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  1. Sam Miguel's Avatar
    Some background from Ziller's SB Nation colleague Mike Prada:
  2. AnthonyServinio's Avatar
    CafeFrance defeated Hapee Toothpaste for the 2015 PBA D-League Foundation Cup, not North Luzon Expressway.
  3. Sam Miguel's Avatar
    After another ouster, Ginebra’s ‘never say die’ philosophy must be questioned

    By Angelo Falcon

    on December 16, 2014

    MANILA — If you took away the box score on your television screens, it was easy to think that it was Ginebra who was well ahead in the dying moments of their quarterfinals game against Talk ‘N Text.

    Not because they were dominating on both ends of the court, but because they didn’t show the sense of urgency that a team on the verge of elimination would expectedly show in front of thousands of their supporters.

    That was basically the story of the game, the story of the night, the story of the season for Ginebra.

    For all the talks about their “never say die” attitude, there’s just one thing that the Gin Kings proved in that game — it’s the fact that it’s hard to revive something that has long been dead.

    And no, this loss doesn’t fall on the shoulders of LA Tenorio, who alongside Joseph Yeo, was the only bright spot for the crowd darlings in this game.

    This loss falls on the state of the team as a whole, and how far off they’ve fell from the philosophy that Sonny Jaworski and his crew built from the late 80s up until his retirement before the turn of the millennium.

    The very same philosophy and image that has endeared Ginebra to the fans back then now only remains as a happy memory to the people who were lucky enough to witness it live.

    And now the younger generation of PBA fans must be wondering: “Is this what the fuss is all about? Never say die? The league’s most popular team? You have got to be kidding me. “

    That is why it’s just so easy for the so-called “haters” of Ginebra to make fun of the team and its supporters. That kind of performance should remind everyone why the term “Kangkong” was coined in the first place.

    Because the Ginebra now is so far off from what the team was during the time of Jaworski, when its popularity was steadily rising.

    Because those critics and “haters” never really understood why Ginebra has been popular and why the older generation will literally get into a fight for the team.

    Because the team now isn’t really the type of squad that would shut those critics up, and give their ever devoted fans a performance that they truly deserve.

    This loss only solidified one thing that Ginebra fans have long denied.

    Maybe, just maybe, they’re fighting and cheering for just a memory that will never be revived. — Rivals 2014
  4. Sam Miguel's Avatar
    Having spoken to Coach Tim Cone, he expressed surprise that Justin Chua was still available at Number 10 overall. He said he was told that Chua could go as early as Number 5 or Number 6. Funny how things work out.
  5. Sam Miguel's Avatar
    Zach Randolph turned into a bust at the absolute worst time, the conference finals. He just could not get anything done against the intelligence and patience of the veteran San Antonio frontline.
  6. MrM's Avatar
    Bust: JR Smith - NBA 6th Man of the Year but has been playing awful since those unnecessary comments against Boston in the first round (he could still turn things around but considering NYK is down 1-3, it's a tall order).
  7. Sam Miguel's Avatar
    Other trading developments...

    Thunder add Brewer, send Maynor to Portland


    | Updated February 22, 2013 - 12:05pm

    OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) -- With Reggie Jackson taking over as the backup to All-Star point guard Russell Westbrook, the Oklahoma City Thunder shipped free-agent-to-be Eric Maynor to Portland on Thursday and picked up a trade exception to use during the offseason or early next season.

    Oklahoma City also attempted to bolster its backcourt for the rest of this season by sending a 2014 second-round draft pick to New York for Ronnie Brewer, a frequent starter who has been on playoff teams five of his first six years in the NBA.

    The Thunder have the second-best record in the Western Conference, despite losing three games in a row.

    ''I think the addition of Ronnie Brewer and the versatility he brings, his understanding of winning basketball certainly helps us, and we were able to do that without disrupting our core playing group at present,'' general manager Sam Presti said in a phone interview. ''We want to try to maximize those opportunities in the present. At the same time, the trade exception is something that we're going to look at strategically going forward.

    ''So, I feel like we helped ourselves in the present and also put ourselves in position to try to capitalize on something in the future.''

    The Thunder, already near the NBA's salary cap with Kevin Durant, Westbrook, Serge Ibaka and others under long-term contracts, were unlikely to re-sign Maynor at the end of the season and were able to get back a trade exception for his approximately $2.4 million salary that they will be able to keep for one calendar year.

    Oklahoma City also got the rights to Greek forward Georgios Printezis, who hasn't played in the NBA after being picked by the San Antonio Spurs in the second round of the 2007 draft. He currently plays for Olympiacos in the Euroleague.

