AP

Kilpatrick, Nets rally for double-OT victory over Clippers

Leave a comment

NEW YORK (AP) ��� Sean Kilpatrick scored 31 of his career-high 38 points after the third quarter and the Brooklyn Nets stopped a seven-game losing streak with a 127-122 double-overtime victory over the Los Angeles Clippers on Tuesday night.

The Clippers started the game without Blake Griffin, ended it without the ejected coach Doc Rivers and dropped their third straight game by blowing an 18-point lead.

Chris Paul had 26 points, 13 assists and 10 rebounds for the Clippers, but the best guard on the floor in crunch time was Kilpatrick, who also had a career-best 14 rebounds.

Brook Lopez added 27 points for the Nets.

DeAndre Jordan had 21 points and 23 rebounds for the Clippers, who rested Griffin, their leading scorer.

The Clippers started 39-year-old Paul Pierce, who had played in just two games, in place of Griffin. Pierce had played just 17 minutes all season but logged 29 minutes in this one, such an increase in workload that Paul mimicked giving him CPR on the court at one point.

They Clippers were serious by the end.

Rivers was tossed late in the first OT, becoming enraged and having to be held back by Clippers assistants as he tried to get at referee Ken Mauer. Rivers appeared upset about a call on the other end of the floor, walking out of the coaching box and almost all the way to the Nets bench.

He missed Kilpatrick’s masterful finish, which he capped with a three-point play with 13.5 seconds left.

The Nets, still playing without point guard Jeremy Lin, ended a skid that started with a 127-95 loss at the Clippers on Nov. 14.

Los Angeles had lost in Detroit and Indiana in its last two games, managing just 70 points Sunday against the Pacers in its lowest-scoring game in 13 years. Rivers pointed to some defensive lapses as the bigger concern, and they certainly struggled to stay in front of Kilpatrick, who was just 3 for 14 after three quarters.

TIP-INS

Clippers: Rookie Brice Johnson, who has missed all season with a herniated disk in his lower back, did some pregame shooting, but Rivers said he didn’t know if the forward was anywhere near returning.

Nets: Coach Kenny Atkinson still couldn’t give a timetable on Lin, saying the point guard who missed his 12th straight game with a strained left hamstring was working hard and “progressing as planned.”

DOC IS JUST A NICKNAME

The Clippers have increased their spending on biometrics this season, and Rivers – first name Glenn – was asked if he relied on that to determine Griffin would sit.

“I clearly didn’t, I’m not smart enough to use biometrics,” Rivers said. “But the people we hired did, and they told me biometrically that this would be a good day for him to rest.”

UP NEXT

Clippers: Visit Cleveland on Thursday night. The Clippers have lost the last four meetings.

Nets: Host Milwaukee on Thursday night, opening a home-and-home series against former Nets star and coach Jason Kidd’s Bucks, who have won the last five meetings

Russell Westbrook fined $10,000 for confrontation with Gobert, no suspension

Leave a comment

The rule in the NBA is clear and strictly enforced (just ask Amar’e Stoudemire and the Suns): Leave the bench during an altercation and you get suspended for a game.

Monday night, in the fourth quarter of the chippy game Monday where the Jazz beat the Thunder, Russell Westbrook was set to check into the game when there was a little dust-up between Rudy Gobert in Raymond Felton, and Westbrook came in and escalated it. Did he leave the bench, or was he coming into the game and that’s different.

The NBA decided he was coming into the game already — Westbrook got a $10,000 fine and an after-the-fact technical, but no suspension.

OKC needs Westbrook — and an aggressive Westbrook who is knocking down his midrange shot — to have a chance to avoid elimination in Game 5 Wednesday. The Thunder have had their strengths turned against them, and have not shown the versatility to adjust in this series, and if Westbrook and company cannot change that Wednesday their season will end.

Nets hire Pablo Prigioni as assistant coach, Tiago Splitter as scout

Getty Images
1 Comment

NEW YORK (AP) — The Brooklyn Nets have hired former NBA player and Argentine guard Pablo Prigioni as an assistant coach.

The Nets also announced Tuesday that former Spurs center Tiago Splitter was hired as a pro scout.

