Mike D'Antoni Steve Nash

Nash talks being reunited (and it feels so good) with D’Antoni

8 Comments

You knew Steve Nash would like the Mike D’Antoni hiring by the Lakers.

Once he gets his leg healed, and if he can stay healthy, Nash will become the key to the Lakers offense. They are going to run a lot of pick-and-roll and while Kobe Bryant showed Tuesday night against the Spurs he can certainly be the ball handler there and be effective, Nash should be back at home.

So yes, he’s happy, he told Sam Amick of Sports Illustrated.

“I never would’ve predicted him being here as we get a chance to work together again, especially here with this team. I’m thrilled, but definitely shocked as well. I didn’t see it coming. Everything has happened so fast.”

Like everyone, Nash thought it was Phil Jackson getting the job.

“Well I mean, of course. In some ways, I thought it was Phil, and so I was geared up for that, and excited in a totally different respect because of his experience and success, and particularly here with this organization. That would have been a whole different circumstance that I would’ve been excited for as well. But I’m back with Mike and thrilled.”

There was a sense that D’Antoni was too wed to his system, too ridged in New York and that led to his problems coaching the Knicks. The Lakers are not the 2006 Suns in terms of youth and athleticism. Can he adapt?

“Yeah, I think he’ll adapt. I think that’s one of Mike’s strengths, is that he’s a thinker and that he’s willing to adapt. He’s great in-game, and I think he’s also great going back and looking over a game, looking over a month and saying, ‘Look, I think this will help our team,’ and shifting toward something that suits the parts. That’s just one of the things that I think he’s terrific at and a strength of his. You know, I’m sure he’ll adjust to the group. I’m sure there will be a lot of familiarity with the old Mike teams, but at the same time we’ll adjust somewhere to the natural place where this team is going to succeed.”

Asking Nash what he thinks of D’Antoni is pretty much like asking the head of the Democratic Party what he thought of a Barack Obama debate performance. You know the answer whether you believe it or not. Nash said he thinks with this Lakers roster (read: Dwight Howard) he will have a good defensive team. That’s at least some spin.

D’Antoni has gotten a huge chance here, we’ll see what he does with it.

LeBron James says he doesn’t see Cavaliers-Warriors as rivalry

CLEVELAND, OH - DECEMBER 25: LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers passes while under pressure from Stephen Curry #30 of the Golden State Warriors during the first half at Quicken Loans Arena on December 25, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory copyright notice. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
Jason Miller/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Tyronn Lue said Cavaliers-Warriors could eventually match Celtics-Lakers as a rivalry.

First, if you ask LeBron James, Cleveland-Golden State would have to become a rivalry at all.

LeBron, via Joe Vardon Cleveland.com:

“We don’t look at it as a rival,” James said. “They’re a great team. They’ve been the best team the last couple years, last three years.”

“It’s just the next game, it’s Golden State,” James said. “They’re a helluva team, like I said the best team in the league and they’ve been that way the last three years, four years, however long it’s been, I’m not quite sure. But, listen, you guys know, we don’t put all our eggs in one basket for one game.”

Of course, Cavaliers-Warriors is a rivalry. These teams have met in the last two NBA Finals, played each other with relentless intensity, talked plenty of trash and remained elite.

LeBron just doesn’t want the Cavs to become comfortable. They’ve beat Golden State in four straight games – the last three of the 2016 Finals and on Christmas – and could extend the streak to five today. Beating a rival that frequently is a cause for celebration, and celebration leads to contentment. LeBron would rather keep Cleveland focused and hungry. Hence, saying the Warriors aren’t a rival.

Andre Drummond hits 3-pointer from inside Pistons’ own 3-point arc (video)

1 Comment

Andre Drummond is really good at these deep heaves.

His 3-point percentage (44%) is even better than his free-throw percentage (38%) the last two years, though that says too much about his work from the line.

Drummond wasn’t the only Pistons player converting to end quarters. Ish Smith and Tobias Harris also stepped up in the Pistons’ 102-97 win over the Lakers:

NBA: Suns got away with offensive foul before key points in win over Spurs

Phoenix Suns Devin Booker acknowledges a foul as San Antonio Spurs Tony Parker lies crumpled on the floor, in the second half of their regular-season NBA basketball game in Mexico City, Saturday, Jan. 14, 2017. (AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell)
AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell
1 Comment

Devin Booker scored 39 points in the Suns’ 108-105 win over the Spurs on Saturday in Mexico City.

But Booker’s last four – which put Phoenix up for good – came directly after incorrect calls, according to the NBA’s Last Two Minute Report.

First, Booker drew a (legitimate) foul on Pau Gasol with 1:08 left and made both free throws. The problem: One second before that, Suns center Tyson Chandler should have been called for offensively fouling Tony Parker, according to the league:

Chandler (PHX) sets the screen on Parker (SAS) and makes leg to leg contact that affects his ability to defend the play.

That would’ve ended Phoenix’s possession rather than allowing Booker to get to the line.

The other missed call in the two-minute report is trickier, because it directly benefitted the Spurs but indirectly benefitted the Suns.

Manu Ginobili got away with travelling with 59.1 seconds left, according to  the league:

Ginobili (SAS) moves his pivot foot.

But he coughed up the ball moments later anyway, and – thrilled to gain possession with a live-ball turnover rather than a dead-ball turnover – Booker turned the miscue into a fastbreak dunk.

Rather than debate how to evaluate San Antonio getting away with a travel and it ultimately helping Phoenix more, let’s stick to just the uncalled Chandler offensive foul. That netted the Suns two points. Their lead when the Spurs began intentionally fouling? One.

Russell Westbrook puts up 20th triple-double of season, lifts Thunder past Kings (VIDEO)

Leave a comment

Through 41 games — half the season — Russell Westbrook is averaging 30.8 points, 10.7 rebounds, and 10.5 assists a game. Those numbers are insane, particularly considering his 42 percent usage rate. He has to put up numbers and do so fairly efficiently or the Thunder stand no chance of winning — and he has the Thunder on pace for 48 wins this season.

The Thunder picked up another of those wins Sunday night knocking off the Sacramento Kings behind Westbrook’s 20th triple-double in 41 games — 36 points, 11 rebounds, and 10 assists. The video highlights are above.

It’s going to be fun watching him and James Harden go back-and-forth in the MVP race for the next few months.