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- Timberwolves overcome Bulls 113-112 (The Associated Press) October 25, 2014Zach LaVine tried not to think about guarding Derrick Rose. After starring late in the Minnesota Timberwolves' rally from a 13-point deficit, the 19-year-old rookie didn't try hiding his admiration. ''That dude's good,'' LaVine said after Minnesota closed the preseason with a 113-112 victory over the Chicago Bulls on Friday night. He'd been wondering if coach Flip Saunders would put him in.
- DeRozan scores 15, Raptors beat Knicks 83-80 (The Associated Press) October 25, 2014The preseason is over for the Toronto Raptors, and they finished it in style. DeMar DeRozan scored 15 points, Jonas Valanciunas added 13, and Toronto beat the New York Knicks 83-80 on Friday night at the Bell Centre in the final preseason game for both teams. ''The intensity was up,'' said Lou Williams, who had 12 points for Toronto, including a crucial, go-ahead jump shot in the game's final minute. We really felt like this was a tune-up game going into Wednesday against Atlanta.'' The Raptors open the regular season Wednesday night against the Hawks at Air Canada Centre, where Toronto will play nine of its first 12 games.
- National Basketball Association roundup (Reuters) October 25, 2014(The Sports Xchange) - The Philadelphia 76ers obtained guard Marquis Teague and a 2019 second-round draft pick in a trade with the Brooklyn Nets on Friday for guard Casper Ware. Reports indicated that the Nets were likely to waive Ware, who played in nine games for the 76ers last season and averaged 5.3 points and 1.1 assists. The 21-year-old Teague had 10 points, four assists and six turnovers in Brooklyn's final preseason game on Wednesday night in Boston. - - - Orlando Magic guard Victor Oladipo is out indefinitely after suffering a facial fracture in practice Thursday. ...
- Phil Jackson and Jeff Van Gundy go back and forth on the merits of the triangle offense (Ball Don't Lie) October 24, 2014Phil Jackson, for years, was a bit of a jerk to Jeff Van Gundy. Also, for years, Jeff Van Gundy was a bit of a jerk to Phil Jackson. Van Gundy probably lobbed the first salvo, tossing out the not-as-appropriate-in-2014-as-it-was-in-1997 characterization of Jackson as “Big Chief Triangle,” in reference to Jackson’s utilization of both the triangle offense, and Native American anecdotes as teachable mini-tomes to pass onto his players. Jackson, among the basketball coaching fraternity, then crossed a few lines by interviewing for Van Gundy’s job in 1999 as an underachieving New York Knicks team was working in its lowest moments. That interview was revealed during a live broadcast of a Knicks playoff game on NBC, and to Van Gundy’s credit that same Knicks team went on to overachieve and make the NBA Finals despite entering the playoffs that season as an eighth seed. From there, things became chippier and chippier , especially in the year 2000, via Pro Basketball Talk : When asked why Jackson is constantly taking digs at him, Van Gundy said yesterday “When you win, you can say a lot of things. If I always had the best player, I’d probably be a needler, too. When you have the best player, you can do a lot of things. The best player can usually back it up, too.” […] Jackson told The Post recently about his penchant for giving out poignant books to his players as Christmas presents. When asked what book he would get for Van Gundy, Jackson cracked, “Good things happen to bad people.” Jackson also told AP in the days leading up to the All-Star Game when asked about facing Van Gundy, “I don’t even pay attention to him. He’s like a fly on the wall.” Phil Jackson, never forget, used to be the Big Man on Campus in high school and in college. That sort of thing never leaves you. He can be the sort of smug, smiling sort of guy that keeps you at arm’s length. With that in place, within a span of a few years, Jeff Van Gundy went from an unheralded assistant coach to a media darling. Lauded by national magazines (back when that meant something) as a bit of a basketball savant who would forgo the trappings of stardom and memoir advances in order to study game tape and sleep in his office. Ask anyone who covered the New York Knicks during Van Gundy’s time with the team, and they’ll tell you that his tone and tenor completely changed throughout the course of his run from 1996 to 2001. That doesn’t mean either person is wrong in their estimations of the other’s work, it’s just what relative stardom does to people. Nearly 18 years on, Jeff Van Gundy is still being asked about the triangle offense, and Phil Jackson’s influence. While he was reasonable in his measured take about Jackson’s preferred system in a recent conference call pitched to promote ESPN’s coverage of the NBA this season , he still managed to get a few passable digs in: “The triangle itself is just an offense based on freedom of the ball to go to different places, everybody feeling involved,’’ Van Gundy said. “It’s a good thing. It won’t be the triangle itself that will be the reason they win or lose. It’s going to come down to Carmelo Anthony playing exceptionally well. [Iman] Shumpert and J.R. bouncing back with a big year. J.R. Smith playing well. It’s not going to be because of a system. “I think anybody confusing a system with a reason for success is making a huge mistake. Systems don’t win games. Players do. All you try to do in any system you incorporate is put players in their areas of strength and try to hide and minimize their weaknesses. The triangle for [Scottie] Pippen and [Michael] Jordan with a lot of shooting around them was tremendous system. Same with [Kobe] Bryant and [Shaquille] O’Neal. Then [Pau] Gasol and Bryant. It can work and other systems would’ve worked and they would’ve won it.’’ I heartily disagree with that last statement, as respected and at times ESPN-employed basketball minds like Doug Collins, Mike Brown, and Del Harris had their go with the same rosters that failed at winning with just about the same rosters that Jackson won it all with. Players do win games. Organizations don’t, systems don’t, and sometimes it comes down to the former Ron Artest somehow grabbing an offensive rebound in the waning moments to clinch things. Sometimes it comes down to Bobby Hansen nailing corner threes in the deciding quarter of a championship-clinching game with Michael Jordan on the bench. Sometimes it comes down to Steve Kerr, on the road, pulling out an offensive rebound off of his own missed shot . Why were those players in the positions that they were in at the time? I’ll let you make the call on that. Phil Jackson responded with to Van Gundy’s comments with … an emoji. Because this is 2014, and this is what we do now. Focus on triangle off by JvG is 👍. Execution is what always counts. Sound off w/out it fails, however execution with sound off will win. — Phil Jackson (@PhilJackson11) October 24, 2014 Yes, the triangle offense works better with great players in position to run it. Same thing with a UCLA flex offense, a drive and kick offense, a pick and roll-heavy two to three, or a bastardized motion offense. Everything works better with Hall of Famers lining up. Byron Scott, Mike Brown, and Randy Wittman’s offenses would even work better with the superstar players Van Gundy listed above. Phil Jackson isn’t after a championship this year, though. He’s not after one the next year and he’s probably resigned to the fact that he’s not going to be able to lure a series of free agents in the upcoming offseasons. What he’s out to do is prove that someone like Carmelo Anthony – every hack sportswriter’s go-to pick as a 1980s-styled, selfish, James Spader-as-a-bad-guy-star – can work and thrive in an offense that is constantly derided as an “equal opportunity” offense. “Equal opportunity,” despite the fact that Michael Jordan shot 22 times a game in this offense. Despite the fact that Kobe Bryant once averaged over 35 a night in this offense. Jackson is trying to create a culture that extends beyond his reach, something that rewards a city and a fan base that embraced him some 46 years ago. It’s not about how J.R. Smith or even Jose Calderon (a ball dominating point guard that, on the surface, would fit about as well in the triple post as well as J.R. Smith would) work in 2014, but how things flow in 2018 with Derek Fisher still at the helm. Conference calls and 2014-15 predictions aren’t the point. The point is to establish order. Jackson may fail in this endeavor – James Dolan still writes the checks, after all – but the pursuit is noble. Jackson understands that basketball, and New York fans, deserve this sort of attention to detail. MJ, Pippen, Kobe, Shaq and Pau may not be walking through that door anytime soon, but that’s just fine. Anything is better than what came before, to be sure, so any coach or system would help here; but those sorts of low expectations aren’t what New York deserves. Systems alone don’t win championships, but New York deserves a system. It won’t help them contend for a title in the next few years; but, sadly, Knicks fans are used to waiting things out. Luckily, they have someone in place that understands that life doesn’t flow some 48 minutes at a time. - - - - - - - Kelly Dwyer is an editor for Ball Don't Lie on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at KDonhoops@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @KDonhoops
- BDL's 2014-15 NBA Season Previews: Sacramento Kings (Ball Don't Lie) October 24, 2014
- Raptors Edge Knicks October 25, 2014DeMar DeRozan scored 15 points and the Toronto Raptors beat Knicks, 83-80, in Montreal in the final preseason game for both teams.
- Carmelo Anthony Paces Knicks October 23, 2014Carmelo Anthony scored 30 points as the host Knicks overcame a 10-point deficit late in the third quarter to beat the Washington Wizards in a preseason game.
- For Derek Fisher, Knicks’ New Coach, a Rivalry Resumes October 21, 2014Fisher was opposed by Jason Kidd in a preseason game against the Bucks, and perhaps there was a bit of symbolism as two former point guards went about the business of coaching their new teams.
- Reminder of Knicks’ Dysfunction Is Again Hoping to Solve It October 16, 2014Jim Cleamons, a current assistant and former Knicks player, has ties to Phil Jackson, the team president, and an awkward history with Walt Frazier, the TV analyst.
- Laimbeer Is Let Go as Liberty’s Coach October 15, 2014The Liberty were 26-42 in Bill Laimbeer’s two seasons as coach and general manager and missed the playoffs both years.