thank the Giants, his former teammates, fans — oh, and to share his tips for how a couple can successfully make a baby. Really.

Elite Keith McGill Jersey Blame Bonds’ former teammate, pitcher Kirk Rueter, for bringing up the topic. Addressing the crowd at the ceremony, Reuter recalled how, about 18 years ago, he and his wife, Karla, were trying to conceive a child.

You’re going to have to miss games, you’re going to have to lose some money if you’re willing to make the point, because that’s how MLB and NBA got it done. They missed games, they struck, they flexed every bit of power they had, and it was awesome. It worked out for them.

This caps off the Warriors retaining their entire roster. Ultimately, this came down to an ownership decision. Were the Warriors willing to go far into the repeater tax during years two and three of this contract, or would they decide Iguodala was an expendable piece? The owners decided to allow management to do what they felt was necessary to win championships, and Iguodala was rightfully rewarded in the process.

For the Warriors, Iguodala plays an integral role in their scheme. His ability to play up and down the lineup allows them to switch positionally and play versatile lineups. Offensively, his ability to take on lead ball-handler duties not only allows Stephen Curry and Shaun Livingston to play off the ball occasionally in the halfcourt, but it also helps that he can lead the break off a rebound and get the team out in transition quicker.

Former Celtics guard Rajon Rondo was vital in Tuesday’s victory for the Bulls.

Midseason boosts. The overall numbers from Kyle Korver and Deron Williams, the two veterans Cleveland brought in during the season, have not been too gaudy, but each has filled his role admirably to this points. Williams is giving the Cavs 16.0 minutes per game in the playoffs and has made nine of the 15 3-pointers he has attempted — at 60.0 percent, he’s been the team’s most accurate shooter in the postseason (discounting Derrick Williams, who made the one 3-pointer he attempted).

Korver has been even better, and was critical to the Cavs keeping up with the Raptors in the two games in Toronto. On Sunday in the sweep game, he had 18 points and five rebounds, making four of six from the 3-point line. In Game 3, he scored 14 points, also making four of his six 3-point attempts. He has been a combined plus-29 in Cleveland’s four playoff road games.

Former Celtics guard Rajon Rondo was vital in Tuesday’s victory for the Bulls. The 31-year-old Rondo was just one rebound shy of a triple-double with 11 points and nine rebounds to go with 14 assists.

The Celtics were delivered a gut punch even before the series began when the sister of All-Star guard Isaiah Thomas died Saturday in a single-car accident. Thomas still scored 33 points in Sunday’s 106-102 Game 1 loss, but was visibly emotional on the bench.

The 28-year-old Celtics point guard scored a team-high 20 points on Tuesday, but the Celtics could not overcome the hot shooting of the Bulls. Chicago was 51 percent from the floor as Jimmy Butler and Dwyane Wade both scored 22 points.

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Gregg Popovich makes rare declaration: Kawhi Leonard is ‘best player in the league’

Kawhi Leonard elevated his game this season, making himself a legitimate MVP candidate. He somehow improved on his numbers during the Spurs’ first-round playoff series against the Grizzlies, averaging more points, rebounds, assists and steals among other stats.

After the Spurs won the series 4-2 Thursday night, Leonard’s coach Gregg Popovich made a bold declaration: Kawhi Leonard is, in my opinion, the best player in the league right now. He’s the best two-way player, and does it all with such class, it’s impressive.
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The Spurs led by as many as 28 points in the third quarter as LaMarcus Aldridge played like the superstar he was expected to be when he left Portland in 2015 to join the Spurs.

Aldridge more than picked up the slack in Leonard’s absence. The five-time All-Star led six Spurs scorers in double figures with a season-high 34 points and 12 rebounds.

Role players like Danny Green, Kyle Anderson and Dejounte Murray all contributed to the dominant victory.

The Spurs will now have a few days for Leonard to rest his injured ankle before facing the Warriors in the Western Conference Finals, which begin Sunday in Oakland.
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If Spurs coach Gregg Popovich can figure out how to get quality minutes from Simmons to go with the scoring ability of Aldridge and Leonard, the Spurs have a great chance of derailing the Warriors on their way to the assumed NBA Finals rematch with the Cavaliers.