Kurt Helin

Russell Westbrook, Andre Roberson, Kelly Olynyk, Amir Johnson

Russell Westbrook blows by Celtics, hammers it home (VIDEO)

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With Kevin Durant still sidelined — although he said his hamstring feels much better — it is still the Russell Westbrook show in Oklahoma City. And what a show it is.

That included this first quarter monster dunk on the Boston Celtics.

Westbrook had two triple doubles in a row coming into this game, and he was putting up huge numbers again on Sunday. Which shouldn’t be a surprise after how he played without KD last season.

Jordan gave Spike Lee special gold “Oscar edition” shoes

John Singleton, Spike Lee
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It’s gotta be the shoes!

On the 25th anniversary of his iconic film “Do the Right Thing,” Spike Lee was given an honorary Oscar at a special Governor’s Ball event Saturday night.

To honor one of their greatest brand embassadors, look what the Jordan Brand broke out for him to wear.

Those are tight. I just hope he wears them with his tux on the red carpet to the main Oscar ceremony.

LeBron James on Cavaliers: : “We give a half-ass effort sometimes”

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The Cavaliers have been dramatic of late. They came from nine points back in the fourth quarter to beat the Jazz, eight points back in the fourth to beat the Knicks, and they came from behind to force overtime with the Bucks (a game which Milwaukee won).

The Cavaliers will take the wins, but LeBron James is not happy with the effort. Here is what he said, via Dave McMenamin of ESPN.

“I think we’re a good team,” James said. “I think we expect we’re a great team. And we’re not. We have to get better in every facet of the game, and that’s every single facet of the game…

“Records are meant to be broken, but that don’t mean you’re great,” James said, responding to a question about his team nearly matching the 1975-76 Cavs’ 9-1 record for the best start in franchise history. “For us, we have to play [with] a lot more sustainable effort throughout the 48 minutes. And we don’t do that. We give a half-ass effort sometimes and expect that we can just make a run at the end. We’re not good enough to do that right now.”

It’s very tough to get a true read on Cleveland right now. They have the fourth best offense in the NBA and eighth best defense through 10 games, and if you’re looking for the mark of a contender being in the top 10 in both is a great measuring stick. (For the record, the other teams that are in the top 10 in both are Golden State, Miami, San Antonio, and Toronto.) Cleveland’s 8-2 record has it on top of the East.

Yet, the Cavs have been inconsistent. Plus, we have not seen them with two starters yet — Kyrie Irving and Iman Shumpert.

All of which is to say, they can and should get a lot better as the season wears on. Which is scary for the rest of the league.

Mark Cuban: Right now the East is better than the West

Mark Cuban, Chris Paul
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For years in a row, the Western Conference has been better, deeper than the West. The past few years it hasn’t even been close, the West has been far deeper — and deeper with contending talent by a wide margin.

But so far this young season it has been different — as a conference the East is +2 wins, the West -2. In head-to-head matchups this season, the East is ahead 24-22 over the West.

Dallas owner Mark Cuban has noticed, and he’s good with it, he told Tim MacMahon of ESPN (hat tip Eye on Basketball).

Whether this is sustained remains to be seen. It feels like Houston, Memphis, New Orleans and some of the good West teams that have gotten off to slow starts will begin to turn things around. And I’m still not convinced that outside Cleveland the top of the East is near as good as the top four in the West, at least come a playoff series.

But Cuban is right: An improved East would be good for the NBA.

Fred Hoiberg: Derrick Rose’s double vision could last months

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Derrick Rose is on the court for the Bulls and averaging 12.6 points per game. However, the lingering impact of the fractured orbital bone in his face that left him with double vision is evident — he is shooting 35.9 percent overall and 5.6 percent from three (you read that right, and he’s taking two threes a game). Rather than words, let’s use a picture to illustrate the problem, here Rose’s shot chart on the season.

Rose shotchart

All of why this news from Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg is bad news for Bulls fans (or Derrick Rose fantasy owners), via K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune.

This was news to Rose, but not shocking.

The Bulls’ offense is 25th in the NBA so far this season, and while their shooting as a team is average (16th in NBA in team eFG%) they are bottom five in getting to the free throw line and offensive rebounding percentage. Hoiberg has talked of tweaking the front line rotation, mostly to improve the defense by putting Joakim Noah in for Nikola Mirotic (although I think those two should be the starters). However, what the Bulls really need is better play from their guard spots, which frankly means a lot more Jimmy Butler.

It’s a long season, but the Bulls have a lot of work to do on offense to become a threat to the top teams in the East. Rose playing better will have to be a big part of that.