Parker to miss time

 

Parker will be out indefinitely with a sore everything. (USATSI)
Tony Parker will likely be out indefinitely with a sore the whole lot. (USATSI)

 

The San Antonio Spurs aren't shy about resting their star players because they all the time have a watch on the method of being ready for a postseason run. We've seen them sit their finest gamers under the highlight of a nationally televised sport and even record Tim Duncan's purpose for missing a game as "previous." With the stretch run beginning up after this past weekend's All-Star break, the Spurs are going to be careful with point guard Tony Parker.

Gregg Popovich told the media Tuesday that Parker is out "for the foreseeable future" because of his numerous injuries.

The Spurs' point guard is coping with calf, groin, and again bumps and bruises.

Parker has played in 47 of the 53 video games for the Spurs this season and was named to his sixth All-Star team for this past weekend. He played 11 minutes through the All-Star Sport Sunday evening. He is averaging 17.7 factors and 6.2 assists in 30.9 minutes per recreation on the season and capturing 50.1 p.c from the sector.

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Aussie phenom Exum declares for NBA draft

Australian phenom Dante Exum has decided to declare for the 2014 NBA draft, his family and agent told ESPN. com on Tuesday.

Exum has agreed to hire agent Rob Pelinka and Brandon Rosenthal of Landmark Sports Agency. Pelinka's clients include Kobe Bryant, James Harden, Andre Iguodala and Andre Drummond.

Dante Exum

Australian phenom Dante Exum has hired an agent and will enter the 2014 NBA Draft. "We are excited to be working with Landmark Sports, " Cecil, Desiree and Dante Exum said in a statement to ESPN. "Our family felt The Landmark Team represented our style and manner of treating people, and in doing businesses. We also all shared a common commitment to achieving excellence in all things. The fit is just great and we are really pleased to now begin the work. "

Exum and his family met eight different agents in Melbourne over the past month and narrowed their decision to Pelinka on Tuesday morning.

"We are thrilled and honored to be working with Dante and his family, " Pelinka said in an statement to ESPN. "As the NBA continues to expand its brand around the world, we feel like Dante's international story comes at a perfect time. We also believe that, with continued hard work and focus, Dante is destined to be a 'franchise' point guard in this next generation of great NBA players. "

Exum is widely regarded as a top-five draft pick by NBA scouts and GMs. He is currently ranked No. 4 in ESPN's Top 100 and is ranked as the No. 1 point guard on the Big Board.

Exum's star rose with a terrific Nike Hoop Summit performance in April followed a big performance last summer at the FIBA U-19 championships, where he averaged 18 points and nearly four assists per game. He had a 33-point game against Spain in the quarterfinals and a 28-point game vs. Lithuania in the bronze-medal game.

Exum returned to Australia this fall to finish his high school career and led his team, Lake Ginninderra, to the national schools basketball title last week. Exum had 15 assists in the championship game.

Exum can play both guard positions and has the ideal blend of athleticism and skill. However, scouts believe that ultimately he'll be a NBA point guard with elite size as he is very quick with the ball and gets to the rim almost effortlessly.

His jump shot is still a work in progress – the primary weakness in his game. If he were playing college ball in the U. S., many NBA scouts believe he would be a serious contender for the No. 1 overall pick.

 

2014 NBA Draft Preview

nba draft prediction & preview

The 2014 NBA Draft has been talked up for quite a while now. Expected to produce a crop of players with the talent to compete with previous years like 1996, 2003, and 2007, this draft has NBA implications that are expected to manifest once the “future stars” turn pro.

 

 

Although the draft is still months away, we’d like to take this opportunity to highlight some of the most top-rated prospects that are expected to shake hands with the commissioner come June 26th.

 

When the season began, the highest rated prospect was Kansas Wing Andrew Wiggins. Touted to have the highest ceiling out of any college player due to unrivaled athleticism, Wiggins has averaged nearly 16 points to lead his Jayhawks team while also grabbing six rebounds a game. The freshman phenom is still projected to be drafted in the top 3, but a teammate of his could also be joining him.

 

Fellow Jayhawks freshman Joel Embiid, a seven-footer out of Cameroon, has emerged on the scene and now holds the top spot on Chad Ford’s Big Board. Clearly the top Center prospect in the nation, Embiid has averaged a respectable 11 points and 7 rebounds a game to go along with 2.6 blocks.

 

 

Embiid isn’t the only big-man prospect, as Kentucky Power Forward Julius Randle is averaging a double-double with 17 points and 11 rebounds a game for a star-studded Wildcats roster. Despite Randle’s production, the Wildcats have struggled this season, having lost four overall including last night’s overtime loss to Arkansas.

 

 

Kentucky produces a hefty crop of NBA talent year after year, and 2014 is no different. Joining Randle in the draft this year could be several of his teammates. Though early lottery prospect Andrew Harrison has fallen off this map with inconsistent play this season, starters James Young and Willie Cauley-Stein remain in Chad Ford’s top 20. Young, a lefty Small Forward, has shown his worth as a perimeter scorer, and Cauley-Stein is close to averaging a double-double with 9 points and 8 boards as well as nearly 4 blocks a game.

 

Another player expected to be selected in the top 3 come June is Duke Small Forward Jabari Parker. Parker has been considered the most complete prospect of any, and the Blue Devils freshman is anchoring their roster with 19 points and seven rebounds a game. Though he has struggled of late, shooting under 40 percent in each of the last five games, Parker has the most NBA-ready game of any draft prospect.

 

This draft is heavy on wing and frontcourt talent, but there are still a few Point Guard prospects that could make their way into the top 5. The first of these is Australian Point Guard Dante Exum. Standing 6 foot 6 and boasting a wingspan of 6 foot 9, Exum is a tall guard with the ability to impact the game in many ways. He hasn’t been playing as regularly as the college boys, which could work in his benefit as his stock steadily rises.

