Shaq calls Kobe "probably the greatest Laker ever"

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Shaq and Kobe.jpg
Well, this was unexpected. Free agent center Shaquille O’Neal, formerly of the Magic, Lakers, Heat, Suns, and Cavaliers, recently sat down for an interview with Fox Sports Radio. During the interview, he had some extremely kind words for Kobe Bryant, with whom Shaq famously feuded both during and after O’Neal’s time with the Lakers:
“First, of all, [Kobe] is definitely a closer. Right now, he’s thought of as the greatest player in the Lakers history, surpassing Magic Johnson and Jerry West, especially if he wins this championship, he will probably go down as the greatest Laker ever…
The guys who are making [the comments that Bryant needs a MJ-like championship-winning shot to cement his legacy] and comparisons are obviously the guys who cannot play. The kid has 26,000 points, he passed Jerry West already. He’s on his way to winning his fifth title. He doesn’t need a signature closing move. It’s all about winning the championships, and like I said, if he wins this championship, he will go down as the greatest Laker ever.”

Shaq and Kobe have always vacillated between showing each other respect and throwing barbs at one another, but this seems like a genuine compliment from Shaq to Kobe. Presumably, this means that Shaq no longer wants Kobe to describe the texture and flavor of Mr. O’Neal’s hindquarters. 

Dwyane Wade says Bulls’ showers had no hot water in Boston

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The Bulls suffered a rough loss in Boston last night.

It didn’t get better afterward.

K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune:

Celtics general manager Danny Ainge – who played for Boston in the 80s – pleaded ignorance to any nefarious plumbing:

I think the idea that teams plot to shut off the visitor’s hot water is often overstated. Arenas have complex infrastructure, and things can go wrong on their own. Sometimes, the home team loses hot water, but that never gets remembered.

But reasonable excuses don’t make a cold shower in the moment any more tolerable.

Robin Lopez pushes short floater over backboard (video)

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Robin Lopez had reason to be upset from the Bulls’ Game 5 loss to the Celtics last night.

This miss was all on him.

Dwyane Wade plays the laziest defense you’ll ever see (video)

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Dwyane Wade (26 points, 11 rebounds, eight assists) was the Bulls’ best player in their Game 5 loss to the Celtics last night.

But the 35-year-old guard clearly didn’t go all out on every possession.

Players can justify not closing out by claiming they were prioritizing rebounding position. Wade clearly has no such excuse.

Video Breakdown: Clippers use JJ Redick in split cut to fool Jazz at 3-point line

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The Los Angeles Clippers dropped Game 5 to the Utah Jazz on Tuesday night, and find themselves down 3-2 as they head back to Salt Lake City for Game 6. The Clippers have had to deal with Utah’s formidable defense, so much so that they’ve built in counters to Jazz defenders overplaying shooters like JJ Redick.

One example of this countering method could be found in Game 3, when the Clippers ran a split cut for Redick. Instead of fighting endlessly around screens for a 3-point shot as you might expect, LA took the easy route and simply cut Redick to the basket for an easy layup as a means to take advantage of an overeager defender.

We’ve talked about the Split Cut here on NBA Playbook before. The Los Angeles Lakers used it earlier in the season to beat the Golden State Warriors, the team that uses the split cut perhaps the most out of any team in the NBA.

Other teams, including the Portland Trail Blazers, have adapted the Warriors’ use of the split cut as a counter for their own offense this season, which is a testament to just how useful it is.

If you need a reminder, a split cut all about a screener coming up to screen, then cutting toward the basket before his screen action fully takes place. It’s about timing, and catching defenders off guard when they go to set up their recover positions for screens.

For a full breakdown on the split cut and how the Clippers used it, watch the video above.