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- The 10-man rotation, starring Oscar Schmidt, the Brazilian great for whom shooting was a way of life (Ball Don't Lie) October 22, 2014A look around the league and the Web that covers it. It's also important to note that the rotation order and starting nods aren't always listed in order of importance. That's for you, dear reader, to figure out. C : Grantland . Amos Barshad with a wonderful story on Oscar Schmidt, the Brazilian and European basketball legend whom many consider to be the greatest player never to play in the NBA, and a Hall of Famer with supreme confidence that he would've been one of the best ever to play in the NBA had he made the decision to come over: “Basket, the same. Ball, the same. Basketball, the same. In every part of the world, I didn’t see a guy that could guard me!" PF : Sports Illustrated . Lee Jenkins on LeBron James' approach to team-building in Cleveland, and why his brand of leadership works: "They’ll follow him because he provides what everyone in the NBA wants, a little space and a clean look." SF : ESPN Insider ($) . Dwyane Wade doesn't shoot 3-pointers that often, and doesn't shoot them that well. So why do opponents stay glued to him off the ball like he's Stephen Curry? Tom Haberstroh uses some exclusive SportVU optical tracking data to examine the Miami Heat shooting guard's "gravity" away from the ball. (Haberstroh's fellow ESPN Insider Kevin Pelton's got more on SportVU's "Gravity Score," "Distraction Score" and "Respect Rating" metrics. Very interesting stuff.) SG : Magic Basketball . Scott Rafferty breaks down the new four-year, $54 million contract extension that the Orlando Magic gave Nikola Vucevic, which gives GM Rob Hennigan and coach Jacque Vaughn a chance to find out if the double-double-machine center can become the kind of player worth building around while their top-of-the-lottery young pieces (Victor Oladipo, Aaron Gordon, Elfrid Payton) grow on the cheap. PG : ESPN.com . J.A. Adande on the ever-admirable Memphis Grizzlies, who might never be elite, but who'd probably chafe under a white collar anyway. 6th : TrueHoop . Chris Herrington on how this year's Grizzlies — led by "the most productive and durable local quartet since […] Booker T. & the MGs" — might be the best model in franchise history. 7th : San Antonio Express-News . A good read from Jeff McDonald on what it's like to be Bryce Cotton, JaMychal Green and Josh Davis, who got the chance to go to camp with the defending champion San Antonio Spurs but knew that they had no chance of making the team. 8th : ESPN.com . Longtime NBA scribe Charley Rosen gets Phil Jackson to offer a detailed scouting report on every single member of the New York Knicks. I'm trying to imagine any other Knicks executive working under James Dolan at any point over the past couple of decades doing anything similar to this, and I can't even come close to it. If nothing else, transparency in the Garden! 9th : Wizards Insider . It seems Randy Wittman is not a fan of the idea of shortening NBA games or the NBA season, and he's more than willing to go on a five-minute rant about it, if you'd like him to. 10th : Dancing with Noah . You know how you're always saying that we don't do nearly enough promotion of poetry about how people write and talk about Kobe Bryant? Well, now it's a little harder for you to say that. - - - - - - - Dan Devine is an editor for Ball Don't Lie on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter! Follow @YourManDevine Stay connected with Ball Don't Lie on Twitter @YahooBDL , "Like" BDL on Facebook and follow BDL's Tumblr for year-round NBA talk, jokes and more.