 

The best Point Guard prospect on American soil is Oklahoma State sophomore Marcus Smart. Quite a contrast to Exum, Smart is a bulkier guard standing 6 foot 4 and weighing 220 pounds. He exploded on the season last year as a freshman and has continued to put up excellent numbers, averaging 18/5/4 along with 2.6 steals a game to lead his Cowboys team.

 

Three more freshman are featured in Chad Ford’s top 10, starting with Arizona tweener Forward Aaron Gordon. An explosive leaper that has often been compared to fellow Wildcat Derrick Williams and Clippers All-Star Blake Griffin, Gordon leads the Wildcats in rebounding with eight boards a game and chips in 12 points. The biggest knock on Gordon’s game is his lack of a definite position, as his 6 foot 8 frame is too short to compete with elite Power Forwards in the NBA.

 

Following Gordon is Indiana Power Forward Noah Vonleh. A more typical 4-man with a 6 foot 10 frame, Vonleh has averaged 12 points and 9 rebounds for a Hoosiers team that lost Victor Oladipo and Cody Zeller to the draft in 2013. Vonleh has flown under the radar, but his tremendous upside should land him in the lottery come June.

 

The last of our freshman phenoms is Point Guard sensation Zach LaVine out of UCLA. Though he had little-to-no exposure before the season started, LaVine has been quietly contributing 13 points off the bench for a deep Bruins lineup. He lacks NBA strength, but LaVine’s potential is what should launch him up the draft board.

 

The list of NBA prospects doesn’t end here. Other players to watch are Croatian Forward Dario Saric, Duke Shooting Guard Rodney Hood, Michigan State SG Gary Harris, Louisville Forward Montrezl Harrell, Syracuse Forward Jerami Grant, Kansas Wing Wayne Selden Jr., and UCLA Point Forward Kyle Anderson. Look for this year’s NCAA Tournament to help uncover the hidden gems and players with the strongest killer instinct. 

NBA: Who Makes the East All-Star Team?

NBA East allstars 

Earlier this week, we discussed the probable Western Conference representatives for the All-Star Game in New Orleans. As a follow-up, we will now discuss the likely representatives from the Eastern Conference. Before we continue, however, we must make an addendum in relation to our earlier picks.

 

Per NBA rules, if any player is voted into the game as a starter but cannot play due to injury, the NBA commissioner is then charged with the duty of appointing a replacement starter. Accordingly, if Kobe Bryant, the leading vote-getter in the Western backcourt pool at the moment, is unable to play, commissioner David Stern would then be left to pick a replacement starter. Assuming Chris Paul (currently in third) misses the game due to injury as well, the replacement starter should turn out the be James Harden–the best player out of the remaining pool.

Let’s now take our attention the the Eastern Conference. The current leaders in voting for backcourt players are Dwyane Wade of the Miami Heat and Kyrie Irving of the Cleveland Cavaliers. Wade has missed time due to the Heat’s insistence on holding him out of back-to-back games (due to his usual knee soreness at this stage of his career), and Irving missed games recently, Neither player appears to be suffering from serious injury at the moment, however, and should both be expected to start.

 

The rest of the Eastern backcourt pool, after the third returns, appear to be sentimental picks. Derrick Rose of the Chicago Bulls, despite having been ruled out for the season, is currently in third. Fellow Point Guard Rajon Rondo of the Boston Celtics is in sixth despite not having played a single minute this season. Heat sixth-man Ray Allen is in fifth despite coming off the bench, and Deron Williams of the Brooklyn Nets is in seventh–although he is averaging the fewest points, assists, and steals since his rookie season.

 

As for the frontcourt returns in the East, the current leaders are LeBron James of the Miami Heat, Paul George of the Indiana Pacers, and Carmelo Anthony of the New York Knicks. The most interesting facet of these returns is that neither James, George, nor Anthony has logged significant minutes as a Center. Though all three have the ability to play both Forward positions, it would be amusing to watch James matchup opposite Dwight Howard (likely the Center for the Western Conference).

 

Anthony, the player in third in voting, is more than 300,000 votes ahead of fourth-place Roy Hibbert of the Pacers. With the starters likely to be Irving, Wade, George, Anthony, and James, we’ll turn our attention to the likely bench representatives. Keep in mind that the bench is comprised of two backcourt players, three frontcourt players, and two wildcards.

 

The frontcourt is the easiest to predict with Hibbert and Heat big-man Chris Bosh coming in fourth and fifth. These are the most reasonable choices at this point, though Brooklyn Nets Power Forward Kevin Garnett is currently in sixth–obviously a sentimental pick. Head coaches should know better than to select Garnett given his abysmal play this season. Therefore, the third frontcourt player will likely be culled from either Bulls Center Joakim Noah, Pistons Center Andre Drummond, Knicks Center Tyson Chandler, or Celtics Forward Jeff Green.

 

The frontcourt crop of talent in the East is much deeper than the backcourt and should provide the wildcard choices as well for the bench. The only sure-fire backcourt bench choice would be Wizards’ Point Guard John Wall. The other backcourt bench selection should probably come from either Indiana with Lance Stephenson or George Hill, or Toronto with Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan both having impressive seasons. Out of these four players, Stephenson probably deserves a bench spot the most given his role as a valuable starter on the Eastern Conference best Indiana team.

 

With Wall and Stephenson on the bench for the backcourt and Hibbert and Bosh as sure-fire frontcourt selections, we can probably expect both Noah and Drummond to make the roster, with one filling the final frontcourt spot and the other as a wildcard pick. The last representative at wildcard should, in our opinion, be either DeRozan or Green, as both players are posting respectable numbers while leading teams that are competing for the Atlantic Division lead. With the Raptors currently leading the division, we’ll take DeRozan for the final roster spot.

 

The final returns are still a few weeks away, so we’ll have to wait and see how the rest of the season’s first half plays out. 

