Royce White still not with Rockets, attacks Wojnarowski on twitter

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One of the key lessons in life, for some people one of the hard ones to learn, is to pick your battles. When to let some things just go in pursuit of a more important, larger goal.

With that in mind, we bring you two bits of news about Royce White, the No. 16 pick of the Houston Rockets who has an anxiety disorder and does not feel the Rockets have done enough to support him.

First, he is still not with the team and there is no timetable for his return, reports the Houston Chronicle. Rockets GM Daryl Morey said the two sides are “talking things through” but he has not been with the team for two weeks and it is not clear when White may return.

Second, White took to twitter — his preferred medium of public communication — on Saturday to attack Yahoo Sports writer (and NBC Sports Network NBA Insider) Adrian Wojnarowski for a week-old article saying what a lot of people around the league have been saying: That in his quest for what he sees as fair treatment for his disorder he is throwing his NBA career away.

 

 

White had nearly 30 tweets going after Wojnarowski, some pointing out things listed in the article saying they are not true (specifically that there were concerns about playing time that led him to leave the Rockets). Woj has, as of now, not responded on twitter.

White wants to change the perception of what people with an anxiety disorder can do with the proper support. He wants to create awareness.

But the only way he can really do that is to be an active, contributing member of an NBA team.

Wojnarowski is no doubt one of the — if not THE — biggest name basketball journalist out there but he is also not the guy standing between White and playing in the NBA. What Wojnarowski wrote in that article is the perception around the league when you talk to teams, no matter what White thinks of it. Woj didn’t create the perception, and he’s not the one that can change it.

Publicly, the Rockets have been very supportive of White. But privately they will tell you all the things they have done for White, including allowing him to take a bus to many of the team’s away games and getting his a psychologist to see in the area. White and the Rockets clearly still do not agree on what the level of support should be.

I’m not going to pretend to know what the best course of treatment and what the best way for the Rockets to help White is. That is something for him and his doctors to work out with the team in the talks reportedly going on. This is not a simple situation with easy answers. But if White wants to change the perception of him he can only do that as a member of the Rockets.

From the outside, from where I sit, sometimes it doesn’t feel like Royce White’s primary goal is to be an NBA basketball player. Maybe it is, but this comes back to perception and it doesn’t feel like that is what he wants more than anything else. And maybe that’s a good decision for him, maybe this to him is a fight for something much bigger and more important (and if so attacking Wojnarowski is a distraction from that). But know that the feeling around the league is that if he is not committed there are a hundred guys in line behind him who may not be as talented but are fully committed. And teams would rather have those guys on the roster. That is not what Wojnarowski made up, that is what is being said.

And again, the only way for White to achieve those goals is as the member of an NBA team.

I really hope this ends up working out for both White and the Rockets. I’m not sure I see the path to that happening right now, but I hope it does.

Watch Knicks string together 28-0 run against Raptors

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Toronto has been the second best team in the East this young season. Not that anyone is really convinced they will be called that by the time we get to the playoffs (or even the All-Star break, or even Christmas), but for the first 16-18 games of the season their new move-the-ball offense had them at 11-5 and looking solid.

Wednesday night the Knicks dismantled the Raptors.

Especially in the third quarter when the Knicks went on a 28-0 run to blow the doors off the Raptors (video above). The Knicks dominated the third 41-10, when Toronto shot just 1-of-16 from the floor.

New York is gaining confidence with each win this season, they are a fun team to watch that is starting to find an identity (now that a certain three-sided shaped one is not being forced upon them). Kristaps Porzingis is a monster, and while the Knicks overpaid the market for Tim Hardaway Jr. he has lived up to his contract this season. With rookie point guard Frank Ntilikina showing some nice defense and playmaking skills as a rookie (although he is undoubtedly still a work in progress), you can see a path to a strong future unfolding. There are real reasons for hope in New York. Someone just keep James Dolan distracted and away from the basketball operations side of the building.

Devin Booker forces OT with deep turnaround buzzer-beating 3-pointer, but Bucks beat Suns (video)

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I’m not sure who benefited from Devin Booker‘s buzzer-beating, overtime-forcing 3-pointer. The Suns still lost to the Bucks, 113-107. The extra five minutes featured more of the same relatively bad basketball we’d seen between Phoenix (bad) and Milwaukee (shorthanded) through 48 minutes.

But darn if this shot wasn’t really cool and clutch.

Three Things to Know: Angry Russell Westbrook sparks Thunder against Warriors

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Every day in the NBA there is a lot to unpack, so every weekday morning throughout the season we will give you the three things you need to know from the last 24 hours in the NBA. As a matter of housekeeping, this will be the last Three Things of this week, as we take a holiday break. Happy Thanksgiving!

