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Rockets Tickets
Rockets lose guard Beverley for opening six weeks
(Sat, 22 Oct 2016 11:44:27 PDT)
Patrick Beverley, the Houston Rockets' backcourt starter alongside top scorer James Harden, will miss at least 20 games to start the NBA season with a left knee injury. Rockets coach Mike D'Antoni said Beverley will miss the first six weeks of the upcoming campaign, which begins for Houston on Wednesday at the Los Angeles Lakers. Eric Gordon, Tyler Ennis, P.J. Hairston and K.J. McDaniels figure to share time at point guard in place of 28-year-old Beverley, who averaged 9.9 points, 3.4 assists and 3.5 rebounds a game last season.

News flash: The Sixers have injury problems as season nears (The Associated Press)
(Fri, 21 Oct 2016 22:15:32 PDT)
The last thing the Philadelphia 76ers need less than a week before the season begins is more bad news on the injury front.

BDL's 2016-17 Season Previews: Chicago Bulls (Ball Don't Lie)
(Fri, 21 Oct 2016 15:53:51 PDT)
The Chicago Bulls made the big, mad coach go away during the 2015 offseason, as they had to. The relationship between the Bulls front office and former coach Tom Thibodeau, due to massive missteps on the part of both sides, was beyond repair. Thibodeau had to go, and while it would have been just as effective to lose the presidential pairing of personnel chiefs John Paxson and Gar Forman along the way, teams can survive with a good-enough roster, sound coaching, and a front office with a series of screwups in its past.

Harden ready to help Rockets bounce back this season (The Associated Press)
(Fri, 21 Oct 2016 15:30:10 PDT)
When the NBA season tips off, James Harden will be able to run Mike D'Antoni's famed seven seconds or less offense in games that count. The question is whether the scheme of Houston's new coach will be enough to help the Rockets bounce back after last year's disappointing season. Harden was second in the NBA with a career-high 29 points per game last season and his 7.5 assists and 6.1 rebounds were also career bests.

BDL's 2016-17 Season Previews: Cleveland Cavaliers (Ball Don't Lie)
(Fri, 21 Oct 2016 09:42:27 PDT)
The Cleveland Cavaliers might not have been the kind of team likely to suffer from a championship hangover, anyway. “We’re still pretty much uptight,” James recently said, according to Tom Withers of The Associated Press. As soon as Kevin Durant announced he would join the Golden State Warriors — the team that had just posted a record-setting 73 wins, and the foe the Cavs had just knocked off to win it all — Cleveland had a new mountain to climb, a new dragon to slay, a new quest to complete.

It's still the Warriors as the team to catch out West (The Associated Press)
(Fri, 21 Oct 2016 00:36:29 PDT)
For Golden State, 73 is irrelevant. Only one number matters, and it's 16.

BDL's 2016-17 Season Previews: Indiana Pacers (Ball Don't Lie)
(Thu, 20 Oct 2016 15:08:44 PDT)
An outsider would be forgiven for seeing the Indiana Pacers’ 2015-16 season as something of a return to normalcy. After narrowly missing out on a postseason berth the previous season as Paul George played only a handful of games, Indiana rebounded with 45 wins, the No. 7 seed in the East, and a top-three ranking in points allowed per 100 possessions. A seven-game elimination at the hands of the Toronto Raptors suggested that the Pacers were not terribly far off from rising back to their former position as top challengers to Whichever Team LeBron James Plays For, albeit with clear needs to become more consistent and add new offensive wrinkles.

A look at the NBA coaching changes entering this season (The Associated Press)
(Thu, 20 Oct 2016 13:37:58 PDT)
Coaches changing jobs is an annual rite in the NBA, and one-third of the league's 30 teams have changed coaches since last season ended. Here's a look at the 10 coaches in new jobs:

BDL's 2016-17 Season Previews: Detroit Pistons (Ball Don't Lie)
(Thu, 20 Oct 2016 13:20:49 PDT)
In their second season under Stan Van Gundy, the Detroit Pistons improved from a 32-win also-ran to a respectable-as-heck 44-38 squad. With Jackson in his first full year at the controls, Detroit took care of the ball, posting the NBA’s eighth-lowest turnover rate and allowing its fifth fewest points off turnovers. With Drummond vacuuming up caroms at a league-best clip, they dominated the boards, posting the NBA’s second-highest rebounding percentage (tops on the defensive glass) and giving up the league’s fewest second-chance points.

