Wednesday And-1 links: Hangin’ with Clyde Frazier

1 Comment

Here is our daily look around the NBA — links to stories worth reading and notes to check out (stuff that did not get its own post here at PBT) — done in bullet point form. Because god is a bullet, have mercy on us everyone

• Don’t you just want to sit and have some drinks with Clyde Frazier? Great stuff from Amy K. Nelson at SBN.

• Bill Walton and Junior Seau are two of San Diego’s biggest sports icons. Walton says he regrets not knowing Seau needed help.

• Atlanta’s Al Horford and the Red Sox David Ortiz are good friends. It’s a Dominican thing.

• A guide to the Euroleague Final Four for NBA fans.

• At one time Eddy Curry and Tyson Chandler were the future of the Bulls back line. This is a fantastic look at their divergent careers from Jonathan Abrams at Grantland.

• Also at Grantland, Steve Kerr lays out the argument for a 20-year-old NBA age limit. I’m not a fan, and I don’t think you can argue that it’s better for player development — players do not get better prepared for the NBA life living in a small college town with limits on their practice time and then taking on inferior competition. They just don’t get better as fast as they do in the NBA. But, it’s better for NBA teams if players develop in college because then the NBA teams don’t have to spend the revenue and resources on that development. Don’t say it’s better for the players, admit it’s just better for the bottom line.

Tom Ziller with a good critique of Kobe Bryant’s shot selection in Game 5 Tuesday. This is a spiral with the Lakers — other guys come out passive so Kobe’s nature is to take that load on, so the guys get more passive, so Kobe takes on more, and soon he’s not taking smart shots at all and other guys are standing around.

• Brandon Roy is still talking about a possible NBA comeback.

• In case you haven’t noticed, the Celtics have stopped turning the ball over so much.

• You know who wins championships in the NBA? Guys who have already won championships.

No word on Stan Van Gundy yet. Does anyone think he’s not getting fired?

• Making the case for why Nate McMillan should coach the Wizards. I’m not a fan of this idea — McMillan is a grind-it-out coach who likes his teams to play slow and that’s the opposite of what you should do with John Wall.

• The Bobcats are casting a very wide net in their coaching search and may be looking at future assistant coaches as well.

• Derrick Favors wants to be a starter next year in Utah. He should be.

• Speaking of the Jazz, look for them to pick up the option on DeMarre Carroll for next season.

• Detroit’s marketing arm is working hard to bring fans in while the team struggles.

• The Pistons are hoping to get Jason Maxiell back next year, but Maxiell faces a difficult choice — he has a $5 million option for next season. It’s doubtful he can make that much on the open market, but would he be willing to sacrifice some money off the top for the security of a three-year deal? Not an easy call.

• Gregg Popovich goes through the playoffs petrified of losing. Seriously.

• Great draft break down by position by Chad Ford at ESPN.

James Harden scores 34, Rockets hold off Timberwolves 129-120

Leave a comment

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — James Harden had 34 points and 12 assists, and Houston held off a fourth-quarter rally to beat the Minnesota Timberwolves 129-120 on Sunday night for the Rockets’ 26th win in 28 games.

The West’s top team led by as many as 25 before the Timberwolves, holding on for dear life in a tightening playoff race, pulled within five in the fourth. The loss dropped the Wolves into the eighth playoff spot after they started the day in a three-way tie for fifth.

Harden had 11 points in the final 6:34, including a 3-pointer with 58 seconds left that effectively secured the win.

Chris Paul and Clint Capela each had 16 points for the Rockets.

Jeff Teague led Minnesota with 23 points, Andrew Wiggins had 21, and Karl-Anthony Towns and Jamal Crawford each added 20.

The Wolves got a burst of energy after a fourth-quarter scuffle between Gorgui Dieng, Paul and Gerald Green. Green was ejected for coming to Paul’s defense after a frustrated Dieng pushed him down after a foul. With the pumped-up crowd chanting “Gor-Gui!,” Derek Rose had back-to-back layups to pull the Wolves to 109-102. But Paul hit a jumper with Crawford in his face, and Harden easily drove past Dieng for a layup to give the Rockets some breathing room.