By Austin Murphy – WonderPunter

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NBA: What to Make of this Season’s Injuries

NBA injuries

It’s always difficult, as a sports fan, to witness the desolation of a season that is ravaged by injuries to players left and right. In the same way that last season was seemingly ruined by injuries to star players, the NFL has witnessed tantamount injuries this season as well. Recently, the NBA has seen star after star lost for extended periods of time. Games are lost, and the season is becoming nearly unwatchable for fans of certain teams. Let’s take a look at the most relevant injuries of late.

 

Atlanta lost their All Star Power Forward Al Horford to a season-ending tear of the pectoral muscle. Though newcomer Paul Millsap has stepped up his play of late, Horford is definitely a player the Hawks cannot afford to play without, especially since the team is already without former All Star Josh Smith who left town to play for the Pistons.

 

Boston has been without Point Guard Rajon Rondo for the entirety of the season, but the Celtics are optimistic about his return. There have been rumors that Rondo, who could return sometime in January or February, will make his immediate return in the NBDL.

 

Charlotte Forward Michael Kidd-Gilchrist broke his left hand in early December. The Sophomore out of Kentucky has already had his cast removed, but a return date has not been confirmed for the Bobcats wing.

 

Chicago suffered a devastating injury to Derrick Rose when he tore his meniscus early in his comeback season. Their lineup was thinned even further as wings Luol Deng and Jimmy Butler along with backup Point Guard Kirk Hinrich, who has missed time with a bad back.

 

Cleveland superstar Point Guard Kyrie Irving was recently added to the list of surprise injuries when he bruised his knee recently. Irving is not travelling with the team as they head to Brooklyn to face the struggling Nets.

 

Chris Paul is the most recent player to suffer a freak injury, as he separated his shoulder against the Dallas Mavericks. Paul, the most important player for the Clippers, will be out for three-to-five weeks. Paul joins J.J. Reddick, another Clippers Guard on the disabled list.

 

The Lakers have had probably the worst luck out of any team in the NBA. Three of their Point Guards, Steve Nash, Steve Blake, and Jordan Farmar, have all seen time on the disabled list. To weaken their roster even further, resurgent youngster Xavier Henry recently suffered a bone bruise which should keep him out for well over a week. Chris Kaman has also missed time, but the worst injury was Kobe Bryant’s fractured knee, occurring in just his sixth game back from last year’s torn Achilles Tendon.

 

Memphis has been depleted with the losses of Marc Gasol, Tayshaun Prince, and Quincy Pondexter, all for extended periods of time. A team that is a season removed from the Western Conference Finals, the Grizzlies are floundering in a tough Western Conference.

 

The Brooklyn Nets are in the midst of a season very reminiscent of the Lakers last year, with a lack of success surrounding an All Star starting lineup. Brook Lopez has been ruled out for the season, and fellow All Stars Deron Williams and Paul Pierce have missed time as well.

 

Anthony Davis, the Sophomore Forward for the New Orleans Pelicans, has missed time with a broken left hand. Though he initially was ruled out for four-to-six weeks, Davis has since returned to the starting lineup. Fellow Forward Ryan Anderson, however, was carried off on a stretcher in the Pelicans’ most recent game.

 

The Knicks have struggled mightily this season, though not entirely because of injuries. Starters Raymond Felton, Carmelo Anthony, and Tyson Chandler have all had to miss time due to injuries, and New York has been forced to work around these losses, even going as far as briefly signing J.R. Smith’s brother Chris, a player whose worthiness of an NBA roster spot has been doubted by critics and fans alike.

 

The final injury that has shocked the league this season was Russell Westbrook’s arthroscopic surgery on his knee. The Thunder Point Guard will be out until the All Star Break, though this injury appears to be less serious than his season-ending meniscus tear last season.

 

 

The toughest part of all these injuries as a fan is having to watch supposed championship contenders play out the season without key pieces. Matchups like Lakers vs. Bulls have been rescheduled from national television due to the teams’ struggles to deal with injuries. The Bulls were once considered a championship favorite, and the Lakers’ backcourt injuries have reached an almost comical point (of course, no injury is a laughing matter).

 

Fortunately, there is still a bright side to consider. Last season, injuries to Rajon Rondo, Kobe Bryant, and Russell Westbrook were all severe enough to end these superstars’ seasons. Though we have seen season-ending injuries already like those of Al Horford and Brook Lopez, most of the high-profile injuries have not been season-ending. For players like Westbrook and Chris Paul, their teams are strong enough to still be competitive without them, and their injuries are expected to heal well before the playoffs, allowing the players to return to form in time to work towards NBA Finals berths. 

By Austin Murphy – WonderPunter

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NBA Playoffs: Who Emerges from the (L)east?

NBA playoffs 2013

Anyone who has been watching the NBA this year understands the ridiculous disparity regarding team success between the Eastern and Western conferences. Despite being the resident conference for powerhouses in Indiana and Miami, the Eastern conference is only 37-84 against the West thus far in the season. Only six teams out West boast records under .500, whereas the East has a pitiful twelve teams under .500. To put the situation into even greater perspective, every team in the West outside of Sacramento (7-16) and Utah (6-21) would make the playoffs if they switched conferences. Outside of the obvious picks with the Pacers and Heat, who can be expected to make the playoffs out of the cellar of the East?

 

As of Wednesday night, the six teams joining the Pacers and Heat in the playoffs, in order of seed, would be Atlanta, Boston, Detroit, Charlotte, Washington, and Toronto. This is hardly a definite playoff scenario, as a mere six games separate the projected fourth seed Celtics and the bottom-feeder Milwaukee Bucks.

 

In comparison to ESPN’s Training Camp Power Rankings, three teams previously expected to make the playoffs (Brooklyn, Chicago, and New York) are floundering in the East due to three completely separate situations. Brooklyn has suffered injuries and a lack of team chemistry (improving of late having won four of their last five, including a big win over the contending Clippers). Chicago has struggled in the wake of Derrick Rose’s season-ending meniscus tear as their lack of depth has been exposed. Mike Woodson, head coach of New York, is likely one more late-game faux-pas from being canned.

bulls derrick rose

One alteration to the current playoff projections that we can likely expect to be fulfilled would be replacing Toronto with Brooklyn. The Nets are only two games back in the loss column, and their collective resurgence and team health combined with Toronto’s determination to tank (Kyle Lowry is allegedly still being shopped) should result in the Nets overtaking the Raptors.

