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News from Yahoo.com and Cavs.com
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News from Yahoo.com and Cavs.com
Those notable names of the past, the ones still insisting that NBA playoff offenses must pound the ball inside, have been awfully quiet this week. Never has that been more apparent than in these playoffs. The four remaining teams - Golden State, Houston, Cleveland and Atlanta - are among the five teams that made at least 10 3-pointers per game during the regular season.
Golden State's Stephen Curry, the league MVP, and LeBron James are the only unanimous selections to the All-NBA first team. New Orleans' Anthony Davis and Memphis center Marc Gasol joined Curry as newcomers on the team. Curry and James, who are three victories from meeting in the NBA Finals, each received first-team votes on all 129 ballots Thursday.
League MVP Stephen Curry of the Golden State Warriors and LeBron James of the Cleveland Cavaliers were unanimous selections for the All-NBA first team announced on Thursday. Curry and James received votes for the first team on all 129 ballots. It is the ninth time in 12 seasons James has been on the All-NBA first team, tying Larry Bird, Magic Johnson and Oscar Robertson for the third most of all time.
An MRI on DeMarre Carroll's left knee showed no structural damage, and he hopes to play for Atlanta in Friday night's Game 2 against Cleveland in the Eastern Conference finals, Carroll's agent said Thursday. Mark Bartelstein told The Associated Press that Carroll has only a knee sprain and ''maybe a little'' bone bruise. The Hawks confirmed the MRI showed only a knee sprain and said Carroll would be listed as questionable.
This has gotten out of hand, and there isn’t much our hands can do about it. [ Follow Dunks Don't Lie on Tumblr: The best slams from all of basketball ] Wednesday night’s DeMarre Carroll injury marked the latest in a significant strain of nasty setbacks that has made the 2015 playoffs a walkthrough of the walking wounded. Carroll will be just fine, in terms relative to the scare we saw in Game 1 of his team’s loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers. He’s still in significant pain and questionable for the rest of his team’s series, however long that lasts. We start with him, as we document a postseason gone twisted. Literally. DeMarre Carroll, sprained left knee . It looked bad. It really looked bad . Carroll planted on his left knee after a Eurostep in the fourth quarter of Game 1 of the Eastern finals, and his knee just decided not to give back as DeMarre rose for a layup. He clutched that knee in agony after falling to the floor and could not put weight on it while being lifted to the locker room. He left the arena on crutches, as the whole of the viewing public assumed the worst for an overachiever that is set to make a deserved dent on the free agent market this summer. Impact : Currently listed as “day-to-day,” the “every-other-day-to-day” schedule of the Eastern Conference finals does Carroll no favors. He may not have torn anything, but the Hawks’ leading playoff scorer will not be the same player as his team’s dream season moves along. Kevin Love, separated left shoulder . It wasn’t intentional, but it sure looked like it. Boston Celtics big man Kelly Olynyk basically ended Love’s season with a clumsy rebounding move that ripped Love’s shoulder from its socket, necessitating 4-to-6 months’ worth of rehab and knocking the Cleveland Cavalier forward out of the playoffs. Love charged Olynyk with making the move on purpose , something the second-year Celtic denied, and while Olynyk may not have been attempting to end Love’s first postseason run, man, you just can’t do that. Impact : Love’s absence, combined with a J.R. Smith suspension and a Game 1 Chicago Bulls win in the next round, was thought to put Cleveland’s championship hopes on ice. Instead, the Cavs roared back against a listless Bulls squad to take that series, and they currently hold a 1-0 lead over Atlanta as LeBron James goes it alone . Thabo Sefolosha, broken right fibula and torn ligaments . What you want to do is write 4200 words. What you have to do, until all the lawsuits and investigations have cleared, is mind your space and hope that that we still live in a society where just the facts, ma’am, will come out. As if that was ever the case. Sefolosha was reportedly barely in the vicinity of an altercation between Indiana Pacers forward Chris Copeland and a would-be assailant in the early hours of April 8 . A TMZ video showed Sefolosha being pulled to the ground by several NYPD officers, reportedly a hundred feet from Copeland’s incident, while compliant. Sefolosha, choosing his words carefully as the National Basketball Players Association readied a lawsuit against the NYPD , later told reporters that his season-ending injury was “caused by the police.” Impact : In pure, stupid, basketball terms Thabo’s injury was already a crucial blow long before DeMarre Carroll went down with his knee sprain. A gifted defender and passer, Sefolosha was hired with the express written consent of defending LeBron James in the playoffs, and the Hawks will miss him on several levels. Donatas Motiejunas, back surgery . Motiejunas