Minnesota’s 19-6 run made it 115-110 with 3:58 to play before Trevor Ariza hit a 3, and the Rockets were able to answer every Wolves bucket to hold off the rally.

The game was seemingly over by halftime; Houston shot 63 percent, hit 11 3-pointers and led by as many as 24 in the first half while turning the ball over only three times. Harden had 10 assists in the first half, when the Wolves were as close as three before Houston reeled off a 12-0 run and didn’t allow Minnesota to recover.


Jimmy Butler targeting return to Timberwolves before end of season

Leave a comment

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) Jimmy Butler could return to the court for the Minnesota Timberwolves before the end of the regular season, if he stays on track with his rehabilitation from knee surgery.

Butler spoke to reporters Sunday for the first time since the meniscus injury he suffered Feb. 23 at Houston . He confirmed an initial recovery estimate of four to six weeks. Even on the long end of that timetable, he’d likely have two games with the Timberwolves before the postseason.

Butler said he’s confident in both his ability to heal in time and the team’s ability to hang on to a spot in the playoffs. The Wolves entered their game against the Rockets in a three-way tie for fifth place in the Western Conference, but no room for a slump.

For more AP NBA coverage:

Gerald Green ejected for pushing Gorgui Dieng into stands (VIDEO)

1 Comment

I don’t know why everyone in the NBA is so geeked this weekend. Coaches are getting fined, referees are throwing dudes out left and right. Maybe it’s because most of us recently saw the sun for the first time in five months, although I couldn’t tell you for certain.

As the Minnesota Timberwolves and Houston Rockets went head-to-head on Sunday, something had players on both sides itching. Early in the fourth quarter, Timberwolves big man Gorgui Dieng got into it with Houston’s Chris Paul and Gerald Green.

The incident came as Dieng was being defended by Paul in the low post. Paul was whistled for a foul while trying to get the ball away from Dieng, but even after the whistle blew the Rockets guard did not stop trying to get the ball. Dieng responded by pushing Paul, who fell to the ground as if someone cut the strings on him.

That prompted another whistle from the refs, and a crowd of players ensued. Green rushed to push Dieng, sending the Timberwolves center into the stands.

When the scene settled, Dieng was issued a technical foul and Green was ejected.

After the game, Dieng told reporters he thought Paul’s constant digging for the ball was a cheap shot, so he responded in kind.

Minnesota, energized, tried to make a late push on the top team in the Western Conference but came up just short. Houston beat the Timberwolves, 129-120.

Alvin Gentry, Stan Van Gundy fined $15,000 each for criticizing officials

1 Comment

All is not right between NBA players, coaches, and the referees. What else is new?

After contentious games on Saturday night, both Detroit Pistons coach Stan Van Gundy and New Orleans Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry expressed their opinions about what they felt was a poor officiating.

Van Gundy — whose team lost to the Portland Trail Blazers as they continued on to their 12th straight win — complained that his players were being “screwed” as they were knocked down, hammered, and hit. Gentry was especially infuriated after a late foul call went against his team as James Harden was hit on the hand while shooting a 3-pointer.

Now, the NBA has announced that both coaches have been fined $15,000 each for public criticism of officials.

Things were slated to get better between the NBRA and NBPA after the All-Star break. The two sides were supposed to have a meeting which discussed some of the more concerning trends that players and coaches have publicly complained about this year. That meeting got moved up to December, with more talks to come later. It’s not clear if they’ve done any good.

Right after All-Star Weekend guys like LeBron James were still making waves about how they are being officiated. Coaches like Doc Rivers continue to openly complain about the referees and draw fines. Van Gundy and Gentry are just the latest additions to the list, and it’s unlikely they’ll be the last before the season ends.

Hell, the end of the game between the Oklahoma City Thunder and Toronto Raptors was just about as bad as we’ve seen all year. In that game, Raptors coach Dwane Casey was ejected after a comment made by a fan sitting near the floor was incorrectly attributed to him.

The NBA lost a lot of veteran officials due to retirement in the changeover to this season, and the transition has been rough. They’re going to need to figure some things out over the summer. I expect bigger announcements about those efforts to come out after the NBA Finals as a means to restore public faith in the officiating crews.