Posts Tagged ‘Toney Douglas’

Exposed Howard Covers Lakers Sins

HOUSTON — Evidently, it is also safe now to spit into the wind and pull the mask off the old Lone Ranger. Because everybody, it seems, is tugging on Superman’s cape these days.

Dwight Howard couldn’t be more exposed if he were a magazine centerfold wearing nothing but a staple. At least in Playboy, they usually let you lay down on a soft bearskin rug.

Howard shot just 8-for-16 on free throws and it was actually his best night from the foul line in a week and a half.

Every time the Lakers center stands unguarded 15 feet from the basket, it is becoming less a surprising adventure than a sitcom rerun: The Big Clang Theory.

The Rockets were only the latest to intentionally foul Howard and send him to the line. The strategy — Bite-a-Dwight, if you will — continues to take a shark-sized chunk from the aura of the big man that the Lakers are falling all over themselves for the chance to pay $100 million to and give away the keys to the franchise.

The fact that the strategy worked — and gave the crowd at the Toyota Center great amusement — covered up a bigger batch of sins. The Lakers can’t take care of the ball, committing 19 turnovers, can’t keep opponents off the offensive glass and can’t defend consistently when the game is on the line.

Yes, the Rockets sent Howard to the line five different times in a 69-second span of the fourth quarter. Yes, he connected only five times on his 10 throws. But during that stretch Houston outscored the Lakers by just 7-5.

It was everything else the Rockets did in the fourth quarter — getting James Harden into the paint to draw fouls, getting easy dump-off passes to Greg Smith, getting open shots on the wing for Toney Douglas -- that made the difference.

Just as occurred on at home on Sunday night against Orlando, Howard’s ineptitude from the foul line was the lightning rod while everyone else in the lineup let the house burn down.

Now the talk shows and the Twitterverse will be teeming with the suggestions for coach Mike D’Antoni to chain Howard to the bench in the fourth quarter of close games.

“People have no clue what they’re talking about if they think I’ll take Dwight out in the fourth quarter,” D’Antoni said. “It’s pretty simple: You don’t do that to a guy. He made his foul shots and that’s not the reason that we lost that game. He has to work through this. You just don’t take out a franchise player and do something like that to him.”

Certainly not if you don’t want to risk turning a mental block into a full blown psychosis. If Howard is going to be the anchor to the Lakers in the post-Kobe Bryant future, then he can hardly be hidden away at crunch time like Grandma’s porcelain figurines every time the kiddies come to visit.

“That’s just a strategy that teams are employing and we have to figure out the best strategy to defend it,” Bryant said. “We’ve talked about it a little bit. He just has to keep working at it all the time and keep practicing and doing it over and over until he turns it into a strength.”

The more critical problem is the Lakers’ lack of discipline and defense when games get late. This was a game in which the Lakers once led by 17 and were still up by 13 early in the fourth quarter.

On a night when Harden was a myopic 3-for-19, Chandler Parsons 5-for-16 and Jeremy Lin 2-for-8, the Rockets kept working and grinding and did all of the little things to inch their way back and give themselves a chance. It was the kind of play that the Lakers seem to think is beneath them.

With Steve Nash still out with a fractured leg and Pau Gasol now going to the sidelines to rest his ailing knees, excuses are all around for the Lakers, if they want to use them.

So, too, is the easy scapegoat, Howard, hammering more metal than a blacksmith, at the line. But it is not Howard committing the defensive breakdowns. He’s stepping up to cut off a penetrator and nobody is rotating behind him. Howard is not the one leaving the likes of Douglas and Carlos Delfino wide open on the outside because the proper switches weren’t made.

“He’s not the reason that our defense breaks down,” D’Antoni said. “He’s not the reason that stuff happens.”

But as long as Superman keeps standing exposed at the foul line, the real problems stay hidden.

Linsanity Is Jeremy On The Bench Late





HOUSTON — It’s becoming a habit. For the second time in four games, Jeremy Lin spent the decisive minutes on the bench.

Talk about your Linsanity.

First he watched Toney Douglas try to stem the tide against Damian Lillard during overtime of a loss at Portland. Then at home on Wednesday night, Lin simply watched all but two minutes of the fourth quarter as Douglas lifted the Rockets to a 93-89 win over the Bulls.

“I’m happy because we lost three in a row and needed a win. That’s for sure,” Lin said.

Team camaraderie aside, the Rockets need their point guard of the present and future to be able to stay on the floor to run the offense down the stretch. But to do that he’s going to have to make significant defensive strides.

