Jeremy Lin wasn’t the only one putting on a show in the Rockets’ preseason win over the Pacers in Taiwan.
Dwight Howard finished a couple of alley-oop dunks, the second one being the more impressive of the two on the pass from Terrence Jones and the quick hops from Howard to catch it and finish.
Howard finished with 10 points, six rebounds, two assists, and a couple of blocked shots in Houston’s 107-98 victory.
While in New York, Sacramento’s Matt Barnes and DeMarcus Cousins were involved in an altercation at a Chelsea club, which led to them being questioned by police. Barnes’ representative said it was self-defense , but the video of the incident reportedly shows Barnes as the aggressor and choking a woman at the heart of the brawl. Both Barnes and Cousins have already been sued over the altercation.
Now things could get worse for Barnes, NYPD may be looking to arrest him, reports Graham Rayman of the New York Daily News.
“They’ve got enough to charge Barnes with an assault on a woman,” a police source said. “It will probably be a misdemeanor assault on one of the females who was pushed or choked or sustained some sort of injury. She’s obviously cooperating.”
Cousins, a key member of the gold medal-winning U.S. Olympic basketball team, will likely not be charged, the source said.
According to the lawsuit, Jasmine Besiso was knocked unconscious by a Barnes’ elbow, while her boyfriend, Myrone Powell, was punched by Cousins.
Barnes put this on Instagram.
The Kings released this statement, which came out before the lawsuit or current report: “We have clear standards of conduct and behavior expected of the entire Kings organization – on and off the court. We are working with all parties involved to gather information in order to take any appropriate next steps.”
The Magic rank 11th in points allowed per possession and 28th in points scored per possession, but that doesn’t fully explain the disparity.
Over the previous 25 days, they rank even better defensively – first in the league, in fact – and even worse offensively.
So, Orlando is considering a move.
Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel:
The Orlando Magic will sift through the trade market in an effort to add a scorer, a league source with knowledge of the situation told the Orlando Sentinel.
Marc Stein of ESPN offers (informed?) speculation Orlando could dangle Mario Hezonja, the No. 5 pick last year who has yet to make a dent in the pros.
Other trade candidates? Nikola Vucevic always looked like the odd man out. There are still 25 franchises that have not yet been disappointed first-hand by Jeff Green.
But those are all offensive-first players anyway.
The Magic’s top defenders are:
It’s tough to see Magic general manager Rob Hennigan parting with any of those four. They’re too integral to his record.
Mostly, it’s interesting 10-13 Orlando is seeking to plug its biggest immediate hole rather than building for the future. Clearing a frontcourt logjam that has killed spacing and submarined the offense might be done most effectively by dealing a superfluous player for a draft pick. But in Hennigan’s fifth year, he could be feeling pressure to make his first playoff appearance.
Kevin Durant is a basketball villain.
To most fans, NBA players are characters in an elaborate plot that is enacted live and on televisions nightly. Some players are loved, others loathed, for what they do in this grand saga.
Durant committed a basketball sin by leaving the Thunder for the Warriors, the team that eliminated Oklahoma City in the playoffs last season. It was the easy way out. It made Golden State too good.
So, Durant gets booed and jeered. His jersey gets burned. His name is smeared.
But Durant is also a real person who committed no actual ethical or moral violation by switching employers. And unfortunately, too many fans don’t acknowledge the difference between Durant the basketball character and Durant the real person – which means the attacks at Durant the basketball character often venture into personal territory for Durant the person.
At least Durant says he doesn’t mind the fans who don’t make the distinction.
Chris Haynes of ESPN:
He wants all of his fans, including the negative ones, to know that he’s appreciative of their support.
“It’s fun, man, because it’s entertainment,” Durant said. “And I appreciate them letting us give them that opportunity, that experience.
“So if you want to heckle or if you want to cheer, as long as you’re getting a release from whatever is going on in your normal life, that’s cool. That’s what life is about. You have to take the good with the bad.”
This is the healthiest approach Durant can take. Given the criticism directed at him, anything else would have him holed up inside for days.
A couple Cavaliers predicted NBA champions wouldn’t visit the White House with Donald Trump as president. LeBron James was noncommittal.
But Iman Shumpert – who had strong words about Cleveland beating the Warriors in the Finals again – took a hard line.
Shumpert, in a Q&A with Karizza Sanchez of Complex:
Will you go to Trump’s White House if the Cavs win the championship again this year?
I’m not going to the White House.
People started boycotting New Balance after the company seemed to voice support for Trump. Kanye West recently said he would’ve voted for Trump if he had voted. Would you still wear Yeezys?
I understand people’s stance on Trump. I can’t get caught up in the racial, sexist bullshit he’s got going on. That’s his personal thing, ya dig? But I just don’t think he can make anything shake like that. He not finna start no civil war out here. I do think he’s crazy—straight up. I think he did that stuff to get people to think he’s willing to shake it up. But did I vote for him? No. The other stuff that comes with him, I can’t get with. But now that he’s here, I’m not finna drag my feet. I gotta work here, at least until the offseason, if I wanna go get a crib in the Islands.
Remember, Shumpert said he’d kneel for the national anthem before reversing course. Committing to meaningful protest is far easier than following through.
Any NBA champion who declines an invitation to the White House will be labeled as unpatriotic by the type of people who measure patriotism by the quantity and size of American flags and have forgotten this country was founded on a healthy irreverence for the political elite.
I understand why anyone would be leery of glad-handing with Trump, whose rhetoric is white nationalist and anti-constitutionalist. But Trump has also lied at an unprecedented rate for a presidential candidate. We have little idea what he’ll do by the time the next NBA champion is crowned, and given the respect the office deserves, Shumpert might have second thoughts if the Cavs repeat.