Posts Tagged ‘Yi Jianlian’

Mavs’ Carlisle Rolls With Plan B, Revolving Roster

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DALLAS –
 Rick Carlisle earned his reputation as one of the game’s top coaches by bending, flexing and adjusting all the way to a six-game championship take-down of the Miami Heat in 2011.

Recall 5-foot-10 point guard J.J. Barea as an NBA Finals starting shooting guard?

The Dallas Mavericks have since gone 77-72 and haven’t won another playoff game. And despite a roster that’s read like a well-worn Rolodex, Carlisle has seemed only to enhance his image as an elite tactician and motivator. Carlisle’s agility will be put to the test again this season in guiding a team that again barely resembles the one that preceded it.

From the 2010-11 championship team only Dirk Nowitzki and Shawn Marion remain. From the revamped squad insufficiently stocked to defend the title, add only Brandan Wright and Vince Carter as keepers. And from last season, add draft picks Jae Crowder and Bernard James. It’s doubtful any coach, especially one that won a ring with the same franchise just three Junes ago, has witnessed such roster upheaval in three consecutive offseasons, and particularly so in these back-to-back summers.

“Back-to-back, probably not,” Carlisle admitted. “But look, we’re living in a different time. We’re living in a time now where there’s going to be more one-year deals, there’s going to be more turnover, so everybody adjusts to the dynamics of the new CBA, and I don’t know that that’s going to happen for another year or two, at least. That said, if you’re going to be a head coach in this league you’ve got to be very open-minded, you’ve got to be open to change and adaptation. You always want continuity, but you’re not always going to have it.”

The Mavs suffered the indignity of a lockout and the ratification of a game-changing collective bargaining agreement on the heels of their championship parade. On the fly, owner Mark Cuban championed new roster-building strategies that entailed allowing key members of his title team to walk. Plan A, to create cap space and lure max-dollar free agents to crowbar Nowitzki’s championship window, hasn’t panned out and Dallas has instead scrambled the last two summers to produce competitive rosters.

That can be a disheartening road for a coach who is just one of four currently in the league with a ring. Carlisle, though, has consistently endorsed his boss’ decisions. Entering his sixth season in Dallas and the second year of his second four-year contract, Carlisle seems to embrace the challenges he inherits under Plan B. Of the four active championship coaches — including Miami’s Erik Spoelstra, San Antonio’s Gregg Popovich and Doc Rivers, now in charge of the Clippers – Carlisle’s task is by far fraught with the most uncertainties.

“I just made a conscious decision that I’m not going to be a coach that’s limited to a certain system,” Carlisle said. “I’m hanging my hat on my ability to adapt each year to potentially a roster that’s quite different, and with the new CBA we’re going to have more of that in this league. I’ve done a lot of it in my career leading up to now anyway, so it’s always challenging in those situations, but it’s also exciting.”

Just look at the players that have come through Dallas since the lockout ended: Kalenna Azubuike, Yi Jianlian, Lamar Odom, Delonte WestSean Williams, Eddy Curry, Troy Murphy, Elton Brand, Darren Collison, O.J. Mayo, Chris Kaman, Jared Cunningham, Derek Fisher, Mike James, Dahntay Jones, Anthony Morrow, Chris Wright, Chris Douglas-Roberts, Justin Dentmon and Josh Akognon.

And here’s the players new to Dallas for this season: Monta Ellis, Jose Calderon, Devin Harris, Wayne Ellington, Samuel Dalembert, DeJuan Blair, Gal Mekel, plus draft picks Shane Larkin and Ricky Ledo.

Last week Cuban set the bar for this team: The playoffs, and capable of doing damage once there. Carlisle didn’t flinch.

“I think you have to view it that way,” Carlisle said. “And, you’ve got to be careful. You’ve got to eliminate the external noise and the doubters and the naysayers and all that kind of stuff. You’ve got to have just a real positive enthusiasm and focus on your group, and you’ve got to see in your mind how they can get better. Then you’ve got to facilitate that.”

Among Dallas media, at least, Carlisle was hailed as a Coach of the Year candidate for guiding last season’s mismatched squad out of a 13-23 hole, one dug mostly without Nowitzki. Dallas finished 28-18 and was in the thick of the playoff chase almost until the end.

