Author: Brett Pollakoff

Indiana Pacers v New Orleans Pelicans

Pacers’ David West on Nuggets firing Brian Shaw: ‘That’s bullsh-t. No grownups on the roster.’


Brian Shaw was fired as head coach of the Nuggets on Tuesday, which didn’t exactly come as a complete surprise.

The team was in a complete tailspin, having won just twice in its last 21 games, and with the players publicly counting down the days left in the rest of their miserable regular season, it was clear that Shaw had lost the locker room, which left the organization no choice.

But many believe the problems in Denver go well beyond the head coach — and that includes a prominent member of the Indiana Pacers.

From Scott Agness of Vigilant Sports:

Pacers were in practice when news of B-Shaw being fired came out. All very aware of the news, guys that were here with him were upset.

David West on Brian Shaw being fired: “That’s bullsh-t. No grownups on the roster. You can’t win without grownups.”

There is certainly a complete lack of strong veteran voices (like West’s) in the Denver locker room, and it’s true that the way the roster was constructed was flawed from the very start.

But a head coach needs to command respect and be able to motivate players under a variety of scenarios and circumstances, and with reports emerging that Shaw clashed with Ty Lawson (and resorted to silly stunts to try to get the players’ attention), it’s clear he wasn’t yet ready to properly handle all of the head coaching position’s tricky responsibilities.

Shaw was an assistant coach with the Pacers before landing the head coaching job in Denver, which explains why West so quickly came to his defense.

Report: Russell Westbrook ‘likely’ to return to Thunder lineup Wednesday, will wear protective mask

Russell Westbrook
source: AP
Russell Westbrook

From Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports:

After missing one game because of a facial surgery, Oklahoma City Thunder guard Russell Westbrook will likely return Wednesday night against Philadelphia – wearing a protective mask, league sources told Yahoo Sports.

There is still a final determination to be made, but Westbrook is expected to play barring an unforeseen setback, league sources told Yahoo Sports.

Westbrook is scheduled to go through parts of the Thunder’s practice on Tuesday, a league source said.

Russell Westbrook suffered a fractured cheekbone Friday night, one that left a dent in the side of his face. He underwent a procedure to repair the injury, and it wasn’t expected to keep him out very long at all.

His return is obviously good news for the Thunder, who are still without Kevin Durant after he underwent an additional procedure relating to the foot injury he suffered earlier this year.

Announcement: Pro Basketball Talk’s partner FanDuel is hosting a one-day $300,000 Fantasy Basketball league for Tuesday’s NBA games. It’s $25 to join and first prize is $30,000. Starts at 7pm ET on Tuesday. Here’s the FanDuel link.

Oklahoma City is currently in the eighth and final playoff spot out West, and holds a one-game lead over the Pelicans in the Conference standings.

Nuggets have fired head coach Brian Shaw

Brian Shaw

The Denver Nuggets have fired head coach Brian Shaw, according to reports from Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports and Chris Dempsey of the Denver Post.

The team made it official a short time after the initial reports were released.

“On behalf of everyone in the Denver Nuggets organization, I would personally like to thank Brian for his services the past two seasons in Denver,” General Manager Tim Connelly said via a team-issued statement. “He is a champion and a gentleman and I wish him nothing but the best for himself and his family moving forward. Since we purchased the franchise in 2000 we have constantly strived to field a competitive team, culminating in 10 straight playoff appearances and a franchise record 57 wins in the 2012-13 regular season. Expectations have been raised and we want more.

“This season our management staff has remained patient and supportive as decisions of this nature are never taken lightly. Patience is encouraged, as long as the organization continues to show progress toward a greater goal. However, competing for championships is our goal, and therefore we decided to make this decision now and look forward to conducting an extensive head coaching search upon the season’s conclusion. This has been a trying season for all of us, and we appreciate Nuggets fans continued faith and patience as we build our proud organization back to the NBA’s elite.”

Shaw was hired in Denver in advance of the 2013-14 campaign, but with a combined record of 56-85 (including a mark of 20-39 this year), he wouldn’t be allowed make it through his second full season.

The only thing surprising about the move is the timing, but perhaps it couldn’t have been helped. The players were recently reported to be publicly counting down the days remaining in their dismal regular season, which is an indication that they had quit on their head coach, and that the locker room was lost.

Shaw also had reportedly clashed with the team’s best player in Ty Lawson more than once, according to Zach Lowe of Grantland.

Interestingly enough, the Nuggets had a Hall of Fame head coach in place in George Karl, but fired him after a 57-win regular season due to differences of opinion in how the minutes should have been distributed, particularly in terms of developing the younger players on the roster.

Now, the franchise has hit the reset button, and must essentially start from scratch.

Assistant coach Melvin Hunt will get the nod as Shaw’s interim replacement.

Matt Barnes says if he was the one who kicked LeBron, league would have tried to put him in jail

Los Angeles Clippers v Houston Rockets

James Harden received a one-game suspension for this kick he delivered to the, uh, groin region of LeBron James.

Matt Barnes of the L.A. Clippers believes that if he was involved in a similar situation, the punishment would have been far worse.

Barnes does have a point, although the ability to incarcerate one of its players seems to be slightly out of the scope of the league’s capabilities.

The powers that be have, however, consistently come down harder and harder on Barnes for breaking the rules; this is the incident Barnes is referring to, and of course, there have been others.

Barnes also has a long history of getting overly-physical with other players in game situations, so it’s true that the league may take his reputation into account when doling out punishment for these types of actions in the future.

It’s just that blaming the league for this seems a bit silly.

J.J. Redick ejected for complaining to officials, says Flip Saunders told him to ‘shut the f— up’

J.J. Redick, Scott Twardoski

The Clippers have earned themselves a bit of a reputation where the officials are concerned, and it’s something that continues to haunt them as we work our way toward the end of the regular season.

Doc Rivers saw this coming as early as the first week of the season, but has been unable to do much about the issue in terms of enacting change from his players.

It’s part of the reason Chris Paul was ejected at one point for not saying much at all, and his criticism of the situation afterward sparked a controversy because the referee involved happened to be a female, and Paul referenced her gender while making his remarks.

There was little controversy surrounding J.J. Redick’s ejection late in Monday night’s win over the Timberwolves, except for the fact that Redick believes he didn’t say anything that warranted either of his two technical fouls.

From Ben Bolch of the Los Angeles Times:

Redick said he had asked referees to intervene after Saunders walked on the court during a dead ball.

“I’m not sure why he was out on the court, but he was yelling and stuff, so I said to the ref, ‘Man, get him off the court,'” Redick said. “And Flip turned to me and said, ‘Man, shut the . . . up.’ And he said it like three times. And I just walked to my spot and I got a double technical for that.

“So I shouldn’t have kept talking, but all I said to [referee] Josh [Tiven] was, ‘I’m going to get my money back’ and he threw me out for that. If I’m going to get thrown out, man, at least let me say some stuff.”

Players are fined a small amount for each technical they receive, but the league reviews all of them, and in some cases rescinds them — which is what Redick was referring to. Evidently, the official didn’t appreciate the assertion.

It didn’t appear as though Redick said anything that should have deserved even one technical here, much less two and the accompanying ejection. But it’s possible that an entire game’s worth of complaining — either from his teammates, or from Redick specifically — is what ultimately caused the unexpectedly quick whistle.