They don’t call him Iso Joe for nothing, kids. With the Nets really struggling to create offense once things got tight, Joe Johnson came to the rescue with multiple big buckets before hitting the really big one to finally put away a game Detroit Pistons team, 107-105 in double overtime.
There were a lot of takeaways for the Nets in this once, both good and bad. Brook Lopez looked rusty offensively in his return, but he was still able to log some solid minutes in his first game back. Gerald Wallace (25 points, 10 rebounds) was incredible on both ends of the floor, making huge defensive plays to supplement his trademark reckless forays to the rim. There were multiple times the Pistons would have put this game away had it not been for Wallace.
That’s the good. The bad? Deron Williams continued his struggles, and was exploited offensively by the Pistons’ legion of guards. Williams is a notorious slow starter — if you’ll recall, he did this last year as well — but many of his shot attempts aren’t even close right now. D-Will is shooting 38 percent from the field this year and 27 percent from the 3-point line (with 5.7 attempts a game), which puts him firmly in what I like to call, “Baron Davis territory.” To be fair, Williams does shoulder a lot of the load offensively and has to hoist a lot of attempts with very little time on the shot clock, but let’s call it like it is: he’s not playing like a max player right now, or even a very good one. Williams was 7-of-17 with 6 assists and 5 turnovers, but was really an afterthought in the two overtime periods, which is telling of where he’s at right now.
Of course, that’s why the Nets have Joe Johnson (28 points), a player that can use his size and strength to get his shot off at anytime. Tayshaun Prince isn’t the defender he once was, but in a tie game thanks to some previous heroics from Wallace, some missed free throws, an easy putback by Kyle Singler, a blown backcourt no-call by the refs, and a myriad of other big plays and big mistakes, he found himself all alone on an island with Johnson.
After playing a game-high 52 minutes, Johnson must have wanted off that island pretty badly. Here’s how he did it:
We have reached the point with LeBron James and his legendary career that the incredible almost seems ordinary — he has made our jaws drop so many times it’s hard for him to clear the bar of amazing anymore.
He did Saturday night against Utah.
In transition, LeBron gave up the ball to Jeff Green, who returned the favor with an alley-oop pass. Just not a particularly good one, it was behind James.
So he reaches back with his left hand and throws it down as he ducks his head under the backboard. Then LeBron stops and stares at his left hand, like he can’t believe what he just did.
We can’t either.
Knicks fans may have had their frustrations with Carmelo Anthony, but they know how much he has meant to the franchise over the years. He pushed to be a Knick and chose to stay, he carried the franchise for years.
Saturday night he returned to Madison Square Garden in an Oklahoma City Thunder uniform after a trade this summer, and he was welcomed with a retrospective video followed by a standing ovation from the crowd (you can see all of it above).
Well done Knicks fans. Well done.
The Lakers’Kentavious Caldwell-Pope missed his new team’s first two games this season due to a suspension for a DUI case in Michigan.
But that was not all. Caldwell-Pope’s came with probation, and to get out of it early the Lakers’ forward has to go through an intensive rehab program — one that does not allow him to leave California with the team for 25 days. He did not play against the Cavaliers and that is just the first of multiple games he will miss, a story broken by Ramona Shelburne of ESPN.
Caldwell-Pope was originally cited for operating a vehicle while intoxicated but pleaded guilty in May to the lesser charge of allowing someone to operate his vehicle while under the influence, which carried a 12-month probation.
On Thursday, Caldwell-Pope had to return to California to begin an intensive program over the next 25 days that will result in some travel restrictions and could cause him to miss additional games but will end his probation early.
The Lakers are in a home heavy part of their schedule, and by my calculations KCP would only miss one or two games (for sure against Houston Dec. 20, then maybe against Golden State Dec. 22, but that is in California). The Lakers next road game after that is Dec. 31 in Houston again.
Caldwell-Pope signed a one-year, $18 million deal with the Lakers last offseason, and he has gone on to become one of the few reliable three-point shooters on the team, hitting 36.1 percent from beyond the arc, taking 6.1 shots from there a game. He’s been solid on defense and a player the Lakers’ need, although his overall efficiency is closer to average.
If the Lakers are successful with their big game hunting during free agency next summer, Caldwell-Pope will not return to the team. In a tight free agent market, he may once again not see offers near what he sees himself worth next summer. That said, his play in Los Angeles has been good. And now he will not have this legal issue hanging over his head during free agency.
From the moment the NBA announced changes to the All-Star Game team selection format for this season, most NBA fans — as well as most media members I know — have wanted a live team selection show.
As a reminder, this year (as in past years) fans will vote for their favorite All-Stars, and those votes will be combined with media and player votes to name the five starters from each conference. Then the coaches will vote to select the teams.
What’s different is the top vote-getters from each conference — let’s be honest, it will be LeBron James in the East and Stephen Curry or Kevin Durant in the West — will be named captains and they will then pick their teams from the pool of other selected players. No East vs. West. If LeBron gets to choose first and he picks James Harden, then Harden is on that team. Curry can go second and select Giannis Antetokounmpo or whoever he wants from the starters pool, then the captains move into the reserves pool. Old-school playground style team picking.
Who wouldn’t tune it to watch that selection show?
The NBA officially has not decided yet if the selection process will be broadcast, but it probably won’t be. The reason is some player is not going to like being picked last (or next to last) and his agent will like it less. It gets political (would Curry have to choose Durant or Draymond Green first to keep his teammates happy?).
LeBron basically said Saturday why not televise it? From Nick Friedell of ESPN, when LeBron was asked if it would bother him to go against teammates in the All-Star Game:
“I hope not,” James said after Saturday’s shootaround. “We’re all grown men. It doesn’t stop their paycheck from coming. It won’t stop you from playing time once the season starts.”
And is he good with the pick order being made public or done live.
“It doesn’t matter to me,” James said. “It doesn’t matter. At the end of the day, if I’m rewarded to be a part of the All-Star Game again, that’s cool for me. It doesn’t matter. All that other stuff is extracurricular.”
That’s the right attitude, and whoever got picked last would say that publicly. But privately… who knows? Depends on the guy.
That selection show would be must-watch television. The NBA needs to broadcast this. But it won’t. Politics will win out.