Mo Williams thrived as the Cavaliers’ starting point guard until Kyrie Irving got healthy.
But Williams has struggled since Irving’s return, shooting 33% overall and 20% on 3-pointers and even receiving a DNP-CD.
Still, the Cavaliers have won three straight, including a 104-79 win over the Magic on Saturday.
David McMenamin of ESPN:
if there was anything to be concerned about with Saturday’s outing, it was seeing Mo Williams report to the locker room just 63 minutes before tipoff and then being late to join his teammates, if he joined them at all, as they got up off the bench and onto their feet to cheer several plays as Cleveland built its big lead.
Williams played eight minutes in that game, all in garbage time.
He’s a veteran, and he certainly knew he’d lose his starting job once Irving got healthy. But I’m not sure Williams expected such a small role.
Matthew Dellavedova has played well at point guard, and J.R. Smith and Iman Shumpert occupy significant minutes on the wing. Richard Jefferson and and Jared Cunningham are also in the mix. Williams has to earn his minutes.
His scoring ability offers a change of pace form Dellavedova, and I still think there’s a place for Williams in the rotation – if he accepts it.
More than anything, the Cavaliers need to be clicking during the playoffs. They won’t topple the Warriors playing less than their best (as LeBron James seems to know).
Cleveland can’t have a backup disrupting chemistry. I suspect Williams will come around, but if not, I wouldn’t rule out the Cavs trading him. They just don’t have much margin for error when the goal is so high and Golden State (and San Antonio) is so good.
The 76ers are reportedly signing Elton Brand, who could mentor the team’s many young players.
But one of them – Christian Wood – won’t be around to receive Brand’s advice.
Keith Pompey of The Inquirer:
I rated Wood a first-round prospect, but he went undrafted amid attitude concerns. The The 76ers signed him to a very team-friendly contract – three more unguaranteed seasons at the minimum, including a team option for the final season (which would allow to make him a restricted free agent after three years as opposed on unrestricted free agent after four if desired). And the 20-year-old has shown flashes in the D-League, averaging 15.4 points and 9.7 rebounds per game.
Young, talented and raw – Wood is exactly the type of player rebuilding teams should take a chance on.
It’d usually be telling that the team that best knows Wood would waive him. But signing Brand, like trading for Ish Smith, was clearly drive more by Jerry Colangelo than Sam Hinkie. How well does Colangelo, hired just a few weeks ago, know Wood? Perhaps, Hinkie had significant say in which player to drop once Brand’s signing was agreed upon. But that would mean only so much.
It’s far more likely Wood can help the 76ers once they’re ready to win than Brand, who’ll be even further over the hill. But maybe Brand can help them get to that point sooner.
That’s the bet Philadelphia is making. It’s not the bet I’d make.
Marcus Morris and Paul George got into a little skirmish at the end of Saturday’s Pacers-Pistons game.
It’ll cost both players.
Detroit Pistons forward Marcus Morris has been fined $15,000 for shoving Indiana Pacers forward Paul George, and George has been fined $10,000 for contributing to the altercation, it was announced today by Kiki VanDeWeghe, Executive Vice President, Basketball Operations.
The incident occurred at the conclusion of the Pacers’94-82 win over the Pistons on Jan. 2 at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
Morris’ fine, I understand. But what did George do? Take a step toward Morris after getting shoved (and incidentally, toward the Pacers’ locker room)? Anything else?
Sometimes, the NBA fines players when someone else tries to fight them. George probably has to just pay this fine and keep it moving.
Kevin Durant broke his right foot twice and had three surgeries on it last season.
Now, he has sprained his right big toe.
Anthony Slater of The Oklahoman:
Because of it, Durant will miss OKC’s game against the Kings on Monday night. The team said it will re-evaluate him over the next few days, with his status doubtful for Wednesday against the Grizzlies.
This setback could be unrelated to the others, but Durant might be moving differently as a result of previous foot injuries. He hurt his toe while falling in the Thunder’s win over the Hornets on Saturday.
If this sidelines Durant just a couple games, it’s not a big deal. But if this lingers or makes him more likely to get hurt again, it could be huge.
Durant is obviously one of the NBA’s top players, averaging 26.6 points, 7.4 rebounds and 4.6 assists per game. And those aren’t empty numbers. The Thunder are 21-7 when Durant plays and 3-3 when he doesn’t, their performance changing significantly when he goes on the floor to off:
- Offensive rating: 114.4 to 101.9
- Defensive rating: 99.3 to 101.8
- Net rating: +15.1 to +0.1
Russell Westbrook can shoulder a larger load while Durant is out, but that’s only a short-term solution. Oklahoma City needs both healthy to contend – which, not for nothing, would help convince Durant to re-sign this summer.
More immediately, the Thunder have a decent cushion behind the Warriors and Spurs and ahead of the Clippers for third place in the Western Conference. So, don’t expect much movement at the top of the standings as a result of this injury. But it could help two teams who aren’t playoff locks – the Grizzlies (inside looking out) and Kings (outside looking in).
O.J. Mayo had to be restrained from going after a referee Saturday, and it’ll cost him more than just two technical fouls and an ejection.
Milwaukee Bucks guard O.J. Mayo has been fined $25,000 for aggressively pursuing a game official and failing to leave the court in a timely manner upon his ejection, it was announced today by Kiki VanDeWeghe, Executive Vice President, Basketball Operations.
The incident occurred after Mayo was assessed his second technical foul of the game with 4:08 remaining in the first quarter of Milwaukee’s 95-85 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves on Saturday, Jan. 2 at Target Center.
Mayo’s intensity made the incident look more extreme than it was. He never got near the official and didn’t take an incredible amount of time to leave the court. The NBA was right only to fine – not suspend – him.