 

We can be reasonably optimistic that two other current playoff teams will hold onto their spots. Atlanta, the current three-seed, holds the last of three plus-.500 records in the East. Paul Millsap appears to have built a strong connection with fellow big-man Al Horford, and their perimeter is exciting to watch with Jeff Teague’s aggressiveness and Kyle Korver’s marksmanship from deep.

 

 

The other likely solid playoff fixture is Detroit. As a new home for Josh Smith, the nine-year veteran Combo Forward has bolstered an already lethal frontcourt with Greg Monroe and second-year man Andre Drummond. Point Guard by way of Milwaukee, Brandon Jennings is averaging a career high 7.8 Assists Per Game with excellent passing options in Smith, Monroe, and Drummond.

 

The final three spots back East are sure to be the hardest to predict. We can expect Brooklyn to overtake Toronto’s spot, but that still leaves Boston in the hunt in the Atlantic Division. First-year coach Brad Stevens has led the Celtics to a surprising 12-14 start with an excellent selection of young talent. Jordan Crawford is finally learning to play within a system, Avery Bradley is showing a drastically improved touch from the perimeter (45% from the field and 38% from three), and Jeff Green, Jared Sullinger, and Kelly Olynyk are excellent pieces to build around. Rajon Rondo’s return is unlikely to hinder the young Celtics success, as he is an excellent distributing Point Guard and defensive presence.

 

nba playoffs

After the Celtics, that leaves us with Charlotte and Washington as the only projected playoff teams as of tonight. Both of these teams will be battling with Chicago and Cleveland to claim the last two playoff sp

 ots. Due to the loss of Rose and off-season departure Nate Robinson, Chicago is going to have to rely even more on Luol Deng to perform on offense. A depleted benchand over-usage of players like Deng, Jimmy Butler, and Joakim Noah will prevent the Bulls from making a playoff appearance.

With the Bulls eliminated, that leaves us with Charlotte, Washington, and Cleveland all competing for two playoff spots. The odd team out will likely be Charlotte, as they lack the offensive focal point that can generate buckets late in games. Kemba Walker, though a budding star, is clearly a notch below John Wall and Kyrie Irving in terms of Point Guard talent.

 

As the season continues, we can likely expect the overall records of Eastern teams to improve. Despite any possible improvements, there don’t seem to be any other teams in the Eastern Conference capable of beating either the Pacers or Heat in the playoffs.

By Austin Murphy – WonderPunter

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How Good is Damian Lillard?

damian lillard

One of the hardest parts of studying the NBA in this day and age is breaking down the rankings of Point Guards. A position that is seemingly bountiful with talent, the small-ball movement has placed the Point Guard at an all-time premium in demand. An interesting representative of this all-important position is Damian Lillard, the reigning Rookie of the Year.

 
Coming into his sophomore season with a target on his back, there was no telling how he would respond to the anticipated “Sophomore Slump.” ESPN ranked Lillard as the 30th best player in the league and the 10th best Point Guard in their NBARankings.

 

This ranking firmly entrenches Lillard among the league’s elite and among the top two tiers of Point Guards, but the real question is what does Damian have to do to leapfrog those ahead of him?

 
Of the nine PG’s ranked ahead of Lillard, three are primarily reputation ranks. Rondo, at ninth out of ten, is the only player that has yet to play this season and probably won’t play his first game until next month. Two others, Rose and Williams, have battled injuries in the outset of the season, effectively ending Rose’s comeback season prematurely.

 

Statistically, Lillard’s standing amongst the league’s elite PG’s is inconsistent. His scoring prowess is duly noted (4th in PPG among PG’s, 6th in Points Per 48 Minutes among PG’s, 2nd in FT% among PG’s, and 6th in 3PT% among PG’s), but he falls off the map drastically with the rest of the PG-associated stats. Lillard pales in comparison to top tier playmakers like Paul and Westbrook with only 5.8 APG (good enough for 16th among qualified PG’s), and his defense leaves a lot to be desired as he ranks 36th among PG’s in SPG.

 
Despite this inconsistency when it comes to actual statistics, Lillard’s late-game heroics are clearly the validating factors that place him in the upper-echelon of PG’s in the NBA. With his game-winning three Tuesday night against Cleveland, Lillard tallied his third game-winner in the month of December, and it was the fourth time that he made a shot to tie or win a game this season.

 
Though big-time shots are typically reserved for wing or post players, Lillard has proven early in his career that he has the confidence to not only take the crucial late-game shots, but also to make them when it counts.

 
As his career progresses, Lillard will almost certainly learn how to manage the game better on the offensive end. Look for assist averages and shooting percentages to improve as he learns how to utilize his teammates even better. It’s remarkable how much potential for improvement that Lillard has at this point in the season as Portland already boasts the league’s best record at 22-4.

 
Ice in your veins surely cannot be taught, and it is this ability that effectively establishes Lillard as one of the top 10 Point Guards in a deep position pool.

By Austin Murphy – WonderPunter 

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NBA Prediction Week 7 Game Preview/Pick- Lakers vs. Hawks

Lakers-vs-Atlanta

NBA Free Picks Lines & Odds Lakers vs. Hawks

Los Angeles Lakers (11-12) @ Atlanta Hawks (12-12) 12/16- 7:30PM EST

 

Line: ATL -5.0

Over/Under: 206

 

Kobe Bryant will once again will take on the ball handling duties for the Los Angeles Lakers when he leads him team into Atlanta, as they continue their four-game road trip.

