Author: Brett Pollakoff

George Hill

George Hill drops Lou Williams with the crossover (VIDEO)


George Hill had the ball on a string for this possession against the Hawks, and Lou Williams’ ankles would simply not cooperate with his attempt to keep pace defensively.

The real crime here, though, is C.J. Watson missing the open look from three — which ruins the highlight ever so slightly.

[via Dime]

Nets’ Thaddeus Young after win over Timberwolves: ‘We’re trying to get back into this playoff hunt’

Brooklyn Nets v Minnesota Timberwolves

The Nets are 11 games under .500 after getting a win over a depleted Timberwolves team on Monday, but in the Eastern Conference, that means they’re only two-and-a-half games out of making the playoffs.

And despite the fact that there’s little to be gained by making the postseason, other than a first round loss to the Atlanta Hawks or the Cleveland Cavaliers in a series that would be hard-pressed to last more than five games, Thaddeus Young says that’s the goal that remains in place.

From Tim Bontemps of the New York Post:

“Any win you can get is a great thing, especially for us as a team,” said Thaddeus Young, who scored 19 points in his return to Minnesota. “It just wasn’t clicking in the second half [of games], but now we’re starting to get together, we’re starting to hit shots and we’re starting to get things rolling.

“Now, we don’t have any time to waste … we’re trying to get back into this playoff hunt.”

The difference in Brooklyn is that the Nets have traded away all of their draft picks, and don’t control one until 2019. That makes tanking — like what’s shamelessly going on in Denver at the moment — a useless strategy.

Playoffs are unlikely for these Nets, who would have to climb past the Celtics and the Hornets in the standings, while overtaking either the Heat or the Pacers at the same time.

All of those teams are playing better and more consistently than Brooklyn has for some time, but trying to reach that lofty goal makes sense, given the Nets’ unfortunate situation.

Nuggets coach Melvin Hunt, discussing reasons for resting healthy players: ‘Our owner’s dog had an ACL injury’

Atlanta Hawks v Denver Nuggets

The Nuggets had found some rhythm under new head coach Melvin Hunt, who took over after the firing of Brian Shaw and had led the team to six wins in his first eight games on the job.

Denver killed that momentum on Monday, however, resting Ty Lawson, Kenneth Faried and Danilo Gallinari — all of whom were completely healthy, and didn’t choose to sit out.

It’s a clear move to tank by the front office, in order to secure the highest draft lottery odds possible by losing games at the end of a lost season. Mathematically, it makes sense — but some of the other reasons for the strategy that were thrown out by Hunt do not.

From Chris Dempsey of the Denver Post (emphasis mine):

Ty Lawson, Danilo Gallinari and Kenneth Faried were held out with their health in mind, not for any other reason, Hunt said.

“It’s part of the game,” he said. “It’s part of the league. We’re no different. We have to have great vision. We have to be nearsighted and farsighted, and this is just part of that vision.”

Asked if he had ever been part of a non-playoff team that suddenly employed a rest rotation as the Nuggets have done, Hunt said: “Yeah, but we’re in a very unique situation here, having come off what we did last year with so many injuries. We had players with ACL injuries; our owner’s dog had an ACL injury. We had a little bit of everything going on. We have to be very, very careful. We have to be really wise, given the situation that we are in.”

Hunt is obviously toeing the company line here, and the comment about the dog was surely meant to be a lighthearted way of explaining just how hard the injury bug bit the team last season.

But honestly, it’s completely ridiculous.

We all know what’s going on here, and again, the league’s draft lottery system is set up to incentivize losing, at least to a certain extent, so the front office is trying to do what it believes is right.

But the players aren’t happy about it, and an interim head coach who’s trying to show he’s the right man for the job can’t be happy about it, either — despite his silly, yet earnest public defense of the organization’s choice.

David Blatt eyes second place regular season finish, LeBron James not so much

Cleveland Cavaliers v Los Angeles Lakers

After the Cavaliers lost by double digits to the Heat in Miami on Monday, Cleveland head coach David Blatt said he’s eying a second place finish in the regular season standings.

It’s not as important to LeBron James.

Following a contest where both Dwyane Wade and Mario Chalmers had huge games against their former teammate — and secured the second victory over LeBron’s Cavs in Miami this season — James and his head coach seemed to have different priorities as the regular season comes to its finish.

From Dave McMenamin of

“We got to finish in second place,” Blatt said Monday after the Cavs’ 106-92 loss to the Miami Heat. …

“The coaching staff, if that’s what they want, but for me, I never play for seeding. I just play,” [LeBron] said. “And wherever at the end of the season we land, I’m ready. Just get me in the playoffs. Get me in the playoffs, I feel like I can win on anybody’s floor. I feel like I can win at home. I’m that confident in my ability and our team’s ability. So I’ve never in my 12-year career played for seeding. That’s just not how I work.” …

James has different goals for the Cavs in the last month of the regular season.

“Health,” James said. “Health and chemistry. We got to continue to build our chemistry. We’re a young group, as far as cohesiveness on the floor. So we got to continue to build that, and we got to be healthy during the playoffs.”

Obviously, it’s a balance.

The way the standings look today, it would seem as though Cleveland would have a pretty good shot at that second place finish. They’re two games up on the reeling Raptors, two-and-a-half games up on the banged-up Bulls, and three games ahead of a Wizards team that’s also been struggling.

This rivalry game against the Heat aside (and one where Kevin Love sat out to rest), the Cavaliers have been rolling teams; they’re 24-6 since Jan. 15.

The second place finish will likely come, but LeBron has it right — because it won’t mean anything if Cleveland isn’t playing well at the time, or isn’t as healthy as possible once the postseason begins.

Chandler Parsons with the impressive drive and slam against Thunder (VIDEO)

Dallas Mavericks Fan Jam

Chandler Parsons doesn’t do this very often.

On 726 field goals he’s attempted this season, Parsons has dunked just 32 times.

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But this one, which came in Monday night’s win over an increasingly depleted Thunder team, made it seem like it’s something that happens on a regular basis.