Kobe Bryant picked up his 15th technical this season in a little tussle with Kendrick Perkins Sunday night. One more T in the season’s final two games and Kobe is suspended for one game. If he picks up 16 in the season’s final game he does not sit out the first playoff game — the technical count resets for the playoffs — rather he would be suspended for the first game of next season.
I wouldn’t describe Kobe as talkative after the Lakers loss to the Thunder Sunday.
Who are the best scrappers in the NBA?
Lance Stephenson has been benched again in Indiana and will not play again this season due to a violation of team rules.
Gregg Popovich would like to do away with the three-point line. Sort of.
What happened to Shannon Brown? Remember at the start of the season when he got his shots in the flow of the offense and the jumper was falling? Those days seem long gone.
When you reflect on Memphis making the playoffs, do not forget what Rudy Gay brought to this team this season.
Marcus Cousins got a three-year deal with the Rockets. It is not guaranteed, however.
Mark Cuban railed against Internet reporters again, this time on CNN and this time said giving them locker room access was like giving a needle to a heroin junkie. Brett talked about this before here, but my one sentence response: It’s about ticket sales for Cuban, because the trade rumors this Internet reporter runs often come from those newspaper sources, but Cuban can see the connection between papers and ticket sales (and sponsorships) in a way he cannot with the Internet. To sum up: It’s always about the money. Always.
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 had reason to be upset from the Bulls’ Game 5 loss to the Celtics last night.
This miss was all on him.
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.
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.