Newly minted, soon to be inducted Hall of Famer Gary Payton is a Damian Lillard fan.
“I like Damian Lillard because he’s from Oakland, California, and he’s a phenomenal basketball player,” Payton told ProBasketballTalk last January. “He should be the rookie of the year, he’s playing very well right now for Portland and I love his game.”
Now arguably the two best point guards ever to come out of Oakland may get together this summer and work out, tweets Mike Tokito of the Oregonian.
Lillard spent the last week at the Team USA mini-camp in Las Vegas, where in the Blue and White scrimmage Thursday he got in a first quarter duel with Kyrie Irving.
Working with Payton would be a very good thing for Lillard — his challenges are not on the offensive end of the court, rather it is his defense. Payton, “The Glove”, is headed to the Hall of Fame in part because of his defense. Granted, the physical, in-your-face, contact-filled defense Payton used on Michael Jordan would draw foul calls now, but there are still techniques and tactics Payton could pass along.
Payton worked with John Wall last summer, particularly on his jump shot and when to use it. At the end of last season, when Wall finally got healthy, his jumper looked good.
This sure didn’t look like just another game for Kevin Durant – and not only because the Thunder beat the Warriors for the first time since he left.
The 108-91 Oklahoma City victory didn’t look like just another game for Russell Westbrook (34 points, 10 rebounds, nine assists and four steals), either.
With the shot clock off in the fourth quarter and the game tied, Grizzlies big JaMychal Green put back Tyreke Evans‘ miss with a clutch flush. There’s a very fine line between ensuring the last shot and leaving time for an offensive rebound, and Memphis threated it almost perfectly.
Emphasis on “almost.”
The Grizzlies left the Mavericks 0.5 seconds, which Harrison Barnes used to bank in a 3-pointer – off a pinpoint bounce pass by Dennis Smith Jr. – to give Dallas a 95-94 win.
The Celtics didn’t have another comeback in them.
After overcoming a 13-point fourth-quarter deficit against the Mavericks on Monday to extend its winning streak to 16 games, Boston lost to the Heat tonight, 104-98. The streak ends as the NBA’s longest since the Hawks won 19 straight during the 2014-15 season.
The Celtics trailed Miami by 16 in the fourth quarter then cut the deficit to only one with three minutes left. But Dion Waiters hit back-to-back 3-pointers, helping the Heat pull away.
Goran Dragic (27 points) and Waiters (26 points) led Miami, which needed a reason to feel good after losing three of four to fall to 7-9.
The Celtics, on the other hand, still have a four-game cushion over the rest of the Eastern Conference. This might help them regain focus.