Tag: Juwan Howard

San Antonio Spurs' Tony Parker celebrates after the Spurs eliminated the Memphis Grizzlies to win the NBA Western Conference final playoff basketball series in Memphis

Spurs aren’t old


Go ahead and call the San Antonio Spurs old.

Associated Press

You’ll hear that their pre-game meal has an early-bird special, that their biggest problem in the Finals is that the games are scheduled after their bedtime.

Phil Taylor of Sports Illustrated

The core of this team appears not to have changed since the Nixon administration. You half expect if you opened Tim Duncan’s passport, you’d find his age listed as 00.

Lynn Zinser of The New York Times

Don’t believe the narrative. The NBA’s oldest playoff team is not sitting home and waiting for the Finals to begin.

It’s playing the Pacers tonight.

Tim Duncan (37), Manu Ginobili (35) and Tony Parker (31) are old.

The Spurs are not.

They start Kawhi Leonard (21) and Danny Green (25), and Leonard is the third-youngest player to start in these playoffs (behind Evan Fournier and Harrison Barnes). Weighted by minutes played (using Basketball-Reference.com’s ages), the Clippers, Lakers, Knicks, Celtics and Heat have all been older during the postseason than the Spurs.

The Heat are the only team with an average age in the playoffs older than 30.

Playoff teams, especially those that advance deep, tend to be older. The reasons are two-fold. One, it’s rare young players are good enough to win deep into the postseason. Two, veterans near the end their career often sign with contenders and make good teams even older.

But, by those standards, the Spurs’ age is unremarkable. In fact, if their minute distribution holds in the Finals and the win the title, they would be the youngest champion in the last four years.

Save the jokes for Juwan Howard.

Jason Kidd undecided about returning next season

Jason Kidd, D.J. Augustin

The Knicks expect Jason Kidd will return next season. Kidd said his “plan” is to come back, too.

But the guard still hasn’t completely made up his mind.

Kidd, via Marc Berman of the New York Post:

“I am thinking about it. We’ll see. I have to make a decision. We’ll see what happens. Right now I plan on coming back but in the next couple of days or a week or so, I’m going to think about it if I should keep playing or trying something different.’’

Kidd is the NBA’s third-oldest active player, behind Grant Hill and Juwan Howard, and Kidd leads active players in games and minutes. He has plenty of mileage on his tires – which showed when he went scoreless in his final 10 playoff games, missing his last 18 shots – so it would come as little surprise if he retired.

But Kidd is under contract for two (!) more seasons for $3,090,000 each. The Knicks moved the ball better during the regular season when Kidd was on the court as a secondary point guard next to Raymond Felton. In the right role with a low minute limit, Kidd might still be effective next year.

It’s probably just as likely, whether he returns or not, Kidd’s days as a viable NBA player are behind him.

LeBron takes over, Heat take Game 5 from Pacers

Miami Heat's LeBron James directs his teammates against the Indiana Pacers during the fourth quarter in Game 5 of their NBA Eastern Conference final basketball playoff in Miami

We can talk about Xs and Os, offense versus defense, and individual player matchups over the course of a seven game playoff series. But sometimes, it all boils down to something as simple as which team the best player in the game plays for.

That was certainly the case in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Finals, where LeBron James overcame a lackluster first half to completely take things over in the third by scoring 16 of his 30 points in leading Miami to a 90-79 victory, and a three games to two lead in the best-of-seven series.

James is of course capable of outbursts like the one we saw in this one, but it seemed to come out of nowhere, especially considering the way he chose to play during the first half.

This had all the makings of a game that the Pacers could win, if only they could get the performances out of their stars that they did to start the game for the entire thing, and if they could just contain James while preventing him from doing exactly what he did during that game-changing third quarter.

Paul George and Roy Hibbert were both fantastic offensively in the first quarter, combining for all 23 of the Pacers’ points in the period. Indiana’s team defense was about as good as it gets, with crisp rotations that forced the Heat role players into taking the bulk of the shots. David West took his turn in the second period with 10 points of his own, and the Pacers kept defending with purpose while continuing to successfully limit Miami offensively.

The halftime break was enough for the Heat to gain focus, and it initiated with animated speeches from two of their leaders. Udonis Haslem said in his postgame press conference that Juwan Howard fired up the team in the locker room, and LeBron echoed those words in a tirade on the sidelines before the third quarter began, and then proceeded to go out and lead with his actions.

In the first half, LeBron was extremely passive offensively. There were multiple plays that saw James get into the lane with dribble penetration, only to stop short once he saw Hibbert rotating over, at which point he would kick it out to one of his teammates instead of attacking or taking makable shots. In the third quarter, James was noticeably more aggressive, hitting a series of midrange jumpers, three-pointers from distance, and shots in the paint to take control of this game.

On the rare occasions when James chose to defer in the third, Haslem was the one open when the defense collapsed. He hit baseline jumpers over and over again, and scored 10 of his 16 points in the period on a perfect 5-of-5 shooting.

