Kurt Helin

DeMarre Carroll Nemanja Bjelica

Toronto’s DeMarre Carroll already battling plantar fasciitis

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The Toronto Raptors are off to an impressive 5-1 start, in part due to a defensive turnaround — they are ninth in the league in defensive efficiency. DeMarre Carroll deserves credit for some of that turnaround — he gives them an elite perimeter defender, plus he has been at the heart of the mentality change on that end of the court north of the border.

Which is why this is not good news — he is already battling plantar fasciitis. He skipped practice on Saturday and talked with Mike Ganter of the Toronto Sun about it.

“People don’t really know,” Carroll said, “but I’m just trying to give what I can to the team. I feel like me going out there and doing what I can to help this team and if that’s me at 70% then I’ll give them 70%. It might already be to the point where I have to start listening to my body.”

“I got to worry about 82, so I got to be smarter, but me just being who I am and being a competitor I just want to go out there and give my all to my teammates and give my all to the coaching staff.”

The only real cure for plantar fasciitis is rest. That may not sit well with Carroll, but this is something that just lingers if not given time to get healthy. It’s November, there are 76 games left on the Raptors schedule — he shouldn’t be pushing through too much now for the sake of a couple wins (which this team may be able to get without him). It’s about the next 76, and then the first round of the playoffs after that. He needs to just get healthy. Take a book out of the Popovich playbook — and almost everybody else now — and rest.

It’s not like anyone in the Atlantic Division is going to catch them anyway.

Durant says Thunder still adapting to new defensive system

OKLAHOMA CITY, OK - OCTOBER 28:  Kevin Durant #35 of the Oklahoma City Thunder shakes hands with Head Coach Billy Donovan of the Oklahoma City Thunder during the game against the San Antonio Spurs on October 18, 2015 at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2015 NBAE (Photo by Layne Murdoch/NBAE via Getty Images)
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The Oklahoma City Thunder are a bottom 10 defensive team right now — ranked 22nd in the NBA in defensive rating allowing 103.3 points per 100 possessions. Teams are shooting fairly well against them (eFG% of 48.2 percent, 18th in the NBA) but the bigger issue is the team is dead last in the league at creating turnovers.

This roster has top 10 defense talent, so what gives? Kevin Durant said it’s not just the offensive schemes that changed and needed adjusting to, as reported by Royce Young at ESPN.

“It’s a different defense for us,” Kevin Durant said. “The schemes are great, it’s perfect for us. We just have to continue to figure out what we want to give up and what we want to take away and just keep working at it.”

Is the scheme that different? Sam Amick of the USA Today asked a scout about the Thunder defense, and he saw a lot of the same things that didn’t work well for them last season.

I haven’t seen much of a difference (from last season). You’ve got a couple of guys who are known as defenders on the team, and then everybody else is looking to score. I don’t see a difference….

“The guards are still pressing and fighting over screens and stuff, but as a team they’re not on the same page defensively. The bigs are too far back, sagging too far back I think. They’re not impacting the ball enough, because the other team’s guards are able to score and do what they want to do. It’s ‘You score, (they) score.’ And then whoever goes on the run in the fourth quarter wins the game. People talk about Kanter, and sure he’s a bad defensive player. But basketball is a team sport, and it takes everybody. I mean he’s not the one giving up all the points. It’s a joint effort.”


Enes Kanter is a bad defender, make no mistake. The weak Thunder defense is still 4.6 points per 100 possessions worse when he is on the court this season, and when you get to the playoffs he will get targeted. Kanter typifies the “you score, we score” mentality of this team mentioned by the scout.

That said, patience should be the word of the day in Oklahoma City.

OKC is a work in progress under Billy Donovan. Russell Westbrook praised the space he found in the new offense, and the Thunder have the second best offensive rating in the league (behind Golden State). But the defense has yet to catch up, and the bench play has varied from erratic to just plain bad. Donovan is still figuring out how to work the rotations, including who is the best two-guard to go with the starters/closers on this roster.

For OKC, it’s going to take some patience. The 3-3 start will be long forgotten if by Christmas (or even the All-Star break) they find their defensive groove and hit their stride entering the playoffs. That’s when the success or failure of all the changes will be judged. For now, just be patient.

Dallas’ Jeremy Evans with insane block on Anthony Davis (VIDEO)

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If you can get up high enough to  block an Anthony Davis floater, you’ve got hops.

We’re a little late with this, but Jeremy Evans provided one of the best highlights of Saturday night so we’re passing it along. Look at him track this block down then get ridiculously high to block AD’s shot. You may best remember Evans as the high-flying former dunk contest winner, a guy getting a little bit more run in Dallas this season than he did in Utah before.

Davis still finished with 25 points on 19 shots, but Dallas got the 107-98 win to keep the banged-up Pelicans winless on the young season.

Heat’s Gerald Green out of hospital, no other update on his condition

Gerald Green, Garrett Temple
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Good news: Miami Heat swingman Gerald Green is out of the hospital and resting at home.

What we don’t know what sent Green to the hospital in the first place, or when he’ll be back to playing basketball.

Miami’s ABC affiliate Channel 10 broke the news about Green being out of the hospital. Ira Winderman at the Sun Sentinel had some other details.

According to the transcript of the 911 call of the incident, a woman at the front desk of Green’s condo is heard on the recording saying, “I have a resident that just passed out. He’s bleeding….”

Several Heat players have been in communication with Green, including guards Dwyane Wade and Mario Chalmers, who lives in the same Miami condo building as Green and was in the ambulance at Green’s side when Green was transported Wednesday.

There were some reports that Green was acting erratically before the 911 call. However, the bottom line is we don’t know much about what happened.

Hopefully, he will recover and be back on the court soon.

Kings’ Darren Collison out indefinitely with hamstring injury

Darren Collison, Ronnie Price
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The sore Achilles that sidelined DeMarcus Cousins isn’t the only reason the Kings have started 1-6. Another issue is at the point guard spot — Sacramento’s up-tempo offense is 5.5 points per 100 possessions better when starter Rajon Rondo is off the court. If you just said “but Rondo brings it on defense” know the Kings’ defense is 11.9 per 100 better when he is on the bench.

However, that doesn’t mean more Darren Collison running the show in Sacramento — he missed Saturday night’s game with a hamstring and told James Ham of CSNBayArea.com he’s going to miss more time as well.

From his courtside seat, he informed CSNBayArea.com that the injury required an MRI and the results were “not good.” Collison confirmed that he would be out several days at minimum while the team’s medical staff waits to see how his body responds to treatment.

He is almost certainly out Monday as the Kings host the Spurs. They are home this week and face the Pistons Wednesday and the Nets Friday.

Rondo did have a triple-double against the Warriors — 14 points, 12 rebounds, 15 assists — in what was his best game of the season (of course, the Warriors still won). George Karl and the Kings are going to need more performances like that until Collison gets back — and getting Cousins back Monday will certainly help this struggling team.