Evan Turner claims Kyle Korver 'can't guard to save his life'
2014-12-04

After a promising 3-3 start capped by a victory over the Chicago Bulls a month ago, the Boston Celtics began blowing big leads on a near nightly basis. Their inability to close games has translated into eight losses in their last nine games, punctuated by the Atlanta Hawks' 23-point comeback on Tuesday night.

Celtics coach Brad Stevens stopped short of calling his team soft, but he might as well have during a self-described "broken record" of a postgame session. "When it comes easy, we've been good," he told reporters after the 109-105 loss. "When it gets tough, we haven't. It's a pretty simple formula."

And, yet, here is Evan Turner complaining about Kyle Korver's defense in Wednesday's Boston Globe.

They started pressuring and its tough to score when you have two hands inside your jersey as well, he said. At the same time, I got a foul call on Korver and they said I pushed him and tripped him and he just fell. He cant guard to save his life and hes grabbing Marcus Thornton and hes grabbing me and he has no business being in the game on the defensive end but what can you possibly do if theyre allowed to have their hands on you?

Just a hunch, but Stevens might suggest Turner return that physicality on the other end.

Regardless, it's never a good look when a player blames one more choke job in a string of choke jobs on jersey-clutching a savvy tactic adopted by any number of veterans over the years especially when Korver torched the Celtics for 24 points on nine shots to go along with six rebounds and four assists. Oh, and, as Peachtree Hoops rightly notes, the Hawks switched Korver onto Rajon Rondo down the stretch.

It's also fairly comical that Turner is the one to claim Korver "has no business being in the game on the defensive end," since the former No. 2 overall pick has never been lauded for his own defense. The Celtics currently rank 27th in defensive rating, allowing 110.3 points per 100 possessions, according to Basketball Reference, and that number is more than three points worse with Turner on the court (113.7). For the most part, those numbers are consistent with his career in Philadelphia and Indiana as well.

In addition to their defensive woes, nobody on the Celtics has proven capable of creating his own offense when the NBA game gets tight in the fourth quarter. Rondo facilitates, Jeff Green excels in transition and Jared Sullinger either hangs out at the 3-point line or cleans up offensive rebounds. Ironically, Turner was their best option down the stretch on Tuesday, and that suggests bigger issues than a jersey tug or two.




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Chicago Bulls center Joakim Noah out for two months
2010-12-28

The improving Chicago Bulls squad absorbed a major blow to their campaign after starting center and team’s rebounding leader Joakim Noah underwent thumb surgery that will sideline him for eight to ten weeks this season.


Noah, who is averaging 14 points and 11.7 rebounds per game this season, injured his thumb in their game against the Sacramento Kings on 27 November, but he was able to play through it, which could have aggravated the injury. The 25-year-old center also tore ligaments in his right ring finger and right index finger, but the Bulls training staff said that no surgery is needed to repair the tore ligaments.


Without Noah, Bulls general manager Gar Forman said that the team will have to make a huge adjustment and signing a big man as a short-term solution is possible, although he prefers to stick with the talents that they have in their fold.


“Obviously it affects us,” said Forman on losing Noah. “Not only from a statistical standpoint with his points and rebounds, but the energy that he brings. He'll still be around the team. But in the short term it's a blow.”


The Bulls, who are starting to play well since Carlos Boozer returned from a hand injury, will have to rely on their reserve big men to fill in Noah’s role, although Forman knows that the energy Noah brings inside the court would be sorely missed by the team.


However, Forman is confident that their reserve big men like Taj Gibson, Turkish rookie center Omer Asik, and veteran big man Kurt Thomas would give them a boost and continue to perform well this season.


“We'll go with what we have. We do think we have some depth,” Forman said. “Taj has stepped in, obviously in the past and done a very good job. I think it's an opportunity for guys. It's an opportunity for Omer to play some. Kurt Thomas, even a year ago when he was with Milwaukee found himself in this type of situation.”


Gibson, who started for the Bulls early in the season when Boozer was still recovering from a hand surgery, would take Noah’s spot in the starting lineup, but his entry could mean that Boozer should start at the center spot, which would definitely give them a size disadvantage.


“His presence,” said Boozer when asked what they would miss with Noah out of the lineup. “His presence defensively. I think he clogs up the middle so good for us. He blocks shots. He rebounds. Does a great job of putting pressure on the defense.”


Bulls superstar point guard Derrick Rose also expressed his frustration saying that Noah is the “heart and soul” of the team because of the intangibles he brings day in and day out. He also admitted that none of their remaining big men could fill in the role of Noah.