Rick Carlisle shamefully likens Mavs loss to 'a Donald Trump debate performance' (Ball Don't Lie)
(Thu, 20 Oct 2016 09:37:51 PDT)
The Dallas Mavericks opened up Wednesday evening’s exhibition game with the Houston Rockets by working themselves into a 21-4 hole to start the contest. Young swingman Justin Anderson entered the game soon after, taking part in a run that made things competitive yet again, but the Rockets hung on to down Dallas by a 106-91 score. On most nights this would be because NBA exhibition basketball is a near-worthless enterprise for the paying fan, but on this particular evening it was because the third and final debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump took place.

Knicks anxious to get Derrick Rose back with team (The Associated Press)
(Wed, 19 Oct 2016 21:36:50 PDT)
Derrick Rose will likely have no more than just a few practices to get ready for opening night with the New York Knicks.

BDL's 2016-17 Season Previews: Utah Jazz (Ball Don't Lie)
(Wed, 19 Oct 2016 16:31:34 PDT)
Lead guard Dante Exum looked as skittish and ill-prepared as any teenaged point guard prospect with limited low-end international experience would during his 2014-15 rookie season, but his offseason ACL tear cast a bit of a pall on a Jazz team that was hoping to turn a corner and make the playoffs for just the second time since Jerry Sloan left the franchise. Instead, the Jazz slowed the pace behind a pair of should-be reserves at point guard and weathered the too-critical storm of significant injuries to a point where they didn’t embarrass, yet didn’t contend. Exum missed the entire season, the Jazz fell a win short of hitting the .500 mark, and the payoff was yet another year of Gordon Hayward and Derrick Favors’ youth wasted, coupled with placement at the bottom of the NBA’s draft lottery.

BDL's 2016-17 Season Previews: Milwaukee Bucks (Ball Don't Lie)
(Wed, 19 Oct 2016 13:43:50 PDT)
The Milwaukee Bucks are entering the 2016-17 NBA season with a potentially still-growing 6-foot-11 Giannis Antetokounmpo playing point guard, and the basketball world is pretty excited about it. After Michael Carter-Williams, the point guard who Milwaukee just dealt for backup Chicago Bulls wing Tony Snell, suffered a season-ending hip injury in late February — starting on Leap Day of all days — Antetokounmpo averaged 19.1 points, 8.1 rebounds, 7.3 assists and 3.4 combined blocks and steals over the final 23 games of 2015-16.

BDL's 2016-17 Season Previews: Oklahoma City Thunder (Ball Don't Lie)
(Tue, 18 Oct 2016 16:26:06 PDT)
Before the Golden State Warriors could blow a 3-1 lead in the 2016 NBA Finals, the Oklahoma City Thunder had to go and blow a 3-1 lead of its own in the Western Conference finals against those same Warriors. In a vacuum, noticing the “Lost NBA Western Conference finals (3-4)” designation next to the 2015-16 Thunder’s name might not seem all that galling. This was the first full (technically, as the 2011-12 turn was lockout-addled) and healthy season that Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook paired together as championship contenders while working in their primes, and falling just short of taking that act to the Finals (especially with Game 7 played on the road, against a team that was pining for its 85th win in 99 tries) looks like a worthy, if not slightly disappointing, exercise.