There was plenty of talk about the officiating heading into this one, but there was only one play that truly stood out. It involved Chris Andersen taking two shots at Tyler Hansbrough in the second quarter, and Andersen somehow wasn’t ejected for his actions. He was given a flagrant foul, however, and the league may very well upgrade it after review in the coming days, and it wouldn’t at all be a surprise of Andersen was suspended for that crucial contest.

With or without Andersen, and no matter how little Miami gets out of guys like Dwyane Wade or Chris Bosh who were both completely ineffective on this night, the Heat will be confident in knowing that they have the game’s best player on their side as they enter Game 6 one win away from a third straight trip to the NBA Finals.

Sometimes, that’s all that matters.

Roy Hibbert dominating Heat inside

Pacers' Hibbert works against Heat's Andersen during the fourth quarter in Game 4 of their NBA Eastern Conference Final basketball playoff series in Indianapolis

The LeBron James/Dwyane Wade/Chris Bosh Miami Heat have allowed only one player to average at least 10 points, 10 rebounds and shoot 45 percent in a playoff series.

Roy Hibbert is on the verge of becoming the second.

Hibbert – who’s crushing the threshold by averaging 22.8 points and 12.0 rebounds per game and shooting 54.1 percent during the Eastern Conference Finals – is having his way with the undersized Heat in the paint.

If the Miami has an Achilles’ heal, it’s big and burly centers. But the 7-foot-2, 280-pound Hibbert is more like an Achilles’ hulk.

After becoming the first player to surpass those numbers against these Heat – averaging 12.3 points and 11.5 rebounds per game  and shooting 47.5 percent in the second round of last year’s playoffs – Hibbert is having even more success this year.

Neither of the Heat’s primary centers, Chris Bosh (6-foot-11, 235 pounds) and Chris Andersen (6-foot-10, 228 pounds), have the size to keep Hibbert off the block. It doesn’t matter who guards him, Hibbert is tossing around his defender:

  • With Bosh on the floor: 21-of-39 (53.8 percent) for 56 points in 111 minutes
  • With Andersen on the floor: 13-of-23 (56.5 percent) for 37 points in 46 minutes

Udonis Haslem (6-foot-8, 235 pounds) and Shane Battier (6-foot-8, 225 pounds) have often switched onto Hibbert while playing power forward, and they’ve been even less of a match.

The Heat just don’t have a player on their roster who matches up well with Hibbert.

Joe Anthony (6-foot-9, 245 pounds) seems like Miami’s best chance, but he’s played just three minutes in this series with Hibbert on the court. Other than LeBron, Juwan Howard (6-foot-9, 250 pounds) has the Heat’s highest body mass index. They ought to at least consider activating him and giving him a few minutes per game on Hibbert.

But Miami has no easy answer here, and Hibbert seems in position to keep crushing the Heat’s interior defense.

Why do the Knicks keep playing Jason Kidd?

D.J. Augustin, Jason Kidd

Jason Kidd has scored exceptionally during the playoffs.

There are many ways to evaluate scoring, but here’s how five players rank by one measure:

  • Jason Kidd: 73
  • Carmelo Anthony: 24
  • Stephen Curry: 23
  • Kevin Durant: 21
  • LeBron James: 17

That’s how many points each player has scored during the 2013 playoffs, as a percentage of the total points scored by their draft class.

Kidd has gotten a lot of flack for his eight-game scoreless streak, but he’s 40 years old. 40! It’s not his fault the Knicks keep sending him out to miss shots, as his rut has now reached 0-for-17.

The Clippers didn’t rely on Grant Hill, the only other member of the 1994 draft class to score in these playoffs. The Heat aren’t even playing Juwan Howard. NBA teams long ago stopped asking players Glenn Robinson, Eddie Jones and Brian Grant to contribute.

But the Knicks keep trotting out Kidd, hoping for better results. And in that way, they’ve elevated Kidd’s scoreless streak into unprecedented territory.

Since 1963-64, as far back as Basketball-Reference’s streak finder goes, there have been 32 scoreless streaks of at least eight games,* including two each by Mark Madsen and John Salley. But most of those streaks came from end-of-bench players who didn’t play much.

Kidd is still an integral part of New York’s rotation.

Here’s how many minutes each player had during his scoreless streak. Keep in mind, some of these streaks have lasted a game or two longer than Kidd’s, but I’m still counting total minutes.

Kidd is represented by the orange bar that towers over everyone else, who are represented in blue.

pbt jason kidd scoreless streak

*Any streaks that spanned more than five seasons might not be counted due to the setup of B-R’s streak finder.

**McDowell’s minute total does not include the first game of his scoreless streak.

***Minutes played weren’t available for Fernsten’s and Fillmore’s streaks.

New York has other options. Pablo Prigioni and Chris Copeland can score a bit, and it’s not like Kidd is helping in other ways. The Knicks have defended worse in the playoffs with Kidd on the court.

But they just keep asking Kidd to do what he can no longer do.