Wild finish to Monday’s game between the Blazers and the Pelicans.
New Orleans had itself in position to win thanks to the play of Jrue Holiday and Anthony Davis, who both made several key plays all night long, including in the game’s final period. But it was Tyreke Evans who drained the game-winner, a 15-footer with just over a second remaining that gave the Pelicans a 110-108 victory over a very good Blazers team.
We would be remiss, however, if we didn’t mention the shot from Damian Lillard that preceded it — a long three that needed a couple of bounces on the rim before falling through the basket. Lillard has been making big-time clutch shots since he came into the league last season, and this one was no different. He increasingly has to pull up from well beyond the three-point arc in these situations to get his shot off, yet still has little trouble getting these attempts to go.
Davis defended LaMarcus Aldridge well all night long, and blocked his shot at least a couple of times. Aldridge is playing at a very high level this season, and Davis by no means shut him down. But his length and individual defense had proven to be good enough where it became curious to see Portland go to Aldridge in one-on-one isolations in two of the team’s final three offensive possessions. And not surprisingly, Aldridge came up empty trying to make some difficult shots over Davis.
It’s rare that the Blazers face a team that can match what they bring offensively. But Holiday and Davis were up to the task on this night, outplaying Lillard and Aldridge just enough to come away with the victory.
If you’re desperately searching for the flaws that will undo the Golden State Warriors, depth has to be the main argument. In order to get Kevin Durant under the cap Harrison Barnes, Andrew Bogut, Leandro Barbosa, Festus Ezeli, Brandon Rush, and Marreese Speights had to be sacrificed.
However, they added a couple of veterans to fill in the gaps. Zaza Pachulia will be at the five, trying to be a poor man’s Bogut, is going to get the most attention.
But the Warriors also snapped up David West, who had gone to be part of the Spurs veteran bench last season and now is chasing a ring with the Warriors. How did that come about? Via the San Antonio Express-News.
“(The Warriors) reached out once we lost to OKC, maybe that night,” West told reporters at Golden State’s media day. “My agent was like, ‘If you’re interested in continuing to play, Golden State wants you.’ He was obviously talking to a few guys and to the coach during the process. Then, when Kevin Durant reached out, he told me he wanted me to come join, so it was a no-brainer.”
I have zero problem with a veteran player like West taking a pay cut and chasing a ring — we as fans can’t say “today’s players care more about money/friends than winning” then turn around and hammer the guy who puts winning first. That sounds like a Trump debate tactic.
Plus, West is going to get some run-up front with Golden State. He’s still solid — he is a physical defender, sets a good screen, and if you don’t stick with him on the pop West will destroy you from the midrange. He’s not his vintage self, but he’s still a guy a championship-caliber team can lean on.
And the Warriors will.
Former NBA player Anthony Carter is back with the Heat as a D-League assistant coach. Miami is the team he is most famous for playing for during a 13-year NBA career — but not for anything he did on the court.
Back in the summer of 2003, Carter had a $4.1 million player option for the coming season and he planned to exercise it and stay in Miami. Except his agent forgot to tell the Heat. Carter ended up a free agent and out a lot of money, and the Heat used that cap space to sign Lamar Odom, then trade him in the Shaquille O’Neal deal with the Lakers.
The agent is making it up to Carter and there are no hard feelings, the now coach told the Miami Herald.
As for the famous screw-up by his agent Bill Duffy back in 2003 that cost him more than $3 million, Carter said it’s all ancient history. Duffy agreed to make it up to him and has kept his word, paying him in installments over the years.
“In the end it was a blessing,” Carter said. “I’m still getting paid from it. Everything happens for a reason and my agent was man enough to stand up and just pay me over a period of time. To this day I’m still getting paid. I’m still getting paid until 2020.”
That’s the kind of professionalism Duffy is known for, he’s one of the best-respected agents around the league.
If you make a mistake, own it. That’s a lesson a lot of NBA front office people should take.
Gregg Popovich joked when Spurs training camp opened that he was fining Tim Duncan $2,500 a day for every day he missed, then gave him the title of Coach of Whatever He Feels Like.
Time for the fines to stop, by day two of camp, Tim Duncan showed up.
Expect Duncan to pop in over the course of the season, as a mentor for the young players that need it. Plus Kawhi Leonard will love having him around.
What else does Duncan have to do anyway, other than rebuild some vintage cars and pick the kids up from school?
There have been studies that have shown this, or you can just take the Gregg Popovich eye test, but we know this:
Rested players perform better and are less likely to be injured.
Which is why the trend toward resting players in the NBA is not going away. Enter Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue, via Cleveland play-by-play man Fred McLeod.
LeBron James may not like it, but this is the right move by Lue, both in terms of trying to repeat and for future years. The Cavaliers are going to need a healthy LeBron, Kyrie Irving, and Kevin Love if they are going to pass the test the Warriors present again.
The league schedulers have done an impressive job of reducing the four-games-in-five-nights on the road and back-to-backs. However, as long as the NBA plays 82 games, fatigue and rest will be issues — and we know the owners and players are not giving up the revenue to go to a more reasonable 60-game schedule. Which means what you get now is the new reality.