Watch C.J. Williams game-winning three for Clippers vs. Hawks

Leave a comment

LOS ANGELES (AP) ā€” C.J. Williams took a shot coach Doc Rivers didn’t want him to take, and Rivers could only laugh. Just as he’s prone to do with these Clippers.

Williams hit a 3-pointer from the left wing with nine seconds left to lift Los Angeles over the Atlanta Hawks 108-107 on Monday night.

“I’ve made that shot before. It was just a rhythm dribble to my left,” Williams said. “Once we got the offensive rebound, I felt the momentum and I felt the excitement of the moment, so I wanted to take the 3. I took that dribble and I shot it with confidence. As soon as I let it go I knew it was in.”

Lou Williams led Los Angeles with 34 points but missed a late 3 that resulted in a long rebound by Wesley Johnson. He passed the ball out to C.J. Williams for a shot that snapped the Clippers’ two-game skid.

“The thing about Doc is he didn’t necessarily want the 3, but he lets you play,” C.J. Williams said. “I was in rhythm. As soon as I took the dribble it felt good. I didn’t want to take it all the way to the basket and take a chance of getting my shot blocked.”

With his team down 107-105, Rivers wanted the Clippers to go for a two-point basket to tie it, only to be overruled by his rookie in the final seconds.

“I was actually yelling, `We don’t need a 3,”‘ Rivers said. “But you could see he was comfortable and he wanted it.

“I’ve said I love coaching this team,” he added. “They play hard. We laugh a lot. We have to with some of the things we do out there on the floor. We make some crazy mistakes at times. But with this group you’ve just got to laugh it off and move on to the next play.”

Atlanta set up its defense to keep Lou Williams from taking the Clippers’ last shot.

“We didn’t want him to make the last shot, but he was able to get one off,” coach Mike Budenholzer said. “Long rebound and Wesley Johnson comes up with it and kicks it to C.J. Williams, who makes a tough 3. That’s just a bad break for us.”

On the final possession, Atlanta got the ball to Kent Bazemore, who was guarded by Johnson. He forced Bazemore to pass across to Taurean Prince, who missed a 15-foot jumper with three seconds remaining.

“Wes saved us with the switch,” Rivers said. “When Prince got the ball, he was shooting over Lou and I was dying over there.”

DeAndre Jordan added 25 points and 18 rebounds as Los Angeles won despite blowing a 13-point lead in the third quarter. The Clippers played without leading scorer Blake Griffin, who suffered a concussion Saturday against Golden State.

 

Kevin Durant: Liking anti-Russell Westbrook Instagram comment was ‘total accident’

AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki
1 Comment

Kevin Durant liked an Instagram comment critical of Russell Westbrook.

Here we go again?

Royce Young of ESPN:

I’m not inside Durant’s mind. He could be lying to cover another burner Instagram snafu.

But I tend to believe him. It’s easy enough to accidentally click like, and the greater context is on his side.

Durant has always tried to downplay a feud with Westbrook. Even at the personal rivalry’s peak, Durant just seemed as if he wanted Westbrook to like him. So, it’s nearly impossible to believe Durant ā€“ even for a button-pushing moment ā€“ wanted to publicly slight Westbrook.

But maybe Durant wanted quiresultan or some other alter-ego to do so? Maybe, as beaten down as he looked by the controversy over those deleted tweets last summer, Durant didn’t learn his lesson and still uses burner accounts. I certainly wouldn’t rule that out.

Again, though, this would be a weird message. Last summer’s deleted tweets praised Westbrook while slamming the rest of the Thunder. Durant was going to have a burner account take the opposite stance now? That doesn’t really add up.

NBA apparently reviewing whether Russell Westbrook should be suspended for Thunder-Jazz Game 5

9 Comments

The NBA has a hard rule during altercations: Any players who leave the bench area receives a one-game suspension. Intent doesn’t matter. It’s not negotiable. The league simply doesn’t want more players entering a fracas.

Russell Westbrook found a gray area last night.

The Thunder star was waiting to check into Oklahoma City’s Game 4 loss to the Jazz when Raymond Felton fouled Rudy Gobert, um, unpleasantly. Gobert and Felton got into it, though not immediately. Once they did, Westbrook walked onto the court, and he and Gobert swiped at each other.

Gobert and Felton eventually received technical fouls. But could harsher punishment be in store, especially for Westbrook?

Andy Larsen of KSL.com:

A pool reporter request to the game officials to ask them about the play was initiated, but the NBA indicated that the officials wouldn’t comment on the matter because it would be reviewed by the league’s disciplinary committee.

The key question should be: Did a referee already beckon Westbrook into the game? If one did, Westbrook shouldn’t be suspended. If none did, Westbrook should be suspended.

The league will talk to the refs and get a better understanding of what happened. Their account matters most.

But one indicator working against Westbrook: Steven Adams ā€“ whose toughness is beyond reproach ā€“ was also waiting to check in and stayed on the sideline. If Adams had already entered the game, wouldn’t he have gotten involved? Maybe not, but his hanging back is circumstantial evidence pointing toward a Westbrook suspension.

Again, though, the referees’ accounts matter far more.

Russell Westbrook on matchup with Ricky Rubio: ‘Let’s get past that. We’re done with that’

Gene Sweeney Jr./Getty Images
4 Comments

After Ricky Rubio‘s 26-point triple-double in Game 3, Russell Westbrook said, “I’ma shut that sā€” off next game though. Guarantee that.”

Westbrook definitely tried. The Thunder star defended Rubio far more aggressively in Game 4 last night. But Westbrook also fouled Rubio four times in the first half and played too out of control, committing five turnovers. Rubio (13 points, eight rebounds, six assists) wasn’t nearly as individually excellent, but his passing keyed the Jazz’s offense.

Most importantly, Utah outscored Oklahoma City by 12 in the 30 minutes the point guards shared the court and won 113-96 to take a 3-1 series lead.

How did the matchup with Rubio go, Russ?

Westbrook:

It’s not about me and him. Let’s get past that. We’re done with that.

How convenient.

Westbrook is the one who brought attention to the individual matchup. He took stopping Rubio upon himself. Now, when it didn’t go well, Westbrook suddenly doesn’t want to talk about it?

Maybe Westbrook realized he got carried away, to the detriment of his team. It’s not too late to fix that, and this could be his attempt to do so before Game 5 Wednesday.

But he also must own the egg on his face for putting the spotlight on Westbrook-Rubio and then dodging the attention once the matchup went south.

Rockets 50, Timberwolves 20: Most dominant playoff quarter in shot-clock era (video)

1 Comment

James Harden missed a floater and clapped in frustration. The Rockets’ third quarter in Game 4 against the Timberwolves didn’t get off to a great start. Harden’s shooting had underwhelmed since Game 2.

Then, Harden and Houston broke out of the funk ā€“ in a big way.

The Rockets outscored Minnesota 50-20 in the third quarter of their 119-100 victory last night, giving Houston a 3-1 lead in the first-round series. The 30-point margin in the third quarter was tied for the most lopsided playoff quarter in the shot-clock era:

image

Harden singlehandedly outscored the Timberwolves himself, 23-20. Paul added 15.

The Rockets shot 5-of-10 on 2-pointers, 9-of-13 on 3-pointers and 13-of-13 on free throws. Houston committed no turnovers and offensively rebounded a third of its misses.

It was incredible output, even for the NBA’s best offense.

The Rockets’ 50 points were second-most in a playoff quarter ā€“ and the most in a victory ā€“ in the shot-clock era. The leaderboard:

image