We’re not in the habit of bringing you highlights of missed dunks or shots that don’t count, but for this clip of Kevin Durant from the Thunder’s win over the Nets on Tuesday, an exception needs to be made.
This one is great for a lot of reasons. Durant seemed to have been eyeing this one from the moment he crossed half court, and possibly sped up the possession to force a two-for-one opportunity with around 35 seconds or so remaining in the half.
The offense was spread, and the paint was wide open. All Durant had to do was blow by his man, and then, it was time for takeoff.
Andray Blatche came over late to try to take the charge, but all that did was make Durant leap higher, to the point where his shoulder was flush with the rim. He was forced to take off maybe a little sooner than he wanted to, which caused him to literally try to throw the ball down through the hoop instead of being able to grab the rim for the more official slam.
“I wanted to finish it so bad. I know Dray from him playing in D.C. and that’s where I’m from, so I’ll talk a little trash to him after that one,” Durant said, via the Associated Press.
Durant said it probably would have been his best dunk in the NBA had it gone down, laughing that he didn’t jump higher because he “didn’t have no more left in the tank.”
After watching this clip more than once, jumping any higher simply doesn’t seem humanly possible.
Brook Lopez out two games (at least) with foot sprain
This could be a bigger blow if Kris Humphries is suspended for his part in the fight with Rajon Rondo and the Boston Celtics that spilled into the stands Wednesday night. That would remove the entire starting front line of the Nets.
They should be okay for the first game against Orlando. The second game against Miami could be more of a challenge. Even if they had all their players.
While you have been busy mocking his new max contract, Lopez has been busy having a career year and helping get the Nets off to a fast 10-4 start. He is averaging 18.5 points a game on a career best 53.4 percent shooting. But he was always smooth on the offensive end, it was his defense and rebounding that were the knocks. Well he is more focused on rebounds, not putting up great numbers but grabbing the highest percentage of available rebounds he has in three seasons. In addition his blocked shots are at an all-time high of 2.5 a game. He’s improved. And the Nets will miss him.
But we’re all excited to see Blatche start. Because he is fully capable of either playing brilliantly or being a train wreck. And either will be entertaining to watch.
Andray Blatche takes shot at Wizards. Who are still better off without him.
Note to Andray Blatche: The Brooklyn Nets are not 9-4 because of you, they are 9-4 because of Brook Lopez and Deron Williams and Gerald Wallace and occasionally even Jerry Stackhouse.
And the Wizards are not 0-12 because you are gone — you are at the heart of the problems still. They invested years and money in you to eventually have you ask not to play and so they had to eat your contract and rebuild.
But apparently, that’s not how he sees it. NBA.com’s John Schuhmann was at the Knicks at Nets game Monday night and tweeted this:
Andray Blatche to reporters in BKN locker room: “Anybody seen how the Wizards are doing?”
Blatche, go read the first two paragraphs here again.
Just a reminder, the Wizards were willing to eat the remaining $35 million on Blatche’s contract to get him out the door via the amnesty clause (the Wizards big mistake was ever offering that contract based on promise). And it was still the right move — the locker room needed to be made professional and Blatche was never going to be part of that. What the Wizards locker room didn’t need was injuries to Nene and John Wall, plus some pretty “meh” seasons from Emeka Okafor and Trevor Ariza.
Blatche signed with the Nets as a low-risk move for them and he played pretty well in limited minutes early in the season. But he was 3-of-11 shooting two games ago then after a bad shot against the Knicks saw his minutes cut way down to just over 7.
Blatche needs to worry about not getting in Avery Johnson’s doghouse, not trying to gloat about the 0-12 Wizards.
Baseline to Baseline recaps: Boston falls and fails in Detroit
Pistons 103, Celtics 83: Well, this was ugly for Boston. On a lot of levels. Mostly that they came in against a weak team on the second night of a back-to-back and played like they wanted to be anywhere else. A little secret is that Boston’s defense hasn’t been that great this season — they were 19th in the league in points per possession before the Pistons lit them up shooting 54 percent. And scoring 44 points in the paint. Greg Monroe had 20 points and 13 boards.
