Jerry West is a man to listen to.
Not a man given to hyperbole. A man of perspective. As competitive an NBA player and general manager as there ever has been (read the book), but a man with an eye for the bigger picture. There are a few people around — Bill Bradley, Bill Russell, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar — that have an interesting perspective inside and outside basketball that make their thoughts fascinating. West is among them.
And right now, Jerry West is heaping high praise on Kobe Bryant.
In doing so, he also makes an interesting point about these NBA Finals, something he did on Hartman and Friends on FoxSports Radio:
He’s playing the best basketball I have ever seen him play to be honest with you. When he shoots shots a lot of people would probably think they are bad shots. For him, he is not only creative, but he is a shot maker. Some people are creative, but they’re not shot makers. He can make tough shots. He just seems to will the ball in the basket. I’ve never seen him play better… At this time of year, people talk about adjustments that people make. The adjustments that people make are not really the telling part of it. Your great players, this is their time to shine. You can’t really run your offense. After the first couple of games, everyone will be waiting on everyone. The team that has the best ability to beat people off the dribble and be creative will be successful. There’s no better player that I’ve ever seen than him… He’s the greatest Laker player that we have ever seen.”
It’s interesting because the Celtics defensive strategy against the Lakers (as opposed to what they did against Orlando) is to double Kobe, to always have the help close by, to take the chance to be creative out of his hands and make somebody else beat them.
But right now, Kobe might be able to rise above that. At least West thinks so. And he’s a man to listen to.
Hassan Whiteside defends himself when questions about his maturity early in his career with the Kings arise:
“That was a long time ago,” Whiteside said. “If they want to think about things that happened four, five years ago, that’s up to them.
“I don’t think it’s something that should follow me, but I really don’t know right now. That was years ago. Things didn’t work out in Sacramento. I worked my way to get back here. I could’ve easily gave up and went back home and just chilled. But I put in the work, and I feel like I’m a hard worker or I wouldn’t be here.”
But then he does something like this.
Rodney Hood got the Jazz to overtime.
Gordon Hayward took it from there.
This extends Utah’s win streak to eight games and snaps a 10-game losing streak in Dallas. The last time the Jazz won in Dallas? Mavericks guard Deron Williams started – for Utah.*
*Those Jazz brought Paul Millsap, Kyle Korver and Wesley Matthews off the bench. Dang
Up three points and the final seconds winding down, the Mavericks had a great chance to intentionally foul Trey Lyles (a 62% free-throw shooter) with his back to the basket.
Instead, they allowed Rodney Hood to hit this shot and get the Jazz to overtime.
The Bucks led the Celtics led the Bucks by 19 in the fourth quarter and four in the final minute.
But Boston completed its comeback when Jerryd Bayless committed a boneheaded foul on Kelly Olynyk with a second left, shoving Olynyk in the back on the inbound. Olynyk sunk both free throws to tie the game.
Then, Khris Middleton got Bayless off the hook.
Middleton drew a foul on Avery Bradley, who was trying to contest the game-winning shot. The Milwaukee wing made one free throw then intentionally the second, and Jae Crowder couldn’t replicate this.