 

With point guards Steve Nash, Steve Blake and Jordan Farmar still all out with injuries, Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni will put the ball handling duties into the hands of Bryant once again, which may be a benefit as he tries to work his way into playing shape.

 

We have to somehow find some wins and gut it out. It’s not pretty right now,” D’Antoni said. “We don’t have a playmaker and we’ve got to get the guys healthy and get Kobe well.”

 

Since his return last Sunday, Kobe has scored 20 or more points twice in four games and had 13 assists in the loss to Oklahoma City on Friday night, but he’s also had 25 turnovers since returning as he is trying to adjust to his new duties.

 

There is no secret formula that you can sprinkle out there,” D’Antoni said. “He’ll get more comfortable, then the guys will get more comfortable around him and then he’ll do a better job.”

 

Bryant had a more balanced night as he led the Lakers (11-12) to their first win since his return, with 21 points, eight assists and seven rebounds in a 88-85 win over Charlotte on Saturday night.

 

I don’t know what I can and can’t do, Bryant said. “I’m just trying to measure it.”

 

A lot of focus of late has been of the tension between Pau Gasol and D’Antoni, as Gasol has expressed his frustration playing within the D”Antoni up-tempo offense. The 13-year veteran as averaged 18.3 points throughout his career, but this season is averaging only 14.4 points with a career-low 41.8 shooting percentage. I’ve always been a fan of Gasol and believe he just needs to play ball and when given the opportunity to shoot… produce!

 

The Lakers defense is also suffering as they are allowing 103.5 points per game which is second-worst in the NBA, though Atlanta (12-12) is averaging just 99.6 points per game.

 

The Hawks are led by big-man Al Horford with 17.7 and Paul Milsap 16.5 points per game and point guard Jeff Teague is doing a nice job with a 15.9 scoring average and 17.7 assists per game. Teague has also done a nice job handling the ball with a 2.33 assist-to-turnover ratio.

 

The Lakers have won 10 of the last 14 meetings against the Hawks, but the oddsmakers have confidence in Atlanta getting it done on Monday night as they have made the home team a (minus -5.0) point favorite over the visiting Lakers. Get the latest spread on the game up until tip off right here at Wonder Punter.

 

Despite the Lakers being injury-plagued at the point guard position, I predict L.A. doing just enough to get out of Atlanta with an upset win as they continue their road trip.

 

Prediction/Pick- Los Angeles Lakers

By Mario Martinez- Wonder Punter

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Thunder fan runs on court during halftime to propose to girlfriend

Dec 15, 2013; Oklahoma City, OKAY, USA; Orlando Magic point guard Jameer Nelson (14) dribbles the ball in entrance of Oklahoma City Thunder point guard Russell Westbrook (zero) during the second quarter at Chesapeake Energy Enviornment. Obligatory Credit score: Mark D. Smith-USA AT PRESENT Sports activities

In response to Thunder beat author Darnell Mayberry, a fan rushed to half-courtroom during halftime of Sunday night’s Oklahoma City-Orlando tilt at Chesapeake Vitality Area in OKC.

In what was clearly unplanned (or, no less than, unbeknownst to enviornment offficials and therefore illegal), a man by the identify of John Koyck pulled his girlfriend onto the court docket and tried to propose. Safety pulled the couple off the court, though they apparently allowed the proposal to be accomplished on the sideline.

Clearly, they’ll be in some bother with regulation (you already know, trespassing and all). Mayberry tried to speak with the couple after the sport however was told by the police that they’d “some enterprise” to deal with earlier than they could converse to the media.

Right here’s hoping there aren’t too many of us that play copycat. Not less than it was at halftime, and not during play although, right?

UPDATE: Evidently, the friendly police and safety folks in Oklahoma Metropolis have allowed the young lovebirds to return to their seats and revel in the rest of the sport. Huh. Didn’t see that coming.

Read The Original Article

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NBA prediction – Clippers vs. Celtics Week 6 Wednesday Night Game Preview & Pick

clippers vs celtics prediction

NBA Free Pick and prediction Clippers vs Celtics

 

Los Angeles Clippers (14-8) @ Boston Celtics (10-13) 12/11- 7:30PM EST

Odds and Lines for this game:

Line: LAC -6.0

Over/Under: 195

 

In his first visit since May 3rd, now Los Angels Clippers coach Doc Rivers will be at TD Garden in Boston to take on what’s left of his Boston Celtics, in what should be an emotional return.

 

It will be very nice for me, Rivers said. “I put nine years in there, nine wonderful years. So that’ll be very cool.”

 

Rivers’ resume in his tenure with the Celtics includes a 416-305 regular-season record, seven playoff appearances, and a 66-16 record in their 2007-08 championship year in which he led the Celtics to their 17th World title.

 

Rivers also led the Celtics to a seventh-game in the 2010 championship in which they lost to the Lakers and last year were eliminated in six games in the first round by the New York Knicks.

 

After last season’s playoff departure, Rivers, who still had three years left on his contract, would not commit to returning back to the Celtics as head coach.

 

Honestly, I just can’t even think about that right now. So I don’t know,” he said. “I need to just detox, and we’ll find that out.”

 

Boston management decided a different direction was needed to rebuild the organization and do away with its aging players, which Rivers was reluctant to be part of. On June 25th, Rivers was traded to the Clippers for a 2015 first-round draft pick.

 

Doc Rivers has the Clippers (14-8) in first-place in the Pacific Division after a 94-83 win at Philadelphia on Monday night, as they are in the midst of a season-high tying seven-game road trip.

 

Boston’s new coach Brad Stevens has the Celtics at 10-13 and in first-place as well in a weak Atlantic Division, although their three game win streak came to end to the Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce-led Brooklyn Nets 96-104 on Monday night.

 

They played great tonight. Played really hard, really together,” Stevens said. “They took us out of what we wanted to do.”

 

The new look Celtics only have seven of their 14 players left on the team Rivers coached last year, with point guard Rajon Rondo still recovering from ligament surgery on his left knee.