Prigioni spent most of his professional career in Spain and won a bronze medal with Argentina in the 2008 Olympics before coming to the New York Knicks in 2012 as a 35-year-old rookie. He spent four years in the NBA with the Knicks, Rockets and Clippers.

Splitter helped San Antonio win the 2014 NBA championship before spending the final two seasons of his seven-year career with Atlanta and Philadelphia. The Nets said Splitter, who also played for Brazil’s national team, will have added duties related to player on-court development.

 

Celtics to get Marcus Smart back for Game 5 Tuesday

Getty Images
2 Comments

It’s a series that has hinged on defense — Boston has played it well for the majority of five games, bottling up Milwaukee in the halfcourt. The Bucks only played it with real energy at home (and only for about six of the eight quarters the last two games) but when they do they have overwhelmed the Celtics, then converted turnovers and missed shots into transition and early clock opportunities the other way.

For Game 5 Tuesday night, Boston gets its best perimeter defender back — Marcus Smart. He has been out since before the playoffs following thumb surgery last March.

Stevens, via NBC Sports Boston:

“He hasn’t played in six weeks, so it’s hard to say how much (time he will get) but will certainly play,” Stevens said. Stevens said there would not be a minutes restriction on him, but added that the fourth-year guard wasn’t going to play 35 minutes.

Smart is a very good perimeter defender who is very physical and usually assigned to the other team’s best guard (or wing, depending upon the matchup). When Smart was on the court this season, the Celtics allowed less than a point per possession and were 3.6 points per 100 better defensively than when he sat.

Smart likely will get time against Eric Bledsoe and Kris Middleton of the Bucks. Just his presence brings needed depth to the Celtics in what is a critical Game 5 in a series tied 2-2.

Report: Pelicans have discussed offering DeMarcus Cousins less than max over two to three years

AP Photo/Steve Dykes
5 Comments

Last month, Anthony Davis said he heard DeMarcus Cousins planned to re-sign with the Pelicans. Cousins was out a torn Achilles, and New Orleans was rolling with Davis playing more center. But New Orleans’ ceiling looked higher with Cousins, and Davis made clear he wanted to keep Cousins – in itself a big deal. More important than keeping Cousins is keeping Davis, which requires keeping Davis happy.

Then, the Pelicans swept the Trail Blazers, becoming the lowest seed to sweep a first-round series.

Is everyone still sure Cousins warrants a max contract, which projects to be worth about $176 million over five years?

Zach Lowe of ESPN:

The Pelicans have broached internally the idea of offering Cousins a two- or three-year deal at less than the max, per sources familiar with the discussions. I would not expect that to go over well with Cousins’ camp. But the Pelicans have the dual leverage of winning without Cousins and a tepid market for him.

Only a half-dozen or so teams have max-level space this season, and most won’t pursue Cousins at that level, sources say.

I wouldn’t be surprised if the Pelicans leaked this to test the waters. Word will get back to Cousins, and they can gauge how strenuously he objects. If they want, they can deny ever considering this and try to avoid offending Cousins.

But New Orleans has leverage.

It will be a tight market. Many of the teams with significant cap space are young and rebuilding, and they won’t want Cousins’ attitude. Even teams ready to win might not bring him into the locker room. Returning from a torn Achilles – hard for any player – will be especially difficult for the 6-foot-11, 270-pound Cousins.

That said, Cousins has leverage on the Pelicans, too. He’s extremely talented, and players that talented are hard to come by. New Orleans would still essentially be capped out if he walked, left with only the mid-level exception to replace him. Cousins and Davis play well together, and Davis – who can become an unrestricted free agent in 2020 – wants Cousins around.

Confronted with a similar situation with Jrue Holiday last summer – capped out and no mechanism to adequately replace him – the Pelicans spent big. But Holiday wasn’t hurt and didn’t have any fit concerns with Davis.

For New Orleans, it’s clearly worth securing the 27-year-old Cousins for the next couple years. The upside is too high. But, especially given the injury, guaranteeing him money into his 30s is undesirable.

On the flip side, Cousins should want long-term security. This might be his last chance to get it.

So, maybe both the Pelicans and Cousins can meet in the middle. But finding that point is never simple.