Kurt Helin

Toronto Raptors vs Miami Heat

Charles Oakley says NBA has “more bad games than good games” now


The NBA today is a very different place than the one where Charles Oakley mugged and banged his way to an 18-year NBA career. Just after he left is when the NBA changed the rules allowing zone defenses, plus they changed the enforcement not allowing hand-checking on the perimeter. It took time, but that has led to less isolation basketball (you can’t really do that against a Tom Thibodeau-style defense) and a less physical game, one where players can show off their athleticism rather than just get mugged play after play.

Oakley isn’t a fan.

Oakley was in Toronto for Charles Oakley bobblehead night Saturday and said he can barely watch the NBA these days, as reported by James Herbert of CBSSports.com’s Eye on Basketball.

“Who do I like watching? It’s hard to watch,” said Oakley, 51. “I don’t know, it’s just, it’s a different game. It’s some good games and a lot of bad games. More bad games than good games.”

“I don’t know what it is. They just roll you out there like a basketball. That’s why … you see the same teams in the finals or winning 55 games. Strong teams, strong-minded coach. Just the players, they don’t think it, they don’t know how to play together,” he said. “So that’s one of things I see the weakness is: Communication, the guys don’t love the game. They play the game, but they don’t play with their heart.”

Oakley will get a lot of support from some fans who see it that way.

Personally, there were a lot of guys in the 1990s playing just for the checks, too, and to remember it any other way is to put on rose colored glasses. Which we all tend to do about the past and eras we love. We remember the passion with which Michael Jordan played and the way the Knicks physically intimidated and tried to knock him down, and recall that that as representing an era. However, the same year Oakley was an All-Star (1994) the Mavericks won 13 games with some ugly, dispassionate hoops, while the Pistons and Bucks won 20 each and were hard to watch. There was bad basketball then. It wasn’t all passionate team play. People just don’t remember that now.

My opinion is I’d rather watch today’s style of game, where the court has opened up, more threes are launched, and teams have to move the ball to get a good shot against these modified zone defenses than the slow, grinding, muggings that became basketball in the 1990s. Oakley clearly sees it differently.

To each his own.


John Wall drops 31 as Wizards rally past Kings (VIDEO)

Sacramento Kings v Washington Wizards
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Don’t look now, but the Wizards have won three straight.

Washington trailed by 21 early in the third quarter but the Kings fell apart while John Wall went off, helping lead the comeback and finishing with 21 points and 12 assists.

Washington seems to have found itself again, and Wall is leading that charge. The Kings… George Karl has some work to do.

Hawks’ reserve big Mike Scott likely out several weeks with broken toe

Mike Scott, Ray McCallum, Jason Thompson

Mike Scott doesn’t get a ton of minutes a game for the Hawks most nights — 12-18, with about 7 points and 4 boards a night his last 10 games — but those can be vital minutes in resting bigs Al Horford and Paul Millsap. Which is something you want to do a lot of as the Hawks start to get ready for the playoffs.

However, they are going to be without Scott for a few weeks. From the Hawks official press release:

Atlanta Hawks forward Mike Scott suffered a left toe injury against the Denver Nuggets on March 11 that was initially diagnosed as a strain. After further consultation and an MRI examination, taken yesterday at St. Luke’s Medical Center in Phoenix, a fracture of his left great toe was revealed. He will see a foot specialist at Peachtree Orthopaedics in Atlanta on Monday to determine the appropriate course of action.

While the Hawks will not give a timeline, a broken toe is usually a few weeks.

The Hawks will be fine, nobody is catching them for the No. 1 seed (and whoever gets the eight seed will essentially be a tune-up round for the Hawks). But it does hurt their depth for the next few weeks.



James Johnson throws down on the Birdman (VIDEO)

San Antonio Spurs v Toronto Raptors

Miami’s slide down the Eastern standings continued at the hands of Toronto on Friday night. The Raptors took control in the second quarter and cruised to a comfortable win. A win they really need.

The highlight of things going right for the Raptors for a night? James Johnson attacking the rim and throwing down on Chris Andersen.

Russell Westbrook records another triple-double, OKC beats Minnesota

Russell Westbrook, Zach LaVine

Sure, Russell Westbrook needed to campaign for this one a little, that doesn’t mean he didn’t earn it.

Westbrook recorded his eighth triple-double of the season Friday night, putting up 29 points, grabbing 10 rebounds and dishing out 12 assists. Westbrook had eight points and four assists in the first quarter, but he took over in the fourth, scoring 15 and putting the game out of reach.

If you want to nitpick, Westbrook almost had a quadruple double because of his eight turnovers. But in the end he led the Thunder to another much-needed victory — with it they are tied with the Pelicans for the eighth and final playoff spot in the West.

Westbrook continues to keep his name at the forefront of the MVP race with performances like this as well. But what the Thunder need is Westbrook to help get them wins. Besides, if the Thunder don’t make the playoffs the MVP trophy is not going to be awarded in Oklahoma City again this year.