Kurt Helin

Chicago Bulls v Denver Nuggets

Monday night games update: Kirk Hinrich out for Bulls; Jrue Holiday says he’ll play for Pelicans

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There are two Game 2s in the NBA Playoffs first round Monday night, and we have some guard updates for both of them.

For the Bulls, guard Kirk Hinrich is out again, reports PBT’s own Sean Highkin. Hinrich is battling an ongoing knee issue and missed game one.

From the Bulls’ perspective, what’s the rush to bring him back? Chicago should be able to beat Milwaukee handily without him. When the Bulls will need him is the second round, very likely against Cleveland. Rest him now, get him as healthy as he can be for when he is needed.

For the Pelicans, Jrue Holiday expects to play but we may not see Tyreke Evans, reports John Reid at the Times-Picayune. Officially, they are both listed as questionable.

”Tyreke and Jrue are pretty much in the same situation,” Williams said before Monday’s shootaround at the University of San Francisco. ”Tyreke is going to be a game-time decision and we’ll wait to see how they feel after this morning and probably before the game.”

”I’m all right, I’m going to make it,” Holiday said before Monday’s shootaround.

The Pelicans need more out of their guards to have a shot in this series. Too often in Game 1 — particularly early on — the New Orleans guards lost Stephen Curry or Klay Thompson off the ball and paid a serious price.

PBT Extra matchup to watch: Pelican guards need to stay with Curry, Thompson

New Orleans Pelicans v Golden State Warriors - Game One
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Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson lit up a lot of teams over the course of the last few NBA seasons. Them putting up numbers on a team isn’t a shock.

But how it happened in Game 1 against the Pelicans — especially early in the contest — made this a matchup to watch entering Game 2. Too often, the Pelican guards took their eye off the Warriors guards when someone else had the ball, and the result was a cut to the basket and an easy bucket. That got the Warriors going, and their momentum had them up 25 before the Pelicans made their comeback.

That comeback came thanks to Anthony Davis and a defense that seemed very “anybody but Curry” in strategy. We’ll see Monday night if that can work again.

Also for the Pelicans, Tyreke Evans is a game-time decision after his injury in the playoff opener.

PBT Extra: Matchup to watch in Bulls vs. Bucks, Derrick Rose vs. Michael Carter-Williams

Derrick Rose, Ersan Ilyasova, Michael Carter-Williams
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The Milwaukee Bucks have a lot of challenges in their effort to have a competitive series with the Chicago Bulls in the first round. Like how to score enough to make the games interesting.

In this latest PBT Extra, I talk about one key matchup — Derrick Rose vs. Michael Carter-Willaims. Rose looked more like his vintage self then we have seen in a long time, he was 6-of-9 shooting inside 8 feet, plus was hitting some threes. He was not settling.

The Bucks traded for MCW in the middle of the season in part because of his length and defense. They need that now. If Rose performs the rest of the series like he did in Game 1, the Bucks are not going to be around the playoffs very long.

Clippers will rebrand this summer, new potential logos leaked

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The Clippers need a rebrand. Frankly, they needed a rebrand more than a decade ago but when you have the worst owner in pro sports you end up with bad decisions across the board. Or just inaction. I think this tweet from ESPN’s Arash Markazi sums it up perfectly.

New Clipper owner Steve Ballmer understands the need for new branding and getting something that differentiates you from the competition (we can debate his success doing that at Microsoft another day). We showed you the other day some leaked images of potential new uniforms — ones that are just unimpressive.

PBT can confirm that a rebranding is planned for this summer. However, what that is going to look like remains up in the air. We hope. The brilliant blog Uniwatch got ahold of some stuff from a presentation shown the Clippers’ staff on the rebrand, including these images.

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Two thoughts:

First, that is an upgrade over the current design.

Second, I’m still not blown away.

Is this going to be the Clippers’ design? Depends on who you ask. From Uniwatch:

Now, you might be saying, “Okay, so somebody proposed this design. But are the Clippers really using it?” Several different sources have confirmed to me that they are.

Markazi heard what I did: Nothing is set in stone yet.

Let’s hope that the early reviews prompt changes. We’re seeing a new logo coming to Milwaukee that shows you can get mostly positive reviews for a design change, but the Clippers are not there yet.

DeAndre Jordan owns paint, makes Clippers’ Game 1 win possible

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LOS ANGELES — During the final 20 games of the regular season, the Spurs had the best offense in the NBA. San Antonio shot 50.3 percent, hit 38.1 percent tom three, and scored 109 points a game — or if you prefer 112.8 points per 100 possessions — in that stretch.

Then the playoffs started and the Spurs ran into DeAndre Jordan and the Clippers’ defense.

San Antonio struggled with its shot in a Game 1 loss to the Clippers Sunday night — and we’re not just talking the missed threes (4-of-18 through the first three quarters). The Spurs shot 14-of-28 inside three feet, 20-of-44 inside the paint overall. Doc Rivers had hyped DeAndre Jordan for Defensive Player of the Year through the end of the season, and on Sunday night he played like that guy.

“Their shot blockers in the back, with DeAndre especially, I think affected us at the basket,” Tim Duncan admitted after the game.

“(Jordan) might be the most athletic center in the game,” Manu Ginobili added. “He is long, very athletic, and (the Clippers) know that, so they send you to him and he’s really good. He gets about 15 rebounds a game and I don’t know how many blocks. It’s something that we know, and it forces us to change our shots.”

Jordan had a couple spectacular blocks and altered a lot more shots inside. To a man, the Spurs credited the Clippers aggressive, attacking defense for throwing off their game. The result was a Spurs’ offense that scored just 89.8 points per 100 possessions on the night.

“They were just hard hedging (on the pick-and-roll)… they were very aggressive,” Tony Parker said. “On the pick-and-roll I had to give (the ball) up, and then Boris (Diaw) and Timmy (Duncan) become the quarterbacks. They found the players, Timmy and Boris, with good looks, we just missed.”

The Spurs got the kind of looks they normally knock down early on, but the shots would not fall. Whether it was just an off night shooting or if the Clippers’ pressure and athleticism had them rushing a little depends on who you asked. The Spurs coach was more succinct.

 

“Their defense was better than our offense. That’s the bottom line,” Gregg Popovich said. “Their aggressiveness, their physicality, their athleticism really hurt us offensively… Then they had that run, but I thought it was their defense, not just Jordan. He’s part of their defense, but I thought everybody did a great job.”

The Spurs will adjust. They will make shots (and will not shoot 14-of-26 fro the free throw line again. The Clippers have a tough road ahead still in what will be a brutal  first round matchup.

But if they keep defending like they did Sunday they’ve got a real chance.