Mike Woodson on the Atlantic Division: ‘I expect us to win it this year’

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As Knicks coach, Mike Woodson is supposed to remain positive.

As a basketball blogger, I’m supposed to make fun of anyone who says anything positive about the woeful Knicks.

So, let’s just get to it.

Woodson, via Al Iannazzone of Newsday:

“Do I see some light at the end of the tunnel? I do,” Woodson said. “I think eventually we’ll get to where we need to get as a ballclub. And I’m basing that on our last 12 games. Eventually we’ll get healthy and we’ll see how it all plays out.

“The beauty about all of this that we’re going through is nobody’s running away with it in our division and I’m pushing our team to win our division still. We won it last year and I expect us to win it this year.”

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Here are the Atlantic Division standings:

  • Raptors, 11-15
  • Celtics, 12-17
  • Knicks, 9-19
  • Nets, 9-19
  • 76ers, 8-20

Sure, the Knicks still have a chance, but based on that, it’s difficult to objectively predict New York will win the division.

Oh, oops. My mistake. Woodson is judging it by each each team’s best 12-game stretch. That makes some sense, seeing which team has indicated the highest ceiling. How do the Atlantic teams rank with that method?

  • Celtics, 8-4
  • Knicks, 6-6
  • Nets, 6-6
  • Raptors, 5-7
  • 76ers, 5-7

Nope. New York still isn’t No. 1 that way.

But maybe Woodson specifically meant each team’s last 12 games. You know, recent sample being more telling and all. In that case:

  • Celtics, 6-6
  • Knicks, 6-6
  • Raptors, 5-7
  • Nets, 5-7
  • 76ers, 2-10

New York comes close, but it loses the tiebreaker to Boston, because the Celtics beat the Knicks during this span.

I just can’t spin the numbers to put the Knicks in the diver’s seat. But I guess that’s not my job. It’s Woodson’s.

Mario Chalmers trips James Harden, Harden shoves him back (VIDEO)

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Memphis came back on an 18-2 run late to in the fourth quarter to knock off the Houston Rockets, a very impressive road win that reminds us Memphis is not a team to be written off.

This is the play everyone will be talking about — James Harden squared up looking for a fight.

Mario Chalmers got knocked down by a Harden screen, and while on the ground tries to trip up Harden, and Harden turns around and shoves him. Harden squared up, but as happens in the NBA everyone stepped in, and nothing actually happened.

Neither man was ejected. The referees called it an offensive foul on Harden for the pick, then there were double technicals. Fines may follow from the league.

Metta World Peace joins Lakers’ G League team as ass’t coach

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EL SEGUNDO, Calif. (AP) — Metta World Peace has joined the Los Angeles Lakers’ NBA G League affiliate as a player development coach.

The veteran NBA forward was added to the South Bay Lakers’ staff Monday.

World Peace played 16 NBA seasons for six franchises, including six years with the Lakers from 2009-10 and 2015-17. He was a standout defensive player who won a championship alongside Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol in 2010.

While he hasn’t publicly retired, the forward formerly known as Ron Artest will assist South Bay Lakers head coach Coby Karl and his staff.

World Peace earned the longest suspension in NBA history for his role in the Indiana Pacers’ infamous brawl in the stands at Detroit in November 2004, but he matured into a valued veteran leader for the Lakers.

LaVar Ball calls out Wizards, Marcin Gortat doesn’t think that was smart

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“I told him after the game, due to all the riffraff his dad brings he’s going to get a lot of people coming at him. He’s got to be ready for that, and I let him know after the game… (I had to) welcome his little young a** to the NBA.”

That was the Clippers’ Patrick Beverley after he tormented Lonzo Ball on opening night, and he speaks for a number of other players I have heard from who said father LaVar wrote checks that Lonzo is going to have to cash, and guys were going to go at him. Not every night, but enough.

Since that rough opener the rookie has had a decent couple of games — averaging 18.5 points, 11 assists, and eight rebounds a night, not efficient but playing better — going against Eric Bledsoe (a capable defender who had checked out mentally in Phoenix) and Jrue Holiday and the Pelicans. Wednesday night John Wall and the Wizards come to town, and that’s another level of competition.

My least favorite thing about this Lakers season is the way the L.A. media sticks a microphone in front of LaVar Ball after every game. I don’t care about LaVar, in the same way I don’t care about the Kardashians.

But what he said has become a thing. After the Lakers loss to the Pelicans LaVar said, “[The Wizards] better beware cause Lonzo ain’t losing again. Not in the same week!”

Wizards’ center Marcin Gortat thought that was funny.

First off, Lonzo is going to lose twice in a week a lot this season — the Lakers are not a good team.

Second, Wall is a top-five NBA point guard by any standard, an All-NBA player who is far more than just quick (although he is that, too). He can shoot, he’s an aggressive defender, and he knows how to set up teammates. He’s going to be more than a handful for Ball. To put it kindly.

Whatever happens Wednesday night (most likely Wall smokes Lonzo) we know one thing for sure: LaVar will say something outlandish. And it will become a thing. The game is secondary for that marketing effort.

Lakers to break out powder blue Minneapolis throwback uniforms this season

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The Lakers have gone a few different directions with alternate uniforms in recent years, such as the black version, but when you have a classic brand you shouldn’t mess with it. Same with the Celtics, Bulls, Sixers, and other classic uniforms — if you’re going to go alternate then go older.

The Lakers are doing just that — going back to Minneapolis.

They are breaking out the George Mikan era jerseys, starting on Wednesday vs. Wizards and in four other games later in the season.

I like it.

Now if the Lakers could get George Mikan in the paint it would help.