Author: Kurt Helin

Milwaukee Bucks v Atlanta Hawks

Kyle Korver scores 11 points in 65 seconds (VIDEO)


In a season where Kyle Korver’s three point shooting has at times seemed inhuman — a “slump” has him down to 49.8 percent from three on the season, taking six threes a game — this may be his best shooting display.

The only reason it wasn’t 12 points in 65 seconds is his foot was on the line on one shot.

You see in this video what has made Korver an All-Star this season — he runs the floor hard, he gets to his spots, he works hard off the ball, he’s constantly moving to get open, and he has a quick release. He is part of what makes the Atlanta attack dangerous; you have to always account for him. In transition, on the weakside, wherever he is you can’t leave him, or the ball finds him and then finds the net.

Five Things We Learned in NBA Monday: DeMar DeRozan went Harden on Harden

Toronto Raptors vs Houston Rockets

If you watch closely every night in the NBA you can learn a little something. We know you are busy and can’t keep up with every game, so we’re here to help with those lessons from another night in the Association. Here’s what you missed while thinking about the physical toll being an NBA player puts on one’s body

1) DeMar DeRozan out Hardened James Harden. What James Harden does better than anyone is relentlessly attack. He’s going to get to the line, he’s going to hit a couple ridiculous shots, he’s going to put the pressure on your defense. He did all that against the Toronto Raptors Monday on his way to 31 points — but DeMar DeRozan did them better. He got to the free throw line 17 times; he hit a couple ridiculous turn-around jumpers, and in the end he put up 42 points. More importantly, his struggling Toronto Raptors picked up an important win. (Memphis would like to thank him as well, as they move back to the two seed.

2) Kyle Korver is a T-2000 terminator sent from the future to shoot threes and destroy the NBA. How else do you explain his 11 points in 65 seconds?

3) Avery Bradley helped Boston stay right in the playoff mix. Boston picked up a key win in their drive to make the playoffs Monday dropping 116 points on Charlotte — Boston had an offensive rating of 129.5 (points per 100 possessions). The key was Boston had fantastic ball movement for the night, and that plays right into Avery Bradley’s game — he moves better off the ball and finds space better than he sometimes gets credit for. He was finding that space at the top of the key area and on wing threes. With the win, Boston moved back into the eight seed in the east past Brooklyn for a night in a battle that will go on right up until the final night of the season.

4) Jordan Clarkson hits game winner to the frustration of Lakers’ fans. This is Adam Silver’s nightmare: The Lakers and Sixers faced off Monday night, and large swaths of both fan bases were rooting for their favorite team to lose. It’s all about the lottery balls; the Sixers had the third-worst record in the NBA while the Lakers were fourth. If Philly had won just one game would have separated the two, but instead Jordan Clarkson hit the game winner in OT, and the Lakers picked up the road win. With that, LA has a three-game lead over Philly and is going to finish with the fourth worst record. (If, after the lottery, the Lakers have top 5 pick they get to keep it, if not it goes to Philly, all stemming from the Steve Nash trade. The Lakers have about an 80 percent chance of keeping that pick as fourth worst.) Both of these franchises should just be glad right now the NBA doesn’t have relegation like European soccer.

5) The Knicks apparently need a big with a “big butt.” Maybe the most discussed thing in the NBA online universe Monday was what former Phil Jackson confidante (and long time talking head) Charley Rosen told the New York Post about the Knicks and the triangle offense.

“They need a center with a big butt to hold space,’’ Rosen told The Post. “They didn’t have anybody like that. It takes away a major portion of what you can do with the triangle because then it really becomes just a perimeter offense.’’


He suggests Greg Monroe would be a better fit than drafting someone like Karl Towns out of Kentucky.

Two thoughts:

First, Rosen isn’t wrong in that the Knicks need a presence inside. Although I would suggest what the Knicks need more than anything is talent upgrades pretty much anywhere they can get one, getting a presence inside is part of that.

Second, it brings up another question discussed around New York (and parts of the NBA): Can Phil Jackson’s version of the triangle still work and still win in the NBA? That triangle looked great when the ball could just be thrown into Shaq in the post, but will that still work in a zone-defense/overload world where before Shaq gets the ball on the block the double team is already there? NBA defenses have changed and if you haven’t adapted — as the Spurs, Hawks, Warriors and other teams have done — you’ll struggle. Will that slow down the Knicks’ recovery?

Hard to tell until they get more talent on the roster.

Timberwolves finally rule Nikola Pekovic out for season

Charlotte Bobcats v Minnesota Timberwolves

The last time we saw Nikola Pekovic on the court for the Timberwolves it was March 11 against the Suns. His ankles were sore, the ankles that have been a problem for him for a couple seasons now.

For a while now we knew the Timberwolves had basically shut him down for the season — it’s not like they need him for the playoffs — but of course they wouldn’t admit it. Because coaches and teams are like that for reasons that are sometimes hard to grasp.

Monday, coach Flip Saunders owned up to it.

Pekovic averaged 12.5 points a game (on just 42.4 percent shooting) plus had 7.5 rebounds a night when he could play. He’s a solid center if one who is overpaid for what he can deliver at $12 million a season — and his contract runs through the summer of 2018.

Gorgui Dieng is the big man of the future for Minnesota, but they will have Pekovic around for a while.

Minnesota needs to get Pekovic’s ankles right or limit his minutes in season (they tried this year). Or both.