George Karl says he wants to coach next season, but health will determine

Leave a comment

In one sense, George Karl is just like Carmelo Anthony, Kenyon Martin and JR Smith — who knows if they will be back with the Nuggets next season.

Except Karl is for a refreshingly non-monetary reason, as he told the Associated Press before the game. It’s all about his health.

“At the end of the year, if my health is more important, then I’ll walk away from the game of basketball,” Karl said. “I’m not saying that’s what I want. But I’m not saying that I haven’t thought about that more than any time in my life.

“So, I don’t think (what the front office decides) matters a lot to me, because as much as they’re evaluating me and what they want to do with me, I’m probably evaluating what I want to do with me….”

“I mean, would I bet on me not coaching? I wouldn’t bet on me not coaching. I think I’m going to be coaching,” Karl said. “But there’s still a lot of steps. There’s some hurdles I’ve got to jump through, there’s some hoops I’ve got to jump through.

“I’m fired up. I think I’ve got great people behind me. I’ve got great support, the spirit of karma of what’s going on in my life has been a blessing. So, I’m feeling pretty good about my chances. But in the same sense, there is some things about stress and getting your immune system working the right way that has been brought to my attention.”

Karl returned to the bench this season after missing the second half of last season with throat cancer. He is a two-time cancer survivor and this season his perspective on the game and coaching seems different. He has clearly tried to keep the stress down, a Sisyphean task for an NBA coach.

All of it — the health, the family, the love of what he does — carries over to whether or not he comes back or not, regardless of the makeup of the team.

And regardless of being contenders or rebuilding, the Nuggets would be better off with him on the bench. Providing he wants to be there.

Spurs coach Gregg Popovich: I’ve never seen injury like Kawhi Leonard’s

Ezra Shaw/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Gregg Popovich is a basketball lifer.

He’s the NBA’s most experienced active head coach. Before that, he was the Spurs’ general manager. Before that, he was an NBA assistant. Before that, he was a college head coach and assistant. Before that, he was a college player. Before that, he was a youth player.

The San Antonio coach has seen everything.

Except the right quadriceps tendinopathy suffered by Kawhi Leonard, whom Popovich said more than a week would return “sooner rather than later.” Yet, Leonard still hasn’t played this season.

Popovich, via Michael C. Wright of ESPN:

“Never, never,” Popovich said when asked whether he has seen such a condition hampering one of his players. “What’s really strange is that [point guard] Tony [Parker] has the same injury, but even worse. They had to go operate on his quad tendon and put it back together or whatever they did to it. So to have two guys, that’s pretty incredible. I had never seen it before those guys.”

“I keep saying sooner rather than later,” Popovich said jokingly. “It’s kind of like being a politician. It’s all baloney, doesn’t mean anything.”

The 26-year-old Leonard is one of the NBA’s biggest on-court stars. He might be the league’s best defender, and he has built himself into an offensive force. The Spurs (11-7) have fared fine without him so far, but they’ll need him to accomplish their main goals – this year and beyond.

Hopefully, Leonard’s health is better than it sounds here, because Popovich’s answer sure isn’t encouraging.

Tim Hardaway Jr. calls fallen ref safe rather than defend shot (video)

2 Comments

The Knicks went on a 28-0 run.

They earned the right to showboat late in their win over the Raptors last night.

Tim Hardaway Jr. called a ref, who slipped on the baseline, safe rather than contest Serge Ibaka‘s 3-pointer. Perfection!

Luc Mbah a Moute sets modern record at +57 in Rockets’ win over Nuggets

AP Foto/Eric Christian Smith
1 Comment

Luc Mbah a Moute is a quietly good player.

He’s an effective and versatile defender. Offensively, he shoots 3-pointers well enough to score efficiently and spread the floor. Most of all, the 31-year-old just understands how to play and plays within himself. His teams tend to perform better when he’s on the floor.

That’s an understatement for Wednesday night.

In a 125-95 win, the Rockets outscored the Nuggets by a whopping 57 points in Mbah a Moute’s 26 minutes. That’s the best single-game plus-minus in the Basketball-Reference database, which dates back to the 2000-01 season. It tops Joe Smith’s +52 in a 2001 Timberwolves win over the Bulls, a 53-point game that also produced a +50 for Wally Szczerbiak and +48 for Terrell Brandon.

Mbah a Moute’s traditional stat line was impressive, though not overly so: 13 points on 5-of-5 shooting with four rebounds, four steals and an assist. He played well, contributing to winning in all the small ways he often does, and the Rockets happened to play excellently around him.

Now, Mbah a Moute tops the leaderboard in single-game plus-minus since 2000-01:

image

Did Russell Westbrook get mad at Steven Adams for not taking potential triple-double-clinching shot? (video)

4 Comments

Russell Westbrook chases triple-doubles.

That hardly makes him unique. He’s just close enough to the feat more often than other players, so he chases them more often.

But he still chases them.

Late in the Thunder’s 108-91 win over the Warriors last night, Westbrook was heading toward his final line of 34 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists. His teammates shot off his passes on three of Oklahoma City’s final four possessions before he took a seat (including one assist). The exception came when he passed to Steven Adams, who passed rather than shoot – clearly upsetting Westbrook.

Was Westbrook mad because he missed his chance at a triple-double? Maybe.

Was Westbrook mad because Adams passed as the shot clock neared expiration? Maybe.

It could be both!

Watch Kevin Durant and Stephen Curry on Golden State’s bench. They clearly found something funny.