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Damian Lillard on Portland’s Trump protests: “Tearing apart your own city” doesn’t help

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From Los Angeles to New York and in blue states across the nation, there have been protests in the wake of Donald Trump winning the election and becoming president-elect. Cities with large minority communities, in particular, have seen frustration and large-scale protests (in New York the protest landed at the door of Trump Tower in Manhattan).

But the only real violence happened at protests in Portland. There, according to police, demonstrators used bats to smash store windows and cars, others lit fires, and on Saturday one protestor was shot (no arrest as of yet). Police have called the situation a “riot,” and over the past few days more than 45 people have been arrested.

Damian Lillard hopes the violence will stop, as he told Chris Haynes of ESPN.

“I think it’s very unfortunate that people have done some of the things they have done during the protest. A lot of harm and damage has been done,” Lillard told ESPN on Saturday. “I do understand their frustration, and I commend people wanting to come together for some kind of change. Tearing apart your own city just isn’t the place to begin, and also making your own city less of a safe place isn’t the answer….

“Portland has been a great place since I’ve been here and long before, but this type of activity doesn’t even seem to fit the description of Portland,” Lillard said. “Especially when the majority of the people here voted for Hillary. So if this is an anti-Trump rally, then you’re probably harming the people that you side with in most cases. So again I share the same worry, but I don’t think this is the solution.”

Watch James Harden’s latest triple-double for Houston

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It was impressive. It wasn’t enough.

Above you can see above, James Harden racked up another triple-double Saturday night — 25 points, 13 assists, and 11 rebounds. That’s two in a row for him against San Antonio. How good is he for Houston? When he is off the court their offense is 33 points per 100 possessions worse (it is abysmal).

The Spurs took advantage of that Saturday and got the win, splitting the two games they played against each other this week.

Another night, another 30+ point performance from DeMar DeRozan (VIDEO)

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The NBA’s leading scorer is not Russell Westbrook, nor is it James Harden or Anthony Davis (all of whom are putting up big numbers).

It’s DeMar DeRozan, and he dropped 33 Saturday night in the Raptors win against the Knicks — the eighth time in nine games this season he’s had 30 or more points in a game. He didn’t do it by adding a three-point shot, DeRozan is just killing it from the midrange this season.

DeRozan shotchart

According to Synergy Sports, DeRozan is getting 53.8 percent of his shots either as the pick-and-roll ball handler or in isolation, and nearly half of his shots are off the dribble, where he is shooting 53.7 percent.

Is that kind of midrange shooting sustainable for a full season? I wouldn’t bet on it, but so far he keeps hitting the looks.

Shaquille O’Neal suggests Kings frustrated with DeMarcus Cousins, may move on

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DeMarcus Cousins has been everything you expect of him this season. That means a guy averaging 26.6 points and 8.6 rebounds, a guy who can bully opponents in the paint or hit a three, a guy who has the Kings 14 points per 100 possessions better when he is on the court.

That also means a guy who has picked up three technical fouls in 11 games, been fined by the league once, and in another game picked up six fouls in one quarter.

Shaquille O’Neal is a minority owner of the Kings and also part of the barbershop that is Inside the NBA on TNT. When they started talking Kings Thursday — around the election talk — Shaq said some interesting things (first noted by Matt Moore over at CBS).

“In the previous years, he’s been hot-headed, he hasn’t shown great leadership qualities,” O’Neal said. Furthermore, O’Neal said that the team may actually look to trade Cousins if the situation doesn’t improve.

“I’m hearing talk that if things don’t start to become correct, then they may be looking in another direction.”

Three notes here.

First, the sense around the league is that the Kings want to give new coach Dave Joerger a real chance to make it work with Cousins, and they don’t want to trade their star player their first year in the new building.

Second, when teams do check the temperature of the Cousins trade interest, Sacramento’s asking price is ridiculously high.

Third, a lot of executives believe the Kings should consider a move at the deadline and deal Cousins while he has a year-and-a-half on his contract because there is more value (he is a 2018 free agent). Wait until this summer and he could be a rental and teams will offer less in a trade.

