Why do the Knicks keep playing Jason Kidd?

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Jason Kidd has scored exceptionally during the playoffs.

There are many ways to evaluate scoring, but here’s how five players rank by one measure:

  • Jason Kidd: 73
  • Carmelo Anthony: 24
  • Stephen Curry: 23
  • Kevin Durant: 21
  • LeBron James: 17

That’s how many points each player has scored during the 2013 playoffs, as a percentage of the total points scored by their draft class.

Kidd has gotten a lot of flack for his eight-game scoreless streak, but he’s 40 years old. 40! It’s not his fault the Knicks keep sending him out to miss shots, as his rut has now reached 0-for-17.

The Clippers didn’t rely on Grant Hill, the only other member of the 1994 draft class to score in these playoffs. The Heat aren’t even playing Juwan Howard. NBA teams long ago stopped asking players Glenn Robinson, Eddie Jones and Brian Grant to contribute.

But the Knicks keep trotting out Kidd, hoping for better results. And in that way, they’ve elevated Kidd’s scoreless streak into unprecedented territory.

Since 1963-64, as far back as Basketball-Reference’s streak finder goes, there have been 32 scoreless streaks of at least eight games,* including two each by Mark Madsen and John Salley. But most of those streaks came from end-of-bench players who didn’t play much.

Kidd is still an integral part of New York’s rotation.

Here’s how many minutes each player had during his scoreless streak. Keep in mind, some of these streaks have lasted a game or two longer than Kidd’s, but I’m still counting total minutes.

Kidd is represented by the orange bar that towers over everyone else, who are represented in blue.

pbt jason kidd scoreless streak

*Any streaks that spanned more than five seasons might not be counted due to the setup of B-R’s streak finder.

**McDowell’s minute total does not include the first game of his scoreless streak.

***Minutes played weren’t available for Fernsten’s and Fillmore’s streaks.

New York has other options. Pablo Prigioni and Chris Copeland can score a bit, and it’s not like Kidd is helping in other ways. The Knicks have defended worse in the playoffs with Kidd on the court.

But they just keep asking Kidd to do what he can no longer do.

Russell Westbrook on Rockets laughing at Andre Roberson missing free throws: ‘Probably the guys that don’t play’

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The Rockets bench made a big production when an intentionally fouled Andre Roberson kept missing free throws in the Thunder’s Game 4 loss to the Rockets yesterday.

Russell Westbrook stuck up for his teammate.

Royce Young of ESPN:

Westbrook:

I didn’t see it. I didn’t see it at all. Probably the guys that don’t play, probably over there the ones laughing, if I had to guess.

Good guess. It appears Montrezl Harrell and Bobby Brown – whose only playing time this series came late in Houston’s blowout Game 1 win – led the jeers.

But the most important thing for the Thunder is Roberson making his free throws. They need him on the court to defend James Harden, which exposes him to hacking. If Westbrook deflecting attention onto the Rockets’ benchwarmers helps Roberson at the line, great. But if not, the Rockets will keep having reasons to laugh.

Magic Johnson winks at bringing Paul George to Lakers

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Paul George-to-the-Lakers rumors have swirled for a while.

New Lakers president Magic Johnson will only fuel them.

Asked how he’d interact with the Pacers star to avoid tampering if they ran into each other, Johnson said on Jimmy Kimmel Live:

We’re going to say hi, because we know each other. You just can’t say, “Hey, I want you to come to the Lakers,” even though I’m going to be wink-winking like [blinks repeatedly]. You know what that means, right?

In explaining how he’d avoid tampering, Johnson probably tampered. Accidental tampering appears to be his specialty.

The Collective Bargaining Agreement says team employees can’t permissibly “induce, persuade, or attempt to entice, induce or persuade, any Player who is under contract to, or whose exclusive negotiating rights are held by, any other Member of the Association to enter into negotiations for or relating to his services or negotiate or contract for such services.” But the league arbitrarily enforces tampering, so who knows whether he’ll be punished?

Johnson almost certainly could have gotten away with the hypothetical conversation he laid out. But going on television and describing it — even as fantasy, even not directly to George — could constitute tampering in itself,

If Johnson helps attract George to Los Angeles, it’d well be worth it. At least he’s trying something.

Report: Austin Rivers returning for Clippers-Jazz Game 5

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There have been bigger injuries in the Clippers-Jazz first-round series: Blake Griffin‘s toe, Rudy Gobert‘s knee and Gordon Hayward‘s stomach.

But Clippers guard Austin Rivers has yet to play due to a strained hamstring.

It sounds as if that will change tomorrow.

Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports:

This is neither as big a deal as the Clippers will make it out to be nor as meaningless as Rivers’ many detractors will claim.

The 6-foot-4 Rivers will provide an important defensive upgrade on the perimeter. The Clippers haven’t successfully hidden Jamal Crawford and Raymond Felton, allowing Utah too many quality looks. Here how the Jazz have shot when defended by each, per NBA.com:

  • Crawford: 18-of-36 (50%), including 7-of-17 on 3-pointers (41%)
  • Felton: 13-of-24 (54%), including 5-of-8 on 3-pointers (63%)

Rivers needn’t be great to help behind Chris Paul and J.J. Redick.

Rockets bench hams it up over Andre Roberson missed free throw (video)

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Russell Westbrook might not want to talk about his supporting cast distinctively, but it’s a real issue for the Thunder, who trail the Rockets 3-1 in their first-round series.

Even Andre Roberson, who has impressively defended James Harden, brings a glaring weakness: free throws. Roberson is 2-for-17 from the line in the playoffs, including 2-for-12 in Game 4 yesterday. Houston even repeatedly intentionally fouled him late.

It was agonizing for all but the most partisan Rockets supporters – though even Houston’s bench, while at least implicitly mocking Roberson, appeared put off that he missed yet again.