Monday And-1 links: Who is Lakers second scoring option?

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Welcome to our morning look around the NBA — links to stories worth reading and notes to check out (stuff that did not get its own post here at PBT).

Who is the Lakers second scoring option after Kobe? Well, Kobe Bryant says it’s Andrew Bynum.

Kwame Brown thinks he deserves some of the credit for Bynum’s success.

After the game Sunday, Lakers coach Mike Brown said Matt Barnes had won the starting small forward job with his play. He certainly is playing with a lot more energy than Metta World Peace right now, who got just 12 minutes against Memphis.

Steve Nash says he is not going to ask for a trade from Phoenix and the Suns say they are not going to trade him unless he asks for one. It’s the same dance they have done for more than a season now.

Stephen Curry is going back to the doctor who did the surgery on his ankle this summer so he can take a look at the impact of the recent sprains. I’m sure the Doc will be thrilled with what Curry has done to his handiwork.

Video of all seven times Stephen Curry has sprained his ankle. In case you’re feeling masochistic.

Jamal Mashburn wants to be part of the group that purchases the New Orleans Hornets.

In the new configuration of Madison Square Garden, the advanced scouts for other teams got kicked to the press box at the top of the building to make way for more pricy seats. The scouts don’t like it (they can’t hear the coach they are scouting call plays). So, other teams have kicked the Knicks advanced scouts up to the rafters, even though there are better seats. It’s getting worked out.

Ray Allen backtracks on his David West comments.

The Suns new floor is too slick and players are concerned. It is getting redone.

Watch Dwight Howard use the defibrillator on Big Baby (sort of):

Andrew Bogut remains out dealing with a personal situation (not health related) and should return to Bucks soon.

A dozen players who have shown real progress in their games this young season.

Gilbert Arenas’ knee still isn’t right. I know, we’re shocked, too.

Sunday night, Marreese Speights looked like he could be the guy who gets big minutes while Zach Randolph is out in Memphis.

What’s wrong with the Knicks? Here are a few answers. My one sentence summation: If you’re going to bring in Mike D’Antoni to run seven seconds or less, give him players to fit the system (for example, a point guard) not ill-fitting pieces.

Isiah Thomas thinks that getting Tyson Chandler was a mistake by the Knicks. James Dolan is taking that under advisement.

The Clippers want to get the ball into the hands of Caron Butler more. That makes some sense, except for the part where it takes the ball out of Chris Paul’s hands more.

The Kings are not trading DeMarcus Cousins, but ESPN reports eight teams calls to check the temperature: Boston, Detroit, Indiana, New Jersey, Washington, Portland, Houston and Utah.

The Lakers expect to get Josh McRoberts back this week. And there was much rejoicing.

In China, J.R. Smith put up 57 points on just 38 shots, but his team still lost by 15.

Hawks, coach Mike Budenholzer agree to part ways

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This was expected.

It was pretty obvious Mike Budenholzer didn’t want to stick around and lose a lot of games with the Atlanta Hawks as they rebuild the next few years, especially after he had been stripped of his GM powers. Budenholzer went well down the road with the Phoenix Suns about their open coaching position before thinking better of it. Since then he has set up a meeting with the Knicks about their coaching vacancy, a job he reportedly wants badly.

At this point there was no need for the Hawks and Budenholzer to continue their sham marriage, so they have agreed to amicably separate, a story broken by Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN and since confirmed by the Hawks.

Budenholzer said this to Wojnarowski of ESPN:

“I am grateful for the five years that I spent as coach of the Atlanta Hawks, and will always cherish the incredible contributions, commitment and accomplishments of the players that I was fortunate enough to work with here,” Budenholzer told ESPN on Wednesday night. “From ownership to management, support staff to the community, I’ll look back with great pride on what we were able to achieve together with the Hawks.”

For Budenholzer, the long-time Spurs assistant and a strong Xs and Os coach, look for him to both push for the Knicks job and be in the running if/when the Milwaukee Bucks job opens up whenever their season ends. In both cases he’s a fit — those are teams that need a culture and system reset, and Budenholzer proved he can bring that to Atlanta (that was a good team before they let Al Horford and Paul Millsap walk for nothing).

