<span class="vcard">Kurt Helin</span>

Portland Trail Blazers v Los Angeles Clippers

DeAndre Jordan climbs the ladder for another alley-oop (VIDEO)


The Clippers may be the least impressive 4-2 team in the NBA, their defense has been bad and their offense spotty.

Still, some things have not changed for the Clippers. For example, DeAandre Jordan knows how to finish.

That became evident during the third quarter Saturday when Jordan threw down the alley-oop from Chris Paul.

The Clippers used a strong second half to come back and beat the Trail Blazers, 106-102,

Thunder players with helium voices in local ad (VIDEO)

2014 Oklahoma City Thunder Media Day

Local ads with NBA players are the best.

And this one out of Oklahoma City is a new favorite of mine — Thunder players like Nick Collison and Serge Ibaka talking with helium voices in a spot for Edmund Hyundai.

Kendrick Perkins is the best.

Steve Nash writes open letter to Lakers fans

Steve Nash

Steve Nash tried.

He came to Los Angeles with Dwight Howard in what was thought to be one of the moves that would make the Lakers contenders again. Obviously that team ran into a perfect storm of problems, among them a nerve injury to Nash that a couple of years later is still keeping him off the court. After a mini-controversy came up in Los Angeles following video of Nash playing golf, he wrote on his Facebook page an open letter to Lakers fans about where he is physically and what has happened the past two years. We’re passing that along.

I definitely don’t want to be a distraction, but I felt it best everyone heard from me in my own words.

I have a ton of miles on my back. Three buldging disks (a tear in one), stenosis of the nerve route and spondylolisthesis. I suffer from sciatica and after games I often can’t sit in the car on the drive home, which has made for some interesting rides. Most nights I’m bothered by severe cramping in both calves while I sleep, a result of the same damn nerve routes, and the list goes on somewhat comically. That’s what you deserve for playing over 1,300 NBA games. By no means do I tell you this for sympathy – especially since I see these ailments as badges of honor – but maybe I can bring some clarity.

I’ve always been one of the hardest workers in the game and I say that at the risk of what it assumes. The past 2 years I’ve worked like a dog to not only overcome these setbacks but to find the form that could lift up and inspire the fans in LA as my last chapter. Obviously it’s been a disaster on both fronts but I’ve never worked harder, sacrificed more or faced such a difficult challenge mentally and emotionally.

I understand why some fans are disappointed. I haven’t been able to play a lot of games or at the level we all wanted. Unfortunately that’s a part of pro sports that happens every year on every team. I wish desperately it was different. I want to play more than anything in the world. I’ve lost an incredible amount of sleep over this disappointment.

Competitiveness, professionalism, naiveté and hope that at some point I’d turn a corner has kept me fighting to get back. As our legendary trainer Gary Vitti, who is a close friend, told me, ‘You’re the last to know’ – and my back has shown me the forecast over the past 18-20 months. To ignore it any longer is irresponsible. But that doesn’t mean that life stops.

This may be hard for people to understand unless you’ve played NBA basketball, but there is an incredible difference between this game and swinging a golf club, hiking, even hitting a tennis ball or playing basketball at the park. Fortunately those other activities aren’t debilitating, but playing an NBA game usually puts me out a couple of weeks. Once you’re asked to accelerate and decelerate with Steph Curry and Kyrie Irving it is a completely different demand.

I’m doing what I’ve always done which is share a bit of my off-court life in the same way everyone else does. Going forward I hope we all can refocus our energies on getting behind these Lakers. This team will be back and Staples will be rocking.

Mark Cuban says letting Steve Nash go was his biggest mistake as owner

Steve Nash #13 / Owner Mark Cuban

Mark Cuban has owned up to this before — back in 2004 he listened to his doctors, his experts who told him Steve Nash was going to break down and to not bring him back. Nash’s body did eventually break down, but not for another decade and in the interim he went to Phoenix, won two MVP awards and ran a system that has altered the NBA landscape (even Gregg Popovich admits to stealing from it).

Cuban was straight forward honest about it speaking to Rolling Stone, telling them it was his biggest mistake as an owner and throwing then coach and decision maker Don Nelson under the bus.

Letting Steve Nash go. I learned an expensive lesson. It took me too many years to realize that for some GMs, their number-one job wasn’t winning a championship, it’s keeping their job. It’s easy to look back and see my mistakes today. I wish I would have been smart enough to know better back then. I loved taking risks to win. Unfortunately some of them were not as educated as they should have been.

What I think was more interesting out of the Rolling Stone Q&A was his honesty that he empathized with Donald Sterling… well, up to the point it hurt Cuban’s pocketbook.

Did I empathize with him? Yes. Of course I did. This is an elderly man who grew up in a generation that is night-and-day in how it understood race and culture. And yes, I empathized with him because this was a conversation that took place in his kitchen and he had a right to expect privacy in his home. But none of that excused him from the rules of the NBA. He put the business of the NBA at risk. That is a situation that, while I have been fined, I have never found myself in and don’t expect to.

That is the line with Sterling. It doesn’t matter where the conversation took place, how owners feared the slippery slope and the rest of it — he had become toxic to the NBA business. Sponsors had pulled out of the Clippers and players would have boycotted games in the fall. It had to change.

You got to love that Cuban admits all that. More owners like Cuban would be good for pro sports in general.

Patrick Beverley, Terrence Jones, David Lee all out for Rockets/Warriors showdown Saturday

Houston Rockets v Miami Heat

Saturday we see one of the most interesting games of the season — the 6-0 Houston Rockets vs. the 4-0 Golden State Warriors. Two teams we knew would be good who early in the season are trying to show they belong in contender status. The Warriors have won their games by an average of 15.8, the Rockets it’s 14.7 (per 100 possessions it’s +16.5 to +16.2 in favor of the Warriors). They have two of the top three defenses in the NBA in this young season. This should be a blast…

Except, this showdown is going to be missing some key role players.

On the Rockets’ side, starting point guard Patrick Beverley is out a week (at least) with a tweaked hamstring, while starting four Terrence Jones has a contusion to his peroneal nerve in his leg that will have him out a week.

That means probably Jason Terry starts at the point and Donatas Motiejunas will start at the four .
For Golden State, starting power forward David Green will be out at least a couple more weeks with his hamstring strain the team announced Friday. He had missed the start of the season but pushed himself to get back for the Clippers game — the Warriors had targeted that one — but he aggravated it after just 7 minutes on the court.

It’s not that bad for the Warriors because Draymond Green has been fantastic filling in as a starter. Behind him Marreese Speights and Harrison Barnes will get a little run.

All this goes to show is while Saturday’s game should be fun, it’s the first month of the season — don’t read anything long term into this. Both of these teams need to show they can sustain this level of play. Still, what a start. And this should be the best game so far of a young season.