Steve Nash and what is left of the once-feared Phoenix Suns came into the Gah-den and beat the Boston Celtics Friday night. That would be six losses in the last seven games, and like Friday some are coming to below .500 teams.
That is some more fuel on the growing “blow up the Celtics” fire.
Nothing is going to happen soon but the talk and rumors are swirling, and even reaching into the Celtics locker room. Paul Pierce was asked about it after the game, reports A. Sherrod Blakely at CSNNE.com.
“You can’t pay attention to that,” he said after the Celts’ 79-71 loss to the Phoenix Suns Friday night. “That’s part of the business. You just gotta do your job as a professional each and every day. That’s about it.”
The Celtics are a veteran locker room, guys like Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen have been at the center of trade rumors before. That’s not going to impact the Celtics on the court.
Which is good, they have enough problems there right now.
Lakers coach Luke Walton called the Lakers’ 122-73 loss to the Mavericks yesterday “embarrassing for us as a team, for us as an organization.”
At 49 points, it was the most lopsided loss in franchise history. Moreover, it came to 15-29 Dallas, the NBA’s fourth worst team.
The league hadn’t seen a loss that big to a team that bad in 24 years.
Here’s every game ever decided by at least 45 points, plotted by scoring difference and the victor’s full-season win percentage (or to date for the Mavericks and Warriors, who beat the Trail Blazers by 45 earlier this season). The Lakers’ loss yesterday is marked in purple:
Here are more details of similar games, which appear in the black box:
|March 18, 1972: Portland Trail Blazers 133, New York Knicks 86
|February 20, 1976: Chicago Bulls 130, Portland Trail Blazers 74
|January 2, 1993: Sacramento Kings 154, Philadelphia 76ers 98
|December 29, 1992: Sacramento Kings 139, Dallas Mavericks 81
|January 22, 2017: Dallas Mavericks 122, Los Angeles Lakers 73
|February 1, 1983: Chicago Bulls 129, Houston Rockets 76
|February 27, 1992: Charlotte Hornets 136, Philadelphia 76ers 84
The Lakers’ loss isn’t the worst in NBA history. Four teams have lost to worse teams by bigger margins, and a couple lost by more to barely worse teams.
But, barring a Dallas turnaround, the league hasn’t seen a loss like this in quite some time.
The NBA acknowledged the attention-grabbing officiating error late in the Bulls’ win over the Kings on Saturday: DeMarcus Cousins shouldn’t have been called for fouling Dwyane Wade, who hit the go-ahead free throw with 14 seconds left.
But before Sacramento claims the referees cost it a win, the Last Two Minute Report reveals a more significant missed call that favored the Kings.
Cousins should have been called for travelling with 56.3 left as he drove for a basket, according to the league:
Cousins (SAC) moves his pivot foot. The official is looking for any illegal contact and does not pick up the pivot foot.
The non-call directly allowed Cousins to score two points. Wade made only one free throw.
The officiating errors in the final two minutes helped the Kings more than the Bulls.
(Sacramento center Kosta Koufos also got away with a shooting foul on Jimmy Butler with 37.8 seconds left, according to the league, but Robin Lopez tipped in Butler’s miss, anyway. The Bulls weren’t shorted any points on that possession.)
The Trail Blazers beat the Celtics on Saturday in an overtime thriller. The game provided so much action, there was little objection when what would’ve been one of the most exciting plays was waived off.
But it should have counted.
With Boston down one one and 11 seconds left, Marcus Smart stripped Damian Lillard under Portland’s own basket and immediately hit a go-ahead layup. Except officials called a foul on Smart – in error, according to the NBA’s Last Two Minute Report:
Smart (BOS) makes clean contact with the ball.
Lillard went to the line and made both free throws, and Terry Rozier made a 3-pointer to send the game to overtime, where the Trail Blazers emerged with a 127-123 win.
Portland still would’ve had a chance to answer, but with a correct call, Boston would have held the lead a much better chance of winning in regulation.
Jeremy Lin has been in and out of the Nets’ lineup due to a lingering hamstring injury. He has already missed 31 games, including the last 11.
The point guard hoped to return around now, but that’s not happening.
The following statement has been released by Brooklyn Nets General Manager Sean Marks:
“During the course of his rehab, Jeremy re-aggravated his strained left hamstring and will be out approximately three to five weeks as he continues to work towards a full recovery. We understand and appreciate Jeremy’s competitive desire to get back on the court with his teammates, however, we are going to be cautious with his rehab in order to ensure that he is at full strength once he returns.”
Of course, this improves the fortunes of the Celtics,who own the Nets’ 2017 first-round pick. Brooklyn, 9-34 and 4.5 games worse than anyone else in the NBA, appears even more certain to secure the No. 1 seed in the lottery.
The Nets have been bad with Lin this season and a little worse without him. With no first-rounder, the difference is negligible to them.
Isaiah Whitehead, Sean Kilpatrick and Spencer Dinwiddie will get more opportunities to develop. But Brooklyn is probably overburdening those young guards. Even with Lin, there was plenty of playing time available.