Then came the fourth quarter sham where the Celtics kept Rajon Rondo on the court trying to get him to 10 assists to keep his streak alive. It felt like Wilt’s 100 point game (where his team started fouling to stop the clock and get the ball back so they could feed him). It was just ugly.
Sixers 86, Cavaliers 79: Jrue Holiday deserves the credit for this win — his defense on Kyrie Irving was fantastic all night, holding Irving to 9 points on 4-of-14 shooting, with 4 assists and 5 turnovers. Holiday was Irving’s blanket. Still the Cavs hung in until late in the game the Sixers hit five straight — two from Evan Turner (who finished with 19), two corner threes from Spencer Hawes, and that was enough. It wasn’t just Irving, Dion Waiters struggled in Philly with five points on 2-of-13 shooting and not a rebound or assist.
Nets 99, Kings 90: That would be five straight wins for the Nets, heading into a good test with the suddenly run-and-gun Lakers Tuesday. Andray Blatche was the star, dropping 29 points, 11 in the fourth quarter when they needed it. This was a two-point game early in the fourth quarter until a 13-2 Brooklyn run changed the dynamic. This was also the Kings fifth straight loss but they actually played better than in recent efforts. Maybe that was a new starting lineup, maybe a players-only meeting. Who knows? But it was a step in the right direction, led by DeMarcus Cousins’ 29 points.
Thunder 119, Warriors 109: Kevin Durant has his first ever career triple-double, Russell Westbrook dropped 30 and when that’s going on beating the Thunder is almost impossible. The Warriors made a go of it, they were getting balanced scoring (five guys in double figures) and Curry had 22. But it wasn’t enough because, well, the Thunder are just really good.
Knicks 88, Pacers 76: This is a game where the winning team shot 36.7 percent from the floor. You wouldn’t use the word pretty. The Knicks took control with a 13-3 run in the second quarter (they won the period 20-12) and that was enough. The Pacers offense without Danny Granger to create shots or as a safety valve late in the clock can just struggle. Carmelo Anthony had 26 to lead all scorers and still looks great when he gets the ball on the block.
Trail Blazers 102, Bulls 94: This game was tied up 73-73 but an 8-0 run gave Portland a lead they never let go of. Wesley Matthews and Nicolas Batum each scored 21 points; LaMarcus Aldridge added 18 points and 13 rebounds. Maybe the best player on the floor was Joakim Noah, who had 16 points, 15 rebounds and 8 assists. Both teams are now 5-5.
Raptors 97, Magic 86: Toronto is simply the more athletic, longer, more skilled squad and it showed in a couple runs. There was a 14-2 first quarter run sparked by DeMar DeRozan (11 points in the first quarter, 20 for the game), but to the Magic’s credit they fought back. Until the fourth quarter when a 19-4 Toronto run sealed it. Orlando shot just 26.3 percent and hit one three in the fourth. That won’t cut it. Meanwhile the Raptors bench took over — Amir Johnson had 14 in the fourth, Linas Kleiza 10. Quick shout out to former Celtic E’Twaun Moore who had 16 points and four assists.
Del Negro says Odom will work way into shape “eventually”
Del Negro said Odom’s knees are bothering him and that playing the 6-10 forward against the Jazz probably would have set him back.
“He’s got to work through some conditioning things and some health things right now, which he’s doing,” Del Negro said. “Yeah, I wish he was in a little bit better conditioning, and he wishes he was. But he’s just got to continue to work every day and I’m sure he’ll get there eventually.”
The Clippers have the enviable duo of Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan to start, although Jordan was benched during the playoffs for large stretches in favor of Reggie Evans. That would be the Reggie Evans sitting on the bench in Brooklyn. The Clippers need depth up front, they need Odom in shape and with his head screwed on right.