 

It’s been Jeff Green (16.7 points per game), Jordan Crawford (14.0) and Avery Bradley (13.5) who are leading the much younger Celtics team.

 

Despite injuries on the Clippers side with J.J Redick, Matt Barnes and Reggie Bullock, early lines have made Los Angeles a big (minus) -6.0 point favorite on the road, but expect to line to maybe move as game time approaches, which you can get here at Wonder Punter.

 

I see Clippers’ point guard Chris Paul who is averaging only 8.7 points on 18.8 percent shooting against the Celtics in his last three games to have a big night and even though Boston has won four of five against the Clips at home, I predict Los Angeles making Doc Rivers return to Boston a successful one.

 

Prediction/Pick: Los Angeles Clippers

By Mario Martinez- Wonder Punter

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NBA Power Rankings- Week 1

NBA power rankings

NBA Power Rankings for Week 1 of the games

 

With the conclusion of Tuesday nights NBA games, let’s take a look at the Power Rankings going into the Week 2 with the Philadelphia 76ers 3-1 start shocking everyone who were expected to contend for the worst record in NBA history.

 

1. Indiana Pacers (4-0)- Guard Paul George is healthy and ready to lead the charge.

 

2. Houston Rockets (4-1)- So far the Dwight Howard and James Harden duo is working.

 

3. Minnesota Timberwolves (3-1)- A healthy Kevin Love (29.6 points 14.6 rebounds) can do wonders for a team.

 

4. Miami Heat (3-2)- LeBron James admits to maybe minor chemistry problems on the team… we shall see the effects.

 

5. Los Angeles Clippers (3-1)- Gave a beat down to the Rockets on Monday night.

 

6. San Antonio Spurs (3-1)- Welcome back Tim Duncan and a resurgent Manu Ginoboli.

 

7. Golden State Warriors (3-1)- It’s the Stephen Curry 3-point show on pace for 437 triples!

 

8. Dallas Mavericks (3-1)- Dirk Nowitski and Monte Ellis getting it done so far.

 

9. Oklahoma Thunder (2-1)- With PG Russell Westbrook back sooner then expected, expect them to start climbing up the rankings.

 

10. Philadelphia 76ers (3-1)- They were ranked last to start the season, but thanks to some quality wins, they deserve a Top 10 ranking for now.

 

11. Brooklyn Nets (2-2)- They need a Miami like performance every night if they want to contend for top billing in the East.

 

12. Chicago Bulls (1-2)- Derrick Rose will continue to improve but the Bulls need more scoring.

 

13. Memphis Grizzles (2-2)- Both road losses were on the road to San Antonio and Dallas.

 

14. Phoenix Suns (3-1)- Eric Bledsoe is shinning bright in the desert sun.

 

15. Portland Trailblazers (2-2)- Big home win against the Spurs with Tim Duncan back in the lineup, but spanked at home by the Rockets.

 

16. Detroit Pistons (2-2)- Brandon Jennings is back from his injury early and ready to lead.

 

17. Orlando Magic (2-2)- Young and ready to play with rookie Victor Oladipo.

 

18. Cleveland Cavaliers (2-2)- Did we mention Andrew Bynum is playing this year?

 

19. Los Angeles Lakers (2-3)- Still young, still athletic, still Kobe-less. When Kobe, when? Xavier Henry looking great early.

 

20. Toronto Raptors (2-2)- It’s Rudy Gay’s team now.

 

21. Charlotte Bobcats (2-2)- Can Al Jefferson shake off his ankle problems?

 

22. Atlanta Hawks (2-2)- Safe to say the Hawks miss Josh Smith. PG Jeff Teague has been a bright spot.

 

23. New York Knicks (1-3)- The Knicks are hearing the boos already at home after Bobcats beat them.

 

24. Milwaukee Bucks (1-2)- Center Zaza Pachulia is averaging 13 points and 7.7 boards a game so far.

 

25. New Orleans Pelicans (1-3)- Second-year center Anthony Davis the lone bright spot with averages of 23.7 points, 12 rebounds and four blocks his first week.

 

26. Washington Wizards (0-3)- And to think everybody was talking a playoff team before the season. It’s early but win one first.

 

27. Sacramento Kings (1-3)- DeMarcus Cousins needs help and G Isaiah Thomas may be the answer averaging 19 points and 4.7 assists.

 

28.Denver Nuggets (0-3)- Not what we expected from a team that made the playoffs last year.

 

29. Utah Jazz (0-4)- Desperately need a point guard.

 

30. Boston Celtics (0-4)- Due to play the winless Jazz Wednesday night. 

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NBA Game Recap- Heat Lose Again

heat

Miami Heat- 100

Brooklyn Nets – 101

 

Paul Pierce and Joe Johnson each score 19 points each for the Nets on Friday night to help halt a 13-game losing skid at the hands of Miami and give the Heat their first back-to-back lose since January 2013.

 

It was good that we got a taste of this type of atmosphere this early in the season to try to see where we’re at,” Pierce said. “Miami, whenever they come into town, they’re a measuring stick for everybody, so it was good for us to come out and get the win.”

 

As the Heat were trying to stage a furious comeback, Pierce and Johnson each hit two free throws to secure the win and drop Miami to 1-2.

 

After being down 11 points most of the fourth quarter, the Heat scored 10 unanswered points with seconds left to make it close before Brooklyn closed them out.

 

What you’ve done in the past doesn’t mean you can make it happen in the present, so we’ve just got to have a little more sense of urgency,” James said. “It’s not doomsday right now. We’re good, but we understand what we need to fix and correct.”

 

Brooklyn had suffered 13 straight losses to the Heat since their last victory over them on March 20, 2009.

 

You don’t want to have those types of losing streaks to any franchise,” said Nets point guard Deron Williams. “so it was definitely on our mind.”

 

Miami’s Dwayne Wade (21 points) returned to action after missing the Philadelphia game in which the Heat also lost.

