In the brave new world of basketball analytics, trends and modules, a simpler stat surfaced this week that was utterly inexplicable. Two teams have lost 10 games this season in which they led after three quarters. One is the league-worst Philadelphia 76ers, who have no one on their roster who knows how to win a game. The other is the Oklahoma City Thunder, who have two of the supposed best closers in the game in Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook. [Read more…]
If you are like many Americans – middle-class, middle-aged males not unlike myself – and watched your first NBA games this season on Christmas, then you probably think the Chicago Bulls are just fine. If you have watched at any other time this season, then you know otherwise. On Christmas, the Bulls played perhaps their best game of the season. They went into Loud City without injured emotional leader Joakim Noah and never trailed against the Thunder, leaving with a convincing 105-96
After the Washington Wizards ended a season-high five-game losing streak Saturday with a 37-point victory over the Brooklyn Nets, Marcin Gortat wasn’t quite ready to declare that their earth was back on its axis. “At the end of the day, it was Brooklyn, so we can’t get really excited,” he said. There’s nothing like perspective. And Gortat is right: One win against a plodding, tired team is nothing to get excited about. What the Wizards should be is concerned. Prior to the win
In today’s NBA, the formula for winning in recent years was simple: Accumulate as many maximum-salary stars as you can without breaking the bank. But when you start piling up eight-figure salaries against the luxury tax, the bank breaks pretty quickly. So teams fill out their rosters with minimum-salary veterans. And if you look at the top of the NBA standings right now, many teams are getting very productive seasons from veterans signed to minimum-salary deals. The Chicago Bulls added Pau Gasol to Jimmy
It’s been a long, long time since the Washington Wizards were expected to be a top team in the Eastern Conference. But after defeating the Chicago Bulls in the first round of the 2014 NBA playoffs for their first postseason series win in nine years, the Wizards are entering a season with high expectations. How high? Well, there is some talk that after last season’s 44-38 mark, the Wizards could win 50 games – which they haven’t done since the 1978-79 season. Here
After his team’s second win in three nights in the city of New York, John Wall was dressed impeccably in the visitors’ locker room, down to his $1,100 Red Bottom shoes, which elicited gawks and compliments from players and onlookers alike. But one thing was missing to complete his look: his gray bow tie. Unable to get help from teammates, Wall said the final piece to his outfit would have to wait. Wall seems to be as dedicated to his performance
Throughout the mess of the New York Knicks’ season thus far, one person who has remained essentially blameless is coach Mike Woodson. The Knicks – now 7-17 and 13th in the Leastern Conference – have fallen victim to poor roster construction, injuries, selfish play and bad luck, none of which could be pinned on Woodson. Not anymore. Monday’s 102-101 home loss to Washington gets dropped squarely in Woodson’s lap. And the next thing dropped in his lap may be a pink slip.
The Washington Wizards are the NBA’s Rorschach Test team. Coldly visualize last season’s 29-53 record. In the context of a fifth straight year without a postseason appearance, we’re talking demolition time. Yet others – most notably, the team’s ownership – warmed to the clear improvement over the second half of last season after ingloriously bottoming out early on. Washington kept its primary core of players and inked some – including point guard John Wall – to lucrative deals. Coach Randy Wittman and