Reggie Evans not happy Grizzlies put starters back in during blowout win over Nets

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The Grizzlies took care of the Nets on Friday, and did so swiftly and easily. The game was over by halftime, when Memphis had built a 67-44 lead over a Brooklyn team that simply didn’t have it in them to compete on this night.

Just because the Nets had packed it in late in the fourth quarter, though, doesn’t mean that their opponent was required to do the same.

Grizzlies head coach Lionel Hollins had some of his starters in during a fourth quarter where the Nets only scored 10 points, notably Zach Randolph, who played about eight and a half minutes. When it was time to get Randolph back to the bench with under four minutes left and Memphis holding on to a 22-point lead, Hollins sent Marc Gasol to the scorer’s table to replace him.

This did not sit well with Reggie Evans, who had words for Gasol and Hollins from the bench during the game, and spoke some more about it afterward.

From Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News:

After Friday night’s 101-77 defeat, Evans expanded on his frustration, calling it an issue of respect. Most of Memphis’ starters were on the floor with less than four minutes remaining and the Grizzlies leading by 22. But Evans was most baffled by Hollins’ decision to re-insert Gasol with 3:21 left.

“That was the point where it was like, wow, I was shocked. I was real shocked to see him come back in,” Evans said, adding, “We won’t be forgetting, though. Right now we’re going to focus on (Saturday’s game against Houston), but we’re definitely going to look forward to when that day comes where we play (Memphis again).”

It’s not uncommon for a coach to leave one member of his starting unit in the game with four reserves, no matter the situation, simply to maintain some sense of stability in the lineup. And of course, if the Nets wanted to prevent this from happening, they could have chosen to defend better in the first half while the game was still within reach, instead of allowing the Grizzlies to shoot better than 60 percent from the field over the first two periods.

It’s also worth considering the source of this complaint, as Evans isn’t exactly known for being the model NBA citizen who always plays by the rules. He has been caught delivering a strange low blow in the past, and  has been fined this season for violating the league’s anti-flopping policy.

Memphis and Brooklyn will meet for the final time this season in Brooklyn on Sunday, Feb. 24.

LeBron James finishes left-handed alley-oop with head behind backboard

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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.

Carmelo Anthony standing ovation in return to Madison Square Garden

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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.

Lakers’ Kentavious Caldwell-Pope will not travel with team for 25 days due to legal issue

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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.

LeBron James is good with televising All-Star team selections

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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.