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Sixers Fan

Suns' Zoran Dragic playing without regrets posted by Sixers Fan

With the game already put away and the Pheonix Suns looking at a loss to the Los Angeles Clippers, rookie Zoran Dragic came into the game amounting to a missed 3-pointer and a couple sprints up and back on the Staples Center floor last month.

That is all most people have seen of Suns rookie Zoran Dragic, who has spent nearly the entire season on the inactive list except for that two-minute cameo in mop-up duty against the Clippers.

It’s not necessarily surprising given that he is a rookie. In fact it was expected but perhaps not to Zoran, younger brother of Sun Goran Dragic, who played for ten years as a pro and starting for their national team on the way to the World Cup quarterfinals last summer.

Yet Zoran is keeping a positive attitude about the whole thing, or at least that’s what he’s telling himself and reporters. He says he has no regrets about negotiating a buyout from Spanish club Unicaja Malaga to come to the NBA, even if it means not seeing the floor and being relegated to developing through individual work and rare practices.

"I know it's my rookie year and that's how it is," Zoran said. "I must be patient and practice hard. When I get an opportunity, I need to show what I have.

"I am happy. Everybody basketball player's dream is to come to the NBA but my dream was to come here and stay in the NBA."

Zoran's first two weeks in the NBA were difficult. He came to the U.S. on the weekend before training camp and had to leave the country later to get a work visa. He was having difficulty adjusting to the culture and the league but living with his brother helped smooth the process.

Continue reading "Suns' Zoran Dragic playing without regrets"

Mavericks Fan

Turnovers catch up to Mavs in loss at Phoenix posted by Mavericks Fan

Carelessness with the ball and poor defense Tuesday night cost the Dallas Mavericks any chance they had at dethroning the Phoenix Suns.

Phoenix turned 20 Dallas turnovers into 28 points en route to subduing the Mavs 124-115 before a sellout crowd of 18,055 at US Airways Center.

This is just the second time all season the Mavs have lost more than one game in a row as their record fell to 20-10. Back on Nov. 22 and Nov. 24, the Mavs were upended in consecutive games by Houston (95-92) and Indiana (111-100).

Prior to hopping on a plane for Tuesday’s game, the Mavs lost at home Monday night to the Atlanta Hawks (105-102). And they didn’t fare much better against the streaky Suns, who converted 13 of 33 shots from behind the 3-point arc and always seemed to pull a 3-pointer out of the bag whenever the Mavs thought about inching closer.

 “Just too many [turnovers] early in the game,” coach Rick Carlisle said. ‘We got off to a pretty good start in a quarter-and-a-half, and the turnovers caught up with us.

“And we’re just struggling to defend. We’ve just got to do a better job of it.”

The Mavs battled to within nine with approximately two minutes left. But by then the Suns had put so much separation between themselves and Dallas that this one wasn’t going to end well.

In falling to 5-2 on the second night of a back-to-back, the Mavs are now 0-2 in the Rajon Rondo Era.

All things considered, Dallas actually was negotiating this second leg of a back-to-back pretty smoothly at the beginning. Behind Tyson Chandler and Rondo, the Mavs raced out to a 39-30 lead with 6:05 remaining in the first half.

Continue reading "Turnovers catch up to Mavs in loss at Phoenix"

Suns Fan

2014 Phoenix Suns Preseason Report posted by Suns Fan

Phoenix Suns were supposed to be in their downward spiral in 2013-14 season, but they managed to be the best team amongst teams that did not reach the playoffs. Ryan McDonough, the new general manager, before the starting of the season, gave up veterans, Luis Scola, Jared Dudley, and Macin Gortat, in trade. However, the new inclusions coexisted quite well, and Jeff Hornacek, the rookie coach, freed Bledsoe and Dragic for making plays and pushing the pace. Good comebacks were Gerald Green and Channing Frye, but when Bledsoe was injured, everything seemed bleak. However, Dragic came to the rescue by raising his game considerably. The Suns ended the season with a record of 48-34.

For the 2014-15 season, Ryan McDonough wants to bring back fast-paced offense with a lot of aggression, and build a team that can handle both the floor ends. In the previous draft, Phoenix selected Archie Goodwin and Alex Len, who are athletic and known for their two-way skills. With several picks in the current draft, Phoenix Suns select would be Alec Brown, Bogdan Bogdanovic, Tyler Ennis, and T.J. Warren. Ennis could be an upgrade from Ish Smith, as he is quite fluid, with a great handle. Even though he is not considered fast or athletic, Ennis makes up by this fast direction changes and quick bursts.

