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g for the NBA, and I hope the most out
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ESTERO, Fla. -- Rob Gray scored 23 points, Damyean Dotson added 16 more, including four 3-pointers, and Houston cruised to a 93-56 win over George Mason in the opening round of the Gulf Coast Showcase on Monday night.Houston (2-0) hit 54 percent of its 65 shots from the field, including 13 of 22 from long range, and had six players reach double figures.Wes VanBeck contributed 14 points, Danrad Knowles had 13, Devin Davis hauled in 10 rebounds to go with nine points, and Galen Robinson Jr. dished out 10 assists.Trailing by four early, the Cougars quickly took control with a 13-2 run capped by Dotsons 3-pointer and carried a 48-26 advantage into the break. Grays 3-pointer in the second half gave Houston a 69-37 lead with 11:44 to play and the margin stayed above 30 points the rest of the way.Marquise Moore led George Mason (1-3) with 15 points. Lane Taylor Super Bowl Jersey .C. at the helm of the top team in the Eastern Conference. His tenure as the GM in Vancouver was all too brief. Though he led the Canucks to what was then a franchise record-shattering campaign in just his second season, Nonis was gone and replaced one year later. Montravius Adams Super Bowl Jersey . The International Olympic Committee released the official list of bid cities on Friday after the deadline for applications had passed. The candidates -- all previously announced in their own countries -- are: Almaty, Kazakhstan; Beijing; Krakow, Poland; Lviv, Ukraine; Oslo, Norway; and Stockholm. https://www.packersrookiestore.com/Packe...te-Jersey/ . Any real chance at payback wont come until the playoff. Still, Pittsburgh knows its taut 3-2 win over the Bruins on Wednesday night is a pretty good place to start laying the groundwork. "They are a very good defensive team," Penguins forward Brandon Sutter said. Tramon Williams Super Bowl Jersey .S. Open champion Justin Rose birdied the first hole with a blind shot he hit to a foot of the pin, and he stayed in front Tuesday until he completed a 4-under 67 for a two-shot lead over Jason Dufner in PGA Grand Slam of Golf. Jimmy Graham Super Bowl Jersey . Instead of dwelling on the negative, Oates focused on what was good about the clubs recent play. It worked. Its time for our weekly look around the NBA.10 things I like and dont like1. The genius of Marc GasolThis freaking guy. During another improbable Grizz comeback against Portland last week, Gasol caught the ball at least 5 feet behind the 3-point arc while trailing a possession and realized no one was guarding him. He looked around, shrugged -- literally, the dude shrugged in the middle of a game -- and just jacked a 30-footer. Cash money.Memphis is 7-2 since Mike Conley busted his back. That is insane. The Grizzlies?larded up on sad sacks like Philly, Orlando, and the Lakers, and we all kind of assumed the bottom would fall out against better competition. Then they rallied against Portland, and spanked the yappy Warriors. (Seriously: Golden State mean-mugged its way through a road win against an injury-riddled Utah team subsisting on Joe Ingles 3-pointers. Maybe just take the W and chill?)This is the best story of the first 25 games, and it would not be happening without Gasol. During Conleys absence, Memphis has blitzed teams by almost 15 points per 100 possessions with Gasol on the floor -- and wilted into a D-League outfit when he sits, per NBA.com. His calculating, careful game holds up well in crunch time, and the Grizzlies, for what feels like the seventh straight season, are squeezing out wins in almost every close game.It has been fascinating to watch a natural sharer get a little bit selfish because his ravaged team needs it. Gasol is shouldering the heaviest scoring burden of his career, setting up shop on the left block and waiting to see if opponents double him. If they dont, hell bulldoze into the lane for a short hook. Sit on that move, and hell turn over his right shoulder, fade away along the baseline, and draw rain with perhaps the most telegenic post move in the league (at least while Dirk Nowitzkis one-footed special is on ice).Gasol is venturing a little out of his comfort zone as a shoot-first alpha dog, and hes thriving. He remains a brilliant passer; hes on pace for one of the highest assist rates ever from a big man. Gasol should be in the conversation for a No. 4 or No. 5 spot on MVP ballots.Players know. Talk to rivals about Gasol, and theyll tell you hes even better than you realize.2. Patrick Beverley, secondary playmakerThe scorching Rockets are 13-2 since Beverley returned from injury, and their in-your-jersey irritant is playing perhaps the best all-around ball of his career. Beverley is averaging 5.6 dimes per 36 minutes, his best mark in years, and that number vaults all the way up to 8.7 -- top-flight point guard territory - when hes on the floor without James Harden, per NBA.com.The Beverley-Eric Gordon backcourt has stabilized bench units that flailed without Harden during