“Actually, I think Rick’s system is just very comprehensive and he lets the players pick up as much of it as they can and so I think rather than try to force-feed things that they might not be able to do, Rick, I think, is more accommodating,” Cuban said. “But I don’t think he really changes his system, per se, or changes what he does. I think he just recognizes the skill set of his players. Like, he went from calling plays to just playing ‘flow’ all the time [with Jason Kidd]. That’s his preference more than anything else, just let guys play basketball, and hopefully that’s what we’re going to be able to do a lot more of whereas last year we had to call plays every possession. This year I don’t think we’ll have to.”

Last season’s backcourt of Collison, who couldn’t hold down the starting job, and Mayo never clicked. Fisher ditched the team after a month and James was erratic. Cuban believes this team offers Carlisle more raw material with which to work.

He believes it will be collectively smarter and less turnover-pron with Calderon at the controls, Harris backing him up and the speedy Ellis being able to get to the hole with a frequency the Mavs just haven’t seen. All that, Cuban surmises, should play into the hands of a healthy and motivated Nowitzki.

“Each team is different, each team has different needs, each team develops differently and has to make different kinds of adjustments mid-stream,” Carlisle said. “All that stuff is one of the real intriguing things about coaching. It’s one of the reasons I love it. And one of the reasons I love working in this organization is we’ve got an owner with a fertile mind that likes the right kind of change.

“I’m down with that.”

Kirilenko Leads Russia Past China 73-54

LONDON – Andrei Kirilenko and Aleksey Shved powered Russia past China 73-54 in the first game of the day at the Olympic Basketball Stadium.

Kirilenko led the way with 16 points on 7-for-12 shooting from the floor, 7-for-10 from inside the 3-point line. Shed had 14 and six assists. Yi Jianlian led China with 16 points and was the only player from China to score in double digits.

Brazil, Spain, Russia, Argentina And Nigeria Impress In Olympic Openers

LONDON – The U.S. Men’s Senior National Team wasn’t the only crew to walk away from the first day of Olympic competition with an impressive win, theirs coming in a 98-71 thumping of France in the third game of the day.

There were familiar faces (to NBA fans) on the court all day and night, as Brazil, Spain,Russia, Argentina and Nigeria all made good first impressions at the Olympic Basketball Stadium.

A quick round-up of the action …

NIGERIA 60, TUNISIA 56:

The Aminu brothers, Alade and Al-Farouq combined for 25 points and 18 rebounds as Nigeria, the last team to qualify for this 12-team field, held off a late rally from the African champions in the first game of the day. Ike Diogu added 13 points and 10 rebounds. Amine Rzig scored 15 of his 18 points in the second-half to lead Tunisia in what was the Olympic debut for both teams.

BRAZIL 75, AUSTRALIA 71:

Leandro Barbosa scored 16 points but it was his backcourt mate, Brazilian captain Marcelo Huertas, who played the hero as they held off a late push from Australia on two free throws from Huertas with five seconds to play. David Andersen scored all 14 of his points after halftime and Patty Mills led Australia with a game-high 20 points, but it wasn’t enough.

SPAIN 97, CHINA 81:

Pau Gasol was dominant, scoring 21 points and grabbing 11 rebounds and Serge Ibaka added 17 points, as the silver medalists and two-time European champs whipped China. Yi Jianlian was impressive in defeat, scoring a game-high 30 points for China, which had no answer for Spain’s depth and quality backcourt duo of Juan Carlos Navarro (14 points) and Jose Calderon (12).

RUSSIA 95, GREAT BRITAIN 75:

The gracious hosts were no match for the Minnesota Timberwolves-bound duo of Andrei Kirilenko (35 points) and Alexey Shved (16 points and 13 assists, who sparked Russia’s dominating performance. Luol Deng scored the first basket of the game, the first for the British in the Olympics since 1948, and finished with 26 points. But he and Pops Mensah-Bonsu (22) couldn’t help the home team overcome Russia or an ugly 4-for-26 effort from beyond the 3-point line.

ARGENTINA 102, LITHUANIA 79:

Luis Scola scored 32 points, Manu Ginobili finished with 21, 10 rebounds and six assists and Carlos Delfino added 20 points for the 2004 gold medalists, who struggled in their exhibition run-up to this competition but celebrated Ginobili’s 35th birthday in style. Linas Kleiza scored 20 points to lead Lithuania, which defeated Argentina in the opener for both teams four years ago in Beijing.

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For a look at Tuesday’s schedule, click here!