Shaq is paid to spout loud opinions, but he is a minority owner of the team — and the Kings minority owners have been a leaky group with their own agendas at times. Primary owner Vivek Ranadive is maybe Cousins’ biggest supporter in the organization, which makes a trade less likely. But at 4-7 to start the season, the Kings don’t look like a playoff team (again, it’s been a decade), and if they are on the outside looking in there are some big decisions to make.

Spurs overcome Harden’s triple-double, beat Rockets 106-100

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HOUSTON (AP) — Tony Parker showed why he is so valuable to the San Antonio Spurs on Saturday night.

Kawhi Leonard led the Spurs with 20 points in their 106-100 victory over Houston, but Parker’s court presence proved to be the biggest difference between this victory and Wednesday’s night’s 101-99 home loss to the Rockets without him.

“He’s a great point guard, very smart, knows where guys’ spots are on the floor, and he’s been here before,” Leonard said. “He knows what (Gregg Popovich) expects, and if one of us gets out of line or if we’re doing well, he tells us. He just makes us better.”

Parker missed three games with knee soreness last week, and the Spurs lost consecutive home games for the first time since December 2014. On Saturday night, he scored a season-high 16 points and played 27 minutes, his second-highest total of the season.

“He gets us organized,” Popovich said. “He hasn’t been with us so much this season. He’s just a stability factor, and that was a big help.”

Parker was not made available to reporters.

The Spurs improved to 5-0 on the road, where they have outscored opponents by an average of 12.8 points.

James Harden had a triple-double for a second straight game against the Spurs, finishing with 25 points, 13 assists and 11 rebounds, but also added seven costly turnovers. A deep 3-pointer by Eric Gordon cut the lead to four with 2 minutes remaining, but Houston struggled to make stops down the stretch.

“Just messed up coverages,” Harden said. “They’re a really good team. They make you mess up.”

Gordon scored 27 points off the bench, going 7 of 12 on 3-pointers. Houston attempted 47 3s in the game, making 15 (31.9 percent).

The Rockets have lost three of their last four home games against the Spurs in the I-10 rivalry after winning seven of the previous eight. With the Spurs up 16 early in the fourth, a loud “Go Spurs Go!” chant overtook the Toyota Center crowd.

LaMarcus Aldridge had 16 points, Pau Gasol scored 15 and Manu Ginobili added 12 off the bench.

Harden hit a running 39-footer at the buzzer to cut San Antonio’s lead to 26-22 after one. Leonard tried a buzzer-beater of his own to end the second quarter with a deep 3, but it clanked off the front of the rim, and the Spurs led 49-40 at the half.

TIP-INS

Spurs: Danny Green returned to the starting lineup after resting for Friday night’s win over Detroit. Green scored five points in 27 minutes. … Houston native SF Jonathon Simmons scored six points in 16 minutes. … San Antonio entered Saturday’s game leading the league in free throw percentage (86.3 percent) and ranking second in 3-point percentage (39.6 percent) and finished 19 of 24 from the line and 5 of 18 from 3.

Rockets: Houston went scoreless for the first 3 minutes of the game, missing its first eight shots. … PG Patrick Beverley was inactive as he continues to recover from knee surgery but participated in pregame warmups and plans to play later this week. … Trevor Ariza had 15 points, and Clint Capela added 12 points and 10 rebounds.

HARDEN’S MINUTES

Harden entered Saturday ranking fifth in the league with 37.6 minutes per game and played 39 minutes on Saturday night. Coach Mike D’Antoni said reducing those minutes as much as possible is important in keeping Harden healthy down the stretch, and he believes getting Beverley back in the next few games will allow Harden some added rest.

“That’s just too many minutes,” D’Antoni said. “Pat will be able to alleviate a lot of that.”

ANOTHER ONE

Harden joined Elvin Hayes as the only players in franchise history to record consecutive triple-doubles. The Rockets fell to 9-2 in the 11 games where Harden has had a triple-double.

LIVE BY THE 3.

Houston forward Ryan Anderson said Leonard’s defense was a factor in holding him to 1 of 7 from beyond the arc.

“Obviously, their main goal is to get me off the 3-point line,” Anderson said. “They did a great job of taking away normal shots, but at the same time, I had a lot of open looks that I just missed and that’s on me.”

ALL TOGETHER NOW

With plenty of early season absences from Green, Parker and others, Saturday night was the first time this season where the Spurs had everyone in their usual rotation available in the game.

 

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