Thursday, October 30, 2014

Hornets Extra: Hornets 108, Bucks 106(OT)




106




108(OT)

If you were old enough to remember where you were on November 4, 1988, when the original Charlotte Hornets took the floor against the Cleveland Cavaliers at the old Charlotte Coliseum, you knew that Cleveland blew out Charlotte by 40 133-93, and the fans that stayed until the end gave the Hornets a standing ovation. Fast forward to last night, October 29, 2014, the date that fans have been waiting for since 2002, as the rebranded Charlotte Hornets made their return in thrilling style, and this time around, they didn't get blown out by 40, they came back from 24 points down in the third and to give the sellout crowd of 19,439 something to cheer about as they defeated the Milwaukee Bucks in overtime 108-106 for their first regular season win since 2002, and not only that, the 24 point deficit was the largest comeback in the 25 year history of Charlotte NBA Basketball(since 1988) by any team, Hornets or Bobcats.

The person that made it all happen was Kemba "Klutch" Walker, who tied it with a three in regulation and won it with a fade-away jumper in overtime, after he and the Hornets agreed on a 4-year extension to keep him in Charlotte.  "I was so high on adrenaline that I couldn't calm down. I was so anxious to be out there and the crowd was so into it." Walker said.

Walker would finish the night with 26 points to lead the Hornets in the win, pleasing head coach Steve Clifford on how his team stuck together and to battle back to get the win.  "He's courageous. I asked him if he was good and he said "I'll make one more play." And he did." quoted Clifford.  As team, Charlotte only shot 40.6% from the field, despite Milwaukee out-shooting them with 48.8%. The Hornets also had several other players reach double-figures, including Marvin Williams, who added in 19 points, while Michael Kidd-Gilchrist finished his night with 17 points, after the team announced prior to last night's game that they exercised his fourth-year option.  "Big Al" Jefferson would pick up where he left off last season, with a double-double as he had 14 points and 10 rebounds and rounding out the group of double-figure scorers for the Hornets was Cody Zeller, who had 11 points off the bench in the win.

Milwaukee was led in scoring by Brandon Knight, who had 22 points to go with 13 assists, while he was joined in the effort by O.J. Mayo and Khris Middleton, who had 17 points each and Giannis Antetokounmpo, along with Larry Sanders each had 10 to round out the group of double-figure scorers for the Bucks(0-1)

The Hive was totally alive last night, and the fans totally enjoyed every single minute of it, as the Hornets hope to carry that momentum into Saturday night's game at Time Warner Cable Arena against the Memphis Grizzlies at 7:00 p.m., as they will re-hang the number 13 jersey of the late Bobby Phills at halftime of the game on Saturday.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

30 Teams in 30 Days: Charlotte Hornets

Our "30 Teams in 30 Days" series concludes today with a preview of the Charlotte Hornets, as they look to pick up where they left off from last season's 43-win year as the then-Bobcats, and are looking forward to reclaiming the Buzz as they officially bring back the Hornets moniker back home to the Carolinas after a long 12-year absence.

Last season's record: 43-39(3rd in Southeast Division and 7th in Eastern Conference; Lost to MIA 4-0 in Eastern Conference First Round)

Head Coach: Steve Clifford(2nd season, 43-39 overall)

Arena: Time Warner Cable Arena(19,077)

Website: Hornets.com

Entering the 2013-14 season, the then-Charlotte Bobcats were looking for a way to get back to the playoffs for the first time since 2010 after 3 straight losing seasons, and the only way that they did so was bringing in a defensive-minded coach in Steve Clifford and landing Al Jefferson. Charlotte would be one of the young teams on the rise last season, and many thought that the then-Bobcats would be a threat in the Eastern Conference.  We were all right, as Charlotte finished up the season with a 43-39 record, good enough to give them the 7th seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs, setting up a first-round showdown with the Miami Heat.

The first round was somewhat dominated by Miami, as the Heat not only swept Charlotte in 4 straight games, but it would signal the end of the "Bobcats" moniker in Charlotte as we know it after 10 seasons.

Emerging in it's waif...the return of one of the most iconic brands in all of sports, as the franchise officially evolved into the Charlotte Hornets, as they would give the fans what they wanted and officially "Bringing Back the Buzz" to Charlotte and the Carolinas after a long 12-year absence.

Besides the return of Purple and Teal and Hugo the Hornet, they made a big splash in Free Agency this past off-season, and landing in Lance Stephenson to help the team become a even more dangerous threat in the East and together with Al Jefferson and Kemba Walker, many of the so-called "Experts" out there could possibly pick Charlotte as the "Dark Horse" of the Eastern Conference, and some could have them winning their first division title in the franchise's 25 year history in Charlotte(since 1988).

If you were a fan of the original Hornets during their 14 year run, you've heard of all the great names that donned the iconic uniform such as Muggsy Bogues, Dell Curry, Larry Johnson, and Alonzo Mourning, and with the season approaching, the newly-reborn Charlotte Hornets hope to capture that same excitement and passion once again in "Buzz City", and they are ready to take that next big step in the storied history of Charlotte NBA Basketball.

Hornets Extra: Bucks vs. Hornets

Milwaukee Bucks vs. Charlotte Hornets

Time Warner Cable Arena

Wednesday, 7:00 p.m.

Television: SportSouth

Radio: WFNZ 610 AM/WBAV 101.9 FM


Series history(since original Hornets first season in 1988): MIL leads series 48-46

After 4,578 days, the Charlotte Hornets will finally play its first regular season game since 2002, as they welcome in the Milwaukee Bucks to "The Hive" on Wednesday night.  The Hornets look to pick up where they left off from last season, when the then-Bobcats won 43 games and earning a trip to the NBA Playoffs, in which they were swept in 4 games by the Miami Heat, while the Bucks look to get out to a early start in their opener as they look towards a turnaround year in Milwaukee.


Scouting the Bucks

After a dismal 2013-14 season, the Milwaukee Bucks are hoping for a much better year this season, and they look to get on the right track on Wednesday, as they open up the season in Charlotte against the Hornets.  The Bucks have a new look, and a new attitude, as Jason Kidd takes over the helm as their head coach, while Jabari Parker will make his long-awaited rookie debut.