“Energy,” said Rose when asked about the difference of having and not having Noah inside the court. “Of course, you know, rebounding, just almost everything. He puts a lot into the game. Little things like passing, him talking, things like that.”


Despite losing Noah, Rose is still confident that they would continue to play well as long as they would stay focused. He also added that Gibson and Asik should have great confidence in themselves and the former rookie of the year believes that both of them would be up to the challenge.


“The guys that are coming in like Taj and Omer and all them that's coming in, they got to be ready to ball,” Rose said. “We got to get their confidence up high. They've at least got to put forth the effort that he put up every game. That's going to be a lot on them, but I think they can bear it.”


The Bulls will definitely be a different team with Noah out of the lineup, but with the talent that they have and by having two superstars in their fold, Rose and Boozer, the Bulls remain a formidable team and would still be a threat to teams like the Boston Celtics and Miami Heat.


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Milwaukee Bucks vs. the Atlanta Hawks first round of the NBA playoffs
2010-04-23

In reality, the Milwaukee Bucks season may have ended before the club took the floor last Saturday in its playoff opener in Atlanta. A late season injury to center Andrew Bogut has severely altered the makeup of one of the most improved squads in the league. This injury sent the basketball betting in a different direction. In Game 1, the absence of Bogut was immediately felt as the Hawks rolled to a 34-17 advantage at the end of the first quarter. The outlook didn't get better in the second quarter as the home squad took a 62-40 halftime lead. In the second half, the Bucks showed some life. Milwaukee cut the margin from the break in half to trail 81-70 entering the final period. While the Bucks were able to get the margin down to seven points in the final quarter, Atlanta was able to finish off the short-handed Milwaukee squad for a 102-92 victory. All five Hawks starters scored in double figures. Guard Joe Johnson led the balanced attack with 22 points. In defeat, rookie guard Brandon Jennings paced the Bucks with a dazzling 34-point effort. Without Bogut to protect the middle, the Hawks were able to shoot 54% from the field in the win. In Game 2 on Tuesday, Milwaukee kept the game tight throughout the first half to trail by only six points at intermission in a 52-46 contest. In the third quarter, Atlanta pulled away to lead by as many as 19 points before the Bucks cut the margin to 14 heading into the final quarter. Milwaukee pulled to within eight points in the fourth but ultimately suffered a 10-point defeat for the second straight game in a 96-86 Atlanta win. Johnson once again led the Hawks with 27 points. Guard John Salmons paced Milwaukee with 21 points while Jennings struggled in a 3-of-15 shooting night from the field. Now, the two squads will get a little break before Game 3 in Milwaukee on Saturday. After posting a 28-13 mark at home during the regular season, the Bucks will be seeking a boost from its home fans in a must win game with the NBA odds against them.


After posting a 17-24 record in the first half of the season, the Bucks weren't viewed as a viable playoff team by most people entering the second half of the season. In a surprise run, Milwaukee was one of the top squads in the league in the second half with a 29-12 mark. Salmons (20 points per game in 30 regular season games for Milwaukee) provided a major spark for the squad after being acquired from Chicago in the second half. Bogut (16 points, 10 rebounds per game during regular season) suffered a broken wrist just two weeks before the start of the postseason to derail some of the club's momentum. Jennings (16 points per game during regular season) had an up and down rookie campaign that was highlighted by a 55-point outburst against Golden State in his seventh NBA contest back in mid-November. Former Bulls head coach Scott Skiles has brought some toughness to the club that had been lacking. 


Atlanta posted its best regular season record in 13 years in the 2009-10 season. After its two victories to open this series, the Hawks are now a dominant 36-7 at home. While Atlanta has one of the most balanced lineups in the league, Johnson is the top scoring option for the squad. With Johnson (21 points per game during regular season) entering free agency this summer, the Hawks may not get a better chance to make a deep playoff run. Guard Jamal Crawford (18 points per game during regular season) is one of the top sixth men in the league as Atlanta's biggest threat off the bench. Up front, the Hawks have a strong combo to work with. Forward Josh Smith (16 points, 9 rebounds per game during regular season) is one of the top defenders in the NBA. Center Al Horford (14 points, 10 rebounds per game during regular season) emerged this year to earn a spot on the Eastern Conference roster in the All-Star game. Head coach Mike Woodson has been able to improve his squad's record in each season during his tenure since suffering through a humbling 13-69 record in his debut year with the Hawks in 2004-05. Do you basketball betting at www.sportsbook.com where everybody bets!