Getty

Isaiah Thomas puts on a show, scores 53 in Celtics’ Game 2 OT win over Wizards

2 Comments

The Boston Celtics now lead the Washington Wizards, 2-0. Boston took a series lead on Tuesday night after beating Washington, 129-119, in OT in Game 2.

Isaiah Thomas was absolutely spectacular, scoring 53 points to go along with four assists, four rebounds, three steals, and just two turnovers. Al Horford added 15 points, 12 rebounds, and 3 assists.

For the Wizards, it was tough sledding, especially late. John Wall was incredible through three quarters, somehow scoring a quiet 40 points to go with 13 assists, three blocks, three steals, and three rebounds.

The first half started rough, with neither team taking command of the game enough to warrant the lead. An offensive burst halfway through the second quarter wasn’t enough to gloss over the first half ugliness, particularly as players began to take hits.

This has been a rough series already. Markieff Morris turned his ankle so badly in Game 1 that he thought he had broken it. Isaiah Thomas lost a dang tooth. This trend continued in Game 2.

The first half was riddled with bruising play. Morris threw Al Horford to the ground — likely as retaliation for his ankle injury, in which Horford did not allow Morris to land on a jumper — in the first two minutes.

Wall landed awkwardly on his wrist two plays in a row, Avery Bradley left the first half a minute early to deal with his right hip, and Otto Porter Jr. got whacked in the face so hard by Thomas that he had to run to the locker room to stop blood gushing out onto the court.

The second half wasn’t much calmer as Washington jumped out to a lead in the third quarter behind stellar play from Wall.

Boston still couldn’t find their way on top until midway through the fourth quarter. Stellar play and big 3-point shots from Thomas pushed the Celtics over the Wizards as Washington failed to put together anything of substance on offense.

That all boiled down to an intense final few minutes. Thomas was incredible late, at one point giving Morris an ankle-breaking crossover to pull within two points with 30 seconds left. The Celtics PG drew two quick fouls in the final 20 seconds on Marcin Gortat, putting him at the line to tie the game at 114.

Washington got a final possession with 14 seconds left, but a Wall isolation followed by a Bradley Beal airball from 12 feet pushed the game to OT.

In extra time, it was all Thomas for Boston. The Celtics guard took over, scoring 29 points in the fourth quarter and OT. At one point with 1:07 left Thomas hit a jumper from the free-throw line that had him falling over. Thomas was fouled, and converted on an and-1 that would end up being the distance Boston needed to push past the Wizards.

Washington looked absolutely gassed in OT, with both Wall and Beal looking like they were unable to get enough lift to even get a solid jumper up.

Game 3 is in Washington on Thursday.

James Dolan’s MSG threatens to sue Steve Ballmer’s Los Angeles Clippers

1 Comment

This story requires a little background.

The Forum in Inglewood was best known for decades as being both fabulous and the home of the Los Angeles Lakers, back from the Jerry West era and through Magic’s “Showtime” teams. Then in 2001 the Lakers moved downtown to Staples Center, and after that the Forum went through some rough times. It was a number of things, including a mega church for a while, but mostly it was empty. Then several years ago the Madison Square Garden company (owned by Knicks owner James Dolan) bought the Forum, fixed it up, and started booking it again. Now the Forum is one of the hot major concert/event spaces in Los Angeles again, and it’s about to get a boost because it’s adjacent to where Stan Kroenke is building the new Los Angeles Rams stadium. Hello gentrification!

Now enter Steve Ballmer. The Clippers’ owner wants out of Staples Center and the Lakers’ shadow, so he has proposed to build his new arena in Inglewood in another space adjacent to the Rams stadium — land that MSG used to lease. As you might imagine, Dolan’s MSG is not thrilled — they are already battling with Staples to fill their space, now a state-of-the-art arena is moving in down the street.

In a proxy Knicks/Clippers battle, MSG may sue to Clippers and Inglewood in an attempt to block the new building. Here is what Dolan’s attorney in the case, Marvin Putnam, told the Daily Breeze in Los Angeles.

“The mayor made it extremely clear that he needed that piece of land back for a kind of ‘Silicon Beach,’ ” said Marvin Putnam, a partner with the law firm Latham & Watkins, which filed the damage claim that serves as a precursor to a lawsuit. “They’re attempting to flat-out trick people.”

(Inglewood Mayor James) Butts declined to comment, and there is no proof that he made those statements. But when Madison Square Garden Co. relinquished the parking lease to the city, its approved contract states that the land would not be used for anything that would hurt the Forum’s business, according to documents.

Right now the Clippers and Inglewood are in an exclusive negotiating agreement to come to terms on the sale and plans for the property. Putnam told the paper — and the Inglewood City Council — that if the deal goes forward they will sue to block it.

It’s impossible to say how this will turn out, although as a former government reporter I will say these cases tend to be decided in favor of the side about to spend a ton of money on a new building.

 

Jaylen Brown’s #drivebydunkchallenge video is awesome

3 Comments

I love the drive by dunk challenge (if you prefer, the #drivebydunkchallenge), it would be the best thing on NBA Twitter this summer, if it wasn’t for Kyrie Irving.

But the best one yet comes from Boston’s Jaylen Brown.

He steals the ball, and the best part is the guy who comes over like he’s going to stop Brown from throwing it down.

Nets’ Jeremy Lin: ‘We’re making the playoffs. I don’t care what anybody else says’

Michael Reaves/Getty Images
5 Comments

The Nets went 20-62 then traded their best player (Brook Lopez) for a worse player (D'Angelo Russell). Brooklyn’s biggest free-agent signing this summer (Otto Porter) plays for the Wizards. Rondae Hollis-Jefferson and Caris LeVert are nice developmental pieces but hardly seem on the verge of breakthroughs.

Still, Nets guard Jeremy Lin expects big things next season.

He set expectations in an Instagram Live video (hat tip: AJ Neuharth-Keusch of USA Today):

We’re making the playoffs. I don’t care what anybody else says.

The Nets are on the right track given their asset constraints. Though worse than Lopez now, Russell – eight years younger and on a low-paying rookie-scale deal – is more valuable. Brooklyn made the favorable swap by absorbing Timofey Mozgov‘s awful contract, a wise use of assets considering the difficulty of attracting free agents. An aggressive offer sheet for Porter was a reasonable swing in that situation, as well.

But that’s all helpful in the long run. In the short term, the Nets are almost certainly stuck as lousy. Maybe they can sneak into the playoffs in a weak Eastern Conference, but even that is a huge longshot.

Not that Lin cares what I say.

Check out Top 10 blocks from Summer League (VIDEO)

Leave a comment

When you think of Summer League basketball, sharp defensive rotations is not the first thing that comes to mind. Defense, in general, tends to be an after thought.

But there were some great blocks.

Here are the top 10 blocks from the Las Vegas Summer League. Enjoy the flashes of defense from Vegas.