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Streaking, injured Hawks will be short-handed vs 76ers (The Associated Press)
(Sat, 31 Jan 2015 11:46:44 PST)
ATLANTA (AP) -- The Atlanta Hawks will be short-handed as they try to extend their franchise-record 18-game winning streak against the Philadelphia 76ers.

Trail Blazers-Bucks Preview (The Associated Press)
(Sat, 31 Jan 2015 09:06:30 PST)
The Northwest Division-leading Portland Trail Blazers have cooled considerably, particularly on the road. A Milwaukee Bucks team that is playing better looks to make matters worse for the visitors. The Trail Blazers try to avoid a sixth straight road loss Saturday night against the Bucks, who are seeking a third consecutive victory. The Trail Blazers, though, are stumbling, losing seven of nine after winning eight of their previous nine.

76ers-Hawks Preview (The Associated Press)
(Sat, 31 Jan 2015 09:05:27 PST)
The Atlanta Hawks showcased their depth in another impressive victory. They'll try to match the fifth-longest single-season winning streak in NBA history at 19 games Saturday night against the visiting Philadelphia 76ers, who are seeking a more modest third straight victory for the first time. Atlanta (39-8) owns the league's best record after Friday's 105-99 home win over Portland, outscoring the Trail Blazers 36-25 in the fourth quarter. Starter DeMarre Carroll and Thabo Sefolosha's statuses are unclear after Carroll sat out with a strained left Achilles, while Sefolosha - starting in his place - exited after two minutes with a strained right calf.

Hawks keep streak alive, top Trail Blazers 105-99 (The Associated Press)
(Sat, 31 Jan 2015 08:32:47 PST)
The Atlanta Hawks keep finding new ways to extend the longest winning streak in franchise history. This time, Kent Bazemore was the surprise star off the bench. Atlanta overcame 37 points by Portland's LaMarcus Aldridge to win its 18th straight game by overpowering the Trail Blazers in the final period for a 105-99 victory Friday night. There were four ties in the fourth quarter before the Hawks took the lead for good midway through the period on a basket by Al Horford, who had 17 points.

Josh Smith finally finds the perfect fit with the Houston Rockets (Yahoo Sports)
(Sat, 31 Jan 2015 06:47:49 PST)
Josh Smith returns to face the Pistons in Auburn Hills tonight, and he's playing his best basketball in years.

Dose: Mr. Whiteside (Rotoworld)
(Fri, 30 Jan 2015 22:36:00 PST)
Matthew Braine breaks down all of Friday night?s action including Hassan Whiteside?s wild run

Hawks beat Blazers for 18th straight win
(Fri, 30 Jan 2015 21:43:38 PST)
All-star forward Paul Millsap scored 21 points as the Atlanta Hawks won their 18th consecutive contest with a 105-99 victory over the Portland Trail Blazers. Millsap had plenty of help from his fellow all-stars Al Horford and Jeff Teague who finished with 17 and 13 points respectively. The Eastern Conference-leading Hawks haven't lost since December 26 in Milwaukee. Atlanta could post a perfect 17-0 month with a win Saturday against Philadelphia, which will end a seven-game home stretch.

