Kevin Garnett bumps, yells at, curses at, and tries to intimidate every opponent he plays against, no matter how big (or small) that opponent may be. For years, he’s done everything he can to make Pau Gasol’s life miserable whenever the Lakers play the Celtics, and was able to limit Gasol’s production throughout the 2008 Finals. On Thursday night, Gasol got some revenge on KG, recording 23 points and 14 rebounds while holding Garnett to 16 points (on 16 shots) and four rebounds.
“On Kevin’s part, he’s also lost some explosiveness…He’s more of a jump shooter now you could say, comes off the lane. Before he had a really, really quick first step and was getting to the lane and he was more aggressive then. Time passes and we all suffer it one way or another, but he’s still a terrific player, a terrific competitor, and he’s going to bring everything he’s got. You can count on that.”
You have to love Pau Gasol; even when he’s (kind of) talking trash, he still sounds like a nice guy who respects his opponents. (By the way, statistics don’t support Gasol’s claim that Garnett is more of a jump shooter now than he was in 2008; 70% of Garnett’s shots were jumpers this season, as compared to 73% in the 2007-08 season. He’s certainly lost some explosiveness, but that loss of explosiveness hasn’t really manifested itself in his shot selection.)
For his part, Garnett said that he didn’t take exception to Gasol’s comments about him, and that he has “no comments for [Gasol’s] comments.” Garnett, Doc Rivers, and the rest of the Celtics are all optimistic about how Garnett will perform throughout the rest of the series; when asked to explain Garnett’s poor play in game one, almost every Celtic said in one way or another that Garnett just had one of those games, and that they fully expect him to look like himself in game two. It all sounds good enough; now Garnett just has to go out there and try and keep Gasol from abusing him the way he did in game one.
Carmelo Anthony can flat-out score the rock — that has never been the question. Even hurting last season for many of the 40 games he played, he averaged 24.2 points a game, had a true shooting percentage of 53.1 percent (right near the league average) while having the entire weight of the Knicks offense on his shoulders (32.2 usage rate, fifth highest in the NBA). When people (or players) talk about him being overrated, the discussion turns to defense or if he makes his teammates better. But there should be no doubt Anthony is an elite scorer.
He thinks he will be for a while longer — like another five years. Via Ian Begley of ESPN:
In fact, the 31-year-old Knicks star is confident that he can play at a high level for the next “four or five years.”
“Without a doubt. Without a doubt,” Anthony said after the Knicks’ final training camp practice on Saturday.
The Knicks better hope that’s true, they already made that bet with that massive five-year contract they gave him last summer.
Anthony’s age combined with him coming off knee surgery have a lot of people — myself included — expecting him to take a step back. Not a big one, but he is coming up at the point in his career where some open shots he used to get are now contested because he’s half-a-step slower, and some of those looks don’t fall as often. His jumper isn’t suddenly going to look like Rajon Rondo‘s, ‘Melo is going to get his points, but he may not be as efficient.
Fortunately, the Knicks have an improved supporting cast around him this season. That should take some offensive load off his shoulders, and maybe the Knicks offense will see better ball movement and start to resemble the triangle. If it’s just more isolation Anthony, it’s not going to be pretty.
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) The Sacramento have picked up the 2016-17 option on guard Ben McLemore‘s contract.
General manager Vlade Divac announced the move Saturday.
McLemore was Sacramento’s first-round pick in 2013. He averaged 12.1 points, 2.9 rebounds and 1.7 assists last season.