Tag: Chris Paul

Los Angeles Lakers v New York Knicks

Carmelo Anthony has big dunk, big game against Lakers (VIDEOS)


Everybody may have been focused on Phoenix and the football game there Sunday, but there was a matinée in New York City — the Lakers were in town to take on the Knicks at Madison Square Garden. It was a game that generated so much interest ESPN dropped its broadcast a week ago in favor or showing footage from Chris Paul’s celebrity bowling event.

Carmelo Anthony still put on a show.

He skied for the dunk above and put up 31 in an easy Knicks win 92-80 (it wasn’t that close, the Lakers closed the game on an 11-2 run). Carmelo had it going.

Three Things We Learned in NBA Sunday: Yes, there were NBA games on Super Bowl Sunday

Los Angeles Lakers v New York Knicks

If you watch closely every night in the NBA you can learn a little something. We know you are busy and can’t keep up with every game, so we’re here to help with those lessons from another night in the Association. Here’s what you missed while wondering what Pete Carroll/Darrell Bevell were thinking…

1) The Knicks and Lakers are so bad ESPN decided to run bowling instead. The two biggest name teams from the two biggest television markets in the nation played Sunday and nobody wanted to watch. Well, maybe not nobody but so few people that a week ago ESPN decided to change their broadcast schedule and drop this game in favor of showing a taped, edited version of Chris Paul’s charity bowling tournament from almost one month ago. Basically ESPN bet that old footage of guys like Lil Wayne and Nick Cannon bowling would draw better ratings than the Knicks and Lakers. And it’s hard to argue that. They were probably right.

2) Carmelo Anthony can still get up for a dunk. Way up. When you think of the very best alley-oop finishers in the NBA, ‘Melo is not really the first name that pops into your head. But he looked really good doing it in what became a 92-80 Knicks win over the lowly Lakers. Anthony had 31 in the game.

3) Hassan Whiteside is still the best thing to come to Miami since the Cuban sandwich. Okay, maybe that’s overstating it as there were a few good years there with the guy who went back home to Cleveland, but Whiteside continues to be a revelation in Miami this season. He had 20 points and nine rebounds to lead Miami to an 83-75 win over Boston. In his last five games Whiteside has averaged 15.2 points a game shooting 61.8 percent plus pulling down 12.8 rebounds a game and throwing in a block each night. But more than the numbers, when he is on the court the Heat are just more active and energetic — he deflects passes, pressures on defense and Miami just plays with more energy. He is the reason to watch the Heat right now, plus he’s making plays like this.

Tyson Chandler, better than ever, thinking legacy

Dallas Mavericks v New Orleans Pelicans

BOSTON – Tyson Chandler made history the moment he played for the Knicks.

After helping the Mavericks win the 2011 championship, Chandler hit free agency during post-lockout chaos. Concerned about flexibility under the new Collective Bargaining Agreement, Dallas let Chandler sign with New York rather than than offer its own large multi-year deal.

It’s rare a player posts more than nine win shares for a championship team and doesn’t play for that team again the following season. It had happened with just Michael Jordan (1993 and 1998 with the Bulls), Bill Russell (1969 with the Celtics) and George Mikan (1954 with the Minneapolis Lakers), but they each retired after their title(s). Chandler – who had 9.4 win shares for the 2010-11 Mavericks, second to only Dirk Nowitzki – became the first to play for a different team the next year.

Dallas has won just three playoff games in the three years since letting Chandler leave, and the Mavericks’ relative struggles have not been lost on the center. Nor has it been lost on anyone else that Dallas failed to turn its cap flexibility into any major additions, getting spurned by Dwight Howard, Chris Paul,Deron Williams, LeBron James, Chris Bosh and Carmelo Anthony.

Mavericks owner Mark Cuban practically admitted it was a mistake to let Chandler leave in 2011.

Does Chandler – who returned to Dallas in an offseason trade from the Knicks – ever wish he had stayed?

“Not so much,” Chandler said. “In the past, I did, especially when I watched them the year after the championship. I understood that things happen. The only thing that I think is, I just hope in one place long enough to get an opportunity to see my jersey hanging in the rafters one days. I think that would be your ultimate goal.”

Will that affect him in free agency next summer?

“Not at all,” Chandler said.

Chandler and the Mavericks are once again heading down this path. Dallas is a championship contender, and Chandler is on an expiring contract.