When the Blazers were making their comeback in the fourth quarter last week, Lillard drove around and shot over Lin as if he wasn’t there. At the start of the final period against the Bulls, it was Nate Robinson who got on a roll and devoured Lin. Acting Rockets coach Kelvin Sampson watched Robinson stick a 3-pointer in Lin’s face and then drove for a dazzling 360-degree layup when he had enough and turned to Douglas.

On one hand, it was Nate being Nate, taking off on one of those sprees that has occasionally made him a marvel in the league. On the other, it was Lin being Lin, bedeviled and bewildered defensively.

“You have to go with your instincts,” Sampson said. “You’re not always right with that stuff. But I felt like Toney gave us our best chance to win. Yeah, a much better matchup with Nate.”

Lin’s troubles putting the ball into the basket this season have been well known. He shot just 2-for-9 from the field against the Bulls and is now 42-for-126 (33.3 percent) on the season.

It’s one thing to try to straighten out a wayward shot. That’s an individual thing. But if he has to constantly be replaced for a capable stopper on defense, then he’s not going to be on the floor to play quarterback on offense and isn’t helping at either end of the floor at crunch time. The Rockets need a guy they invested $25 million in to be more than a part-time player and a late-game spectator.

“Yeah, I think that’s for reasons of defense,” Lin said. “I’m not really sure. Ask Coach. But I think it’s a defensive thing. I didn’t do a very good job of making Nate Robinson uncomfortable. I’ve got to do a better job.”

Dwight update: Not close to a trade with Rockets




Friday came and went, and just like all the other days that have passed since June 24, 2004, Dwight Howard was still a member of the Orlando Magic.

Despite the Houston Rockets using the amnesty provision to waive forward Luis Scola, there was no trade of Howard from Orlando to Houston, and sources briefed on the talks between the two sides said the teams weren’t nearly as close to a trade as many have speculated. That can change in an instant, of course, but late Friday, there was no deal.

Talks between the two sides are “not active,” one source said Friday.

“There’s nothing happening,” another source said.

The Rockets, according to a league source briefed on the discussions, are willing to take one bad contract back from the Magic, not two or three, as has been speculated. And in return, Houston will give up one of the their three first-round picks in last month’s Draft– Jeremy Lamb, Royce White or Terrence Jones –but only one.

The Rockets would be willing to send a future draft pick to Orlando –presumably the Lottery-protected first-rounder Houston received this week from Toronto for guard Kyle Lowry — and send a veteran player to the Magic, helping Orlando clear $10 to $15 million worth of cap room, in exchange for the six-time All-Star and three-time Defensive Player of the Year.

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Deconstructing Rockets’ Camby Trade





It looks like the Rockets have grown tired of having the best record in the draft lottery every year, being annually the last team not to qualify for the playoffs.

So they’re diving.

They might as well be leaping from an airplane door without a parachute or plummeting to depths that normally require a scuba tank and flippers.

They’ll call it simply modifying the course, staying flexible with contracts and keeping themselves attractive to potential trade partners.

That’s why they let Goran Dragic walk out the door as a free agent. That’s why they traded Kyle Lowry to Toronto for a lottery pick. That’s why they withdrew their qualifying offer to Courtney Lee. Now, they’ve swapped Marcus Camby to the Knicks for a handful of magic beans.

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Report: Knicks Land Camby In Sign-And-Trade Deal

The New York Knicks continued to spend for quality depth before the end of the July Moratorium, agreeing to terms with veteran center Marcus Camby on a three-year, $13 million contract Monday in a sign-and-trade deal with Houston that will send Toney Douglas, Josh Harrelson and Jerome Jordan to the Rockets, along with two future second-round picks.

The 38-year-old Camby is still a productive player, averaging 7.1 points and 9.3 rebounds last season in 24 minutes a night for the Rockets after being traded to Houston from Portland for Jonny Flynn and Hasheem Thabeet. In New York he’ll be the backup to starter Tyson Chandler at center and spot Amar’e Stoudemire at power forward. It will be Camby’s second tour of duty in New York, after playing for the Knicks from 1998-2002.

His deal, according to a source, is only partially guaranteed for the third season, meaning it will either be a two-year deal for $10 million or revert to the three-year, $13 million deal if New York decides to keep him.

Douglas saw significant playing time as a rookie, but injuries and the electric play of Jeremy Lin consigned him to a deep reserve role last season. But in Houston, Douglas will be one of the few point guards on the roster. The Rockets have committed to giving Lin a four-year deal worth $28 million when the free-agent moratorium ends on July 11, but the Knicks are almost certain to match.

New York also agreed to terms last week with Jason Kidd to be Lin’s backup next season. Houston lost free agent Goran Dragic to the Suns in a free-agent deal and opted to trade last season’s starter at the beginning of the year, Kyle Lowry, to Toronto for a conditional Lottery pick.