1) Angry Russell Westbrook sparks Thunder we’ve been waiting for. Don’t make Russell Westbrook angry. You wouldn’t like him when he’s angry.

Unless you’re a Thunder fan, then you’ll love him. Westbrook came out with an edge we haven’t seen from him this season as he has tried to play nice and integrate Paul George and Carmelo Anthony. Not Wednesday night. Wednesday night Kevin Durant and his Warriors came to town, and Westbrook was not taking it from anyone.

That sparked the Thunder team we have been waiting for all season. Westbrook finished with 34 points, 10 rebounds, 9 assists, and he was joined by Anthony with 22 points, and George with 20 points, 11 rebounds, and 4 steals. The Thunder used a 22-10 first-quarter run to take the lead and never looked back, leading by 26 at one point and going on to win 108-91. This was by far the best the Thunder have looked all season as they have stumbled to a 7-9 start before Wednesday. Maybe this game was the spark they needed to start playing well at the end of games — they closed out well against Golden State. Maybe this was what the Thunder needed to find themselves and become the playoff threat to the Warriors we expected.

As for the Warriors… ¯_(ツ)_/¯. We haven’t said this about them this season (only the Cavaliers), but they looked disinterested much of the night (outside of Durant). Give credit to the Thunder, physical and aggressive defenses that can overplay the Warriors (and recover) give them trouble, and OKC did that. The Warriors just didn’t care to counter. They looked like a team coasting through a road trip (2-2 in their last 4), and when they ran into a quality, motivated team they didn’t have the gear. That doesn’t mean anything long-term, but it means they may be vulnerable during the season until they find their edge again. Whenever they flip the switch.

2) Miami ends Boston’s win streak at 16. For a couple of weeks now the Celtics had been living dangerously — they had to come back from double-digits to win four of their last five games heading into Wednesday night.

Their luck ran out against the Miami Heat.

Miami raced out to a double-digit first-quarter lead, pushed that lead to 19 and were comfortably ahead most of the game, and we kept waiting for the Boston run. It came in the fourth, a 13-0 push that made it a game again. However, Miami responded with a 5-0 run of their own, Dion Waiters seemed especially motivated to take on Kyrie Irving, and the Heat held on for the 104-98 win. Goran Dragic had 27 points, Waiters 26 and 6 assists.

Boston’s streak was bound to end, but they established themselves as a strong defensive team during that run, and the squad in the East best poised to knock off LeBron James and the Cavaliers. We’re a long way from the games that matter in that push — the Cavs have won six in a row, and are playing defense again — but we know the pecking order for who gets a shot at the champs. Boston will get their shot, and early on they look like they will be ready.

3) Patrick Beverley is out for the season and the Los Angeles Clippers have some hard questions to answer. For the first four games of the season, we saw the potential of what this Clipper roster could be — four head-turning wins. Then the injuries started to pile up — Milos Teodosic, Danilo Gallinari, and starting point guard Patrick Beverley — and so did the losses. Nine in a row, until they picked up a road win in Atlanta Wednesday.

Now comes a brutal blow — the Clippers have lost point guard Patrick Beverley for the season. He had microfracture surgery on his knee and will be out until next season.

That’s a real blow to the Clippers, and it means they may need to answer some harsh questions. If the losses continue to pile up and this is clearly not a playoff team by the time we get to Christmas — a reality that became a more possible on Wednesday — do they need to trade free agent to be DeAndre Jordan? Other teams are already calling and asking if he is available in a trade, if the Clippers think they can’t resign him this summer (or at least the odds are lower than they like) they have to consider the move. Los Angeles wouldn’t get a lot back for a rental, but they would get something to help the rebuild they need to consider.

The other question: How much longer is Doc Rivers the coach. The sense from many around the league is the reason he wasn’t let go when he was stripped of his GM powers this summer was he is making more than $10 million a year and had a couple of years left on his deal, and that was too much for even Steve Ballmer to just eat. Plus Rivers has shown he can coach. Whether he can coach this team still is a different question entirely. Right now, this team is not responding to him, and the sense around the league is the question is when, not if, he will be let go.

Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook go head-to-head, literally (video)

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This sure didn’t look like just another game for Kevin Durant – and not only because the Thunder beat the Warriors for the first time since he left.

The 108-91 Oklahoma City victory didn’t look like just another game for Russell Westbrook (34 points, 10 rebounds, nine assists and four steals), either.