BDL's 2016-17 Season Previews: Portland Trail Blazers (Ball Don't Lie)
(Tue, 18 Oct 2016 16:18:10 PDT)
The Portland Trail Blazers were undoubtedly one of the most enjoyable surprises of the 2015-16 NBA season. After losing four starters in the summer of 2015, the Blazers reassembled themselves around star point guard Damian Lillard in the hopes that they could rebuild a playoff team without racing to the bottom. Lillard welcomed the pressure of his new role, third-year guard C.J. McCollum thrived as second scorer and playmaker to nab Most Improved Player honors, and additions like Al-Farouq Aminu and Mason Plumlee contributed consistently at both ends in ways that should cement their reputations for years.

NBA GMs pick Warriors over Cavs in this season's Finals (The Associated Press)
(Tue, 18 Oct 2016 13:43:24 PDT)
The NBA's general managers are expecting a third straight Golden State-Cleveland matchup in this season's NBA Finals, with the Warriors the pick to reclaim the title. The Warriors and Cavaliers each got 97 percent of the votes cast by GMs when asked to pick the Western and Eastern conference champions - meaning, if each team got one ballot, 29 of the 30 teams voted for a rematch. Boston got the other conference-title vote in the East, San Antonio got the other one in the West.

Klay Thompson is confused by Jason Terry calling him a 'B-side player' (Ball Don't Lie)
(Tue, 18 Oct 2016 09:02:45 PDT)
Veteran guard Jason Terry — who, ICYMI, is still in the league — made headlines last month when he specifically named two All-Stars — Golden State Warriors shooting guard Klay Thompson and San Antonio Spurs forward Kawhi Leonard — as “B-side performers” in the NBA. Klay seems pretty confused by it, too.

BDL's 2016-17 Season Previews: Denver Nuggets (Ball Don't Lie)
(Mon, 17 Oct 2016 15:35:46 PDT)
The Nuggets are fun. The early returns were encouraging for the Nuggets, who made three straight playoff trips under coach George Karl from 2011-13, with Gallinari and Chandler as key cogs on a team that won 57 games three years ago. Gallinari and Chandler broke down, each missing an entire season with knee and hip issues, respectively, and as you might suspect from a franchise that signed Ty Lawson and JaVale McGee for a combined $92 million, the Nuggets quit on Karl’s replacement.

BDL's 2016-17 Season Previews: Minnesota Timberwolves (Ball Don't Lie)
(Mon, 17 Oct 2016 14:20:04 PDT)
No team entered the 2015-16 NBA season under more somber circumstances than the Minnesota Timberwolves. After the tragic loss of head coach and president of basketball operations Flip Saunders mere days before the season opener, the Wolves were a team in turmoil and transition, moving from one era in franchise history into an uncertain future. Over the course of the year — one that saw the Wolves make a 13-win improvement over 2014-15 — its outlines became clearer: Karl-Anthony Towns is that future, and perhaps the future of the league, a prospect teeming with promise and the very definition of a modern NBA big man.

As the owner apologizes for past comments, Kings meet with the oft-troubled Ty Lawson (Ball Don't Lie)
(Mon, 17 Oct 2016 09:29:48 PDT)
Ty Lawson’s contract does not become guaranteed until January. Ty Lawson’s frustrating NBA career took another hit last week, when the Sacramento Kings guard was reportedly late to a team flight hours after missing a team shootaround. In what could be related news, the Kings were docked in Las Vegas at the time, following an exhibition game.

Thompson scores 24, Warriors beat Lakers 112-107 (The Associated Press)
(Sat, 15 Oct 2016 21:50:22 PDT)
New Los Angeles Lakers coach Luke Walton's first matchup against Golden State, where he won a championship as an assistant in 2015, went about as expected - with a Warriors' rout.

BDL's 2016-17 Season Previews: Philadelphia 76ers (Ball Don't Lie)
(Fri, 14 Oct 2016 16:16:02 PDT)
The 2015-16 season went as designed for the Philadelphia 76ers. Until that swipe, the Sixers again ranked at the bottom of the Eastern Conference, the team again worked as the worst the NBA had to offer for long strains of play, and it was up in the air yet again whether or not the club would set an NBA record for fewest wins in the season. The team managed 10 victories on the year, but not before setting an all-time mark for consecutive losses (carried over from the year prior, at 27) and not without tying an NBA record for losses to start the season with 18.

BDL's 2016-17 Season Previews: Toronto Raptors (Ball Don't Lie)
(Fri, 14 Oct 2016 15:51:16 PDT)
The challenge for this season’s Toronto Raptors is clear. The 2015-16 Raptors established themselves relatively quickly as the second-best team in the East and set a number of franchise records on the way to their first conference finals. Fifty-six wins and a No. 2 seed were big leaps forward, and two wins against the heavily favored Cleveland Cavaliers proved that the Raptors weren’t hopelessly overmatched against the conference’s only true championship contender.

Houston Rockets player in Great Wall of China trouble
(Fri, 14 Oct 2016 01:47:31 PDT)
Bobby Brown of US basketball team the Houston Rockets asked for forgiveness on Chinese social media after drawing anger for inscribing his name on the country’s Great Wall. Brown, point guard for the team, posted a photo Tuesday of his signature scratched in white onto a grey stone section of the iconic structure on Sina Weibo, China's equivalent of Twitter. The Houston Rockets have been in China this week for pre-season matches, common for top NBA teams seeking to promote themselves in China.

BDL's 2016-17 Season Previews: New York Knicks (Ball Don't Lie)
(Thu, 13 Oct 2016 18:41:37 PDT)
The New York Knicks struggle to stay still in a way that no other franchise can match. A year that looked to be defined by the rise of rookie big man Kristaps Porzingis and the implementation of Phil Jackson’s vision for the franchise was interrupted by the surprising firing of head coach Derek Fisher in February. The team wasn’t making progress fast enough, according to team president Phil Jackson, and change was needed.

BDL's 2016-17 Season Previews: Brooklyn Nets (Ball Don't Lie)
(Thu, 13 Oct 2016 09:00:57 PDT)
The Brooklyn Nets reached a point last season where it literally didn’t matter if they won or lost. Thanks to the 2013 draft-night deal that sent Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Jason Terry to Brooklyn, the Boston Celtics owned the Nets’ 2016 first-round draft pick.

Rockets guard is really sorry he autographed the Great Wall of China (Ball Don't Lie)
(Wed, 12 Oct 2016 23:55:14 PDT)
Bobby Brown left his mark on one of the world’s most famous monuments. NBA teams play a number of preseason trips overseas, most of which serve as promotional and branding opportunities for the league and its various sponsors. Meeting basketball fans and taking in the culture in places like China has the potential to change how they see the world.

Anthony Davis' status for Pelicans opener up in the air (The Associated Press)
(Wed, 12 Oct 2016 21:07:25 PDT)
Anthony Davis was flat on his back, grabbing his right ankle and wincing in pain. And now the New Orleans Pelicans can only wonder if their best player will be ready for opening night.

BDL's 2016-17 Season Previews: Boston Celtics (Ball Don't Lie)
(Wed, 12 Oct 2016 13:33:29 PDT)
The Celtics signed Al Horford to a $113 million contract in July. The Celtics also own arguably the NBA’s deepest roster. Two years after trading a trio of franchise cornerstones and one year removed from a plucky 40-win campaign that ended in a four-game sweep by LeBron’s Cleveland Cavaliers, the rise of Brad Stevens and his starless Celtics in 2015-16 resulted in 48 wins, tied for third most in the Eastern Conference, before their shot at a rematch with the Cavs evaporated in a first-round loss to the Atlanta Hawks.

Rockets sweep Pelicans in China games with 116-104 win (The Associated Press)
(Wed, 12 Oct 2016 11:08:04 PDT)
Harden had 14 points and 8 assists in 24 minutes, leading the Houston Rockets to a 116-104 win over the New Orleans Pelicans in a preseason game Wednesday. The Rockets beat the Pelicans twice in China behind Harden's passing. Houston built a 17-point lead after the first quarter and never relinquished it, though the Pelicans closed to within eight points in the fourth quarter.

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