Our grades from Sunday around the NBA, or what you missed while watching where in the world people are dropping F-bombs on twitter….
San Antonio Spurs’ starting five. The Spurs starting five of Tony Parker, Danny Green, Marco Belinelli, Boris Diaw and Tim Duncan only played 12 minutes together against the Knicks Sunday, but they shot 72 percent from the floor, hit 5-of-6 from three and accounted for +23 of the Spurs 31-point win. Yes, they did it against a sieve of a defense (without Tyson Chandler) but the fact they attacked and put the game away early was to getting rest late.
Kevin Durant, Oklahoma City Thunder. He’s had to carry the load with Russell Westbrook still shaking off the rust (4-of-16) — plus Westbrook got ejected with the Thunder down 10 and just over 3 minutes left. Durant shouldered the load with 33 points on 23 shots, plus he hit the pull up three to send the game to overtime. The Thunder went on to win the game and Durant had four in the overtime.
Phoenix Suns’ defense. While nobody has been watching Jeff Hornacek has his Suns playing good defense — they are sixth in the NBA allowing 96.7 points per 100 possessions, and they held the Pelicans to 97.2. New Orleans shot just 47.7 percent inside 8 feet and 37.5 percent in the midrange (plus 4-of-13 from three). Defense at the NBA level starts with effort and buying into the system and Hornacek’s Suns are doing that and they are 5-2 because of it.
Los Angeles Lakers’ defense. On the top of the Lakers pre-game white board Mike D’Antoni wrote to get back in transition (to force Minnesota into half court sets) and close out on shooters — the Lakers did neither of those. Not even close. They had no energy or commitment to the system. Especially in the first quarter when the Timberwolves shot 76.2 percent overall and hit 7-of-9 from three, plus went on a 27-2 run. For the half Minnesota shot 53.2 percent and added another 10 points at the line. The Lakers escape with a “D-” because they did better in the second half, although much of that seemed to be Minnesota taking its foot off the gas. Ricky Rubio had a triple double (12 points, 14 assists, 10 rebounds). The Lakers are 22nd in the NBA in defensive efficiency and their occasionally good bench play can’t bail them out of that.
Matt Barnes is an instigator. He has been arrested for domestic violence. He also had a weird thing where he implied he was dating Rihanna only for her to claim they’d never never met.
Which is to say this is believable – that the Grizzlies forward attacked Knicks coach Derek Fisher for dating his estranged wife.
Ian Mohr of the New York Post:
Sources said Fisher was at the LA home of Gloria Govan — Barnes’ estranged wife, who stars on “Basketball Wives LA” — on Saturday. Fisher and Govan have been dating for “a few months,” a source said, after Fisher filed to divorce his wife of 10 years, Candace, in March.
But when Barnes learned that Fisher was at his former home with Gloria, he drove 95 miles to LA to “beat the s–t” out of Fisher, sources said.
“Derek was in Gloria’s back yard with about 10 people having a bonfire on Saturday,” said a source. “Derek’s separated from his wife and there’s a relationship with [Gloria].”
The source added, “Barnes was in Santa Barbara [at Memphis Grizzlies training camp] and heard that Fisher was in his house. He went crazy. He got in his car and went to the house and went after Fisher.”
A source close to Fisher confirmed the fight but said, “Matt came after Derek but he only had a few scratches … Derek’s not going to press charges, he’s going to let it go.”
Even if Fisher – who missed practice Monday for what the Knicks called “personal reasons” – isn’t pressing charges, the NBA is investigating.
Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports:
This is a weird jurisdictional issue, especially if no criminal charges are filed. But I wouldn’t be surprised if the league punishes Barnes – a former Lakers teammate of Fisher – if it finds evidence to support the Post’s description of events.
Caron Butler wrote an autobiography, a recently published excerpt details his accounting of the Gilbert Arenas-Javaris Crittenton gun incident when they were with the Wizards.
An excerpt of the excerpt in The Washington Post:
When I entered the locker room, I thought I had somehow been transported back to my days on the streets of Racine. Gilbert was standing in front of his two locker stalls, the ones previously used by Michael Jordan, with four guns on display. Javaris was standing in front of his own stall, his back to Gilbert.
“Hey, MF, come pick one,” Gilbert told Javaris while pointing to the weapons. “I’m going to shoot your [expletive] with one of these.”
“Oh no, you don’t need to shoot me with one of those,” said Javaris, turning around slowly like a gunslinger in the Old West. “I’ve got one right here.”
He pulled out his own gun, already loaded, cocked it, and pointed it at Gilbert.
Other players who had been casually arriving, laughing and joking with each other, came to a sudden halt, their eyes bugging out. It took them only a few seconds to realize this was for real, a shootaround of a whole different nature. They all looked at each other and then they ran, the last man out locking the door behind him.
Somebody outside the locker room called 911. Flip Saunders was the coach back then, but he was too scared to even come into the locker room.
Click through to read the entire excerpt. It’s captivating.
Arenas is essentially retired and still spouting off silly takes.
Crittenton is currently serving a 23-year sentence for voluntary manslaughter.
Butler plays for the Kings.