Don’t know who Davis Bertans is? He’s Latvian, taken in the second round of the 2011 draft by the Pacers. He was a throw-in from Indiana as part of the George Hill/Kawhi Leonard trade (that the Spurs already won).
And he’s the latest guy the Spurs found, kept and eye on, groomed and now seem to have turned into a player. The forward with the versatile game — he was always a shooter but now brings much more to the table, including solid defense — dropped 21 on the Hornets. Charlotte packed the paint and so Bertans (and other Spurs) made them pay with threes, he hit 4-of-5 from deep.
And when he did get to the lane, he threw it down with authority.
Bertans is the kind of quality depth player that fits well in what Gregg Popovich wants to do, which allows the Spurs to just keep on winning.
Timofey Mozgov saw his role shrink in Cleveland last season, but he was still there in the end when they won a championship ring. He may have wanted to stay, but when the Lakers came calling with a four-year, $64 million offer that nobody else was going to match, well, what did you expect him to do?
That doesn’t mean it’s not a shock to go from contender to team on pace to win 29 games (and give its high lottery pick to the Sixers, but that’s another story). Mozgov admitted he missed playing for the Cavaliers to 60smol.com (via Eurohoops.net).
“To be honest I miss that place,” said the Russian big guy. When asked what made it so special, he added, “Everything was special.”
As for the current Lakers, Mozgov said.
“So far we got some tough losses. But I think we’ll soon play the same as played in the beginning of the season. Be together and enjoy the game. We’ll be good.”
It will be interesting to see what the future holds for Mozgov. Part of the reason the Lakers offered him such a massive contract, beyond providing a big presence in the paint this season, is as a trade chip for the future. The Lakers have their young core for the future, but they will need the right pieces to go around them, and Mitch Kupchak/Jim Buss brought in some trade chips to give them options. The Lakers aren’t expected to make a move at this trade deadline, but in a year or so, who knows.
Russell Westbrook is known for his athleticism and ability to attack the rim — 32 percent of his shot attempts this season have come inside three feet.
Not Saturday night — only one of his 20 shot attempts did. Westbrook pulled up for 12 three pointers, but he hit seven of them on the way to 32 points, 17 rebounds, and 11 assists.
That got the Thunder a 121-106 win over Denver, ending a three-game losing streak as the Thunder go through a tough January in terms of schedule. The Thunder are now 22-16, on pace to win 48 games,
Usually a spin into a step-back three is not a good shot, but when you’re as hot as Jimmy Butler is lately everything is going to fall.
Butler hit the shot above in OT to seal the Bulls win over the Raptors, and he finished with 42 points and 10 boards on the night. Butler has been playing like an MVP the past couple weeks — not the kind of guy that should be coming up in trade rumors.
This week the Bulls knocked off the Hornets, then the Cavaliers, and now the Toronto Raptors. None of it happens without Butler playing this well.
Consider it the Red Zone Channel for the NBA.
Imagine a scenario where a fan would get an alert via the NBA app on their phone when their favorite team is in a close game — within five points with five minutes to go — and they can instantly pay for and watch just the remainder of that game.
It’s the direction the NBA is moving, Adam Silver told Diamond Leung of SportTechie.
“Certainly we’re going from a place where it was one price for an entire season of games,” Silver said, referring to NBA League Pass. “Now just in the last two years, we’ve made single games available. But I think you’re going to get to the point where somebody wants to watch the last five minutes of the game, and they go click, they’ll pay a set price for five minutes as opposed to what they would pay for two hours of the game. So I think you’re going to take the same great content, and you’re just going to make it that much more available to people who want it….
“I think it’s going to be a lot easier to watch games on mobile devices,” Silver said of the future.
“I think you’re going to hit the point where for example…you’re on a Twitter feed or you get an alert. I think there will be a lot more sophisticated alerts, and you’ll see ‘I know Sue Bird, I like Sue Bird, Sue Bird’s going for a record-setting game.’ And then you’re going to go click, and then you’re going to get the game.”
It makes sense. The NBA is a product and the goal is to get people to pay to see that product, not just watch the playoffs and some nationally televised games. If the league can get a fan an alert that Damian Lillard or Klay Thompson or whoever is going off on a monster night, or his/her team is in a close game, they might pay a few bucks just to watch the ending. Get the product in front of the people.
It’s also a smart recognition by the league that more and more people are viewing on mobile devices, and they may not watch a full two-hour game that way often, but they will watch some of it.