Phil Jackson continues a marvelous career of post-game jabbing

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Well, at least he didn’t demean any other coaches this time. In Phil Jackson’s historic, legendary career, he’s also managed to get away with being a coach who constantly demeans the other team and blames the officiating crew more than his own team for any loss. It’s a trademark of his competitiveness, a symbol of how dedicated he is to greatness, a product of his wisdom, and also kind of a jerk thing to do.

And after a regular season loss to Utah last night, he was back in the act again.

Late in the game the shot clock operator failed to reset the shot clock, forcing the officials to stop the game in order to correct it. In doing so, they lopped off a prime fast break opportunity for the Lakers. After the game, Jackson was none to happy about that particular sequence of events. From the Orange County Register:

“What was going on there?” Jackson asked reporters after the game. “That stopped a break on our part. That slowed us down.”

Nothing to vicious, but that may have been because with a correctly working shot clock the Lakers still failed to score in the final two and a half minutes of the game. But hey, easier to blame someone else, I suppose. Like, oh, say, Deron Williams!

“He’s tough and he gets away with a lot of stuff out there. He did some things tonight that were very unusual.”

Yes, Phil. If by unusual, you mean “defeat the incredibly awesome team you’ve had assembled for you” then yes, Deron did do something unusual.

Lakers fans will scream and yell till blue in the face, but it’s not just that Jackson complains like this when things don’t go his way, it’s that he’s lauded for it. “Mind games” people call them. In reality, it’s passive aggressive manipulation, the kind that your bosses in your workplaces would likely object to stiffly, just as mine would.

The problem is, neither you nor I have won 13 championships. And by that simply staggering measure, Jackson gets to say what he wants. Comes with the territory. You’d just think that someone could have earned his respect by now not to make jabs.

 

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

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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)

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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
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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:

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

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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.