Kurt Helin

Celtics’ Jaylen Brown went Showtime on Lakers with athletic plays


Boston started off a five-game, West Coast road swing Friday night by beating up on their long-time rivals, the Los Angeles Lakers, 115-95.

The Celtics’ Jaylen Brown put on a show for the Hollywood crowd with a ton of highlights among his 14 points (and 7 rebounds). It includes an off-the-backboard pass and dunk from Isaiah Thomas.

Although I think this was his most athletic play of the night.

Jahlil Okafor tries to explain, defend his “defense” from viral video


Maybe Jahlil Okafor should call James Harden up for advice on how to handle this.

The Sixers big man became the focus of a viral video showing off his “defense” and poor effort the other night against Miami.

The next day, Okafor tried to defend himself, as told to CSNPhilly.com. You can see the video of his comments above, but his main argument was that he does care about defense, he was just tired.

“I know about the clip that everybody’s been talking about,” Okafor said after shootaround Friday. “The persona of me not caring defensively is false. I took it upon myself to talk to our defensive coach Lloyd Pierce to ask about that individual clip. He said that I did the defensive concepts and that was to retreat, retreat, retreat.

“And I understand visually it looks bad. I was fatigued. I played the entire first quarter and I was tired. I’m not making excuses. … I did do what I was supposed to do and that’s retreat. We had an amazing roller in Hassan Whiteside so my job was to not let [Dragic or Whiteside] behind me. Of course [McGruder] runs in to get the offensive rebound and I’m [accountable] for that, too. That’s my fault, supposedly. That’s what everyone’s trying to make it out to be. The coaches are happy with the way I’ve been improving and every day I continue to work.”

There’s a difference between retreating to protect the rim and passivity. Fatigue very likely played a factor, and this video clip does make him look especially bad, but Okafor is simply not a good defender. That’s one of the reasons the trade market for him has been so limited.

That he cares and is putting in work with the coaches on his defense is a positive sign. There’s just a long way to go.

Watch dramatic plays from down stretch as Spurs beat Pelicans in overtime (VIDEO)

1 Comment

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Kawhi Leonard again had San Antonio teammates marveling at his uncanny ability to spur comebacks with clutch plays on both ends of the court.

Leonard scored 31 points, made one steal in the final minute of regulation and another in overtime, and San Antonio beat New Orleans 101-98 on Friday night.

“This year, his scoring has picked up from previous seasons, but he still makes big-time plays when he plays on our defensive end and that’s what I think defines the best players,” Spurs forward Pau Gasol said. “These are game-winning plays, championship-caliber type of plays.”

LeMarcus Aldridge had 21 points and 15 rebounds to help the Spurs win their sixth straight. Patty Mills scored 15 points, highlighted by two clutch 3s in overtime. Gasol added 13 points, including a momentum-changing, left-corner 3 when the Spurs trailed by five in overtime. The shot sparked an 8-0 run that gave the Spurs the lead for good.

Cousins had 19 points and 23 rebounds, but missed a step-back 3-pointer that could have tied it as overtime ended. Anthony Davis had 29 points, and Jrue Holiday 26 for the Pelicans.

“We had some costly turnovers, I know I threw one,” Cousins said. “It was just bad execution down the stretch. They were the better team down the stretch.”


The first of Leonard’s big steals came as Holiday dribbled across half court with the Pelicans leading by three in the final minute. Leonard then bolted the other way for a dunk that made it a one-point game.

“I was just trying to play the best defense I could,” Leonard said. “We needed a stop and the ball ended up falling in my hands.”

San Antonio tied it with 6.6 seconds left in regulation when Gasol hit one of two free throws.

Holiday missed an off-balance 17-footer for the win as regulation ended, but New Orleans raced to a five-point lead in overtime when Holiday hit a 3 and then made a steal to set up Davis’ fast-break dunk.

The ever-composed Spurs quickly tied it on Gasol’s 3 and Aldridge’s layup. Leonard then snuffed out Cousins’ attempted bounce pass to Holiday and pushed the ball up to Mills for a transition 3 that put San Antonio back in front, 97-94 with 2:17 left in overtime.

“When the game’s on the line, there are players that are able to step up their game to another level, and it’s hard when you play as many minutes and carry as much load as (Leonard) does on the offensive end,” Gasol said. “Without those two critical steals, we wouldn’t have won the game. Obviously, a lot of plays were part of the game, but those plays were exceptional.”

After Mills’ 3 went through, Cousins snatched the ball and disgustedly mashed it against his forehead.

Mills added another 3 from the right corner with 1:14 left in OT to make it 100-96. Falling out of bounds after the shot, Mills triumphantly punched the air with his right fist as he rose to his feet.


Watch Russell Westbrook’s monster 48-point, 17 rebound performance against Phoenix


This was as good a game as Russell Westbrook has played all season — especially in the fourth quarter.

Westbrook tried to lift a listless Thunder team on the second night of a road back-to-back with a monster 20 point, 10 rebound fourth quarter against the Suns. Westbrook destroyed the Suns’ small ball lineup. For the game, Westbrook finished with 48 points, 17 rebounds, and nine assists. That’s four straight 40 point games for Westbrook.

It wasn’t enough because the Thunder couldn’t get stops. The Suns won 118-111. But that doesn’t diminish Westbrook’s effort.

Karl-Anthony Towns father reportedly considering suing Timberwolves over injury from mascot

Getty Images
1 Comment

Sometimes, fans courtside get hurt at an NBA game. Just usually not by the mascot.

But that happened at a Jan. 26 Timberwolves game — to Karl-Anthony Towns‘ father.

And he is considering suing the team over it, according to Michael McCann of Sports Illustrated.

Towns Sr., who is a retired high school basketball coach, was injured during a timeout with 5:53 to go in the second quarter. The Timberwolves’ prophetically named mascot, Crunch, appeared to lose balance towards the end of a high-speed sledding stunt and hit an empty front row seat next to the aisle. That seat, in turn, crashed into the right knee of Towns Sr., who was sitting next to the empty seat. The elder Towns is now exploring potential legal options, including the possibility of suing his son’s team for negligence….

Towns Sr. suffered considerable pain and was given an ice pack to reduce swelling. The Crossover has learned that while arena attendants encouraged Towns Sr. to leave the game and seek care at a local hospital, he refused to do so. Towns Sr. believed that his son—the NBA’s Rookie of the Year in 2016—would notice his father’s absence. In turn, Towns Sr. reasoned, Towns Jr. might worry about his father’s health and not play as well. Towns Sr. stuck around for the rest of the game, but by the end, his knee had begun to swell considerably and he couldn’t put any weight on it. Arena attendants provided Towns Sr. with crutches. He hobbled out of the arena and was taken to a local hospital for an MRI.

A few teams do this same stunt.

Towns Sr. was seen All-Star weekend in New Orleans, reportedly on crutches.

I would imagine something gets worked out here, the last thing the franchise wants is to do something that might anger their new, young, franchise cornerstone player.