J.J. Hickson is considered a bust, a washout, a nobody. He was supposed to be a building block in Cleveland, flamed out, was traded to Sacramento for Omri Casspi and a draft pick, flamed out, was waived. Portland picked him up after they started tanking to take a flyer on him. He wasn’t supposed to do anything of note.
Tell that to DeAndre Jordan.
Hickson had a huge game. It’s one game. Maybe it’s nothing. But it’s good to see a player putting something together after he’s hit rock bottom. Hasheem Thabeet also hit an alley-oop on the Clippers. Because Lob City is a pluralist society, open to any and all who wish to dunk. On them.
PBT Extra: Disciplined Celtics highlight bad habits of Milwaukee Bucks
Giannis Antetokounmpo has been every bit the top five NBA player in the postseason — 32.5 points per game on 63.2 percent shooting, plus with 11 rebounds and 7.5 assists per game.
Yet the Bucks are down 0-2 to Boston.
The Celtics have had a strong series from Al Horford and Terry Rozier, but the real difference is in the discipline this team has shown all season — Boston knows who it is. Clearly, Milwaukee does not. They turn the ball over too much and make too many mistakes.
I get into all of that in this PBT Extra, and I wonder if that’s something the Bucks can really turn around mid-playoffs.
Ettore Messina to coach Spurs in Game 3 following death of Gregg Popovich’s wife
Ettore Messina was a longtime head coach in Europe. The Spurs lead assistant also took over for a few regular-season games Popovich missed. So, making – rather than advising – coaching decisions won’t be a brand new challenge to Messina.
But down 2-0 to defending-champion Golden State is a tough place to make an NBA playoff debut.
On the bright side, there will be no pressure. Not only has San Antonio been outclassed the first two games of the series, focus is rightly on the Popovich family. A win would be a pleasant surprise and help Messina – who’s up for the Hornets job – in his pursuit of a head-coaching position. A loss would be quickly forgotten with more important matters at hand.
To that end, hopefully the time away allows Popovich the space he needs to grieve. That matters far more than a basketball game.
Report: Knicks to interview Kenny Smith for head-coaching job