Author: John Krolik

Utah Jazz v Dallas Mavericks

C.J. Miles and Raja Bell are not thrilled with Ty Corbin


Ty Corbin did a lot of things right in his first full season as the Utah Jazz’s head coach. Even though the Jazz were swept in convincing fashion by the Spurs in the 1st round, the team did make the playoffs the year after Hall-of-Fame coach Jerry Sloan left mid-season and superstar point guard Deron Williams was traded at the deadline, which is no mean feat, especially considering that Derrick Favors, the centerpiece of the trade that sent Williams to New Jersey, appears to be making good progress under Corbin.

Still, not every Jazz player was thrilled with Corbin at the end of the season. Brian T. Smith of the Salt Lake Tribune has the story:

Raja Bell

Bell does not expect to return to Jazz next year.

Bell hopes the Jazz do the right thing and move him before the 2012-13 season. He was open to it before the trade deadline but never asked for trade.

Bell said Corbin was “unprofessional” at the end of the season. According to Bell, Corbin made things personal by playing everyone in the playoffs except for him and it was obvious.

Bell said if he’s still on Jazz at the start of next season “we’ll cross that bridge” then.

C.J. Miles

Miles said the team was put off by Al Jefferson’s pre-Game 4 comments about no one beating the Spurs in the playoffs and San Antonio being better than Utah.

Miles loves the Jazz, the team’s fans and thinks Corbin will evolve. But he never knew what was expected of him this year.

Miles said communication was much better with former coach Jerry Sloan, and Corbin has struggled relaying his message to team.

Miles: “I don’t even remember us naming a captain, but they wanted leadership.”

Miles wanted to play in Game 4 but said he wasn’t allowed to.

The 35-year old Bell, who has always been a role player, probably wouldn’t have done much to prevent the sweep in anybody’s wildest imagination, but the fact that he was the only player not to get on the court for the Jazz does seem to show that Corbin doesn’t have much of a personal relationship with him. Miles is just 25, but he’s also a role player on the court for the Jazz, so it wouldn’t seem like he would have much leverage if he forced the Jazz to choose between him and their coach.

Miles is an unrestricted free agent this summer, and Bell’s 3.5 million dollar contract expires after the 2012-13 season.

Report: Crawford to opt out of contract, become unrestriced free agent

Jamal Crawford

From HoopsWorld’s Alex Kennedy:

Jamal Crawford will opt-out this summer, source confirms. He’ll be an unrestricted free agent. Wolves, Nets, Suns among potential suitors.

Crawford, the 2010 6th Man of the Year and the NBA’s all-time leader in four-point plays, is a combo guard who can get hot at any time and pour in points at the drop of a hat, although he’s never been a great passer or the most efficient scorer in the world. Last season, the 32-year old Michigan product scored 14 points per game on 38.4% shooting from the field and a disappointing 30.8% from beyond the arc.

The Blazers would pay Crawford 5.2 million dollars next season if he doesn’t opt out of his contract, but the rebuilding Blazers have little use for a veteran scorer like Crawford, who clearly believes he can get more money on the open market. Teams are always willing to pay for scoring, and Crawford can certainly light up the scoreboard, so he’ll probably end up snagging a nice payday this summer if he does indeed decided to opt out.

NBA Playoffs: 76ers take 3-1 series lead over depleted Bulls

Spencer Hawes

You’ve gotta feel for the Chicago Bulls right now. After going 50-16 in the regular season to secure the Eastern Conference’s best record, the Bulls watched their best player tear his ACL with just over a minute remaining in Game 1 of the series, and Game 3 saw Joakim Noah go down with an ankle injury.

Needless to say, this isn’t the same team that made the Eastern Conference Finals last season or had the conference’s best record this year, and they didn’t look like it on Saturday afternoon. Without Rose, the Bulls don’t seem to have any ideas on how to get by Philadelphia’s top-5 ranked defense, and the team shot just 40% from the field on Saturday, while only making 3 shots from beyond the arc and 11 free throws. The Bulls’ game plan seemed to be to force-feed Carlos Boozer and hope for the best, but Boozer needed 24 shots to get his 23 points, which the 76ers were happy to live with.

