Tuesday And-1 links: LaMarcus Aldridge coming to Portlandia

Leave a comment

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).

Confession: I love Portlandia (the IFC comedy show). I really am going to love the episode where LaMarcus Aldridge makes a cameo.

Kevin Garnett tells you what it takes to be a Celtic.

Is it time for Monta Ellis to be a little more like KG, a vocal leader in the locker room.

Mickael Pietrus could make his season debut on Wednesday for the Celtics.

We have our first Ricky Rubio song.

Michael Beasley, Timberwolves sixth man? Could happen.

Danny Granger was out for the Pacers in an interesting game against the Pacers Monday due to food poisoning.

Ian Mahinmi was detained briefly at the White House because the birthdate on some of his papers was wrong. They don’t mess around with security at that building.

The Clippers are good on offense because they don’t turn the ball over.

Alvin Gentry loves him some Tim Tebow (and the Broncos). Don’t hate on Tebow around him.

Really interesting post at the Economist on the secondary ticket market (think StubHub) and pricing.

Nene took the needle Monday night because of pain in his heel, then went out and played 30 minutes.

When asked Sunday night if he had considered starting Steve Blake at the point over Derek Fisher, Lakers coach Mike Brown said no. Meaning Fisher will continue to start the Blake continue to finish.

What does Andrew Bynum need to do to take his offense to the next level?

Was Cleveland so scared by LeBron leaving that they are already asking if rookie Kyrie Irving will stay? Apparently. But remember LeBron stayed after his rookie deal, too.

Amare Stoudemire picked up his third technical of the season Monday. In the shortened season, suspensions start at 13.

The ball moved better for the Timberwolves when Michael Beasley was out. Coincidence?

The loss of Zach Randolph meant the loss of the Grizzlies offensive identity.

Adam Morrison has officially signed with Besiktas in Turkey.

Rick Carlisle talks about the Mavericks slow start.

James Harden reveals he’s playing through ankle injury

AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki
Leave a comment

James Harden didn’t lead the Rockets in scoring in their Game 4 win over the Thunder yesterday.

He didn’t even rank second – or third.

Nene, Eric Gordon and Lou Williams each outscored Harden, who scored 16 points on 5-for-16 shooting, including 0-for-7 on 3-pointers.

What happened to the Houston star?

Calvin Watkins of ESPN:

Houston Rockets star guard James Harden said he has been hobbled by an ankle injury that occurred in Game 3 of this first-round series against the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Harden made the revelation to ESPN’s Lisa Salters after the Rockets’ 113-109 Game 4 victory on Sunday afternoon.

“It was pretty tough; we don’t make excuses,” Harden said in a news conference when asked about his health. “We just try to go out there and get the job done. You build trust, and trust in your teammates all year long. When there’s moments like this, guys step up and they did tonight. We have another opportunity in a few days to go out there and win on our home court, and we’re going to have to get off to a really good start.”

Many players are grinding through injuries this time of year. Is Harden’s exceptionally bad? There’s no way of telling from the outside.

But he didn’t look quite right in Game 4, and if he’s hobbled, that opens the door slightly wider for Oklahoma City to come back from its 3-1 deficit.

Video Breakdown: Rockets launch Eric Gordon from 3-point range against Thunder in Game 4

Leave a comment

The Houston Rockets beat the Oklahoma City Thunder on Sunday, 113-109, and now the series heads back to Texas with the Rockets in the lead, 3-1.

Houston and OKC played a weird game, with Nene scoring 28 points off the bench for the Rockets and serious mischief in the final moments. The end of the game included a purposely missed free throw by Steven Adams that allowed Russell Westbrook to grab a quick 3-pointer and a missed call when James Harden shoved Alex Abrines out of the way like an NFL tackle.

While the Rockets didn’t shoot a stellar percentage from 3-point range — just 31.5 percent — they still knocked down 11 buckets from deep. Part of that action was a play run for Sixth Man of the Year candidate Eric Gordon that included a little semi-Pistol action, and a stagger screen that allowed Gordon to work his way free.

I picked this play to go over this week because it exemplifies just how committed to the 3-point shot the Rockets are. Plus, Gordon ran around three screens just to get this one bucket, which is always fun to see.

Watch the full video breakdown above.

Jimmy Butler on Marcus Smart dustup: ‘He’s not about that life. So, he’s calming down’

Leave a comment

Marcus Smart and Jimmy Butler had to be separated during the Celtics’ Game 4 win over the Bulls after Smart pushed Butler, who was hounding him defensively in the backcourt.

Butler:

As far as the Marcus Smart situation goes, he’s a great actor. Acting tough, that’s what he does. But I don’t think he’s about that, and I’m the wrong guy to get in my face. So, he needs to take it somewhere else because I’m not the one for that.

Was that their first run-in? Butler:

That’s the first time. Last time, too. We’re not going to sit here and get in each other’s faces like that. Like I said, he’s not about that life. So, he’s calming down.

The Bulls, who’ve lost two straight to allow Boston to tie the series 2-2, is angling for any edge. Butler tried to intimidate Smart on the court, and the Chicago wing might actually rattle the too easily shakable Smart with his postgame comments.

The irony: Some might say Butler, who did come up hard, lost touch with his roots as he entered stardom. I don’t buy that, at least not majorly.

But even if both – or neither – are posturing to any degree, this will be a matchup to watch in Game 5.

Remembering former NBA official Jess Kersey, who passed away Saturday

Leave a comment

Jess Kersey, who officiated more than 2,200 NBA games, including being part of 19 NBA Finals, passed away over the weekend, losing his battle with cancer at age 76.

Kersey was a well-respected official who feared nothing. Maybe the most remembered image of Kersey is him trying to break up a fight between Mitch Kupchak and Hakeem Olajuwon, essentially trying to tackle Olajuwon with his head in Olajuwon’s chest and his arms wrapped around him. Kersey got in the middle of everything if that was what was required.

Our thoughts go out to the Kersey family for their loss.