Monthly Archives: July 2017

Russell Westbrook gets 25th triple-double of the season

Stop the presses: Russell Westbrook recorded yet another triple-double.

Why is this one somewhat special? Well, it was his 25th of the season, and he scored 38 points with 13 rebounds and 12 assists in a 114-102 win against the Grizzlies.

The mercurial point guard often faces criticism for inefficient play, causing too many turnovers and forcing shots, but he proved Friday night that he can be a great leader, too.

Thunder center Steven Adams added a double-double, scoring 16 points with 13 rebounds. He has been a steady presence for Oklahoma City this season.

Memphis was led by underrated All-Star center Marc Gasol, who scored 31 points with eight assists. He has developed into one of the best, true centers in the NBA, and may even give his famous brother’s career a run for its money.

Isaiah Thomas continued his electric form by scoring 38 points with four assists in a 113-107 win against the Lakers. Thomas has now scored 35-plus points in four straight games, which is the longest streak by a Celtic since Paul Pierce did it four in a row in 2001.

St. Louis Post-Dispatch writer Rick Hummel asked Lynn about the situation, and Lynn said he’d be more than willing to sign a deal with the Cardinals, though one hasn’t been offered. He also feels this team’s chances of contending would be better if he’s around the rest of the season.

“I agree with that,” Lynn told Hummel. “But I just pitch here. I don’t do all the thinking up top. My opinion is that if they want to contend down the line, they need me here, too, so we’ll see that how it goes.”

And he’s right, the Cardinals are a better team with him in the rotation. But they do have options, in the form of Luke Weaver and Jack Flaherty, prospects ready at Triple-A Memphis.

It’s still Gentry’s job for now.

Still, the fact that, in his Cleveland debut, James and the Cavs were comfortable having Williams take the last shot is indicative of how the team plans to use their new point guard going forward. Williams can be part of this team’s closing lineup, an added ballhandler to go with Kyrie Irving. He will be called upon to take big shots. He played 24 minutes on Wednesday, which is about the amount of run he can expect with the Cavs.
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Kids Andrew McCutchen Jersey It’s still Gentry’s job for now. He has the difficult task of building a twin-tower offense around Cousins and Davis on the fly, which is a near-opposite of the up-tempo style of play that Gentry was brought to New Orleans to implement.

The Pelicans, already a subpar 3-point shooting team before the trade that sent away guard Buddy Hield, have shot 31.6 percent on 3-pointers since the Cousins deal. That’s left very little space for Cousins and Davis to operate, and little ability for Gentry to diversify the offense.

There’s been some semblance of hope cropping up in the past two weeks. The Pelicans are 4-3 in March, and the three losses were in overtime to the Spurs, plus tight losses to Utah and Toronto. On Tuesday, they had their second blowout win of the Cousins Era, beating Portland 100-77. That’s the third time this month they held an opponent under 90 points, something they’d done only four times in the first four months of the year.

You’re in this position where somebody on national TV is making fun of you night after night, it’s not the greatest thing for your reputation, Kerr said. I can tell you, I had a preconceived notion of JaVale before he got here that turned out to be totally false. And a lot of that was because of what goes on with Shaq’s ‘Shaqtin’ A Fool’ thing.

I told our GM right then that he was the best player on the team and was going to be great

Longtime NBA veteran and teammate Tyson Chandler noticed the fire in Booker immediately. In their first pickup game in the offseason, there was a possession where the ball went out of bounds, and Chandler explained the proper way for him to run action off a pin-down. When Booker picked up it up perfectly on the next play, Chandler beamed.
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I told our GM right then that he was the best player on the team and was going to be great, Chandler said. I decided then that we needed to protect him at all costs.
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Booker has jumped from 13.8 points per game as a rookie to 21.6 in his sophomore campaign as the focal point in the Phoenix offense (his usage percentage has increased more than five percent from last year). He could still be more consistent on a nightly basis, though it’s easy to forget he’s only 20 years old.

