Author: Kurt Helin

San Antonio Spurs v Golden State Warriors

Stephen Curry goes behind-the-back, hits layup in Warriors’ big win (VIDEO)

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A lot of teams, a lot of players came out of the extended All-Star break and showed a lot of rust. Not Golden State. Not Stephen Curry.

At one point, Curry went behind-the-back then finished a driving layup for the shot of the night. Curry finished with 25 points, hit 4-of-8 from three and led Golden State to a comfortable 110-99 win over San Antonio.

The Spurs were on the second night of a back-to-back, part of their long rodeo road trip. The Warriors took advantage of their opponent’s old, tired legs by upping the tempo and running them out of the building. Curry was at the heart of that. It was a quality win for the Warriors to open the unofficial second half of the season.

If Chris Bosh is out for season, what are Miami’s options? They’re not pretty.

Washington Wizards v Miami Heat
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It’s not official yet, but if Chris Bosh does have a blood clot in his lung his season is over. His condition is not yet a life-threatening situation Heat coach Eric Spoelstra said Friday, but it is not something that can be ignored and just played through either. The doctors need to figure out how and why the clots are forming.

If Bosh is out for the rest of this season, what options does that leave Pat Riley and the Miami Heat?

It’s not pretty.

With Goran Dragic running the show they should still make the playoffs in East, but the team with a starting five who made teams near the top of the East a little nervous disappears. The Heat have gone from the team you’d want to avoid in the first round to “I hope we get them.”

Bosh is that important. He is averaging 21.1 points and seven rebounds a game this season, but more than that he is the key to the spacing of Maimi’s offense. He can post his defender up if you go too small on him, step out and hit from the perimieter (including the three) if you go too big on him. He moves the ball, he creates matchup problems, and he’s a fantastic pick-and-roll defending big. He’s an elite player.

You don’t just replace that.

Miami has Hassan Whiteside and his energy, and post game, will get more run; but he’s not the polished shooter and floor spacer that is Bosh. Miami will likely lean on more Udonis Haslem, who may knock down the occiassional midrange baseline jumper but most teams will be happy to let him take it. Miami can lean more on Chris Andersen, but the Birdman has not been the same this season.

In the short term, the Heat have called up D-League forward Henry Walker (you may remember him better as Bill Walker, he changed his name). They likely will make a push to sign free agent Andray Blatche once his season in China ends. Blatche can hit some midrange shots, but again most teams would live with that considering the other options on Miami’s offense.

The best plan, now that Dragic is in place, is to go small and fast — try to run teams into the ground. With athletes like Whiteside, Luol Deng, and even Dwyane Wade Miami can win some games playing at pace. At least regular season games. The playoffs are another matter.

Spoelstra and the Heat have no good options. You simply cannot replace Chris Bosh.

But next season, Miami could be very interesting. And dangerous.

 

Report: Ray Allen may just stay retired

Ray Allen
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There are NBA teams lined up at Ray Allen’s door and around the block wanting the legendary sharpshooter to play for them. The Cavaliers are the first in line, but the Clippers, Warriors, Spurs, Bulls, Wizards, Grizzlies, and Hawks all are knocking on his door.

Turns out Allen is not home. He’s probably out golfing.

And he may choose to chase a little white ball around rather than to chase  another NBA ring. That had been rumored before but now league executives are starting to believe Allen will stay retired, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports.

Among numerous NBA executives with an interest in signing free-agent guard Ray Allen, there’s a growing belief that Allen will not play in the league this season.

Allen still hasn’t delivered word through his agent Jim Tanner that he wants to play – never mind begin the process of choosing a team, league sources told Yahoo Sports.

Allen has been working out, but nothing to the level that would indicate an imminent return to get into NBA playing shape, sources tell Yahoo Sports. Still, there’s time for Allen to make a decision, but as one general manager said Friday, “It’s getting late in the game for this to happen.”

Allen lives in Miami and if LeBron James had stayed put Allen likely would have joined him for another run at it. But moving to a cold-weather climate — where one cannot golf in the winter — and leaving his family was something I had heard back in July was not that appealing. At least not for a full season.

Now Allen must sit back, look at the situation and think there is no clear path to that ring, no clear team he puts over the hump. He has a relationship with Doc Rivers of the Clippers, he would be an excellent fit to space the floor in Memphis, but the West is going to be a bloodbath. Even the favorites — Golden State, Oklahoma City, whoever else you want to anoint — will have a very difficult path out of the conference. Why would Allen choose to jump into that fight?

LeBron and the Cavaliers have looked better of late, but does Allen want to come back to see how Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love deal with playoff pressure? Does he want to bet on the Hawks?

The clearest sign that he is choosing golf — and time in his Connecticut home as well — over the NBA is the workout note above. Allen is meticulous about preparation. If he is not preparing…

If he walks away from the game right now, he’s a lock Hall of Famer with a couple of rings. He’s Jesus Shuttlesworth. He’s had an amazing career in the league. Maybe he’s just ready for what’s next.

Report: Reggie Jackson refused to play game for Thunder because he wasn’t traded yet

Reggie Jackson
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The Oklahoma City Thunder are not going to miss Reggie Jackson.

Their disgruntled backup point guard wanted out of town, wanted a team of his own to run. On Thursday, up against the trade deadline, Thunder management made that happen in a move that netted them D.J. Augustin (who right now is an upgrade — Augustin is a better shooter and a more steady veteran presence on the court).

That trade didn’t happen fast enough for Jackson’s taste — he refused to play in a game despite being healthy early in the season out of protest for still being on the Thunder, reports the fantastic Royce Young of ESPN.

Two days before the Thunder’s season opener in Portland, Jackson sprained his ankle and missed the team’s first two games. In their third game, the Nov. 1 home opener against the Nuggets, Jackson was cleared to play, but according to a source, refused to because of disappointment that he wasn’t traded before the Oct. 31 extension deadline for first-round picks entering their fourth season, like Harden before him. Jackson spoke at shootaround that morning, coyly saying he probably wouldn’t play that night. Immediately after finishing his session, he grabbed a ball and threw down an impressive drop-step windmill dunk — in front of reporters and his teammates.

That move speaks to Jackson’s maturity issues, which now fall to Stan Van Gundy. (Actually, Jackson will quickly learn SVG will not deal with them at all, he’ll just cut Jackson’s minutes.) Remember that at the point in the season we’re talking about both Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook were out injured. There was little chance the Thunder would trade a proven playmaker already on the roster at that point, they needed Jackson to help carry them through that stretch.

He did for a time, but as the season wore on — and especially after Westbrook and Durant returned — Jackson clearly just didn’t put in the effort. When focused he’s aggressive, but this season he’s settled for more pull-up jumpers. Or did. Again, Van Gundy is not going to put up with that.

There is no love lost between Jackson and the Thunder.

After a crazy trade deadline day was over Durant’s comment on the Thunder chemistry was, “We felt like everybody wanted to be here except for one guy.”

As for Jackson, these were his first tweets after the trade.

NBA’s wild trade deadline in (relatively) easy to understand graphic form

Screen Shot 2015-02-20 at 10.24.37 AM
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source:

This is some fantastic work via Matt D’Anna of and SB Nation, which sort of makes sense of what happened on Thursday’s wild trade deadline.

Study this for a while, then go take the quiz.