Our quick look around the NBA, or what you missed while worrying about our national clown shortage…
Carmelo Anthony, New York Knicks. New York picked up a win in New Orleans because of Carmelo Anthony (who seems to play well in that city as he had monster numbers in the All-Star Game, too). He poured in 13 of his 42 points on the night in the fourth quarter, but it was the way he was getting his points that you had to like — he was driving towards the basket then pulling up just before the help defender came over. The result was 5-10 footers rather than contested 20 footers. Plus he was hustling on defense. Just a great all around night.
Kevin Love, Minnesota Timberwolves offense. Minnesota put up 104 on the best defense in the NBA. Part of that was some sloppy imposters showed up in Pacers uniforms, but Minnesota played fantastically. Kevin Love shot lights out (14-of-22) on his way to 42 points. Ricky Rubio played maybe his best NBA game — he attacked the Pacers defense off the pick-and-roll and made them pay, mostly with his 17 assists. There were brilliant Kevin Love outlet passes to Corey Brewer (the king of the leak out), Just everything Minnesota did worked.
Charlotte Bobcats. They went into the All-Star break just half a game ahead of the Pistons and clinging to the eight seed in the East. With Wednesday’s 116-98 win the Bobcats took both ends of a home-and-home with Detroit to give themselves a little cushion in the East. Al Jefferson was a beast with 29 points, outplaying the vaunted Detroit front line for a second straight night. Kemba Walker had 9 of his 24 in the fourth to make sure the door stayed shut on Detroit. For back-to-back nights the Bobcats showed what team discipline can do to an undisciplined team.
Cleveland Cavaliers. Six straight wins — maybe Dan Gilbert will get his playoff wish after all. Kyrie Irving continues to play well, Luol Deng is making plays, Anthony Bennett is contributing off the bench, it is just a team effort. Wednesday they raced out to a 15-2 lead and led by as many as 21, but the impressive part was they held on when Orlando made a third-quarter run and the Cavaliers hung on for the 101-93 win. They are playing good team ball right now.
Patty Mills, San Antonio Spurs. No Tony Parker, no Tim Duncan, second night of a back-to-back against top teams in the West (Clippers Tuesday, Trail Blazers Wednesday) and the Spurs just keep on winning thanks to Patty Mills and his 29 points. The Spurs just continue to do this: You think they should fall apart and they keep on winning. Mills has been playing like this most of the month of February, give the guy Player of the Week honors. Are you listening league office?
Malik Monk‘s game is a perfect fit for Summer League: The tempo is up, the guards have the ball in their hands, the plays are basic, and the defense is inconsistent (to be kind). Monk’s ability to create shots for himself, score in transition off pull-ups or attacking the rim, and his ability to score on spot-up chances coming off screens means he would put up numbers in the glorified pick-up games of Summer League.
Except we’re not going to get to see it this year. Monk will miss Summer League due to a sprained ankle suffered during the pre-draft workout process, the Charlotte Hornets announced. The team says his rehab process is 2-4 weeks, but they are not going to push their new player just to get him in some meaningless Summer League games.
Charlotte was lucky Monk fell down the draft board to them at 11, he was rated higher than that on most boards. He can score at the NBA level, how far his career goes will depend on his ability to do other things, particularly defend. His style of game is similar to Lou Williams or Monta Ellis, both of whom have had long NBA careers because they can just get buckets.
That would have been fun to see in Summer League, but maybe next year.
Self-serving Knicks president Phil Jackson said Carmelo Anthony “would be better off somewhere else.”
Anthony’s wife, La La Anthony, revealed a different point of view when asked whether she’d divorce the star forward and about trade rumors involving him.
La La on The Wendy Williams Show:
Not right now. I’m not. You know, marriages are tough. And you know that. We all know that. It’s filled with ups and downs. And we’re just going through a time right now.
But him and I are the best of friends, and our number one commitment is to our son, Kiyan. We have to set an example to Kiyan, and that’s what’s most important to me. So, I would absolutely never say a bad thing about my husband. That is my son’s father, and he is an amazing dad. I could not ask for a better dad.
Every day, I see a different team. That’s for sure.
The most important thing with just that is to stay close to Kiyan. That’s my priority. That’s his priority.
So, wherever he ends up, of course we want him to be happy.
I am hood, and I want to stay close to the hood. So, New York is definitely where I’m at and where I’m staying.
The Knicks are lousy, and working for Jackson is no treat. Carmelo knows all that.
But this might reveal why Anthony hasn’t – and, according to Jackson, still won’t – waive his no-trade clause to approve a deal from New York. There are things that matter more than basketball.
Pending free agents almost always express loyalty to their current team, whether or not they actually plan to re-sign.
That’s what makes Danilo Gallinari‘s comments stand out.
Gallinari, via Premium Sport, as translated by E. Carchia of Sportando:
“Nuggets are not my first choice but they are exactly at the same level of the other teams. Denver’s advantage is that they can offer me a five-year contract while other franchises can offer me a four-year deal. Nuggets are at the same level of the others” Gallinari said.
One way to look at this: If a player stating a desire to return to his team – even if he plans to leave – is the baseline, Gallinari is definitely gone from Denver.
Another: Gallinari is being exceedingly honest, and we should just take his comments at face value.
Giannis Antetokounmpo made the All-Defensive second team at forward with 35 voting points.
Paul Millsap missed the All-Defensive second team at forward with… 35 voting points
The difference? Antetokounmpo had more first-team votes (seven to zero), and that was the tiebreaker. But not long ago, both would have made it.
The league changed its policy a few years ago to break ties rather than put both players on the All-Defensive team, league spokesman Tim Frank said.
In 2005, Dwyane Wade and Jason Kidd tied for fourth among guards with 16 voting points each. Even though Wade had more first-team votes than Kidd (six to four), both made the All-Defensive second team.
In 2013 (Tyson Chandler and Joakim Noah) and 2006 (Kobe Bryant and Jason Kidd), two players tied for the first team. So, the league awarded six first-team spots and still put five more players on the second team.
I was definitely against that. A six-man first team should have meant a four-man second team – four guards, four forwards and two centers still honored.
But with a tie for the second team, I could go either way. Having a clear policy in place – and it seems there was – is most important.
It’s just a bad break for Millsap, who, in my estimation, deserved to make an All-Defensive team based on his production.