Its time to start focusing on the playoffs and our potential roadblocks to Banner 18. Every day we'll bring you what's making news in enemy territory. This way we know what they're up to when it comes time to take 'em out.
: Former New York Knicks center Eddy Curry recently worked out for Heat president Pat Riley, causing speculation that the team might be interested in adding the big man before the playoffs. Through a team spokesman, Riley confirmed working out Curry and several other players on Saturday after Yahoo! Sports first reported the story. According to the spokesman, the purpose of the workout was for “more of a big-picture look for down the road,” and added that “anything more than that is truly speculation.”
James just finished up his most taxing month of the season, logging more than 40 minutes per game during 16 games in March. With Mario Chalmers and Mike Miller out with injuries and coach Erik Spoelstra more concerned with keeping Dwyane Wade’s minutes down, the demand for James' playing time has surged. He’s logged 43 minutes in three consecutive games and more than 40 minutes in seven consecutive games, the longest stretch of the season. “I turned to the bench and looked for someone to put in there and we were out of perimeter players,”
Give the ball to Derrick Rose
and get out of the way. The 22-year-old dropped 15 of his 36 points in the third quarter, repeatedly making plays for himself and his teammates. It was the kind of performance the Bulls needed to scratch past the Toronto Raptors on the second night of a back and back. It was the kind of performance that gives the Bulls the confidence that no matter how little energy they have or who the opponent might be, they will always come back to find a way to win. Rose gives the Bulls the hope to dream that things will only get better when the playoffs begin.
The Bulls beat a bad team. At this point in the year, Tom Thibodeau will take it. This game only reinforces the theory that Rose can single-handedly take over a game whenever he wants. He did that in the third quarter, scoring 15 points and going to the free throw line eight times. When Rose decides to impose his will on a game, bad teams, like the Raptors, don't have much of a chance.
Orlando Magic Daily
: The Magic are sort of limping to the postseason fighting injuries and trying to find a way to rest their key players before the Playoffs start. Stan Van Gundy stressed his team is going to have to be playing its best — or consistently good — basketball entering the playoffs. There is no switch to flip.
Orlando Pinstriped Post: I understand Magic fans' distaste for Arenas, to a degree. His individual statistics are staggeringly awful: 7.7 points in 21.4 minutes, 33.5 percent shooting, just 3.4 assists to 2.2 turnovers. Despite having the lowest field-goal percentage on the team, he takes more shots, per-minute, than everyone but Dwight Howard [...] And yet, despite his poor individual play, the Magic have done better than okay with Arenas on the floor this season, which is where I wonder if we've overstated the extent to which Gilbert hurts the team. According to basketballvalue.com, the Magic outscore their opponents by 6.05 points per 100 possessions when he's on the court
, compared to 5.64 when he sits.
: It was an emotional night at the Palace with a bulk of the Bad Boys on hand the Pistons honored Dennis Rodman by retiring his jersey and hanging it in the rafters of the Palace. If you didn’t have the honor of following Dennis’s career you probably don’t realize what kind of person he really is. The hair, tattoos and the stunts don’t even scratch the surface of the emotion, heart and will that Dennis had. Rodman left his mark on this franchise and not only will his jersey hang in the rafters of the Palace forever, the’s going to deservedly be inducted into the Basketball Hall of fame this year.
Silver Screen And Roll:
The way the Lakers
have been playing in their post All-Star break 17-1 run might just be the best basketball this team has played in the past four seasons. That's saying a lot considering how good this team has been and how well the last few seasons have ended. I can't think of any stretch in which this team has looked so
in tune. Everyone who sees regular playing time is making a contribution. Of course, Kobe and Pau are their typical All-World selves. Lamar Odom
is on his way to 6th Man of the Year. Even better, X-Factors Andrew Bynum andRon Artest
are impacting the game like All-Star starters.
: This week, ESPNLA.com's Ramona Shelburne and 710 ESPN's basketball analyst Dave Miller hit the studio asking the following:
- Should L.A.'s incredible post-All-Star Break run pushed Kobe Bryant to the top of the MVP race?
- What accounts for their top shelf play? Is it sustainable?
- After Friday's games, the Lakers are a scant one game behind the Spurs in the loss column, with a real shot at the top seed in the Western Conference.
The reeling Spurs got a break for Sunday’s game against Phoenix when two-time NBA MVP Steve Nash was left at home because of flulike symptoms. The Arizona Republic reports that Nash did not travel with the Suns to San Antonio Saturday
after being sent home prior to their victory Friday night over the Los Angeles Clippers. Nash is expected to join the team in Chicago, where the Suns will play Tuesday night
Nothing about the Spurs’ six-game losing streak is as puzzling as the sudden struggles from beyond the 3-point line.Friday’s 5-for-19 3-point shooting (26.3 percent) was the third straight game in which the Spurs shot below 30 percent from long range. Outscored by 12 from beyond the arc by the Rockets, the Spurs suffered a 119-114 overtime loss.
The Mavs misfired on 20 of their 25 3-point attempts. The bulk of their points during a 50-point first half came in the paint (32), but the Mavs didn’t attack the Golden State defense until too late in the second half, making a run that fell short with a three-guard lineup in the final four minutes. The third quarter was simply a disaster for Dallas. Here’s how bad it was: Monta Ellis had an 18-17 scoring advantage over the Mavs
A team that’s trying to establish continuity heading into the playoffs shouldn’t make a lineup change to match up with a team playing for lottery ping pong balls. But that’s exactly what Carlisle did when he opted to start DeShawn Stevenson
at small forward and bring Shawn Marion
off the bench. “You look at the whole picture,” Carlisle said when asked if he thought the change was a mistake. “I thought Stevenson got off to a good start in the game. He had some good looks in the third, made a 3. I don’t think [the loss] had anything to do with the lineup, and Marion off the bench was really good the last time we were here.”
: Somehow, with 75 games in the book, the Thunder is still searching for answers on how to play with focus for 48 minutes. It’s a sad but true reality. And of all the different areas this still-maturing squad is improving on, that one should have been aced ages ago. Nevertheless, a 98-92 loss to the Clippers before a sellout crowd of 19,060 proved Oklahoma City
isn’t there yet.
I don’t really know how to describe it. The easiest way is to say that this was a ridiculous loss. About as bad as they get. The way the Thunder fell asleep at the wheel again in the third quarter, then failed to execute late in the game was almost disorienting. It was basically the same story from Friday night, but to a worse team.