When you hear old-timers talk about the death of the mid-range game in the NBA, know that’s not all bad. Don’t get me wrong, there is still value in a guy who can knock down a high percentage of midrange shots, but the fact is team’s that get their shots at the rim and from three are likely to be more efficient. Get your buckets right at the rim or get the extra point for that long jumper if you can.
The Knicks can — with their seven threes against Bulls Thursday the Knicks set a record for most threes made in a season.
Of those, 209 are corner threes on which they shot 38 percent, the other 636 came above the break and the Knicks shot 38 percent on those as well. (Yes, on the season the Knicks are shooting 37.6 percent on threes, but that includes 28 backcourt heaves that drags the percentage down). It’s interesting to note the Knicks do not shoot a higher percentage on the corner threes, most teams do. Also, 97 percent of the Knicks corner threes are assisted, 79 percent of their ones above the break — they tend to work inside out, or kick out in transition for these shots to get good looks.
By the way, the Knicks lead the league in three-point attempts, makes and are fifth in percentage.
It works. The Knicks have a top three offense. If their defense shows up they are a dangerous playoff team.
John Wall scores 37 as Wizards down LeBron James, Cavs 127-115
CLEVELAND (AP) John Wall scored 37 points, Bradley Beal added 27 and the Washington Wizards began a challenging road trip by beating LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers 127-115 on Saturday night.
Wall scored 18 in the first quarter, when the Wizards shot 82 percent, and Washington held on down the stretch to avenge an overtime loss to the NBA champions last month.
James, who briefly wore goggles to protect an eye injury sustained Friday night, scored 24 and added 11 rebounds and eight assists. Kyrie Irving added 23 points and Kevin Love 17 for Cleveland, playing at home for the only time in a seven-game stretch.
Washington’s victory cut Cleveland’s lead in the Eastern Conference to a half-game over idle Boston.
Rudy Gobert calls out Jazz teammates after loss: “We’ve just got to compete. We’re too nice.”
Utah and the L.A. Clippers are almost locked into a first round, four vs. five battle in the Western Conference. The only question is which team will have home court, and the Clippers took a big step towards that beating the Jazz at home Saturday. While the Jazz still has a half-game lead, the Clippers have a much softer schedule the rest of the way.
“We’ve got guys that compete, but some of us don’t compete. Some of us just think about scoring. That’s what it is. … Coach keeps repeating it: We’ve just got to compete. We’re too nice. Those guys, we know they’re going to get calls. We’ve just got to come out aggressive and ready to fight.”
Interesting comments for a team that is third in the NBA in defensive rating and 13th in offense.
Gobert is frustrated as Utah has dropped four of its last five, and the slump has been on both ends of the court. The defense has struggled, but if guys are looking to score too much they aren’t doing it efficiently because the offense has been worse.
This slide likely costs Utah home court in the first round, which could matter in what will be a tight matchup with Los Angeles. Utah needs to find its grinding rhythm again heading into the playoffs, at their best they can knock off the Clippers in the first round. Just not like they are playing now.
One thing to watch, Utah’s Gordon Hayward asked out of the game in the fourth quarter due to what is being called a bruised muscle in his leg. If he misses any time or if this lingers, it could be trouble for the Jazz in the postseason.
LeBron James starts game with protective goggles. That lasts about a minute.
LeBron James suffered a scratched cornea Friday night when he went up for a layup late in the third quarter and Jeremy Lamb tried to contest and caught him clean across the face. LeBron got the and-1, but had trouble keeping his eye open in postgame interviews Friday.
Saturday he did play — wearing protective goggles. As you can see above.
For the first time since he walked off the court in his final game, Kobe Bryant was back at Staples Center Friday night.
The reason was Shaquille O’Neal was getting a statue out in front of Staples Center (a building that may not have gotten built without the two of them). The two famed feuders sat next to each other and joked around through the ceremony. Time heals all wounds.
With the new management of the Lakers — specifically Kobe’s former agent Rob Pelinka as GM — there has been speculation Kobe could take on a role. He’s not looking for something formal, according to reports, but he didn’t say no, either, when asked.
This will be Kobe's first trip to Staples for a Lakers event since his last game. I asked if he wanted to be more involved with the team. 👇🏼 pic.twitter.com/wi88qLGSNt
I picture Kobe as a guy who someday buys a team, not a guy who wants to haggle with agents over the details of a contract. He’s not going to take on a day-to-day role, he likes the retired life and what he is building with the Kobe brand.
That said, the Lakers front office can use all the smart voices it can get as they try speed up a rebuild. They should give him a call every once in a while.