Hawks grab 18th straight win behind Jeff Teague's fancy moves (Ball Don't Lie)
(Fri, 30 Jan 2015 19:35:05 PST)
The Atlanta Hawks had a pretty good Thursday, with three of the team's starters — point guard Jeff Teague, forward Paul Millsap, and big man Al Horford — being announced as participants in February 15's NBA All-Star Game at Madison Square Garden. Along with head coach Mike Budenholzer, that trio will give the Hawks the biggest presence of any team at the event. It's a deserved honor for a franchise that has vastly exceeded expectations to look like the favorite in the East. [ Follow Dunks Don't Lie on Tumblr:  The best slams from all of basketball ] Friday was arguably even better for Atlanta. Facing the visiting Portland Trail Blazers with their franchise-record and season-high 17-game winning streak on the line, the Hawks controlled the fourth quarter 36-25 to come away with a 105-99 victory . Teague had the two most impressive plays of the final period, with the first coming on this ball-fake that sent fellow All-Star LaMarcus Aldridge and Nicolas Batum flying away from the basket: The second came just outside of the final minute when Teague confused Chris Kaman with this gorgeous cut dribble: Despite these fantastic plays, Teague was far from the most productive Hawk throughout the game. He finished with 13 points on just 6-of-17 shooting (plus eight assists). The other All-Stars, Millsap (21 points, eight rebounds three steals) and Horford (17 points, eight rebounds, three steals) were better. The win brings the Hawks' record to 39-8, already one win more than their entire total from last season. If the Hawks win Saturday against the visiting Philadelphia 76ers, they will finish January with a perfect record of 17-0. As our Jay Busbee wrote earlier Friday, it's a very good time to be a Hawks fan . Aldridge starred for the Blazers in the loss with 37 points (15-of-24 FG) and 11 rebounds. On the same day he expressed his dissatisfaction with being left off the All-Star team, point guard Damian Lillard struggled with 13 points on 6-of-20 shooting (plus 11 assists and six turnovers). - - - - - - - Eric Freeman is a writer for Ball Don't Lie on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at efreeman_ysports@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @FreemanEric

Hawks' forward Carroll misses game against Portland (The Associated Press)
(Fri, 30 Jan 2015 17:13:26 PST)
ATLANTA (AP) -- Atlanta Hawks forward DeMarre Carroll missed the game against Portland on Friday night because of a left Achilles strain, and his replacement lasted only two minutes.

The 10-man rotation, starring Tony Parker's troubling play (Ball Don't Lie)
(Fri, 30 Jan 2015 14:25:11 PST)
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 : Gothic Ginobili . Tony Parker hasn't looked very much like himself this season. What gives, and is this a "give it a minute, it'll be fine" kind of thing, or a "maybe TP's on the decline" kind of thing? Aaron McGuire investigates. PF : Nylon Calculus . An exhaustive, statistical-context-heavy and very good review of Kevin Garnett's career as he nears its end. SF : NBA.com/Stats . How much are this year's Atlanta Hawks like last year's San Antonio Spurs? SG : FOX Sports . How much are this year's Golden State Warriors like the 1995-96 Chicago Bulls? (For more on the West-leading Dubs, check out this cool feature from Ken Berger at CBSSports.com ). PG : ESPN.com . Interesting stuff from Tom Haberstroh on the decline of home-court advantage in the NBA over the past couple of seasons. 6th : Mavs Outsider Report . Bobby Karalla offers a really good overview of the myriad small issues that have ailed the Dallas Mavericks of late, leading Rick Carlisle's club to drop four straight to sink to seventh in the West. 7th : Bucksketball . Jeremy Schmidt considers the development of Brandon Knight, who didn't make the Eastern Conference All-Star team, but who has come far enough for some fans to think that he might just be the long-term solution at the point for the Milwaukee Bucks. 8th : DraftExpress . A SportVU-based look at how Duke phenom center Jahlil Okafor's work on the block and in the paint on both ends compares to that of some of his NBA counterparts. 9th : Wall Street Journal . Chris Herring with a fun investigation of the "knuckleball-like unpredictability" of New York Knicks center Cole Aldrich's hook shot. 10th : Sole Collector . NBA players discuss why they would or would not wear another player's signature sneakers. - - - - - - - Dan Devine is an editor for Ball Don't Lie on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at devine@yahoo-inc.com 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.