 

This ain’t nothing new. We’ve dealt with this before. This storyline continues,” Wade said. “At the end of the day, we want to play better. We would love to play better, obviously the start, the first and the third, but we had a chance to win the game. We have to find a way to pull it out.”

 

This was a big and important win for the Nets who last year got swept by the Heat by an average of 21 points, so now with a new look lineup of Pierce and Kevin Garnett added to the mix to complement Deron Williams… Brooklyn now has a legitimate shot to challenge the Heat throughout the season.

 

The “Big Three” of James, Wade and Bosh scored 64 points while the bench play of Brooklyn outscored the Miami bench 36-22.

By Mario Martinez – Wonder-Punter

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Gators suspend two more to start season

Florida coach Billy Donovan announced Thursday that transfers Dorian Finney-Smith and Damontre Harris have been suspended, becoming a member of senior point guard Scottie Wilbekin on the bench for the No. 10 Gators.

Donovan said the suspensions are indefinite, however sources informed ESPN that Wilbekin will possible sit for three-5 games to start out the season, while Finney-Smith and Harris are expected to miss the first two.

Finney-SmithDorian Finney-Smith, who transferred to Florida from Virginia Tech, will seemingly miss the primary two games of the season after being suspended by coach Billy Donovan.

“Effectively, I mean, you understand, it is what it’s,” Donovan said Thursday. “We just try to go together with the fellows that we know are going to be available, going to be there to play.”

Donovan mentioned all three will continue to observe.

“There’s some issues that they should do,” Donovan mentioned. “Hopefully, they will do it and we’ll see how that interprets going forward.”

Wilbekin began 29 video games at the level last season but will possible be challenged by talented freshman ground leader Kasey Hill, who will virtually actually begin while Wilbekin is out of the lineup. Hill might wind up supplanting Wilbekin as the total-time starter.

In accordance with a number of NBA scouts, the 6-foot-7 Finney-Smith has been as impressive as anyone in observe to date for the Gators. The former Virginia Tech ahead will bring versatility and toughness to the crew and could wind up beginning as soon as he serves his suspension. Harris transferred from South Carolina and may give Donovan and the Gators length and a shot-blocking presence off the bench.

Florida is among the deepest teams in the nation and should nonetheless have enough to compete with No. 20 Wisconsin in Madison on Nov. 12 as a part of the ESPN Tip-Off Marathon. The Gators open the season Nov. eight at residence towards North Florida and play Arkansas-Little Rock in Gainesville on Nov. sixteen within the third recreation of the season.
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NBA Game Preview/Pick- Clippers vs. Lakers Prediction

lakers-clippers

NBA Game Preview/Pick- Clippers vs. Lakers Prediction

 

Los Angeles Clippers @ Los Angeles Lakers 10/29- 10:30PM EST

 

The Los Angeles Lakers will take to the court Tuesday night at Staples Center against their in-house rival Los Angeles Clippers with one lingering question on their minds… when will Kobe Bryant return?

 

The Lakers after a 2012-13 season filled with high expectations of another championship title, instead became a season filled with injuries after injuries with some turmoil thrown in… Dwight Howard, Steve Nash, Steve Blake and the worse injury of them all, a torn Achilles tendon by Kobe Bryant that all but sealed their chance of another NBA title.

 

Once the Lakers disappointing season was over, Dwight Howard decided to pack his bags for Houston and away from the L.A. spotlight.

 

There is still no exact timetable set on Kobe’s return despite him being ahead of schedule.

 

The new look Lakers of 2013-14 appear to be more athletic under second-year coach Mike D’Antoni and ready to right-the-ship under the leadership of veterans Steve Nash and Pau Gasol.

 

It’s really important for us to embrace these low expectations, try to find a chemistry and build ourselves into a team that has some confidence,” said Nash.

 

New additions through free-agency that will look to run a lot more under Mike D’Antoni’s system will be Nick Young, Wesley Johnson, Shawne Williams and the return of Jordan Farmar.

 

We may not be as talented at the top like last year, but I think we got younger, more athletic with more shooters who can space the floor,” Nash said.

 

As for the Clippers, they have Doc Rivers as their new coach now as he looks to instill a new mental and physical toughness along with a new identity to his Clipper team who seem to lack the fortitude to put teams away and close out a playoff series.

 

Last year, they held a 2-0 lead over the Memphis Grizzles before bowing-out.

 

We have higher expectations for ourselves than anybody else,” forward Blake Griffin said. “We don’t feel we’ve arrived until we win a championship.”

 

Clipper point guard Chris Paul likes the championship mentality coach Rivers has brought to the organization.

 

You always want someone to push you and motivate you,” said Paul. “In our first meeting, he told me I hadn’t really done anything in this league, and he’s right.”

 

The Clippers feel they have also upgraded their team with added depth shooters to their roster with the likes of J.J Redick, Jared Dudley and Darren Collison, who can spell Paul for a breather or two.

 

Last season the Clippers swept the Lakers winning all four games by an average of 13.2 points and I expect to the Clippers to take advantage of a Kobe-less Lakers team and win Tuesday night.

 

PICK: Los Angeles Clippers

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NBA Prediction Game Preview & Pick – Bulls vs. Heat

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NBA Prediction Game Preview & Pick – Bulls vs. Heat

 

Chicago Bulls @ Miami Heat 10/29- 8:00PM EST

 

The Miami Heat may be the team getting their rings on opening night of the NBA, but all eyes will be on the return of Chicago’s point guard Derrick Rose who missed all of last season rehabbing a knee injury as he looks to lead his Bulls to a championship year.

 

Our No. 1 goal is winning a title,” said Rose, the 2011 MVP who has averaged 21.0 points and 6.8 assists in four NBA seasons. “We’re not worried about anything else. We’re not worried about what people say about us or what’s going on on the outside. We’re just worried about the Bulls and how good we get everyday.”

 

Chicago, after going 8-0 in the pre-season feels they are geared to make a run at an NBA title and dethrone the Heat who are looking for a ‘three-peat.’

