The Clippers have been impressive with Chris Paul out, having gone 10-3 in this stretch (heading into Thursday’s game at Golden State). Blake Griffin has stepped up and his mid-range jumper has become a real weapon, Darren Collison has been solid at the point and the Clipper offense has been the best in the NBA over the last 10 games.
The real question is can they build upon this when Paul returns.
We may find out in a week or just a little more, reports Dan Woike of the Orange County Register.
That would have Paul back before the All-Star Game. He was selected as a reserve by the coaches — as he should have been, he remains the best point guard on the planet — but their were questions about if he’ll be healthy enough to go. If he plays on the 7th or 9th he will be playing in New Orleans on the 16th.
The Clippers are currently the four seed in the West. They came into the season with some people (myself included) thinking they had the potential to be contenders, but their defense has not been at that level this season, not consistently.
We’ll see if they can build on this streak with Chris Paul back — this streak has been carried by the offense being exceptional and covering up a pedestrian defense. If Paul’s return (and maybe a trade deadline tweak) can change that dynamic, the Clippers become a much bigger threat come the playoffs.
Carmelo Anthony told Phil Jackson he wanted to remain with the Knicks.
Anthony holds a no-trade clause and, therefore, all the leverage. He has repeatedly publicly stated his desire to remain in New York, and this was just the latest example of that commitment.
But apparently he’s open to being dealt under the right circumstances.
Anthony, via Al Iannazzone of Newsday:
“I think it will be more on the front office,” Anthony told Newsday this week. “I have the power, but still I would talk to them. We would be in communication if they feel like they want to go in a different direction, they want to start rebuilding for the future. If they tell me they want to scrap this whole thing, yeah, I have to consider it.”
Anthony, 32, made it clear he isn’t thinking about going anywhere, nor does he allow himself at this point. He and his family love it in New York, and his son is in school here.
The Knicks’ fundamental issue: Anthony is 32, and Kristaps Porzingis is 21. Their timelines just offer little to no overlap. New York might be better off building around Porzingis.
But the Knicks have already given lucrative long-term contracts to 31-year-olds Joakim Noah and Courtney Lee. Noah’s deal – worth more than $72 million over four years – is particularly onerous. It would be difficult for New York to pivot into rebuilding – and that starts with Anthony.
He’d like be choosy about where he’d go in a trade, and contenders will be reluctant to part with significant pieces for an aging scorer with few complementary skills. And it’s hard to fit Anthony’s salary, either into cap space or through salary matching, without surrendering key players.
So, there are significant roadblocks to the Knicks ever actually trading Anthony. But that he acknowledges hypothetically accepting a deal means something.
Pelicans general manager Dell Demps has repeatedly failed to build an adequate supporting cast around Anthony Davis, keeping Demps on the hot seat.
Meanwhile, former Hawks and Cavaliers general manager Danny Ferry – still respected in many circles, despite using “African” pejoratively to describe Luol Deng – is working in New Orleans’ front office.
You can see where this is going…
Zach Lowe of ESPN:
Don’t look for Danny Ferry, currently an advisor to the front office, to take over in any shakeup, sources say.
I’m skeptical. Nobody wants to acknowledge an internal coup before it’s executed. Doing so would create a terrible workplace environment until it happens or if it doesn’t.
The Pelicans’ ownership situation makes this a little more tricky. There’s an apparent desire in New Orleans to win quickly for an aging Benson, and that directive has limited Demps’ flexibility.
Still, Demps’ plans have mostly busted. Eventually, he’ll run out of chances to try new ones.
If that happens soon, when the Pelicans search for a replacement, Ferry will be right there with an impressive record building up Atlanta and no stains that make him unhirable to New Orleans. Would the Pelicans, who thought enough of him to hire him once already, really not consider promoting him?
Indiana players and coaches were tearing up after OG Anunoby got hurt.
Unfortunately, their fears about the lottery prospect were founded.
Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports:
Indiana Hoosiers sophomore forward OG Anunoby will undergo right knee surgery and miss the rest of the NCAA season, sources told The Vertical.
The 6-foot-8 small forward is a versatile defender. He has grown as a shooter, and there’s hope he could become a 3-and-D player – or, given his athleticism, maybe more.
Anunoby wasn’t in the top tier of prospects in a loaded 2017 NBA draft, but he was headed toward the lottery, maybe even the top 10. How he recovers from this injury will factor significantly into his draft stock now.
On the bright side, this is less opportunity for scouts to pick apart his raw offense (though it’s also less opportunity for Anunoby to develop).
Wesley Matthews hit the game-winning 3-pointer in the Mavericks’ 99-98 win over the Bulls on Wednesday.
But perhaps the game would’ve had a different outcome with correct officiating down the stretch.
Dallas guard Seth Curry got away with a loose-ball foul on Robin Lopez with 1:26 left, according to the NBA’s Last Two Minute Report:
Curry (DAL) clamps the arm of Lopez (CHI) and affects his ability to retrieve the rebound.
A correct call would’ve put Dallas in the penalty and sent Lopez – who has made 66% of his free throws this season and and 76% for his career – to the line for two attempts.
Instead, not only was Lopez denied his free throws, he committed a frustration foul on Dirk Nowitzki – who grabbed the rebound with help of Curry – moments later. Nowitzki converted one of two free throws.
We’ll never know how the rest of the game would’ve played out after a correct call, but a swing of 1-to-3 points is pretty big in a one-point game.