Kentucky Rolls: Calipari’s Post Game Press Conference

The Kentucky Wildcats, with seven possible first round draft picks on the roster, are 4-1 favorites to win the NCAA Championship this season. Kentucky rolled through its last exhibition game on Monday, beating Montevallo 95-72. Below is a transcript of John Calipari’s post game press conference.

Q. Are you any happier with how your kids ran?

COACH CALIPARI: We beat them up pretty good this weekend. They had a lot of practice this weekend, and so I got to their legs a little bit. But that’s fine. I thought we played better than we did last game, and that’s all I’m asking. We’re a ways away now, folks. But I’m learning about them every time they play, and Montevallo, they came out, greatest thing was there were some juniors and seniors, and the kids balled. They weren’t afraid. They were physical. They banged, they were not backing down.
You know, some things that I liked: Aaron, who again, I had to take him out because he jogged the floor, James did a couple times, but he goes seven assists, no turnovers. And he’s really, you know, not supposed to be our primary point guard. Dakari Johnson plays 15 minutes, goes nine points and five rebounds. And then Julius, you know, obviously it’s a game, you see I’m teaching them how to play out on the floor, but when the game is on the line, where is he going? Go get that ball next to that basket and get us something good.
I thought Willie came out in the second half and blocked shots, which he didn’t in the first half. As a matter of fact I took him out because a guy drove and he stood on the weak side.
But again, we’ve made strides. We’re better. We have five guys in double figures and another have eight and another have nine. But the one thing I’ll tell everybody: We’re still not a good team offensively or defensively yet. We just, when I say team, one guy is breaking down, two guys are breaking down. One guy forgets where to go. One guy holds the ball too long. Instead of pass, pass, cut, cut, drive, it’s pass, try to drive. And again, I mean, the most anybody shot were 13 balls, so it’s not like guys are being selfish. It’s just that you’ve got to play more for your team than yourself, and we’re getting closer, but we’re, this was a good game for us. I’m glad we played this team, and I’m glad they played the way they played.

Q. You tweeted today you wanted to get Aaron back to his normal position. How much of that was the way he played tonight?
COACH CALIPARI: Probably. You know, it’s a good point. So you watched the game? That’s why I tried to put Jarrod at point. I wanted to see him, because the reality is going to be he’s going to play some point, probably 10, 12 minutes a game Aaron will play, but we just have to see. Hopefully today being off and tomorrow being off, Andrew can come back Wednesday and we can start. But if he can’t, he’ll be out until he’s ready to go.

Q. What happened at the beginning of the first half? Talk about Willie getting sort of pissed off because he’s not doing well and maybe Dakari is?

COACH CALIPARI: No, I think the second half, we just told him, come on, you had two rebounds at halftime. And again, he only had four, but he fought and he did some things. You know, we’re a big team. We’re big, and there were some plays that I thought we should make, let me say this: I thought Alex played as well as I’ve seen him play. He went after balls. But again, I could go back and tell you there were five possessions that he gave up on. But that used to be 15. So now he’s going after balls, he’s fighting, and I was happy to see him play the way he played, too.

Q. What can you say about some of the rotations you had tonight, some of the lineups? What things did you like?
COACH CALIPARI: Well, again, I mean, the hard thing is without Andrew, you can’t, it’s like, okay, we’re playing without our quarterback. Now, the good news is his backup looks just like him. But he’s not him.
And so I wanted Jarrod to start tonight and play him at the position he’s going to feel more comfortable with. You know, Marcus Lee didn’t get the minutes. I wanted to get him some more minutes. But it’s a tough deal right now, and even Dakari, because Dakari deserves to play, and I’ll tell you, he gives you a great post presence. He turned it over a few times, Julius turned it over three times, and Jarrod three times. That’s six. 16 turnovers is too many, and a lot of them unforced, just like, four of them were lob passes that hit the shot clock, like what in the world?

Q. How do you think on a daily basis, how is Julius’s effort and the kind of things you see game in and game out? Is he just a natural like that?
COACH CALIPARI: The thing I asked the kids this week, I had individual meetings, and I said, have you ever been coached like this, and they all said the same thing: No. I said, well, I know I’m raising the bar, but tell me what you mean. He says, you hold us all accountable on every possession, and I’ve never been coached that way. So what these kids do is they coast on a possession, maybe they don’t run the floor, maybe they don’t make a hard cut, and I’m stopping it.

There’s a reason for that, too. And the same with the twins and the same with James Young. I mean, we’ve raised the bar. The biggest thing I can tell you is we’ve got a long way to go, but we’ve made strides. We’re not a good team right now. We’ve got a nice collection of guys, but we’re not a good team.
I put on the board, our execution on defense and offense will be about 30 percent right now. 70 percent of the time we’re wrong, so just talk your way through it and scramble, cover for each other, be a good teammate. That’s where we’re lacking right there. I don’t mind that we’re wrong a lot, it’s that we can do the other stuff.

