Tag: Jrue Holiday

Scott Brooks, Kevin Durant

Five Things We Learned in NBA Sunday: Thunder don’t look like playoff team yet


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 taking your deceased parent to the bank to make cash withdrawals….

1) Oklahoma City does not look like a playoff team yet. They have Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook back healthy, plus both are playing at an elite level. Yet they have lost two in a row (including Sunday to Cleveland), are 5-5 in their last 10, and now have fallen back to .500 again. Sunday on national television it looked like the Cavaliers are finally getting it together — LeBron James is explosive and the Cavs are defending better — while the Thunder… we’re still waiting. Their defense isn’t sharp, although it’s not terrible. The offense on the other hand… They shot just 39.4 percent as a team Sunday and key guys were not efficient (Westbrook was 7-of-26, Dion Waiters 5-of-15). In their last 10 games they have the 21st ranked offense in the league. Despite those two studs. You can say there is half a season to get it together before the playoffs, but they have to make the playoffs. They are three games back of the Suns and not making up ground of late. OKC needs to find it’s groove sooner rather than later.

That said, Kevin Durant can still do this:

2) New Orleans doesn’t know it can’t make the playoffs, only two games out. This is like when his trainer Duke leans into Apollo Creed in Rocky and said “He doesn’t know it’s a damn show! He thinks it’s a damn fight!” We did it in the paragraph above — assumed that if anyone is going to catch the Phoenix Suns for the last playoff spot in the West, it’s the Thunder. Why not the Pelicans? They beat the Mavericks on Sunday, their third straight win, and they are now just two games back of the Suns (who lost to the Clippers). The Pelicans are in front of the inconsistent Thunder. New Orleans has the superstar in Anthony Davis and he played like it Sunday (28 points, 10 boards) but they also got 24 points out of Tyreke Evans (who will have the ball in his hands a lot until Jrue Holiday returns) and 18 from Ryan Anderson. If I had to bet I’d still put my money on OKC to finish ahead of Phoenix and New Orleans, but we shouldn’t be counting the Pelicans out of this race.

3) Hassan Whiteside is not another Miami fad. Miami fans have been hyped on Whiteside since he came to South Beach and started putting up numbers — he has a PER of 26, which is normally the kind of thing that gets one mentioned for the All-Star Team. He has been a defensive force and very efficient on the offensive end, shooting 68.4 percent. But would it last? It looks like he is not another Miami fad gone in a week. Sunday Whiteside had his coming out party on national television with 14 points, 13 rebounds and a Heat record 12 blocks. His energy and athleticism have been something they needed and he can get some easy looks as the defense focuses on Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade. The Heat have found something here.

4) Monta Ellis and D.J. Augustin did their best (but it wasn’t enough). Two of the best performances of Sunday night came in a losing effort. One was from Dallas’ should-be-but-will-not-be All Star Monta Ellis who had 36 points on 27 shots and was at his best when attacking the rim or shooting threes from the left side of the court. He gave the Mavs a chance in their loss. (Sorry Mavericks fans, he’s been fantastic but in the deep West he just can’t make the All-Star cut. Nowitzki is on the outside looking in, too. Just can’t see a Mav on the team.)

D.J. Augustin got thrust into the Pistons’ starting lineup due to the Brandon Jennings injury, and he put up 35 points on 20 shots in Detroit’s loss to Toronto. He was 5-of-9 from three and 7-of-9 when he attacked and got inside eight feet of the rim. Augustin also dished out eight assists. He played well opposite Kyle Lowry, but it wasn’t enough.

5) Kyle Lowry pulled off the old fake timeout trick. We see this about once a season, this time it was Lowry’s turn to break it out.

Pelicans’ Jrue Holiday out 2-4 weeks with “stress reaction” in right leg

Memphis Grizzlies v New Orleans Pelicans
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The Pelicans are getting their best player back Wednesday night in Anthony Davis, but they are going to be without their second best for a few more weeks.

Point guard Jrue Holiday will be out 2-4 weeks due to a stress reaction in his right leg, the team announced Wednesday afternoon.

Holiday averages 15.2 points and 7.1 assists a game and is the catalyst for the Pelican’s offense. He’s also an elite defender who pairs well with Davis and Omer Asik patrolling the paint.

Announcement: Pro Basketball Talk’s partner FanDuel is hosting a one-day $300,000 Fantasy Basketball league for Wednesday’s NBA games. It’s $25 to join and first prize is $30,000. Starts at7pm ET on WednesdayHere’s the FanDuel link.

No Holiday means Tyreke Evans will continue to start at the point. This is great news if you have Evans on your fantasy team but not so great if you’re the Pelicans — Evans is looking for his own shot first, particularly at the end of games when for reasons unexplained the offense moves away from their best player for long stretches.

The one advantage for the Pelicans is they are starting a stretch where 10 of their next 12 games are at home.

Kobe Bryant, Anthony Davis both set to play in Lakers/Pelicans game Wednesday

NBA All-Star Game 2014

This is what the NBA has come to: Two star players will play in a game and that’s news.

But the fans in New Orleans will get what they paid for Wednesday night — both the Lakers’ Kobe Bryant and the Pelicans’ Anthony Davis will play when the Los Angeles takes on New Orleans.

Kobe had sat out the last two Lakers’ games to get some rest but he is back now, coach Byron Scott announced at shootaround.

