Kevin McHale spent plenty of time detailing his plans on how he’ll coach the Rockets now that Dwight Howard is in place for the upcoming season.
He’s going to try to maintain the team’s identity by pushing the tempo, but expects things to dramatically improve defensively, and is going to experiment quite a bit to try to find ways to get Howard and fellow big man Omer Asik on the court at the same time.
What McHale isn’t concerned about, however, is how Asik feels about his role potentially being diminished with Howard on the roster.
From Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle:
Q. Have you had a chance to see how Omer feels about the addition of Dwight?
A. I have not.
Q. Are you concerned about how he reacts to all this? There were indications he was not happy about another center coming in.
A. I didn’t know Omer was the general manager. That surprises me. He’s a player. His job is to come in and play. I haven’t had an opportunity to talk with him about all that, but Daryl (Morey’s) job is to try to improve the team. Omer’s job is not to wonder how that affects him. His job is to figure out how they can play together and be effective.
Fairly strong words here, but it’s quite possible they came across harsher in print than they did when heard spoken directly from the source.
McHale is taking the right approach, though, in that teams with aspirations of playing deep into the postseason can’t have malcontents on the roster who are worried about individual issues like playing time or anything else.
Asik reportedly asked to be traded shortly after Howard had signed, but the team told him they had no such plans at the time. That may still happen before the season is through if teams come to Houston with offers of players who may be a better (and more willing) fit alongside Howard.
But not before McHale tries to make it work, and while that process is unfolding, he won’t even begin to entertain any nonsense where Asik is concerned.
The Houston Rockets’ hand has been forced.
They had reportedly offered Donatas Motiejunas $7 million a year in a short-term deal, but pulled the offer after he didn’t sign before the date that would make him eligible to be traded this season. Since then, the Nets — a team trying to rebuild but stripped of picks and assets — considered making a gamble on him.
Friday they did.
On paper, Motiejunas is a good fit with the Mike D’Antoni Rockets. Two seasons ago he shot 36.8 percent from three, and it is easy to see where in the transition scrambles that the Rockets’ offense creates he could run to the arc or post up smaller defenders inside early in the clock. He could be a nice reserve big in Houston.
Which is why they likely match. But now the clock is ticking.
Draymond Green picked up a flagrant foul after flailing his legs – this time catching James Harden in the face — and once again it’s become the topic of the day in the NBA.
If you didn’t see it (video above), Kevin Durant missed a three and Green made a good hustle play to get the offensive board and go back up, where he was fouled by James Harden. The foul threw Green off-balance and, as he does, he flailed his legs up, and his right leg caught Harden in the face. The replay center reviewed the play and called the original common foul on Harden, but a Flagrant 1 on Green for the kick. It mattered because it was overtime of a close game and that both evened out the free throws and gave Houston the ball again.
However, the league didn’t see this as the kind of intentional, malicious foul that gets extra attention, according to Chris Haynes of ESPN.
That outcome seems about right to me. This was not the Steven Adams situation. Green went up, was fouled by Harden which did disrupt his balance, and he threw his leg up. Whether he did that intentionally, just instinctively looking to draw a foul, or if it was simply a move to keep his balance is irrelevant — he got his foot up high enough to hit James Harden in the face, that’s a flagrant foul. It wasn’t severe enough to warrant a suspension or fine in my opinion, but players are responsible for their bodies on the court and if you kick a guy in the face that comes with consequences. Like a high boot in soccer, there is no room for debate here.
Is Green being watched for this more than other players? Duh. Of course he is, this is seven incidents I can think of without bothering to go to Google. Yes, other players do it too, but Green has the reputation. And the league is cracking down on it. Hence the flagrant.
The Cleveland Cavaliers have gotten smacked around two games in a row — first in Milwaukee and then by the Los Angeles Clippers on nationwide television — and they haven’t shown a lot of fight in either. Before that they had to come from behind and barely beat the Sixers. That’s an aberration, a championship hangover, we know the Cavaliers have fight — they came back from down 3-1 in the Finals. But they are in a mini-slump.
The schedule maker isn’t making things easier — they have a back-to-back against the Bulls the night after that big Clippers game. Then the Cavs get a couple of days off and travel to Toronto.
The Clippers had to play Friday in New Orleans. Houston won a dramatic game against Golden State Thursday in double OT, then has to play Denver the next night.
It all comes together in this latest PBT Extra.
It was a brilliant World Series bet between Chicago native Dwyane Wade and Akron/Cleveland guy LeBron James: Loser had to show up to a game in the other team’s city wearing the uniform of the World Series champs.
As if we need to remind you, Chicago showed Cleveland what it’s like to be on the other end of a blown 3-1 championship series lead, coming back to with the World Series.
Friday night as the Cavaliers went to take on the Bulls, LeBron made good on his bet.
LeBron is wearing Ryne Sandberg’s 23 — classy.
This is one of my favorite sports bets ever.