Author: Brett Pollakoff

Philadelphia 76ers v Brooklyn Nets

Deron Williams uses triple-crossover to get free before hitting floater vs. Celtics (VIDEO)

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The folks at the NBA titled this video “Deron Williams’ lethal double crossover and bucket,” but he actually crosses up Brandon Bass three times before getting by him to hit the pretty floater in the lane.

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The Nets lost this game to Boston, however, and in a very tight playoff race at the bottom of the Eastern Conference, lost the season tie-breaker to the Celtics, as well.

From the Associated Press:

“We knew this was a big game; you guys knew this was a big game,” Nets guard Deron Williams said. “It wasn’t just one game like it normally is when you lose to a team when you fall back one game in the standings. This was actually two because of the tiebreaker. Now they have the tiebreaker.”

The Celtics currently hold the eight seed, while the Nets are a game-and-a-half back, but also trail both the Pacers and the Hornets in the standings.

Doc Rivers: ‘There’s a chance’ Jamal Crawford may not return for Clippers this season

Toronto Raptors v Los Angeles Clippers

Jamal Crawford is the Clippers’ third leading scorer behind Blake Griffin and Chris Paul, despite being sixth on the team in minutes per game because he’s come off the bench in 56 of his 60 appearances.

Crawford is a huge part of what L.A. does, because he’s the only thing resembling a legitimate scoring option outside of the team’s starting five.

But according to Doc Rivers, the Clippers may be facing the very real prospect of heading to the postseason without him.

From Robert Morales of

“Well, I’m concerned,” he said. “I mean, make no mistake about that. I mean, I was pretty confident that Blake (Griffin) would be back at some point, so I didn’t have concern on that. But I do have concern with Jamal; I’ll say that.”

Rivers was then asked the million-dollar question: Is it possible Crawford may not return at all this season?

“There’s a chance,” said Rivers, whose team today at 12:30 p.m. plays host to the New Orleans Pelicans. “You know, I don’t know right now because he’s improved, but not enough, I can tell you that. He’s nowhere near, in my opinion, playing. So we just have to hope he gets better.”

If the worst-case scenario becomes a reality, it would be a fairly significant blow to the Clippers’ hopes of doing any damage once the playoffs begin.

L.A. is riding a three-game winning streak, but is just 5-4 overall in the games that Crawford is missed. The remaining reserves are incapable of doing much at all, which is forcing the starters to play heavy minutes, even in games that result in blowout victories. The Clippers are having to rely on players like Austin Rivers and Nate Robison in Crawford’s absence, but can only afford to do so for very limited stretches.

Report: Cavaliers would have added Steve Nash if he had agreed to buyout from Lakers

Phoenix Suns v Miami Heat

Steve Nash made what was a foregone conclusion official by announcing his retirement on Saturday, but before that, he had at least one option to return to the court with a championship contender this season.

Nash already tried to chase a ring or two with the Lakers, and that couldn’t have ended up being more of a disaster.

Things would have been different in a new situation, however, where Nash wouldn’t have been relied upon as heavily to manufacture victories. But from a physical standpoint, he simply wasn’t up to the task.

From Marc Stein of

League sources told earlier this month that LeBron James’ Cleveland Cavaliers — who happen to have two of the biggest Nash admirers on Earth in their front office, in David Griffin and former teammate Raja Bell — let it be known to longtime Nash agent Bill Duffy that they would love to give the old man a whirl as a short-minute backup to Kyrie Irving if Nash wanted to seek a buyout from the Lakers after the trade deadline passed with no deal.

No chance, though. …

“I think I can [still] have a great game,” Nash said. “But I can’t do it more than once or twice a month.”

Just having Nash around would have been a bonus for the Cavaliers; he could have provided mentorship for Kyrie Irving, and been another veteran voice of leadership in the locker room during what’s expected to be a deep run through the postseason.

But despite the opinions of a certain rabid segment of the Lakers fan base, Nash was loyal to the team he finished his career with, and wouldn’t have even considered going anywhere else — not that his body would allow it, which is why he finally made official what we all knew was coming.

Report: ‘Pretty decent’ chance Rockets’ prospect Sergio Llull agrees to come to NBA next season

Galatasaray Liv Hospital Istanbul v Real Madrid - Turkish Airlines Euroleague Top 16

Sergio Llull was selected with the 34th overall pick in the 2009 NBA Draft by the Denver Nuggets, who traded his rights to Houston for cash considerations.

Llull has played in Spain ever since, but that investment the rockets made in him may be ready to pay off in time for next season.

From Marc Stein of

Llull is a combo guard who loves to score first but can do much more when he’s on the ball these days for Real Madrid than he did back then for the national team, which for the past several years could always turn to the likes of Jose Calderon, Juan Carlos Navarro and Ricky Rubio for quarterbacking. Llull’s role is much bigger with the Spanish club giants in Madrid, who have him under contract through 2018 and to whom Llull (pronounced YOU’LL) has always proclaimed the deepest of affections.

His NBA rights, however, belong to the Houston Rockets, who have been trying for years to convince Llull to make the jump. And there is some fresh talk that next season — finally — Llull will give strong consideration to joining the Gasol brothers and the rest of the Spanish armadaplaying Stateside.

One well-placed source told me in Spain: There’s a “pretty decent” chance Llull agrees to sample the NBA next season.

The scouting report in Stein’s piece talks up Llull’s ability to succeed as the ball-handler in pick-and-roll situations, as well as hit timely shots — like this one, from back in 2014 (which is hilarious, if only for the announcer’s reaction).

There obviously wouldn’t be a need for him to play heavy minutes behind the ball-dominant James Harden, but as we’ve seen with Chicago and Nikola Mirotic this season, having an older, more experienced player come over from Europe can sometimes pay huge dividends.

Houston will hope for a similar return, should the 27-year-old Llull ultimately make that NBA decision.

Amar’e Stoudemire fined $15K for ‘verbally abusing an official’ after being ejected in loss to Grizzlies

Dallas Mavericks v Los Angeles Lakers

Amar’e Stoudemire has been fined $15,000 for “verbally abusing an official and failing to leave the court in a timely manner upon his ejection,” the league announced on Saturday via official release.

The incident occurred late in the third quarter of the Mavericks’ loss to the Grizzlies on Friday, and Stoudemire believes the ejection came way too fast.

From Tim MacMahon of ESPN Dallas:

“It was too quick for two technical fouls,” Stoudemire said after playing only seven minutes in the Dallas Mavericks’ 112-101 loss to the Memphis Grizzlies. “I have never even seen two techs that quick ever in my career.

“To be a 13-year vet, man, I figure I have a little bit more respect than just two quick technical fouls without saying a curse word or anything to the official. But it is what it is.”

Stoudemire didn’t say a single magic word?

“Not until after the second tech,” he said, laughing. “I had to get my money’s worth at that point.”

To be fair, this was a horrible call — it was a complete flop from Tony Allen, and Stoudemire had a right to be upset.