Knicks coach Mike Woodson didn’t quite yell “get off my lawn” at J.R. Smith, but pretty much.
Remember that Smith got ejected with 10.7 seconds left in the Knicks loss to the Pacers Tuesday, picking up a flagrant 2 foul for throwing Leandro Barbosa to the ground (the league did not fine him and reduced it to a Flagrant 1).
Woodson, ever the disciplinarian and father figure, had a long talk with Smith Wednesday after practice (in full view of reporters) about being more professional.
Thursday — after shoot around before the Magic game (for once the Knicks do not have the most dysfunctional coaching situation in the building) — Woodson spoke more about Smith and professionalism. And according to the quotes in the New York Post, he morphed into your grandfather.
“I told him I’m going to continue to coach him as long as I’m coaching the team,” Woodson said at the Thursday morning shootaround at Amway Center. “I told him I’m not going to let him off the hook. I want his shorts pulled up. I want him to look presentable. Be a professional. That’s what it’s all about.’’
Asked specifically how he wanted Smith to be more professional, Woodson said, “On and off the court. On the floor I want him to be happy when he’s playing, feel good about himself. When things go bad, I don’t want that look on his face that the world is coming down on him. We make mistakes and we miss shots. It’s OK.’’
It’s a line to walk — Smith plays with an edge, and that part of his game comes out of his entire persona. You may want Smith to pull up his shorts or “feel good about himself” but you don’t want him to lose that edge either.
Actually, I’m not all that worried about Smith losing his edge. But I guess he could pull his pants up for a few more weeks.
The Los Angeles Clippers had a rough go of things against the Sacramento Kings on Sunday. Up by 18 with more than five minutes to go, LA blew their lead and were left to watch as the Kings sealed the game late.
The final possession for Sacramento came on a missed corner 3-pointer by Clippers guard Jamal Crawford. The Kings got the outlet pass out on the rebound, but Ben McLemore took it to the rack and missed. That’s when Willie Cauley-Stein stepped in, cleaned up the board, and put the game-winning shot home with less than two seconds left.
Los Angeles lost in spectacular fashion, and became the only team this season to lose given their game situation.
Here’s a compilation the NBA put together of Sacramento’s epic comeback:
Meanwhile, Chris Paul called it the worst regular season loss of his career.
The Clippers peaked too soon. Like, the first 20 games of the season too soon.
Russell Westbrook had yet another triple-double on Sunday. The Oklahoma City Thunder star notched 13 assists in the loss to the Houston Rockets, 137-125, and one of them came on a nifty pass to teammate Victor Oladipo.
The play happened with the Thunder on the fastbreak early in the third quarter. Westbrook was moving from left-to-right across the middle of the floor with the ball while Oladipo streaked down the right wing.
With the Rockets defense collapsing, Westbrook reached halfcourt and fired a bounce pass that sliced through the opposition.
Oladipo finished with the clean dunk.
Still not sure it beats this one, but I think we’ll have to compare once the season comes to a close.
The race between James Harden and Russell Westbrook for the 2017 NBA MVP has narrowed to a two-man race toward the end of the season. The Oklahoma City Thunder star is averaging at triple-double this year, and the Houston Rockets guard is doing things nobody has ever done on a basketball court before.
It’s a tough decision to decide between them, so much so that even former Los Angeles Lakers great and 2008 NBA MVP Kobe Bryant can’t do it.
Speaking on ESPN on Sunday, Bryant said he thought the league might have to just bite the bullet on Westbrook vs. Harden.
“We might see our first co-MVPs this year,” said Bryant.
That would be a huge step for the league, but I’m not entirely sure they would do it. There have been co-NBA All-Star Game MVPs in years past, but never league MVP.
Still, can you decide between Russ and Harden? The Mamba can’t.
Houston Rockets center Nene is from Brazil, but on Sunday against the Oklahoma City Thunder the South American native went full euro.
On a fastbreak possession, Nene took on Thunder big man Enes Kanter near the rim and absolutely shook him with a nasty eurostep.
The play was so good that it forced Oklahoma City to call a timeout as James Harden and the rest of the Rockets bench met Nene on the court to celebrate.