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.

Michael Beasley had his truck stolen out of his driveway

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Michael Beasley will be getting buckets, shooting long twos, and playing inconsistent defense for the New York Knicks next season (the analysis is just based on recent history).

But first, he’d like to find his truck. Which was stolen.

Well, I did see a Dodge Ram 1500 on the road today, but since I’m on the West Coast and I have no idea what color/year Beasley’s truck is, I’m going to assume the guy I saw didn’t perpetrate the heist.

Still, that sucks for Beasley, even if he can easily afford to replace it.

Kevin Durant gets into Twitter debate with reporter over White House comments

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Kevin Durant became the latest Warrior — joining Stephen Curry, Andre Iguodala, and Shaun Livingston, that we know of — to say he would not visit President Donald Trump’s White House as NBA champion. Which is all kind of moot because it’s unlikely the White House invites them and outspoken Trump critic/Warriors coach Steve Kerr and his players any way. (The White House’s biggest concern should be that Kerr accepts the invitation and uses that platform to challenge the president’s policies and style in front of him.)

Durant’s comments led to plenty of talk on sports talk radio and around the sports world online about whether a player or team should decline an invitation from the president. It’s not a new debate, Tom Brady denied that politics is why he didn’t visit Barack Obama’s White House (although I’m not sure many believed him), but KD’s on a big stage now so it became a talking point.

Former ESPN reporter Britt McHenry questioned a player not visiting the White House, and Durant responded, leading to a little Twitter back-and-forth.

Durant had previously Tweeted in response “by doing the opposite, I am inspiring more people” but that Tweet was deleted.

There is no one correct way to protest a person/policy/action, McHenry may see things differently, but Durant has chosen to stay away. That’s valid — traditionally these “champions to the White House” things are tedious photo ops with a few bad jokes thrown in. Having a hoops fan/player in Obama in the White House made the NBA visits more entertaining the past eight years, there was some trash talk, but still, they are largely just a public relations moment. If KD doesn’t want to play the PR game with Trump, that’s a legitimate response.

This has all been a tempest in a teapot. Until/unless the White House actually invites the Warriors to come, it’s all kind of moot.

Dwight Howard on Hornets’ coach Clifford: “It’s a great feeling when somebody believes in you”

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Dwight Howard‘s game is much better than his reputation among fans.

He’s not the Defensive Player of the Year/All-NBA/MVP candidate level player he was back in Orlando, but Howard is still one of the best rebounders in the game, he’s strong defensively, and he’s an efficient scorer inside. He’s a quality center, if he plays within himself and is used well. His perception as a guy who does not take the game seriously and held back Houston and Atlanta in recent years has validity (he plays better in pick-and-roll than on the move, but wants the ball in the post), but the idea he is trash is flat-out wrong. He’s still good.

Howard wants to change his reputation, rewrite the final chapters of his career, and told Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN that Steve Clifford’s Charlotte Hornets are the place that is going to happen.

“The other places I was, the coaches didn’t really know who I am,” Howard told ESPN. “I think that they had perception of me and ran with it. Cliff knows my game. He knows all the things that I can do. I’m very determined to get back to the top. It’s a great feeling when somebody believes in you. They aren’t just saying it; they believe it. It really just pushed me to the limit in workouts: running, training, everything. I want to do more.

“In Orlando, I was getting 13-15 shots a game. Last season, in Atlanta, it was six shot attempts. It looks like I’m not involved in the game. And if I miss a shot, it sticks out because I am not getting very many of them. But I think it’s all opportunity, the system. I haven’t had a system where I can be who I am since I was in Orlando.”

Howard averaged 8.3 field goal attempts per game in Atlanta, which is about five a game below his peak. Last season 75 percent of Howard’s shots came within three feet of the rim — is is not there to space the floor, however, he can still move fairly well off the roll and is a good passer for a big.

Last season, 28 percent of Howard’s possessions came on post ups, and he averaged a pedestrian 0.84 points per possession on those. On the 21 percent of shots he got on a cut, he averaged a very good 1.36 PPP. When he got the ball back as a roll man (again on the move), it was 1.18 PPP. The challenge long has been Howard is better on the move but doesn’t feel involved unless he gets post touches, and if he doesn’t feel involved and engaged he’s not the same player.

Maybe Clifford can make this all work with some older plays where Howard feels comfortable.

Charlotte, with Howard in the paint and on the boards, should get back to being a top 10 NBA defensive team, not the middle of the pack as they were last season. Clifford is better than that as a coach, and Howard is an upgrade in the paint (on both ends). Charlotte should be a playoff team again in the East.

But it all will come back to Howard. Fair or not. And Wojnarowski is right, this is Howard’s last best chance to write the ending he wants to his career.

Friday afternoon fun: Watch James Harden’s 10 best plays from last season

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James Harden had a historic season in Houston.

Since it’s Friday afternoon and your sports viewing options consist of watching guys about to be cut from NFL rosters try to impress, why not check out Harden’s best plays from last season. It’s worth a couple minutes of your time.