Suns head coach Alvin Gentry was livid after Wednesday night’s loss to the Warriors, and with good reason. It had nothing to do with the fantastic game-winner that Monta Ellis knocked down with one second left, and everything to do with the way Phoenix sleep-walked through the game’s first 10 minutes.
The video above, taken by SBNationArizona, gives you an idea of the tone of the postgame presser, but picks up after Gentry had truly let his team have it.
“It’s unfair to the people, the fans in the stands,” Gentry said, as transcribed by SportingNews. “The way we approached the game sucked. And yeah, I said sucked. So what we do is exactly what I said we would do after the first timeout. We would dig ourselves a hole, and then we would have to play so hard to get back, it would be a perfect storm. And you know what? We end up defending the heck out of the guy at the end and he makes the shot and that’s not the difference in the game. The difference in the game was what happened in the first 10 minutes.
“I’m disgusted with the way we played. I’m disgusted with the fact that we had the chance to end the break with something really upbeat and positive and, instead, we just walked through the first (expletive) 10 minutes of the game.”
It was an unusually emotional tirade out of Gentry, but this Suns team has so little room for error that it might have been time for the players to hear it. Phoenix has just enough talent that if everyone individually plays focused basketball, especially defensively, they can compete with the majority of teams on most nights. When they don’t, they can get run out of their own gym and find themselves trailing by 17 points at the end of the first quarter — just as they did on Wednesday against the Warriors.
Celtics’ Kyrie Irving: “It was a nice streak. But it was time to come to an end.”
The Celtics established themselves as one of the NBA’s elite teams, a contender for the Eastern Conference title, during their 16-game win streak.
However, that hot streak to start the season will matter as much as Thanksgiving leftovers in the back of the refrigerator in April by the time the playoffs roll around. This is a team that still has work to do.
“There’s still a lot to accomplish going forward,” Irving said. “It was a nice streak. But it was time to come to an end.”
This team still needs to get better and more consistent. The Celtics had to come from behind in the fourth quarter in eight of the 16 wins, and while the team defense was impressive the offense still can be hit and miss. Al Horford and Kyrie Irving play well off each other, but this is still the 20th ranked offense in the NBA. They are taking more long midrange jumpers than most coaches want, but the bigger challenge is they have not been finishing around the basket.
Titles are not won in November. Irving gets that. Jayson Tatum will hit the rookie wall at some point (they all do) and he needs to prove he can break through. Al Horford is playing maybe the best ball of his career and needs to keep it up. The Celtics need to keep their defensive focus (the fundamentals are there to have a top five defense). I could go on but you get the point, and so does Irving — there is a lot of work for this team to do.
Boston is off to a fantastic start, but it’s just that.
Spurs coach Gregg Popovich: I’ve never seen injury like Kawhi Leonard’s
He’s the NBA’s most experienced active head coach. Before that, he was the Spurs’ general manager. Before that, he was an NBA assistant. Before that, he was a college head coach and assistant. Before that, he was a college player. Before that, he was a youth player.
The San Antonio coach has seen everything.
Except the right quadriceps tendinopathy suffered by Kawhi Leonard, whom Popovich said more than a week would return “sooner rather than later.” Yet, Leonard still hasn’t played this season.
“Never, never,” Popovich said when asked whether he has seen such a condition hampering one of his players. “What’s really strange is that [point guard] Tony [Parker] has the same injury, but even worse. They had to go operate on his quad tendon and put it back together or whatever they did to it. So to have two guys, that’s pretty incredible. I had never seen it before those guys.”
“I keep saying sooner rather than later,” Popovich said jokingly. “It’s kind of like being a politician. It’s all baloney, doesn’t mean anything.”
The 26-year-old Leonard is one of the NBA’s biggest on-court stars. He might be the league’s best defender, and he has built himself into an offensive force. The Spurs (11-7) have fared fine without him so far, but they’ll need him to accomplish their main goals – this year and beyond.
Hopefully, Leonard’s health is better than it sounds here, because Popovich’s answer sure isn’t encouraging.
Tim Hardaway Jr. calls fallen ref safe rather than defend shot (video)
He’s an effective and versatile defender. Offensively, he shoots 3-pointers well enough to score efficiently and spread the floor. Most of all, the 31-year-old just understands how to play and plays within himself. His teams tend to perform better when he’s on the floor.
That’s an understatement for Wednesday night.
In a 125-95 win, the Rockets outscored the Nuggets by a whopping 57 points in Mbah a Moute’s 26 minutes. That’s the best single-game plus-minus in the Basketball-Reference database, which dates back to the 2000-01 season. It tops Joe Smith’s +52 in a 2001 Timberwolves win over the Bulls, a 53-point game that also produced a +50 for Wally Szczerbiak and +48 for Terrell Brandon.
Mbah a Moute’s traditional stat line was impressive, though not overly so: 13 points on 5-of-5 shooting with four rebounds, four steals and an assist. He played well, contributing to winning in all the small ways he often does, and the Rockets happened to play excellently around him.
Now, Mbah a Moute tops the leaderboard in single-game plus-minus since 2000-01: