Well, this is certainly one way to go about winning when your team is missing two of its starters.
The Knicks came limping into Phoenix on Wednesday, with both Carmelo Anthony and Raymond Felton unable to go due to injuries suffered in the team’s Christmas Day loss to the Lakers.
That just meant more shots for J.R. Smith, who didn’t get the start, but played a team-high 37 minutes while also leading the team in shot attempts with 27.
He only made 11 of those attempts, but the last two he hit were big-time difference-makers that gave his team the 99-97 road victory.
It probably didn’t hurt New York’s chances that the Suns were without their starting point guard Goran Dragic for the entire second half, after Smith took him out on this flagrant foul just before halftime.
This play is not only just as bad as the one that got Dwight Howard immediately ejected in Denver on this same night, but given Dragic’s vulnerable in-air position, along with the fact that Smith had zero chance of making a legitimate defensive play here, it’s actually much worse.
The only thing that could have come of Smith making contact with an airborne Dragic was exactly what ended up happening — an injury. That’s the type of play that deserves to be ruled a flagrant-two, but instead, the officials decided it was harmless enough to allow him to remain in the game.
Tell that to Dragic, who missed the second half with a combination wrist/back/hip injury.
Smith added the proverbial insult in the game’s final possessions by hitting two very tough shots, but after watching this play a few times, it appears he shouldn’t have been able to continue to play in this game to the point where he had the opportunity to do so.
Watch Alfonso Ribeiro show Stephen Curry, Justin Timberlake how to do the Carlton
In a poignant address, Golden State Warriors president and chief operating officer Rick Welts, 63, who is openly gay, explained his meaningful and lifelong affiliation with the NBA and told league owners he didn’t feel comfortable attending the All-Star Game in Charlotte if the law remained as is.
He then said if the All-Star Game remained in Charlotte, he wouldn’t feel comfortable attending, and he said he has spoken to employees in the LBGT community from half of the league’s teams who didn’t feel comfortable attending either.
Another influence on the NBA owners: A number of NBA sponsor/partner businesses have told the league they would not be involved if the game remained in North Carolina.
This isn’t so much about a moral stance or punishing North Carolina. It obviously isn’t about punishing Louisiana.
It’s about treating employees and customers with respect.
Putting valued employees in uncomfortable positions is bad business. Holding All-Star Weekend in North Carolina would have done that. Maybe Welts and those he spoke with wouldn’t immediately quit in protest, but why should the league put them in such harsh work conditions? Imagine being forced to choose between your job and traveling to a place you’re denied fundamental protection under the law. Welts earned his position for a reason. The NBA should make reasonable efforts to retain him and other talent.
The same is true of potential customers, some of whom would have been reluctant to attend All-Star Weekend in North Carolina for the same reasons. Maybe the NBA still would have sold out every event, but it’s not worth alienating a portion of the fanbase. (Though the league’s decision inevitably alienated some fans on the other side of the issue. There is some moralism at play here.)
Maybe Louisiana will eventually succeed in its lawsuit and enact its own anti-LGBT laws. But right now, New Orleans doesn’t legally discriminate against the LGBT community. That makes it an acceptable place to host the All-Star game.
This isn’t about sending a message. It’s about finding a location people like Welts — people the NBA value — feel comfortable.
Report: Celtics agree to guaranteed contract with Demetrius Jackson, partially guaranteed deal with Ben Bentil
As second-rounders, neither Jackson nor Bentil count against the cap until signed. So, the Celtics — with a little cap space plus the room exception and minimum-salary exceptions available — might wait a while to officially sign either player.
Jackson would give Boston 16 players — one more than the regular-season roster limit — with guaranteed salaries. Obviously, the Celtics will have to make a move — a big one, they surely hope.
With this roster crunch, Bentil will probably head to the D-League after training camp. The partial guarantee is likely just designed to entice him to stick in Boston’s system rather than sign overseas.
This leaves just No. 58 pick Abdel Nader unaccounted for among the Celtics eight (!) 2016 draft picks.
The San Antonio Spurs today announced that they have signed forward Livio Jean-Charles.
Because Jean-Charles was drafted more than three years ago, he’s not bound by the rookie scale. San Antonio could have signed him to a scale or standard contract.
The Spurs could use more length and athleticism on the frontline behind LaMarcus Aldridge and Pau Gasol, and Jean-Charles fit the bill when drafted. But he tore his ACL and missed the following season. It’s less clear the 22-year-old is still on track to help.
Count on Dewayne Dedmon as a far safer bet to provide San Antonio with that dimension. If Jean-Charles helps, that’d just be a bonus.