The Thunder needed a win on Tuesday night, and they got one, 111-102 over the Grizzlies. The Thunder got out to an early lead against the Grizzlies and never looked back, and were able to prevent themselves from having to go into Memphis facing an 0-2 deficit.
The key to the game was the Thunder’s defensive work on Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph, who absolutely torched the Thunder from outside and under the basket in Game 1. In Game 2, the two big men combined to shoot 0-5 at the rim, and only shot 2-9 on mid-range jump shots. If the Grizzlies can continue to keep Memphis’ gigantic frontline from doing too much damage against them in this series, there’s a very good chance they will move on to the conference finals.
On the offensive side of things for the Thunder, both Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook had the kind of performances you expect from them, combining for 50 points on 38 field goal attempts. However, the story of the game for the Thunder may have been their bench play. James Harden poured in 21 points off the bench, and Eric Maynor splashed in three of his four three-point attempts on his way to 15 points. We already know that the Thunder’s best players are better than the Grizzlies’ best players — if the Thunder can play with more depth than the Grizzlies, they’ll be in great shape.
After two games, the key to this series appears pretty simple. If the Grizzlies can control the paint on offense, they can win. If the Thunder can shut down Randolph and Gasol, they will have a major advantage. Memphis got what it wanted — a split in Oklahoma City. Now it’s up to the Thunder to go into Memphis, keep the Grizzly bigs under control, and get home-court advantage back.
Malik Monk‘s game is a perfect fit for Summer League: The tempo is up, the guards have the ball in their hands, the plays are basic, and the defense is inconsistent (to be kind). Monk’s ability to create shots for himself, score in transition off pull-ups or attacking the rim, and his ability to score on spot-up chances coming off screens means he would put up numbers in the glorified pick-up games of Summer League.
Except we’re not going to get to see it this year. Monk will miss Summer League due to a sprained ankle suffered during the pre-draft workout process, the Charlotte Hornets announced. The team says his rehab process is 2-4 weeks, but they are not going to push their new player just to get him in some meaningless Summer League games.
Charlotte was lucky Monk fell down the draft board to them at 11, he was rated higher than that on most boards. He can score at the NBA level, how far his career goes will depend on his ability to do other things, particularly defend. His style of game is similar to Lou Williams or Monta Ellis, both of whom have had long NBA careers because they can just get buckets.
That would have been fun to see in Summer League, but maybe next year.
Self-serving Knicks president Phil Jackson said Carmelo Anthony “would be better off somewhere else.”
Anthony’s wife, La La Anthony, revealed a different point of view when asked whether she’d divorce the star forward and about trade rumors involving him.
La La on The Wendy Williams Show:
Not right now. I’m not. You know, marriages are tough. And you know that. We all know that. It’s filled with ups and downs. And we’re just going through a time right now.
But him and I are the best of friends, and our number one commitment is to our son, Kiyan. We have to set an example to Kiyan, and that’s what’s most important to me. So, I would absolutely never say a bad thing about my husband. That is my son’s father, and he is an amazing dad. I could not ask for a better dad.
Every day, I see a different team. That’s for sure.
The most important thing with just that is to stay close to Kiyan. That’s my priority. That’s his priority.
So, wherever he ends up, of course we want him to be happy.
I am hood, and I want to stay close to the hood. So, New York is definitely where I’m at and where I’m staying.
The Knicks are lousy, and working for Jackson is no treat. Carmelo knows all that.
But this might reveal why Anthony hasn’t – and, according to Jackson, still won’t – waive his no-trade clause to approve a deal from New York. There are things that matter more than basketball.
Pending free agents almost always express loyalty to their current team, whether or not they actually plan to re-sign.
That’s what makes Danilo Gallinari‘s comments stand out.
Gallinari, via Premium Sport, as translated by E. Carchia of Sportando:
“Nuggets are not my first choice but they are exactly at the same level of the other teams. Denver’s advantage is that they can offer me a five-year contract while other franchises can offer me a four-year deal. Nuggets are at the same level of the others” Gallinari said.
One way to look at this: If a player stating a desire to return to his team – even if he plans to leave – is the baseline, Gallinari is definitely gone from Denver.
Another: Gallinari is being exceedingly honest, and we should just take his comments at face value.
Giannis Antetokounmpo made the All-Defensive second team at forward with 35 voting points.
Paul Millsap missed the All-Defensive second team at forward with… 35 voting points
The difference? Antetokounmpo had more first-team votes (seven to zero), and that was the tiebreaker. But not long ago, both would have made it.
The league changed its policy a few years ago to break ties rather than put both players on the All-Defensive team, league spokesman Tim Frank said.
In 2005, Dwyane Wade and Jason Kidd tied for fourth among guards with 16 voting points each. Even though Wade had more first-team votes than Kidd (six to four), both made the All-Defensive second team.
In 2013 (Tyson Chandler and Joakim Noah) and 2006 (Kobe Bryant and Jason Kidd), two players tied for the first team. So, the league awarded six first-team spots and still put five more players on the second team.
I was definitely against that. A six-man first team should have meant a four-man second team – four guards, four forwards and two centers still honored.
But with a tie for the second team, I could go either way. Having a clear policy in place – and it seems there was – is most important.
It’s just a bad break for Millsap, who, in my estimation, deserved to make an All-Defensive team based on his production.