Kurt Helin

DeAndre Jordan drops 24 points, 21 boards to lead Clippers past Lakers

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This wasn’t a battle for Los Angeles (come on, we all know L.A. is Chargers’ country now, especially with that logo). Frankly, it wasn’t much of a battle at all.

The Clippers got out to an early lead, were able to do what they wanted with impunity, and ultimately beat the Lakers 113-97 in a game that wasn’t as close as the final score suggests. DeAndre Jordan was at the heart of it all — he had 24 points and 21 rebounds. The Lakers had no answer. Jordan was dunking like the play above all game.

The Lakers also couldn’t stop Chris Paul, who was just out there making plays.

Jordan Clarkson led the Lakers with 21 points. Make no mistake, the Lakers were terrible.

Derrick Rose says coach Jeff Hornacek “has to be on us hard about defense every day”

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The Knicks defense is bad. Everyone knows it. The only way it could get more attention is if Donald Trump tweeted about it. The Knicks are 25th in the NBA for the season defensively, allowing 107.7 points per 100 possessions. They actually do okay defending shots (teams shoot 50.5 percent eFG%, which is middle of the NBA pack) but they don’t force turnovers, are the third worst defensive rebounding team in the league and allow 14.6 second chance points a game to opponents, plus they are bottom 10 in things such as points allowed in the paint or points given up off turnovers.

The Knicks know it’s their problem, too.

Derrick Rose — who has had his strained relationship with coach Jeff Hornacek of late — wants the Knicks coach to push them harder on that end. Here’s what Rose said, via Al Iannazzone of Newsday.

“We were just talking about defensive schemes, what I see with our defense, what he thinks our problems are,” Rose said. “I just told him, it’s defense. Our defense triggers a lot of things. And I told him he has to be on us hard about defense every day. Like, beat it in our heads where we get tired of hearing him talking about it.”

“It’s not just one element,” Rose said. “It’s all of it — effort, schemes, decision-making, personnel, communication. It’s everything.

“You can tell when we’re out there. You have some games where we have everything clicking. It’s no middle ground with us. It’s either we look good, or we look quite different than that. I wanted to say another word, but quite different than that. We got to have an in-between. Then right when we’re slipping, we got to be able to let everybody be aware of that and try to fix it — not after the game, but during the game.”

I like that Rose is stepping up to be a leader on this issue. If you’re thinking about Rose going AWOL and that impacting his credibility, know that he is still respected in that locker room.

The Knicks turned their defense over to Kurt Rambis early in the season, and Rambis is a lot of things but defensive coach like Tom Thibodeau — who Rose has spent most of his career with — he is not. The Knicks are not getting better on that end, the overall defensive numbers the past 10 games mirror the season numbers (they are ranked higher because other teams slipped below them).

Those defensive issues for New York start with Rose, who has been solid navigating the pick-and-roll and sticking with his man, but once rotations kick in he floats and gets lost. Pair Rose with Carmelo Anthony (never a great defender) and the Knicks allow 109.1 points per 100 possessions. But Hornacek needs to play those two together.

The Knicks did hold the Sixers and Bulls under 100 points recently, and although there were mitigating circumstances there, maybe it is something they can build upon. Amazingly, New York is just two games out of the playoffs in the East, and if they could solidify that end of the court, maybe they could climb in.

Boston’s Jae Crowder fined $25,000, Washington’s John Wall $15,000 for confrontation

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That became an expensive conversation.

The Celtics’ 117-108 win over the Wizards this week was chippy — Otto Porter said the Celtics try to play dirty — and after the final buzzer Jae Crowder and John Wall had words, which became Crowder pointing at the face of Wall, then Wall responding in kind, then coaches and other players stepping in and everyone posturing.

Saturday, the NBA announced fines for the incident. Crowder was docked $25,000 for the confrontation and “attempting to escalate the situation after exiting the playing court.” Wall was given a $15,000 fine for his role.

These two teams meet again Jan. 24 in Washington.

Harlem Globetrotters’ Buckets sinks indoor/outdoor trick shot at Kings’ new arena

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The Kings’ new arena in the heart of Sacramento is state of the art and stunning. Taking advantage of that California weather, one end of the area opens up to create this amazing indoor-outdoor feel for the arena. It’s unique.

It also opened the door for some trick shots.

The Harlem Globetrotters’ Buckets Blakes knocked down some indoor-outdoor trick shots at the new arena. He lived up to the nickname.

Kyle Korver found groove, scored 18 for Cavaliers vs. Kings (VIDEO)

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As our own Dane Carbaugh broke down for you in video form, the Cavaliers already ran a lot of the sets that Atlanta ran to free up Kyle Korver, it was only a matter of time before the sharpshooter started to find a comfort level in his new home.

That time came Friday night.

Korver shot 7-of-10 on his way to 18 points against Sacramento. Six of his shots came as he ran off screens (via Synergy Sports) and that is where he was comfortable, as he told Dave McMenamin of ESPN.

“I still didn’t know what was going on half the time, but I knew what was going on half the time,” Korver said after his 18 points helped Cleveland to a 38-34 advantage in bench scoring. “So that was really helpful.”

One thing we could see a lot going forward: Korver and Channing Frye spacing the floor with the second unit, and LeBron James getting run with that group.

“It’s something that we did a lot last year, and we want to get back to that,” said James, who tied a season high with 15 assists. “Our second unit was very good for us, not only in the regular season but in the postseason last year, so it was good to get back out there with those guys, and we had a really good feel.”

Golden State will get a good look at all of this Monday when the two teams have a rematch (and Finals preview).