‘Who’s Who?’ Mavs Get Back To Even

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A couple of bearded interlopers showed up on the Dallas Mavericks’ bench Tuesday night in Detroit, which was surprising mostly because someone was able to differentiate them from the strangers usually there already.

Sean Williams? Yi Jianlian? Delonte West? When you think about some of those guys who are or have been on Dallas’ bench in place of players no longer around – Tyson Chandler, J.J. Barea, Caron Butler, DeShawn Stevenson – is it really such a stretch that Paying Customer and Drinking Customer – as one giant sports network dubbed them – might show up wedged between West and Vince Carter.

Just seemed to us at the HTB hideout like a couple more guys who wouldn’t be welcomed at the White House.

The Mavericks climbed finally to .500 Tuesday with their 100-86 victory over the Pistons, getting 9-of-10 shooting from Dirk Nowitzki and, with Jason Kidd out again (strained back), 10 assists, five steals and six points from West. Carter dished five assists too, as Dallas got Detroit down (23-9 lead) and kept Detroit down (16 straight points in the third quarter). At 5-5, the Mavs reached even for the first time since they got their rings.

Just winning away from home, after an 0-3 road start, was promising, given last season’s success (28-13) and the Mavs’ game at Boston Wednesday. “Momentum has been elusive for us,” coach Rick Carlisle said, “so we respect how tough it is competitively in this league right now, but our goal is to build on this.”

Carter, West, Brandan Wright and fresh-from-the-NBA-D-League Yi (Williams was farmed out) aren’t exactly guys wearing funny nose-and-glasses. But they do embody the fact that the Mavericks might be the most altered defending champions, in personnel terms, since Michael Jordan-Phil Jackson gang in Chicago broke up in 1998-99. Curiously, that one came in the wake of a lengthy lockout too.

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NBA D-League Showcase Opens

HANG TIME WEST COAST BUREAU – An NBA D-League Showcase unlike any other begins today with NBA scouts and executives descending on Reno, Nev., to watch prospects from the 16 National Basketball Development League teams in one building, including several minor leaguers stretching the definition of “prospect.”

The eighth annual Showcase has suddenly become the place to rediscover talent. Ex-NBA veteran big men Greg Ostertag and Mikki Moore are scheduled to be there, hoping to show the NBA they still belong, as will former NBA frontcourt players Ricky Davis, Mike James, Willie Warren, Mardy Collins and others.

Yi Jianlian, the former No. 6 pick of the 2006 Draft and a recent addition to the Texas Legends’ roster, is also expected to play. He’s trying to get in shape to — as Yi and the Mavericks hope — make a contribution to Dallas’ title defense.

(Not up on your D-League know-how? You’re not the only one. Thankfully, our friends over at the D-League website have everything you need to know, from a cheat sheet to a list of the 15 best NBA prospects to the 10 things to know about Reno. Thanks, fellas.) (more…)

China Escapes FIBA Asia With Olympic Berth

The FIBA Asia championship wrapped up Sunday with two critical games for first and third place that finalized the fields for next year’s Olympic action.

In the final, China edged Jordan 70-69 to become the ninth team in the 12-team Olympic field. Jordan came back in the fourth quarter and tied the game with 1:32 left. But they missed five shots that would have given them the lead, and the difference was a Yi Jianlian free throw with 28 seconds left after Jordan’s Ali Jamal Zaghab fouled him 90 feet from the basket. Yi finished with 25 points and 16 rebounds, while American Rasheim Wright led Jordan with 26 points.

Like Jordan, the Philippines went down in heartbreaking fashion in the third-place game, losing to Korea 70-68Marcio Lassiter missed the second of two free throws that would have tied the game with nine seconds left. And after Korea hit one of two on the other end, Joseph Casio missed a three at the buzzer that would have sent the Philippines to next year’s last-chance qualifying tournament. With their third-place finish, Korea is still alive for the Olympics and will join Jordan in that tournament, which will determine the final three teams in the Olympic field.