But like Watson said, don’t let that smooth face fool you. Chandler noticed Booker was in more conflicts than the average player, and he stayed ready to step up on his behalf.

At first I thought it was because he was light-skinned. And it is, but he’s also a s— talker, Chandler said. I would look at the tape and there he is under his breath talking tough. He’s gonna catch flack because he’s an old, Rico Suave-looking dude, but when he starts putting up those shots, they get quiet.

I still jump in, but I’m also a little slower because he needs to assert his own manhood. I won’t always be around.

He’s the classic player who you love when he’s your teammate and detest when he’s your opponent. Barnes is a player from an era long gone. He’s tough and tenacious. Those qualities have also caused him to be suspended on the court and led to trouble off the court.

Charles Oakley exercises extreme pettiness, sits beside Dan Gilbert at Knicks-Cavaliers

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What is it with Charles Oakley and NBA team owners?
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The much-beleaguered former NBA star attended his first basketball game since being tossed out of Madison Square Garden and arrested two weeks ago. It was a Knicks game, too. It was just in his hometown of Cleveland, not at MSG in New York.

A demonstration in Pettiness 101? Perhaps. But by all accounts, it seems as though Oakley is still at odds with New York’s front office — specifically owner James Dolan — after his altercation with MSG security in early February.

Oakley’s presence couldn’t help the Knicks from getting trounced in Cleveland, as they fell to the defending NBA champs 119-104.

Bridges saved a pair of his best performances for last this season, as the impressive freshman led Michigan State to a comeback blowout win over Miami, then followed it up by dropping 22 points in a showcase matchup against Josh Jackson in a loss to Kansas. Not only did he display the tremendous athleticism that has brought him into becoming a likely lottery pick, but he’s also added the potential to shoot it as well as pass it from the forward positions.

He’s still undersized to play the combo forward role, but Bridges has a lot of fans around the NBA who think of him as a potential top-10 pick that will not fall out of the lottery if he declares for the draft. We’ll see if that ends up being the case. His father mentioned three weeks ago that he thinks Bridges will return to school. But it’s awfully difficult to do that when millions of dollars and a likely lottery pick are staring you in the face.

D’Angelo Russell has historically bad game in Lakers loss vs. Rockets

The Lakers were blown out by the Rockets 139-100 and D’Angelo Russell was a big part of the collapse.

The young point guard played 25 minutes and scored just five points while committing seven turnovers and six personal fouls. These stats combined led to a historically poor performance, as noted by basketball writer Michael Gallagher.

Not only is he the first player to have such stats since 2007, but he and Smith are the only two to play so poorly this century.

Russell’s poor play in nothing new as the Lakers have been making him come off the bench lately. But he’s struggled to find his shot, hitting just 11 of his 41 field-goal attempts (.268) over the last three games.

That’s the consensus assessment of Antetokounmpo’s next step in his development. Most of the mistakes he makes now will be corrected over time with experience, but the jumper is going to require more and more repetition and a dose of confidence. Antetokounmpo worked on his shot with Sweeney this summer, and works on it daily at the Cousins Center (his “home”) before and after practices and shootarounds.

But he is taking about the same number of 10-16 footers (6.6 percent of his attempts, up from 5.8 percent) this year as last year, and about the same number of shots from 16 feet out to the 3-point line (14.4 percent, up from 14.3 percent). He’s been slightly better shooting from 10-16 feet (32.9 field-goal percentage compared with 28.8 percent) and slightly worse from 16 feet out (35.3 percent, down from 35.9 percent). Antetokounmpo is working on his shot, but the results have yet to show. He does not yet seem to trust it.magic_150

Astros’ Carlos Correa forced to exit after injuring thumb on swing

Astros shortstop Carlos Correa exited Monday’s game against the Mariners after injuring his left thumb on a swing in the fourth inning, the team announced. He be re-evaluated Tuesday.

