Portland Trail Blazers v Los Angeles Lakers

Blazers coach feels for Brandon Roy, but he’s a role player

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UPDATE 3:48 pm: After practice on Thursday, Roy apologized for his complaints about playing time, according to the Associated Press.

He said it came from a place of frustration. Which is a place it is understandable Roy inhabits. If he weren’t frustrated, he’d be a cyborg. But that still does not change what  Nate McMillan has to do.

2:52 pm: Brandon Roy is struggling with the adjustment from being THE MAN to role player. Which is understandable.

Blazers coach Nate McMillan is sympathetic to the plight.

But McMillan’s primary job is to put his team in position to win games, and he told the Oregonian that Roy is going to have to deal with the new reality.

“The bottom line is making decisions on substitutions is going to be me making those decisions as far as what’s best for the team,” McMillan said….

“I said to Brandon, there’s nobody in this state, including Brandon, that (wants) Brandon on the floor as much as I do,” McMillan said.

It’s the reality that Roy has no cartridge in his knees to speak of any more. And while Roy says his knees are fine it clearly still impacts his game. Which is a loss for all of us because he was a three-time All-Star and elite guard in this league. I miss watching that old Roy play.

But there is a reason that last game Roy played at the end of the first into the start of the second quarters, then got a few minutes at the start of the fourth. Roy is not the best guard on the Blazers roster anymore. If the Blazers are going to win they need their best players on the floor at key moments.

Maybe things will change. Roy always played a smart game and maybe he can figure out how to adjust his game to his new physical realities. But not in this series. Portland has to win the next two at home to have any chance against Dallas and McMillan will play who he thinks gives them the best chance. That’s his job.

Lou Williams hits halfcourt buzzer-beater (video)

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Yeah, the Lakers lost to the Rockets, 134-95, Wednesday. But consider how lopsided that margin would’ve been without Lou Williams‘ halfcourt buzzer-beater.

And if this headline looks familiar, it is.

LeBron James, Cavaliers do water-bottle challenge on bench during blowout win over Knicks (video)

Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James, left, and Cavaliers forward Richard Jefferson entertain themselves by flipping a water bottle trying to get it to land on it's flat bottom during the fourth quarter of an NBA basketball game against the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden in New York, Wednesday, Dec. 7, 2016. The Cavaliers defeated the Knicks 126-94, and most starters left the game for the bench at the end of the fourth quarter. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)
AP Photo/Kathy Willens
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LeBron James did his part – scoring 25 points (on just 10 shots!), dishing seven assists and grabbing six rebounds – to give the Cavaliers an insurmountable lead over the Knicks through three quarters. So, he didn’t even play in the fourth quarter.

As Cleveland put the finishing touches on its 126-94 win, boredom set it. LeBron and a few of his teammates tried to flip a water bottle and have it land upright on the floor. LeBron even dove onto the court to pull the bottle back in after an errant flip!

No, Phil Jackson should not have used the word “posse” to describe LeBron’s business associates and friends. But this is the most disrespectful thing I’ve ever seen – and I love it.

DeMarcus Cousins says Mavericks’ rumored interest flatters him, but he loves Kings

Sacramento Kings center DeMarcus Cousins (15) receives a blow to the head from Dallas Mavericks' Dwight Powell as Cousins works to get to the basket in the first half of an NBA basketball game, Wednesday, Dec. 7, 2016, in Dallas. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)
AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez
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The Mavericks’ long-rumored interest in DeMarcus Cousins took its most direct public turn before the season, when Dallas signed Cousins’ brother, Jaleel Cousins. Jaleel is now on the Mavericks’ D-League affiliate, and I bet he will remain there as DeMarcus approaches 2018 free agency.

Brad Townsend of The Dallas Morning News:

So, DeMarcus Cousins, what do you think about the Mavericks’ long-rumored interest in acquiring you?

“It’s flattering,” Cousins told me, with a laugh, after the Kings’ Wednesday shootaround at AAC. Then, turning serious, he added of the Mavericks, “I respect them.”

“But,” I said, “I’ve also heard that you like it in Sacramento.”

“No,” Cousins corrected, “I love Sacramento.”

Cousins is getting good at this, toeing the line between appreciating another team’s interest and expressing his satisfaction with the Kings.

And give Cousins credit. He keeps producing at a star level for a team that hasn’t provided him with the proper support. Sacramento again appears headed toward the lottery, even as Cousins averages 29-10.

Questions remain, though: How much of Cousins’ attitude is him trying to make the best of an inescapable situation, and will expanded options in the summer of 2018 test his loyalty?

LeBron James dunks, struts past camerapeople and toward crowd, spooks fan (video)

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LeBron James is dominating, and the Cavaliers are rolling over the Knicks.

It’s almost as if something has LeBron particularly riled up. But maybe ease up a little? That cowering fan isn’t Phil Jackson.