Kurt Helin

Knicks’ Kristaps Porzingis: “I know our fans are better than Brooklyn’s fans”


Is there a Knicks/Nets rivalry?

Sure, they share the same market, but there is no meaningful playoff history, and New York remains a Knicks town where the Nets struggle to draw television ratings in their market. Knicks fans tend to take over the Barclays Center when they play.

If there is a rivalry, already-beloved Knicks rookie Kristaps Porzingis was more than happy to play along speaking to the New York Daily News.

“Sometimes I see with a Brooklyn hat on, I say, ‘What is that? You need a Knicks hat,’” Porzingis said. “I joke around with them…

“I know our fans are better than Brooklyn’s fans,” he said. “It will be a good game. Brooklyn, they’re struggling this season. But they will try to win the rivalry as we want to win.”

But hipster Nets fans have better beards.

To be clear, New York is a Knicks town, and it’s going to take a long time and a lot of positive memories for the Nets to start to turn the tide. And right now, I’d much rather have the Knicks’ future in terms of players and picks. Porzingis shouldn’t have to do a sell job.



John Calipari on Derrick Rose: “He doesn’t have a real high pain threshold”

Derrick Rose

More than much of the rest of the country has realized, Chicago has turned on Derrick Rose. It’s a city that prides itself on its blue collar toughness, and after a long list of injuries and comments about putting himself first Bulls fans have been turned off and moved on. This is Jimmy Butler‘s team now, as we discuss on the PBT Podcast.

John Calipari — now at Kentucky who coached Rose at Memphis — was asked about the Bulls’ point guard by Colin Cowherd at Fox Sports Radio (transcription via the Chicago Tribune). His answer was enlightening,

“I coached Derrick, so here’s what I know. He will defer to his team. Now I will say this, and he knows this, he doesn’t have a real high pain threshold,” Calipari said. “He’s one of those guys, and while he’s getting injured, he knows ‘I gotta be right.’

“When you’re an athlete like Derrick Rose, it is really important that you’re healthy. He’s beating you with speed, with explosiveness. And if I’m the Bulls, I don’t want him at 70 percent. We gotta get him at a 100. But it was a freak hit to his eye.”

This couldn’t be more perfect for the legions lined up against Rose.

It was a freak hit to his eye, but that’s not what is holding him back at this point. That is live. Rose is not nearly as explosive as he once had been, the multiple knee injuries have robbed us of MVP Rose. The problem is he has not accepted this. Rose is convinced he is about to be that Rose again, even though is shooting just 37.5 percent on shots inside eight feet of the rim, and is hitting 18.8 percent from three. It’s nic

The Bulls are in an awkward transition from the Derrick Rose Bulls to the Jimmy Butler Bulls, and it’s not always smooth. Next summer there could be a lot of player changeover in Chicago.

How Rose fits in with all of that remains to be seen.


PBT Podcast: Talking Bulls, Pau Gasol’s future with Sean Highkin

Pau Gasol, Derrick Rose, Joakim Noah
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Just how good are the Chicago Bulls? Is Pau Gasol bolting them after this season?

Nobody knows for sure, but PBT’s own Sean Highkin and I tackle these topics in the latest PBT Podcast, as we spend 25 minutes talking all things Bulls. This is a team that is challenging to read for this season, let alone going forward as things are about to shift dramatically.

Beyond that we talk Jahlil Okafor and his stumbles, Kobe Bryant and his stumbles (and successes), and even the All-Star Uniforms for Toronto. It’s a wide-ranging NBA conversation that veers from the Clippers to Pau Gasol at the Nike store in Portland.

The PBT podcast is back and a regular for Monday and Thursdays. Listen to the podcast below or you can listen and subscribe via iTunes.

Hawks’ Bazemore blocks Kyle Lowry’s shot — right into basket

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Kyle Lowry‘s been playing fantastic basketball all season, he doesn’t need to catch all the breaks, too.

In the first quarter of the Raptors/Hawks game Wednesday, Kyle Lowry anticipated a pass back out to the point, made the steal and was off for the breakaway lay-up. Credit to the Hawks’ Kent Bazemore, who never gave up on the play, tracked Lowry down and got the chase down block — right into the basket.

Lowry finished the night with 31 points on 17 shots, and the Raptors picked up an 96-86 win on the road. The Raptors are legit this season.

Five Takeaways from NBA Wednesday: Kobe back, Curry never left


Full night around the NBA — and some of the league’s biggest names had their biggest nights — but this time of year the schedule fills up, and it can be hard to watch all the games. That’s why we’re here. If you were busy wondering what that Elf on the Shelf has really been up to and weren’t watching, here are five things you should know from the NBA Wednesday night.

1) Kobe Bryant was back. For a night. “I would hope that he has more fun, and appears less frustrated, and also gets more appreciation.” That was what Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak wished for Kobe the night he announced he would retire at the end of the season. He sure looked like he was having fun Wednesday night. This was the kind of vintage, throwback game everyone is hoping to see from him — he was going in isolation, driving into tough shots, then hitting them anyway. Kobe finished with 31 points on 24 shots, he was knocking down some threes, and with the game on the line  he was at his best. He was at the heart of a 108-104 Laker win on the road against the Jekyll and Hyde Wizards (beat the Cavs Tuesday, lose to the Lakers Wednesday).

I don’t know how much we’ll see of this Kobe this season (his shot selection was not good, he was just making them), but it sure was fun for a night.

2) Stephen Curry never left. Curry is just not fair. On the night they honored his father Dell in Charlotte, Stephen Curry went into full video game mode. He put on a show for the fans in his hometown as he led the Warriors to a 116-99 win and a 20-0 record. Not sure how to explain how well he’s playing, so let me just give you some Curry bullet points:

• He had 40 points Wednesday on 14-of-18 shooting, including 8-of-11 from three.
• That was in three quarters, he didn’t set foot on the court in the fourth.
• Curry now has six 40 point games in the first 20 games, last guy to do that was Michael Jordan (according to the Warriors broadcast).
• Curry now has made more than 100 threes in 20 games, the second fastest player ever to 100 threes in a season was Ray Allen in 31 games.
• Curry has 640 points this season on 430 shot attempts.

3) Stan Van Gundy’s search for answers nets Pistons OT win over Suns. As his team fell behind the Suns by 12 with seven minutes left in the fourth quarter, Pistons coach Stan Van Gundy said he made more in-game adjustments than he ever had.

He switched matchups. He made substitutions. He used a zone.

“What we were searching for, quite honestly, was a defensive scheme that would work with a total lack of effort,” Van Gundy said. “And we couldn’t find it. So, we just went back to our normal stuff, and guys played hard. Look, I don’t want to get going, because we won, and I don’t want this to be a negative thing.”

Reggie Jackson (34 points and 16 assists) led a 15-0 run that put Detroit up, but Phoenix re-took a two-point lead. The Suns intentionally fouled Andre Drummond (22 points and 12 rebounds) with 12 seconds left, and Drummond — a career 39% free-throw shooter — sunk both to force overtime.

Marcus Morris (24 points and 14 rebounds) also made big contributions to the win over his former team. Is this one particularly special for him?

“Of course it is,” Morris said.
—Dan Feldman

4) Chris Paul is out for a couple of games and the Clippers are not the same without him. They rarely get mentioned among the best backcourts in the game, but when Chris Paul and J.J. Redick are on the court together the Clippers score 111.5 points per 100 possessions, and outscore opponents by 10.9 per 100. Replace those two with Austin Rivers and Jamal Crawford and it’s not the same. Which is where the Clippers were Wednesday. CP3 is going to miss a couple games due to his “rib muscle” injury (probably and oblique), and Redick rolled his ankle early in the game and left. Without those two the entire Clipper team looked off, and if you do that against the hot Pacers you pay a price. They did. Indy won 103-91 (six straight wins for them)

5) O.J. Mayo cut his hair. For most of the season, Mayo’s hair looked like this.

Now he’s gone traditional — and you can blame his mom.