Correa, who missed time earlier in July with a left thumb injury, was unable to finish his at-bat after swinging and missing on a 1-1 fastball from Mariners pitcher Ariel Miranda.
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First, a little context on how good Britton has been in his time as Baltimore’s closer. Starting with the 2014 season, the lefty has a 1.43 ERA in 221 innings, and he’s given up just eight home runs. He’s 125-for-133 in save opportunities, a stellar 94.0 save percentage.
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And think about this: When he gave up two runs on July 7 in a non-save situation, it was the first time he’d allowed more than one run (earned or unearned) in a game since Sept. 20, 2015. Yeah. He didn’t allow multiple runs in an outing for the entire 2016 season. So impressive.

That’s why other teams are salivating at the idea of adding Britton to the back of their bullpen.

Need to know: The first Britton rumors started with LA’s reported interest in the lefty. Not as a closer, but as a set-up man, which seems kind of ridiculous on the surface for a player of Britton’s talents. But the Dodgers have one of the few closers in baseball who has been at Britton’s level, Kenley Jansen 鈥?he’s 21-for-21 this year in save opportunities and has just two walks against 57 strikeouts 鈥?the only goal for the Dodgers this year is to win the World Series. Having a tandem of Britton and Jansen at the back of the bullpen almost wouldn’t be fair, which is exactly the reason the Dodgers are interested in Britton.

Broncos QB battle: Paxton Lynch in it to win it as Mike McCoy’s choice

The much-anticipated sequel to the Broncos’ quarterback battle is headed toward a much happier ending for Paxton Lynch. Although Trevor Siemian holds the starting job he earned last season going into this year’s training camp, it’s tenuous at best.

Lynch’s time eventually would come, and that time looks like Week 1 of 2017.

Last year, Lynch was an overwhelmed rookie first-round pick, while Siemian, even as a second-year seventh-rounder, had a huge advantage with an extra year in the same offense.
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With coach Gary Kubiak retired and his offensive coordinator Rick Dennison now in Buffalo, it was no accident that Mike McCoy returned to Denver to replace Dennison under new coach Vance Joseph. McCoy’s hiring came with an underlying mission: Get Lynch ready to be effective on the field.

Joseph didn’t waste time declaring the competition wide open. Siemian has done well to fight through offseason left shoulder surgery (non-throwing) to get regular on-field work. Not surprisingly, he has impressed the new staff with the attributes that stood in the old regime — football intelligence, quick release and accuracy. For the most part, he was a good decision-maker.

It was also easy to see, however, that Siemian had limitations, physically and athletically. Those are things Lynch, with a big frame, big arm and terrific mobility, does have. Siemian has leaned on his experience and efficiency to maintain his lead with first-team reps through OTAs and minicamp. But Lynch’s upside has manifested in more than a few flashes.

The fact that the Broncos are waiting well into preseason game action to decide Siemian vs. Lynch is a good sign for the latter. Lynch is pushing toward putting enough substance with his style, and he doesn’t need to be fully polished in order to jump to No. 1.
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Is it wrong that I don’t care about the Home Run Derby?

I’ve got to be honest: I don’t care much about the Home Run Derby.

I know. I must be a horrible baseball fan and, possibly, a Communist. Who doesn’t want to watch strong guys swing for the fences and mash dingers into the stratosphere, right? Well, this guy. This hasn’t always been the case. It’s been a slow but steady slide into apathy.

The Home Run Derby — this year’s edition takes place Monday night in Miami — has become the signature event of MLB’s All-Star festivities. It gets lots of hype and a lot of people (pretend to?) care. I used to be one of those people. But for a long time now I’ve found myself wanting to change the channel. It doesn’t matter who’s competing or how far the balls sail. It also doesn’t matter that the format has changed. It just doesn’t hold my interest.

