Author: Brett Pollakoff

Brooklyn Nets v Dallas Mavericks

Lionel Hollins on going to Jarrett Jack over Joe Johnson in the clutch: ‘Things change’

1 Comment

Joe Johnson gained a quick reputation in Brooklyn for making the huge shots when his team needed them the most.

But according to Nets head coach Lionel Hollins, that was so last year.

This season, it’s been Jarrett Jack who’s been hitting the game-winners — two of them recently, in fact, which has earned his coach’s trust.

It was no different Friday night against the Suns, where Jack once again was given the opportunity to win it at the buzzer. But what was different was the fact that Johnson was on the bench, which led to reporters questioning Hollins for going away from Johnson in such a seemingly dramatic fashion.

From Andy Vasquez of

“I knew Jarrett was going to shoot the ball,” Hollins said. “I got asked that last night. It doesn’t matter [who was in the game]. We could have put four people in the stands; Jarrett was going to shoot the ball. If I run a pick and roll for Jarrett he’s going to shoot the ball and he got a good shot and he missed it. It went in and out. If it goes in, you guys aren’t standing here asking me who gets the last shot.”

Up until as recently as January, Johnson was the Nets’ undisputed weapon of choice in the clutch.

He started his Nets career 7-for-7 when the game was tied, or the Nets trailed by less than four points with under 10 seconds left. But this year, Johnson missed his first four shots in those same situations. …

“Why do you think Joe should take the final shot all the time, because he’s been doing it?” Hollins said. “Tradition? And why you let them tear down that [old] building and put a parking lot? … You don’t go to fight for that [expletive]. Things change.”

Johnson did say it was a bit “puzzling” for him to be on the bench during an end of game situation, but he made it clear he wasn’t upset by it.

This appears to be a case of the media digging for something that simply isn’t there, and Hollins’ somewhat exasperated response seems to back up that assertion.

Lakers coach Byron Scott: Nick Young is ‘not having a good year’

The Los Angeles Sports And Entertainment Commission's 11th Annual Lakers All-Access Event

Nick Young is in his eighth NBA season, and his 36.6 percent shooting mark is the worst he’s put up to this point of his professional career.

And his head coach knows it.

Byron Scott has been very honest this season in critiquing his players; just ask Jeremy Lin about that. He’s had words for Young, too, but the latest might hurt the most, simply because they ring so true.

From Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Daily News:

“He’s not having a good year,” Lakers coach Byron Scott said of Young. “He’d be the first to admit that this hasn’t been the year he expected.” …

“It’s like basketball is my girlfriend and she is mad at me,” said Young, who averaged a team-leading 17.9 points on a 44 percent clip last season under Mike D’Antoni. “I came to the house too late. She kicked me out. Then I fell down the stairs and hurt my leg.” …

“He has to do a better job moving without the ball. It can’t be catch, then 18 dribbles and then he gets a shot,” Scott said. “When he does it that way, there’s one of two things. It’s a home run or a strikeout.”

The timing of Scott’s statement was a bit curious, considering Young missed his sixth straight game Friday due to soreness in his left knee. But whether the words are true or not, it seems unnecessary to point this out publicly when the team is in the midst of such a dismal overall season.

Clippers sign Nate Robinson to 10-day contract

Boston Celtics v Miami Heat

Nate Robinson began the season with the Denver Nuggets, but coming off of an ACL tear a season ago, was putting up career-low scoring and field goal percentage numbers.

Robinson was traded to the Celtics in January, but negotiated a buyout so that he would be free to sign with a contender before the playoffs began.

That day has evidently arrived, at least temporarily.

Matt Barnes may have broken the news, which has since been confirmed by Marc Spears of Yahoo Sports and Sam Amick of USA Today: Robinson will sign a 10-day contract with the Clippers, and is expected to be available for Sunday’s nationally televised contest against the Warriors.

Robinson will be reunited with Doc Rivers, whom he played for as a member of the 2010 Celtics team that lost to the Lakers in the NBA Finals. Glen Davis was a member of that squad, too, and the pair had some effective moments during that series — but that was almost five years ago now, and this move seems more like a desperate one than anything else.

The Clippers have a severe lack of depth on their roster, especially offensively. Once you get past Jamal Crawford, there’s no one who can be counted on to provide scoring as part of the reserve unit on anything resembling a consistent basis.

Robinson should get more than a fair opportunity to show whether or not he can help to change that.

Kevin Love: ‘I know I’m not a stretch-four’

Kevin Love

The Cavaliers traded for Kevin Love last summer to give LeBron James and Kyrie Irving a formidable third option for opposing defenses to concern themselves with.

But in Friday night’s loss to the Hawks, one in which Atlanta’s game plan revolved around shutting James and Irving down, Love was unable to help offensively in the way his team envisioned.

Cleveland doesn’t use Love in the post, despite his ability to score inside. He took 10 of his 11 shots from three-point distance in this one — a trend that’s become increasingly more consistent in recent games, and one that Love knows isn’t the best overall use of his talents.

From Chris Haynes of

Love is launching 8.1 threes per contest in his last seven games. His highest rate of threes taken was last season in Minnesota when he shot 6.6 a game, and that was along with the inside touches he received. No matter what the statistics suggest, Love is not in agreement on the big-man long distance tag.

“I heard some people calling me that but I know I’m not a stretch-four,” Love told NEOMG. “I’m a post player that can shoot. Right now I’m just doing what I’m called to do. For good, bad or indifferent, I’m playing my role and doing what’s asked of me. Tonight, I stayed out on the perimeter.”

Remarks like these from Love are part of the reason many believe he may be in play as a free agent this summer, despite what he’s said on the matter time and again.

Only a disastrous postseason is likely to have Love truly looking to play elsewhere, but his more limited offensive role behind Irving and James — and the fact that he’s being reduced to nothing more than a three-point shooter — may end up having a little to do with it, as well.

David Blatt calls trend of hard fouls against LeBron ‘worrisome’

Cleveland Cavaliers v Phoenix Suns

LeBron James has been victimized by a series of hard fouls recently, and predictably, his head coach would like that to stop.

James Harden was suspended a game for kicking LeBron in the groin, and Jonas Valanciunas was called for a flagrant for taking LeBron to the floor two games later.

There were no such antics during Friday night’s loss to the Hawks, but Cavaliers coach David Blatt said that the trend of teams being overly-physical was troublesome nonetheless.

From Jason Lloyd of

“I just think LeBron is getting hit, and getting hit every time he goes to the basket, and half of them are ignored,” he said. “Because of the strength and the power he brings to his drives, it’s easy to overlook a lot of stuff.”

James was belted again tonight going to the basket by DeMarre Carroll, but I didn’t think it was dirty or flagrant. It was just a good, hard foul. Carroll even made a play on the ball. But when it comes on the heels of the Jonas Valanciunas takedown and the James Harden kick, all of these events are coming a little too close together.

“It does seem to be a trend,” Blatt said. “That’s going to happen now and again, but when it’s happening continually that’s worrisome. And it should be worrisome for everybody. Because there’s ways to defend guys and ways to defend guys physically, but there’s a limit and that limit needs to be recognized.”

Carroll committed two fouls against LeBron in this one, but upon further review, neither could be classified as being hard or crossing the line. One was a simple contest as James drove to the basket (likely the play in question), and the other was a reach after LeBron used a spin move to get loose. It’s possible, however, that one of these appeared to be more violent in person.

Regardless of how you view Carroll’s fouls, though, this isn’t something that’s going to change. LeBron is one of the best players in the world, and teams aren’t just going to let him get to the basket without putting a body on him to make his shot attempts as difficult as possible.