Miami Heat v Boston Celtics

LeBron says Nets pretty much quit on Avery Johnson


LeBron doesn’t use the word “quit” when he said this. But he might as well have.

LeBron James was asked at shootaround about what was different between P.J. Carlesimo’s Nets — winners of 9-of-12 — and the Nets that were slumping so badly Avery Johnson got fired. The New York Daily News has LeBron’s answer.

“They are not doing anything different. They are playing with more passion, more together, they are playing like they want to play for their coach,” James said. “It sucks that Avery had to take the hit of them not wanting to play at a high level, but that’s what it looks like to me. They haven’t changed their offense, they haven’t changed their defense. They’ve picked it up in intensity level and you can tell they like to play for PJ.”

Unlike the Heat, who play hard every night?

Johnson was an old-school coach — hard on players and often a micromanager — but that tends to wear on teams after a while. Carlesimo is a little looser with the reins and the Nets have responded to that. The other big key was getting All-Star Brook Lopez back and fully healthy.

I think LeBron was simply saying what he saw and thought there, but you know that is going to anger a few Booklynites.

Greg Smith fails physical, will not join Pelicans

Greg Smith
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With both starter Omer Asik and backup Alexis Ajinca out injured for the rest of the preseason (and maybe a little longer), the Pelicans are looking for a center to put next to Anthony Davis for a stretch. That could include a handful of regular season games.

Greg Smith was going to be that man, but the 24-year-old failed his physical, reports the Times-Picayune.

The New Orleans Pelicans were set to sign power forward Greg Smith, but sources said Friday night that he failed his physical examination and will not be joining the team.

And so the search goes on.

The problem is, there are not quality big men still out there on the market, there is a limited supply and just about anyone worth having is spoken for. A few with non-guaranteed contracts may be waived as we get closer to the end of training camps, but that is likely a couple of weeks away.

With both Asik and Ajinca expected back in a few weeks, it’s not worth making a trade or some big move to bring in a center, the Pelicans are just going to have to live with what is out there.

Kevin Durant with huge dunk on visiting Fenerbahce Ulker

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Welcome to America, Fenerbahce Ulker.

The Turkish powerhouse was in America playing some exhibition games this preseason, and they got a first-hand reminder that Kevin Durant is back. KD had 13 points in the Thunder’s easy 111-81 win.

Not to be outdone, Russell Westbrook got in on the act.