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.
C: Squeeze the Orange. Kevin Love's outlet passing has received its fair share of praise lately, but as Adrien Kaeslin sees it — and demonstrates — it's a notable advancement as a passer out of both the high and low post that has made the Minnesota Timberwolves power forward one of the game's most versatile and dangerous offensive players through the first quarter of the season.
PF: National Post and Nothing But Net. Eric Koreen on how the Toronto Raptors' import of slow-but-savvy point guard Greivis Vasquez (and the potential export of Kyle Lowry) could result in a harmonious pick-and-roll marriage with strong screen-setter Amir Johnson, whom Doug Smith identifies as "the guys [Raptors fans will] truly remember and appreciate; guys whose effort and personalities made them stand out."
SF: Sports Illustrated and ESPN the Magazine ($). Lee Jenkins, Brian Windhorst, Tom Haberstroh, the Miami Heat and the San Antonio Spurs revisit the final 29 seconds of Game 6 of the 2013 NBA Finals. It is worth your time to do the same.
SG: Daily Thunder. Royce Young (who shows up in that Jenkins feature) breaks down a strong after timeout, or "ATO," play drawn up by Scott Brooks to get the Oklahoma City Thunder an easy bucket to slow down a Denver Nuggets run that could have jeopardized what wound up being a pretty breezy Tuesday victory.
PG: New York Daily News and Wall Street Journal. Stefan Bondy talks to several Brooklyn Nets veterans who credit the team's recent uptick — four wins in the last five games — to "a huge progression" over the first quarter of the season from head coach Jason Kidd, who's reportedly "simplified" Brooklyn's focal points on both ends of the court. Alex Raskin, on the other hand, sees the positive vibes emanating from a recent quickening of the team's pace, fueled by the return of point guard Deron Williams, that has led to many more open 3-pointers. Maybe a little from Column A and a little from Column B?
6th: Eye on Basketball and The Triangle. Royce Young (there's that man again) notes that while LaMarcus Aldridge has been sensational thus far this season for the Portland Trail Blazers, he's not really performing that much better than he did last year; as Kirk Goldsberry details, the big difference for Terry Stotts' team has been the vastly improved long-range bombing of the perimeter troika of Damian Lillard, Wesley Matthews and Nicolas Batum.
7th: USA TODAY Tech. Chris Paul, apparently, is super into iPads and TVs. I'm not sure if this makes him a "techie," but it does make him a guy whose house you want to be at if you're into watching multiple things at once or playing a bunch of games at the same time.
8th: 8 Points, 9 Seconds. A quick but instructive read from Jalen Bishop on how Luis Scola and Lance Stephenson have found a rhythm on the offensive end for the Indiana Pacers this season. Have they been spending a lot of time hanging out together to find this rhythm? Please say yes, and please say that you've got a lot of footage of these hangouts.
9th: SB Nation. Seth Rosenthal introduces us to a New York Knicks-themed hip-hop cover of John Denver's "Take Me Home, Country Roads" produced by Doug E. Fresh, because Seth both loves and hates us.
10th: Centers' Little Helper. I'm not sure if the whole "Andre Drummond needs a nickname" thing ever got decided, but Dennis Hans would like to submit "The Quickster" for reasons that I find very hilarious (probably because it's "The Quickster"). Bad news, though, guys: He's already Big Penguin. Lock it in.
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UPDATE: 12/18/13, 7:40 p.m. ET: Well, looks like I was wrong about this getting a pass from the league office — the NBA brought the hammer down on Wednesday:
— Dan Devine (@YourManDevine) December 18, 2013
Hamilton will miss the Nuggets' Friday night matchup with the Phoenix Suns. We can only hope Adams will be able to manage the pain in his shoulder and suit up for the Thunder's Thursday night contest against the Chicago Bulls.
Denver Nuggets forward Jordan Hamilton was ejected early in the fourth quarter of Tuesday's game against the Oklahoma City Thunder after receiving a flagrant foul-2 for swinging his arm and hitting OKC center Steven Adams.
The play took place less than a minute into the final frame, with the Thunder leading by 10 points and having the ball after Oklahoma City reserve Jeremy Lamb rebounded a miss by Nuggets guard Evan Fournier:
After the miss and the rebound, Lamb began to dribble up court on the right wing. Hamilton pursued as Lamb exited the paint, only to be met with Adams' back, as the Thunder center held up and bumped the Texas product off course. Hamilton didn't seem to appreciate that, and swung his right arm toward Adams' shoulder. (Adams must have one of those faces, man.)
As Daily Thunder's Royce Young noted, the New Zealand-born big man "completely ignored it." The referees, however, did not, whistling Hamilton for a flagrant foul; upon further review of the swinging motion, they upgraded it to a flagrant-2 for "unnecessary and excessive" contact, which carries with it an automatic ejection and a fine of no less than $2,000, but "not exceeding $50,000 and/or suspension by the Commissioner."
It seems unlikely that we'll get to suspension on a not-exactly-vicious play that caused the Nuggets' announce team to use phrases like, "Well, that's not much," "It appeared to be punch-like," "I guess, by the letter of the rule ..." and "Some plays look more like a flagrant action than others, of course." Anything's possible, though, I suppose. The lesson, as always: Just take a deep breath, count to 10 and run back on defense, gang.
Hamilton finished with four points, five rebounds, one assist and one steal in 16 minutes, while Adams had just one point (splitting his two post-flagrant free throws) and two rebounds in nine minutes in Oklahoma City's 105-93 win over Denver. Kevin Durant (30 points on 11 for 23 shooting, six rebounds, three assists and two steals) and Russell Westbrook (21 points on 9 for 16 shooting, 13 rebounds, eight assists, eight turnovers) led the way for the 20-4 Thunder, while J.J. Hickson (20 points, 14 rebounds) and Ty Lawson (17 points, 13 assists, four steals) paced the Nuggets, who have now dropped four of their last seven to follow the seven-game winning streak that righted the ship after a sluggish start.
Original video via frank den.
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After another home loss, the Nuggets have now lost more in the friendly confines of the Pepsi Center than they did all of last season. With home court no longer providing the same boost, the Nuggets must win on the road to fight for a playoff spot.
Nuggets General manager Tim Connelly talks to the CSG guys about growing up in Baltimore, scouting, Europe and Analytics. Fascinating discussion. A must for any basketball fan.
The Nuggets couldn't buy a bucket inside and had issues with execution all night in loss to Thunder.
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