Author: Kurt Helin

Charlotte Hornets v New York Knicks 508084169 Charlotte Hornets v New York Knicks

Lance Stephenson said he needs to be more aggressive to get his rhythm back


Lance Stephenson is struggling to start the season. To put it kindly. Another way to say that is he has been Roseanne Barr singing the national anthem bad. He has shot 29.6 percent so far this season. The man has shot just 7-of-13 at the rim, he is 0-of-10 shooting outside the paint. Small sample size and all, but that’s bad. So bad he got benched for the fourth quarter once this season already (last Saturday vs. Memphis).

To be fair, he looked better against the Knicks Sunday — 14 points, nine rebounds and eight assists, he was 4-of-9 shooting, with 12 of the points coming in a strong third quarter, but the fourth saw three Stephenson turnovers and with that more of the Gary Neal show — but still has not looked like the Stephenson the Hornets thought was a steal at $9 million a year last summer.

How does he get on track? Stephenson thinks Stephenson just needs to be more aggressive, something he told Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer.

“I tried to make something happen. I let the game come to me last two games and ended up doing nothing,” Stephenson said. “I need to be more aggressive, be in attack mode.”

With aggressive Stephenson also often comes some turnovers, something Frank Vogel seemed more comfortable with that Steve Clifford does this year. Hence the benching. Which, shockingly, Stephenson did not like (and the Hornets lost the game scoring just 69 points), reports Michael Scotto of Stephenson also said he’s moved on.

“It’s tough, but it’s part of being a pro,” Stephenson said. “Learning the system, learning new guys, not getting frustrated, keep playing through my mistakes and just trying to get other people involved. I play through instincts and when my players learn my instincts we’ll be a better team.”

The Hornets need the offense. Through three games Charlotte is averaging 91.7 points per 100 possessions, only the Sixers have been worse. Stephenson — along with Kemba Walker and Al Jefferson — were supposed to fix that this season.

They likely will, it’s just going to take a little time. And it won’t be smooth getting there.

Clippers’ DeAndre Jordan dunks all over Rudy Gobert (VIDEO)

DeAndre Jordan, Rudy Gobert

Utah’s Rudy Gobert is really making leaps as a defensive presence in the paint, you have to like that he goes after a lot of blocks, alters a lot of shots.

But sometimes that means you look bad.

Like when you try to stop the Clippers DeAndre Jordan on the alley-oop. Jordan has a history of making guys look bad and Gobert is in some good company, and you can expect before the season is out a few more will join the club.

The Clippers won the game 107-101 — Blake Griffin had 31 points, Chris Paul a triple-double — but the Jazz made them work for it.

Monday night’s NBA Winners/Losers: James Harden is putting up points, Rockets put up wins

James Harden

Every night the NBA can be a cold hard reality — there are winners, there are losers. It’s the nature of the game. We know you are busy and can’t keep up with every game, so we’re here to bring you the best and worst of the NBA each week night. Here’s what you missed while trying to explain how Tinder is not just for hooking up

source:  James Harden and the undefeated Houston Rockets. The Beard is putting up numbers — 35 on Monday night against the Sixers brings him to 27.8 per game, and with that the Houston Rockets are undefeated at 4-0. Look under the hood a little and none of it is that impressive. In Harden’s case he is shooting just 37.3 percent overall. In the case of the Rockets, their four wins are against the Lakers, Jazz, Celtics and Sixers. Still, they are undefeated beating the teams in front of them and Harden is putting up numbers. So far so good.

source:  Jeff Green and the Boston Celtics. Sure, they lost to Dallas (118-113), but you had to love the fight out of this team. The Celtics were down 31 in the second quarter and 26 at the half, Chandler Parsons had poured in 16, Dirk Nowitzki had 16. A lot of young teams would have rolled over and accepted the loss. But the Celtics started the third quarter on a 23-8 run 8 points from Green — he had 35 on the night, Avery Bradley had 14 in the fourth quarter to get to 32 — and the Celtics made the Mavs work for it. Dallas would make a push, the Celtics would make a run. That included a late 9-0 run that almost tied the game late, until a Parsons three did Boston in. Nobody likes moral victories, but this was one.

source:  Oklahoma City Thunder. They got Reggie Jackson back, it didn’t help — they scored 90.2 points per 100 points per possession pace, they let the Nets score at a 127 per 100 pace. All of that is worse than their season averages, and their season averages are 25th in defense and 25th on offense. They are getting outscored by 13.5 points per 100 possessions. It’s going to be a rough first month.

source:  Sacramento Kings. The toughest back-to-back in the league is playing the second night in Denver, at altitude. The Kings beat the Clippers Sunday night, then went into Denver and beat the Nuggets. Throw in a quality win over the Trail Blazers and the Kings are off to a 3-1 start with three quality wins. Darren Collison had 21 points on 9 shots. Small sample size alert, but the Kings look good and have gotten our attention.

source:  Fabulous. Brooklyn’s own hip hop star came out to introduce the Nets players at the home opener… and wore sunglasses and used cue cards. He was not impressive.

Anthony Davis with ridiculous putback over Zach Randolph (VIDEO)

Anthony Davis, Kyle O'Quinn, Tobias Harris

Anthony Davis is ridiculous.

I feel like I’ll be typing that a lot this season. Early in the Pelicans game against Memphis Monday night Eric Gordon missed a three (he’s shooting just 25 percent from deep this season) but watch Davis, he anticipates the miss and takes three hard steps from the top of the key. Zach Randolph starts to casually slide over to grab the board and Davis just flies in over him and finishes with the putback. He didn’t leap over Randolph to throw it down, but he made the man irrelevant in the play.

Anthony Davis is ridiculous.

Reggie Jackson will play in first game of year for Thunder Monday night

San Antonio Spurs v Oklahoma City Thunder - Game Three

Among the plethora of injuries that have the Thunder off to a 1-2 start this year, there was Reggie Jackson’s wrist. He injured it in a preseason game against Dallas after a collision with Al-Farouq Aminu.

He’s back as of Monday.

Jackson will play his first game of the season when the Thunder take on the Nets Monday, reports Darnell Mayberry of the Oklahoman.

He will start at the point and this sends Sebastian Telfair to the bench.

Even before Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook went down Jackson was going to be a big part of the Thunders’ plans for the season. Long term, they are counting on him to become a third wing scoring threat for them — and if he does he’s really going to get paid next summer as a free agent, he wants to start somewhere.

In the short term he gets to prove he can start and as he does he can help the Thunder tread water until their stars return. He’s going to be in the spotlight (and might really help a few fantasy teams in the next few weeks).