Our quick look around the NBA, or what you missed while suing a casino for letting you bet big while drunk….
Joakim Noah, Chicago Bulls. Friend of this site Coach Nick called watching Noah play “coach porn” — he plays with a high IQ, he is focused on defense, he can pass, he moves off the ball, and the energy is always there. Wednesday night he scored eight points, added five assists and three rebounds in the fourth quarter to get his third triple double of the season. Noah finished with 10 points, 11 rebounds and 11 assists, and the Bulls got a 105-94 win over the Pistons. Noah is playing maybe the best ball of his career right now.
Al Jefferson, Charlotte Bobcats. He just went out and dropped 34 points on 16-of-25 points on the best defense in the NBA. Jefferson completely outplayed future Defensive Player of the Year Roy Hibbert. Jefferson has had a monster season for the Bobcats and they are not playoff bound without him, and they don’t beat the Pacers Wednesday without him.
Carmelo Anthony, New York Knicks. The Knicks win. Theeeee Knicks win. Of course Carmelo Anthony was at the heart of that with 33 points on 14-of-27 shooting. He was attacking off the dribble and abusing Corey Brewer much of the night. The difference was it wasn’t just Anthony — Tyson Chandler was defending, even Raymond Felton played well for a night. Mike Woodson went big and that worked, too. Just that kind of night for the Knicks.
James Harden, Houston Rockets. The Rockets were sloppy in the first half against the Magic. James Harden led the charge in the second half, when he scored 25 of his 31 points on the night, shot 8-of-11 and Houston pulled away for the win. The Rockets are now 21-6 in 2014.
Kyle Korver, Atlanta Hawks. Round of applause for the man who knocked down a three in 127 consecutive games before Wednesday. He was 0-of-5 in this game despite getting some good looks, then in a blowout he didn’t get back in for the fourth quarter. This streak was pretty impressive, every night in that streak the opposing scouting report said “do not help off Kyle Korver at the arc, do not lose him” and every game he found a way to get space and get off his shot. Good on ya, Kyle.
NEW YORK (AP) — A lawyer representing a professional basketball player arrested outside a New York City nightclub has told a jury his client was targeted because he’s black.
Attorney Alex Spiro said Tuesday in Manhattan Criminal Court that a white police officer saw a black man in a hoodie when he confronted the Atlanta Hawks’ Thabo Sefolosha on April 8.
Sefolosha was arrested while leaving a Manhattan nightclub following a stabbing. He subsequently suffered a season-ending leg fracture after a confrontation with police.
A prosecutor said in opening statements that Sefolosha called an officer who repeatedly told him and others to leave a “midget.”
Sefolosha pleaded not guilty to misdemeanor obstructing government administration, disorderly conduct and resisting arrest charges. The Swiss citizen declined a plea deal from prosecutors.
DeMar DeRozan has a $10,050,000 player option for 2016-17. Given the rapidly escalating salary cap, it’s a practical certainty DeRozan will opt out and get a major raise.
But he says he doesn’t want to talk about it.
DeRozan, via Eric Koreen of the National Post:
“I hate that, honestly,” DeRozan said in a one-on-one interview. “I never speak about it. With me, I’ve always been that one player: I’ve been loyal. I’ve been every single thing you can think of here. I think people don’t understand how much pride I take in playing (in Toronto). A lot of times when I do get asked that, it kind of frustrates me.
“Everyday I wake up, I take pride in being the longest Raptor here. People bring up third or whatever in franchise scoring — there is so much stuff like that.”
This sounds awfully similar to LaMarcus Aldridge, who stated his desire last year to become the great Trail Blazer ever and then signed with the Spurs this summer.
Things change, and the impracticality of an extension ensures DeRozan will hit free agency. I believe he’s devoted to the Raptors right now, but his loyalty might change in the next nine months – especially once he sees contract offers from other suitors.
Toronto’s interest in DeRozan might fluctuate, too. He’s a nice player, but the Raptors haven’t won a playoff series with him despite winning the division the last two years. Depending how this season goes, Masai Ujiri might want to rework the roster significantly next summer, and letting DeRozan walk could create major cap space.
I believe DeRozan wants to return to the Raptors, and I believe they want to keep him. But so much can change between now and when both sides must make that call.