Damian Lillard thanks everyone who didn't vote him into NBA All-Star Game (Ball Don't Lie)
(Fri, 30 Jan 2015 13:18:01 PST)
When the league tallied coaches' votes and revealed the 2015 NBA All-Star Game reserves, Yahoo's own Marc J. Spears dubbed Portland Trail Blazers point guard Damian Lillard the most notable snub , and it's hard to argue a guy who deserved his spot with slightly inferior numbers last year doesn't belong again. Given a night to sleep on the snub, Lillard didn't pull any punches when asked about it by The Oregonian and other media gathered for a morning shootaround at Philips Arena, where his Northwest Division-leading Blazers are scheduled to face the Eastern Conference's top-seeded Atlanta Hawks on Friday. "I'm definitely going to take it personal. I said I'd be pissed off about it. And I am. I just felt disrespected. Because I play the game the right way, I play unselfishly, I play for my team to win games and I produce at a high level. I think what I bring to the game as a person, my makeup mentally, how I am toward my teammates, how I am toward the media, how I am toward fans; I think what an All-Star represents in this league, and what you would want people to look at as an All-Star, I think I make up all those things. For me to be having the type of season that I'm having, which is better than any one that I've had before, and my team to be third in the Western Conference, I just see it as disrespect. I'm not one of those guys that's going to say, 'Oh, I should be in over this guy or that guy.' I'm not a hater. I've got respect for each guy that made the roster. And I think they deserve to (make the team). But at the same time, I feel really disrespected, and that's just honestly how I feel." So, when NBA commissioner Adam Silver replaced injured L.A. Lakers star Kobe Bryant on Thursday afternoon with Sacramento Kings center DeMarcus Cousins — reportedly his conference's next highest vote-getter from the coaches — Lillard wasn't feeling any better about the perceived lack of respect. In a pointed post on his Instagram page that has since been deleted, he shared a photo with the quote, "BE SO GOOD THEY CAN'T IGNORE YOU," written in bold red lettering beside the following caption. I just want to thank the coaches who feel I wasn't good enough, the fans that didn't think I was good enough , and Adam Silver also for not thinking I was good enough. This isn't unfamiliar territory for me , it's actually what my life has been inspired by. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't disappointed or that I don't feel disrespected but it's not too much to handle. Not the first or last guy to be snubbed. "You should have been there" isn't good enough for me. But anyway, The reason I'm in these shoes is because I've always use the hand I was dealt to my advantage... A wise man once told me... " it ain't always gone be peaches and cream but somebody has to pay for the reason it's not ... One way or another " ... #ImThankful #Real #NonAllStar #RipCity #YellowTape Why exactly Lillard deleted the post isn't clear, especially given his comments earlier in the day. Perhaps he felt the specific mention of Silver was over the top, or maybe he didn't want to disrespect Cousins, but that's neither here nor there. Regardless, you have to respect Lillard's passion for exhibition basketball. And surely he's the next man up if any other Western Conference stars suffer an injury before Feb. 15. Keep in mind, though, it's not about whether Lillard deserves to be in the All-Star Game — because he does after increasing his per-game averages and efficiency from a remarkable 2013-14 season — but rather who from the West doesn't belong in this year's edition. Starting point guard Stephen Curry along with reserve guards James Harden, Russell Westbrook, Chris Paul and Klay Thompson are all equally deserving of the nod, as are fellow snubs Mike Conley and Monta Ellis. An argument could be made the league should have replaced Bryant with another guard, but Boogie deserves his bid, too. Still, if Lillard somehow does use the snub as motivation to come back even stronger, NBA beware. - - - - - - - Ben Rohrbach is a contributor for Ball Don't Lie and Shutdown Corner on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at rohrbach_ben@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @brohrbach

Column: Ferry builds a powerhouse but won't get to enjoy it (The Associated Press)
(Fri, 30 Jan 2015 13:14:07 PST)
Danny Ferry can only watch from afar, surely with plenty of satisfaction at the juggernaut he created, undoubtedly offset by a sense of melancholy that he's not along for the ride. Make no mistake, the Atlanta Hawks are Ferry's baby. He acquired nearly every player on a team that stunningly leads the NBA in wins. ''Clearly, Danny Ferry is largely responsible for putting together the winning team that we are enjoying here in the Atlanta community,'' the Rev. Markel Hutchins told The Associated Press in a telephone interview Friday.