Milwaukee hopes that a young talented core could give them a major boost in the 2014-15 season, and we will see it in action on Wednesday, as the Bucks square off against the Hornets in Charlotte.


Scouting the Hornets

The last time the Charlotte Hornets played a regular season game was back on April 17, 2002, when they defeated the Chicago Bulls 112-106 at the old Charlotte Coliseum off of Tyvola Road.  12 years later, the Hornets are finally back, and are ready to begin an exciting and historic chapter in Charlotte NBA history, as they will make their grand return on Wednesday night at Time Warner Cable Arena against the Milwaukee Bucks.  The Hornets have made a lot of noise this past off-season, as they landed Lance Stephenson, and adding rookies Noah Vonleh and P.J. Hairston to a Hornets squad that may be the surprise team to watch in a competitive Eastern Conference, and who knows, they could possibly be a lock to capture their first ever division title in the 25-year history of Charlotte NBA Basketball, dating back to the franchise's inception in 1988.

Everyone in Charlotte is anxiously waiting to see what the Hornets will do after a successful 2013-14 campaign when they were known as the Bobcats, and "The Hive" will be alive again on Wednesday, as the Hornets welcome the Milwaukee Bucks to Charlotte.

Next 4 games for the Hornets(Home games in Purple, Road games in Teal)

Saturday: Memphis Grizzlies @ Charlotte(7:00 p.m.)
Sunday: Charlotte @ New York Knicks(7:30 p.m.)
Next Tuesday: Charlotte @ New Orleans Pelicans(8:00 p.m.)
Next Wednesday: Miami Heat @ Charlotte*(7:00 p.m.)
*-Southeast Division Game

NOTES: All SportSouth telecasts begin with "Hornets Live" 30 minutes before tip-off; All Hornets games can be heard locally on flagship station WFNZ-AM(610 The Fan) and throughout the Carolinas on the Hornets Radio Network.

Monday, October 27, 2014

30 Teams in 30 Days: Washington Wizards

We are hitting up the "Nation's Capital" on Day 29 of our "30 Teams in 30 Days" series of previewing all 30 NBA teams leading up to the start of the 2014-15 NBA season tomorrow, and we'll be taking a look at a team that many thought wasn't good enough last season, the Washington Wizards, who is looking to build upon last year's playoff appearance with another good year this upcoming season in Washington.

Last season's record: 44-38(2nd in Southeast Division and 5th in Eastern Conference; Def. CHI 4-1 in Eastern Conference First Round; Lost to IND 4-2 in Eastern Conference Semi-finals)

Head Coach: Randy Wittman(9th season, 191-329 overall; 4th season with Washington)

Arena: Verizon Center(20,308)

Website: WashingtonWizards.com

The Washington Wizards were coming off a tough 2012-13 season, which saw them finish the year with a 29-53 mark, and many of the fans in D.C. were wondering what the Wizards were going to do entering the 2013-14 season with a new outlook and agenda for a franchise that was looking to get back to the playoffs for the first time since 2008.

If you thought Washington was going to struggle during the season, then, you didn't pay attention to the surprising season the team was about to embark on, with the play of Bradley Beal and John Wall, Washington came out of nowhere to finish the year with a astonishing 44-38 record, and that elusive trip to the Playoffs for the first time since 2008, where they knocked out the Chicago Bulls in 5 games, before bowing out in the Eastern Conference Semi-finals to the Indiana Pacers 4-2.

Now, can the Wizards build upon last year's surprise run and turn it into another strong season this year?  It depends on how well they play each night, and to have Wall and Beal continue to have good ball control and good scoring capability, while the rest of the Wizards have to step up their game and to play 110% night in and night out.  Washington is indeed a team on the rise, and they want to pick up where they left off with a good 2014-15 campaign this season.

Upcoming team previews in the "30 Teams in 30 Days" series:


  • Tuesday: Charlotte Hornets

Sunday, October 26, 2014

30 Teams in 30 Days: Philadelphia 76ers

As we near the end of the "30 Teams in 30 Days" NBA team preview series, we make a stop in Philadelphia to check in with a young 76ers team that is ready and determined to make it work in the 2014-15 season.

Last season's record: 19-63(Last in Atlantic Division and 14th in Eastern Conference

Head Coach: Brett Brown(2nd season, 19-63 overall)

Arena: Wells Fargo Center(20,328)

Website: Sixers.com


The summary of the 2013-14 edition of the Philadelphia 76ers can be summed up in some interesting words: dismal and disappointing.  The downfall of it was a long 26-game losing streak, in which many thought would be the end of the Brett Brown era, and of course, a lack of an identity for the team, which ultimately led to them finishing in last place in the Atlantic Division, and a guaranteed lock in the NBA Draft Lottery.  Philly wound up with the third overall pick in the NBA Draft, and they would use it to get Joel Embid, and they also added in several more players in the draft, including K.J. McDaniels.

After the disappointing 2013-14 season the Sixers had, the team brought in Sam Hinkie as General Manager back in May as part of the team's rebuilding phase.  This season's edition of the 76ers is ready to make it work, with Michael Carter-Williams, or as the fans in Philly would like to call him "MCW", leading the way with a fresh outlook the team has in mind for the 2014-15 campaign, and things are indeed hoping to be much better for the team this season in Philadelphia.

Upcoming team previews in the "30 Teams in 30 Days" series:


  • Monday: Washington Wizards
  • Tuesday: Charlotte Hornets

Hornets Extra: A refresher of firsts in Charlotte NBA history

In less than three days from now, the Charlotte Hornets will officially make their long-awaited return to regular season action for the first time in 12 years as they welcome in the Milwaukee Bucks to Time Warner Cable Arena for opening night on Wednesday.  This season will mark the 25th season of NBA basketball here in Charlotte if you count in the 14 years of the original Hornets(1988-2002), and the 10 seasons of the Charlotte Bobcats(2004-2014), and this give us an opportunity to do a little refresher on some of the regular season "Firsts" from the Hornets first season back in 1988-89 with some of them occurring during the first game against Cleveland back on November 4, 1988, and some of the "Firsts" from the then-Bobcats first season back in 2004-05, since the newly-rebranded Hornets own and have exclusive access to all the statistical history, records, and information of Charlotte NBA basketball, after the franchise officially reclaimed the "Hornets" moniker on May 20th, 2014.