- Kobe shrugs off claims he's to blame for Lakers' decline: 'Things are never as bleak as they seem' (Ball Don't Lie) October 22, 2014
- BDL's 2014-15 NBA Season Previews: Los Angeles Clippers (Ball Don't Lie) October 22, 2014So, now it’s on the players. Currently, Clipper fans don’t have to hate themselves, as they probably did at times, for paying to see a team owned by Donald Sterling. NBA fans, as we often did, don’t have to hate ourselves anymore while enjoying those late night, must-watch Clipper broadcasts on League Pass. The players don’t have to cringe anymore when Sterling goes meandering around the locker room. Doc Rivers won’t have to question his own ethics anymore. It’s over. (Shelly Sterling needs to go, to be sure, but it’s over.) What we have left, finally, is ball. Ball run by the league’s best point guard, one of its best coaches, and one of the NBA’s best players. Plays run by a supporting cast that is to be envied. Work run in the toughest conference in NBA history, one the Los Angeles Clippers have as good a chance as any at getting out of this spring, possibly representing the Western Conference in the 2015 NBA Finals. Such an idea was an uneasy prospect for the NBA and its fans for decades, because even though presenting a Conference championship trophy is a relatively new phenomenon, it would still include one Donald T. Sterling at the other end of the handoff. At the next stage, the thought of Sterling at center court, accepting a Lawrence O’Brien trophy alongside Chris Paul, Blake Griffin and Doc Rivers was even more nauseating, but this is what the NBA (and the media that covered it, myself included) allowed. Somehow, Sterling was removed from the league and from the Clippers’ media guide with relative alacrity, a credit to both the league’s new commissioner, and common sense. New owner Steve Ballmer works with an open checkbook, and while that won’t do much for the 15 on the roster (Sterling actually did compete and pay fair salaries over the last decade or so), it will do wonders for the coaches, employees, scouts, and various other personnel that had to fight for every penny. Fears will be lifted, and the team will be better prepared. Which means, again, that this will be on the players. Contributors like J.J. Redick and Matt Barnes can’t help that they were injured last year, and Rivers couldn’t help his team’s failure to fill that final rotation spot last season, but excuses have to be out the window. Chris Paul’s game figures to age well, but he turns 30 in May. Redick, Jamal Crawford, and Barnes are even older. DeAndre Jordan is in a contract year in anticipation of a summer that will feature scads of teams with maximum cap space. Blake Griffin is very, very good. It has to happen now. The Clippers worked their way into the league’s best offense last season even with again types like Hedo Turkoglu, Antawn Jamison, Stephen Jackson, Sasha Vujacic, and Danny Granger taking up space on the wing. The defense surprisingly held nearly as steady despite the coaching upgrade and influence of Doc Rivers, and Jordan will once again have to turn in a mindful campaign on that end. Griffin needs to continue to surprise offensively, thinking on the fly and not relying on pet moves, and for the second straight season Chris Paul will have to deign to give up the damn ball. Not every score has to come off of one of his assists, or one of his gorgeous floaters or mid-range shots. The trick is that we’re dealing with the Western conference. The Clippers could roar to the top seed, and it wouldn’t (and certainly shouldn’t) be termed an upset if the squad was upended by any number of Western opponents in the second or even first round. The conference is that good, and the quality of play is that high. The only disappointment in last year’s second round ouster at the hands of the Oklahoma City Thunder was in how the Clippers looked – clearly, they were ready for the season, and the Sterling saga, to end. It understandably drained them. That was also a second round matchup against a higher seed working with the league’s MVP on its side. Such is life in this conference. A conference that the Clippers could make their own, in 2014-15.
- Watch the Knicks' Willis Reed fight the entire Los Angeles Lakers bench during a 1966 game (Video) (Ball Don't Lie) October 22, 2014It's a moment that's become legend among NBA history buffs and New York Knicks fans over the decades — did former Knicks captain and Hall of Famer Willis Reed really fight the entire Los Angeles Lakers bench back in 1966? [ Yahoo Sports Fantasy Basketball: Sign up and join a league today! ] It's not nearly as celebrated a bit of basketball lore as Reed's famed appearance during Game 7 of the 1970 NBA Finals, which saw the injured big man — who had suffered a torn muscle in his right thigh during Game 5 against those Lakers — emerge from the tunnel at Madison Square Garden moments before the start of the game, face off against Wilt Chamberlain for the opening tip, make his first two shots and inspire the Knicks to a 113-99 win that sealed the first championship in franchise history. Of course it isn't — for one thing, sepia-toned slow walks out of the dressing room are more easily exalted than instances of 6-foot-9, 235-pound monsters throwing haymakers at entire opposing benches, and for another, we could actually watch the former. While newspaper