Baseline to Baseline, the "Steve Nash is good" edition

2 Comments

What you missed while picturing a statue of Tiger Woods covered in condoms….

Suns 110, Bulls 105: The Suns offense in the clutch is a beautiful thing. The spacing is spectacular, the recognition is almost flawless. They run the pick-and-roll but do it as God intended.

Look at the Suns last three baskets: On one Brad Miller ends up having to switch onto Nash, so they isolate the mismatch and Nash gets a layup; on another they have Channing Frye recognizing the open space at the top of the three point arc when Nash drives, so Frye sprints to the open spot as the man assigned to him — rookie Taj Gibson — gets caught watching Nash and the ball, Nash makes the pass back and Frye hits the three; then there was Nash driving and drawing the defense then hitting Grant Hill parked on the baseline for the easy dunk. It was art.

Derrick Rose did all he could but the Bulls are just not the same machine as the Suns.

Nash made his countrymen happy with this one — Toronto is now two up in the loss column on the Bulls for the final playoff spot in the East. No doubt about it. (Say that last sentence again in a good Canadian accent.)

Pacers 102, Kings 95: Tyreke Evans showed something in this one. First game back from a concussion, he went 1 for 8 for the first three quarters, then with the game on the line he went 5 for 5 in the fourth. That’s what winners do. Not enough this time, but that’s what winners do.

Eight in a row for the Pacers at home. We Must Protect The House!

Thunder 111, 76ers 93: Great sign for OKC — not one Thunder starter scored a basket in the fourth quarter, yet they started the period out on a 19-4 run and put this one away handily. Oklahoma City was in control from the start — early on Elton Brand and Iggy start out 10 of 15, while rest of team 3 of 11. That will catch up with you, and it did the Sixers.

Bucks 107, Clippers 89: Milwaukee is one of he best defensive teams in the land — fourth best in defense per possession this season — and were clearly bothering the Clippers all night. Do that to a demoralized Clippers team and they just roll over and play dead.

Nice 20 points for Ersan Ilyasova off the bench for the Bucks.

Rockets 98, Wizards 94: Washington, you’re down two inside 30 seconds to go and your offensive option is Earl Boykins for three? You deserve to lose 16 in a row. Nice game for Chase Budinger, 24 points and he had two key late buckets coming free on curls at the free throw, which he buried (plus a key late rebound)

NBA introducing 2-for-1 All-Star voting days

AP Photo/Chris Carlson
Leave a comment

The NBA changed its All-Star format this season from East vs. West to captain-picked teams (though still naming players equally from each conference).

That apparently wasn’t a big enough overhaul.

After including media and player votes last year, the league is making All-Star starter selection even more complex.

NBA release:

NBA All-Star Voting 2018 presented by Verizon will tip off with an early voting period exclusively on the NBA App and NBA.com beginning Thursday, Dec. 21 at 1 p.m. ET.

Voting via all other channels, including Amazon Alexa for the first time, will launch on Monday, Dec. 25 at 11 a.m.

Additionally, new for this season, five “2-for-1 Days” will allow fans to have their votes count twice on Dec. 31, Jan. 4, Jan. 11, Jan. 12 and Jan. 15 when voting through the NBA App and NBA.com, along with Sina Weibo and Tencent in China.  All “2-for-1 Days” will be designated 12 a.m. – 11:59 p.m. ET.

TNT will reveal the All-Star Game starters, including the two captains, on Thursday, Jan. 18 during TNT NBA Tip-Off

The network will announce the reserves, as selected by NBA head coaches, on Tuesday, Jan. 23 during TNT NBA Tip-Off at 7 p.m. ET. 

The team rosters for NBA All-Star Game 2018 in Los Angeles will be revealed on Thursday, Jan. 25 during a special one-hour edition of TNT NBA Tip-Off at 7 p.m. ET.

I suppose this is to drum up interest on otherwise quiet voting days. After all, this is really just about the NBA selling itself.

But the All-Star voting process has always left something to be desired. I don’t see how this changes that.

Report: Lakers ‘longshot’ to sign LeBron James

AP Photo/Jae C. Hong
1 Comment

Preeminent NBA reporter Adrian Wojnarowski called it “likelyLeBron James would sign with the Lakers or Clippers next summer. The Clippers have since been somewhat debunked as a LeBron destination. There’s circumstantial evidence linking LeBron to Los Angeles.

Ramona Shelburne and Brian Windhorst of ESPN:

So imagining James’ last act coming in purple and gold isn’t without basis. But as of now, it’s also a longshot, according to league sources.

Shelburne and Windhorst are highly credible. I doubt they’d report this without connected sources.

LeBron’s agent, Rich Paul, and manager, Maverick Carter, have recently publicly downplayed the importance of Los Angeles to LeBron. That felt like a coordinated attack on the LeBron-Lakers rumors, and this fits as a continuation.

But why wage that campaign? To keep the Cavaliers focused while LeBron still plays for them, even if he might leave after the season? To lower expectations among the Lakers’ massive fan base, so as not alienate those people (potential customers of the many LeBron-connected brands) when LeBron inevitably signs elsewhere? Both could be true, but there’s obviously a difference between each driving LeBron’s camp.

DeMarcus Cousins barrels in for powerful putback dunk over Bucks (video)

Leave a comment

When DeMarcus Cousins builds up a head of steam like this… poor John Henson (and kind of Khris Middleton).

This helped the Pelicans pull away for a 115-108 win over the Bucks last night.

Enraged Jason Smith restrained from Mario Chalmers (video)

AP Photo/Nick Wass
1 Comment

During the Wizards’ win over the Grizzlies last night, Mario Chalmers tried to stop Jason Smith from shooting after Smith had been called for travelling. It’s a fairly common tactic, one pioneered by Kevin Garnett. Players don’t want their opponents to gain confidence by seeing the ball go through the net, even after play stops.

But Chalmers held onto Smith’s arm, and Smith took umbrage.

NBC Sports Washington:

I think it’s more likely, after halting Smith’s shot, Chalmers was trying to hold up Smith rather than yank him down. But I can’t know Chalmers’ intentions, and holding up a falling person by his arm isn’t very effective.

The double technical foul called seems about fair.