“If we get into the playoffs, there’s no doubt in my mind and in any of our minds, that we can win a championship. It would be stupid of me to sit here and say to you [media] guys that if we make it to the playoffs, we’ll be out in the first round. I have confidence in our team.”
—Dwight Howard, speaking to reporters Tuesday, as relayed by Mike Bresnahan of the Los Angeles Times.
And he’s right… in his second sentence. He has to say that, and you want your players to believe that. But we all know the truth. First, the Lakers have an uphill climb to get the eight seed. Then if they do and get Oklahoma City, the athletes on that team would run the Lakers right out of the building. Five games.
Lakers fans think their best hope is San Antonio, the current No. 1 seed. And that is true in this sense — if Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili are not healthy and back for the first round the Lakers would have a shot. But if those to are back the Lakers are in trouble. Did you watch how Chris Paul and the Clippers ripped apart the Lakers defense on Sunday? The Spurs would do the same thing, but rather than just one guy doing it they use a team that has fantastic ball movement and movement off the ball. The Lakers defense isn’t good enough — and that’s not on Howard, he can only cover up so many mistakes made by others.
NEW YORK (AP) James Harden had 22 points, 11 rebounds and 11 assists in his 12th triple-double of the season and the Houston Rockets easily ended their first losing streak of the season by beating the Brooklyn Nets 137-112 on Sunday night.
Held to 105 points in losses to Minnesota and Memphis, the Rockets bounced back with 104 after three quarters and handed the Nets their 10th straight loss.
Eric Gordon led the Rockets with 24 points and Trevor Ariza added 23. Houston made 21 3-pointers and had five players with at least 16 points.
Houston shot just 40.8 percent during its two losses, well below its 46.8 season average, while being held nearly 10 points below its season scoring average. But the Rockets had no trouble bouncing back against the Nets, who allow an NBA-worst 114.3 per game.
Joel Embiid has fans all around the NBA. Some even came out to see him during the Philadelphia 76ers game against the Washington Wizards on Saturday despite the Cameroonian big man sitting out due to restrictions on playing in back-to-back games.
#BusTheProcess was the hashtag used to get 350 Sixers fans to the game in D.C. thanks to Embiid, coach Brett Brown, and the podcast The Rights to Ricky Sanchez.
Via Twitter and ESPN:
Fun stuff for some dedicated fans, even if they didn’t get to see Embiid play.
Unfortunately for the #BusTheProcess folks, the 76ers wound up losing to the Wizards, 109-93.
Michael Carter-Williams is still shaking the dust off after being inserted into the starting lineup, I guess. At least, that’s about what you can say when you pass the ball off your starting center’s face.
But there’s good news! The Chicago Bulls scored on this play.
Let’s take a look at the whole thing, shall we?
I think the more important question is whether Carter-Williams received a secondary or primary assists on the NBA.com tracking site.
ATLANTA (AP) Kent Bazemore scored 24 points, Mike Dunleavy added 20 and the Atlanta Hawks beat the Milwaukee Bucks 111-98 on Sunday.
Giannis Antetokounmpo finished with 33 points and was a tough matchup in the paint for Milwaukee, which dropped 2 1/2 games behind the fourth-place Hawks in the Eastern Conference.
Atlanta has won eight of nine. The Bucks have dropped three of five.
Dunleavy, in his second game since arriving in a trade last week with Cleveland, had his first 20-point performance since a first-round playoff game for Chicago on April 30, 2015.
Antetokounmpo has scored at least 30 points in eight games in a breakout season.