Charlie Villanueva hit this three-pointer as the shot clock expired with about 10 seconds remaining that ended up being the game-winner in the Pistons 105-100 win over the Bucks in Milwaukee on Saturday.
Villanueva was in the right place at the right time, planted at the top of the three-point arc and available when Will Bynum swung the pass to him with time running out. Big shot from Charlie V there, etc.
But can we talk about the shot from Brandon Jennings that followed?
The Bucks had plenty of time left to still get a decent look at a game-tying three, but Jennings launched the ball towards the rim just after he crossed halfcourt, and with almost four seconds still remaining on the game clock when he made the decision to do so.
Now obviously, Jennings believed that the Pistons were going to foul to prevent the three-point attempt which could have tied the game, and also believed that he had received enough contact from Bynum for the officials to blow the whistle.
That’s the only possible explanation for his chucking the ball toward the rim from such an improbable distance with precious seconds still remaining, but that shot shouldn’t have gone up — especially in an end of game situation — unless the whistle had actually been blown by a referee first.
This isn’t to say that Jennings’ poor decision was the reason his team lost the game. But certainly, a better and more reasonable shot attempt could have been manufactured with that much time left on the game clock, and with the Bucks holding possession.
Giannis Antetokounmpo out a couple of games to manage sore knee
It’s not discussed much, but Giannis Antetokounmpo has a chronically sore knee that has been an issue since last summer. It’s not debilitating, it doesn’t require surgery, but it’s something Antetokounmpo and the Bucks need to actively manage.
Milwaukee Bucks all-star Giannis Antetokounmpo will sit out Saturday night’s game against the Philadelphia 76ers as well as Monday’s home game against the Phoenix Suns as the team actively manages the health of Antetokounmpo’s sore right knee….
Antetokounmpo’s injury, which is not considered to be tendinitis, is regarded as something that is always going to bother him to some extent, according to a league source. There will be days where the discomfort is higher and some when it’s lower, and the team’s goal is to manage that on a daily basis to keep the injury from becoming severe or significant — something it is not considered to be at this point.
Antetokounmpo is going to get eight days of rest this way, which is the smart long-term move for the Bucks.
The challenge is the Bucks may be sixth in the East as you read this, but they are just one game up on the nine seed Pistons. They need to get wins without Antetokounmpo, which is hard because they have been outscored by 10.6 points per 100 possessions. However, they could be without him a lot longer if Antetokounmpo’s knee isn’t managed now.
Porzingis is a lock to make his first All-Star Game this year as a reserve (picked by the coaches).
What separated the two? Embiid has been a little more efficient this season, he’s stronger on the boards and had been a bigger defensive presence. Also, the Sixers have a better record than the Knicks, who have stumbled of late. Or, maybe the fans just like Embiid’s big personality more — he’s blowing off Rihanna.
Both of these guys should have a lot of All-Star starts in their future. This year it goes to Embiid.
Jordan Clarkson‘s free throw rattled around the rim before falling out late in the first quarter. The Los Angeles crowd groaned. The Lakers missed their first five free throws, and the visiting Pacers led by seven.
It appeared to be one of those nights.
And it was. The Lakers shot just 2-for-14 (14%) on free throws Friday. But they still won, 99-86.
That’s the worst free-throw percentage with at least eight attempts by any team and the worst free-throw percentage regardless of attempts by a winning team in the Basketball-Reference database, which dates back to 1963-64.
Here’s the “leaderboard,” winners in purple and losers in gold:
The Lakers are shooting an NBA-worst 69% on free throws, but last night took the cake. The offenders:
We saw this pattern earlier this season with the Lakers. Young team gets off to a better-than-expected start, shows real promise, but as things move toward the middle of the season they take a step back. As happens with young, developing teams, they are up and down. However, major market media and an impatient fan base wants to blame someone, so the coach is suddenly discussed as having “lost the locker room” and that his job was in jeopardy (a coach not hired by the current GM). Even though in Luke Walton’s case, it wasn’t (and isn’t).
Now that same pattern has come to New York and the Knicks with Jeff Hornacek. The Knicks started 17-14 and had fans prematurely thinking playoffs thanks to a home-heavy schedule. Reality has hit them the past month.
Hornacek also believes he has the backing of GM Scott Perry and president Steve Mills, despite being inherited by them as Phil Jackson’s hire.
“We were talking about rebuilding and we got off to a good start because we had a lot of home games,” Hornacek said. “Scott and Steve, everybody’s still on the same page of trying to get our young guys opportunities. We’re still trying to win games. We still want to establish an identity where defensively we’re going to get after it all the time and we’re building toward that. It’s great to have their support…
“I think the expectations come from the players where all of a sudden you hear them talking about, ‘Oh we can make the playoffs.’ We never said that,” Hornacek said. “We said we want to get better and we want to grow. Part of our talk was you can’t worry about the results. You just got to go out there and if you do your best and try to improve the results will come. When you start thinking about win or lose all of a sudden your mentality becomes different. We got to get back to that.”
Is Hornacek the long-term answer in New York? I don’t know. However, finally unchained from the pseudo-triangle disaster Phil Jackson imposed, he has done a solid job this season, putting Kristaps Porzingis in better spots to lead this roster. The Knicks are projected to win around 38 games at this point (according to Cleaning the Glass), and they have about a 14 percent chance of making the playoffs still (according to fivethiryeight.com). Heading into the season, that would have been about anyone’s best-case scenario for this team.
Not that it matters when you’re coach of the Knicks — job security speculation comes with every paycheck. It just isn’t deserved in this case.