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Knicks Call On Douglas For Game 5





MIAMI – Once again, the Knicks’ season is on the line. And once again, they’ve got a change in their rotation.

In the wake of Baron Davis‘ injury, the Knicks need help in the backcourt. And in Wednesday’s Game 5 (7 p.m. ET, TNT), it will be Toney Douglas‘ turn to step up.

Douglas has yet to play in the first round series against the Miami Heat and hasn’t been a part of the Knicks’ regular rotation since late January. He shot just 32 percent from the field and 23 percent from 3-point range this season.

But he did give the Knicks one strong game in Orlando after Mike Woodson took over as coach, putting up 15 points, five rebounds and six assists in a 96-80 victory on April 5.

On Monday, Woodson said that we’d only see Douglas if the Heat used Norris Cole off the bench. But by shootaround on Wednesday, Woodson had changed his thinking.

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Knicks ‘Not Counting’ On Lin For Game 5





NEW YORK – The Knicks will have an update on Baron Davis later Monday, but it’s very safe to assume that Davis will not play again this season after suffering a dislocated patella in the third quarter of Sunday’s Game 4 at Madison Square Garden.

So now would be a great time for international sensation Jeremy Lin to return to action. Lin has been running up and down the floor in 3-on-3 games at the Knicks practice facility, and would be doing the same Monday and Tuesday before the Knicks travel to Miami for Game 5 on Wednesday (7 p.m. ET, TNT). But Knicks coach Mike Woodson tempered expectations in a conference call with reporters Monday morning.

“I’m not counting Jeremy Lin playing,” Woodson said. “We’ve just got to continue where we’ve been, in terms of guys that are in uniform. And I’m not counting on him to play.”

Lin had surgery to repair a meniscus tear in his left knee on Monday, April 2. At that time, the Knicks said he’d be out six weeks. And right now, we’re at the five-week mark. And as he did with Amar’e Stoudemire for Game 4, Woodson made it clear that the decision on Lin is out of his hands.

“I think it’s going to be up to the doctors and Jeremy to make that decision,” he said. “It won’t be my decision.”

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Rosen’s Report: New York at Orlando




Jeremy Lin is down for the count and who knows when/if Amar’e Stoudemire will return to action. That means what’s left of the Knicks’ roster will have to carry New York for the duration. While the Knicks are still battling for the last playoff slot, they also have their sights set on the No. 6 seed in order to play Orlando in the opening round instead of either Miami or Chicago. And on the heels of last week’s trampling of the Magic, a repeat performance would not only greatly enhance the achievement of both of these goals, but also make Orlando shiver in anticipation of encountering New York in the money season. After their fourth-quarter meltdown in Indiana on Tuesday, the Knicks also has to prove that they do have a necessary killer instinct.

On the flip side, the Magic need the win to demonstrate that their humiliating performance in New York was a fluke, and that they are indeed legitimate championship contenders.

HOW THE KNICKS CAN WIN

  • Forget about LeBron, Kobe and/or Kevin DurantCarmelo Anthony is the most versatile scorer in the game. If KD is a better long-distant dialer, Anthony’s 3-point shooting is more reliable than the other two elite scorers. The difference is ‘Melo’s dynamic post-up game. With Stoudemire out, Anthony is now filling the power forward slot, which makes his offense even more unstoppable (plus he’s a better rebounder than his predecessor). There’s certainly no way that either Hedo Turkoglu, Ryan Anderson (if he makes a miraculous recovery from a freshly sprained ankle), or Glen Davis can put up any meaningful defensive resistance without considerable help. The problem is the Knicks’ spacing forces defenders to come a long way to double Anthony. And should Anthony bring his A-game into the last period, the Magic will run out of tricks.
  • Assuming that Dwight Howard has recuperated from the infamous phantom punch, Tyson Chandler has the length and the defensive chops to make him labor mightily to score in the low post.  In addition, Howard gets flustered when he’s doubled on the move and tends to force shots, make wayward passes, or simply commit turnovers.  Chandler’s timely dive-cuts on high screen/rolls should also put him in dunk city. (more…)

Rick’s Tips: Waiver Watching


If you’re anything like me, you’ve been watching so much basketball that you almost feel guilty about all the time spent on the couch. But don’t beat yourselves up basketball fans, because we waited five months for this, through a late start and even near cancellation. So ignore the cold shoulders, the honey do’s, and even the cat calls, because you’re an NBA fan, and this is what we do.

I know a lot of you are pretty bummed out about all these DNPs, but get used to them — and their unpredictable nature. I’m a big believer in the law of percentages, what goes around comes around, and all that jazz, so don’t sweat it if you’ve lost a game or two due to excessive DNPs. You have to trust that these random events will even out over time.

