There is no “Sixth Man of the Playoffs” award, but if there were Brandon Roy would be the frontrunner.
He was a game changer for the Trail Blazers off the pine, especially in Game 4 when he had a quarter for the ages that pulled his struggling team up and evened the series (even if that quarter proved to be a mirage for Portland).
His performance had a lot of people thinking about Roy being the next Lamar Odom/Jason Terry/Manu Ginobili — a fantastic player who comes off the bench to change games.
Roy isn’t thinking like that, not in the least, he told the Oregonian.
“I’m going to want to push to be a starter and help this team win. The goal doesn’t change,” Roy said Friday as the Blazers left for the offseason. “I think I definitely want to help this team get in position to win and get out of the first round.”
Good. You don’t want a player thinking any other way.
But Roy needs to come off the bench next season anyway.
This is about reduced minutes for a guy whose knees lack any cartilage. Roy can spend all off-season resting his knees and getting whatever treatments he thinks helped the most, but there is an 82-game grind ahead that is hard on good, healthy knees. (Well, maybe less than 82 after the lockout, we’ll see.) Roy has value but the Blazers need to get him rest. Coming off the bench an help with that.
Of course, if Andre Miller isn’t brought back there are question of who will be the staring point guard for Portland, and Roy is already right there, so… still he would make a fantastic Sixth Man of the Year.
LeBron James admires Kobe Bryant.
Kobe pulling his name from 2016 Olympic consideration (perhaps an informed preemptive gesture just before the roster finalists were announced) might keep LeBron off Team USA.
Kevin Ding of Bleacher Report:
Bryant not pursuing a spot on the U.S. Olympic basketball team this summer is a very real reason James might also not join the team, according to NBA sources.
James is that disappointed the Rio Olympics will not serve as the final, ultimate celebration of Bryant’s career—and more so that James won’t have the priceless honor of being Bryant’s co-star teammate when it ends.
I don’t buy this.
Kobe said during the 2012 Olympics those would be his final Olympics. Two weeks later, LeBron said he wanted to play in 2016.
Did playing with Kobe on Team USA become more important to LeBron over the last few years?
I suppose it’s possible. Many got behind sending Kobe to Rio as a sendoff into retirement. Perhaps, LeBron got attached to the idea and became bitter once it fell through.
I just have a hard time believing LeBron would tie his decision so strongly to another player. Remember, he left one of his best friends, Dwyane Wade, in Miami to sign with the Cavaliers. Would Kobe’s presence really dictate LeBron’s outlook?
LeBron has been mum on his plans for Team USA. I’m sure the length of Cleveland’s playoff run and the toll it takes on his body will factor. He might not yet know what he’ll do.
The ball is in his court, which can be challenging. There has been backlash from media and fans against players who turn down Team USA, and LeBron could be trying to avoid that.
I trust Ding was told LeBron felt this way, but nobody – including me, including Ding – can know what’s in LeBron’s head. But this report strikes me as LeBron setting up the ability to attribute his absence to Kobe’s rather than facing the full brunt of reaction that comes to turning down Team USA.
The Clippers got hyped for Paul Pierce‘s potential last game in Boston by… reenacting the time Pierce got stabbed there? If not, it sure looks like it.
Mock fighting is the norm for the Clippers’ pregame, but I haven’t seen a single player targeted like this. Whatever gets you pumped, I guess.
Markieff Morris‘ frustrations last night didn’t end with his scuffle with teammate Archie Goodwin. They didn’t end with the Suns’ loss to the Warriors, either.
As Morris was leaving the court, a fan heckled him: “Markieff, you f—ing suck. I can’t wait until you’re traded.” Though Morris probably agrees with the second sentence, he flipped off the fan:
Though it’s difficult to confirm that video was from last night, it jibes with a previous report of the incident.
John Gambadoro of Arizona Sports 98.7
Morris will likely at least be fined. Considering his previous behavioral problems this season – he threw a towel at Jeff Hornacek – I wouldn’t completely rule out a suspension. But a fine seems most likely.
An embarrassing lack of focus by the Rockets? I can hardly believe it.
Late in a game against a team Houston is battling for playoff position, Dwight Howard was just careless, stepping on the baseline as he inbounded the ball. It’s a needless goof, and he’ll get plenty of deserved criticism for it.
But don’t overlook Patrick Beverley‘s frustration foul on Damian Lillard before the ensuing inbound. That was nearly as foolish and even more costly.
The sequence sparked a 7-0 run for the Trail Blazers, who seized control of the game en route to a 116-103 win.