Report: Like Knicks fans, ‘Melo unhappy with D’Antoni

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The scapegoats of the week in New York are Carmelo Anthony and Mike D’Antoni — clearly they are the reasons the Knicks have lost six in a row.

And now, we bring you the next phase of the Knicks implosion — infighting and blaming the coach. From Marc Berman of the New York Post.

There are several indications the alliance is getting worse, not better, and it seems inconceivable both will be back with the Knicks next season. According to a source familiar with the situation, Anthony is disgruntled and he may have given off those signs when he didn’t join the huddle during a third-quarter timeout. (Anthony claimed that occurs often).

I’m sure Mike D’Antoni feels the same way about ‘Melo. I’m also sure that both will come out and deny this is the case in the next 24 hours.

Let’s have some fun and trace the problems with the Knicks and their star forward.

It starts with management. They hired D’Antoni — a system coach who runs “seven seconds or less” — then never gave him a roster that can run that system. Amare Stoudemire can but this system needs a strong point guard who can share the rock and run the pick-and-roll, plus good shooters around the wings. They had that for a while during their Jeremy Lin-inspired run (against a slate of weak teams) but then tried to incorporate Carmelo Anthony, Baron Davis and J.R. Smith into the team. Three ball stopping, me-first gunners. Mix that with real competition (especially at the point) and you have a six-game losing streak.

A couple years ago Knicks had started to build a good roster, but owner James Dolan overpaid and demanded the team get Carmelo Anthony, a guy who does not fit the system. But his name does look good on the marquee. Dolan them kicked Donnie Walsh — the executive who got the roster out of cap hell and started to build a balanced team — to the curb.

So this is where they are — a coach trying to run his system with an ill-fitting roster and guys who clearly are not buying in day in and day out.

This summer the Knicks need to either let D’Antoni walk and bring in a coach better suited to utilize this roster, or start reshaping the roster to fit D’Antoni’s system. One of the other. You can’t just assemble nice players and expect it to work, there has to be a plan and system.

Also, some Knicks fans on twitter have suggested Phil Jackson and the triangle are the answer. Not going to happen. First, while Jackson has ties to the Knicks and will flirt with them, if you watched him up close his last season (as I did) you would know he is done with the circus and hassle of being an NBA coach. He’s not coming back for any job. More importantly, this is not a good triangle roster — Lin only works in the pick and roll, Carmelo is a ball stopper (the triangle is about player and ball movement, plus spacing), the center Tyson Chandler is not a great passer (need that in the triangle), there are not enough shooters. Jackson would look at this roster, look at the Heat and Bulls, and say no thanks.

Marcus Smart responds to Jimmy Butler: ‘It ain’t hard to find me’ (video)

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Jimmy Butler said Marcus Smart is “not about that life.”

Smart, via MassLive:

Laugh at that. This about the Celtics versus Chicago Bulls, not Marcus Smart versus Jimmy. I ain’t got to sit here and say this and that. I’m this. I’m that. I ain’t that type of guy. My actions speak louder than words. It ain’t hard to find me. But, right now, I’m focused on my teammates and this series.

That led to a few excellent follow-up questions:

Are you about that life?

Like I said before, I ain’t got to talk about what I am about. I just show you. I can show you, but I’m not going to tell you. Like I said, it ain’t hard to find me. You heard him. He said, “I don’t think Marcus Smart is about that life.” Last time I checked, if you’re going to say somebody ain’t about that life, you should know, right? But like I said, we’re going to keep this Chicago Bulls vs. Boston Celtics, not Marcus vs. Jimmy.

Has anyone accused you not being tough before?

Never.

What was your reaction to that?

Haha.

Smart flops too much. He gets overly emotional.

But he’s way too tough to let Butler’s comments pass without rebuttal.

The real test will come on the court in Game 5 tomorrow.

Damian Lillard ‘obsessed’ with beating Warriors

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The Warriors just eliminated the Trail Blazers for the second straight year.

Portland star Damian Lillard sounds hardened by the experience.

