It was what made Dallas’ run to the championship last year so special — at the end of games they always seemed to make the right play, Dirk Nowitzki always seemed to hit the shot.
In two games against Oklahoma City, it has been the opposite. In Game 2, Nowitzki had a wide-open look at a three and missed it. He is 0-3 in the final two minutes of this playoff series when the score is within five points (according to the NBA’s on stats database). Jason Terry is 1-3 in that same situation.
At the other end of the court, Kevin Durant is 2-3 in that same situation, even if one of those shots had to touch a lot of the rim to go down. Serge Ibaka is 2-2 and James Harden has gotten to the free throw line four times (and hit them all).
This has been an incredibly close and entertaining first round playoff series, which is was last year but now the roles have reversed on who can close out well. All season Dallas has been pretty pedestrian at the end of games (which is being kind, they are one of the worst shooting teams at the ends of games this year by the NBA’s own stats), but if they don’t do it Thursday night in Game 3 they can start booking their family vacations for next week.
The real hero in this series for Oklahoma City has been Russell Westbrook, averaging 28.5 points per game. Westbrook is a tough defensive match for Jason Kidd but Dallas has done a good job forcing Westbrook to be a jump shooter. The problem is he is 15-27 (55.6 percent) from 10 feet out to the arc (according to Hoopdata). When a guy that fast is knocking down his jumpers, he’s impossible to stop.
And at some point, you know Kevin Durant will find his shot (he is 15-44 this series). Part of the credit there should go to Shawn Marion for his defense, which has been so good he mmay get time on Westbrook in Game 3, Mavs coach Rick Carlisle said.
Jason Terry has called this the Game 7 for the Mavericks, which it is in a lot of ways. Lose and they are done. But can these Mavericks find that old spark, especially late in the game? Maybe. You know it’s going to be close if the first two games are any indication.
CHICAGO (AP) — Portland Trail Blazers forward Al-Farouq Aminu is active for their game against the Chicago Bulls after being sidelined by a left calf injury.
Coach Terry Stotts says Aminu will be restricted to around 20 minutes Monday night “depending on how it goes.”
Aminu started the first eight games of the season before he got hurt Nov. 8 against Phoenix. He is averaging 6.4 points and 6.6 rebounds.
That. Was. Nasty.
After some good ball movement from the Thunder (which started with pretty much their entire team collapsing on Russell Westbrook), Victor Oladipo drove out of the corner aggressively, Dwight Howard tried to rotate over, but he was a step too late and… damn.
By the way, if your question is “did Westbrook get his sixth straight triple double” the answer is of course he did.
There are a few regular hotels where NBA teams stay in the New York area, one of them is the Trump Hotel in Soho. It fits the general bill — high-end hotel that works to cater to the specialty needs of NBA players and teams, and it’s in a great location in the city.
It’s where the Cleveland Cavaliers were booked to stay when the team visited New York this week, but LeBron James and other Cavaliers have been excused by the team and will stay at another location, reports Dave McMenamin of ESPN.
A group of Cleveland Cavaliers players have been excused from staying at the team’s planned accommodations, the Trump SoHo hotel in lower Manhattan, when the defending champions visit New York City this week to play the New York Knicks, multiple team sources told ESPN.com.
Other members of the team’s traveling party will stay at the 46-story luxury building opened in 2010 and branded through a licensing agreement with President-elect Donald Trump, as the Cavs have a contract with the establishment…
LeBron James is included in the faction of players who will not be staying at the Trump SoHo, according to multiple sources. James publicly endorsed Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton about a month before Clinton lost the election.
Richard Jefferson, J.R. Smith, and Iman Shumpert have all expressed unhappiness with the election results publicly. Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert was a Trump supporter who conducted a fundraiser for the now president-elect.
These players are not the only ones making this move, and several teams have worked to shift away from Trump properties nationwide.
Of course, this is going to lead some people to freak out in the comment section — people who barely watched the NBA for the last decade will proclaim their boycott of the Cavaliers and league — but honestly, what LeBron is doing is what we should all do, support businesses and causes that align with our beliefs. Avoid those that don’t. If you don’t like the way they run their business and donate money, don’t eat Ben & Jerry’s ice cream. If you have issue’s with Donald Trump, don’t stay at his hotels and don’t golf at his courses. Speak with your dollars, it’s often the most efficient way to get a message across (hence the unending parade of “boycotts” of businesses across the nation).
So long as LeBron cleared this with the team and makes it to shootaround on time, this is no big deal. But, go ahead in the comments and tell us about how you’re disrespected.
EL SEGUNDO, Calif. (AP) — Los Angeles Lakers guard Jose Calderon will be sidelined for at least two weeks with a strained right hamstring.
The Lakers announced their latest injury problem Monday before hosting Utah in their 11th game in 18 days.
The Lakers also recalled rookie center Ivica Zubac from their D-League affiliate.
Calderon is averaging 4.7 points and 2.6 assists in his first season with the Lakers. The veteran Spanish point guard became a starter last month when D'Angelo Russell was sidelined with a sore left knee.
Calderon, Russell and Nick Young are all out for the Lakers (10-12). They have been among the NBA’s pleasant surprises, but injuries and a brutal schedule are conspiring against them.
Larry Nance Jr. sat out Saturday in Memphis, while Julius Randle missed games last month.