Monty Williams was not the guy out there on the court that ran over Blake Griffin and hockey checked him to the ground. That was Jason Smith (who got a two game suspension for his actions).
But Williams is the coach of the Hornets — the team Smith played for — and he said he wanted to apologize to Griffin himself for the hit and did. Via ESPNLosAngeles.com.
Williams, in his second season as the Hornets’ coach, texted Griffin on Friday, waiting until the day after Smith hit him to earn a two-game suspension for the buzz to die down, he said…
“I’ll say this, because I’m here in this city: What Jason did was wrong,” Williams said Monday. “I told him that it was and that he went about it the wrong way, and that’s why I reached out to Blake to let him know that it wasn’t something we do on a regular basis.”
But Williams, who played in the NBA in the 1990s, when the game was more physical, said Griffin understands he is going to take some hard fouls because of how he plays.
“He’s no fool — he knows he’s making people look crazy and guys don’t like that,” Williams said of Griffin. “He’s gotta expect some of that. It’s just gonna happen. If you jump 5 feet over somebody and dunk it and you got people coming up to you and hugging you after you do it, the opponent’s not gonna say, ‘Oh, man, can you do that again?’
“He’s a phenomenon, and a lot of guys don’t like that.”
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Murray is going to be brought along slowly in a backcourt where Tony Parker and Patty Mills will be splitting time at the point. Murray is more of a combo guard and is going to have to shoot a lot better than he did in college (28.8 percent from three) to get some run. But this is a situation where the Spurs can groom him, bring him along slowly, and see if they have another draft steal.
He’s certainly got the athleticism.
Corey Brewer: “James (Harden) is going to play defense this year”
Well, at least it wasn’t two seasons ago — his near MVP season he was in good enough shape that he could put in a respectable effort on that end and still handle his massive offensive load. There were still some mental lapses, but his focus was better and his improvement lifted the team defense. Last season, he regressed back to youtube “highlight” defense Harden — his conditioning was not where it needed to be, he didn’t expend as much effort on that end, and it showed.
“I think this year he’s going to play better defense, We’re going to let the past be in the past. It’s the future of the Rockets, man. James is going to play defense this year.”
We’re all Missourians on this one: Show me.
Remember that the Rockets will be out and running — Mike D’Antoni is the coach now, and Daryl Morey is going to get the up tempo ball he wants (which Kevin McHale had them doing, but Harden didn’t like him so…). D’Antoni’s teams in Phoenix played better defense than their reputation — points per possession they were middle of the pack — but that has never been his focus.
Will Harden be able to run like he needs to on offense and still defend at a reasonable level?
If he can, it’s a big step toward the Rockets being a dangerous team in the West because if he does it others will follow. Otherwise, every Rockets game will be a shootout, which is entertaining but not going to get a team deep into the playoffs.
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A few teams could use another point guard. If Chalmers shows his health, he belongs in someone’s rotation. But that might require taking a low-paying deal and working his way up from the third point guard spot – or even just onto the regular-season roster.