The powers that be at NBA.com wanted me to look ahead on the waiver wire for you, which is a great idea because a) it’s the quickest and easiest way to improve your team, b) the waiver wire has never been more important with all these injuries, and c) working the waiver wire is a personal specialty of mine. So let’s get started…

Marreese Speights

Zach Randolph’s knee injury caused the Grizzlies’ front office to trade for Speights, who had 17 points and seven rebounds in 29 minutes Sunday against the Lakers. The numbers are pretty good, but what’s impressive to me is that he did it in his second game with his new team.

You have seen the spike in production from Marc Gasol and that trend will continue until 20-10 gets healthy enough to play, roughly two months from now. And when you combine the absence of 20-10 with Darrell Arthur’s season-ending injury, the door is wide open for Speights to play starters’ minutes and rack up the goodies.

Matt Barnes

While I’m not a fan of his game in reality (too many bad passes and too much complaining), I am a fan of his fantasy numbers when he’s rolling — and right now Matt Barnes is rolling. In the last two games he has 31 points, 16 rebounds, seven assists, three blocks, three steals, and two 3s, making him viable in any fantasy format.

Barnes was a disappointment for the Lakers last season, largely because of a lingering knee injury. But he’s healthy and making plays in Mike Brown’s non-triangular system. Barnes is probably still on waivers in your league, but he won’t be for long if he keeps playing like this.

Jimmer Fredette

The reigning College Player of the Year is being dropped by impatient owners two weeks into the season. This is a mistake.

The dude can ball, he just needs minutes — and those minutes could come under new coach Keith Smart, who ran a guard-friendly offense in Golden State last year. Smart has played Jimmer only 37 minutes in his first two games as head coach, but coaches change their minds — and their rotations — all the time.

Jimmer is the perfect stash player because he has plenty of upside in assists and threes, typically the two toughest categories to find on waivers.

Toney Douglas

Douglas is being dropped like sippy cups at a birthday party. Fantasy owners are turning their backs on Douglas because of Iman Shumpert’s emergence, and the fact that Douglas was scoreless in 18 minutes over his last two games. Douglas has been dealing with a shoulder injury though, so don’t give up on him just yet.

In fact, check him out tonight on NBA TV and be ready to pounce if he gets back to bringing the MSG crowd to its feet. Douglas is a great source for threes and steals, so keep your eye on his minutes.

Tony Allen

Allen posted back-to-back 20-point games leading into Sunday’s tilt with the Lakers, but he crashed back to earth with four points and four fouls in 13 minutes. That was to be expected, though, as Allen is charged with guarding the opposition’s top wing player — and Sunday it was future Hall of Famer Kobe Bryant.

Lionel Hollins is using a committee approach in trying to make due without Zach, and Allen is a big part of that committee. The Grizzlies’ junkyard dog is probably still on waivers in your league, but you need to add him to your scout team and stay ready. One more 20-point game and Allen won’t be on waivers for long.

Baron Davis Chooses New York

HANG TIME NEW JERSEY BUREAU – Have the Knicks found their answer at point guard? Maybe, but we’re not going to find out right away.

ESPN’s Marc Stein reports that free agent Baron Davis, who was waived by the Cavs via the amnesty clause, has decided to sign with New York

Terms of the deal with New York were not immediately available. It likewise remains to be seen how soon Davis will actually be able to play for the Knicks thanks to a back injury that the Cavaliers, upon releasing him, believed would sideline the former All-Star for 8-to-10 weeks.

The Knicks, though, chased Davis aggressively in spite of the injury, desperate to upgrade their backcourt to support the frontcourt duo of Carmelo Anthony and Amare Stoudemire that was recently boosted by the arrival of Tyson Chandler to be the Knicks’ defensive anchor.

The Los Angeles Lakers and Miami Heat also expressed strong interest in signing Davis, who was waived Wednesday night by the Cavs.

SI.com’s Sam Amick reports that Davis will be signed with the Knicks’ $2.5 million exception.

It’s a low-risk move by the Knicks, who are currently starting the erratic Toney Douglas at point guard. Davis’ health is (and will always be) a question mark. But both the Clippers and Cavaliers were much better offensively when he was in the game last season.

Team numbers with Davis on and off floor

On/Off Court MIN OffRtg DefRtg NetRtg
LAC on* 1269 106.9 107.9 -1.0
LAC off* 1576 98.8 106.8 -7.9
CLE on** 380 106.0 108.5 -2.4
CLE off** 825 98.3 105.4 -7.1

OffRtg = Points scored per 100 possessions
DefRtg = Points allowed per 100 possessions
NetRtg = Point differential per 100 possessions
* = Before trade
** = After trade