Q. It didn’t look like you posted guys up intentionally a lot tonight.
COACH CALIPARI: Well, if you look at our team, most of the teams I’ve had, I haven’t been able to just say, okay, we’re going to post a James Young, who’s 6’7″, against a 6’3″ guy. We’re going to post Julius. We’re going to post Dakari. We’re able to do that because we have some guys. Our point guard is 6’6″. He’s going against a six?footer, we’ll post him.
Now, you may post to shoot a three. In other words, post them, they come out down and help, and all of a sudden it’s pass, pass, pass, and a guy gets a wide open shot for a drive from that.
But Julius was a beast. Now, he got 11 rebounds. I thought he should have had 20. There were four or five balls, easy six balls, he should have gotten, and he didn’t. I got on Alex a little bit on a couple of those, because again, he had four, and he played 17 minutes, but he could have had eight.

Q. Seems like all that is about getting comfortable playing on the perimeter.
COACH CALIPARI: Well, I don’t like the spin because I think people are going to play the spin. I’d rather him just go to his right hand and shoot it. If you miss it, we’ll tip dunk it. You know what I mean; get to your right hand. Like you’re saying, so what’s everybody say? When he drives right, everybody get in the lane because he’s going to spin and he’ll run you over. They put it on the scouting report. We’ve got to get James Young going right more. They jumped on his left hand a little bit and he settled for some jumpers.
Like I said, all in all, we made strides. They have tomorrow off. We come back Wednesday, Thursday, we play Friday, we have a practice on Saturday, we play Sunday, travel Monday, play Tuesday. So basically it’s on. And whether we’re ready or not, and we’re not, the bus is taking us to the games and the plane, and we’ve got to play games. So we’re going to have to learn as we go.

Early Week 10 Line Moves in the NFL

A quick look at where the lines have moved since the Sunday night release by the off-shore books.

Washington at Minnesota: The Redskins opened up as two point road favorites against the Vikings in the Thursday night matchup. That line has crept up slightly to 2.5, with a few places listing as 3 with inflated juice. The total has also moved a little higher, going from 48 to 49.5.

Jacksonville at Tennessee: The line opened up Tennessee -13 and hasn’t moved. The total, 41, also has remained steady.

Oakland at NY Giants: The Giants opened up as 6.5 -114 favorites at Bookmaker, seven elsewhere. The early money has come in on the Giants, moving the line in some places to 7.5. Teaser protection strategies are in play; many books are offering New York -9 +110 to keep teaser players off the game.

St. Louis at Indianapolis
: The Colts opened -11.5 at Bookmaker, 10 at the Greek, and 11 at Pinnacle. The money has come in on the Rams, with the line dropping to 9.5 in most places. The total has moved from 43 to 44.

Seattle at Atlanta: Seattle opened -6.5, but early action has seen that line drop to -6. The over/under is now 44.5 after opening 45.5.

Cincinnati at Baltimore
: This game opened up with the Bengals favored by 1 or 2 points at most places. that number has locked in at 1.5. The total has seen a nice move, opening at 41.5 at Pinnacle and climbing to 44.5 in most places.

Carolina at San Francisco
: The 49ers opened up as 6.5 favorites. That line hasn’t moved much, although gamblers with some shopping abilities should be able to find 49ers -6 out there. The total opened 41.5 and is now 42.5

Houston at Arizona: Arizona opened up as three point favorites at Bookmaker. Early money has come in on the road underdog, however, and that line has crept downward. -2.5 are available to shoppers, as is plus three on Houston. Both prices require added juice. The total opened 40 and is now 41.

Denver at San Diego: The Broncos opened as 7 point favorites; that line has remained steady although San Diego backers will need to pay some additional juice to get the seven points. The total, opening at 56.5/57 in most places, hasn’t moved.

Dallas at New Orleans: The Saints are seven point favorites after opening 6.5 at Bookmaker. The total has crept upward, moving from 52.5 to 53.5 for the Sunday Night game.

Miami at Tampa Bay
: Miami is now a 2.5 road favorite, down from a 3.5 opening at Bookmaker. The total opened 41 and has remained at that number, with additional juice.

Pistons To Get a Real Test Against Pacers

Indiana Pacers -1.5 at Detroit Pistons +1.5 Total: 186

The Indiana Pacers walloped Detroit last year, winning all four matchups by an average of 20 points. The rebuilt Pistons will see how all the off-season moves panned out with tonight’s home game against Indiana.