CHARLOTTE HORNETS FIRSTS:

First Game: November 4, 1988 vs. Cleveland(Charlotte Coliseum)
First Win: November 8, 1988 vs. L.A. Clippers(117-105)
First Loss: November 4, 1988 vs. Cleveland(133-93)
First Road Win: November 19, 1988 at San Antonio(107-105)
First Overtime Game: December 10, 1988 at New Jersey(Lost 121-112)
First Overtime Win: January 16, 1989 at Philadelphia(127-122)
First Starting Lineup: Kelly Tripucka(Forward), Kurt Rambis(Forward), Dave Hoppen(Center), Rickey Green(Guard), Robert Reid(Guard) vs. Cleveland(November 4, 1988)
First Point: Kelly Tripucka vs. Cleveland(November 4, 1988)
First Field Goal Attempt: Rickey Green vs. Cleveland(November 4, 1988)
First Field Goal Made: Kelly Tripucka vs. Cleveland(November 4, 1988)
First Free Throw Made: Kelly Tripucka vs. Cleveland(November 4, 1988)
First Three-Point FG Attempt: Kelly Tripucka at Detroit(November 5, 1988)
First Three-Point FG Made: Kelly Tripucka at Atlanta(November 12, 1988)
First Rebound: Kelly Tripucka vs. Cleveland(November 4, 1988)
First Assist: Rickey Green vs. Cleveland(November 4, 1988)
First Steal: Kelly Tripucka vs. Cleveland(November 4, 1988)
First Blocked Shot: Michael Holton vs. Cleveland(November 4, 1988)
First 20-plus points game: 24 by Kelly Tripucka vs. L.A. Clippers(November 8, 1988)
First 30-plus points game: 31 by Kelly Tripucka at San Antonio(November 19, 1988)
First 40-plus points game: 40 by Kelly Tripucka vs. Indiana(December 14, 1988)
First 10-plus rebounds game: 14 by Kurt Rambis vs. L.A. Clippers(November 8, 1988)
First 20-plus rebounds game: 21 by Kurt Rambis vs. Dallas(December 16, 1988)
First 10-plus assists game: 10 by Michael Holton vs. New Jersey(November 15, 1988)
First 20 Point-20 Rebound Game: 25 points-20 rebounds by J.R. Reid vs. Orlando(November 14, 1989)

CHARLOTTE BOBCATS FIRSTS:

First Bobcats Game: November 4, 2004 vs. Washington
First Bobcats Win: November 6 vs. Orlando(111-100)
First Bobcats Loss: November 4, 2004 vs. Washington(103-96)
First Bobcats Road Win: December 22nd at Houston(90-87)
First Bobcats Overtime Game: November 21st at Detroit(Lost in 2OT 117-116)
First Bobcats Overtime Win: December 18th vs. Houston(101-100)
First Bobcats Lineup: Gerald Wallace(Forward), Emeka Okafor(Forward), Primoz Brezec(Center), Brevin Knight(Guard), Jason Kapono(Guard) vs. Washington(November 4, 2004)
First Bobcats Point: Primoz Brezec vs. Washington(November 4, 2004)
First Bobcats Field Goal Attempt: Primoz Brezec vs. Washington(November 4, 2004)
First Bobcats Field Goal Made: Primoz Brezec vs. Washington(November 4, 2004)
First Bobcats Free Throw Made: Primoz Brezec vs. Washington(November 4, 2004)
First Bobcats Free Throw Attempt: Primoz Brezec vs. Washington(November 4, 2004)
First Bobcats Three-Point FG Attempt: Steve Smith vs. Washington(November 4, 2004)
First Bobcats Three-Point FG Made: Steve Smith vs. Washington(November 4, 2004)
First Bobcats Rebound: Emeka Okafor vs. Washington(November 4, 2004)
First Bobcats Offensive Rebound: Emeka Okafor vs. Washington(November 4, 2004)
First Bobcats Defensive Rebound: Emeka Okafor vs. Washington(November 4, 2004)
First Bobcats Assist: Brevin Knight vs. Washington(November 4, 2004)
First Bobcats Steal: Jason Hart vs. Washington(November 4, 2004)
First Bobcats Blocked Shot: Jason Kapono vs. Washington(November 4, 2004)

Saturday, October 25, 2014

30 Teams in 30 Days: Brooklyn Nets

Our "30 Teams in 30 Days" series of previewing all 30 NBA teams continues as we make the trek across NYC into Brooklyn, where we will take a look at a Brooklyn Nets team that is hoping that last year's playoff appearance can mark the start of a exciting time for the team entering the 2014-15 season.

Last season's record: 44-38(2nd in Atlantic Division and Eastern Conference; Def. TOR 4-3 in Eastern Conference First Round; Lost to MIA 4-1 in Eastern Conference Semi-finals)

Head Coach: Lionel Hollins(7th season, 214-201 overall, 1st season as BKN head coach)

Arena: Barclays Center(17,732)

Website: BrooklynNets.com

The 2013-14 season for the Brooklyn Nets was somewhat surprising for a team that has been trying to find it's identity since moving from their long-time home in New Jersey to Brooklyn back in 2012, and it was a good thing that the 2013-14 campaign turned out to be a good one for Brooklyn, as Jason Kidd would take over as it's head coach in the season, and behind the strong play of Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce, who signed with them last off-season after spending the bulk of their careers in Boston, Brooklyn notched a successful winning campaign with a 44-38 mark, and preserving the second overall seed in the 2014 Eastern Conference Playoffs.

