Bill Walker is not the Knicks savior, but he is fun

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walker.jpgNow comes the time in the Knicks season when the media works to pit Donnie Walsh and Mike D’Antoni against each other, and rather than bother that pair all it does is freak out James Dolan.The whole thing is about as pretty to watch as the Knicks on the court. What we need is a distraction…

Hello Bill Walker.

Up until this week, if you saw Bill Walker’s name in an NBA column this season, it was in the sentence “Bill Walker was a meaningless throw in to the Nate Robinson/Eddie House trade.”

Then he had two good games — he dropped a team high 21 during the Knicks embarrassing loss to the Cavaliers. So he got the start against Detroit (with Chandler out) and scored 22 on 9 of 13 shooting, bringing an athleticism that coach Mike D’Antoni’s system demands but that the Knicks sorely lack.

Two good games for these Knicks? Some fans now expect him to part Central Park Lake and lead the team to the promised land.

Reality is going to be different, but Walker is the kind of piece that could be a role player fit for the Knicks going forward.

There was a time when Walker was talked about as a lottery pick. He was a high school teammate of OJ Mayo, was voted MVP of the prestigious high school ABCD Camp, put on by Adidas to recruit young talent to the brand help showcase the nation’s young talent. He put up big numbers at Kansas State.

But he knees betrayed him. Major surgery on both knees, with a third injury coming during his pre-draft workouts with the Golden State Warriors. Walker fell from the lottery to the second round, where the Wizards grabbed him then traded him to the Celtics for cash. The veteran-loaded Celtics want no part of young, athletic players — note the signing of Michael Finley — so they sent him to the D-League on and off.

In New York, D’Antoni’s got nothing better to do than give guys who would  otherwise never sniff the court some run. See what they’ve got. The roster will be overhauled the next two summers, time to see what pieces you might want to keep.

And Walker might be one of those pieces. He’s no savior, but hey, he’s alright. And that’s alright with me.

Rockets’ Clint Capela on Warriors: ‘I expect to beat them’

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During the 2014-15 season, Rockets star James Harden said the Warriors “ain’t even that good.”

Golden State went on to reach the last three NBA Finals, twice beating Houston in the playoffs, and win two championships.

The Rockets have since re-tooled around Harden, Chris Paul and several quality role players and are in first place. Houston looks like the biggest threat to the Warriors in the Western Conference.

Rockets center Clint Capela on the Warriors, via Dave Schilling of Bleacher Report:

“I expect to beat them,” Capela says.

That’s a fine sentiment. Saying it publicly is another matter. Not even Harden did that a couple years ago. He was recorded during a pregame team huddle.

There’s a fine line between self-fulfilling confidence and providing bulletin-board material to the opponent. There’s already some animosity between the teams stemming from the Stephen Curry-Harden MVP race in 2015, and it has bubbled since. No matter how harmless Capela’s remark might have been intended to be, it’ll be met contentiously in the Bay Area.

PBT Extra Player of the Week: Victor Oladipo

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Oklahoma City traded for Victor Oladipo out of Orlando to be their third scorer, behind Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook. It didn’t exactly work out that way, Durant bolted town and when Westbrook went off Oladipo was looking for a place to fit in.

That place turned out to be the Pacers.

Oladipo has been playing like an All-Star this season with Indiana, and last week he was key in snapping Cleveland’s 13 game win streak, then turned around and dropped 47 points on Denver. For the week he averaged 35.7 points a game, shot 45.7 percent from three, plus grabbed 7.7 rebounds per game.

That will get you named the PBT Extra Player of the Week.

Watch Pacers fan boo Paul George during introductions (video)

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Paul George – who told the Pacers he’d leave in free agency, prompting them to trade him to the Thunder – expected boos in his return to Indiana.

Pacers fans delivered.

They’ve also booed him every time he has touched the ball, which will certainly persist.

John Wall returns for Wizards-Grizzlies

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WASHINGTON (AP) — Point guard John Wall was in the Washington Wizards’ lineup Wednesday night against the Memphis Grizzlies after missing nine games with a sore left knee.

Coach Scott Brooks said Wall would play in the mid-20-minute range, perhaps a bit more.

The Wizards (14-13), currently in first place in the Southeast Division, went 4-5 in Wall’s absence.

“He such a force offensively,” Brooks said of Wall. “He’s a two-way player and he’s one of the few guys in the league that can find open 3-point shooters going 100 miles an hour in transition.”

Wall, 27, is averaging 20.3 points and 9.2 assists per game.