Meanwhile, with Noah out of the lineup, 76ers center Spencer Hawes was able to have an absolute field day. Hawes had 22 points on just 11 shots, which is a big reason the 76ers were able to win despite the fact that Lou Williams, Jrue Holiday, and Evan Turner combined to shoot just 12-45 from the field.

The Bulls are obviously in dire straights — even if Noah comes back for Game 5, the Bulls are going to have a very hard time winning this series, and even if they manage to escape the 8th-seeded 76ers, it’s pretty clear their odds of advancing much further without Rose are slim to none. Meanwhile, the 76ers’ defense is looking as good as advertised, and it looks like they have a great chance of being the 1st team to beat a 1-seed in the 1st round since the 2007 Warriors, although the 76ers’ win will certainly come with a pretty big asterisk attached to it.

NBA Playoffs: Clippers pull off another comeback, take 2-1 series lead

Blake Griffin, Zach Randolph, and guard Tony Allen

The Memphis Grizzlies have to be shaking their heads in disbelief right now. While the Grizzlies’ blown opportunity in Game 3 wasn’t nearly as disastrous as their historic Game 1 collapse, the fact of the matter is that Memphis could easily be up 3-o on the Clippers right now, but instead they find themselves down 2-1 thanks to two games that were decided by a grand total of two points.

Chris Paul was once again fantastic — he finished the game with 24 points, 11 assists, and 4 steals, and scored or assisted on six of the Grizzlies’ final seven points of the game. Foul trouble limited DeAndre Jordan to just 18 minutes of play, but the Clippers still held their own in the paint, outscoring Memphis 34-20 inside the painted area. The Clippers also prevented Memphis from winning the transition game — both teams had exactly 17 turnovers, and the Grizzlies only managed to grab one more offensive rebound than the Clippers did. Randy Foye did a great job in giving Los Angeles the 2nd option they so desperately needed, scoring 16 points on 6-9 shooting from the field and 4-5 shooting from beyond the arc.

On the Grizzlies’ side of things, Rudy Gay led Memphis with 24 points, although he missed a potential game-winning jumper with just seconds left. The Grizzlies have played great basketball in this series, but the breaks didn’t go their way in games 1 or 3, and now they need a road win to keep from falling into a huge 3-1 series hole. They can pull it off, but they need to keep their eyes on the prize and play for the full 48 minutes if they want to tie this series back up.

NBA Playoffs: Can the Clippers assert themselves in Game 3?

Los Angeles Clippers v Memphis Grizzlies - Game Two

It’s as simple as this: if the Clippers hadn’t pulled off a miracle comeback in Game 1, they would be on the wrong side of a 2-0 deficit coming into Game 3. The Clippers have been dominated for 87 of the 96 minutes played in this series so far, and they desperately need to make some changes if they want to win Game 3 on their home floor and take a 2-1 series lead.

The Grizzlies came into the playoffs as the best defensive team in the Western Conference, and they’ve been able to almost completely neutralize what the Clippers do on offense, which is pretty much all pick-and-rolls. The Grizzlies have also used their superior size up front to muscle the Clippers in the paint, and absolutely dominated the glass in Game 2, when they also won the turnover battle handily.

The Clippers need to get their offense going in Game 3, and that means people not named Chris Paul are going to have to step up. The Clippers will need to space the floor with shooting and give the Grizzlies’ defense multiple things to worry about. Past that, Blake Griffin, DeAndre Jordan, Kenyon Martin, and Reggie Evans need to do a better job of making Marc Gasol, Mareese Speights, Zach Randolph and Co. uncomfortable in the paint and on the glass, and the Clippers need to do a better job of defending Rudy Gay.

There you have it — the Clippers were pretty soundly outplayed in the first two games of the series, but did manage to pull of that aforementioned miracle, and consequently the team is just two home wins away from a commanding 3-1 series lead. We’ll see if they can pull it off.