The first-round series between Brooklyn and the Toronto Raptors turned out to be a battle royale, as Brooklyn would take Toronto to the limit and won the series in 7 games, but in the Eastern Conference Semi-finals, they were outplayed by the Miami Heat 4-1, and it would unexpectedly come to a bizarre off-season for Brooklyn, as Jason Kidd unexpectedly was traded to Milwaukee to become their head coach in exchange for several draft picks.

After that went down, the Nets decided to bring in Lionel Hollins, who had a successful run in Memphis for several season with the Grizzlies, to take over a Brooklyn team that has a mixture of veterans and young guns that is ready to take the next step entering the 2014-15 campaign with Hollins at the helm in Brooklyn, and the Nets will be indeed a team that we will keep our eye on this season in the Eastern Conference.

Upcoming team previews in the "30 Teams in 30 Days" series:


  • Sunday: Philadelphia 76ers
  • Monday: Washington Wizards
  • Tuesday: Charlotte Hornets

Friday, October 24, 2014

30 Teams in 30 Days: New York Knicks

In this installment of our continuing "30 Teams in 30 Days" series of NBA team previews leading up to the start of the 2014-15 NBA season, we will begin our 2-day stay in New York by kicking things off with the New York Knicks, a team that is desperately looking to return to glory with a new coach and a new direction this upcoming season.

Last season's record: 37-45(3rd in Atlantic Division/9th in Eastern Conference

Head Coach: Derek Fisher(1st Season)

Arena: Madison Square Garden(19,812)

Website: nyknicks.com

Last season turned out to be a fork in the road for a New York Knicks team that was struggling to find it's identity along the way.  Injuries would doom the team, and after finishing the year with a 37-45 mark, it would ultimately mark the end of the era for Mike Woodson in New York in just his lone year as Knicks head coach.

After the season came to it's conclusion, owner James Dolan decided to clean house, and look ahead to 2014-15 with a clean slate.  The first thing he did was to bring in Phil Jackson as President of Basketball Operations for the Knicks, and he had a long, hard task of looking for a coach to restore it to the days of Walt "Clyde" Frazier, Patrick Ewing, and John Starks.  He found it in Derek Fisher, who retired at the end of last season, and decided to let him take the wheel in the process of rebuilding the Knicks dynasty.

But the main reason why the Knicks want to rebuild and reload was of course, trying to keep Carmelo Anthony in the "Big Apple", and they got their wish, as they signed him to a contract extension, in the efforts and quest to make the New York Knicks a contender once again.  Now the real work starts.  New York is ready to make a statement that they don't want to be bottom-feeders anymore, they want to be at the top this season and in the years to come with hard word, dedication, and a commitment to do one thing: winning.  If the Knicks can put all that to good use, maybe they could be good this year and that may be a good lesson for Derek Fisher to learn in his first year on the sidelines in New York this season.

Upcoming team previews in the "30 Teams in 30 Days" series:


  • Saturday: Brooklyn Nets
  • Sunday: Philadelphia 76ers
  • Monday: Washington Wizards
  • Tuesday: Charlotte Hornets

Thursday, October 23, 2014

30 Teams in 30 Days: Boston Celtics

In this chapter of our "30 Teams in 30 Days" series leading up to the start of the 2014-15 NBA season, we'll take a closer look at the Boston Celtics, who is still in a rebuilding phase after losing some of the familiar names that many fans loves watching for a good number of years, but one face is still there and hoping to turn things around in "Beantown" this season.

Last season's record: 25-57(4th in Atlantic Division/12th in Eastern Conference)

Head Coach: Brad Stevens(2nd season, 25-57 overall)

Arena: TD Garden(18,624)

Website: Celtics.com

When you think of the Boston Celtics, you think about tradition and a legacy of great players that ever donned the Celtic uniform, such as Bill Russell, Larry Bird, Robert Parish, and Kevin McHale.  In more recent years, many of the fans saw the presence of "The Big 3" in Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, and Ray Allen.  Fast forward to last season, when Brad Stevens took over the reigns in Boston, and his first season was a learning curve for Boston, who of course finished the season with a dismal 25-57 season, but many were concerned about the future of Rajon Rondo, who has somewhat taken over as the face of the organization.

When the season starts for Boston, things could either be on the rise, or on the way down for the Celtics as Stevens enters his second year at the helm in Boston, and with Rondo returning to the lineup, along with a lot of fresh, new faces and familiar names, the Celtics may have a breakout, if not a surprise year in the 2014-15 campaign, which may get fans excited again in Boston, as they look to get back to the playoffs and to hopefully bring home their 18th title in franchise history this season.

Upcoming team previews in the "30 Teams in 30 Days" series:


  • Friday: New York Knicks
  • Saturday: Brooklyn Nets
  • Sunday: Philadelphia 76ers
  • Monday: Washington Wizards
  • Tuesday: Charlotte Hornets

Hornets Extra - Preseason Edition: Pacers vs. Hornets

Preseason Game #8: Indiana Pacers(2-4) vs. Charlotte Hornets(3-4)

Time Warner Cable Arena

Tip-off: 7:00 p.m.


Radio: WFNZ-AM(610 The Fan)

The 2014 preseason slate for the Charlotte Hornets will come to its conclusion tonight, as they welcome in the Indiana Pacers to "The Hive".  Charlotte is coming off a tough overtime loss to the Atlanta Hawks back on Monday night in Atlanta, while the Pacers suffered a loss of their own back on Tuesday, dropping a 107-89 decision to the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Scouting the Pacers

Indiana will wrap up their preseason play tonight with a visit to Charlotte, where they will take on their old friend and colleague Lance Stephenson and the Charlotte Hornets.  The Pacers will open up their season on Wednesday night at Bankers Life Fieldhouse against the Philadelphia 76ers, and many are expecting that Paul George, who is now the face of the franchise, hopes to stay healthy for the season, after missing the remainder of last season.

Frank Vogel's squad is totally determined to continue playing strong basketball after a stellar season last year, which ultimately came to an end with a series loss at the hands of the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference Finals, and they want to end their preseason on a high note with a win tonight on the road in Charlotte against the Hornets.

