Author: Brett Pollakoff

Los Angeles Clippers v Houston Rockets - Game One

Blake Griffin put up historically-great numbers in Clippers’ last two victories over Rockets and Spurs


Blake Griffin was outstanding during the Clippers’ series-clinching Game 7 win over the Spurs, but thanks to Chris Paul’s otherworldly performance, Griffin’s effort went largely unnoticed.

Against the Rockets in Game 1 of the second round, however, with Paul unable to go due to a hamstring injury, the spotlight was there for Griffin, and he had no trouble taking center stage.

Griffin helped to finish off the Spurs by posting a triple-double line of 24 points, 13 rebounds and 10 assists. He was even better in Houston, finishing with 26 points, 14 rebounds and 13 assists to put the Clippers up 1-o in the best-of-seven series. And the back-to-back triple-doubles put him in some historically-great company.

From ESPN Stats & Information:

He’s the first player with back-to-back triple-doubles in a postseason game since Jason Kidd accomplished the feat in 2002.

The Elias Sports Bureau notes that Griffin is the third non-guard in NBA history with back-to-back postseason triple-doubles. The other two are NBA legends Wilt Chamberlain (who did it twice) and John Havlicek.

Elias also notes that Griffin is the fourth player in NBA history with back-to-back 20-point triple-doubles in the postseason, joining Chamberlain, Oscar Robertson and Baron Davis.

It’s worth remembering, as’s John Scuhmann pointed out, that the Clippers suffered the biggest loss in terms of on-off net rating when Chris Paul missed time during the regular season. When you look at the lack of a bench that L.A. has struggled to deal with all year long, that makes perfect sense — and also makes you realize just how special Griffin has been in his last two performances, but especially during a road win in Houston when his team needed him the most.

Report: Spurs may look to trade Tiago Splitter

2014 NBA Global Games - Berlin

Tiago Splitter was a key cog in a Spurs machine that made it to the Finals in each of the last two seasons. Playing alongside Tim Duncan up front, Splitter was a capable defender and rebounder who was a fantastic fit in San Antonio’s overall scheme.

This year, however, was a little bit different. Splitter was dealing with a calf injury near the end of the regular season, and it bothered him in the playoffs to the point where he was largely ineffective as the Spurs were eliminated from the postseason at the hands of the Clippers.

Splitter has two more years on his deal at $8.5 and $8.25 million respectively, and with San Antonio looking to max out Kawhi Leonard, while still having cash available to chase free agents and potentially re-sign Tim Duncan, the team may look to move that contract before July’s free agency period begins.

From Marc Stein of

The working assumption nonetheless persists that the Spurs, with maestro executive R.C. Buford as their offseason point man, will manufacture at least $20 million in salary-cap space this summer to go after Aldridge — or Memphis’ Marc Gasol — even if Leonard is maxed and Duncan returns.


One scenario on the personnel grapevine gaining steam is the notion that the Spurs could elect to explore the possibility of dealing away Tiago Splitter to create more financial flexibility. Splitter has two years left on his contract valued at just under $17 million and is quietly regarded as a key contributor in San Antonio given how well he fits as a frontcourt sidekick next to Duncan. But if you’re the Spurs — and if the increasingly loud rumbles about Aldridge having San Antonio as the preferred destination atop his wish list prove true — examining Splitter’s trade market might suddenly become unavoidable.

If the Spurs are able to persuade either Marc Gasol or LaMarcus Aldridge to come in free agency, then Splitter becomes an unnecessary redundancy. But even if both of those particular All-Stars choose to sign somewhere else, looking to deal Splitter may be wise if the team thinks it can replace his skill set with a younger, less-expensive option.

Report: Bulls management ‘can’t wait to rid itself’ of head coach Tom Thibodeau

Tom Thibodeau

As the Bulls advance deeper and deeper into this postseason, the reportedly rocky relationship between head coach and Tom Thibodeau and management in the front office becomes more and more intriguing to watch.

There’s been persistent chatter that Thibodeau’s job is on the line, but it seems to have little to do with his actual performance.

The relationship has been described as being beyond repair, while people close to Thibodeau are convinced that he’ll be fired as soon as the season is finished. Now, after Chicago went into Cleveland and upended the Cavaliers to take a 1-0 lead in the Eastern Conference semis, comes yet another report which seems to confirm that’s the case.

From Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports:

Amid the twisted culture of Chicago’s regime – where winning is losing, where success is failure – management can’t wait to rid itself of one Tom Thibodeau.

For everything Chicago management does to undermine the coach, this Bulls locker room has remained something rare in professional sports: unaffected and unrelenting. …

“In this league, it’s so easy to get sidetracked. There’s so much noise. Trades. Free agency. This. That. Whatever. To me, none of that is important. All that matters is what we think. Are we doing the right things every day? Are we putting the proper work in? Are we playing the right way? Practicing the right way? That’s how you play well in this league. All that other stuff is just noise, it doesn’t mean anything.”

Head coaches in the NBA are no different than any of us at our jobs, in that it doesn’t matter how good you are at what you do if you can’t get along with your boss. We saw Mark Jackson blown out as head coach in Golden State after guiding the Warriors to a 51-win regular season, and we saw the Nuggets part ways with George Karl after a successful 57-win 2013 season because he refused to do what the front office asked.

But what if the Bulls make it to the Finals for the first time since Michael Jordan won his last title some 17 years ago? Can management really still let Thibodeau go if that happens?

No one knows for sure. But what’s clear is that Thibodeau is one of the league’s best coaches, and should he indeed find himself looking for work this summer, he’ll certainly have plenty of options.