What you missed while watching the MLS championship be decided on an own goal…
Raptors 102, Celtics 101: Rajon Rondo sat this one out and Nate Robinson started in his place and ended with 22 points on 8 of 14 shooting — but he had just two assists. The Celtics offense just felt different.
Thing is, it wasn’t really the offense that was the issue, it was the defense. Toronto got 40 points in the paint and got sent to the line 39 times by a Celtics team that seemed to foul a lot. They just did not play well or play smart at the end.
Credit the Raptors for making the big plays. Boston had a three point lead with 20 seconds left. The Raptors got the quick two pointer so Boston now had the lead 101-100 and the ball with 12 seconds left, and they inbounded it to the free throw machine that is Ray Allen. But Leandro Barbosa poked it away from behind without fouling, Jose Calderon got it and pretty soon Amir Johnson was fouled and knocking down free throws (was that really a foul in the act of shooting?). Paul Pierce got a last look at a game winner but missed.
Hornets 75, Kings 71: Ugly game. Call it good defense by both sides if you want, but there were missed open looks, too. The lid was on the basket. Hornets shot just 32.2 percent for the game (34.5 percent if you prefer eFG%, but it wasn’t pretty either way). The Kings shot better — 38.7 percent — but got fewer offensive rebounds and turned the ball over more. The turnover ere the key, it gave the Hornets some easy buckets in transition.
Pistons 114, Wizard 110 (OT): Big game from Charlie Villanueva off the bench, with 25 points and 11 boards. He remains inconsistent (he was terrible against the Lakers last game) but when he is on he can change a game. Rip Hamilton owned this game when it mattered.
Lakers 117, Warriors 89: This one was over early, a rout in the classic sense. Pau Gasol was just all kinds of impressive —28 points on 10 of 10 shooting plus he had 9 boards. Shannon Brown continues to have really elevated his game off the bench, playing much more controlled and trusting his jumper, he had 17 on 7 of 10 shooting, plus 3 of 3 from beyond the arc.
This is a huge season — a contract kind of season of sorts — for Noah Vonleh in Portland. The team has an option on him next season (the third of his rookie deal), and to impress people he is going to have to earn minutes at the four in front of Al-Farouq Aminu, Moe Harkless, Meyers Leonard, and Ed Davis.
The Blazers have high hopes for Vonleh, he was a central part of the Nicolas Batum trade with Charlotte. However, watching Vonleh at Summer League — 12 points a game on 46.3 percent shooting, 8.8 rebounds a game in more than 30 minutes a night — he didn’t show the development anyone had hoped to see. He should have dominated at that level. He didn’t.
Now there another injury setback for him.
He should be good to go around the start of training camp at the end of September.
But he can’t afford a slow start in training camp (that set him back his rookie season). He needs to show what he can do from day one, or Portland is going to move on without him.
The Boston Celtics have 16 players with guaranteed contracts and NBA rules allow just 15 players on the roster. Which means if a trade doesn’t happen by the start of the season, someone is going to get cut but still paid for the season.
This doesn’t change that.
The Celtics signed guard John Holland last season (he played a total of one playoff minute for them), but the deal was not guaranteed for this season. From Shams Charania of The Vertical at Yahoo Sports.
This was expected. Holland, who has played on the Puerto Rican national team, will be looking for a new gig either in the D-League or overseas (it’s unlikely an NBA team offers more than a training camp invite) By the end of training camp, the Celtics also likely will cut second-round pick Ben Bentil of Providence, who had a partially guaranteed deal.
That will leave R.J. Hunter and James Young battling it out for the final roster spot in Boston.
Ty Lawson is headed to the Kings, as first reported on Monday. The team made the move official on Wednesday with a press release, and USA Today‘s Sam Amick offers up another important piece of information: Lawson’s deal is not guaranteed, making it essentially a make-good camp invite.
It’s staggering how Lawson went from a borderline All-Star level point guard in 2012-13 to signing a non-guaranteed one-year deal with a lottery team three years later. His off-the-court issues have contributed to that, and he didn’t produce last season in Houston and Indiana. Still, he should have a pretty good chance of making the Kings’ roster, with Seth Curry and Rajon Rondo gone and Darren Collison their only proven point guard. They need depth there.
When Ben Simmons declared for the NBA draft this spring, he signed with LeBron James‘ Klutch Sports group for representation. That association would appear to have its advantages for the No. 1 overall pick, including the opportunity to work out with James and Dwyane Wade during the offseason. Wade posted a group photo on Instagram on Wednesday afternoon:
Also, it’s pretty staggering to see Simmons standing next to James and realizing that he’s bigger and taller.