The whole thing has become, dare I say, boring.
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When the Marlins opened their new Miami park in 2012, fans were pitched ticket packages that including guranteed first-floor parking and private entrances — both of which either never happened or were done away with, previous disgruntled fans have said.

When you don’t win and don’t even make the playoffs, and don’t even stay on the court long enough, that’s the best thing you can do is Tweet — make some stuff, LaVar Ball said. Ain’t nobody else doing that, because they’re working on their game in the gym. These guys ain’t played a game — always hurt and at the bottom of the totem pole. So guess what, get your asses off the goddamn Tweeter, and get in the gym.

Authentic Kids Jarvis Jones Jersey All things considered, that wasn’t too bad a response from LaVar Ball. Story over, right? Feud finished?

Booker dropped 70 points on the Celtics and talked tremendous trash about it.

Booker dropped 70 points on the Celtics and talked tremendous trash about it. If the Suns get the top pick — they have the second-best odds — we can’t rule out Booker turning to the other representatives and saying, “Get that weak s— outta here!”

“What we did was not an easy thing, winning two games in the playoffs on the road,” Lopez said. “In Boston. That’s a tough thing to do. But they’re still the No. 1 seed for a reason.”

For the Bulls, the name players in this series against the top-seeded Celtics did their jobs at TD Garden. Again. All-Star Jimmy Butler finished Game 2 with 22 points, eight rebounds, eight assists and four steals. Future Hall of Famer Dwyane Wade came through with 22 points as well, including 11 in the fourth quarter that KO’d Boston’s comeback chances. Former Celtics All-Star Rajon Rondo nearly notched a triple-double, with 11 points, 14 assists and nine rebounds.

But forget the stars. It has been Lopez who has helped the Bulls shove and wrestle their way to a near-insurmountable 2-0 lead in this series. It has been Lopez who has established a presence in the paint the Celtics can’t match, a presence that has cleared the way for the impressive numbers put up by his more celebrated teammates.

On nearly any other team, Iguodala would be one of the three best players, even at his advanced age of 33. On this one, he’s the fifth-best. It’s an embarrassment of riches for the Warriors, a team that embraced the modern nature of basketball faster than anyone else in the league. We shouldn’t neglect the risk here that comes with signing a player through the age of 36. But this team is in the hunt to win titles and build a dynasty, not worry about three years down the road. They were going to be the favorites to win the title going into the 2017-18 season, but this signing confirms that they’ll likely be favored over the field.

Warriors’ Draymond Green wants to ‘build a lane’ in the NBA for players like him

Morten Andersen Kids Jersey Draymond Green is one of the most unique players in the NBA. He’s arguably the most important piece of the Warriors puzzle, even though Golden State’s roster features two former MVPs.

He’s important because he’s able to guard every position, no matter size or speed.

Heading into the NBA Draft, many analysts said he wouldn’t make it because he’s undersized and lacks athleticism. As wrote, The consensus is that Green won’t be able to guard either forward position because true small forwards will be quicker and true power forwards taller and able to post him up and shoot over him.

They said we wrestling so I guess they don’t have a choice but to come out and play tougher. It is what is. We ain’t going to stop our intensity because of what they say. We’re going to keep playing as hard as possible and playoff basketball.
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On the day day after Game 1, Millsap said the Hawks will need to slow down the Wizards’ backcourt. He said they weren’t too concerned with Morris.

I think it’s important that we control the other two guys, Beal and Wall. They are extensive scorers. I’m not going to turn this into a personal battle between me and Morris, he said. That’s what he wants me to do, take all the focus off the team and put it on him. I’m not going to do that. I’ve been in the league too long. It’s about the team and stopping those two guys, the head of the snake which is John Wall, and we’ll give ourselves a really good chance to win.

Morris laughed that off Wednesday: I heard Millsap saying they don’t want Brad and John to score as much and they want to let us score — basically is what he’s saying. We’re going to adjust to that real well.

After battling through the media all week, expect these two to go at it on the court in Game 2.