the first three weeks of the season. The turnaround is severe enough to give you whiplash. Since Beverleys return, Houston has outscored opponents by 14 points per 100 possessions with Harden on the bench -- a huge margin. (Please do not be dumb and turn that number, or this snippet, into some indictment of Harden. He is probably the front-runner for MVP.)Beverley is running a keen pick-and-roll, and hes not reverting to stand-still wallflower mode when he shares the floor with Harden. A lot of Mike DAntonis favorite trigger sequences feature Beverley in an active role, and when Harden swings him the ball, Beverley zips right into a drive-and-kick that keeps the machine chugging:Hes also shooting 40 percent from deep, and annoying the hell out of opposing point guards.3. Fake streaksImagine my surprise during Sundays Warriors-Wolves game -- one day after Memphis grit-and-grinded all over Golden State -- to hear via the (awesome) Minnesota broadcast crew that the Warriors hadnt lost two straight games since April of 2015.Hmm. I swear I remember the Warriors suffering some sort of meme-inspiring losing streak last season. Maybe in June? Against the same team over and over, due to some scheduling quirk?Placing a statistical divide between the playoffs and regular-season makes sense in some instances -- especially with team-level stats. The postseason is a different game, with better competition, so there is some apples-to-oranges in comparing team stats -- like offensive efficiency -- across the two.But for streaks and simple counting stats, do we really need to build a wall? The Warriors suffered two losing streaks in the playoffs. To erase them in discussing a potential regular-season streak seems labored. Does LeBron have 27,382 career points -- his regular-season total? Or is it 32,954 -- his total points, including playoffs?It should be the latter. Yes, this gives LeBron an advantage in career counting stats over scoring studs who didnt venture as deep in the playoffs as often. But isnt that the point of keeping track? Lets reward the guys who did the most under the brightest lights.4. The aimlessness of Denver ... maybe over?The Nuggets looked like a team that could win 38 or 39 games -- stacked with enough depth to weather Emmanuel Mudiays growing pains. They are 10-16, and appeared before Thursdays rotation shakeup to be on the verge of chaos.Mudiays growing pains have been painful. The Jusuf Nurkic-Nikola Jokic partnership predictably sputtered, but the resolution should not have been bringing Jokic off the bench and struggling to find him 25 minutes. That amounted to overthinking it. Jokic might be your best player; play him a lot!Mike Malone mercifully pivoted Thursday night, starting Jokic in a smallish look with Wilson Chandler and Danilo Gallinari on the front line -- a trio that has been wildly successful in 100-plus minutes so far this season. Maybe this will spark a turnaround. The franchise needs it, now.Gallinari is having a down season one year after Denver passed up chance after chance to flip him for a healthy return. Kenneth Faried, trade bait for years now, was out of the rotation before reassuming his (suboptimal) role Thursday as an undersized center. Darrell Arthur started for a while. Hes good, but not that good. Sometimes Juancho Hernangomez plays. Sometimes he doesnt.There is just a haze about the Nuggets. Its unclear what they are trying to be stylistically, or how they might arrive there. In fairness, its hard to be much of anything relying on a 20-year-old point guard shooting 35 percent with an alarming turnover rate. Lets hope the lineup change -- or the trade deadline -- brings some clarity.5. Benches stifling themselves when a teammate gets posterizedThese are the bbest moments -- when our mask of learned politeness falls away to reveal our base and cruel nature.dddddddddddd Did you see the Brooklyn bench when Larry Nance Jr. ended Brook Lopez right in front of them on Wednesday night? The sitting Nets knew it was not appropriate to celebrate the violence Nance had just laid upon their broken teammate. For a brief, glorious half-second, they just couldnt help it.They all gasped. Some leaned back in their chairs, either in astonishment or perhaps out of some primal instinct to run away from the carnage. Others perched forward and bent their knees, as if they were about to rise in acknowledgement. And then, bam: They remembered. They had to be civilized. They resumed their normal seated positions and stifled grins. A few even briefly held on to each other, to keep balanced. Im pretty sure Trevor Booker grabbed Randy Foye, so that Foye would not stand up.Seriously: Whenever someone gets dunked on hard, watch the reaction of the victims bench. It is often the best part.6. McBuckets, going leftyDoug McDermott clearly spent time working on his left hand, and getting comfortable shooting with it has unlocked a new level of craftiness in tight spaces along the baseline:Hes not afraid to launch lefty floaters off the dribble if the defense overplays his right hand.With McDermott back from a