Celtics 110 Jazz 86: It’s rare that a loss to the best team in the Eastern Conference on the road is really hard to swallow, but this was yet another disappointing effort from the Jazz. Al Jefferson and Paul Millsap were completely neutralized by the Celtics’ front line, and Deron Williams had a bad night against Rondo. The Celtics looked every bit like they would not be having those lost nights in January this year.
Wizards 85 Celtics 83: … Or not. The Celtics’ offense completely melted into nothingness while John Wall made several huge plays down the stretch. First he tip-stole a pass from Rondo on a rebound to secure another possession and burn clock, then he drained a bank three (which he did not call glass on) which wound up icing it. But hey, the Wizards will take it any way they can get it. Meanwhile, Paul Pierce whiffed on a step back elbow J, the kind he never misses on. Huge win for the Wizards.
Hornets 96 Spurs 72: The first quarter of this game should never be discussed again, ever. It was 13-12 after the first quarter and the defense wasn’t even really that good. It was just the Spurs and Hornets missing lots of shots. And the Spurs kept up that strategy for the rest of the game. For two teams that have played so well lately, this was a terrible performance on both sides, but Chris Paul took over, and Emeka Okafor did his thing and the Hornets got away with this one. Bad loss for the best team in the West.
Thunder 101 Knicks 98: I could talk to you about the Knicks’ incredible series of poor decisions offensively down the stretch. I could talk to you about Serge Ibaka and his work on the offensive glass garnering the Thunder way more possessions than they should have had. I can talk to you about Nick Collison’s work on Amar’e Stoudemire which helped confound him late. But really, this is all you need to know:
NBA considering if jump-on-back foul should be flagrant foul
The NBA was quick to let people know that this is just something under consideration — there has been no change in the rules. This may well be where the league is headed, but it’s not there yet.
The NBA defines a flagrant foul as “unnecessary contact committed by a player against an opponent.” To me, leaping on a player’s back like that qualifies. (A flagrant two foul is “unnecessary and excessive contact” and leads to an ejection; this is not that.)
Jared Dudley — one of the more vocal players on union issues — added a good point.
Since we're in the subject! I think it's crazy that the @NBA can make a rule without even discussing it with the players. No input at all
Smith (CLE) makes incidental contact with Turner’s (BOS) body as he attempts the layup.
If this were officiated correctly, the Cavs would’ve had the ball and a two-point lead with 5.9 seconds left. That’s not a lock to win – they’d still have to inbound the ball and make their free throws – but it’s close.
Cleveland is definitely entitled to feel the refs wronged them out of a victory.
Report: Kevin Durant has “done his due diligence on the Bay Area”
Kevin Durant has not made up his mind about what he will do as a free agent this summer. Until his playoff run ends, whenever that may be for the Thunder, his focus will be on bringing a title to Oklahoma City.
But even he admits he can’t help but think about free agency a little.
The Warriors play in front of an intimidating Oracle Arena crowd and are expected to debut a new San Francisco arena in 2019. Durant has quietly done his due diligence on the Bay Area, too, sources told Yahoo Sports.
His people — specifically agent Rich Kleiman and personal manager Charlie Bell — would be stupid not to have done some research on not only Golden State but on every other team he might consider: Houston, Miami, Washington, both teams in Los Angeles, the Knicks, and on down the line. Golden State, playing with Stephen Curry, certainly would have its attractions.
I’m still in the camp that Durant signs a 1+1 deal to stay in Oklahoma City (meaning he can opt out after one more season, in 2017), and it’s all about the cash. While he could get 30 percent of a $90 million cap this summer (about $27 million a season to start), with one more year of service in 2017 Durant could get 35 percent of $108 million ($37.8 million to start). That’s a lot of cash. Plus he gets one more chance at a ring with Russell Westbrook and Serge Ibaka, who both are 2017 free agents.
But you can be sure whatever Durant decides, it will be well researched and thought out. And he’s not going to announce it in a live special on ESPN.
Byron Scott expected to start D’Angelo Russell after All-Star break, but hasn’t talked to him about it
When we talk about Lakers’ coach Byron Scott’s questioned player development skills with young players Julius Randle, Jordan Clarkson, and particularly D'Angelo Russell, it is his old-school lack of communication that comes into question. It’s what is different from what Gregg Popovich or Quin Snyder or other guys developing strong young players have done. From the outside (we’re not in practices/film sessions), we see Scott was not letting Russell play through mistakes — feeling that was rewarding bad behavior — but then not doing a good job communicating what the player is doing wrong.
Scott plans to start Russell after NBA All-Star weekend (Feb. 12-14). But Scott said the two have not talked about that issue.
“He’s not old enough for me to have a meeting and discuss, ‘What do you think?’” Scott said.
I would say you should have that meeting — it’s called a teachable moment. “What do you think? Well here is what I see that is different.”
Part of what is going on with Scott and Russell is the concern from some in the Lakers’ camp that Russell is a little too full of himself, that his ego is too big, and it could become a problem. So they are trying to take him down a peg. I would say that for a smart player — and Russell is that — the game is humbling and will take care of the ego issue. But you’ve got to give him run to develop him.
Play him, and then communicate with him. It’s a system that does worth with modern players.