With senior men’s FIBA action now wrapped up for 2011, here’s a look at the fields for next summer’s two Olympic events…

Field for 2012 Olympics
Team How
United States 2010 World Champion
Great Britain Host
Tunisia FIBA Africa Champion
Australia FIBA Oceania Champion
Argentina FIBA Americas Champion
Brazil FIBA Americas 2nd place
Spain EuroBasket Champion
France EuroBasket 2nd place
China FIBA Asia Champion
Team 10 2012 Qualifier
Team 11 2012 Qualifier
Team 12 2012 Qualifier
Field for 2012 Olympic Qualifying Tournament
Team How
Angola FIBA Africa 2nd place
Nigeria FIBA Africa 3rd place
New Zealand FIBA Oceania 2nd place
Dominican Republic FIBA Americas 3rd place
Puerto Rico FIBA Americas 4th place
Venezuela FIBA Americas 5th place
Russia EuroBasket 3rd place
FYR Macedonia EuroBasket 4th place
Lithuania EuroBasket 5th place
Greece EuroBasket 6th place
Jordan FIBA Asia 2nd place
Korea FIBA Asia 3rd place

Notes from LTU 78, CHN 67

ISTANBUL – The round of 16 continues to go according to plan, with Lithuania being the seventh higher seed to advance to the quarterfinals, knocking out China with a 78-67 victory on Tuesday. Lithuania will play the winner of the Argentina-Brazil game on Thursday.

This one was a bit of a see-saw affair, and the argument could be made that China did itself in with missed opportunities and poor defense.

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U.S. Crushes China

Posted by John Schuhmann

Iguodala had a couple of these on Saturday. (Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE/Getty Images)

NEW YORK – The U.S. National Team got their first taste of international competition with a closed scrimmage against China on Saturday afternoon at Madison Square Garden. With the Garden about 95 percent empty, it wasn’t quite the same atmosphere as when these two teams last met (opening night of the 2008 Olympics).

The score was reset after each quarter, but in total, the U.S. won 98-51. China, however, did win the fourth quarter 17-16.

Danny Granger led all scorers with 22 points on 9-for-12 shooting (3-for-4 from 3-point range). Rudy Gay had seven rebounds and Rajon Rondo had seven assists.

Here is the final boxscore.

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FIRST QUARTER

Starters: Rajon Rondo, Chauncey Billups, Andre Iguodala, Kevin Durant and Tyson Chandler

Score: USA 20, China 11

Lamar Odom was the first sub, checking in for Chandler and playing in the five. Then Derrick Rose and Stephen Curry subbed in for Rondo and Billups. After that, Rudy Gay replaced Iguodala and Danny Granger replaced Durant.

Though the U.S. struggled a bit offensively out of the gate (scoring on just three of their first nine possessions), they held China scoreless for their first six possessions and jumped out to a 7-0 lead.

Then things picked up offensively when Granger came in. He scored his team’s final 10 points of the quarter: a left wing three off a drive-and-kick from Rose, a pull-up elbow jumper, a contested layup on the break, and a right-wing three against a zone.

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SECOND QUARTER

Starters: Rose, Eric Gordon, Iguodala, Durant, Odom

Score: USA 27, China 15

Another 7-0 start for the U.S., with Durant having his hands in all seven. On the second possession of the quarter, China went to zone, but somehow left the NBA’s leading scorer all alone at the foul line. Result: Easy 15-foot turnaround jumper. He then got a dunk on a break and fed Gordon for a right-wing three on the possession after that.

China committed nine turnovers in the period, resulting in 19 of the U.S. Team’s 27 points. The U.S. got out on the break plenty in this quarter, with Durant, Iguodala and Gay all getting highlight dunks.

Midway through the quarter, China was in a zone and their coach Bob Donewald Jr. shouted out “Back of 41! Not a shooter!” No. 41 is Derrick Rose, and he promptly nailed a wide-open three from the right wing. Oops.

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THIRD QUARTER

Starters: Rondo, Gordon, Durant, Granger, Chandler

Score: USA 35, China 8

The U.S. played zone for the entire 10 minutes, and this was their most effective quarter. They forced another nine China turnovers, held them scoreless for one stretch of 11 straight possessions, and won the period 35-8.

Gordon caught fire for a bit in the middle of the period and Russell Westbrook had a pair of highlight dunks off of turnovers in the backcourt.

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FOURTH QUARTER

Starters: Rose, Westbrook, Iguodala, Gay, Durant

Score: China 17, USA 16

Yes, you read that lineup right. Durant was the center of a 2-3 zone, and China started the period with 7-foot-3 Zhang Zhaoxu on the floor. Afterward, U.S. coach Mike Krzyzewski said that this lineup was a bit of an experiment.

“That last period is all experimentation,” the coach said.

The U.S. struggled more offensively than defensively in this quarter though. They scored just 11 points on their first 17 possessions, committing three turnovers along the way.