acted as a needed jack of all trades for Houston this year, utilizing solid enough spacing and surprising low post pep while acting as the squad’s fourth leading scorer. The Rockets rallied to make it to the West’s second seed before the team’s regular season ended, but Motiejunas had to watch from afar over the season’s final three weeks. Impact : Houston has done well to make the Western Conference finals for the first time since 1997, but it sure would be nice to see Motiejunas bounding around in a matchup against Golden State that seems perfectly suited for his style of in-and-out play. He scored double-figure points in three of his four games against the Warriors during the regular season. Rajon Rondo, back injury . Rajon Rondo never liked playing under Dallas Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle. Rick Carlisle never liked the way Rondo dismantled Dallas’ previously top-ranked offense with his ball-dominating ways. The injury was a sham, the benching was real, and the gamble was a loss . Impact : The Mavericks declined to give Rondo a playoff bonus , and it is safe to say Rondo’s cap hold won’t be a nagging factor for Dallas this offseason. Jrue Holiday, right leg injury . This is a lingering concern, dating back a year and a half , and a frightening one for the NBA’s first player to be born in the 1990s. The New Orleans Pelican guard is reported to want to undergo yet another surgery to take the screw out of his surgically repaired right leg , and that seems the safest maneuver possible in the wake of another season mostly lost to constant pain and limited action. Impact : Holiday missed 12 of 19 shots spread out over three games in the 2015 postseason, and he had to sit out Game 4 of his team’s first round sweep at the hands of the Golden State Warriors. Wesley Matthews, torn Achilles . After his Portland Trail Blazers gutted out a wrist injury to LaMarcus Aldridge and a surprising second half step backward from star guard Damian Lillard, the team’s heart and soul had to sit the final five weeks of the regular season and eventually the postseason with a torn Achilles. Matthews, who was shooting 39 percent from long range while averaging 15.9 points per game, handled his injury with his typical grace and humor . Impact : The Blazers smartly reached out to acquire shooting guard Arron Afflalo in an attempt to circle the wagons prior to Wes’ injury, and he responded by hitting 40 percent of his threes as a Blazer. Afflalo hurt his shoulder in early April , however, and was an afterthought during the postseason as Portland bowed out in the first round. How this affects Matthews and Afflalo’s free agent turns remains to be seen. LaMarcus Aldridge, left thumb injury . Some of us were wrong. He didn’t just want an All-Star Game bonus. He wasn’t just, understandably, looking out for his free agent future. LaMarcus Aldridge played through a significant amount of pain with a thumb injury that should have put him out for two months, staying on the court as his Blazers fought to retain their status as a Western Conference postseason perennial. He waited until the offseason to have surgery, but not before leading his team to a gutty run that ended in the first round of the playoffs. Impact : Aldridge will be healthy by the time training camp starts following surgery, and his injury hardly left him as an approximation of his usual self – a testament to his ability to play through pain. He will explore the free agent market as he decides what to do with his last big contract, and last few years as a franchise-level player. Chris Paul, strained left hamstring . Paul, who made a point to play 82 games after what has been an injury-plagued career thus far, had to time this perfectly. He had to wait until Game 7 of his team’s Finals-worthy showdown with the defending champion San Antonio Spurs for things to go pear-shaped. It had to happen at the exact worst time. Chris Paul always has an excuse, right? Impact : It didn’t matter .
While the Atlanta Hawks try to figure out who will guard LeBron James, the Cleveland Cavaliers are just grateful the four-time MVP is still standing. James was limping around, Kyrie Irving went to the bench and didn't return and DeMarre Carroll is listed as day-to-day after being helped off the court in Game 1. There was ''raging fear'' swelling in Cleveland coach David Blatt when he saw James in obvious pain after rolling his right ankle for the second time in the playoffs.
(Reuters) - The Atlanta Hawks had cause to celebrate on Thursday when medical tests revealed that forward DeMarre Carroll had no structural or ligament damage after suffering a leg injury in Game One of the Eastern Conference finals Carroll, the Hawks' leading scorer in the playoffs, exited the contest against the Cleveland Cavaliers on Wednesday with 4:59 to play after his left knee buckled as he drove to the basket. "An X-ray was negative and an MRI revealed a left knee sprain," the Hawks said in a statement on Thursday after the small forward was tested. "Carroll will be listed as questionable and his status will be updated as appropriate." Carroll, who was averaging 17.1 points per game this postseason coming into the conference finals, had been diagnosed with a sprained knee on Wednesday night.