Scouting the Hornets

The Charlotte Hornets will drop the curtain on the 2014 preseason tonight as they wrap up their schedule against the Indiana Pacers at "The Hive".  Charlotte enters tonight's game with a 3-4 mark, after losing to the Hawks in overtime back on Monday night in Atlanta, and like Indiana, the Hornets hope to wrap up the preseason at .500 with a win.

The preseason for Charlotte was somewhat of a learning experience for the players and coaching staff, as they took it one step at a time to see what kind of system they will have in place for Wednesday's historic inaugural game against the Milwaukee Bucks at Time Warner Cable Arena, but first up, they look to have a good game tonight at home against the Pacers to conclude their preseason.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

30 Teams in 30 Days: Toronto Raptors

Today's installment of our "30 Teams in 30 Days" series of previewing all 30 NBA teams takes us "North of the Border" to Toronto, where we will take a look at a young, talented Raptors team that is looking forward to pick up where they left off last season.

Last season's record: 48-34(1st in Atlantic Division/3rd in Eastern Conference; Lost to BKN 4-3 in Eastern Conference First Round)

Head Coach: Dwane Casey(6th season, 158-194 overall; 4th season with TOR)

Arena: Air Canada Centre(19,800)

Website: Raptors.com


When Dwane Casey arrived in Toronto a couple of seasons back, he had the task of taking over a struggling team and to turn them into a competitive team in the Eastern Conference down the road, and last season was no exception for a Raptors team that many thought wasn't good enough to make it into the playoffs this season.  Casey proved the critics wrong during his 3rd year in Toronto, guiding them to an Atlantic Division crown and locking down the third seed in the 2014 Eastern Conference playoffs thanks to a 48-34 mark.

The Raptors had a tough hill to climb in their first round match-up against the Brooklyn Nets, as Brooklyn would eventually knock out Toronto in the first round by winning the series 4-3, ending the Raptors surprising season.

The question that the Raptors are facing this season is: Can they pick up where they left off?  It is in the hands of a up and coming roster with DeMar DeRozan, Landry Fields, and Kyle Lowry, and other key acquisitions that would eventually give the Raptors a chance to somewhat have a better year in the 2014-15 campaign, if they want to finish what last season's team started and to take it one step further this year in Toronto.

Upcoming team previews in the "30 Teams in 30 Days" series:

Thursday: Boston Celtics
Friday: New York Knicks
Saturday: Brooklyn Nets
Sunday: Philadelphia 76ers
Monday: Washington Wizards
Tuesday: Charlotte Hornets

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

30 Teams in 30 Days: Cleveland Cavaliers

Our continuing series of previewing all 30 NBA team in 30 Days is nearing the homestretch, as we are less than one week away from the start of the 2014-15 NBA regular season, and we continue the series in Cleveland, where we will preview the Cleveland Cavaliers, a team that could possibly contend for a NBA title with the return of "The King" and a new arsenal behind him.

Last season's record: 33-49(3rd in Central Division/10th in Eastern Conference)

Head Coach: David Blatt(1st season)

Arena: Quicken Loans Arena(20,562)

Website: Cavs.com

Here's a brief summary of the 2013-14 season for the Cleveland Cavaliers: It was somewhat a season of questions and answers in Cleveland, but the lone bright spot Cleveland had in last season's lineup was Kyrie Irving.  His performance was absolutely stellar for the Cavs to have a bright spot, but it was not good enough for Cleveland, as they would miss the playoffs again, finishing up with a 33-49 mark and ending up third in the Central Division standings, as the makeover would start with the firing of Mike Brown as head coach, and of course, winning the NBA Draft Lottery, securing the number one pick, which was used to get Andrew Wiggins.

Later in the off-season, a major cloud of white smoke came from the chimney of "The Q", as many of the Cavalier faithful were anxiously waiting to hear from one of the biggest names in the NBA today if he would return home or not. And in the end, LeBron James decided that the time was indeed right for him to return home to Cleveland, and to hopefully finish his career there in a Cavaliers uniform.  Another key part to the makeover was hiring David Blatt as it's new head coach, before wrapping it up with a trade that would send Wiggins to Minnesota in exchange for Kevin Love.

The expectations have never been higher for the Cleveland Cavaliers in this upcoming season, now that LeBron has decided to come back into the fold wearing the Wine and Gold, and some may think the Cavaliers could go all the way, while others are saying that the return of Mr. James could give Cleveland something to talk about down the road, and we'll see it come together in action this season.

Upcoming team previews in the "30 Teams in 30 Days" series:


  • Wednesday: Toronto Raptors
  • Thursday: Boston Celtics
  • Friday: New York Knicks
  • Saturday: Brooklyn Nets
  • Sunday: Philadelphia 76ers
  • Monday: Washington Wizards
  • Next Tuesday: Charlotte Hornets

Monday, October 20, 2014

Hornets Extra - Preseason Edition: Hornets @ Hawks

Preseason Game #7: Charlotte Hornets(3-3) vs. Atlanta Hawks(2-3)

Philips Arena, Atlanta, Georgia

Tip-off: 7:30 p.m.

Radio: WFNZ-AM(610 The Fan)

With 9 days remaining until opening night, the Charlotte Hornets are in the homestretch of their preseason slate, which continues tonight in Atlanta as they square off against the Hawks.  Last night, the Hornets lost to Chicago by a 101-96 margin to the Bulls, while Atlanta meanwhile enters tonight's match-up with a loss of their own, a 104-100 loss to Detroit back on Saturday night at Philips Arena.

Scouting the Hornets

The Charlotte Hornets are one week away from their long awaited regular-season return to action for the first time in 12 years against the Milwaukee Bucks next Wednesday night at Time Warner Cable Arena, and their next 2 preseason games will serve as a final tune-up for the team before the real thing starts next week.  

Last night, the Hornets fell to Chicago by the final score of 101-96, with Michael Kidd-Gilchrist leading the way with 14 for the Hornets in the loss, which drops them to 3-3 on the preseason.  Charlotte hopes to learn a lot from their final 2 games of the preseason, which starts tonight in Atlanta against the Hawks, and wraps up on Thursday night at "The Hive" against the Indiana Pacers.

