It was bound to be a rough night for Raymond Felton on his return to Portland — and not because Trail Blazers fans were going to boo him.
Carmelo Anthony, the focus on the Knicks offense, was out getting his knee drained. Tyson Chandler, Felton’s quality pick-and-roll partner, was out with his own sore knee after a collision the night before.
That left Felton and J.R. Smith as the shot creators for the Knicks, and Smith thrived (33 points). But Felton had 11 points on 4-of-12 shooting with just three turnovers.
The kind of numbers a self-admitted out of shape Felton put up after the lockout in Portland last season. Which is why the Blazers fans had venom for him and booed him every time he touched the ball. That didn’t bother Felton, he told the Oregonian and others after the game (see the full interview below).
“It was what I expected,” Felton said. “Some boos — some boos the whole time, actually. It was what I expected. It was funny. It made me laugh. But basically we were trying to get a win tonight.”
Felton became the scapegoat for Blazers fans last season. He earned some of that — both with his play and with how he treated some of the people around him and media — but what happens to scapegoats is things that he had nothing to do with get piled on them. Like the comments that Felton was a bad influence in the locker room. His teammates told CSNNW.com that was not the case.
“He was great teammate, great person,” Trail Blazers guard Wesley Matthews said. “He wasn’t cancerous in the locker room at all. Ray played through a lot of injuries too, because he liked us.
“He could have shut it down. He could have gone into his free agency year and said ‘I’m not going to play unless I’m 100 percent,’ but he didn’t. He was professional about everything. I don’t have anything negative to say about Ray.”
Felton’s put all that behind him and had a solid season with the Knicks. Save for the part where he struggles when all the rest of the scorers are out… but it’s hard to blame him for that. Or the Knicks loss Thursday.
The Los Angeles Clippers had a rough go of things against the Sacramento Kings on Sunday. Up by 18 with more than five minutes to go, LA blew their lead and were left to watch as the Kings sealed the game late.
The final possession for Sacramento came on a missed corner 3-pointer by Clippers guard Jamal Crawford. The Kings got the outlet pass out on the rebound, but Ben McLemore took it to the rack and missed. That’s when Willie Cauley-Stein stepped in, cleaned up the board, and put the game-winning shot home with less than two seconds left.
Los Angeles lost in spectacular fashion, and became the only team this season to lose given their game situation.
Here’s a compilation the NBA put together of Sacramento’s epic comeback:
Meanwhile, Chris Paul called it the worst regular season loss of his career.
The Clippers peaked too soon. Like, the first 20 games of the season too soon.
Russell Westbrook had yet another triple-double on Sunday. The Oklahoma City Thunder star notched 13 assists in the loss to the Houston Rockets, 137-125, and one of them came on a nifty pass to teammate Victor Oladipo.
The play happened with the Thunder on the fastbreak early in the third quarter. Westbrook was moving from left-to-right across the middle of the floor with the ball while Oladipo streaked down the right wing.
With the Rockets defense collapsing, Westbrook reached halfcourt and fired a bounce pass that sliced through the opposition.
Oladipo finished with the clean dunk.
Still not sure it beats this one, but I think we’ll have to compare once the season comes to a close.
The race between James Harden and Russell Westbrook for the 2017 NBA MVP has narrowed to a two-man race toward the end of the season. The Oklahoma City Thunder star is averaging at triple-double this year, and the Houston Rockets guard is doing things nobody has ever done on a basketball court before.
It’s a tough decision to decide between them, so much so that even former Los Angeles Lakers great and 2008 NBA MVP Kobe Bryant can’t do it.
Speaking on ESPN on Sunday, Bryant said he thought the league might have to just bite the bullet on Westbrook vs. Harden.
“We might see our first co-MVPs this year,” said Bryant.
That would be a huge step for the league, but I’m not entirely sure they would do it. There have been co-NBA All-Star Game MVPs in years past, but never league MVP.
Still, can you decide between Russ and Harden? The Mamba can’t.
Houston Rockets center Nene is from Brazil, but on Sunday against the Oklahoma City Thunder the South American native went full euro.
On a fastbreak possession, Nene took on Thunder big man Enes Kanter near the rim and absolutely shook him with a nasty eurostep.
The play was so good that it forced Oklahoma City to call a timeout as James Harden and the rest of the Rockets bench met Nene on the court to celebrate.