Baseline to Baseline (your game recaps): Where the Celtics tried to give one away, but couldn’t

0 Comments

What you missed while figuring out where to buy the Wii Michael Jackson game

Denver giving the improved Dallas defense their first real test was the Game of the Night.

Celtics 105, Bucks 102 (OT): Boston got lucky. They were up 6 with 1:22 to play. Boston closes that out. Ray Allen doesn’t miss free throws in the clutch. But tonight they did. And Boston escaped with a win.

One play of note: The Celtics key defensive stop with 30 seconds to go in overtime was vintage Boston. It’s how they’ve won for years. Ray Allen didn’t pressure Carlos Delfino getting the ball on the wing and coming a little late gladly gave up the baseline, guided him that way. Because Kevin Garnett is already there in help position — Boston brings the help earl and pushes you to it. Allen and Garnett took away the pass back to Bogut (Garnett’s man) and left Delfino with few options. He still choose poorly, leaping under the basket and then throwing a pass Paul Pierce easily intercepted.

Delfino made more bad choices, throwing a pass that was picked for the final play of the game, but he did drain a key three.

The Bucks are 1-4, they are really struggling on offense. Didn’t expect that.

Hawks 94, Pistons 85: There are serious problems in Detroit. And not in the “they were 10-21 on shots at the rim and if you can’t finish 50 percent of your shots at the rim you will lose” kind of way. Although that was true Wednesday. But more in the Rodney Stuckey and coach John Kuester had something going on and Stuckey played just 2:56 the second half kind of way. The day after Tayshaun Prince fired back at the coach. Serious problems.

By the way, Atlanta won because it shot better, got to the line more, was more aggressive and just plain better.

Sixers 101, Pacers 75: The Pacers were just off. One of those nights. Danny Granger started out the game 1-8 with all of his shots 13 feet or farther out, on the night only two of his 14 shots came inside of 10 feet. Which was part of the problem — not getting to the rim. Winless Philadelphia played with a sense of desperation.

Magic 128, Timberwolves 86: Minnesota made one bucket in the final six minutes of the first quarter as Orlando went on a 33-8 run and were up 19 after one. Then it got uglier and uglier.

Hornets 107, Rockets 99: New Orleans shot 42 free throws, Houston 14. That speaks to being aggressive, that speaks to getting the ball inside and working inside out, that speaks to playing smart defense and not fouling. Chris Paul took this over in the fourth, scoring 14. Also, Emeka Okafor is playing really good defense, I thought you should know.

Jazz 125, Raptors 108: The Jazz won this one by getting points inside, in the paint, and knowing the Raptors couldn’t stop them. Al Jefferson had 27, Paul Milsap 21 and combined they shot 61 percent. The Raptors can be a good confidence boost for teams that way.

Spurs 112, Suns 110: Richard Jefferson has developed a corner three. You need to fear that rest of the league. Jefferson put up 18 in the fourth to power the Spurs win.

Lakers 112, Kings 100: The Lakers defense has not been that great this season. It wasn’t very good against the Kings. But LA cruises to another win because of their offense. Kobe leads the way with a triple double.

The Kings made a little late push when the Lakers stopped running the triangle offense and went with the Orlando offense for some reason — throw it into the post and wait for the kick out, and don’t move. Whatever you do. Then when the game gets really tight. , Fisher nailed a corner three, got a steal and a three-point play. Because that is what he does.

Warriors 115, Grizzlies 109: My god, Monta Ellis can just flat out score the ball. He had 39 including all the key late baskets. Then there was the dagger — David Lee was open in the paint, got the feed and went Kwane Brown just fumbling it. Monta Ellis beat everyone there, put on a spin move then shot an 18-foot contested fade away. Nylon.

Clippers 107, Thunder 92: Eric Gordon and Eric Bledsoe are the future of the backcourt for the Clippers, who look so much quicker with Baron Davis out. The Clippers found the holes in the Thunder defense — there are a lot of them right now — and went at them. For the Thunder, well, mama said there’d be days like this. Just not their night.

Pelican’s Green says Zion ‘dominated the scrimmage pretty much’

0 Comments

The Zion hype train keeps right on rolling. First were the reports he was in the best shape of his life, then he walked into media day and it looked like he is.

Now Zion has his own hype man in Pelicans coach Willie Green, who said he dominated the first day of team scrimmages. Via Andre Lopez of ESPN.

“Z looked amazing,” Pelicans coach Willie Green said on Wednesday afternoon. “His strength, his speed. He dominated the scrimmage pretty much.”

“What stood out was his force more than anything,” Green said. “He got down the floor quickly. When he caught the ball, he made quick decisions. Whether it was scoring, finding a teammate. It was really impressive to see.”

Reach for the salt shaker to take all this with — it’s training camp scrimmages. Maybe Zion is playing that well right now — he’s fully capable, he was almost an All-NBA player in 2020-21 (eighth in forward voting) before his foot injury — but we need to see it against other teams. In games that matter. Then we’ll need to see it over a stretch of time.