Kings' DeMarcus Cousins to replace injured Kobe on West All-Star team (Ball Don't Lie)
(Fri, 30 Jan 2015 11:38:44 PST)


Blazers guard Damian Lillard leads list of All-Star snubs (Yahoo Sports)
(Fri, 30 Jan 2015 10:30:27 PST)
Some notable players weren't named All-Star reserves, but a few still have a shot to make the team.

The improbable success of the Atlanta Hawks ... and their fans (Ball Don't Lie)
(Fri, 30 Jan 2015 08:34:35 PST)


Raptors-Nets Preview (The Associated Press)
(Fri, 30 Jan 2015 06:27:08 PST)
As the Nets continue their slide, the Raptors visit Barclays Center on Friday night seeking a fifth straight win to further pad their sizable advantage in the standings. The Raptors (31-15) entered their poor stretch with a 9 1/2-game lead over second-place Brooklyn (18-27) on Dec. 29. After a Jan. 21 loss at Memphis completed the 3-8 slump, their lead had been trimmed to nine with the Nets going 4-8 in that span. Brooklyn, which will remain without Deron Williams against Toronto, has since lost three straight and seen the deficit balloon to 12 1/2.

For 1st time since '80, Hawks get 3 players in All-Star Game (The Associated Press)
(Fri, 30 Jan 2015 00:51:24 PST)
For the first time since 1980, Atlanta will have three players in the NBA All-Star Game. Paul Millsap, Jeff Teague and Al Horford are joining their coach, Mike Budenholzer, for the Feb. 15 contest at Madison Square Garden in New York. In a sense, Thursday's announcement pf the reserves felt like the Hawks (38-8) got a bit shortchanged, considering they have won 17 in a row, 31 of 33 and lead the Eastern Conference by whopping seven games. Kyle Korver was also mentioned as a possible candidate, but he wasn't picked by the coaches.

3 Hawks, Durant and Westbrook are NBA All-Star reserves (The Associated Press)
(Thu, 29 Jan 2015 20:44:53 PST)
Al Horford, Paul Millsap and Jeff Teague were picked Thursday as reserves for the Eastern Conference All-Star team, giving the sizzling Atlanta Hawks three selections. Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook made the West team despite early season injuries for the Oklahoma City stars. The Miami Heat also had two reserves in Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade. Point guard Damian Lillard was not among the seven reserves.

Durant, Thompson added to NBA all-star game
(Thu, 29 Jan 2015 20:13:07 PST)
Reigning MVP Kevin Durant and first time all star Klay Thompson were selected to the NBA all-star game as reserve players, the league announced. Durant, who was named MVP of the 2012 all-star game and will be appearing in the marquee affair for the sixth consecutive time, has only played in 21 of Oklahoma City's 46 games while dealing with foot and toe injuries. Golden State Warriors sharpshooter Thompson will be making his first appearance. There are plenty of familiar faces among the Western Conference reserves, including Durant's Thunder teammate Russell Westbrook, NBA scoring leader James Harden, of the Houston Rockets, and Los Angeles Clippers point guard Chris Paul.

Three Atlanta Hawks lead 2015 NBA All-Star reserves (Ball Don't Lie)
(Thu, 29 Jan 2015 16:36:34 PST)


Trail Blazers-Hawks Preview (The Associated Press)
(Thu, 29 Jan 2015 09:23:50 PST)
As the Atlanta Hawks continue to roll, the Portland Trail Blazers are mired in their worst stretch of the season. Looking to surpass their victory total from last season, the Hawks can extend their team-record winning streak to 18 by handing the Trail Blazers a fifth consecutive road defeat Friday night. Paul Millsap had 28 points with 15 rebounds and Al Horford added 20 points, 10 boards and five assists to lift Atlanta (38-8) to a 113-102 victory over pesky Brooklyn on Wednesday. Leading Toronto by seven games in the Eastern Conference, the Hawks have won 31 of 33 and own the longest winning streak in the NBA in 2014-15.