This time, though, Chandler is better than ever.

In his 14th season, he’s averaging 10.5 points on 66.9 percent shooting and 12.0 rebounds per game.

He’s having a career year by PER (20.8):


…win shares per 48 minutes (.228):


…and the eye test.

Asked how Chandler has changed since coaching him four years ago, Rick Carlisle responded quickly.

‘He’s better this time around,” Carlisle said

“He’s a smarter player, because he’s more experienced,” Carlisle continued. “His skill set is better. His overall knowledge of the game is better. He was always a good paint controller, but he communicates better. So, he’s gotten better as he’s gotten more experience, and we’re fortunate to have him back.”

It’s unlikely Chandler – who spent five seasons in Chicago, three in New Orleans/Oklahoma City, one in Charlotte, one in Dallas, and three in New York before returning to the Mavericks – stuck anywhere long enough to get his jersey retired. But if he has a chance anywhere, it’s Dallas.

Though Chandler has spent only one full season with the Mavericks, he was the second-best player on a championship team. Dallas, which entered the NBA in 1980, also has just two retired jerseys – 15 (Brad Davis) and 22 (Rolando Blackman).

So, there ‘s room for more numbers in rafters – beyond Nowitzki’s 41, a lock – if this era remains successful.

Chandler, reenergized playing with a contender, believes the Mavericks have the ingredients to go far. Though every player but Nowitzki has changed since 2011, Chandler is frequently and pleasantly reminded about his experience in 2011, when he said the Mavericks had “special locker room.”

Did he ever experience anything like that with the Knicks?

“No,” Chandler said. “ We never quite jelled. We worked at it, and it wasn’t that it wasn’t good guys. It was just, for whatever reason, we never meshed that way.”

Is Dallas’ locker room now special?

“This is,” Chandler said. “It’s incredible guys here. I love them. I wouldn’t choose a different group. I love coming to work every single day with them and growing with them.”

In some ways, it’s funny to hear Chandler talking about growing after all these years. He’s at a point many players, especially big men, are fading.

But he also entered the league straight from high school, meaning he has more pro experience than his age suggests.

“I’m still young,” said Chandler, 32. “I still feel great. I still feel like I’ve got a lot of years in this league to bring the same type of energy and enthusiasm. When that goes, I think I’m going to go, because it’s such a huge part of my game, and I love playing that way. So, I think when I lose that passion and desire is when it will be time for me to step away.”

Until then, it’s clear he and the Mavericks have a good thing going.

But soon enough, the question again becomes: How long will it last?

Three Things We Learned in NBA Thursday: The All-Star Rosters need to be expanded

Washington Wizards v Portland Trail Blazers

If you watch closely every night in the NBA you can learn a little something. We know you are busy and can’t keep up with every game, so we’re here to help with those lessons from another night in the Association. Here’s what you missed while hearing how the Denver Broncos almost traded a young John Elway

1) The All-Star rosters need to be expanded so we don’t have more Cousins/Lillard situations. Yes, DeMarcus Cousins and Damian Lillard got screwed by not being put on the All-Star team. They deserved a spot. The problem is in the West, who do you replace? Tim Duncan? He’s putting up 14 and 10 plus is in the discussion for Defensive Player of the Year. If you think this is a lifetime achievement award you need to watch more Spurs games. And at guard, you want to remove Chris Paul? Then you’re taking him for granted because he’s right at his career average numbers — 17.5 points a game, plus 9.7 assists to just 2.2 turnovers a night.

The problem is there are more deserving players than spots — so why not add more spots? Bump the roster to 15 players. The game is an exhibition, so you cut a few minutes to make room for some other deserving guys, the fans aren’t going to complain. They want a show, they want to see the world’s best players, why not make sure they are all there?

2) Bulls don’t bother against another sub .500 team and lose. Again. The Chicago Bulls have 18 losses on the season and half of them have come against sub-.500 teams. This is a team that for years under Tom Thibodeau had a clear identity — they would play physical defense and just out work the opponent. This season the offense is clicking but Chicago is 12th in the league in defensive efficiency — they are inconsistent with their effort. A couple nights after playing maybe their best game of the season to beat Golden State the Bulls mentally took the night off. The Lakers opened the game on a 6-0 run, were up 11 after the first quarter and led by double digits most of the first half.

