Author: Kurt Helin

Miami Heat v Memphis Grizzlies

Justin Timberlake joins in, helps Memphis camera crew (VIDEO)


Justin Timberlake is a threat behind the camera, not just in front of it.

Apparently Timberlake needed a little extra cash on the side so he’s picked up a gig as a cameraman for the Grizzlies broadcasts. I can see that. It’s not like he could be making more money anywhere else. I mean this is a union gig.

As a reminder, Timberlake is a Memphis native and is a minority owner with the Grizzlies. So, if he asks to borrow a camera, you let him.

Russell Westbrook unleashes devastating dunk on Pistons (VIDEO)

Russell Westbrook, Kyle Singler

Russell Westbrook plays in fifth gear and that puts a lot of pressure on a defense to get back and get in front of him in transition. The Pistons’ Spencer Dinwiddie and Josh Smith got back. But the part about getting between him and the basket, that could use some work.

The result was one of the better dunks of the season — Westbrook was ferocious.

The Thunder went on to win a close game, 96-94, behind 27 points including a key late three from Kevin Durant.

Jeremy Lin, Carlos Boozer benched by Lakers; Ronnie Price, Ed Davis start

Los Angeles Lakers v Houston Rockets

Lakers coach Byron Scott has been hinting at lineup changes coming for a few days now. Well, Sunday night against the Pelicans Scott broke them out.

Jeremy Lin and Carlos Boozer will come off the bench. In their place, Ronnie Price and Ed Davis will start, something reporter Mike Trudell tweeted.

Davis for Boozer should have happened already. Davis is shooting 62.4 percent (compared to Boozer’s 49.8 percent) and the Lakers are +9 points per 100 possessions better than their opponents when Davis is on the court, compared to -12.2 per 100 for Boozer. Davis has outplayed Boozer all season.

Lin has admitted struggling in the Lakers offense this season, he prefers to attack off the pick-and-roll and Scott wants more Princeton-style ball and player movement. Lin’s struggles are not new, in fact it was Price who started most of the preseason for the Lakers until he was injured and Lin was pushed into a starting role. Lin is averaging 11.9 points and 4.9 assists a game.

Of course, with the way the Lakers are defending this season — 112.1 points allowed per 100 possessions, worst in the NBA by a couple points — this is almost rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic. And the Lakers do not plan to bring in help via trade. There are nights the Lakers offense will click — Kobe Bryant or Nick Young will get hot — and they will win by just outscoring the opponent.

Maybe they can do that more with this lineup.

UPDATE: The change didn’t really matter as the Lakers got the same result, a 104-87 loss to the Pelicans. Davis had 12 points on 5-of-6 shooting and 7 rebounds, Boozer had 12 points on 12 shots off the bench. Ronnie Price was 1-of-4 shooting, Lin was 1-of-5, and neither was impressive.

Warriors’ co-owner apologizes for comments about Mark Jackson

Joe Lacob, Barry Bonds

Warriors’ co-owner Joe Lacob should feel good about the Steve Kerr hire so far. It’s still the honeymoon phase but he has the Warriors on a 12-game winning streak and playing the best defense in the NBA this young season.

But in praising Kerr Wednesday night Lacob took some unnecessary shots at former coach Mark Jackson, saying “he couldn’t get along with anybody else in the organization” and saying that Lacob opened his checkbook and wanted Jackson to bring in better assistant coaches but instead he just brought in his guys.

Lacob has now apologized for those comments, reports Diamond Leung of the Bay Area News Group.

“I have a tremendous amount of respect for Mark Jackson and what he accomplished as our head coach,” Lacob said. “He did a terrific job. I’ve said that many times over the last several months and in recent days, including at this week’s event. I was asked to draw comparisons earlier this week between building businesses in the tech world and the sports world, and unfortunately, I used some poor judgment. That’s my mistake. I did attempt to reach out to Mark on Friday, and I certainly apologize for comments and any unintended harm. I know that Mark will succeed again in this business.”

Lacob should have apologized. There was no reason to take public shots at Jackson to contrast him with Kerr.

Jackson won 51 games as the Warriors coach last season and he was loved in their locker room — the players were angry he was fired.

They were also professional enough to move past it. And in return Kerr is running smarter sets, getting guys in better positions to play to their strengths, and generally doing a spectacular job raising up a good team to great (something he should have learned in his playing days under Gregg Popovich and Phil Jackson).

It’s early, but it looks like Lacob and company made the right call. That doesn’t mean you take a shot at Jackson.

Bulls give Draymond Green space, he drops 31 in Warriors’ win (VIDEO)

Golden State Warriors v Chicago Bulls

Draymond Green is another guy having a career year for Golden State so far — 13.5 points and 7.6 rebounds a game, plus he’s shooting 37.9 percent from three. One a team loaded with firepower on the perimeter (and with a quality big man inside in the form of Andrew Bogut) Green may be the guy who flies under the radar and gets the least defensive attention among the Warriors starting five.

You do that at your own risk.

The Bulls’ gave Green space in a showdown of elite teams Saturday night — so he dropped 31 points on them. Green had 20 shots on the night and 17 of them were uncontested, as tracked by the NBA’s SportsVU cameras (he hit 13 of those). Check out the video above and you can see the room he got. With that the offense was flowing through him as Green’s 94 touches in the game were more than any other Warrior — yes, more than point guard Stephen Curry (78).

Saturday night was the 12th consecutive win for the Warriors, who are simply the best team in the NBA this young season. Green and his fellow Warrior starters were +8 as a unit, mostly faced up against a very strong Bulls’ starting five. Green and the Warriors starters are a ridiculous +27.3 points per 100 possessions so far this season. Mostly because they are sharing the ball, getting put in good spots by Steve Kerr’s system, and trusting that you can’t leave any of them open.

Including Draymond Green.