NBA-Highlights of Wednesday's NBA games
(Wed, 28 Jan 2015 23:14:20 PST)
Jan 28 (The Sports Xchange) - Highlights of Wednesday's National Basketball Association games: - - - Hawks 113, Nets 102 Paul Millsap scored 28 points and grabbed 15 rebounds to lead the Atlanta Hawks to their franchise record-extending 17th consecutive victory, a 113-102 triumph over the Brooklyn Nets. Atlanta (38-8) has now won 31 of the last 33 games and improved to 15-0 in January. The Hawks also got 20 points and 10 rebounds from center Al Horford. Brooklyn (18-27) was led by guard Joe Johnson, who scored 26 points against his former team mates. ...

Millsap leads Hawks to 17th straight win, 113-102 over Nets (The Associated Press)
(Wed, 28 Jan 2015 20:55:09 PST)
Paul Millsap played like one of the league's best players. Millsap had 28 points and 15 rebounds, five other Atlanta players scored in double figures, and the Hawks stretched their franchise-record winning streak to 17 games in a row with a 113-102 victory over the Brooklyn Nets on Wednesday night. ''Paul was aggressive,'' said teammate Al Horford, who also had a double-double with 20 points and 12 rebounds. ''When he plays like that, we're tough to beat.'' Atlanta (38-8) has won 31 of 33 and leads the Eastern Conference by a commanding seven games.

No. 1 pick Wiggins, 3 other Wolves on Rising Stars rosters (The Associated Press)
(Wed, 28 Jan 2015 17:24:24 PST)
NEW YORK (AP) -- Top overall pick Andrew Wiggins and three Minnesota Timberwolves teammates have been chosen to play in the Rising Stars Challenge at the NBA's All-Star weekend.

Why Derrick Rose’s return to All-Star glory may have to wait (Yahoo Sports)
(Wed, 28 Jan 2015 17:18:35 PST)
The former league MVP is having a solid year, but there are a lot of deserving reserve candidates in the East.

