Author: Kurt Helin

Indiana Pacers v Sacramento Kings

Carl Landry’s overtime buzzer-beater put-back lifts Kings over Pacers (VIDEO)


Down one with :12 seconds left in the game, the Sacramento Kings put the ball in the hands of Rudy Gay on the wing and got out of his way. Gay worked the isolation against Solomon Hill (who did a nice job) and ended up taking a contested 15-foot jumper that he missed.

Then veteran Carl Landry got the board, came down, went back up and won the game for the Kings.

If you’re a CSN Bay Area subscriber, watch a live stream of the Magic vs. Kings Saturday night, just follow this link.

This is a game the Kings had led by 13 after one and by 17 in the third quarter, but the Pacers fought back in the fourth behind a combined 13 points in the frame from Rodney Stuckey and David West. That got them to overtime where all five Pacers’ points were scored by C.J. Watson.

But it wasn’t enough thanks to Landry.

This was the Kings’ first win this season (and in 14 tries) without DeMarcus Cousins out of the lineup (he is battling a viral infection). They got the win thanks to 27 points (on 50 percent shooting) from Gay and 20 points (on 19 shots) from Darren Collison. Landry finished with 14 points, but it’s the least two that people will remember.

Bucks’ Giannis Antetokounmpo puts Chris Bosh in a poster (VIDEO)

Miami Heat v Milwaukee Bucks

This is a case where you can’t really blame Chris Bosh — he stopped the dribble penetration on the break then quickly tried to rotate over to stop the dunk about to happen.

But nobody is stopping Giannis Antetokounmpo on this one, he’s too fast and too long and he knows how to finish.

Bosh is just the latest in what is going to be a long and prestigious list of guys the Greek Freak dunks on.

Warriors owner says Mark Jackson “couldn’t get along with anybody else in the organization”

Mark Jackson

Right now, Steve Kerr is in the middle of a grand honeymoon.

He came into Golden State and has run smarter sets, putting players in different roles and positions that play to their strengths much more than Mark Jackson did last year. Plus Kerr is getting them to play good defense (something Jackson did as well). The result is a 15-2 Warriors team on an 11 game winning streak. The Warriors have been the best team in the NBA so far and look like title contenders.

Warriors co-owner Joe Lacob is understandably happy. He took a lot of flak for firing Jackson after a good season, then bringing in another coach with no head coaching experience. Right now it looks like an inspired choice.

But there are still many who think Jackson should never have been let go after a 51-win season. Lacob was asked about the firing again and said this to Diamond Leung of the Bay Area News Group.

“Part of it was that he couldn’t get along with anybody else in the organization,” Lacob said. “And look, he did a great job, and I’ll always compliment him in many respects, but you can’t have 200 people in the organization not like you.”

This was the open secret around the league about Jackson. He had created an “us against the world” mentality in the locker room, which isn’t uncommon in professional sports but the “outside world” almost never includes management or others in the organization. It worked on the court and the players loved Jackson and played hard for him. But nobody gets to keep their job in any business when they piss off the big boss.

Jackson, to his credit, has not commented on this stuff in the past and has taken the high road when he did comment.

Lacob said one of the reasons this season has worked was Kerr has been willing to spend money on assistant coaches.

“And (Kerr) did the one big thing that I wanted more than anything else from Mark Jackson he just wouldn’t do, in all honesty, which is hire the very best. Carte blanche. Take my wallet. Do whatever it is to get the best assistants there are in the world. Period. End of story. Don’t want to hear it. And (Jackson’s) answer . . . was, ‘Well, I have the best staff.’ No you don’t. And so with Steve, very, very different.”

Kerr hired Alvin Gentry away from Doc Rivers’ staff to be the lead assistant and brought in another respected assistant in Ron Adams. Only one of Jackson’s five assistants still has an NBA job, Darren Erman, and he is one the team let go in the middle of last season for a violation of team rules.

Despite all this, Lacob knows professional sports is a bottom line business and as good as the Warriors look right now they are not near the bottom line.

“We’re on top of the world right now,” Lacob said. “If we lose in the first round of the playoffs, I am going to be crap (to the public).”

It’s official, Gal Mekel reaches deal with New Orleans Pelicans

Dallas Mavericks v Sacramento Kings

We told you this was coming but now it is official:

Gal Mekel has signed on as a backup point guard with the New Orleans Pelicans, the team announced Friday. He will be in uniform on Saturday when the Pelicans take on the Clippers.

This is a non-guaranteed two-year deal according to Marc Stein of ESPN, meaning Mekel has to stick on the roster past Jan. 10 to be guaranteed a salary for the rest of this season. The second year is also not guaranteed.

The Pelicans give most of their point guard minutes to Jrue Holiday, with Austin Rivers getting the key backup minutes (and playing a little at both guard spots). Makel will battle Jimmer Fredette for the limited third point guard minutes.

Mekel, out of Israel, played for Dallas last season but was buried on the bench (behind Jose Calderon andDevin Harris). Mekel is a classic pass-first point guard who does some things well like coming off the pick-and-roll and being able to find teammates. The questions about him are his shooting (he really struggled with that in Dallas), which allows teams to go under picks, as well as his ability to defend NBA point guards.

Indiana tried to sign Mekel a couple of weeks back but were under a deadline due to a roster exception spot being about to expire and Mekel couldn’t get a work visa within the 24 hours needed (it often takes 72 hours). Although apparently that was not the problem in the Big Easy.

Roy Hibbert given flopping warning for fall vs. Trail Blazers

Indiana Pacers v Phoenix Suns

Apparently something of Lance Stephenson rubbed off on Roy Hibbert last year, because Hibbert’s not really a flopper but check out this move from against the Trail Blazers Thursday night:

Robin Lopez is strong, he’s not that strong.

The league was less amused and gave Roy Hibbert a flopping warning for this.

Which borders on meaningless, as we have mentioned before. If Hibbert is cited as flopping one more time this season, he has to pay a $5,000 fine. Which works out to 0.0003 percent of his salary this season. That’ll teach him.

Hibbert had 9 points on 10 shots in what was an easy Portland win.