    Brewer, however, could make an immediate impact if he can find a spot in the Thunder's rotation that already features Durant, defensive specialist Thabo Sefolosha and sixth man Kevin Martin on the wing. Training camp invitee DeAndre Liggins has earned minutes as a defensive stopper in recent weeks, and that role could shift over to Brewer.

    Presti said the decision on when Brewer would play will fall to coach Scott Brooks.

    ''He brings in a defensive mindset, versatility in regards to defending different positions. He's played for a number of programs that we have a great deal of respect for and has been a part of winning, which we value in him as a player,'' Presti said. ''And he's another high-character individual that we feel will fit very well with our current group.''

    Brewer has played in 10 playoff series in his career with Utah and Chicago, winning five. He started 34 of the Knicks' first 35 games this season before being shifted out of the rotation following Iman Shumpert's return.

    ''He has started about 300 games with those teams, and those teams are highly competitive. So, I think what it indicates is he really understands how to fit into a group, how to find a way to impact winning and I think he really embraces that,'' Presti said.

    The deals fit in with a relatively calm trade deadline around the NBA, with teams focused on avoiding harsher penalties for going over the salary cap under the new collective bargaining agreement. Those include financial penalties under the luxury tax but also limits on flexibility in roster moves.

    The trade exception provides another tool that could prove useful in such an environment.

    ''I think having a trade exception or additional draft picks, things of that nature have certainly become more valuable in the new system,'' Presti said. ''I think everybody's still trying to determine the best way to proceed within the new CBA.

    ''At this juncture, I think it's clear that team-building mechanisms and tools to do so are important.''

    To get it, Oklahoma City gave up Maynor, who had been a reliable backup to Westbrook over his first two seasons in Oklahoma City, ranking among the top 10 in the league in assist-to-turnover ratio. He missed almost all of last season after tearing the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee, but regained his spot in the Thunder rotation during training camp before getting replaced by Jackson in mid-December.

    Maynor has played sparingly since, mostly in mop-up duty. He will be a restricted free agent at the end of the season.

    His departure means Oklahoma City has only two established point guards on the roster.

    ''That's definitely something that we're going to evaluate in the coming days, and we'll do that,'' Presti said. ''In the meantime, we're very confident in the group that we have.''
  8. Sam Miguel's Avatar
    Looks like I was right on this one...

    Hawks keep Josh Smith, trade Morrow to Mavs


    | Updated February 22, 2013 - 12:29pm

    ATLANTA (AP) -- Hawks general manager Danny Ferry gave a simple explanation why he turned down the chance to trade Josh Smith on Thursday.

    "We value Josh," Ferry said.

    It wasn't the only time Ferry used those words. Smith, 6-foot-9 forward who leads the team in scoring, is an important defender with his steals and blocks, contributes big in assists and rebounds but will be an unrestricted free agent after the season.

    Ferry confirmed the Hawks entertained offers for Smith leading up to Thursday's trade deadline. Ferry ultimately preferred to keep Smith even while accepting the risk he could lose the 27-year-old forward in free agency with no return for the team.

    "We weighed the positives and negatives of each of our opportunities and at the end of the day we felt like the best decision was to stand pat based off some of the things we were looking at," Ferry said.

    The Hawks made two other moves. The team traded guardAnthony Morrow to the Dallas Mavericks for guard-forwardDahntay Jones. Atlanta also acquired backup center Jeremy Tyler from Golden State as the Warriors moved to escape the luxury tax.

    Smith participated in the Hawks' practice Thursday morning. He said he wasn't the only player who was thinking about the trade deadline.

    "I'm pretty sure it was going through everybody's heads, not just myself," Smith said. "There are a lot of guys who feel like they might get traded, too. It's not just me. It's a tough process."

    After hearing his name in trade rumors for weeks, Smith said he had difficulty sleeping following Wednesday night's loss to the Miami Heat.

    Ultimately, Smith said he was comfortable remaining with the Hawks or being traded.

    "It's not all that bad," Smith said. "I'm playing my dream job. I'm just blessed with the opportunity to be able to be a part of a special time. A lot of guys came through this league and played for the Hawks and other teams that I grew up idolizing, so it's definitely a blessing just to be here."

    Smith leads Atlanta with his averages of 17.1 points and 2.1 blocks per game. He is second on the team with 8.6 rebounds and 4.2 assists per game.

    Smith set career highs with his averages of 18.8 points and 9.6 rebounds last season. He has said he may ask for a maximum contract as a free agent. The Hawks could offer five years and about $94 million, while other teams could offer up to about $70 million for four years.