Charlotte, Brooklyn and Detroit are all fighting for the Worst Playoff Seed Ever (Ball Don't Lie)
(Tue, 27 Jan 2015 14:00:20 PST)
For whatever reason, the “contenders” that are “fightin’” for the final playoff spots in the Eastern Conference’s pathetic playoff bracket want us to notice them. Be it by trade discussions, terribly unfortunate injuries, or coaching intrigue, the below-.500 Brooklyn Nets, Charlotte Hornets and Detroit Pistons have wormed their way into our browser windows. Those jerks. Why can’t they just go away so that we can go back to swooning over the Hawks and Warriors? The Hornets currently own the prize of the eighth and final playoff spot out in the Conference, a game and a half in back of a Miami Heat team that figures to improve as health (hopefully) settles in. The team earned its position by winning eight of nine in impressive fashion earlier in January, but the last two contests included a 39-point defeat to the Cleveland Cavaliers that somehow felt worse than the score would indicate, and a close 76-71 win over the New York Knicks that I hoped none of you stayed home to watch on Saturday night. As you likely know, star guard and fringe All-Star candidate Kemba Walker is out for an as-yet-undetermined amount of time as he undergoes surgery to repair a meniscus tear . Walker’s play was the only thing keeping Charlotte out of the bottom ranking in offensive efficiency this season, and though replacement Brian Roberts is an adequate enough player to sop up minutes, as we learned last season (when Roberts replaced the injured Jrue Holiday in New Orleans) he’s just not the sort of guy you circle the wagons with. Worse, Al Jefferson’s groin injury has made him an inconsistent player of late, nobody knows when Marvin Williams will return from a recent concussion, and even the much-improved Bismack Biyombo is out for an undisclosed amount of time with a bum knee. Lance Stephenson is finally healthy, but he’s still working with a Player Efficiency Rating that is just under 10 (that is to say, “not good.”). That’s incredibly hard to do for a guard with a high usage rate that likes to rebound. The trade options at reserve point guard are underwhelming, if capable, which leaves the Hornets in a rather perilous position. This capped-out team was created to make the playoffs, and by and large every significant player on this team has either underperformed, been injured, or combined some unholy mixture of the two. This is probably why team owner Michael Jordan might be trying to trade for both of those elements , in the form of Brooklyn’s Joe Johnson. A deal involving Stephenson, Williams and Gerald Henderson would work, cap wise, and the ridiculous amount of money the Nets are slated to pay Johnson next year ($24.9 million in the final year of his deal) is just about what the Hornets would be just a bit more than the $22 million the Hornets are already slated to pay the triptych they’d trade away (assuming Henderson picks up his player option at $6 million). Still, Joe Johnson at age 33 with over 40,000 career regular season and postseason minutes under his belt? Seems like a Michael Jordan-type move, and those are rarely good. The voice on the other end of that particular transaction line would be that of Brooklyn general manager Billy King, who has made a career out of a series of Michael Jordan-type moves (usually worse) and yet still somehow manages to have a career. King’s Nets are a half-game out of the Eastern bracket, looking dispirited and sluggish along the way, with everyone in the arena sated with the knowledge that King is attempting to deal any number of his highly-paid players in an attempt to save face. King’s tenure is legendarily-bad at this point. He dealt for Deron Williams just in time to watch Williams’ career decline, giving up two lottery picks and a damn good big man in Derrick Favors away in return. He used another pick, which turned into Damian Lillard, for the right to overpay Gerald Wallace. Because Wallace made so much damn money, he was able to be parlayed into a deal for a pair of future Basketball Hall of Famers in Kevin Garnet (whose career has fallen off a cliff, due to his age) and Paul Pierce (who played well for half a season before leaving as a free agent). In that move, the Nets gave up several first-round draft picks (in 2014, 2016, 2018) along with handing Boston the right to swap picks with Brooklyn in 2017. This year? In exchange for the final three years and $66 million on Joe Johnson’s deal, King gave the Atlanta Hawks the chance to swap out picks. Brooklyn could miss the playoffs with a payroll that vaults into the $100 million mark after luxury taxes, and only end up with the 29th pick in the draft while the Hawks sneak into the lottery. Or the 30 th pick, as the streaking Hawks have lost just twice since Thanksgiving and are currently a half-game removed from the Golden State Warriors for the NBA’s best record. And the Hawks still have to play the Nets three more times this year! King’s solution? Focus on the coach! From Marc Stein and Ohm Youngmisuk at ESPN : The Brooklyn Nets, increasingly worried about a recent lack of competitiveness, have launched an in-season evaluation of various facets of the team, including new coach Lionel