Is this disrespectful to the Lakers? Absolutely.
And I love it.
Chris Paul and the Clippers crushed their Los Angeles counterparts, 133-109, last night. The Clippers, who’ve won 13 of 14 in the series, have practically run out of ways to show up their crosstown rival on the court. If it now takes bench visitors, so be it.
This is the best late-blowout bench behavior since LeBron James led the Cavaliers in the water-bottle challenge in a December win over the Knicks. This would rank higher if Chris Jr. didn’t also joined the bench in the Clippers’ November win over the Mavericks, which is the pictured on this post.
This season, for the first time in 46 years, no NBA coach will be fired during the season (nobody is getting canned at this point).
However, once the off-season starts, there will be a few changes.
Alvin Gentry in New Orleans and Fred Hoiberg in Chicago are the names most mentioned, but there will be an unexpected firing somewhere around the league. Some GMs are on the hot seat also (Rob Hennigan in Orlando leads that parade).
I get into all of it in this latest PBT Extra.
Back on Feb. 28, the Warriors’ leading scorer Kevin Durant suffered a grade 2 MCL sprain and a tibial bone bruise, an injury that happened when Zaza Pachulia fell into his knee. They planned to evaluate him at the end of the month, but this injury is often a 6-8 week issue, which would have him back around the start of the playoffs or in the first round.
The Warriors are optimistic it will be earlier than that, probably by the end of the season, reports Marc Stein and Chris Haynes of ESPN.
The Golden State Warriors aren’t scheduled to formally update the status of Kevin Durant’s left knee until next week, but there is cautious optimism within the organization that Durant — should he maintain his current recovery arc — will indeed be able to return to the court before the end of the regular season, according to league sources.
While noting that Durant is roughly at the halfway stage of his recovery journey, sources told ESPN.com that the Warriors are encouraged by the progress Durant has made in the 22 days since he suffered a sprained MCL and tibial bone bruise in his left knee on Feb. 28.
Durant was getting in some on-court work before the Warriors took on the Mavericks Tuesday.
The Warriors lost Durant at the start of their toughest schedule stretch of the season, and they stumbled some through that. However, after getting home (and playing some lesser teams in that stretch) the Warriors have gotten right, Stephen Curry is shooting well again, Matt Barnes and Patrick McCaw are playing well enough, and the Warriors have won five in a row. They are in the driver’s seat to be the No. 1 seed in the West (the biggest challenge to that is a road back-to-back in Houston and San Antonio next week, get a split there and the Warriors become tough to catch).
Between the end of the season and an easy first round — neither Denver nor Portland play enough good defense to slow the Warriors — the Warriors will have time to blend Durant back into the fold. If the Warriors can find their stride again with him, they are the favorites to hoist the Larry O’Brien Trophy in June.
The Clippers beat up on the Lakers Tuesday night, in a game where one team looked like it was trying to find its playoff form and one team was looking like it wanted to secure its lottery spot. The thrashing was so complete CP3 had his kids with him on the team bench by the end.
The win included two Clippers’ buzzer beaters.
The first just before halftime was somewhat on the Lakers — they let Paul dribble into a long shot and take it uncontested, in rhythm. While the odds are still against him hitting it, give a guy an open look and the chances go up.
The second one was a ridiculous, high-arcing, never should have had a chance for Jamal Crawford that fell. Because it was that kind of night for the Clippers.
The statue garden outside of Staples Center in Los Angeles is getting crowded. Already there are Lakers Magic Johnson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Jerry West, and broadcaster Chick Hearn. And that doesn’t touch on Wayne Gretzky and Luc Robitaille from the NHL’s Kings, or Oscar de la Hoya’s boxing statue.
Come Friday Shaquille O’Neal’s statue will be flying high above them all.
The Lakers’ legend sent out a photo of his statue going up.
The Lakers have already retired Shaq’s jersey inside the arena. When the statue goes up Friday Kobe Bryant, Phil Jackson and others are expected to be on hand for the ceremony before the Lakers face the Timberwolves.