LOS ANGELES —LeBron James and the Cavaliers did whatever they wanted to the Clippers defense through three quarters — drive the lane, post guys up, hit threes, get out in transition. The Clippers couldn’t stop any of it — Cleveland put up 91 points in three quarters and led by 23.
The catalyst for this was LeBron, who had 27 points through three. That included some impressive threes, but not quite as impressive as his drives and dunks. Like the one above.
Or this one in transition.
Clippers’ Branden Dawson arrested on domestic violence charges
LOS ANGELES —Branden Dawson is not with Clippers for the big Sunday showdown with the Cavaliers because was still in a Los Angeles jail, arrested for an alleged domestic abuse incident.
Of course, TMZ broke the story, but other sources have now confirmed the arrest and that Dawson was still in jail as tip-off approached Sunday.
Clippers forward Branden Dawson was arrested for felony domestic violence this morning… TMZ Sports has learned. We’re told he was taken into custody around 8:30 in LA this morning. He’s currently being held on $50,000 bail.
This is a serious charge that hopefully the Clippers and the league treat as such.
Dawson was a second-round pick of the Clippers last June out of Michigan State, and the lightly-used forward has appeared in just three Clippers games. He has played mostly for the Erie Bayhawks of the D-League. He’s shown flashes of quality play there according to reports, but that’s a long way from cracking the Clippers’ rotation.
Dawson’s contract with the Clippers for next season (at less than $1 million) is non-guaranteed.
Bulls’ Pau Gasol out at least two games with swollen knee
If the playoffs started today, The Chicago Bulls would be on the outside looking in. They are a game back of eighth seed Detroit, although the two teams are tied in the loss column.
The good news is they should get Jimmy Butler back Monday, but this isn’t going to help matters — Pau Gasol is out for the next two games against Toronto and Washington, coach Fred Hoiberg said. Via Vincent Goodwill of CSNChicago and KC Johnson of the Chicago Tribune.
Butler is expected to play. Gasol has swelling in his knee, won't travel to Toronto or DC. Rose will travel but still undetermined
The swelling is in Gasol’s right knee. He was already playing through a sore shoulder and assortment of other injuries that also now will get some rest.
Gasol’s raw numbers are impressive: 17 points and 11 rebounds a game, a PER of 22 and he’s an All-Star. The Bulls are 4.6 points per 100 possessions better this season when Gasol is on the court thanks to his offense, but Hoiberg has yet to find a consistent rotation where Gasol and the entire lineup thrives. The Bulls play their opponents even when Gasol is on the court.
Still, Gasol is giving them more than 30 quality minutes a night, that’s not going to be easy to replace, particularly against a couple of good teams also thinking playoffs this week.
Doc Rivers wants Jeff Green to be more consistent. Get in line.
He’s “just up and down,” Clippers Coach Doc Rivers said about Green’s play. “We’d love for him to be more consistent. He will be. I’m confident in that. It’s not like we eased him in. We grabbed him and threw him in….
“So I thought he struggled with that early on,” Rivers said about Green trying to adapt to the Clippers’ more fast-paced offense. “Defensively is probably where I want him to pick it up more.
“We’re just doing a lot of film work with him right now, trying to shortcut the curve. He’ll get it. But we need it.”
The only consistent thing about Jeff Green is his inconsistency. He had 23 points for the Clippers on Wednesday, but he’s had two 0-for-the-night games for the Clippers since his arrival. This isn’t the offense, it’s Green. It has been that way since he entered the league, and the best way to tell someone who should watch more NBA is to find someone who thinks Green’s potential is untapped and he could be an All-Star. That’s what we all thought in 2009. Green still teases with his potential on certain nights; he can bring it for a half or a game and turn your head, but eight seasons into his NBA career he is who he is. It’s not changing now.
Green is averaging 11.2 points a game and is shooting 41 percent from three as a Clipper. But his play is up and down and his PER of 13.3 is below replacement level. Which is how it goes. Rivers seems to have rose-colored glasses when thinking about the guys who used to play for him, but if he were honest, he would have known this was the guy he’s getting. He is what he is.
And the Clippers will have to live with it.
Watch Russell Westbrook’s gamble that helped change momentum for Spurs win
It is tied 76-76 midway through the fourth quarter Sunday between Oklahoma City and San Antonio, and it was going to come down to smart plays and execution down the stretch.
San Antonio did that better and closed the game on a 17-9 stretch and got the win.
The momentum changed with this play — Russell Westbrook made a ridiculous gamble to go for a steal which left Danny Green wide open in the corner.
The Spurs never trailed after that point.
Westbrook admitted after the game that was a bad decision and said “that is my fault.”
But right now this is part of what’s holding the Thunder back from competing with the Spurs and Warriors. There are moments of bad gambles and bad decisions on both ends — not a ton, this is still an elite team, but enough that it costs them against the other elites of the league. A couple of minutes after Westbrook’s gamble Kevin Durant tried to reach and strip Kawhi Leonard with a gamble play out top, missed, and Leonard dribbled right to the elbow for an open jumper he knocked down.
In most seasons we’d be talking about this Thunder team as a contender, but the bar is higher this season. The execution and discipline down the stretch have to be sharper. And the Thunder have to hit a higher level of key shots. Games like Saturday make you question if they could do that four games out of seven.