However, Phoenix Suns seemed to have passed certain players that could have fitted better into the system, such as Patric Young, K.J. McDaniels, Andreian Payne, and Garry Harris. Secondly, Goran Dragic, who is the best offense, might be more susceptible to injuries this season, as he has not rested at all. The Suns strategy seems to have shifted from two-way highly athletic players to prospects that can bring in skills and depth. The focus seems to be on intensifying and expanding, and the team seems to be satisfied with the existing athleticism.

Continue reading "2014 Phoenix Suns Preseason Report"


Parker has no desire to transfer to other NBA teams posted by nbaball

The starting pointguard of the San Antonio Spurs has categorically denied persistent report that he had the desire to transfer to other National Basketball Association (NBA) teams.
Tony Parker told the media that there is no truth to the report since his heart belongs to the Spurs and he wants to stay with the team for many years to come.
Parker said he had a house in San Antonio and had no intention at the moment to move to other NBA teams other than the Spurs.
He revealed that he has confidence that a suitable agreement will be reached between him and the Spurs so that he will remain with the team for many years to come.
To show his desire to remain with the Spurs, Parker has decided to skip the World's Basketball Championship slated on August 28 to September 12 in Istambul, Turkey.
The superstar pointguard said he decided to forego his chance to play for France in the global basketball event to help the Spurs in the next NBA season by keeping himself from injury.
The 27-year-old pointguard had been a vital factor for the success of the Spurs the past 10 years wherein he won championship with the ball club.
Parker is very significant for the Spurs management since he do not only orchestrate plays but also contribute and offense and defense as well.
The Spurs was earlier defeated by the red-hot Phoenix Suns 4-0 in their best of seven NBA second round playoff match-up.
The French pointguard and the rest of the Spurs roster tried their very best to inflict defeat to the Suns but their effort were futile as the Suns proved hotter in the end.
Continue reading "Parker has no desire to transfer ..."

Micky Deming

posted by Micky Deming

Take a deep breath. Focus with me. This whole Lebron/Celtics thing was a crazy mess. I don’t know what to think of it, you don’t know what to think of it, nobody knows what is going on. It’s times like this where I like to recharge the batteries, shut down the engines and get back to neutral. 2:20 of this video

I understand why this is such a circus. I don’t even need to discuss all of the reasons why there is so much talk about Lebron and the Cavs right now. However, the amount we’re all hearing about him is absolutely absurd. Everyone and their brother is giving a guess on where he’ll play next year. My question is, “Who cares?” Nobody has the answer, these are all just guesses, and I’m sick of hearing about it now, when this same conversation is going to be happening all summer.

Meanwhile, the Conference Finals are about to start and there is plenty to look forward to. Reigning two-time MVP Lebron James won’t be joining the fun in the playoffs, but guess who will: the 2004, 05, 06 and 08 MVPs (Garnett, Nash twice, Kobe). Also the 08 and 09 champs and every team that played in the finals those two years.

Can we please put the Lebron shenanigans behind us for a month and enjoy what’s left of these playoffs? These two Conference Finals are great series, and as NBA fans we should be talking about how Boston took the Magic to 7 games last year without KG. And about Dwight Howard and Steve Nash looking for their first titles. Or the Lakers trying to defend their title – I never thought I’d say Kobe wasn’t getting enough attention from the media, but he’s going for his 5th ring and Phil Jackson his 11th.

Continue reading ""

Ryan Greyslak

The Sacramento Kings are the latest team rumored to be in the hunt for the Phoenix Suns Amare Stoudemire posted by Ryan Greyslak

The latest rumor according to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports has the Sacramento Kings discussing a trade with the Phoenix Suns for their All-Star Forward Amare Stoudemire centered on a returning piece of Kevin Martin. The Sacramento Kings would be an interesting trade partner with the Suns and have the ability to offer young talent, draft picks, and ending contracts, all of which the Suns reportedly want back for Stoudemire.