The quarter was tight throughout and the U.S. took a 14-13 lead when Tyson Chandler blocked a Yi Jianlian drive and Eric Gordon got a fast-break dunk on the other end.

Gordon then fouled Liu Wei on the perimeter. Liu put China back up at the line, but Gordon answered back by drawing a foul on Yi and hitting both free throws.

So China had the ball, down 16-15 with 12.9 seconds left. The U.S. pressured them and they looked like they weren’t going to get a good shot off, but Granger was whistled for bumping Liu at the foul line with 1.3 seconds to go.

After Liu hit both freebies to put China up 17-16, Krzyzewski called timeout and drew up a play for either Gordon or Granger to get a shot. The ball went to Gordon and his fading three from the left wing fell short.

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Neither Jeff Green nor JaVale McGee played at all. Official cuts have not been made yet, but it’s clear that Green and McGee will be two of the three. The team will probably still take McGee on their trip to Europe, however, just in case Tyson Chandler gets hurt before the World Championship begins.

The third cut? I think that one may be a much tougher decision. And it may not be made until closer to the World Championship.

“After the game tomorrow, we’ll make a decision to probably [make cuts],” Krzyzewski said. “But I’m not sure we’ll get down to 12.

“We want to go through tomorrow and not make decisions that we’ll regret a week from now. A week from now, we’ll be playing Lithuania (Aug. 21) and Spain (Aug. 22) in Madrid. And that type of situation will give us much more knowledge of how to pick the 12 than [the China scrimmage and France exhibition].

So they’re clearly not ready to make that final cut. It may be between Stephen Curry and Eric Gordon, but I think Russell Westbrook is also a possibility if they’re happy with three point guards on the roster.

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Kevin Love played just 4 1/2 minutes, but that was more about his bruised calf than about his status on the team.

“I thought he attempted to play, but you could tell that he’s not 100 percent right now,” Krzyzewski said.

Love did have one of the nicer assists of the game, an inbounds baseball pass to Derrick Rose for a layup off a made free throw.

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The U.S. pressed the entire game. Sometimes it was a man press, and sometimes it was a zone with a two-man front. It also varied in intensity. Obviously, the primary intent is to force turnovers, but even if they don’t, they’d like to take several seconds off the shot clock before their opponent gets into their offense. And China did have a few 24-second violations today.

Krzyzewski: “A victory for us will be to take five or six seconds off the clock.”

The half-court zone was pretty darn effective. We may see more of it than the staff had originally planned.

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With Granger recovering from his finger injury and playing so well today, you can definitely add him to the forward rotation that I wrote about on Thursday. That means that Odom and Love will play almost exclusively at center and that Green and McGee would be needed only for emergencies.

“The three and the four, with Durant, Gay, Granger and Iguodala, is pretty solid,” Krzyzewski said. “And actually the five, with those two guys [Love and Odom] is good. So who do you want to be insurance or a back-up for a big?”

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Rebounding was pretty solid for the U.S. China had nine offensive boards on 37 missed shots.

Krzyzewski: “I thought the attempt to rebound by everybody was there today.”

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I wrote a story for this morning on turnovers and how they should be a concern for the U.S. Thursday’s intrasquad scrimmage at Radio City Music Hall was sloppy to say the least, and while I think you can blame the poor shooting on the odd setting, I don’t think there’s much of an excuse for the 27 turnovers the two teams committed. But the U.S. took care of the ball much better today than they did on Thursday. Just 11 turnovers total.

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Durant finished with 14 points, but shot just 5-for-14 from the field. No one else shot particularly bad or (other than Granger) particularly well.

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Thirty of the U.S. Team’s 75 field goal attempts were from 3-point range. They shot 11-for-30 from beyond the arc and 24-for-45 from inside it.

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Rondo is Jason Kidd. He took just one shot, didn’t score a point, and dished out a game-high seven assists.

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Tomorrow brings a real exhibition game against France, which you can watch live on ESPN2 at 1 p.m. ET. We’ll have a full preview of that on the site shortly. Don’t expect the French to be much of a test. They just lost two games to Canada by a combined 33 points.

Following the U.S.-France game, China will take on Puerto Rico. NBA TV will have that one at 3:30 p.m. ET.

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Here’s a good read on JaVale McGee from Michael Lee of The Washington Post. I had no clue that McGee had asthma, and apparently, neither did he until late last season.

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John Schuhmann is a staff writer for NBA.com. Follow him on twitter.