concussion, Chicago can surround Dwyane Wade on hybrid bench units with one cinder-block screener -- Cristiano Felicio -- and three shooters in McDermott, Nikola Mirotic, and Isaiah Canaan. (The last two might be more aptly described as theoretical shooters, but just go with it.)Chicago has also closed some games without a traditional point guard, and all three of McDermott, Wade, and Jimmy Butler on the floor alongside two big men. Thats worth exploring more, even when all Chicagos point guards are available.7. Dwane Casey, throwing caution to the windToronto is setting records on offense, and Casey has been a little more adventurous this season rolling out lineups geared toward that end. He started Patrick Patterson at power forward over Pascal Siakam in the second half of Torontos win Wednesday over the Sixers, daring Philly to have Joel Embiid (slotted alongside Jahlil Okafor) chase Patterson around the perimeter. He didnt seem to care if Embiid pancaked Patterson on the other end.Hes downsized a bit more in the last week-plus to find time for Norman Powell, who deserves more minutes than Toronto has for him. Hes even gone super-small, with Patterson at center, a bit more readily after getting gun-shy going that route against Cleveland. (Well see if this persists when Lucas Nogueira gets back.)The group of Kyle Lowry-DeMar DeRozan-DeMarre Carroll-Patterson-Jonas Valanciunas has already logged 84 minutes after Casey used it just 16 minutes total last season, per NBA.com. Injuries to Carroll and Valanciunas short-circuited that lineup last season, but Casey seemed reluctant to bust it out even when all five guys were available.Hes letting it ride this season, and it is destroying people. The Raptors have outscored opponents by almost 30 points per 100 possessions in those minutes, and theyre killing it on both ends of the floor. Watch out.8. C.J. Miles, handsyDuring the Aborted Pacers Small-Ball Experiment of 2015, Miles spent a lot of time jostling with power forwards so that Paul George could smother elite wing scorers. Some bigs overwhelmed Miles on the block; there is only so much a guy can do when hes giving up 50 pounds.But Miles is a fighter with quick hands, and he developed a knack for stabbing underneath a big fellas arm to poke the ball away between dribbles:The Pacers have been going small more often over the last two weeks in trying to find a rotation that works longer than one half. Their defense has also looked a lot cleaner with Monta Ellis injured. Nate McMillan faces some interesting decisions in getting the Pacers back on course.(PS: What Anthony Davis did to the Pacers in the 4th quarter last night was obscene. It was cruel.)(PPS: Quinn Buckner, the Pacers analyst, was absolutely right that Davis was traveling almost every time he caught the ball and hopped/skipped/jumped into a drive. This is getting embarrassing for the NBA, and I hope the most outspoken coaches keep throttling the league about it.)9. The grunt work of Cody ZellerMeet Cody Zeller: perfectly acceptable starting center and fifth option on a good team. On some nights, you barely notice him; Zeller doesnt get to do much with the ball, and Charlottes notion of turning him into a jump-shooter died when Zeller shifted from power forward to rim-rolling center last season.But the guy has his fingerprints all over most Charlotte baskets. Hes a nasty screen-setter, and he loves that part of the job. Hes fast covering short distances, which means he can set one screen for Kemba Walker, scurry back around, and set one or two more in the span of just a few seconds.He runs the floor like a madman, torture for opposing plodders who just want to take one damn possession off to catch their breath. Hes hyperactive, and he never stops. Its not fun to play against him.Hes also learned the kinds of shots hell get in Charlottes offense, and worked to master them -- including an in-between floater, a tricky shot for big men:Zeller is never going to be a star, or close to it. Hes a so-so rebounder for his position, and he doesnt deter anyone from attacking the rim. But he works his butt off, and hes almost always in the right position on both ends. He is the kind of worker bee who just helps you win games.10. Kawhi Leonard, emerging from the pileMaybe my favorite part of every Spurs game: when a rebound drops within equidistant reach of everyone in a crowd that includes Leonard, or when hes part of a scrum of dudes piling up on the floor in pursuit of a loose ball. There is absolutely no suspense about what will happen next, and the predictability is glorious.Leonard is going to get the ball. It will look effortless. Everyone else will be jumping with all their might, wriggling around on the ground, grimacing and yelling. Leonard just sticks a giant mitt into the fray, gets the ball, and leaves the scene. Its like when Heathcliff the cat got into a brawl, everything turned into a screaming cloud of dust, and Heathcliff would just walk out of the cloud unscathed as everyone continued fighting. ' ' '
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