There were plenty of reasons why the Cleveland Cavaliers won Game 1 of their Eastern Conference finals series against the Atlanta Hawks on Thursday night, from LeBron James controlling the action to the tune of 31 points, eight rebounds, six assists and one emphatic game-sealing drive-and-dunk to the Hawks' long-range struggles (just 4-for-23 from 3-point land) and All-Star Atlanta forward Paul Millsap's tough night (13 points on 3-for-11 shooting). But for all intents and purposes, in the way we tend to remember these things, Cleveland won The J.R. Smith Game — the impossible to forecast but not altogether shocking night where the undeniably talented but roundly unpredictable swingman catches fire and reduces the opposition to ash with the flaming sword of his jumper. [ Follow Dunks Don't Lie on Tumblr: The best slams from all of basketball] Smith scored a career playoff high 28 points on Wednesday, outscoring the Hawks bench by himself. He drilled 10 of his 16 shots, including eight of his 12 3-point tries, a Cleveland franchise playoff record for made triples. He scored 17 points in a five-minute span stretching from the end of the third quarter through the beginning of the fourth, helping turn a one-possession game into an 18-point blowout, raining down fire from long range off the dribble over some very tight, very committed Hawks defense. "He didn't get away," Hawks point guard Jeff Teague said after the game "somewhat defiantly," according to ESPN.com's Kevin Arnovitz . "He just made some tough 3s. He's a good player. He made shots with people draped all over him, hands in his face." “He hits a lot of tough shots," Atlanta reserve Kent Bazemore said after the game, according to CBSSports.com's Zach Harper . "Myself and Kyle [Korver] had the bulk of his points but they're all tightly contested. A guy hits shots like that, he beats you, and you pat him on the back and I'll see you Game 2. If he continues to do it, you've got to play the percentages on tightly contested step-back 3-pointers. Not a shot a lot of teams take.” Here's the thing, though: That is a shot J.R. takes. In fact, it's one he prefers taking. J.R. Smith: "I'd rather take a contested shot than an open shot any day ... It's kind of boring when you take open shots" — Dave McMenamin (@mcten) May 21, 2015 First thing's first: I didn't believe we'd get a more J.R. Smith-y quote this year than, "When in doubt, shoot the ball." And yet, here we are. What an amazing upset! Secondly — and you're not going to believe this — the numbers actually support J.R.'s preference for tightly covered long bombs, during this postseason, at least: J.R. Smith: shooting 48 percent on contested jump shots this postseason compared with 40 percent on open jump shots https://t.co/ABzWo5Ce0q — ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) May 21, 2015 The numbers seemed to run a bit more according-to-expectations during the regular season, for what it's worth. NBA.com's SportVU shot-tracking data has Smith at 81-for-229, 35.4 percent, on shots more than 10 feet away from the basket in which a defender's within four feet of him ("tight" coverage) and 174-for-412, 42.2 percent, on 10-plus-footers in which he's got four or more feet of space from his nearest defender ("open" coverage). Smith's been a good-to-great catch-and-shoot 3-point marksman for years now, but the surest sign that he was in the zone on Wednesday was just how accurate he was when pulling up off the bounce, after doing the sort of cradle-rocking back-and-forth dribbling that resulted in a lot of ugly shooting percentages during his time with the Denver Nuggets and New York Knicks. According to the SportVU box score , Smith went 6-for-9 from the field on possessions in which he took two or fewer dribbles, and a surprisingly strong 4-for-7 (3-for-5 from deep) when taking three or more. But all this talk of SportVU and optical tracking of defender distance and dribble frequency gets us too far away from the point: It is more fun to see dudes make jumpers with defenders all over them. It does make you think a guy's a better shooter when he can drill shot after shot with hands in his face than when he hits open, in-rhythm looks created by pristine ball and player movement. It might not be the most fundamentally sound and Naismith-pleasing way of generating offense, and the tendency of individual players to veer away from their teammates in favor of calling their own number and trying to bury the opponent beneath their one-man-army buckets has been academically proven to be less effective than the sort of from-each-according-to-his-ability baskets that Mike Budenholzer's Hawks and their progenitors in San Antonio tend to create ... but it's way more dope when those shots go down. In terms of sheer entertainment value, it's not even close! And it's not just us fans that feel that way — it's Smith's teammates, too. From Bleacher Report's Ethan Skolnick : "That's my 9-1-1," [Iman] Shumpert said. "If he hits a late-shot-clock shot, and then he creates another one, and then you give him that wide open one, I'm pretty much done trying to run all the rest of those plays. I kind of want to see how many he's gonna make. 'Cause he's one of those guys, when the rim gets big for him, you can see he'll just pour it in." Of course you want to see how many he's going to make, Shump. We all do, even though we ought to know better, just like we all (or, OK, many of us) want to eat and drink and otherwise consume the things that are worst for us instead of saying our prayers, taking our vitamins and eating our vegetables. Perpetual clean livin' just ain't as fun as getting dirty once in a while. I like the way Grantland's Jason Concepcion put it back in February: No kid stands in his or her driveway counting down the imaginary seconds of the big game just to then pass the ball. The hero ball shot, inefficient though it may be, speaks to the innate spirit of human ambition. It takes very little imagination to live by the percentages, and quite a bit of imagination to think you can beat them. To dare is risky. Which is why it’s entertaining. If I have to choose between a one-man show or the safest way to win, give me the show. J.R. Smith will always give you the show. Sometimes it's a total flop, dead on arrival, begging to be Sandman-swept off the stage and shuttered after one night. Other times, like in Game 1, it's an absolute runaway hit, a can't-take-my-eyes-off-of-you sensation for which you'll fork over your hard-earned dollars again and again. One man's trash can be another man's smash. Whichever way the wind blows on that particular night, there's something relentlessly watchable about the approach. It's compelling in a way that frame-by-frame breakdowns of pindowns and cross-screens and the loop just can't match. So you go ahead and keep letting 'em fly, J.R. The more suffocating the coverage, the better. (And, if you wind up going 4-for-12 from deep instead of 8-for-12, the better for the Hawks, too.) - - - - - - - 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 Dunks Don't Lie on Tumblr for year-round NBA talk, jokes and more.
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