Monday morning one liners

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Our morning look around the NBA with stories worth reading and notes that are not their own post here at PBT.

A fantastic read at Hoopspeak.com on what the Thunder need to do to get Kevin Durant more open looks.

After signing Baron Davis for the mini mid-level, the Knicks are out of the running for James Posey (because they can only offer the veterans minimum) and are looking at Al Thornton.

As Tom Ziller pointed out: Thanks to the NBA amnesty clause, Baron Davis’ salary went from $13.9 million to $16.4 million this season. Yes, one of the most dramatically overpaid players in the league gets to double dip.

By the way Knicks fans, you can thank Spike Lee for you having Tyson Chandler now.

Dwight Howard got a warm reception from Orlando fans at the team’s first scrimmage.

Who wins the 7th and 8th seeds in the West?

Suns coach Alvin Gentry said he is going to rest Steve Nash and Grant Hill on the team’s two back-to-back-to-backs. Gregg Popovich and Doc Rivers are dealing with similar questions right now.

Look for more Rodney Stuckey at the two guard this year with Brandon Knight and Will Bynum playing the point.

If you’re looking for a fantasy player your friends are going to overlook, try Greg Monroe. The Pistons center had 12 points, 13 boards, two steals and two blocks on Friday.

Cleveland’s Manny Harris is expected to miss another couple of weeks due to “freezer burn” he suffered on his foot in a Nike-sponsored “cooling chamber.” (Super cold rooms are a hot trend in helping players bodies regenerate.)

Blazers coach Nate McMillan said Jamal Crawford will be coming off the bench in Portland, as he did in Atlanta.

E’Twaun Moore looked good in the Celtics first preseason game.

Rhino sighting — the Trail Blazers have picked up veteran Craig Smith. Nice pickup to provide depth up front.

In case you missed it, David Stern and Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson had a successful meeting recently. The Maloofs seem to be coming around on the issue. Long way to go, but Sacramento may save its team.

The Bulls waived Jannero Pargo.

The Kings grabbed Travis Outlaw off amnesty waivers.

Jason Smith is staying with the Hornets on a one-year deal.

Sean Marks will retire from the NBA after an 11-year career.

The Warriors signed Ish Smith to a one-year deal.

J.R. Smith going with the Karl Malone imitation dunk during a game in China.

The Raptors are going with the optical illusion logo on the court for television. (It’s an NBA first, but European soccer teams have done this.)

George Hill nails half-court buzzer-beater with less than a second to shoot (video)

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I bet this made George Hill happier.

The Kings still losing to the Raptors, 108-93, probably didn’t, though.

Phil Jackson to miss Kobe Bryant’s jersey retirement Monday

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For one last night, Staples Center will belong to Kobe Bryant on Monday.

Sure, the Warriors are in town to take on the Lakers, but Monday night the Lakers are retiring Kobe Bryant’s numbers — both 8 and 24 — in a halftime ceremony. It’s been the hottest ticket in Los Angeles, with celebrities, luminaries, and regular Lakers fans shelling out a lot of cash to see the Laker legend be honored.

Except, Phil Jackson will not be there, reports Ramona Shelburne of ESPN.

Jackson has been in touch with Bryant in advance of the ceremony to congratulate him, sources said. But he was unable to travel from his Montana home for the ceremony in Los Angeles.

No reason was given (nor does one need to be made public, that’s between Kobe and Jackson).

Jackson coached Kobe to all five of his NBA titles, and while their relationship had its ups and downs — remember Jackson called out Kobe as almost uncoachable in one of his books — they remain close.

 

Three Things to Know: LeBron James racks up third straight triple-double

Associated Press
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Every day in the NBA there is a lot to unpack, so every weekday morning throughout the season we will give you the three things you need to know from the last 24 hours in the NBA. Here’s what you missed on Sunday while practicing your ax throwing in Paris

1) LeBron James has third straight triple-double… and sends equality message. Back in the 2008-09 season, LeBron James strung together three consecutive games of triple-doubles, the season he went on to win his first MVP award. Despite 61 career triple-doubles, he hasn’t had a string like that since.

Until now. LeBron put together three again this week, the most recent coming at the expense of the Washington Wizards on Sunday, a team that had no answer for his playmaking skills. James finished the game with 20 points, 12 rebounds and 15 assists. It wasn’t the most efficient LeBron scoring performance of his career (8-of-23 shooting overall, 2-of-7 from three, his legs looked a little tired on the back-to-back) and he was playing too much in isolation (nearly twice as many possessions as in pick-and-roll). However, down the stretch he was a fantastic playmaker, finding teammates — such as finding the cutting Jeff Green and Kyle Korver — and doing what it took to lift his team to the 106-99 win (Cleveland’s has won five straight and 18-of-19).

LeBron was also sending a message while playing in our nation’s capital: He wore one black and one white of the LeBron 15s, with the word “Equality” on the back of both of them. Good on LeBron, I love that he has found a voice and is comfortable using it.

2) Cavaliers sticking to plan even if he seems ready: Isaiah Thomas should join Cavaliers after the first of the year. Patience. It’s a virtue. Cleveland’s end game is to have another elite playmaker and scorer on the floor in late May and (hopefully) June, not for Christmas Day (no matter who is on the schedule).

Meaning that despite the face Isaiah Thomas is working out and says he and his injured hip feel ready to return, it will be 2018 before he officially pulls on a Cavaliers jersey and takes the court.

This is the smart play by the Cavaliers, who have racked up enough wins not to need to push him. That said, LeBron is carrying a heavy load — he’s played more minutes than anyone in the league so far, and this is his 15th NBA season — and the Cavaliers need to get him some help and rest so he is fresh for the postseason.

3) Detroit ties a franchise record with 17 made threes in win over Orlando. The Pistons are not exactly a great three-point shooting team: They average a middle-of-the-pack 29.3 attempts per game (31.6 percent of their attempts), but at least hit them at a healthy 38.3 percent clip. Detroit does a good job at least of getting corner threes up and knocking them down.

Sunday they were knocking everything down, hitting 17-of-34 threes to tie a franchise record for the most made threes in a game. Anthony Tolliver led the way (5-of-7 from deep) with Reggie Bullock pitching in 4-of-5.

The Pistons have snapped out of their seven-game losing streak to win three in a row now, including a quality win over the Pacers on the second night of a back-to-back.

Heat forward James Johnson expected to miss 7 to 10 days

AP
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MIAMI (AP) The Miami Heat will be without starting forward James Johnson for at least two games and probably more after bursitis was found in his right ankle.

Johnson left Miami’s win over the Los Angeles Clippers on Saturday with ankle pain, and an MRI performed Sunday led to the bursitis diagnosis. Johnson is not traveling with the team for its trip for games at Atlanta on Monday and Boston on Wednesday.

The team says Johnson could miss seven to 10 days, which would also mean his status for home games against Dallas on Dec. 22, New Orleans on Dec. 23 and Orlando on Dec. 26 is in some doubt.

Johnson is averaging 10.9 points and 5.2 rebounds for the Heat this season.