Kurt Helin

Blake Griffin posterizes Mason Plumlee with left-handed dunk (VIDEO)

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That is some old-school Blake Griffin.

He backed down the smaller Damian Lillard — good job by the refs with the no-call on Lillard’s flop (yes Blazers fans, that was a flop) — and Griffin went to the rim with authority. Mason Plumlee tried to come over and help, but he just ended up in the poster.

From the start, the Clippers tried to post-up Griffin, especially if they could go at Al-Farouq Aminu. To Griffin’s credit, he was not settling for jump shots he was using his power to get to the rim. This was as good as he’s looked since his return from quad injury/broken hand/suspension. 

Heat bench reaction to Hassan Whiteside and-1 dunk is real highlight (VIDEO)


This Hassan Whiteside and-1 dunk was impressive, part of Miami’s high-energy Game 1 beatdown of the Charlotte H0rnets.

But the Miami bench reaction was far better than the dunk itself.

Report: Phil Jackson has already spoken to Luke Walton about Knicks coaching job

Associated Press

Coaching searches work a lot like free agency in the NBA: There is a lot of behind the scenes reaching out, assessing of interest, and preliminary legwork done long before the formal interviews start. To put it another way, teams that have not even fired their coaches yet have reached out to Scott Brooks and other elite coaches to judge potential interest and talk fit.

So the fact Phil Jackson has reached out to Warriors’ assistant Luke Walton shouldn’t be a shock. Marc Berman of the New York Post has the details.

Warriors assistant coach Luke Walton already has interviewed with several teams about their head-coaching vacancies, including the Knicks and Nets, according to multiple NBA sources. Walton had pulled himself out of consideration for the Nets before they announced the hiring of Kenny Atkinson on Sunday.

According to a source, Knicks president Phil Jackson has spoken with Walton in a phone interview…

A league source said Walton could stay with the Warriors another season, and he isn’t close to deciding what to do.

The Warriors are not going to stand in the way of Walton taking a head coaching job anywhere he wishes to go, and Walton certainly will have options. But know that the Warriors are not terribly concerned about losing Walton to the Knicks where Jackson wants him to run the triangle offense. If you just spent the last couple seasons with a front row seat to the Stephen Curry and the small ball revolution, would you want to run the triangle?

Walton is going to take his time with any decision — remember Alvin Gentry didn’t make his decision to leave Golden State for New Orleans and the lure of Anthony Davis and great gumbo until the Finals in June. Walton may be on a similar timeline, if he decides to leave Golden State at all. But you can be sure that a number of teams — including the Lakers, if and when they make a coaching change — will be putting in a call. If they haven’t already.

Curry still questionable for Warriors for Game 2 vs Rockets

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OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — The Golden State Warriors are preparing to play without NBA MVP Stephen Curry for Game 2 of their playoff series against Houston as he nurses an ankle injury.

Even if they know he will beg and plead to play through any pain. As long as he can’t make it worse, Curry insists it will be hard to keep him off the court Monday night.

“Oh, yeah, for sure,” coach Steve Kerr said of Curry campaigning to play. “When Steph’s out, our guys understand that he’s not there to count on, so they have to execute. If they don’t, we’re just not going to score enough points.”

Kerr called Curry’s status questionable again Sunday, when the point guard didn’t practice a day after hurting his right ankle late in the first half of a 104-78 win over the Rockets in the playoff opener.

“Steph is a warrior. If he can play, he’s definitely going to be out there,” center Festus Ezeli said.

Curry was undergoing treatment on the ankle Sunday and unavailable for interviews.

“He’s doing a little better than yesterday,” Kerr said. “He’ll get some rest, get off his feet and we’ll do the same thing tomorrow at shootaround and see how he’s feeling.”

If Curry can’t play Monday, Shaun Livingston will start in his place. The Warriors won at Houston on Dec. 31 without their superstar.

“It kind of changes things. We don’t seem to be as good of a coaching staff when Steph goes out – I don’t know why,” Kerr joked after practice. “We’ve got a lot of guys who can play. I think Steph missed three or four games this year. We did fine. Obviously we’ve got to find different ways to score. We’ll prepare for that and see what happens.”

Golden State’s backups have prided themselves all season in not losing a step when the second team comes into the game. In fact, contributions by the bench were a big reason the Warriors set the NBA record with 73 wins to top the 1995-96 Michael Jordan-led Chicago Bulls that Kerr played for.

“We’re prepared. We’re going to continue to play. We’re ready to step in,” said power forward Marreese Speights, who scored 12 points in 15 minutes off the bench Saturday. “We’ve got a lot of guys who can play and will impact the game. We know Steph, when his 30 points are taken off the board – or really 60 points with all the stuff he’s doing on the court, playing defense, passing the ball, helping, controlling the offense – but we’ll be all right.”

Curry landed awkwardly shortly before halftime Saturday.

“I just tried to change direction, missed the shot, and tried to get back on defense, and then slipped a little bit and felt it slip or tweak,” he said after the game.

Andrew Bogut knows it will take a lot for Curry not to play. The positive if he does sit is the Warriors have until Thursday to get him healthy for Game 3 at Houston.

“He’s the MVP. Take the MVP out of the lineup and there will be some tweaks and changes made,” Bogut said. “You know Steph’s a competitor. He wants to play every game he can.”

Bradley Beal says for Wizards to take step forward he, John Wall need to play together more, better

Associated Press

John Wall and Bradley Beal played together for 1,241 minutes this season across 52 games.

In those minutes, the Wizards outscored their opponents by less than one point per 100 possessions. They played teams even.

That’s not good enough.

Whoever takes over as the Wizards’ coach next season is going to need more out of Beal and Wall if the Wizards are going to have the breakout season everyone expected of the team this season. Beal admitted as much, as reported by J. Michael at CSNMidAtlantic.com.

“It’s been a rocky year in terms of injuries, offense changing, getting used to playing with new guys on the team and adjusting to a few things,” said Beal, who appeared in a career-low 55 games in his fourth season, before the Wizards’ final game of the season that ended 41-41. “We both should’ve had a better year than we had. We should’ve carried the team a little better than what we did. We both can attest to it….

“As far as us two together it wasn’t anything unusual. There was no beef or anything like that,” Beal, who is a restricted free agent this summer, said of his relationship with Wall. “We just didn’t play as well as we were supposed to. I think sometimes we put a lot of pressure on ourselves and we tried to overdo it especially if one’s not playing and the other one is. There’s a lot of things that factor into it. Overall, it’s no excuse. We both should’ve had a better year than we had.”

The issue is not their personal relationship, Wall added.

“I think we’re in a great place. We do a lot of talking, a lot of communication,” Wall said. “If he didn’t get hurt he was on pace to probably be an All-Star also. We would’ve been a better team. You take just about any team that has a main backcourt and you take Klay Thompson away from Steph for about 30 games it would be different.”

If the Wizards are going to be any threat in the East, they need what Toronto got this season from Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan in Toronto — they both stepped their games up this season, and when they were paired on the court the Raptors outscored opponents by 4.1 points per 100 possessions. They were the second best backcourt in the NBA.

Wall and Beal also dominated that Raptors’ backcourt in the playoffs last season. They are capable of it.

Wall and Beal just need to stay healthy and be on the court together, defend a little better, and have a system around them that lets them lead the Wizards back to the playoffs. Then we will see if they can take that step forward.