Marcus Camby admits the players believe in a ‘Blazers Curse’

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The Blazers have an… unfortunate history, when it comes to injuries. (That’s like saying the Titanic had an unfortunate problem with icebergs.) It’s not just Sam Bowie or Greg Oden. It’s Brandon Roy and even rookies and second-year men who have fallen. Have any sort of negative pattern and the word “curse” starts popping up in sports. We’re a superstitious group, like the people in “The Wicker Man” or gamblers. But surely the players don’t buy into that stuff, right? Well-reasoned, stable people that they are?

Marcus Camby, traded at the deadline to Houston, was asked about the idea of the “Blazers Curse” and his answer was surprisingly honest. From ESPN’s Marc Stein:

Q: You know those of us in the media throw around words like “curse.” But what about the players on that team? In the Blazers’ locker room, are guys asking: What next?

A: They might not want to admit it, but when I was there, my goodness, people were saying, “Are we really snake-bit? Are we really cursed?” Doubts and talks like that came about. Everybody just tried to brush it to one side and remain positive, but it was hard to escape because everybody was talking about it. It’s hard to argue when it keeps happening year after year after year.

via Weekend Dime — Season-ending awards – ESPN.

Portland should have absolutely no problems signing free agents with that kind of press.

Maybe they should perform an exorcism. Or, you know, they could outsource their medical staff for a year.

That’s who I actually feel the worst for in this situation. There’s no indication that how the training staff treated the players had any impact on their injuries. But when you have that many, there are going to be questions. It’s like if you ran a McDonalds and it kept getting hit by a meteor, then re-opening, then wiped away in a flood, then re-opening, then getting hit by a tornado. At some point, people are going to look sideways at the manager even if he didn’t do anything.

 

Spurs coach Gregg Popovich: I’ve never seen injury like Kawhi Leonard’s

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Gregg Popovich is a basketball lifer.

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.

Popovich, via Michael C. Wright of ESPN:

“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)

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The Knicks went on a 28-0 run.

They earned the right to showboat late in their win over the Raptors last night.

Tim Hardaway Jr. called a ref, who slipped on the baseline, safe rather than contest Serge Ibaka‘s 3-pointer. Perfection!

Luc Mbah a Moute sets modern record at +57 in Rockets’ win over Nuggets

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Luc Mbah a Moute is a quietly good player.

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:

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Did Russell Westbrook get mad at Steven Adams for not taking potential triple-double-clinching shot? (video)

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Russell Westbrook chases triple-doubles.

That hardly makes him unique. He’s just close enough to the feat more often than other players, so he chases them more often.

But he still chases them.

Late in the Thunder’s 108-91 win over the Warriors last night, Westbrook was heading toward his final line of 34 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists. His teammates shot off his passes on three of Oklahoma City’s final four possessions before he took a seat (including one assist). The exception came when he passed to Steven Adams, who passed rather than shoot – clearly upsetting Westbrook.

Was Westbrook mad because he missed his chance at a triple-double? Maybe.

Was Westbrook mad because Adams passed as the shot clock neared expiration? Maybe.

It could be both!

Watch Kevin Durant and Stephen Curry on Golden State’s bench. They clearly found something funny.