NBA finals Celtics Lakers: What happened to Tony Allen?

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Oh, it was all going so well.

Tony Allen was the hero of the first two rounds of the playoffs. Largely considered an afterthought coming into the season, and a no-show for much of the regular season until Marquis Daniels’ injury history popped up, Allen developed into a huge component for the Celtics off the bench in the first few rounds of the playoffs.

Then, in Orlando, he started to struggle a little bit, and in the first game of the NBA finals, he was an abject disaster. More stunning is that it’s not as if Allen hasn’t been in key positions this postseason. He guarded Dwyane Wade, the Dwyane Wade during the first round, and did time checking LeBron in round two. He was hitting huge shots, making key plays, and playing great defense.

And then melted down in Game 1.

Allen had 4 points on 1-4 shooting, no rebounds, no assists, 1 steal, 1 block, was blocked once, had 2 turnovers and four fouls in 16 minutes in Game 1. That’s a pretty efficient dose of sucking for a guy who was considered to be a huge swing player for the Celtics, helping their bench improve from a weakness to a strength in the playoffs.

Part of Allen’s struggles, obviously, was Kobe Bryant, who if you haven’t heard, is quite good. While Allen’s able to stay with quick guards, Kobe’s at an elite level, and because of the bigs he’s now facing, he’s getting clipped on screen and rolls much harder than he was in the first two rounds. From there it becomes simply a level of increased aggression. The Lakers are playing with a cutthroat sense of urgency the Celtics haven’t faced before and that Allen may not be adjusted to. The fact that he can’t even switch due to Ron Artest’s bullishness and Lamar Odom’s size means that Allen has very little he can provide in terms of matchups. Expect his minutes to decrease in Game 2 unless Doc Rivers really thinks it was just a bad night for TA (along with the entire Celtics team).

Allen may not be a star player, but he’s the kind of player that championship teams need to step up. If he and his bench cohorts can’t make an impact for the Celtics, that’s yet another advantage that goes into the Lakers’ column.

Phoenix Suns with quality solar eclipse joke on Twitter

Associated Press
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With the cooler-than-I-expected solar eclipse on Monday came a lot of bad solar eclipse jokes on Twitter. Because that’s what Twitter does. Especially the NBA Twitterverse. We knew a lot of “where on the flat earth will Kyrie Irving watch the eclipse?” jokes were coming.

There were a couple of good ones, however.

Appropriately, the Phoenix Suns won the day.

One personal favorite here, an old meme that never goes out of style.

Report: Other small-market teams championing Pacers’ tampering allegation against Lakers

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The NBA, at the Pacers’ request, is investigating whether the Lakers tampered by making impressible contact with Paul George.

Bob Kravitz of WTHR

In fact, there’s word that other small- and mid-market team officials have reached out to the Pacers and told them, “Good for you. Fight the good fight.”

Small-market teams whine too much about the disadvantages they face, but tampering isn’t really a market-size issue. Remember, under Mitch Kupchak, the Lakers were known as the only team that didn’t tamper.

The Lakers have advantages because George is from the area, and Los Angeles offers immense marketability. That’d be true whether or not they contacted George or his agent before he officially became a free agent.

I understand the desire to take down the big, bad Lakers – especially now that they appear poised to become truly big and bad again. But it’s hard to find a team that can cast a stone at them from anywhere other than a glass house.

Report: Clippers hiring ex-Cavaliers executive Trent Redden

AP Photo/Mark Duncan
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The power dynamics within the Clippers are shifting, and the ground apparently hasn’t settled yet.

Doc Rivers has been stripped of his presidency. Jerry West became a consultant. Lawrence Frank now holds the most prestigious title in the front office, and newly hired Michael Winger will report to him. Also falling under Frank in the organizational chart? Trent Redden.

Kevin Arnovitz of ESPN:

Longtime Cleveland Cavaliers executive Trent Redden will join the LA Clippers’ front-office staff as assistant general manager, league sources said on Monday.

Redden was ousted in Cleveland with David Griffin. He’ll help the Clippers simply by providing another capable executive. They’ve long needed to add front-office employees (and pay for them).

But Redden also exacerbates the issue of Frank’s underlings having far more front-office experience than him. As the Clippers try to establish their new setup, we’ll see whether that creates complications.

Warriors’ Steve Kerr: I expect to coach all season and for many years ahead

AP Photo/Jeff Chiu
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Warriors coach Steve Kerr has missed significant time the last two seasons due to complications from back surgery.

Could those issues derail his career?

Kerr, via Scott Ostler of the San Francisco Chronicle:

“I fully expect to coach all year,” Kerr says in a no-nonsense tone. “That’s my expectation. And for many years to come.”

On the most basic level, it’d be good if Kerr feels well enough to coach. The headaches sound miserable, regardless of his job.

But it’d also be ideal if the NBA didn’t lose one of its best coaches just as he’s getting started. The 51-year-old Kerr might wind up the greatest coach of all time. Obviously that’s a long way off, but he has that potential – health permitting.