accounts of Reed's rumble with the Lakers still existed out there in the ether, contemporary fans haven't been able to actually watch the fracas unfold ... until now. Michael Rapaport got his hands on footage of Reed going after the Lakers during the Oct. 18, 1966, contest — which the Knicks won, 122-119 — and unveiled it for national audiences during the Tuesday night premiere of "When the Garden Was Eden," the documentary he directed for ESPN's "30 for 30" series based on longtime New York sportswriter Harvey Araton's best-selling 2011 book of the same name . Over at Deadspin , Kevin Draper dug up the New York Times story from the game in question, in which writer Dave Anderson described L.A. center Darrall Imhoff — who had played for the Knicks during the 1960-61 and '61-'62 seasons — "holding a bloodied towel to his face, lay sprawled in front of the Laker bench for several minutes while the police restored order among a few of the 15,755 spectators who had run onto the court for a ringside view." Former Newsday reporter and current MSG Knicks commentator Alan Hahn detailed the incident in his book, "100 Things Knicks Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die" : Reed was [...] in his third NBA season and his first as team captain. He was a second-round pick, a battler who was a fighter literally from his first day of school as an only child growing up in rural Bernice, Louisiana. And Rudy LaRusso was getting on his nerves. The two lined up along the lane for a free throw at the old Garden on 49th Street and battled for rebounding position. Reed — accidentally or not — tripped LaRusso, who quickly took offense. The 6'7" forward, a five-time All-Star who came from Brooklyn, threw a punch at Reed just as Lakers center Darrall Imhoff had grabbed Reed in a bear hug, which left him defenseless. [...] Suddenly, a one-man melee resulted, as Reed pounded Imhoff and then went after LaRusso, who ran to the Lakers bench. A 6'9" rookie named John Block came at him, fists raised, but Reed dropped him with a hammer that sent Block toppling backward. He took out five of his teammates as he fell. "They said I should be banned," Reed said in the October 31, 1977, issue of Sports Illustrated . "All I got was an ejection and a small fine, nothing like what they give out now. You know what would happen if someone did all that today?" This was no Malice at the Palace, however. No fans were involved. This was a straight-up, old-school basketball brawl that, at the time, wasn't completely absent from the NBA game. More important, this was Reed giving clear indication that the days of punking the Knicks were over. "You started to realize that, 'Hey, we've got a warrior here,'" Knicks guard Johnny Green said in Garden Glory . A warrior who wouldn't be contained even by his brothers-in-arms, as Brian Cronin wrote in a 2011 Knickerblogger piece : Reed later told his teammates that they should never try to restrain him in a fight, and his reasoning would explain why he became so enraged when Imhoff restrained him while LaRusso took a shot at him (well, a reason beyond the straightforward “it is not cool to be restrained by a guy while his teammates hits you”) and that was that he was restrained once during a fight when he was in college and someone in the crowd took the chance to throw a bottle at him. So Reed warned his teammates that if they ever tried to restrain him, well, they could expect a little of what he gave to the Lakers. As for why it remained a "one-man melee," here's Araton with some color: When Willis asked teammates why they didn't help out as he tearing apart the Lakers, pre-PhD Dick Barnett replied, "man, you was winning." — Harvey Araton (@HarveyAraton) October 22, 2014 Reed's return from injury in the '70 Finals will always be the go-to opener in any story about him being the heart and soul of the Knicks. But his willingness to take on every last Laker four years earlier might have been just as important in heralding the dawning of a new day for a New York team coming off seven straight losing seasons. "It showed that the Knicks had a guy who wasn't going to take any more ----," Rapaport said in a recent interview, according to Newsday . "It was one of the key moments to turn around that team from being the pushover of the league." Reed's fine for the statement-making fray? A whopping $50. Money well spent, I'd say. Video via TheShow8812 . More NBA coverage: - - - - - - - Dan Devine is an editor for Ball Don't Lie on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @YourManDevine Stay connected with Ball Don't Lie on Twitter @YahooBDL , "Like" BDL on Facebook and follow BDL's Tumblr for year-round NBA talk, jokes and more.
- Ezeli returns as Warriors beat Clippers 125-107 (The Associated Press) October 22, 2014OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) -- Festus Ezeli got the best birthday present he could imagine: playing in an NBA 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.
- Back at the Garden, a Different Knicks Team Is in Search of Chemistry October 14, 2014The Knicks lost an exhibition game to the Raptors, but Coach Derek Fisher said wins and losses were not the focus of the preseason.
- Knicks Preview Triangle, and Rerun Defensive Lapses October 9, 2014The Knicks and their new coach, Derek Fisher, opened their preseason Wednesday with a 20-point loss to the Celtics in Hartford.