    "Right now it's not up to me where I go or what happens," Smith said Thursday. "In the summertime I do have the flexibility to be able to make my own decision. It's going to be my first time being an unrestricted free agent. Being able to see what's out there.

    "Like I say, I don't know what's going to happen. I just have to focus on where I'm at right now and not worry about it."

    Ferry shed two big contracts before the season when he traded guard Joe Johnson to the Brooklyn Nets and forward Marvin Williams to Utah.

    Those trades created cap space that helped make it easier for Ferry to decide against dealing Smith.

    "We were in an unusual situation where Josh's contract, our cap space and flexibility going forward, having a good team right now, there were a lot of factors that played into this," Ferry said. "I think the main factor is we value Josh. I think he's been important to our group this year and we can finish the year strong and hopefully we play well and we're a solid playoff team."

    The Hawks (29-23) are sixth in the Eastern Conference. They play the Sacramento Kings on Friday night.

    The Hawks will have only three players under contract for the 2013-14 season: center Al Horford, rookie guard John Jenkins and veteran guard Lou Williams, who is returning from knee surgery.

    The team will have the ability to re-sign point guard Jeff Teague and backup forward Ivan Johnson, who will be restricted free agents.

    Atlanta acquired Morrow from Brooklyn in the trade that sent Joe Johnson to the Nets. Morrow, slowed by right hip and back injuries, averaged 5.2 points in only 24 games with the Hawks.

    Jones (6-6, 215) gives the Hawks a strong wing defender. He has averaged 3.5 points in 50 games, including 15 starts. His contract expires at the end of the season.

    Jones averaged a career-best 10.2 points with Indiana in the 2009-10 season.

    Tyler (6-10, 260) has averaged only 1.1 points in 20 games this season with Golden State. He averaged 4.9 points and 3.3 rebounds as a rookie last season.
  9. Sam Miguel's Avatar
    Rajon Rondo will miss the 2013 NBA All Star Game, tearing a knee ligament in their last loss against the Atlanta Hawks.

    The injury was confirmed before the Boston-Miami game which the Celtics won 100-98 in two overtimes to mercifully arrest a six-game losing skid. Rondo is out for the remainder of the season, leaving the Celtics in an even more precarious situation as they cling to the eighth and last playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.

    There was no word yet as to who would replace Rondo in the All Star Game, as fans voted him as a starter in the East backcourt alongside Dwayne Wade of the Heat. This opens up the possibility that Kyrie Irving of the Cleveland Cavaliers might make his first-ever start as an All Star right in his first All Star game. It also opens up the possibility that Brook Lopez of the Brooklyn Nets, who is having a career season so far, or Rondo's fellow Celtic Paul Pierce will make the East lineup after all.
  10. Sam Miguel's Avatar
    Here're the official reserves for the All Star Game -

    For the East:

    Chandler (first selection)
    Bosh (eighth selection)
    Irving (first selection)
    Paul George of Indiana (first selection)
    Jrue Holiday of Philadelphia (first selection)
    Joakim Noah (first selection) and Luol Deng of Chicago (second selection)

    I missed most of my picks for reserves here, specifically pointguard Deron Williams of Brooklyn, Carlos Boozer of Chicago, Paul Pierce of Boston, and Josh Smith of Atlanta. Some other writers pointed out that Brook Lopez, who is having a great season thus far with Brooklyn, is actually the biggest snub for the East. That's probably what happens when the Nets as a team are seen as the coach-killer of Avery Johnson, whatever.

    While George, Holiday and Noah are having great seasons themselves, I will stick to my guns and say that only Irving deserves to be a first-time selection this year. Smith, Pierce, Boozer and Williams are integral parts of their respective teams, all of which are in the playoff picture.

    For the West:

    Duncan (14th selection)
    Parker (fifth selection)
    Westbrook (third selection)
    Aldridge (second selection)
    Randolph (second selection)
    David Lee of Golden State (second selection)
    James Harden of Houston (first selection)

    Lee is my only miss out West. He was among my honorables mention but surely as the host city, and with that gigantic fan base in Taiwan and China, Jeremy Lin should have gotten the nod over Lee. Harden is having a truly All Star season, but Lin deserves the slot he should already have gotten last year. If a Warrior deserved to be in this year's All Star game though, I would have to disagree with those favoring Stephen Curry and give it to the effective but unheralded Lee.
  11. Sam Miguel's Avatar
    ^^^ I forgot to add that this is Black's 11th PBA title, putting him just behind Baby Dalupan and Tim Cone.

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