Detroit is 2-1 on the season, averaging 102.7 points per game while giving up 96.7. They have covered in all three games, with their over/under record 2-1-0. When their opponents have the ball, the Pistons are allowing 46% shooting from the field, including 32% from the three point line. Its defensive rebounding rate off those misses is 76%, and the team is averaging 11 steals and 3.3 blocks per game so far this season. On offense, the Pistons are shooting 47% from the field, including 31% from deep. Their free throw percentage so far this season is 70%, and they have gotten rebounds off their own misses 33% of the time. Detroit has turned the ball over 20 times per game this year, and have seen their shots blocked an average of 5.7 times per game.

The Pistons have added a lot of size to combat the Pacers big men. “They’re huge. They are one of the few teams that can match our size and maybe exceed our size when they play Josh Smith at the ‘3’. [Andre] Drummond is a beast. Greg Monroe is a beast. It’s going to be a physical battle for sure, ” said Pacers coach Frank Vogel.

The Pacers are scoring 93.7 points per game so far this season, en route to a 3-0 record overall and a 2-1-0 record against the spread. Indiana has given up 83.7 PPG, and have gone under in all three of their games so far this year. On defense, the Pacers have held their opponents to a 38% field goal percentage, 38% from three point land. They are creating 16.7 turnovers per game , and blocking 4 shots per game. The Pacers are shooting 44% from the field so far this season, with a 40% success rate from beyond the three point line. Their overall rebound percentage is 53%; its offense rebound rate is 23% with the defense collecting 76% of their opponent’s misses. The Pacers are shooting 76% at the free throw line this year. The Pacers have won five straight over the Pistons, but are slightly banged up. Danny Granger has a calf injury and George Hill might miss a second straight game with a sore hip. Indiana limited Cleveland to 34.9 percent from the floor and outrebounded the Cavaliers 51-37 while cruising to an 89-74 victory Saturday.

“I’m happy with the defense,” Vogel said. “These guys, when the game’s on the line, they tighten the screws…I thought our defensive rebounding against Cleveland was exceptional and we’re going to need that kind of effort against the Pistons, who are a great rebounding team. I also like what we’re doing in terms of our fouling discipline. It’s only three games but we’re leading the league in fewest fouls per game and a lot of it has to do with our body position and being smart with our discipline – staying down on shot fakes and making a conscious decision to keep teams off the line.”

The Heat Head to Toronto Favored by 4.5

Miami Heat -4.5 at Toronto Raptors +4.5 Total: 196

The Miami Heat got back on the winning track with a comfortable victory over winless Washington on Sunday. They will now look to get above .500 as small road favorites at Toronto on Tuesday. The Big Three played well against Washington: LeBron James had 25 points, Chris Bosh had 24 and Dwyane Wade scored 20. Miami finished with 32 assists on 37 field goals. “We understand that it’s easy for everyone when we move the ball, share the ball and we play like that,” James said.

Toronto is 2-1 on the season, averaging 95 points per game while giving up 93. They are 1-2-0 against the spread, with their over/under record 1-2-0. When their opponents have the ball, the Raptors are allowing 46% shooting from the field, including 36% from the three point line. Its defensive rebounding rate off those misses is 84%, and the team is averaging 8 steals and 5 blocks per game so far this season.
On offense, the Raptors are shooting 43% from the field, including 30% from deep. Their free throw percentage so far this season is 64%, and they have gotten rebounds off their own misses 35% of the time. Toronto has turned the ball over 15.7 times per game this year, and have seen their shots blocked an average of 4 times per game. The Raptors are coming off a 97-90 win over Milwaukee on Saturday. They had five players score in double figures and outrebounded the Bucks 60-38. “Everybody made a concerted effort to try to get the ball from side-to-side and get everybody involved early,” said guard Kyle Lowry, who finished with 14 points.

The Heat are scoring 105 points per game so far this season, en route to a 2-2 record overall and a 1-3-0 record against the spread. Miami has given up 100.7 PPG, and have an O/U record of 3-1-0 on the year. On defense, the Heat have held their opponents to a 47% field goal percentage, 38% from three point land. They are creating 19.3 turnovers per game , and blocking 3 shots per game. Their assist to turnover ratio is 1.56. The Heat are shooting 50% from the field so far this season, with a 45% success rate from beyond the three point line. Their overall rebound percentage is 45%; its offense rebound rate is 17% with the defense collecting 72% of their opponent’s misses. The Heat are shooting 75% at the free throw line this year. The Heat have won 11 straight in the series since a 111-103 loss at Toronto on Jan. 27, 2010, when Bosh was on the Raptors. Miami has outscored Toronto by an average of 13.3 points in the 10 meetings with James and Bosh on the Heat.