The main piece in this trade involves Stoudemire and The Kings Kevin Martin. There are no other issues discussed regarding this trade but it would probably look something like this…


Phoenix Suns trade:

Amare Stoudemire


Sacramento Kings trade:

Kevin Martin 4 years 9.7 million

Jason Thompson 2 years 2 million

Hilton Armstrong 1 year 2.8 million

Unprotected first round draft pick


Kevin Martin has all-star potential but is consistently injured and because of this has missed many games over the past few seasons. He is a great shooter and could thrive in a situation where a good point guard created open shots for him. However he is not a great defender or rebounder and is still owed a considerable amount of money over the next 4 years. (Kind of like an Amare at the Sg position, can put up points but don't expect much else on a consistent basis) The Suns would really be biting the bullet taking on Martin and would not help their lack of defensive toughness. His contract and injury history is enough to scare most away.

Continue reading "The Sacramento Kings are the latest ..."


Hawks soaring high on new NBA season posted by nbahawks

The Atlanta Hawks is creating a lot of buzz in the new season of the National Basketball Association.Despite their less stellar lineup, the Hawks is on top of the leader-board in the young season of the premier professional basketball league in the planet. The Hawks is currently sporting an impressive 11-2 record after they defeated the Houston Rockets 105-103 Friday night.High flying Hawks power forward Josh Smith played hero for the top team in the NBA by scoring on a put back from a miss by Hawks top point guard Mike Bibby with 0.7 seconds remaining. Marvin Williams, the starting small forward of the Hawks top scored for the team with 29 points to help defeat the Rockets, one of the top teams in the NBA Western Conference.The recent victory of the Hawks is remarkable since the Rockets are on the verge of defeating the team and hand them their third loss but the impressive play of Smith saved the youth laden ball club to escaped with a victory. Prior to his game winning shot, Smith stayed mostly from the bench due to foul trouble but he was able to returned in the waning moments of the game and lead his team to victory.The strong and impressive plays of the Hawks is getting huge praise from basketball fans and experts. During the off-season, the Hawks is not among the top contenders for the NBA crown this season due to their less star studded roster. However, despite the lack of big named players in its lineup, the Hawks still showed class and impressive talent to defeat 11 teams so far.Aside from the strong plays of its veteran players Smith, Bibby and Joe Johnson, the Hawks also get huge contribution from newly acquired NBA veteran Jamal Crawford who contribute in both offence and defence for the team. Aside from the Hawks, the run and gun Phoenix Suns is also playing good this NBA season. NBA superstars point-guard Steve Nash and power forward Amare Stoudamire are playing well to lead the Suns to an impressive record in the NBA.Fans of Hawks team can buy the tickets to watch the NBA game live.

Continue reading "Hawks soaring high on new NBA season"

Scott Shepherd

Great TNT Double-Header Tonight posted by Scott Shepherd

The NBA league pass is awesome, but nothing beats a good TNT double-header.

Tonight, we get a great TNT double-header.

The night starts off with Cleveland at Miami. I’ve written this before, but LeBron vs. Wade is the best head-to-head matchup to watch in the NBA right now. These guys always bring out the best in each other.

In 19 career games against each other, LeBron is averaging 28.6 points per game, 5.6 rebounds, 7.7 assists and 1.2 steals. Wade is averaging 27.2 points per game, 5.4 rebounds, 6.8 assists, and 2.4 steals.

In seven of the last nine meetings, at least one of the two has dropped for at least 30. Twice in that span has each player scored 40 in the same game.

With Miami having only one loss so far this season, and Cleveland coming off a big win against the Magic, I would expect nothing less than a shootout tonight. I expect both superstars put their respective teams of their back and play out what, hopefully, is a very entertaining game to watch.

In the late game, the Suns make their way to the Staples Center to play the Lakers. It’s a battle for first place, and hopefully it reignites what was not too long ago a pretty intense little rivalry.

I couldn’t be happier that the Suns are 8-1 and have the best record in the league. Make no mistake, I hate the Suns. With a capitol “H”.

I hate Steve Nash; I hate the :07 seconds or less offense; I hate their owner; I hate their uniforms: I hate their mascot.

But I love the fact that after this hot start I keep reading things like, “The Suns are back!!”

