Golden State Warriors v Los Angeles Lakers

The Extra Pass: Lakers and Warriors forced to juggle lineups, Knicks do so by choice


The Warriors’ starters last night – Harrison Barnes, Andrew Bogut, Stephen Curry, Jarrett Jack and Klay Thompson – played one minute together during the regular season.

The Lakers’ Game 1 starters – Steve Blake, Pau Gasol, Dwight Howard, Steve Nash and Metta World Peace – had never before shared the court.

Such is life without Kobe Bryant and David Lee.

With injuries to their All-Stars, Mike D’Antoni and Mark Jackson have been forced to re-tool their rotations by extreme magnitudes. At the most important time of year, no less. Even other teams dealing with injuries like the Bulls, Nuggets, and Celtics have starting lineups with significantly more experience together.

Here’s how much each team’s playoff starting lineup played together during the regular season (noting when teams started different players in the post-season):

pbt warriors lakers starting lineups regular season minutes

There’s a tiny bar you probably can’t see denoting the Warriors’ single minute together, but you might notice the Knicks also started a zero-minute lineup.

The Knicks’ Game 1 starters – Carmelo Anthony, Tyson Chandler, Chris Copeland, Raymond Felton, Iman Shumpert – didn’t play together during the regular season. However, that lineup was the choice of New York’s mad magician, Mike Woodson, and Game 2 starter Pablo Prigioni returned from a sprained ankle. New York’s most-used playoff lineup – Carmelo Anthony, Raymond Felton, Jason Kidd, Kenyon Martin and J.R. Smith – was one of the team’s top-played lineups since Martin signed in February.

In other words, the Knicks’ strange lineups are behind them if they so choose.

The Lakers and Warriors have no such luck. Unlike Prigioni, who’s a much smaller piece of the puzzle anyway, Bryant and Lee aren’t returning. That means complications, not just without the starting lineup, but throughout the game.

The Warriors, in their last playoff game, gave 31 minutes to lineups that played one or fewer minutes together during the regular season.

The Lakers went even further into the unknown, giving 32 minutes to lineups that didn’t play together at all during the regular season.

Mark Jackson successfully navigated the lineup maze against the Nuggets to help his team win (though, his players making shots certainly helped). The onus is now on D’Antoni to find a winning combination in an uncomfortable predicament.

76ers owner: Brett Brown deserves an ‘A’

Brett Brown
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Only one person in NBA history has coached as many games as Brett Brown and had a worst winning percentage.

The 76ers coach, who sports a 37-127 record, is trumped by just Brian Winters. Winters went 36-148 with the expansion Grizzlies and during interim stint guiding the Warriors.

Brown is entering the third season of his four-year contract, and Philadelphia general manager Sam Hinkie has been mum about an extension.

76ers owner Josh Harris is taking a similar approach, but he also says a lot of nice things about Brown.

Harris, via John Finger of CSN Philly:

“It’s probably not appropriate for me to talk about specifics about what the negotiations are with him,” Harris said during a media conference on Thursday at the team’s training camp at Stockton College.

“I give Brett an A for the job he’s done,” Harris said. “He’s been an incredible player development person, which is what we need at this point in time. He’s a great person to be around. He’s enthusiastic and he’s a born coach and a leader of men. I’m very impressed with Brett and I hope and expect Brett to be around the team for a very long time.”

Brown has done a fantastic job keeping this team engaged through losing and developing its young players. It’s not his fault Philadelphia stinks. Tanking is an organizational decision.

But the 76ers aren’t tanking forever, and soon, they’ll require a different type of coaching.

Is Brown up for it? No idea. He hasn’t had any chance to prove it.

After all he’s done, though, he probably deserves a chance to find out.

Thabo Sefolosha found not guilty

Thabo Sefolosha
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Thabo Sefolosha clearly believed in his innocence.

The Hawks wing rejected a plea deal of only day of community service and six months probation. That probably would have been easier than a trial.

But Sefolosha opted to fight the charges – misdemeanor obstructing government administration, disorderly conduct and resisting arrest.

Today, he was vindicated.

Robert Silverman:

Sefolosha, who missed the playoffs due to a leg injury that seemingly occurred during his arrest, has made his case clear: New York police targeted him because he’s black. Given everything else we know about policing habits, that’s certainly believable.

We’ve also seen video of multiple officers literally pulling Sefolosha in different directions and one striking him in the leg with a nightstick. We don’t know what preceded that video, but especially given the information revealed at trial, it’s difficult to justify that use of force.

This verdict probably sets up Sefolosha’ to sue the NYPD.