From the New York Post’s Marc Berman:
HOUSTON — The Iman Shumpert starting point guard experiment ended last night for the Knicks.
Toney Douglas was promoted to starting point guard last night for rookie Shumpert, but then played so poorly he got benched for third-string Jeremy Lin for the final 20 minutes of the Knicks’ 97-84 loss to the Rockets. One week ago, Lin was in the D-League rather than being wasted on the Knicks bench.
D’Antoni said the move also was made to get Shumpert, who had 11 points on 5 of 13 shooting, more time at small forward in the absence of Carmelo Anthony, who has shut it down for a couple of games to rest his assorted ailments. But D’Antoni gave an indication Douglas could stay there when Anthony gets back, pending the Baron Davis situation.
D’Antoni said that the athletic Shumpert’s best position will be at the 2 or the 3 going forward, and that one of the Knicks’ main offensive problems is that the team has been settling for three-pointers instead of setting up Tyson Chandler with looks inside.
As we all well know, the Knicks’ offense has been an unmitigated disaster this season — the team currently ranks 25th in offensive efficiency, behind the New Orleans Hornets, Carmelo Anthony was chucking through his injuries before finally taking some games off, and Amar’e Stoudemire is having easily the worst season of his career with his mid-post ISO game having abandoned him and nobody to work with him on the pick-and-roll. The Knicks now have a ton of eggs in the Baron Davis basket, but the chances of Davis returning from his back injury and turning the Knicks into a good offensive team, or even an above-average one, seem slim at this point in the season.
NEW YORK (AP) — Craig Sager’s fight with leukemia will prevent the basketball sideline reporter form covering the Rio Olympics for NBC.
NBC said Thursday in a statement that the 65-year-old Sager is preparing for a third bone marrow transplant at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. Sager was first diagnosed with leukemia in 2014 and announced in March that he was no longer in remission.
The Rio Games would have been Sager’s fifth Olympics.
Sager has worked for Turner Sports for 34 years. At the ESPY Awards this month, Vice President Joe Biden presented Sager with the Jimmy V Award for Perseverance.
With so much focus in recent weeks being on NBA players speaking out on social issues, it’s worth remembering that Kareem Abdul-Jabbar has been one of the most vocal athletes in America on these things for decades. The Hall of Fame and all-time leading scorer in NBA history addressed the Democratic National Convention on Thursday evening, urging voters to vote for Hillary Clinton in November, and opened his remarks by introducing himself as Michael Jordan, because “Donald Trump couldn’t tell the difference.”
You can watch the video of his speech below:
In the weeks since Kevin Durant announced he was signing with the Golden State Warriors, we have yet to hear Russell Westbrook speak on his former teammate’s decision. This week, ESPN.com’s Royce Young indicated in a podcast interview that Durant was telling Westbrook and others in the days leading up to his decision that he was coming back to Oklahoma City. He later walked back his report, saying he misspoke. On Thursday, Durant himself told The Vertical‘s Shams Charania that he never said any such thing, or misled Westbrook or anyone else about his intentions.
“It’s false,” Durant told The Vertical on Thursday. “I didn’t say that – words about me telling Russell or Nick that I would stay or leave never came out of my mouth. We met as teammates, but no promises came out of it. In this day and age, I can’t control anything people claim out there. Someone can go out and say something random right now, and people will believe it.
“I never told Russell or Nick [Collison], ‘All right, guys, I’m coming back to the Thunder’ – and then a week later, I decide not to. Never happened. I don’t operate like that. I heard people say that story, but it’s not the truth.”
So that settles that.