Continue reading "Great TNT Double-Header Tonight"

Chase Hughes

How Can the Washington Wizards Improve to Contender Status? posted by Chase Hughes

Last night I was listening to an interview with former NBA head coach P.J. Carlesimo on 106.7 The Fan.  He was commenting on the opening days of the NBA regular season, specifically about the Eastern Conference and his thoughts on who were the better teams.  Not surprisingly he named the top three teams as the “factors,” those being Cleveland, Boston, and Orlando.  He said that there are not any teams even close to those three but on the outside looking in is the Washington Wizards.  The Wizards were the only team he mentioned as the fourth best team and he said this about three times.  These comments got me thinking about what the Wizards need to do this regular season to take the next step and breach that label, in what areas can they improve to develop into the fourth Eastern Conference power? 
First of all, this piece is not in discussion of anything to do with the playoffs, I am not assuming that the Wizards are clearly the fourth best team or that they will even make the playoffs at all.  What I am saying is that the Wiz are in that second tier bunch that follows the top three, which in my opinion also includes the Toronto Raptors, Atlanta Hawks, and the Philadelphia 76’ers (3rd tier: MIA, CHI, NJ, DET).  Carlesimo added that this is the way the East is presently, that come December we could be talking about another team that has emerged or perhaps a top team will regress and make way for one that is on the brink.  We know that this is Gilbert Arenas’ team but what pieces need to fall into place for Washington to make that jump?  I offer several possibilities, some more plausible than others for how the Wizards can materialize into a contender:

Continue reading "How Can the Washington Wizards Improve ..."

Ryan Greyslak

The Phoenix Suns are NOT the worst defensive team in the NBA posted by Ryan Greyslak

The Phoenix Suns are not the worst defensive team in the NBA.

In a recent article released by Dime Magazine they claimed the Suns were the worst defensive team in the NBA.

It is not a fair assumption to call the Suns out as the worst defensive team in the NBA next season. They never have been known for their defensive ability as a team but have been slowly putting pieces in place that will play defense. Some of the Suns younger players might actually become strong defenders in the league over the next couple of years.

There have always been the open holes defensively on the Suns roster. One of the biggest is Steve Nash, he gets substantially worse defensively each year and every point guard in the league gets giddy at the thought of going head to head with him. He can’t stop anybody off the dribble but has always been good at getting where he needs to be on the court to take the charge. Jason Richardson should be traded so Leandro Barbosa can start. He has never been a good defender and doesn’t really show the drive to become any better. Grant Hill is not getting any younger and Channing Frye has never showed the potential to be a strong defender. Even with some of these players on their roster it is not enough for them to already be considered the worst defensive team in the NBA. 

They have several young players and a few wild cards on the team this year that could put forth a strong defensive effort for the team this year.

Goran Dragic looked great in euro league play this summer. He is a quick physical defender that just needs to continue to build more confidence. Nash will need a lot of rest to stay healthy this season and Dragic could benefit greatly from that if he can step up. There is a strong chance that you will see a great improvement in Dragic this season.

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Phoenix Suns News

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DeMarcus Cousins scores 24 points to lead Kings over Suns

DeMarcus Cousins scored 24 points, all but four coming in the first three quarters, and grabbed 11 rebounds to help the Sacramento Kings beat the Phoenix Suns 108-99 on Thursday night. [read full article]

From FOX Sports Digital

NBA Playoff Picture Update: The Warriors won the division! (Ball Don't Lie)

