Author: Matt Moore

Oklahoma City Thunder v Los Angeles Lakers

Metta World Peace won’t be fist-bumping Harden because he’s a reserve, apparently


Metta World Peace will not be reaching out to James Harden in Game 1 regarding that whole “elbowing him in the head and knocking him unconscious” bit that happened last month.

From the L.A. Times:

World Peace has not spoken to Harden since elbowing him in the second quarter of the Lakers 114-106 double-overtime victory April 22.

He didnt expect to greet him before the game.

“He doesnt start. I only fist-bump the starting five,” World Peace said. “I don’t fist-bump subs.”

via Lakers get Metta World Peace back for Game 7 –


It should be noted that the whole “fist-bump/hug” thing is only done by starters. So if MWP is just being literal, then fine. You’d think he’d say “I’m not NOT going to, I’m just not going to go out of my way.” This didn’t really sound like that, but that’s up for interpretation.

I get the whole “not being friendly with the enemy” thing. It’s a little absurd considering how chummy these guys were during the lockout and how they could wind up playing on the same team at any moment, but sure.  MWP came off the bench in 19 of his 64 games this season. So why throw the jab? Is he not going to fist-bump Manu Ginobili? Again, he’s being honest from a literal context, it just seems an awful lot like looking down at a guy he nearly knocked out.

You can say it’s just a benign comment about how players fist-bump on the floor before the game, but given what we know of the growing dislike between the two teams, it doesn’t seem like it.

This series is going to be full of love and warmth, I can tell.

It does not sound like Andre Miller will return to the Nuggets

Denver Nuggets v Los Angeles Lakers - Game Five

Andre Miller was traded on draft night last year to Denver, and from the start it was an odd fit. Miller had signed with Portland as a free agent and wanted to be considered a top tier player. He had struggled with Nate McMillan and despite his chemistry with LaMarcus Aldridge, was moved for what was thought to be an upgrade in Raymond Felton. (Whoops.) In Denver, he played brilliantly along with Ty Lawson, but he had issues with coming off the bench. It’s one of those “I’m fine with it, but I’m not fine with it” kind of deals.

After Denver was eliminated Saturday night, Miller spoke about his decision as a free agent this summer. And it doesn’t sound like he’s headed back to the Mile High City.

“I’ll keep my options open,” Miller said. “At this point in my career, if I’m going to be a backup, I’m going to be a backup on a championship-caliber team. Obviously, this team is a good team thats going to get to the playoffs, but the thing is if they are committed to getting to that next level to compete for that championship.”

“I want to be on a team that’s going to compete for a championship, and not use youth as a crutch or inexperience as a crutch,” Miller said.

“This team does have guys that can compete and can get out of the first round. It’s just whether I can swallow my pride and deal with being a backup point guard. I have no problem with it, but at the same time I definitely still see myself as a starter in this league. Like I said, you have to swallow your pride sometimes. These young guys are coming in and theyre working for it. So, thats just part of the business that Im learning.”

via Nuggets Andre Miller says he will keep options open – The Denver Post.

If I’m interpreting, that’s not exactly screaming with confidence for his team. That’s a veteran player who knows that the Nuggets aren’t ready to make the leap and will be looking to chase a ring. So the usual suspects, Boston, Miami, the Lakers, Spurs, etc. will be on the list. Miller knows that the Nuggets aren’t ready. If they were to pay him top dollar and let him start, then sure. But they’ve got Ty Lawson. It doesn’t seem likely that they’ll give Miller that. That doesn’t mean Miller won’t return. He felt he was a top flight free agent when he signed with Portland and that process was considerably more complicated. If no one else lodges a serious offer, he could come back.

Miller does bring a lot of value, though. A tenacious defender who can hit open shots and throw the lob, he’s rife with that experience teams crave. It’ll be interesting to see who decides they need him and what teams are worth him sacrificing his pride in starting.

Clippers-Grizzlies Game 7: Somebody’s going to the second round, somebody’s going home

Zach Randolph, Marc Gasol, Kenyon Martin, Blake Griffin

The Memphis Grizzlies and Los Angeles Clippers face off in Game 7 Sunday. Here are five things to watch.

1. At Least You’ve Got Your Health, Or Not: It’s become a pretty big deal that Blake Griffin has a sore knee (no ligament damage known of at this time) and that Chris Paul has a hip flexor. The hip significantly bothered Paul at the end of Game 6, keeping him from being able to try and close the game. Lost in all of this is that Memphis has dealt with a sore knee for Tony Allen, their best perimeter defender, Zach Randolph is less than four weeks back from a ligament tear in his knee, and that it’s the playoffs. Everyone’s banged up. The Clippers aren’t going to get easy dunks at the basket, most times in these games. If they want to advance, they’re going to have to tough through it. This game may simply come down to attrition and who has anything left.

2. Painting Classes: Whoever wins inside wins the game. That’s pretty simple. If it’s Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph dropping the ball in with expert passing and a soft touch, Memphis advances. If it’s Blake Griffin and Reggie Evans (?!) and Kenyon Martin getting easy dunks on the pick and roll, the Clippers will go on. The battle inside has determined this series, with Memphis’ 3-1 comeback cued by their improved emphasis on getting the ball to their bigs.

3. Expect The Unexpected: Reggie Evans has been a huge swing in this series. His effort on free throw attempt rebounds and making the tough, scrappy plays has given the Clippers life. That Evans has manged to do this without consistently fouling out, turning the ball over, or completely and totally losing his man in rotations stands in stark contrast to his recent career. But this is the playoffs. Someone’s going to have to get unlikely contributions. The Grizzlies had a big momentum swing in Game 6 from Hamed Haddadi. Whoever gets someone to step up who you don’t see coming gets a big edge.