“We started the game with low energy, we were badly out rebounded,” Thibodeau said after the game. “They started out shooting 60 percent in the first half and any team that you give confidence too like that, it’s hard to shut them off.

Led by Joakim Noah the Bulls played 90 seconds of defense to end the game, and that was enough to make up nine points, tie the game and send it to overtime. Then double overtime. As it has been all season, the Bulls played a few minutes of good defense then stopped again. To a man the players say they know about the problem and it’s just a matter of effort at the start of games. Maybe so, but we need to see it from them.

3) Zach Randolph can still put up numbers. Maybe not making the All-Star team motivated Randolph, but whatever the reason he put up a quality line against Denver — 15 points and 17 rebounds — as the Grizzlies just rolled the Nuggets Thursday. Randolph is still just a load down on the low block and he may be a third offensive option some nights (behind Marc Gasol and Mike Conley) he can still cause defenses nightmares.

The three biggest All-Star snubs in each conference

DeMarcus Cousins

Now that the All-Star teams have been unveiled, it’s time for everybody’s favorite exercise: identifying which players got snubbed. The good news for these players is that at least one of them will be late adds. Kobe Bryant was voted in as a starter, and he’s out for the season with a torn rotator cuff, so that creates one spot in the Western Conference. Dwyane Wade is out indefinitely in the East, and he was named a reserve on Thursday, so that opens the door for another replacement. There is potential for other replacements to come up, if the likes of LaMarcus Aldridge, Kevin Durant, or Carmelo Anthony decide to sit with their current injuries.

In the meantime, here are three players in each conference that deserved to make it.


Damian Lillard (Portland Trail Blazers): Lillard is the most surprising name to be left off. The Blazers have the third-best record in the Western Conference, and he’s rightly developed a rep as a cold-blooded clutch shooter. The problem is, there are way too many good point guards in the Western Conference. Should Chris Paul get left off? What about Russell Westbrook? The West has about 20 guys who are worthy of the 12 available spots.

DeMarcus Cousins (Sacramento Kings): If LaMarcus Aldridge hadn’t put off his thumb surgery, Cousins would have been a lock. The biggest knocks against him are that he plays on a losing team (which isn’t exactly his fault, considering the Kings fallen off a cliff since the firing of head coach Mike Malone) and the 10 games he missed with a viral infection in November and December. But Kevin Durant has missed more games than he’s played, and he made the team. From a basketball standpoint, it’s hard to argue with Boogie’s credentials. He’s been among the best bigs in the entire league, putting up career numbers (23.8 points, 12.3 rebounds, 3.2 assists, 1.6 blocks) and creating a matchup nightmare for every team he faces.

Mike Conley (Memphis Grizzlies): Conley should have made the team last year, and he’s having an equally great season this year. He’s just unfortunate enough to play the most loaded position in the loaded Western Conference. Lillard is already probably in line to be named a replacement ahead of him, and which of the guards that made it should be left off? It’s unfair that Conley got passed over again, but someone has to.


Kyle Korver (Atlanta Hawks): No team has sent four players to the All-Star game since the 2011 Boston Celtics with Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen, Paul Pierce and Rajon Rondo. But it’s hard to argue Korver doesn’t deserve a nod along with his teammates. He’s having a historic shooting season — his True Shooting percentage is 74.1 percent, almost four points higher than the single greatest TS% in history, Tyson Chandler’s 70.8 percent mark in 2011-12. And where Chandler and the other leaders in the category were big men who scored mostly around the basket, Korver is taking 5.8 three-pointers per game and shooting 53.4 percent from beyond the arc. He’s the most dangerous shooter in the world and he should be in the All-Star game.

Brandon Knight (Milwaukee Bucks): Not talked about much as one of the elite point guards in the league, Knight has quietly been the rock of a Bucks team performing well above expectations. He’s tied his career high averaging 17.9 points per game, become a reliable three-point shooter (40.8 percent from deep) and keeping Milwaukee in the playoff hunt despite the loss of Jabari Parker for the season. He’s going to get paid this summer.

Nikola Vucevic (Orlando Magic): There’s no chance Vucci Mane makes it, since the Magic aren’t a playoff team. But he’s putting up monster numbers, averaging 19.5 points and 11.2 rebounds. He’s made leaps as an offensive player and become an all-around threat in the post. The four-year, $54 million extension he signed in October is already looking like a steal.