With just a few weeks remaining until the NBA postseason, every night can impact the standings. The NBA Playoff Picture Update keeps you up to date on all the most important news for all 16 berths and seeds. [DraftKings: FREE entry to huge cash Fantasy Basketball Contest with first deposit ] Pacific Power: All hail the Golden State Warriors, your new Pacific Division overlords. The Warriors erased a five-point halftime deficit with a 36-18 fourth quarter to grab an ultimately convincing 122-108 victory at the Portland Trail Blazers. That win brings the Warriors to 58-13, good enough to clinch their first division title in 39 years. They seemed pretty excited about it: SQUAD! — Julie Phayer (@juliephayer) March 25, 2015 Division titles don't mean a ton in 2015 — division winners cannot finish any lower than fourth in the conference but do not get homecourt advantage against teams with superior records even if they have the higher seed. None of that matters to the Warriors, because they have an eight-game lead on the second-place Memphis Grizzlies with 11 left to play and appear destined for homecourt advantage throughout the playoffs. But it's still nice to win something new, especially when the franchise is set for just its fourth playoff appearance in the past 20 seasons. It's fine for a team to be content with their current level of success even when they hold higher aspirations. [ Follow Dunks Don't Lie on Tumblr:   The best slams from all of basketball] Incidentally, winning the Northwest Division could end up meaning something to the Blazers, who hold the fourth seed at 44-25 despite holding a worse record than the 46-25 Los Angeles Clippers. The good news for Portland is that they maintained their half-game lead over the 44-26 San Antonio Spurs, themselves in a virtual tie with the 45-27 Dallas Mavericks (we'll get to those two teams soon). Depending on how the rest of the regular season shakes out, it's possible that the Blazers will finish with the seventh-best record in the conference but play the team with the fifth-best record simply because they play in a division with only one other playoff contender, the Oklahoma City Thunder. Texas Tie: Monta Ellis's 38-point night led the Dallas Mavericks to a 101-94 win over the in-state rival San Antonio Spurs, creating a virtual tie between the two teams for the sixth spot in the West. The Spurs currently hold the advantage due to having played two fewer games, but Friday's rematch in San Antonio could play a big role in the event of an end-of-season tiebreaker. If the Mavericks win, they will hold the advantage by virtue of taking the season series 3-1. If the Spurs win, then the tiebreaker procedure will move to in-division records. Buzzer-Beater Buffer: Khris Middleton's wild winner at the buzzer lifted the Milwaukee Bucks over the Miami Heat and helped clarify the crowded bottom of the Eastern Conference. The win brought the Bucks to 35-36 and 2 1/2 games ahead of the Heat for sixth place. The difference between sixth and seventh could be a big one in the East — the Cleveland Cavaliers appear headed for the No. 2 seed and loom as a nightmare matchup. On the bright side, a Heat-Cavaliers series would probably make for pretty good ratings. I hear one of the guys on the Cavs used to play in Florida. Whoops Ontario: The Toronto Raptors fell into sole possession of fourth in the East with a disappointing 108-104 loss at the Detroit Pistons. The result might not have been quite so tough to take if not for a questionable final possession in which Lou Williams hoisted this deep contested three down 106-104 with plenty of time left on the shot clock: At 42-29, the Raptors sit one win behind the 43-29 Chicago Bulls. The teams play each other on ESPN Wednesday, so we should get a better sense of that race soon. Listen to the Thunder: The Oklahoma City Thunder continued to pull ahead of the competition for the last playoff spot in the West with a 127-117 win over the lottery-bound Los Angeles Lakers. Russell Westbrook led the way, as usual, with 27 points, 11 assists, and this dunk: The Thunder are now three games up on the Phoenix Suns with only 11 left to play. Unless they suffer another serious injury, they appear to be in very good shape to avoid missing the playoffs for the first time since 2009. Wednesday's Most Important Games A 13-game night is bound to involve a few notable matchups, so let's run down the top three in no particular order. Miami Heat at Boston Celtics, 7:30 p.m. ET: The 32-38 Heat and 31-39 Celtics occupy the last two spots in the East, so this game would seem to play a big part in deciding which plays the Atlanta Hawks and which ends up with the Cleveland Cavaliers. However, it might be more important in deciding if one ends up on the outside of the playoffs altogether. The Celtics are just a half-game up on the Charlotte Hornets, themselves involved in a big game with the quasi-contending 11th-place Brooklyn Nets on Wednesday. If the Hornets win and the Celtics lose, then their places will swap for what seems like the 400th time in the past month. Chicago Bulls at Toronto Raptors, 7:00 p.m. ET: As noted above, this one matches up the third and fourth seeds in the East. Both have struggled recently, albeit for different reasons, and could use a big win against a solid team. Oklahoma City Thunder at San Antonio Spurs, 9:30 p.m. ET: While the 41-30 Thunder have spent most of this season concerned with just making the postseason, a victory in this ESPN-televised game opens up the possibility that they could catch the Spurs, currently 3 1/2 games ahead, for seventh. That seeding change would be a big deal if only for the Warriors, odds-on championship favorites who would nevertheless consider a first-round matchup with the Spurs to be a worst-case scenario. - - - - - - - Eric Freeman is a writer for Ball Don't Lie on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at or follow him on Twitter! Follow @FreemanEric [read full article]