Hollins, according to league sources. […] Nets ownership, sources said, is monitoring the situation closely, with Brooklyn having just fallen out of the East's top eight after a 2-10 slide that coincides with the franchise being up for sale. Hollins is in the first year of a four-year, $20 million deal with a team option for the last season. If he is fired midseason, his replacement will be the fifth coach to work for King since the franchise moved to Brooklyn just two and a half years ago. The current Nets and former Memphis Grizzlies coach, understandably, is chirpy. Read what he said on Tuesday when asked about his image as someone who is averse to modern statistical analysis : “I’m going to take a breath,” Hollins said after a long pause, “and say it’s the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard because every coach uses stats. “Now, do I understand some of the stats that are out there that are new? No. But I can learn them.” […] “As I used to say in Memphis, you can tell me that this lineup is better without Zach [Randolph], but Zach is going to be in the game the last two minutes of the game,” Hollins said. “I don’t care what the stats say. He’s the guy that I trust is going to give me the best chance to win.” (Yeah, Lionel? Absolutely no statistical measure coming from anyone inside or outside the Grizzlies organization rated Zach Randolph as someone you would want off the floor, or that any go-to lineup would want Randolph on the bench. This is why people get frustrated with Lionel Hollins. He’s a good coach, but he also creates straw man arguments and false narratives that have no footing in reality.) The Nets basically wiped away any chance they would have at a comeback season when the team more or less announced that their “top” players were available. The intention to sell for the right price doesn’t help, nor does the roster makeup – there are simply too many slow and substandard players, often dotted with injuries, roaming around. The Pistons, some two games in back of Charlotte, recently had none of these worries. Not only was it assumed that Detroit (who won 12 of 15 entering last weekend) would work its way back into the playoff bracket, but the team actually looked like it had a foundation to build on. Unlike Charlotte and Brooklyn, Andre Drummond remains a potential franchise guy, Greg Monroe has been brilliant this season, and guard Brandon Jennings enjoyed a white hot month of January. Jennings, sadly, went down with what could be a career-altering Achilles tear on Saturday. Achilles tears often occur when a player is in his 30s or on his figurative last legs, so for the 25-year old point man to go down in a heap on Saturday evening is incredibly unfortunate in ways that leave us fearful for the next five years Jennings has until he hits age 30. [ Follow Dunks Don't Lie on Tumblr:  The best slams from all of basketball ] Replacement D.J. Augustin is a solid enough replacement, but though the Pistons were rumored to be after guard Pablo Prigioni in a potential deal with New York, coach and personnel boss Stan Van Gundy swears that he’s not going to deal away his future just to try to obtain a Jennings approximate that may not exist in reality. From Vince Ellis at the Detroit Free Press, on Tuesday : Despite trade speculation, Van Gundy dismissed the idea of dealing anything of value just to add a third point guard. "We want to give ourselves every chance, so we want to get some help, but we won't mortgage anything in terms of the future," Van Gundy said. "We're not going to go out and give away assets, picks or anything like that. No, we're not gonna do that." As well they shouldn’t. The Pistons weren’t ever going to be happy in not making the playoffs, but an immediate return to the postseason for Detroit wasn’t exactly expected either. The previous administration had salted the soil so badly in Detroit that the team was more or less forced to waive Josh Smith, just 17 months after he was a coveted free agent, for no compensation. For Van Gundy, the guy that didn’t even press to keep Greg Monroe around last summer, this was always going to be a long rebuild. The Pistons could pull this off, though. The team lost in Milwaukee on the night of Jennings’ injury and in Toronto the night after, but Augustin dropped a career-high 35 points in the second loss. Individual success shouldn’t act as some warming sign, but a Pistons’ win against a very good Toronto team in Toronto was always going to be a hard sell even with Brandon Jennings shooting the lights out. At current rates, 35 wins will grab the eighth seed. The Hornets and Nets, working through injury and storm and stress, don’t figure to keep performing at current rates, however. A sub-.500 record, going 18-19 from here on out, will be enough to leave the Pistons with the eighth seed. This is a team that started the season 5-23, mind you, before losing two starters due to release and then injury, and they could still save their season by winning less than half of their games from here until the end of 2014-15. That’s how awful the East is. - - - - - - - Kelly Dwyer is an editor for Ball Don't Lie on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at KDonhoops@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @KDonhoops