If Zion can stay healthy this season, if his conditioning is where everyone says it is, he could be in for a monster season. Combine that with CJ McCollum, Brandon Ingram and a strong supporting cast in New Orleans, and the Pelicans could surprise a lot of people — and be fun to watch.

 

PBT Podcast: What’s next for Celtics, Suns? Should NBA end one-and-done?

0 Comments

NBA training camps just opened and teams have yet to play a preseason game, but already two contenders are dealing with problems.

The Celtics have the suspension of coach Ime Udoka as a distraction, plus defensive anchor center Robert Williams will miss at least the start of the season following another knee surgery.

The Suns have the distraction of a suspended owner who is selling the team, plus Jae Crowder is out and demanding a trade, and Deandre Ayton does not seem happy.

Corey Robinson of NBC Sports and myself go through all the training camp news, including the wilder ones with the Lakers and Nets, breaking down what to take away from all that — plus how good Zion Williamson and James Harden look physically.

Then the pair discusses the potential of the NBA doing away with the one-and-done role and letting 18-year-olds back in the game — is that good for the NBA?

You can always watch the video of some of the podcast above, or listen to the entire podcast below, listen and subscribe via iTunes at ApplePodcasts.com/PBTonNBC, subscribe via the fantastic Stitcher app, check us out on Google Play, or anywhere else you get your podcasts.

We want your questions for future podcasts, and your comments, so please feel free to email us at PBTpodcast@gmail.com.

Report: Price tag on Phoenix Suns could be more than $3 billion

Phoenix Suns v Los Angeles Clippers - Game Six
Harry How/Getty Images
0 Comments

In 2004, Robert Sarver bought the Phoenix Suns for a then-record $401 million.

When Sarver sells the team now — pushed to do so following the backlash prompted by an NBA report that found an 18-year pattern of bigotry, misogyny, and a toxic workplace — he is going to make a massive profit.

The value of the Suns now is at $3 billion or higher, reports Ramona Shelburne and Baxter Holmes of ESPN.

There will be no shortage of bidders for the team, with league sources predicting a franchise valuation of more than $3 billion now that revenue has rebounded following the height of the COVID-19 pandemic and with a new television rights deal and CBA on the horizon. Sarver purchased the team for just over $400 million in 2004.

Saver currently owns 35% of the Suns (the largest share), but reports say his role as managing partner allows him to sell the entire team (the minority owners have to comply, although they would make a healthy profit, too). Sarver also decides who to sell the team to, not the NBA or other owners.

Early rumors of buyers have included Larry Ellison (founder of Oracle), Bob Iger (former Disney CEO), Laurene Powell Jobs (widow of Apple co-founder Steve Jobs, she has a 20% share of the Washington Wizards), and others. There have been no reports of talks yet, and Sarver does not need to be on a rushed timeline.

Meanwhile, a contending Suns team tries to focus on the season despite the owner selling the team, Jae Crowder not being in training camp and pushing for a trade, and Deandre Ayton does not sound happy to be back with the Suns.

Steve Nash on his relationship with Kevin Durant: ‘We’re good’

0 Comments

In an effort to gain leverage for a trade this offseason, Kevin Durant threw down a “either the coach and GM are gone or I am” ultimatum.

Now coach Steve Nash (and GM Sean Marks) are back in Brooklyn, on the same team and trying to build a contender together. Awkward? Not if you ask Nash, which is what Nick Friedell of ESPN did.

“We’re fine,” Nash said after the Nets’ first official practice of the season on Tuesday. “We’re good. Ever since we talked, it’s been like nothing’s changed. I have a long history with Kevin. I love the guy. Families have issues. We had a moment and it’s behind us. That’s what happens. It’s a common situation in the league.

“We all were hurting, seething, to go through what we went through last year, not being able to overcome all that adversity. Sometimes you lose perspective because you expect to win, but the reality is we were able to talk and discuss what we can improve on from last year. And also keep perspective. We went through a ton of stuff.”

First off, what else was Nash going to say? He knows the power dynamic in the NBA, and Durant has far more leverage than he does — not enough to get Nash fired this summer, but still more than the coach.

Second, Nash could be telling the truth from his perspective. NBA players and coaches understand better than anyone this is a business and things are rarely personal. Grudges are not held like fans think they are (most of the time). Nash saw Durant’s move for what it was — an effort to create pressure — and can intellectually shrug it off, reach out to KD and talk about the future.

What this brings into question was one of the Nets’ biggest issues last season — mental toughness and togetherness. Do the Nets have the will to fight through adversity and win as a team? Individually Durant, Kyrie Irving, Nash and others have shown that toughness in the past, but as a team it was not that hard to break the will of the Nets last season. Are their relationships strong enough, is their will strong enough this season?

It feels like we will find out early. If the wheels come off the Nets’ season, it feels like it will happen early and by Christmas things could be a full-on dumpster fire. Or maybe Nash is right and they are stronger than we think.