 

If anything, we accomplished what we wanted to accomplish, which was to go out there and try to win every game,” Rose said. “We know we have important games coming up. We’re just trying to get prepared for that.”

 

Without Rose last year, the Bulls fell to Miami in five-games scoring an average of only 82.0 points a game while giving up 100.3 per game.

 

For the Miami Heat, once they receive their rings, Lebron James and the Heat expect all business the rest of the way as they seek their third straight NBA title.

 

After we get our rings, that’s last year,” said James. “We did some special things last year and this is an opportunity for us to look back at it one more time, but I definitely won’t lose sight of what’s in front of me.”

 

The Los Angeles Lakers of 2000-02 were the last team to win three consecutive championships.

 

It would mean everything, man,” James said. “First of all, it means that I’m doing my part and I’m helping our team get better. It would mean everything to our team. That’s what we’re here for. We work our tails off every day. If it can pay off with another Finals appearance, we’d represent the Eastern Conference the best way we can.”

 

Miami won 27-straight games last season challenging the all-time record of 33 straight set by the 1972-73 Los Angeles Lakers finishing with a 66-16 record.

 

When you put this kind of talent together, there’s always people on the outside trying to figure out ways why it shouldn’t work,” said Dwayne Wade. “When you’re on the inside and can put it together and show them that it can work, it’s a great feeling.

 

For us to be able to go to the Finals three straight times and hopefully go again, what more can you ask for?”

 

The Bulls and Heat split their four regular-games last year.

 

Most teams suffer a ‘ring ceremony’ hangover, and I expect the Bulls to come out with a sense of urgency to prove to the Heat they mean business in 2013-14.

 

PICK: Chicago Bulls

For more NCAA NBA MLB NFL, Scores, Reviews, Previews, and Picks & Predictions,  feel free to check out our sections from the tabs on top of the page where I will be updating on a daily basis

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Wonder Punter NBA Power Rankings 2013-14

Wonder Punter NBA Power Rankings 2013-14

 

With the 2013/14 NBA season upon us starting Tuesday night…. Let’s take a look at the Power Rankings of all 30 teams to begin the season.

 

1. Miami Heat- The defending champion Heat will be looking to three-peat with Lebron James in the final year of his contract.

 

2. San Antonio Spurs- With all the pieces still intact, the Western Conference champs are still the team to beat out west.

 

3. Chicago Bulls- After sitting out all of last season… Derrick Rose is back and ready to lead his team to challenge the Heat.

 

4. Indiana Pacers- Last years team was good, now with Danny Granger back and the addition of Luis Scola… they will be even better.

 

5. Los Angeles Clippers- Can new coach Doc Rivers instill the mental and physical toughness that has been lacking with the Clippers in seasons past?

 

6. Houston Rockets- Can the tag team of Dwight Howard/James Harden co-exist and get them to the promise land?

 

7. Golden State Warriors- Will one more year of experience under their belt make up for the lack of depth at the point guard and center positions? Key addition with Andre Iguodala.

 

8. Oklahoma City Thunder- Still no Russell Westbrook until December… until then, can they keep it together?

 

9. Memphis Grizzles- The addition of Mike Miller should help with a team depleted with shooters.

 

10. Brooklyn Nets- Can an aging Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce be the difference that Deron Williams and new coach Jason Kidd need to contend?

 

11. New York Knicks- J.R Smith is still on the shelve and Amar’e and Kenyon Martin are not quite ready for back-to-backs yet.

 

12. Minnesota Timberwolves- A full year of a healthy Kevin Love and Ricky Rubio can finally make the Wolves a playoff contender after a drought of nine seasons.

 

13. Denver Nuggets- Andre Iguodala is now with Golden State and no Danilo Gallinari until at least December.

 

14. Washington Wizards- Key addition with Marcin Gortat to fill in a true center position and move Nene to his natural forward position.

 

15. New Orleans Pelicans- New team nickname and two nice additions will help the Pelicans improve… Jrue Holiday and Tyreke Evans.

 

16. Dallas Mavericks- Monte Ellis was added to help give Dirk Nowitski an offensive boost… but it’s the defense I’m worried about.

 

17. Portland Trailblazers- LaMarcus Aldridge vows this years Blazers team will make the playoffs.

 

18. Detroit Pistons- Two big additions with the face of the franchise now Josh Smith and Brandon Jennings.

 

19. Los Angeles Lakers- Much more athletic team then last year’s team, however their season still rides on the shoulders of Kobe Bryant’s return.

 

20. Cleveland Cavaliers- When will Andrew Bynum play? Oh yeah #1 pick Anthony Bennett has a sleeping disorder.

 

21. Atlanta Hawks- No Josh Smith… it’s Al Horford’s team now.

 

22. Toronto Raptors- Andrea Bargnani is now a Knick.

 

23. Charlotte Bobcats- Should improve in the win column with new center Al Jefferson.

 

24. Sacramento Kings- Will DeMarcus Cousins live up to hype of a max-contract deal.

 

25. Utah Jazz- Young talent is nice, but no quality point guard to dish the rock.

 

26. Milwaukee Bucks- Can new coach Larry Drew keep the rebuilding Bucks together?

 

27. Boston Celtics- New coach, new faces and no Rajon Rondo.

 

28. Orlando Magic- Another rebuilding year.. looking towards the 2014 NBA Draft.

 

29. Phoenix Suns- Traded away their best player Marcin Gortat.

 

30. Philadelphia 76ers- Many are predicting the Sixers to challenge for the all-time worst record of 9-73 (1972-73 Sixers).

For more NCAA NBA MLB NFL, Scores, Reviews, Previews, and Picks & Predictions,  feel free to check out our sections from the tabs on top of the page where I will be updating on a daily basis

Would you like to show off your writing skills? opinions? for the sports world to see? If so feel free to contribute and we will publish your stories and reviews Info@wonder-punter.net

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