Report: Like Knicks fans, ‘Melo unhappy with D’Antoni

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The scapegoats of the week in New York are Carmelo Anthony and Mike D’Antoni — clearly they are the reasons the Knicks have lost six in a row.

And now, we bring you the next phase of the Knicks implosion — infighting and blaming the coach. From Marc Berman of the New York Post.

There are several indications the alliance is getting worse, not better, and it seems inconceivable both will be back with the Knicks next season. According to a source familiar with the situation, Anthony is disgruntled and he may have given off those signs when he didn’t join the huddle during a third-quarter timeout. (Anthony claimed that occurs often).

I’m sure Mike D’Antoni feels the same way about ‘Melo. I’m also sure that both will come out and deny this is the case in the next 24 hours.

Let’s have some fun and trace the problems with the Knicks and their star forward.

It starts with management. They hired D’Antoni — a system coach who runs “seven seconds or less” — then never gave him a roster that can run that system. Amare Stoudemire can but this system needs a strong point guard who can share the rock and run the pick-and-roll, plus good shooters around the wings. They had that for a while during their Jeremy Lin-inspired run (against a slate of weak teams) but then tried to incorporate Carmelo Anthony, Baron Davis and J.R. Smith into the team. Three ball stopping, me-first gunners. Mix that with real competition (especially at the point) and you have a six-game losing streak.

A couple years ago Knicks had started to build a good roster, but owner James Dolan overpaid and demanded the team get Carmelo Anthony, a guy who does not fit the system. But his name does look good on the marquee. Dolan them kicked Donnie Walsh — the executive who got the roster out of cap hell and started to build a balanced team — to the curb.

So this is where they are — a coach trying to run his system with an ill-fitting roster and guys who clearly are not buying in day in and day out.

This summer the Knicks need to either let D’Antoni walk and bring in a coach better suited to utilize this roster, or start reshaping the roster to fit D’Antoni’s system. One of the other. You can’t just assemble nice players and expect it to work, there has to be a plan and system.

Also, some Knicks fans on twitter have suggested Phil Jackson and the triangle are the answer. Not going to happen. First, while Jackson has ties to the Knicks and will flirt with them, if you watched him up close his last season (as I did) you would know he is done with the circus and hassle of being an NBA coach. He’s not coming back for any job. More importantly, this is not a good triangle roster — Lin only works in the pick and roll, Carmelo is a ball stopper (the triangle is about player and ball movement, plus spacing), the center Tyson Chandler is not a great passer (need that in the triangle), there are not enough shooters. Jackson would look at this roster, look at the Heat and Bulls, and say no thanks.

Draymond Green guarantees Warriors will beat Rockets in Western Conference finals

AP Photo/David J. Phillip
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Warriors coach Steve Kerr is confident despite his team trailing the Rockets 3-2 in the Western Conference finals.

Golden State forward Draymond Green goes further.

Green, via Marcus Thompson II of The Athletic:

“We still winning this,” Draymond Green said. “Book it.”

Of course, Green is confident. He’d never say he expects his team to lose.

But he didn’t need to frame it this way. He could’ve said he was just focused on the next game rather than make such a bold proclamation.

He’s taking pressure upon himself and putting his reputation on the line. If Golden State loses, especially in Game 6 at home with Chris Paul out, Green will be widely mocked.

If he and the Warriors pull through, he’ll probably deserve praise for setting a tone that helped them advance.

Danny Green: Kawhi Leonard told me he wants to stay with Spurs

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The Spurs are reportedly worried Kawhi Leonard‘s camp wants to get him to the Lakers, Clippers, Knicks or 76ers.

Leonard hasn’t said much himself – except apparently to San Antonio teammate Danny Green

Get Up on ESPN:

Green:

I talk to him here and there, check up on him, see how he’s doing.

I think he wants to be in San Antonio. He’s let me know that. He’s let me know verbally he wanted to be there. So, we’ll see what happens.

Green has tried playing peacemaker throughout this saga – going as far as denying tension that clearly exists. He’s not the most reliable source.

And even if Leonard explicitly told Green he wants to remain in San Antonio, I’m not sure Leonard is confrontational enough to tell Green he wanted out, even if he did.

Those caveats acknowledged, this could be a huge revelation.

If Leonard wants to stay with the Spurs, the next step is meeting with them, mending their relationship and convincing them he deserves a super-max extension (which projects to be worth $219 million over five years). No matter how Leonard feels about San Antonio right now, if the Spurs don’t trust investing so much in him, that could lead to a fractured relationship and his exit.

So, there’s still a lot to sort out. But Green saying this means something.

LeBron James flips elimination-game game on its head

AP Photo/Charles Krupa
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His Cavaliers down 3-2 to the Celtics in the Eastern Conference finals, how does LeBron James assess his situation?

"I don’t enjoy being in the position where it’s you lose and go home," LeBron said before Game 6 tonight in Cleveland.

He might not enjoy this position, but he’s pretty good in it.

Since he first reached the playoffs in 2006, other teams have won 26% of their elimination games. LeBron’s teams have won 57% of theirs.

Of course, LeBron hasn’t gone 12-9 in elimination games just because he’s lucky. He has willed his team off the mat numerous times.

LeBron has scored 40 points and/or had a triple-double in six straight elimination games, winning five of them. His line in his last elimination game before that streak? Just 32 points, 18 rebounds and nine assists.

A full history of LeBron’s elimination games:

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Rockets played with fire with Chris Paul, got burned

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Chris Paul played 79 minutes in three days.

Prior to Games 4 and 5 of these Western Conference finals, he hadn’t done that in more than two years. He hadn’t done it without both games going to overtime in more than three years.

The Rockets leaned heavily on the 33-year-old Paul, and they’ll pay the price.

Paul will miss Game 6 against the Warriors tomorrow. Given how quickly Houston ruled out Paul with a strained hamstring, he seems unlikely to play in a potential Game 7 Monday.

Injuries are somewhat – but not completely – random. Players are more susceptible when worn down. After missing the close of the 2016 postseason, Paul missed 45 games the last two regular seasons. He has accumulated a lot of mileage in his 13-year career.

Yet, Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni drastically shortened his rotation, anyway. Not only did Paul play big minutes in this series, he shouldered a huge load. He took the reins of the offense at times, allowing James Harden to conserve energy for defense, while maintaining his own strong-two way play. That’s never easy, especially in these high-intensity games.

This was the risk.

We can feel bad for Paul and his predicament. We can also acknowledge Houston got this far by gambling on Paul’s health.

That’s not to say it was a bad bet. This is what you save him for, the biggest playoff series of his career and maybe one of the last before he exits his prime. The Rockets would have been far worse off to this point resting Paul extensively and protecting him. Even with such a heavy workload, an injury was never fait accompli. And Houston got plenty from Paul before he went down. He was instrumental to wins in Game 4 and Game 5 that gave the Rockets a 3-2 lead in the Western Conference finals.

Now, they just must hope that’s enough of a head-start into a world of playing without Paul.