4. Controlling Whistles: This is a fierce, physical series. Both sides are getting hit, and both sides feel the officials aren’t being fair to them. The officials have tended to call more whistles on drives than in the post, and that’s a pattern that helps the Clippers. If contact is allowed on swipes and bodies and elbows inside, that helps the Clippers, because most of their action starts on the perimeter and goes in. Getting a handle on the zebras is key, and if there are adjustments that have to be made, make them.

5. One Shot At A Time: This game could come down to Chris Paul in isolation vs. Rudy Gay in isolation. If that happens, who do you think comes out on top? The Grizzlies have lived and died by late game situations in this series. They have to make sure it doesn’t come down to a Rudy Gay pull-up jumper.

Report: Raptors to aim for Nash, and if not… Lin?

Injured New York Knicks guard Jeremy Lin reacts during pregame ceremonies before the Knicks play against the Miami Heat in Game 2 of their first round NBA Eastern Conference basketball playoffs in Miami

The Raptors are constantly going to be linked to Steve Nash because of Bryan Colangelo’s link to Nash’s Suns which Colangelo was GM for. So naturally, with the Raptors improving, having cap space, and Nash poised to hit the open market, there’s talk of him heading to his native country to finish his career. But the New York Daily News has an alternative should Nash decide to go somewhere he can compete for a title (which is likely):

Toronto will be in direct competition with the Knicks for Steve Nash. But Nash is expected to look to sign with a bona fide contender, and the Knicks and Raptors don’t fit that description. The Raptors are also a potential landing spot for Jeremy Lin. They like him and what he’d do for their attendance, but Toronto would have to “back-load” an offer to the restricted free agent, paying him gazillions in the final couple of years of a deal, and hope that the Knicks would not match. According to league sources, that’s what the Raptors just might do if their Nash plan falls through. But considering that the Knicks have no other viable options at point guard, and Lin has been nothing short of a marketing dream, they’re seen as a lock to match any offer.

via With Chicago Bulls’ fate tied to Derrick Rose’s health, Miami Heat’s Pat Riley recalls Dwyane Wade’s ’05 injury – NY Daily News.

The Knicks are expected to throw whatever loose change they can find underneath the CBA’s couch cushions at Lin to keep him as their star “point guard who doesn’t get to play point guard because that would mean someone besides Melo is touching and possibly shooting the ball.” (Kidding!)  Toronto will be able to make a better offer for Lin in terms of his financial future should they elect to go that route, but New York presents a better chance to win, even with the offensive mess and the injury issues and the fact that an agency is pretty much running the joint. But the best option for New York is to let another team offer a big contract, like Toronto, and then match to keep him in town.

Lins’ going to have options, but how he recovers from his knee injury is going to have an impact as well. All of a sudden there’s a new big free agent on the market, a guy who was cut from two seasons this year. Because nothing makes sense any more.

Celtics 92 Sixers 91: Tell us you didn’t see this coming

Philadelphia 76ers  v Boston Celtics - Game One

Stop us if you’ve heard this one before.

The Boston Celtics play badly for 2.5 quarters, scrap and grind their way to get the deficit into reasonable territory, then turn on the jets while the other team does a series of remarkably stupid things, going away from everything that had worked the entire game through, eventually losing as the Boston crowd goes berserk.

Celtics 92, Sixers 91, Boston wins Game 1 of their Eastern Conference Semifinals series.

The Sixers have a lot to feel good about, sure. Andre Iguodala played a phenomenal game, hounding Paul Pierce, scoring 19 points, adding 6 rebounds and 6 assists, including some dazzling passes. Spencer Hawes gave good effort against Kevin Garnett who continues his playoffs-MVP-level play. Doug Collins had some effective lineup adjustments and the Sixers really pushed the tempo. There were times it looked like they could break it open

They did not. And once it was within range, you knew what would happen. The Celtics simply took over with poise and defense. And the Sixers? Well they started doing things, like, oh, say this:


Yup. It’s not the number. It’s where.

Lou Williams was talked about as a Sixth Man of the Year candidate for much of the year, at least as a “if not Harden” runner-up. But he showed in Game 1 the “trick or treat” he comes with. Great floater? Absolutely. Spot-up threes? Yes, sir. Mid-range pull-up after mid-range pull-up? All the time. It’s the same offense that sunk the Hawks, and the Sixers, after passing brilliantly for 2.5 quarters, ran willingly into the arms of predictable offense against a defense primed to encourage it.

It’s not easy to get good shots on Boston. But the Sixers too easily handed it over.

So on a night where the Celtics didn’t play well, where Boston’s crowd was catatonic for 3/4 of the game, where Paul Pierce didn’t play well, Ray Allen didn’t feel well, and the Sixers made a great series of decisions for much of the game, Boston walks out with the win. This is the pattern, and we’ve seen it over and over and over again.

Boring old Boston, ripping them apart piece by piece.

More than anything, the game shows the incredible enigmatic brilliance of Rajon Rondo. Rondo didn’t play well. That’s just something you’d have to watch the game to see. Because when Rajon Rondo plays badly, he can still have this line: 13 points, 12 rebounds, 17 assists, and 4 steals, along with three plays at the end of the game to clinch it for Boston. Rondo looked disinterested and disgusted with having to play for most of the game. He also keyed the comeback, hit the shot to give the Celtics the lead late in the game, and closed out the Sixers like they were a little brother. He missed nine of 15 shots and had seven turnovers. But he still produces, still closes, and still wins the game. And then gives a snotty post-game interview. That’s Rondo.

So Boston wins Game 1, as expected, and despite struggling, still won. Even when things don’t go Boston’s way this postseason, they go their way, or they make them go their way just enough. A big win for Boston, and their path to the Eastern Conference Finals is down to 3.