From Yahoo Sports

Kings-Suns Preview

The Phoenix Suns are three games out of the final Western Conference playoff spot with 11 to play. Nine of those 11 will be played against winning teams. Six of those nine will be played on the road. Three of those six will be visits to the defending NBA champion and the likely top seed in each conference. [read full article]

From FOX Sports Digital

The 10-man rotation, starring how Tony Allen locks dudes up (Ball Don't Lie)

A 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. [DraftKings: FREE entry to huge cash Fantasy Basketball Contest with first deposit ] C : Complex . Tony Allen wants to win Defensive Player of the Year, but the Memphis Grizzlies' perimeter stopper has made his peace with missing out on accolades: “You don’t see no Gatorade commercials for defensive players, but I’d rather have respect than the fame anyway." PF : ClipperBlog . A good look at the myriad stretch-run and playoff scenarios facing the Los Angeles Clippers, who enter Tuesday's action just 1 1/2 games out of the No. 3 seed in the West, but also only two games clear of the No. 7 seed. SF : InPredictable . Interesting stuff from Mike Beuoy, using play-by-play data to split each team's pace numbers into offensive and defensive halves, looking more closely at how fast teams put up shots on offense and how much they slow down opponents when defending. SG : The Brooklyn Game . Devin Kharpertian offers a great breakdown, complete with post-game quotes, video and context, of the "stack" pick-and-roll action with which the Boston Celtics put away the Brooklyn Nets on Monday night to secure a big victory in the race for an Eastern Conference playoff spot. PG : Hang Time . John Schuhmann considers the crowded MVP race by looking at how frequently the top candidates get touches and how their teams' offenses perform when they touch the ball compared to when they don't. One major takeaway: Anthony Davis needs to get the ball a hell of a lot more often. 6th : The Triangle . Zach Lowe revisits the Phoenix Suns' trade-deadline shuffle —out go Goran Dragic, Isaiah Thomas, Miles Plumlee, Tyler Ennis and the coveted, protected 2015 first-round draft pick of the Los Angeles Lakers; in come Brandon Knight, Marcus Thornton and three future first-rounders —and tries to evaluate the likelihood that Suns general manager Ryan McDonough's gamble will pay off. 7th : Bleacher Report . Fred Katz on how moving off of Michael Carter-Williams and onto Isaiah Canaan fits into the Philadelphia 76ers' attempt to build an identity, and how, even if Canaan isn't necessarily Philly's point guard of the future, he represents an attempt at developing "stylistic continuity" in a still-under-construction offense. 8th : The Hook . On the polar opposite end of the spectrum, Tom Ziller considers the anything-but-textbook rebuilding strategy that has, somehow, led the Golden State Warriors to the top of the NBA: "Over the past five years, the Warriors have overpaid fringe stars, drafted exceptionally well while never picking higher than No. 6, taken huge gambles in trades, free agency and on the sidelines and have generally been impatient with the status quo. And that's gotten them to 57 wins and counting." 9th : The Starters . Trey Kerby has a pretty reasonable argument for why, persistent weirdness aside, the Cleveland Cavaliers still wound up winning last summer's blockbuster trade : "If trading Andrew Wiggins and Anthony Bennett for a single, stressful year of unhappy Kevin Love means you get LeBron James, you do it." 10th : ESPN Boston . Jared Sullinger talks with Jackie MacMullan about his struggles to stay in shape, which have become something of a sticking point in the talented but injury-prone big man's relationship with the Celtics. - - - - - - - Dan Devine is an editor for Ball Don't Lie on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at 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. [read full article]

From Yahoo Sports

Thunder lose Andre Roberson for 2 to 3 weeks with sprained right ankle (Ball Don't Lie)

