By winning Game 5 against the Pacers, the Knicks have turned their series. After it seemed Indiana had a decided advantage, each remaining game is basically a tossup. Both teams could make arguments for why they have the upper hand in Game 6 tonight:
In the Pacers’ favor: The Knicks are 0-4 at Indiana this season, and the Pacers are 5-0 at home during the playoffs.
In the Knicks’ favor: New York, despite trailing 3-2, has actually outscored Indiana by seven points in this series.
In the Pacers’ favor: Paul George has continued to play excellent defense on Carmelo Anthony. Even when Melo scored a game-high 28 points in Game 5, more than twice as many points as any other Knick, he needed 28 shots to get there. The Pacers can’t stop Melo, but they’re doing a good job of containing him.
In the Knicks’ favor: George Hill might not playwill play, but might be limited. Prior to Hill missing Game 5, the Pacers had relied heavily on a Hill-Lance Stephenson-George-David West-Roy Hibbert lineup. In 92 minutes, that unit is +21. In the series’ other 148 minutes, the Pacers are –28. Hill’s replacement, D.J. Augustin, has zero assists in his last two games – 60 minutes of playing time. Without Hill, Indiana’s offense has really sputtered.
This list could continue for a while in what has become a back-and-forth series. But the Knicks, trailing 3-2, need to do better than go back and forth. They must win two straight games – a tough task against a peer team.
Celtics draft pick Marcus Thornton gets beer dumped on head during Australian game (video)
Rejecting the tender is a favor to the drafting team, which gets to keep the player’s exclusive rights for a year. If Thornton tries to join the NBA now, he’s stuck negotiating with only the Celtics.
By accepting the tender, the player typically gets one of two outcomes. He either plays on that contract and draws an NBA salary or he gets waived. But even getting waived is better than rejecting the tender, because at least the player becomes a free agent and can negotiate with any team.
Players who reject the tender go to another league and play for less money. In Thornton’s case, that mean Australia.
How’s that going?
(Almost) never reject the required tender as a second-round pick.
Byron Scott says they just have to get Kobe Bryant better looks
Kobe Bryant is averaging 15.2 points a game at age 37. It’s just taking him 16.4 shots per game to get there. After his 1-of-14 shooting performance against the Warriors the other night — with too much isolation and too many plays run just for him — there has been a lot of talk about his shot. With reason, this is his shot chart so far this season.
So what do the Lakers’ do? Get Kobe to shoot less and get the ball in the hands of the young stars they supposed to be developing more? Nah.
“I know his mentality is that he can still play in this league,” Scott said. “And we feel the same way….
“Obviously he’s struggling right now with his shot, and I think everybody can see that,” Scott said. “So it’s trying to get him in better position to be able to have an opportunity to knock those shots down on a consistent basis. That’s No. 1.
“I don’t know if it’s his legs. I don’t think so. Again, our conversations are pretty blunt. … He tells me when he is tired and he tells me when he’s not tired. And the last few days, he said he feels great. So, I don’t think it’s a matter of him being tired or his legs being tired. I think it’s a matter of his timing being a little off.”
Yes, how could it be his legs? It’s not like he’s a 37-year-old with more than 55,000 NBA minutes played, and coming off an Achilles rupture and major knee surgery.
Honestly, I hope the Lakers and Kobe find a balance soon, because they have become just hard to watch. And I don’t want Kobe to go out this way.
Stephen Curry has reached the transcendent point in his career. We’re now talking about if he has passed LeBron James as the best player on the planet (he has), and we’re starting to think about his legacy as the perfect point guard for a modern NBA small-ball, space-and-pace offense. Plus he’s just a joy to watch play.
“I don’t know – it’s a chicken and egg kind of conversation,” Curry said while laughing.
“We both have a creative style, a feel when you are out on the pitch or the court. I’m trying to do some fancy things out there with both hands, making crossover moves and having a certain flair to my game and that’s definitely the style Messi has when he is out there in his matches.”
I love Curry, but Messi is the bigger international star.
But I love the comparison in terms of the must-watch nature of the two stars, the flair in their games, the sense that you have to keep an eye on them at all times because the spectacular could happen any time they touch the ball. When the ball comes to them, everybody leads forward in their chairs. That is the sign of a real superstar.
Drake introduces Raptors’ starters, and it’s a lot of fun (video)