Chris Haynes of ESPN:

After the Portland Trail Blazers were swept by the Golden State Warriors on Monday, point guard Damian Lillard told ESPN he’s developed a newfound obsession with trying to take down the Warriors.

“You have to be obsessed with that because you know that they’re so good that they’re going to be there,” Lillard said after a 128-103 loss in Game 4. “That’s who you’re going to have to get through to get to where you want to get to. That’s what it is.”

I have no doubt this will drive Lillard. He just finds way to lift himself.

But will the rest of the Trail Blazers keep up with a team that features Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant, Draymond Green and Klay Thompson?

C.J. McCollum is a solid co-star, but it gets dicey beyond that with several players locked into expensive long-term contracts. Portland will have to pry enough production from Jusuf Nurkic, Al-Farouq Aminu, Maurice Harkless, Allen Crabbe, Noah Vonleh, Ed Davis, Meyers Leonard and the Nos. 15, 20 and 26 picks in the upcoming draft.

The Trail Blazers have a path upward, but needing to climb as high as Golden State, the road is narrow.

Pat Riley says he wishes he gave Chris Bosh’s max contract to Dwyane Wade

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Heat president Pat Riley has said he should’ve given Dwyane Wade a max contract in 2014 after LeBron James left Miami.

Instead, Wade stayed with the Heat on what became two one-year contracts. That lack of long-term security bothered Wade, who took discounts in prior years, and contributed to his exit to the Bulls.

But paying Wade and Chris Bosh, who got a max contract from Miami two years ago, so much into their late 30s likely would have cost the Heat dearly. It’s nearly impossible to build around two declining max players.

Riley apparently has a retroactive plan for that – re-signing only Wade, not Bosh.

Wright Thompson of ESPN:

But of course, Riley says, almost immediately after LeBron left, Bosh’s camp wanted to reopen a deal they’d just finished, knowing the Heat had money and felt vulnerable. Bosh threatened to sign with the Rockets. In the end, Riley gave Bosh what he wanted. Now he wishes he’d said no to Bosh’s max deal and given all that money to Wade.

Riley says that Wade’s agent asked to deal directly with the owners instead of Pat, so he merely honored that request. Mostly, he just wishes the whole thing had gone differently. “I know he feels I didn’t fight hard enough for him,” he says. “I was very, very sad when Dwyane said no. I wish I could have been there and told him why I didn’t really fight for him at the end. … I fought for the team. The one thing I wanted to do for him, and maybe this is what obscured my vision, but I wanted to get him another player so he could end his career competitive.”

When he describes his reaction to Wade’s leaving, it’s always in terms of how sad it makes him feel

Riley has done a much better job explaining to the public how sad he is about Wade leaving rather than actually doing something while he had the chance or even expressing his regret to Wade after the fact.

It’s almost as if Riley knew excommunicating a Heat Lifer would be both good for the franchise long-term and a terrible look in the short term and is trying to mitigate the damage. Wade might even realize that, too.

To a certain degree, Riley could be speaking in hindsight. Bosh’s deal has not worked out, with Riley believing the big man’s career is over due to blood-clot issues. But hindsight also says giving Wade, now 35, a five-year contract two years ago would’ve been disastrous.

There’s sentimentality at work here. Wade is the greatest player in Heat history. Riley drafted him, groomed him and built three championship teams in two eras around him.

I just can’t figure out how much Riley is exploiting that sentimentality to warm Miami fans after coldly letting Wade walk and how much Riley genuinely regrets contract negotiations with Wade. This is almost certainly shades of both.

Raptors’ Patrick Patterson and P.J. Tucker wear same outfit to Game 5 (photo)

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I can’t verify Raptors forwards Patrick Patterson and P.J. Tucker wearing the same outfit to last night’s Game 5 against the Bucks is the happenstance Patterson presents it as. But there’s a saying in journalism: It’s too good to check out.

Whatever led to this, Toronto ought to keep doing it. The Raptors smashed Milwaukee.

Patterson: