Kurt Helin

Los Angeles Lakers v Philadlephia 76ers

Sixers’ affiliate trades rights to J.P. Tokoto to Thunder, he’s headed to D-League

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J.P. Tokoto is very athletic.

He just has to learn how to fit that into the NBA game, ideally as a lock-down defender. But there is some work to do, which is why the Sixers cut him at the end of training camp.

Tokoto signed to play with the 87ers, the Sixers’ D-League affiliate, but they traded him to the Oklahoma City D-League team, reports Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports.

Sixers’ coach Brett Brown said when cutting Tokoto that he could get into the NBA on his defensive skills with some work — that’s what the D-League is for. It’s also for guys looking to develop some shooting range, another Tokoto need.

Some players need more time to develop; the Thunder organization is willing to take a low-risk chance they can make that happen.

Heat rally from 21 down, rout Rockets 109-89

Hassan Whiteside
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MIAMI (AP) — Udonis Haslem didn’t play a single second for the Miami Heat on Sunday night.

Instead, he dominated halftime.

Haslem’s fiery speech – replete with some profanity from the tri-captain and a couple bottles getting angrily spiked into the red locker room carpeting for emphasis – led to a Miami turnaround, the Heat outscoring Houston by 41 points in the final 23 minutes and rolling past the Houston Rockets 109-89.

“Absolutely awesome,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said about the speech. “That’s what leaders do. By the time I got in there, he was already halfway through it and there wasn’t much that was needed to be said after that.”

Miami was down 65-44 early in the second half. The Heat outscored Houston 65-24 the rest of the way.

“At times, I can be kind of harsh,” Haslem said. “But it’s harsh reality … and it just comes out the way it comes out.”

Said Heat guard Dwyane Wade: “It was all bleep, bleep, bleep.”

Hassan Whiteside had 25 points and 15 rebounds, Wade scored 20 points and Luol Deng scored 14 for Miami – which enjoyed its biggest comeback win since a 27-point rally at Cleveland late in the 2012-13 championship season. Tyler Johnson scored 11, Chris Bosh had all 10 of his in the fourth and Justise Winslow added 10 for the Heat.

Marcus Thornton scored 21 points for Houston, and James Harden had 16 on 2 for 15 shooting – 0 for 10 from 3-point range. The Rockets have dropped each of their first three games by exactly 20 points each.

“You can’t have a stagnant offense and not get stops,” Harden said. “That’s a sign of disaster, which happened in the second half.”

Dwight Howard sat out to rest on the first night of a back-to-back. He’s expected to play when the Rockets host Oklahoma City on Monday night.

“We have not played well all preseason. We have not played well in the first three games,” Rockets coach Kevin McHale said. “No one feels sorry for us. We just have got to go out and find our rhythm and keep on playing.”

 

HARDEN IN MIAMI

There is something about Miami that doesn’t bring out the best in Harden.

He struggled in two NCAA Tournament games at AmericanAirlines Arena, endured plenty of rough moments in three NBA Finals games there with Oklahoma City in 2012, and the regular-season hasn’t always been kind to him in Miami either.

Harden is now 44 for 117 in Miami as a pro, and 20 for 65 from 3-point land. His two NCAA games were even worse, with him shooting 3 for 18, 1 for 8 from 3-point range and scoring 19 points in two games.

Report: Hornets, Jeremy Lamb nearing deal on three-year, $21 million extension

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Jeremy Lamb has played 23 minutes through two games for Charlotte, shot 8-of-19 overall and 4-of-9 from three, and they are about to lock him down at $7 million a year.

Welcome to the new NBA salary cap world.

Lamb could not make it work for three years in Oklahoma City, but Charlotte is willing to bet on his potential, reports Marc Stein of ESPN.

This is about value. The Hornets need shooting, Lamb is athletic and with potential, and in a world where $7 million will be the cost of an average NBA bench player, the Hornets see some value. He’s going to get more run with Michael Kidd-Gilchrist out. If the Hornets think he could have a good enough season to command more on the open market next summer (when television money floods the market), they are smart to lock him up now.

Lamb is still a bit of a project, particularly defensively (to put it kindly), but while the number seems high this is a reasonable roll of the dice.

Report: DeMarcus Cousins out at least two games with Achilles strain

Josh Smith, DeMarcus Cousins
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DeMarcus Cousins left the Kings’ eventual loss to the Clippers Saturday night with a sore Achilles, which meant an MRI on Sunday. Here are the official results of that MRI, from the Kings’ press release:

An MRI conducted this afternoon at Kaiser Permanente in Sacramento revealed that Kings center DeMarcus Cousins sustained a right Achilles strain during the second quarter of last night’s game against the L.A. Clippers at the STAPLES Center. Cousins is listed as day-to-day going forward.

However, our old friend Bill Herenda of KFBK AM Sports in Sacramento got more concrete details from his sources.

The Kings have a rough four-games-in-five-nights this week. It starts with back-to-back Tuesday and Wednesday, hosting the Grizzlies then at the Suns. After resting Thursday, the Kings host the Rockets then the Warriors Friday and Saturday.

That’s a tough stretch with your best player, but the Kings were 6-17 without Cousins last season and struggled without him against the Clippers on Saturday. This could be a rough week for the Kings.

Duncan, Parker, Ginobili now winningest trio in NBA history at 541

Manu Ginobili, Tony Parker, Tim Duncan
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More than Magic, Kareem, and Worthy. More than Bird, McHale, and Parish. More than Jordan, Pippen, and Grant. More than Russell, Cousey, and Jones. More than Mullin, Richmond, and Hardaway.

Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, and Manu Ginobili have won more NBA games as a trio than any of them.

Sunday’s 95-87 road win for the Spurs fittingly came in Boston. It was victory number 541 for the Spurs trio, moving them past the Boston legends Robert Parish, Larry Bird and Kevin McHale on the all-time list. The Spurs trio also has four titles with the three of them playing together (Duncan has a fifth from before those two arrived in San Antonio).

Ginobili had 13 in the game, Parker 10 and Duncan 7. LaMarcus Aldridge led the Spurs with 24. The Spurs won, so you can bet Duncan isn’t worried about the stats.

They should go down as the greatest trio of all time — not just for the wins and titles, but the sustained level of excellence (winning 50 games every year they played together) and adapting their style of play with the league through that time. Gregg Popovich certainly deserves credit in there, too, but he’ll be the first to tell you what he preaches is meaningless if Duncan, Parker, and Ginobili were not so good and bought into what he sold.

The Spurs Twitter account congratulated the trio this way.