Scouting the Hawks

Like Charlotte, who has 2 games left on their preseason slate, the Atlanta Hawks are into it's final 2 games of their preseason schedule, and they too are coming off a loss of their own, dropping a 104-100 decision to the Detroit Pistons on Saturday night at Philips Arena.

The Hawks are often considered as one of the possible teams to beat in the Southeast Division this season, along with Charlotte and the up and coming Wizards, and it will be up to Kent Bazemore and a young Hawks squad to step up big time for Atlanta this season, as they will wrap up the home portion of the preseason schedule by welcoming in it's old rivals, the Charlotte Hornets, to Atlanta tonight for this preseason match-up.

Upcoming Hornets preseason game schedule(Home games in Purple, Road games in Teal)

Thursday: Indiana Pacers @ Charlotte(7:00 p.m.)

NOTE: All Hornets preseason games can be heard locally on flagship station WFNZ-AM(610 The Fan) and throughout the Carolinas on the Hornets Radio Network.

30 Teams in 30 Days: Detroit Pistons

Today in our "30 Teams in 30 Days" series of NBA team previews leading up to the start of the 2014-15 NBA season next Tuesday, we will be going in-depth and taking an inside look at the Detroit Pistons, a team that is in the midst of a rebuilding phase, but is determined to turn things around this season in "The Motor City".

Last season's record: 29-53(4th in Central Division/11th in Eastern Conference)

Head Coach: Stan Van Gundy(9th season, 371-208 overall, 2nd season with Detroit)

Arena: The Palace of Auburn Hills(21,231)

Website: Pistons.com

In the 2013-14 season, Stan Van Gundy's first as Detroit's head coach, he wanted to see what his players would give in to his system, as the Pistons were in the midst of their rebuilding phase, a phase that was started when Tom Gores bought the team from the family of the late Bill Davidson, the team's longtime owner in 2011.  Despite finishing the season with a 29-53 record, Detroit did have some bright spots in the lineup, and a possible key to the future in Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, and Andre Drummond, but the main player that would be the key to whether Detroit gets to the playoffs again or not is Josh Smith, who led the team with a 16.4 points per game average in last season's campaign.

Detroit is indeed continuing their rebuilding phase and it could take a lot of time for it to come into fruition, but a young, talented lineup and a veteran coach in Stan Van Gundy could turn things around for a struggling Pistons team that is hoping that a surprising run may happen this season, and it could give them the confidence they need down the road.

Upcoming team previews in the "30 Teams in 30 Days" series


  • Tuesday: Cleveland Cavaliers
  • Wednesday: Toronto Raptors
  • Thursday: Boston Celtics
  • Friday: New York Knicks
  • Saturday: Brooklyn Nets
  • Sunday: Philadelphia 76ers
  • Next Monday: Washington Wizards
  • Next Tuesday: Charlotte Hornets 

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Hornets Extra - Preseason Edition: Hornets @ Bulls

Preseason Game #6: Charlotte Hornets(3-2) vs. Chicago Bulls(3-2)

United Center, Chicago

Tip-off: 8:00 p.m.

Radio: WFNZ-AM(610 The Fan)

Tonight in Chicago, the Charlotte Hornets will square off against the Chicago Bulls in the 6th game of the preseason slate for both teams.  The Hornets are coming off a 96-86 win over the Wizards on Friday night in Washington behind a 20-point performance from Al Jefferson in the win for Charlotte, while the Bulls enter this game with a 85-84 win over the Atlanta Hawks back on Thursday night at home on a buzzer-beater from Jimmy Butler.


Scouting the Hornets

With 3 games remaining in their preseason schedule, the Charlotte Hornets have been starting to develop a game plan that would carry them well into next Wednesday's inaugural game against the Milwaukee Bucks at Time Warner Cable Arena.  Charlotte bounced back from a tough loss at the hands of the Detroit Pistons on Wednesday morning with a 96-86 win over the Wizards on Friday night in Washington, behind Al Jefferson's 20 point performance to give the Hornets a 3-2 record so far on the preseason, and they look to have a good game tonight, as they visit the "Windy City" to square off against the Bulls at the United Center.


Scouting the Bulls

Just like the Hornets, Chicago is also 3-2 on the preseason slate, coming off a dramatic win back on Thursday night at the United Center, when Jimmy Butler's buzzer-beater gave the Bulls a 85-84 win over the Atlanta Hawks.  Chicago is always a tough team to beat each season, and the match-up tonight will be a fun one, as they welcome in Charlotte, their longtime rivals dating back to when current Hornets owner Michael Jordan suited up in a Bulls uniform, to the United Center for this preseason contest as both teams are entering the home stretch in the preseason, as they get ready for the upcoming 2014-15 campaign next week.

Upcoming Hornets preseason game schedule(Home games in Purple, Road games in Teal)

Monday: Charlotte @ Atlanta Hawks(7:30 p.m.)
Thursday: Indiana Pacers @ Charlotte(7:00 p.m.)

NOTE: All Hornets preseason games can be heard locally on flagship station WFNZ-AM(610 The Fan) and throughout the Carolinas on the Hornets Radio Network.

30 Teams in 30 Days: Milwaukee Bucks

Today installment of our "30 Teams in 30 Days" NBA season preview series takes us up to Milwaukee, where we will take a look at a rebuilding Milwaukee Bucks team that is hoping to have a solid year after a rough go of it back in the 2013-14 campaign.

Last season's record: 15-67(5th in Central Division and Eastern Conference)

Head Coach: Jason Kidd(2nd season, 44-38 overall; 1st season with Milwaukee)

Arena: BMO Harris Bradley Center(18,717)

Website: Bucks.com

When Larry Drew arrived in Milwaukee, his main objective was to make a team a contender, just like he did in his 3 years as the head coach in Atlanta with the Hawks, and his expectations didn't go the way it would meant to be for the Bucks, as he only lasted just one season with a 15-67 mark, ending not only his tenure, but the era of longtime Bucks owner Herb Kohl, who sold the team to Wesley Edens and Marc Lasry.