Davis has been battling a sprained big toe on his left foot but the Pelicans are not the same without their leading scorer, rebounder and shot blocker — they lost to the lowly Knicks and Sixers in their last three games without him.

Davis said this about the injury, speaking with the Pelican’s official Web site.

“(It was) soreness. That’s really it,” Davis said of what had prevented him from playing. “But it’s all better. I’m ready to give it a go tonight.”

Jrue Holiday remains out for the Pelicans.

Five Things We Learned in the NBA Monday: Tom Thibodeau is not a happy man

Tom Thibodeau

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 reading about the home Muhammad Ali grew up in

The Chicago Bulls are not playing Thibodeau-level defense. For the past few years, through all the injuries and challenges, the Bulls at least played good defense. But not lately. Monday they let the Cavaliers — who has played better in their now three game winning streak — score 108 points, which translates into 116.1 points per 100 possessions. In their last five games the Bulls have allowed teams to score 113.6 per 100 — that’s 29th in the NBA in that stretch. The Bulls are not defending or rotating with energy, evidenced by the Cavaliers taking 49 of their 90 shot attempts in the paint. The Bulls have lost 6-of-8, Derrick Rose is more than irritated, and Tom Thibodeau is losing it in post-game press conferences saying “enough is enough.” The Bulls offense has not been pretty of late either, but Chicago has gotten away from its identity as a defensive power. If that doesn’t change, the dream of making the NBA Finals will fade faster than Thibodeau’s voice.

James Harden doesn’t care how good your defense is, he will score on it. At will. The Indiana Pacers are still a top 10 defense this season. James Harden doesn’t care. He scored 45 points on 12-of-18 shooting (he got to the free throw line 15 times). The beard can flat out score.

The Knicks can win a game. Break up the Knicks. Sure, it took playing a Pelicans team without Anthony Davis or Jrue Holiday playing on the second night of a road back-to-back, but so what. The Knicks got a win. Carmelo Anthony had 24 points and 9 boards but most importantly played selfless, smart basketball in the final minute. However, the star of the show was Langston Galloway. If you just said “Who is that?” the answer is the guy who put up 21 points and can do this.

The Dallas Mavericks can beat a good team. Coming into Monday Dallas was 1-8 against Western Conference playoff teams, while Memphis was 10-3 against that same group. So consider this your daily reminder that the Western Conference playoffs will be a bloodbath. Dallas took an early lead then, when it was tight late, they got great play out of Dirk Nowitzki and some key buckets from Rajon Rondo to get the win. Memphis was 3-of-22 from three and had just one bucket in the final four minutes as Dallas is playing better defense of late. Dallas was 10-of-25 from three and will be much more dangerous if they keep shooting and hitting from deep.

The Cleveland Cavaliers can play defense. This game was the best we have seen Cleveland play this season. Sure, LeBron James was doing LeBron James things, J.R. Smith was raining threes, and the return of Kevin Love brought better movement and passing to the Cavaliers offense, but that’s not the most impressive part of the game for them. No, the real story is the Cavaliers played good defense. The Bulls shot just 37.5 percent in this game and the Cavaliers contested 51 of the Bulls 80 shot attempts. Timofey Mozgov was strong in the paint, taking away easy looks. This was the best the Cavs have defended this season and if they keep this up they will get a lot closer to fulfilling their promise. But they have to start doing this consistently.

Elton Brand says Doug Collins was reason Sixers drafted Evan Turner over DeMarcus Cousins

Miami Heat v Philadelphia 76ers - Game Four

Draft hindsight is always 20-20.

Years after any draft you can find fans saying “I can’t believe we took Player X over Y and Z” when in point of fact that fan — and more importantly the scouts and GM — really thought at the time Player X was going to be the best of that group. Nothing brings out revisionist history like the draft.

Say, for example, taking Evan Turner over DeMarcus Cousins. Which is what the Philadelphia 76ers did back in 2010. At the time many GMs would have made that move, but now it’s a regrettable decision.

One that former Sixer Elton Brand laid at the feet of former Sixers coach Doug Collins in an interview with LibertyBallers.com (via Ball Don’t Lie).

A year prior, leading up to the 2010 NBA Draft, many players on the Sixers were expecting the team’s front office to draft Kentucky big man DeMarcus Cousins with the No. 2 Overall pick. Then as Collins’ control of the Sixers’ roster moves increased, it became apparent Philly was going to go in a different direction.

“Doug Collins wouldn’t have coached DeMarcus Cousins,” Brand said…

“Rod Thorn was letting Collins do his thing and coach thought we reached our maximum potential and wanted to go another way,” Brand said.

I think it’s fair to say that the Sixers may have broken up the band and started this aggressive rebuild a little too early. That Sixers team was close but really it was going all in on Andrew Bynum and that miscalculation that set the team back and started them on the path they currently travel.

At the time of the draft, Turner was seen as a poor man’s Brandon Roy (pre-injuries) who had a decent all-around game and who was fantastic in transition. He seemed like a fit next to Jrue Holiday, but there were questions about how high Turner’s ceiling was. Everyone knew Cousin’s ceiling but also knew he would be a real challenge to coach.

Collins made his pick and honestly a lot of other teams would have made the same one at the time. Although now every GM would probably tell you otherwise. The draft and revisionist history go hand-in-hand.