Dan Feldman

Oklahoma City Thunder guard Russell Westbrook, right, talks with teammate Andre Roberson, left, before an NBA basketball preseason game against the Memphis Grizzlies in Tulsa, Okla., Thursday, Oct. 13, 2016. Thunder players are wearing the initials "TC" on their warmups in memory of Terence Crutcher, an unarmed black man who was shot and killed by a Tulsa police officer. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)

Thunder, Grizzlies wear ‘TC’ patches and pins pregame for Terrence Crutcher


NBA players have demonstrated during the national anthem while mostly avoiding taking a meaningful stance on anything.

By wearing “TC” patches and pins on their warmups before last night’s game in Tulsa, Okla., the Thunder and Grizzlies picked a side.

They’re with an unarmed black man, Terrence Crutcher, who was shot and killed by Tulsa police while holding his hands up.

Royce Young of ESPN:

According to a Thunder team official, with Thursday’s game being held in Tulsa, players approached management with the idea of raising awareness and came up with the idea of a patch. The Crutcher family were guests of the organization.

“Once you’re here in Tulsa, you have to show respect to the family and show your regards and send your love,” Thunder star Russell Westbrook said after the game. “Especially me personally, I thought it was very, very important to be able to do that and show that we support them and we are behind his family and support anything they need from us or the organization, we can help them out.”

Crutcher was shown to have PCP in his system at the time of his death, which has been used to smear him. More reasonably, the police – who acknowledged they recognized him possibly being influenced by drugs – should have realized that could hinder his ability to comply with orders. Once more: Even if Crutcher wasn’t directly following orders, he had his hands up.

Using drugs should not mean a death sentence at the hands of the police, though too many have labeled Crutcher a criminal and justified the shooting on those grounds. This is why there’s a protest movement called Black Lives Matter.

Good for the Thunder and Grizzlies for standing behind Crutcher and bringing awareness to this situation.

Knicks expected Derrick Rose back from rape lawsuit by now, might send coach to Los Angeles

FILE - In this June 24, 2016, file photo, New York Knicks' Derrick Rose speaks during a news conference at Madison Square Garden in New York. Phil Jackson made a risky move when he traded for the injury-prone Rose in June, and now the Knicks face the possibility of their point guard's involvement in a rape trial in California during his first preseason with the team.  (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer, File)
AP Photo/Mary Altaffer

The Knicks clearly didn’t know what they got into with Derrick Rose, who’s the defendant in a rape lawsuit.

Judging by the comments of Jeff Hornacek and Carmelo Anthony, it seems they still don’t know how to handle the situation.

Al Iannazzone of Newsday:

The Knicks didn’t anticipate that Derrick Rose would be in Los Angeles as long as he’s been for his sexual assault civil trial and are considering sending an assistant coach there to work with him.

“Our hope was that he would be done on Monday or Tuesday and maybe be back,” Hornacek said after practice Thursday. “It is what it is. He’s got to deal with that. We’ve got to continue to work with our other players, get them to be better.”

“I think it makes it harder ,” Carmelo Anthony said. “But at the same time for him, it should excite him to see kind of what we’re doing without those two guys so far. So I’m pretty sure if I was him, I’d be calling Derrick and telling him, ‘Hurry up. Figure it out and hurry up back.’ Just because the way the team is starting to jell together and come together, the camaraderie we’re starting to create with one another, we don’t want him missing out on that.”

Hornacek and Anthony seem to be under the impression that Rose could’ve settled and still might.

At least for the Knicks, the judge won’t declare a mistrial, which could’ve pushed a new trial into the regular season.

Lakers’ Nick Young makes three 3-pointers in a row (video)


Nick Young has had a very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very bad year.

So, I don’t care that this is garbage time of a preseason game Young is losing.

We’re going to showcase something finally going well for him.

Young – against the odds – might even be working his way onto the Lakers’ regular-season roster. They’re seemingly down to Young, Yi Jianlian, Thomas Robinson and Metta World Peace for the final two spots.

51Q: Will Westbrook without KD be as cool as we hope?

DALLAS, TX - OCTOBER 11:  Russell Westbrook #0 of the Oklahoma City Thunder during a preseason game at American Airlines Center on October 11, 2016 in Dallas, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

We continue PBT’s 2016-17 NBA preview series, 51 Questions. For the past few weeks, and through the start of the NBA season, we tackle 51 questions we cannot wait to see answered during the upcoming NBA season. We will delve into one almost every day between now and the start of the season.

Russell Westbrook isn’t the only point guard who forces too many bad shots, dribbles too much and dictates an offense that passes too little.

But Westbrook has received unrivaled criticism for those flaws for one reason: He played with Kevin Durant.

It’s one thing for a point guard to take an extra shot or hold the ball an extra second. But when it could’ve been a shot or touch for Durant, maybe the NBA’s best scorer, it draws much more scrutiny.

No more.

With Durant bolting for the Warriors, we’ll get a full season of Westbrook fully unleashed. There’s a good discussion to be had about how good the Thunder will be without Durant, but there’s a parallel question that will interest more fans outside Oklahoma: How fun will Westbrook be without Durant?

We’ve already gotten a taste. Westbrook has played 48 games without Durant the last two years, averaging 30.5 points, 9.2 assist, 7.6 rebounds and 2.2 steals in them. To get a better picture of the full Westbrook experience, he also averaged 4.8 turnovers and 10.4 free-throw attempts.

It was a tour de force.

That’s a relatively small sample, though, and those games were spread into chunks. I’m not sure even Westbrook can sustain the energy level needed to play that way over a full season.

Floor-spacing could also stand in the way.

Victor Oladipo has steadily improved, but he hasn’t yet reached league-average efficiency from beyond the arc. The Warriors ignored Andre Roberson on the perimeter in last season’s conference finals, exposing his off 3-point shot. Ersan Ilyasova is a proven stretch four, but it appears Oklahoma City might start rookie Donatas Sabonis, who barely shot 3s in two years at Gonzaga. Steven Adams is totally interior-focused.

But it might not matter.

Westbrook is so quick, such a strong driver and so explosive, he can make navigate through crowds and make plays on the move and at the rim. He’s that good.

Unapologetically playing his style, Westbrook has steadily developed into one of the NBA’s very best players. He might even be better than Durant. Whichever you’d pick – I’d lean Durant – there’s at least a debate to be had. That’s far different from the days when Westbrook was viewed as Durant’s sidekick.

Now, Westbrook is stepping out of the shadows. His slowly rising tension with Durant only adds to the intrigue.

The Thunder will be worse without Durant. But empowering a bitter Westbrook might make them more enjoyable to watch.

DeAndre Jordan runs onto court to celebrate game-winner with 0.2 seconds left, gets ejected (video)

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This was a HUGE shot by by Jamal Crawford, breaking a tie between the Clippers and Trail Blazers with 0.2 left.

Because nobody wants to see overtime in a preseason game.

Let’s go ahead and give DeAndre Jordan credit for an even headier play, because – sure, why not?

Portland had time to tie it with a shot inside the arc, but Jordan helped prevent the Trail Blazers from re-tying the game by running onto the court to celebrate Crawford’s jumper while they were trying to inbound. That drew Jordan’s second technical foul, earning him an ejection.

More importantly, Shabazz Napier made the technical free throw, making it a one-point game and all but ensuring, one way or another, the game would end in regulation. The Clippers prevailed, 109-108.

Final thoughts on this saga, DeAndre?