Then, the team would pull off an unusual trade: they would acquire the coaching rights to Jason Kidd from the Brooklyn Nets in exchange for two second-round picks in the NBA Draft in 2015 and in 2019.  Milwaukee would later add on to its rebuilding blueprint by drafting Jabari Parker out of Duke University with the second overall pick in the 2014 NBA Draft.

Now, the Bucks are well determined to have somewhat of a learning curve if they want to get back to their competitive ways again, with Jason Kidd at the helm, the Bucks could have a little bit of struggles in them this season, but they are more looking forward to building a brighter future down the road in Milwaukee, now and in the years to come.

Upcoming team previews in the "30 Teams in 30 Days" series:


  • Monday: Detroit Pistons
  • Tuesday: Cleveland Cavaliers
  • Wednesday: Toronto Raptors
  • Thursday: Boston Celtics
  • Friday: New York Knicks
  • Saturday: Brooklyn Nets
  • Next Sunday: Philadelphia 76ers
  • Next Monday: Washington Wizards
  • Next Tuesday: Charlotte Hornets

Saturday, October 18, 2014

30 Teams in 30 Days: Chicago Bulls

Today's installment of our "30 Teams in 30 Days" series of NBA team previews leading up to the start of the 2014-15 season, now takes us to Chicago, where we will go in-depth and break down the always tough Chicago Bulls, a team that looks to keep the playoff tradition going into this season.

Last season's record: 48-34(2nd in Central Division/4th in Eastern Conference; Lost to WAS 4-1 in Eastern Conference 1st Round)

Head Coach: Tom Thibodeau(5th season, 205-107)

Arena: United Center(23,129)

Website: Bulls.com

When you think of the Chicago Bulls, you obviously think of history, tradition, and championships, and not to mention the team's glory days with Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, Dennis Rodman, and Phil Jackson.  Over the last couple of seasons, Chicago has added on to that legacy when Tom Thibodeau arrived in 2010 to take over a Bulls squad that is determined to get back to elite status in the NBA.

Ultimately, the team lost one of it's biggest stars in Derrick Rose during the season, but they did manage to rally around each other to wrap up the 2013-14 campaign with a 48-34 record and making the playoffs once again, before bowing out in 5 games to an upstart Washington Wizards team that surprised everyone last season.

Fast forward to this upcoming season, we all know that Derrick Rose is back, and he is determined to stay healthy and lead Chicago to possibly another playoff appearance, and even further if they want to bring home their 7th NBA title, their first since 1998.  Many of the fans in Chicago are all hoping that the Bulls can go above their expectations and to have a strong year, and it will all depend on how will they play together as a team this year.

Upcoming team previews in the "30 Teams in 30 Days" series:


  • Sunday: Milwaukee Bucks
  • Monday: Detroit Pistons
  • Tuesday: Cleveland Cavaliers
  • Wednesday: Toronto Raptors
  • Thursday: Boston Celtics
  • Friday: New York Knicks
  • Next Saturday: Brooklyn Nets

Friday, October 17, 2014

30 Teams in 30 Days: Indiana Pacers

Our ongoing "30 Teams in 30 Days" series brings us back into the Eastern Conference after a long stay in the Western Conference over the last couple of days.  We resume the Eastern Conference portion of this series with a look at one of the teams that is always a contender in the Eastern Conference, the Indiana Pacers, a team that could give the league a run for their money in the 2014-15 season.

Last season's record: 56-26(1st in Central Division and Eastern Conference; Def. ATL 4-3 in Eastern Conference 1st Round; Def. WAS 4-2 in Eastern Conference Semi-finals; Lost to MIA 4-2 in Eastern Conference Finals)

Head Coach: Frank Vogel(5th season, 167-100 overall with IND)

Arena: Bankers Life Fieldhouse(18,165)

Website: Pacers.com

If you had the Indiana Pacers taking the Central Division on paper, then you knew that they were a team with depth and size, but we all know that games aren't played on paper, they play it on hardwood, and many Pacers fans knew this.  Behind the solid play of Lance Stephenson, who was the center of attention of what would happen to him in the off-season, and of course, the supporting cast behind him, Indiana did indeed capture the Central Division crown, and landing the number one overall seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs last year, finishing up with a 56-26 mark.

Indiana did this without Paul George, who was out for the season, and the postseason, and after getting past the Atlanta Hawks in the 1st round, and Washington in the Eastern Conference Semi-finals, Indiana was staring down at it's final hurdle: The Miami Heat.  It was an epic series for both teams, but Miami got the best of Indiana in the Eastern Conference Finals.

Then, this past off-season, Lance Stephenson decided to leave the Pacers and sign with the Hornets to bolster their lineup this season down in Charlotte, but that didn't stop Indiana from getting Paul George back after an extended period of time, and just recently, they signed Frank Vogel to an extension, after all he has done in his short time as the head man in Indiana.

Things are looking up for the Pacers this upcoming season, and they will always be one of the prime teams in the league, and in their own division, with rivals in the Milwaukee Bucks, Chicago Bulls, and yes, the Cleveland Cavaliers again, now that LeBron has decided to rejoin the team again, and this team could be a dangerous threat to win it all, but we shall watch and see how they'll do this upcoming season.

Upcoming team previews in the "30 Teams in 30 Days" series:


  • Saturday: Chicago Bulls
  • Sunday: Milwaukee Bucks
  • Monday: Detroit Pistons
  • Tuesday: Cleveland Cavaliers
  • Wednesday: Toronto Raptors
  • Thursday: Boston Celtics
  • Next Friday: New York Knicks

Thursday, October 16, 2014

30 Teams in 30 Days: Memphis Grizzlies

Our "30 Teams in 30 Days" series previewing all 30 NBA teams in 30 Days, takes us to Memphis, where we will wrap up our extensive look at the Western Conference by breaking down the Memphis Grizzlies, who are always contending in the Western Conference each year, and last year was no exception.