LeBron in full, J.R.'s gunning, Mozgov's size have Cavs soaring (Ball Don't Lie)
(Tue, 27 Jan 2015 12:43:22 PST)


Nets-Hawks Preview (The Associated Press)
(Tue, 27 Jan 2015 11:23:28 PST)
With Al Horford and Paul Millsap producing so efficiently in the frontcourt, the Atlanta Hawks are on the cusp of the league's longest winning streak this season. It doesn't appear the stumbling Brooklyn Nets should stand in their way despite a couple of extra days off before visiting Atlanta, which looks to extend a franchise record with its 17th straight victory Wednesday night. The Hawks (37-8) broke the team record with a 103-93 win over Oklahoma City on Friday, then tied Golden State for the league's top win streak of the season with Sunday's 112-100 victory over Minnesota. Millsap has scored 18.5 per game and shot 56.9 percent through four games of Atlanta's seven-game homestand, while Horford has averaged 18.0 on 73.6 percent shooting over his last seven.

The NBA postponed two games, and improves Sacramento's lottery odds (Ball Don't Lie)
(Mon, 26 Jan 2015 12:04:45 PST)
The NBA and the forces of Mother Nature may have just banded together to help Sacramento’s NBA draft status. As expected, the league postponed Monday night’s Brooklyn Nets/Portland Trail Blazers and New York Knicks/Sacramento Kings games due to the blizzard that is due to wreak havoc on the East Coast. The makeup dates will take place later in the season, but as Pro Basketball Talk’s Dan Feldman noticed , the night off for the Kings on Monday comes with a nasty early-March aftereffect. The Kings will make up the Knicks game on March 3, two days after taking on the Trail Blazers in Sacramento on the other coast of North America. From there, the team will dart across the country playing road games in San Antonio, Orlando, Miami, Orlando, Atlanta, Charlotte, Philadelphia and Washington – eight games in 11 days total, all on the road. After the final game of the road trip on March 14, the squad will then fly all the way back to its much-missed Sacramento home to take on the East-leading Atlanta Hawks on March 16th. [ Follow Dunks Don't Lie on Tumblr: The best slams from all of basketball ] That is a rough, rough half-month of basketball. All for a team that is currently 16-27, well out of the playoff picture, working under a coach in Tyrone Corbin that all assume to be a walking lame duck. All of this, however, goes a long way toward ensuring that the Kings will get to keep their lottery pick in this year’s draft. When the Kings traded for J.J. Hickson in 2011, the team sent a conditional first-round pick to the Cleveland Cavaliers and Omri Casspi in return. That pick was then sent to the Chicago Bulls in the ill-fated Luol Deng deal last season. The pick is protected through the top ten picks in the draft this year and next, and if the Kings continue to play poorly and stick in the top ten after the lottery (considering the strength out West, there is a good chance of that) in 2017 the pick will then revert to a pair of second-round picks in 2017. For the Kings, who are barely playing rookie Nik Stauskas so far this year, to miss out on yet another lottery pick would be a killer. Missing the playoffs only to have to ship a first-round pick to Chicago just for a guy that played 35 terrible games for you in 2011-12 would be quite the downer. This is possibly why the team fired Michael Malone, who had coached Sacramento to an 11-13 record even with center DeMarcus Cousins out for nine of those contests, earlier this year . Corbin has gone 5-14 at the helm in Sacramento. The Kings currently sit at ninth overall in the lottery odds, with the tenth-place Detroit Pistons likely to stave them off even with Brandon Jennings out for the year. Between the coaching move, the nor’easter, and the upcoming road trip, they may have cinched their lottery fate. All it took were those elements, and a lost year, to make it happen. Congrats. (The Portland Trail Blazers, meanwhile, will have to play the Pelicans in Portland on April 4, fly all the way out to Brooklyn on April 6, and then back to Portland to play Minnesota on April 8. All during a playoff race. Brutal.) - - - - - - - Kelly Dwyer is an editor for Ball Don't Lie on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at KDonhoops@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @KDonhoops

NBA Power Rankings: LeBron James and the Cavs make their move (Yahoo Sports)
(Mon, 26 Jan 2015 09:58:51 PST)
Don't look now, but LeBron James and the Cavaliers have won six straight games.

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