I mean, sure, why not? At this point, if you're the Oklahoma City Thunder, what's another injury amongst friends, right? Pile 'em on! [DraftKings: FREE entry to huge cash Fantasy Basketball Contest with first deposit ] The latest bit of bad news came down on Tuesday evening, prior to Oklahoma City's home tilt against the Los Angeles Lakers: Thunder radio voice Matt Pinto just said Andre Roberson is likely out "two to three weeks" with ankle sprain. OKC didn't practice today. — Anthony Slater (@anthonyVslater) March 24, 2015 Yep, that's right — Andre Roberson, who has started 61 of his 62 appearances for the Thunder this season, will miss the next two to three weeks nursing the sprained right ankle he sustained early in Oklahoma City's Sunday victory over the Miami Heat: After coming down hard on his right ankle following an attempt to block a layup attempt by Heat star Dwyane Wade, Roberson exited the game and did not return, having logged just one minute and 29 seconds of playing time. The Thunder confirmed Tuesday that Roberson will hit the shelf for the next couple of weeks, marking his first absence from the Oklahoma City lineup since November, when the 23-year-old Colorado product spent a two-week stint on the shelf with a sprained left ankle. Roberson becomes the third Thunder starter and fourth member of the Oklahoma City rotation sidelined, joining reigning NBA Most Valuable Player Kevin Durant ( right foot soreness ), rim-protecting power forward Serge Ibaka ( right knee surgery ) and veteran reserve Nick Collison ( sprained left ankle ) on the injured list. Roberson's loss doesn't figure to be felt nearly as much as the absences of Durant and Ibaka, but it's still a blow for a Thunder team that needs as many healthy bodies as it can muster as it pursues the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference. Roberson is averaging just 3.5 points in 19.3 minutes per game on the season, converting less than 50 percent of his field-goal attempts despite taking more than half his shots within three feet of the basket. He is a limited offensive player whose inability to consistently make anything other than dunks and layups — he's shooting just 25.3 percent on attempts not taken directly at the rim this season — can hamstring the Oklahoma City offense, as defenders unconcerned that Roberson will burn them often leave him alone in an attempt to clog the paint against a Russell Westbrook drive or an Enes Kanter post-up. Replacing him in the starting lineup with trade-deadline acquisition Kyle Singler could help bolster a Thunder attack that's ranked as the league's second-best since the beginning of February , but has flagged at times due to a lack of spacing with the likes of Roberson, boulder-chucking Dion Waiters and interior bruiser Steven Adams on the court. The former Duke standout's no game-breaker, andhe has struggled mightily since coming to Oklahoma from the Detroit Pistons last month, shooting just 30.4 percent from the field and 33.3 percent from 3-point range. But Singler's got a track record of being able to hit perimeter jumpers, though, carrying a 37.7 percent career mark from beyond the stripe, and has more savvy as a ball-mover and cutter than Roberson has shown through the lion's share of his two-year pro career. Given more opportunities to share the floor with all-world triggerman Westbrook and emergent interior beast Kanter, the 26-year-old Singler could find enough space to rediscover his rhythm and act as a valuable floor-spacer. Lineups featuring that trio have scored at a rate (113.5 points per 100 possessions) that would lead the league, albeit in a relatively small sample of 145 minutes over the space of 14 games, according to's stat tool. Those Westbrook-Kanter-Singler units have also allowed opponents to go off, too, giving up buckets at a clip — 111.9 points allowed per-100 — that would rank dead last in the NBA over the course of the full season. That's the flip-side of losing Roberson, who has manned one of the wing spots in six of Oklahoma City's 10 most frequently used five-man units this season; head coach Scott Brooks trusts Roberson, a quick-footed, long-armed and versatile stopper, to handle a variety of defensive assignments on a nightly basis and within the context of a single game. Whether Singler — not exactly a stopper, but at times a capable team defender — can earn that same level of trust is very much an open question. [ Follow Dunks Don't Lie on Tumblr: The best slams from all of basketball ] With premier interior mistake-eraser Ibaka and Durant (whose defensive improvements over the years have, somewhat understandably, gotten short shrift as he's evolved over the years into perhaps the world's most unguardable offensive player) out of the picture, Brooks needs as much defensive talent as possible available to keep opponents on the perimeter, out of the paint ... and, really, away from Kanter, whose inability to handle just about any pick-and-roll action is a big part of what made him expendable in Salt Lake City. Losing Roberson reduces the number of legitimate defensive players on OKC's roster by one, at a time that the Thunder — who hold a 2 1/2-game lead over the Phoenix Suns and a three-game advantage over the New Orleans Pelicans for the West's final playoff berth — can ill afford to allow their defensive disposition to go from leaky faucet to burst dam. The Thunder's path forward, then, seems clear: give the ball to Westbrook and tell him, "Now we really need to score." If nothing else, we know it's a game plan with which the electric point guard and his band of marauding young bigs have become awfully comfortable. - - - - - - - Dan Devine is an editor for Ball Don't Lie on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at 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. [read full article]

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