Last season's record: 50-32(3rd in Southwest Division/7th in Western Conference; Lost to OKC 4-3 in Western Conference 1st Round)

Head Coach: Dave Joerger(2nd season, 50-32 overall)

Arena: FedExForum(18,119)

Website: Grizzlies.com

When Dave Joerger was hired as the head coach of the Memphis Grizzlies last year, many thought he wasn't going to be good enough to be a NBA head coach in his first year in Memphis, replacing Lionel Hollins.  But he proved them wrong, big time.  Memphis has started to come into their own over the last couple of seasons, with playoff appearances and a strong roster led by "Z-Bo" himself, Zach Randolph.

The end result in Joerger's first full year as Memphis head coach: 50-32, and a playoff match-up against Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, and the Oklahoma City Thunder, and the two would duke it out until Game 7, when Oklahoma City eliminated the Grizzlies, but on and all, many say that Joerger had a good first year under the belt in Memphis, and he is ready to do it again.

Memphis is totally determined to pick up where they left off last season, with some new additions and returning faces, the Grizzlies are always one of the teams to watch in the Western Conference, and that is one of the reasons why many of the fans there often flock to FedExForum, or as they would call it "The Grindhouse" to watch some good basketball night in and night out, as the Grizzlies are ready to contend once again in the upcoming 2014-15 season.

Upcoming team previews in the "30 Teams in 30 Days" series:


  • Friday: Indiana Pacers
  • Saturday: Chicago Bulls
  • Sunday: Milwaukee Bucks
  • Monday: Detroit Pistons
  • Tuesday: Cleveland Cavailers
  • Wednesday: Toronto Raptors
  • Next Thursday: Boston Celtics

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

30 Teams in 30 Days: Minnesota Timberwolves

In this edition of our "30 Teams in 30 Days" NBA season preview series, we'll make a visit to Minneapolis, where we'll preview a Minnesota Timberwolves team that had a huge makeover in the off-season, but will it capitalize into wins during the regular season?

Last season's record: 40-42(3rd in Northwest Division/10th in Western Conference)

Head Coach: Flip Saunders(17th season, 638-526 overall; 11th season with MIN)

Arena: Target Center(19,356)

Website: Timberwolves.com

Last season, Flip Saunders made his much anticipated return to the Timberwolves sidelines, and in return, his team did put up a strong fight in not only the Northwest Division, but in the Western Conference as well, vying for a playoff spot down the stretch.  But their 40-42 mark was not good enough for Minnesota, as they would miss the playoffs, and the big question that Minnesota had to answer was this: What would the future hold for Kevin Love?

The answer was solved, when they traded him to Cleveland for Andrew Wiggins, Anthony Bennett, and Thaddeus Young.  Now, with a fresh slate of players, and returning favorites such as Corey Brewer, and Kevin Martin, the Timberwolves are well determined to get back into the playoffs for the first time since 2005, and hopefully, this adjustment could benefit the organization as a whole down the road.

Upcoming team previews in the "30 Teams in 30 Days" series:


  • Thursday: Memphis Grizzlies
  • Friday: Indiana Pacers
  • Saturday: Chicago Bulls
  • Sunday: Milwaukee Bucks
  • Monday Detroit Pistons
  • Tuesday: Cleveland Cavaliers
  • Next Wednesday: Toronto Raptors

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Hornets Extra - Preseason Edition: Pistons vs. Hornets

Preseason Game #4: Detroit Pistons(2-1) vs. Charlotte Hornets(2-1)

Time Warner Cable Arena

Wednesday, 11:00 a.m.

NOTE: Game will not be broadcast on radio locally, it will be streamed on hornets.com and on the Hornets mobile app

The Charlotte Hornets will continue their preseason slate, and wrapping up their brief 3-game preseason homestand on Wednesday morning with an 11:00 a.m. start against the Detroit Pistons in the annual Cool School Field Trip game for elementary and middle school students.  Charlotte is coming off a dramatic, yet thrilling win over the Orlando Magic last night at "The Hive" by a 99-97 margin, while the Pistons enter the game with a 2-1 mark, and losing to Washington 91-89.  Both teams look for their third win of the preseason tomorrow morning, as they continue to gear up for the start of their respective seasons in less than 2 weeks from now.

Scouting the Pistons

Coming into Wednesday morning's game, Detroit enters the game with a 2-1 preseason record, with both of their preseason wins coming against the Chicago Bulls and the Milwaukee Bucks, while their lone loss of the preseason came against Washington.  Detroit will be without Jodie Meeks, who is out with a stress reaction of the lower back, meaning that he'll be out for approximately eight weeks, while Kentavious Caldwell-Pope is out with a left-knee strain, meaning that he will miss tomorrow's game against the Hornets and games against Orlando and Atlanta later in the week.  The Pistons hope these two players will be at full strength in the early stages of the season, while the rest of the team is looking for a solid outing in their road contest with the Charlotte Hornets tomorrow morning.

Scouting the Hornets

The Charlotte Hornets made their long-awaited preseason home debut at "The Hive" on Monday night, as they battled back to come away with a 99-97 win over the Orlando Magic, behind a strong outing from Jannero Pargo off the bench for Charlotte, as he had 16 points off the bench, while Al Jefferson led the way with 20 points, despite having just three rebounds on the night for the Hornets in the victory.

The game has been designated as a "Cool School Field Trip" game for middle school students throughout North and South Carolina.  The theme for the second straight year is "Too Cool to Bully", as they will focus on the dangers of bullying and how the students can do to prevent it from happening.

Upcoming Hornets preseason game schedule(Home games in Purple, Road games in Teal)

Friday: Charlotte @ Washington Wizards(7:00 p.m.)
Sunday: Charlotte @ Chicago Bulls(7:00 p.m.)
Monday: Charlotte @ Atlanta Hawks(7:30 p.m.)
October 23rd: Indiana Pacers @ Charlotte(7:00 p.m.)

NOTE: All Hornets preseason games(with the exception of Wednesday's game) can be heard locally on flagship station WFNZ-AM(610 The Fan) and throughout the Carolinas on the Hornets Radio Network, or on the Hornets mobile app.