With Atlanta, they likely will turn to a top assistant coach who will get a chance to develop young players on that team (and not cost Atlanta as much as an established coach). Stephen Silas of the Hornets is a rumored name, but there are others.

LeBron James overrules controversial finish with game-winning 3-pointer (video)

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LeBron James‘ turnover with the game tied late looked like a bad call. LeBron’s block of Victor Oladipo on the ensuing possession looked like a goaltend.

Did the Cavaliers get robbed of a crucial possession? Did the Pacers get robbed of two go-ahead points?

LeBron nullified those questions with a buzzer-beating 3-pointer to give Cleveland a 98-95 win and a 3-2 series lead. The game-winner capped a great game by LeBron (44 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists) and moves the Cavs to the verge of advancing.

When a team with home-court advantage can close out a best-of-seven series with a road Game 6, it has 52% of the time. It has won the series 92% of the time.

The odds are even better with LeBron. LeBron has won 11 straight closeout games, nine of them on the road. He’ll have another opportunity Friday with Game 6 in Indiana.

Raptors’ ‘culture reset’ shines in Game 5 win over Wizards

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The Raptors promoted ball movement. They emphasized 3-point shooting. They empowered their reserves.

This was why.

Backups Delon Wright and C.J. Miles and starting center Jonas Valanciunas – who was benched in previous postseasons due to his old-fashioned style, but expanded his game beyond the arc this year – scored Toronto’s final 18 points in a 108-98 Game 5 win over the Wizards on Wednesday. Stars DeMar DeRozan (0-for-4 from the field) and Kyle Lowry (0-for-1 from the field, 0-for-2 on free throws) struggled down the stretch, as the Raptors burst open what had been a one-point lead.

Though DeRozan (32 points) and Lowry (17 points and 10 assists) were good overall, they succumbed late in previous playoff games. Toronto didn’t want that duo stuck with the burden of creating so much in a stagnate offense.

Hence, Masai Ujiri’s famous “culture reset.”

The results have been mixed so far against a tougher-than-average-eight-seed Washington. But at least the Raptors – up 3-2 entering Friday’s Game 6 in Washington – are on the verge of advancing.

When a team with home-court advantage can close out a best-of-seven series with a road Game 6, it has 52% of the time. It has won the series 92% of the time.

Raptors honor victims of van attack before Game 5 (photos)

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TORONTO (AP) — The Toronto Raptors honored the victims the deadly van attack Monday with a moment of silence Wednesday night before Game 5 of their playoff series against the Washington Wizards.

Players from both teams held up banners with the hashtag #TORONTOSTRONG as they stood on the court during the tribute and the national anthems that followed:

The Raptors, the Wizards and the NBA will make a donation to a fund for victims and those affected by the incident.

Raptors President Masai Ujiri spoke about the attack after the Raptors practiced Tuesday.

“What we do doesn’t really matter sometimes,” Ujiri said. “I can’t imagine what it would be like to be on that sidewalk.”

Guard Kyle Lowry said he was impressed by the actions of Const. Ken Lam, who earned international acclaim for peacefully arresting of suspect Alek Minassian.

“In America he would definitely have been shot up,” Lowry said. “He did an amazing job of making a judgment call. I think more people could learn from that.”

Coach Dwane Casey was struck by how close the carnage occurred to his own Toronto neighborhood,

“It’s not too far from up the street from where I live,” Casey said.

Casey and his coaches were in the midst of a meeting Monday afternoon when assistant Rex Kalamian’s phone buzzed with someone informing him of the tragedy. The coaches stopped their meeting and turned on a television to find out what had happened.

“It’s very unfortunate,” Casey said. “Just this weekend I was talking to people saying how safe Toronto is, how it’s a melting pot and you don’t have the same crime. Hopefully though, sport can offer a relief, some reprieve.”

Like Casey, Ujiri said he is proud of Toronto’s reputation as a safe, welcoming place.

“Everywhere I go, I brag about this city,” Ujiri said. “It’s the safest place in the world. It’s the best city in the world and it’s going to continue to be the best place and the best city in the world.”

Toronto police said the 10 people killed and 14 injured in the attack were “predominantly” women, but have declined so far to discuss a motive. The 25-year-old Minassian has been charged with 10 counts of first-degree murder and 13 counts of attempted murder.