Miami Heat v Oklahoma City Thunder – Game Two

Kendrick Perkins has some interesting comments about Russell Westbrook

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Kendrick Perkins is an interesting sort of guy. He’s constantly scowling on the court, racking up technical fouls and getting into it with opponents. But off the court? He’s a friendly dude. He even smiles every now and then. So when Perkins talks about his teammate Russell Westbrook being two entirely different people on and off the court, he’s speaking from experience. He knows what it’s like to maintain an on-court persona, even if it doesn’t blend with you actually are away from the hardwood.

That makes Perkins pretty qualified to understand and comment on Westbook’s Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde act, and he did just that to ESPN.com’s Justin Verrier:

“He’s night and day how he is off the court,” said Kendrick Perkins. “On the court, just joking here, but you want to strangle him a little bit. But he’s night and day. He gets in a zone, man, and he just feels like he’s the best player on the court. Seriously.”

Via ESPN.com | Justin Verrier

It’s not hard to believe that there are times when Perkins wants to strangle Westbrook for taking a contested pull-up 22 footer in traffic with 18 seconds left on the shot clock. He’s a maddening player to watch, but you sort of have to let him be him. Even though he’s made strides as a distributor, when it’s knuckle-up time, you better believe Westbrook thinks he’s the guy that’s most well-equipped to bring home a win.

Perkins isn’t a stranger to dealing with confident, unrelenting point guards. After all, he played with Rajon Rondo in Boston — another lightning rod player. Although the two have very different playing styles, they evoke similar emotions with the way they conduct themselves on the court. They’re both just kind of…what’s the word I’m looking for? Help me out, Kendrick.

“They definitely different [from other point guards],” Perkins said. “They both some divas. In a good way though.”

That’s it! Divas in a good way. Westbrook and Rondo are both unapologetic, in your face types of players, and that’s not what we typically associate point guards with. They aren’t running the show — they are the show. That attitude makes them great, but it also destines them for a career of rubbing people the wrong way. That’s never going to change.

And that’s why diva is the perfect word, even if it has a negative connotation. Westbrook and Rondo know who they are, and they make no apologies for it. They take pride in it — just like a diva would. You love ’em or hate ’em. I don’t know which guy is Diana Ross and which is Mariah Carey in this analogy, but hey, Perkins is still spot on with his analysis.

NBA considering if jump-on-back foul should be flagrant foul

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The video above is an intentional foul — Chris Paul jumped on the back of Dwight Howard. The same thing has happened to Andre Drummond.

Is it a flagrant foul?

The Boston Celtics tweeted this out on Sunday.

The NBA was quick to let people know that this is just something under consideration — there has been no change in the rules. This may well be where the league is headed, but it’s not there yet.

The NBA defines a flagrant foul as “unnecessary contact committed by a player against an opponent.” To me, leaping on a player’s back like that qualifies. (A flagrant two foul is “unnecessary and excessive contact” and leads to an ejection; this is not that.)

Jared Dudley — one of the more vocal players on union issues — added a good point.

Consider this part of the coming changes on the intentional fouling rules period. But this one tweak could come much faster.

NBA: Foul on Cavaliers that sparked Celtics’ comeback called in error

Cleveland Cavaliers' J.R. Smith makes a move on Boston Celtics' Evan Turner (11) during the third quarter of a NBA basketball game in Boston Tuesday, Dec. 15, 2015. (AP Photo/Winslow Townson)
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The Cavaliers were in great shape against the Celtics on Friday, leading by four points with seven seconds left.

Then, it all went so wrong for Cleveland.

J.R. Smith was called for fouling Evan Turner on a made layup, cutting the margin to two points. Turner missed the free throw, but the ball went out of bounds off the Cavs. Then, Avery Bradley made a buzzer-beating 3-pointer to give Boston the win.

Rewind, though, and an incorrect call drove the sequence, according to the NBA.

Smith shouldn’t have been called for fouling Turner, per the Last Two Minute Report:

Smith (CLE) makes incidental contact with Turner’s (BOS) body as he attempts the layup.

If this were officiated correctly, the Cavs would’ve had the ball and a two-point lead with 5.9 seconds left. That’s not a lock to win – they’d still have to inbound the ball and make their free throws – but it’s close.

Cleveland is definitely entitled to feel the refs wronged them out of a victory.

Report: Kevin Durant has “done his due diligence on the Bay Area”

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Kevin Durant has not made up his mind about what he will do as a free agent this summer. Until his playoff run ends, whenever that may be for the Thunder, his focus will be on bringing a title to Oklahoma City.

But even he admits he can’t help but think about free agency a little.

The buzz around the league is Golden State is at the front of the line if Durant decides to leave OKC, and he has done some research, reports Marc Spears of Yahoo Sports.

The Warriors play in front of an intimidating Oracle Arena crowd and are expected to debut a new San Francisco arena in 2019. Durant has quietly done his due diligence on the Bay Area, too, sources told Yahoo Sports.

His people — specifically agent Rich Kleiman and personal manager Charlie Bell — would be stupid not to have done some research on not only Golden State but on every other team he might consider: Houston, Miami, Washington, both teams in Los Angeles, the Knicks, and on down the line. Golden State, playing with Stephen Curry, certainly would have its attractions.

I’m still in the camp that Durant signs a 1+1 deal to stay in Oklahoma City (meaning he can opt out after one more season, in 2017), and it’s all about the cash. While he could get 30 percent of a $90 million cap this summer (about $27 million a season to start), with one more year of service in 2017 Durant could get 35 percent of $108 million ($37.8 million to start). That’s a lot of cash. Plus he gets one more chance at a ring with Russell Westbrook and Serge Ibaka, who both are 2017 free agents.

But you can be sure whatever Durant decides, it will be well researched and thought out. And he’s not going to announce it in a live special on ESPN.

Byron Scott expected to start D’Angelo Russell after All-Star break, but hasn’t talked to him about it

Byron Scott D'Angelo Russell
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Communication.

When we talk about Lakers’ coach Byron Scott’s questioned player development skills with young players Julius Randle, Jordan Clarkson, and particularly D'Angelo Russell, it is his old-school lack of communication that comes into question. It’s what is different from what Gregg Popovich or Quin Snyder or other guys developing strong young players have done. From the outside (we’re not in practices/film sessions), we see Scott was not letting Russell play through mistakes — feeling that was rewarding bad behavior — but then not doing a good job communicating what the player is doing wrong.

This comment from Scott, via Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Daily News, sums it up perfectly.

Scott plans to start Russell after NBA All-Star weekend (Feb. 12-14). But Scott said the two have not talked about that issue.

“He’s not old enough for me to have a meeting and discuss, ‘What do you think?’” Scott said.

I would say you should have that meeting — it’s called a teachable moment. “What do you think? Well here is what I see that is different.”

Part of what is going on with Scott and Russell is the concern from some in the Lakers’ camp that Russell is a little too full of himself, that his ego is too big, and it could become a problem. So they are trying to take him down a peg. I would say that for a smart player — and Russell is that — the game is humbling and will take care of the ego issue. But you’ve got to give him run to develop him.

Play him, and then communicate with him. It’s a system that does worth with modern players.