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Ball Don't Lie
  • Even as an outsider, even if you’ve just looked on from afar as an unholy confluence of unknowing sportswriter disses, unfortunate injury timing, and downright terrible executive work from a series of general managers takes the Toronto Raptors and their followers down a peg, you kind of know what it’s like to live life as a Raptor fan. It started with an embarrassing logo in 1995, the first realization that Isiah Thomas might not be cut out for such things, sportswriters just assuming that Vince Carter would not want anything to do with the fantastic city as a would-be free agent, Rafael Araujo, the post-Chris Bosh decline, on and on …

    You feel for them, which is why you feel great when the team makes it back to the playoffs, when it wins its division in spite of a year that was supposed to drive team deep into the NBA lottery, and when you warm to the fact that this young and learning Raptors team could down a batch of NBA luminaries over the next few weeks, it could move on to

    Read More »from The Toronto Raptors release a striking new 'We the North' clip in anticipation of a playoff run (Video)
  • The playoffs begin on Saturday, thankfully, which means it’s that lovely time of spring (and it is spring, right? It’s not going to snow again, is it?) when the minds behind Ball Don’t Lie offer you their thoughts on the upcoming pairings in the first round of the NBA’s postseason.

    Kelly Dwyer’s Old Grey Whistle Test

    If you’re just checking in now, you’d be forgiven for wondering just how the Brooklyn Nets made it to the 2014 NBA playoffs. Actually, if you’re just checking in now, you likely missed the early season swoon these Nets cobbled together while you were paying attention to various brands of football. A team featuring Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Deron Williams would seem to be a postseason lock, as the springtime championship attempt commences.

    The Nets had to work through an extremely challenging set of conditions before righting the ship, though. Lead assistant coach Lawrence Frank was booted from rookie head coach Jason Kidd’s staff in the first month for allegedly

    Read More »from Ball Don’t Lie’s 2013-14 Playoff Previews: Toronto Raptors vs. Brooklyn Nets
  • Oklahoma City Thunder superstar Kevin Durant is the NBA's likely MVP for the 2013-14 season. While LeBron James might still be the league's best player, depending on how you rate such things, there's little question that Durant has put forth the best campaign of any player. Apart from winning his fourth scoring title in five years, Durant has improved in virtually every aspect of the sport and carried OKC through several lengthy periods of absence for co-star Russell Westbrook. It's hard to imagine him having done more to help his team.

    In Wednesday night's regular season finale against the Detroit Pistons, Durant put an exclamation mark on his already amazing year. With the Thunder needing a win to lock down the West's No. 2 seed for the playoffs, the lackluster Pistons held a meaningful lead for much of the contest. Then, in the fourth quarter, Durant took over. With OKC down 111-110 and under 20 seconds on the clock, Durant took an inbounds pass, went to his left, and dunked on both

    Read More »from Kevin Durant's game-winning dunk finishes off a likely MVP season (Video)
  • Heading into the 2013-14 NBA season, many observers and prognosticators expected the New York Knicks to take a step back from the 54-28 record they put up en route to winning the Atlantic Division and making it to the Eastern Conference semifinals last year. (I mean, when you add Andrea Bargnani in the offseason, you've got to take some type of hit.) Here at BDL, we pegged the Knicks at 49-33 — a five-game drop-off that would make it tough to maintain their spot atop the Atlantic, but still figured to keep them comfortably in the top eight of the Eastern Conference. Others were a bit less bullish, picking the Knicks to fall closer to .500. One preview, though, raised an awful lot of eyebrows by projecting Mike Woodson's club to sink like a stone in the standings.

    ESPN Insider's prediction for the Knicks' season, as forecast using Kevin Pelton's SCHOENE projection system, included a record of 37-45 — a staggering 17-win decline predicated heavily on an anticipated drop in 3-point

    Read More »from Knicks finish with 37 wins, just as projected by computer system that team made fun of before season
  • After nearly six full months and 82 games for each of the NBA's 30 teams, the regular season now gives way to the postseason. With no clear favorite, a massively competitive Western Conference, and two big rivals atop the Eastern Conference, this year's playoffs figure to be worth the wait.

    Without further ado, let's take a quick look at the first-round matchups, along with full schedules (all times Eastern and some quick analysis. (We'll publish in-depth previews for every series later this week.)

    WESTERN CONFERENCE

    No. 1 San Antonio Spurs (62-20) vs. No. 8 Dallas Mavericks (49-33)

    Game 1: Sunday, April 20, at San Antonio, 1:00PM on TNT

    Game 2: Wednesday, April 23, at San Antonio, 8:00PM on NBA TV

    Game 3: Saturday, April 26, at Dallas, 4:30PM on TNT

    Game 4: Monday, April 28, at Dallas, 9:30PM on TNT

    Game 5*: Wednesday, April 30, at San Antonio, TBD

    Game 6*: Friday, May 2, at Dallas, TBD

    Game 7*: Sunday, May 4, at San Antonio, TBD

    The eternally effective Spurs bounced back from last

    Read More »from Check out the first-round matchups for the 2014 NBA Playoffs

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