We brought you the report the other day that Knicks shooting guard J.R. Smith doesn’t want to be a sixth man, he wants to start. And with Iman Shumpert still out for a while following knee surgery Smith sees an opening in the starting lineup.
“I kind of like J.R. where he is in terms of coming off the bench, but he could start, too, you never know,’’ Woodson said. “Everybody can’t start. I’ve got a nice mixture of guys in that starting unit from an offensive standpoint. I have to have some offense coming off the bench as well.
“Like I told J.R., if he comes off, there’s nothing wrong with that. Hell, he could be the best player coming off the bench in this league and maybe be the Sixth Man of the Year Award. Hopefully that will translate to a lot of wins and get us to a championship round because at the end of the day that’s what we’re in it for.’’
I agree that good teams have a sixth man who can come in and change a game, putting up points and changing the tempo and flow of the game (think Manu Ginobili). I agree that what matters is who finishes a game, not starts. And I agree that if he were consistent for a season Smith could be in the Sixth Man of the Year conversation.
But Woodson was starting rookie Mychel Thompson at the two guard with the starting team. There comes a time when the desire to have a sixth man of importance should give way to making sure your clear and away best player at a position gets the most minutes.
Jimmy Butler on hearing boos to start, M-V-P chants later, “I love it. I love it.”
Jimmy Butlerknew it was coming. Request a trade out of town and of course the fans are going to boo. Butler also said he thought he could win the Timberwolves faithful over again if he just played hard like always.
That’s how the script played out.
Butler was loudly booed loudly when he was announced — although not as loudly as coach/GM Tom Thibodeau — but by the end of the game they were cheering him and chanting MVP as he dropped 33 points on 12 shots in a Timberwolves win over the Cavaliers, 131-123. After the game, Butler said he was good with the boos.
“I love it. I love it. I think people kind of love to hate me sometimes. Say whatever you want to say, but it really makes me smile, what people think about me. But no matter what, you gotta respect my effort…
“You may not like me, That’s okay. But as long as you know that my mind and my heart are in the right place, that I do everything to win and I would do anything for my guys.”
Butler said he was being made out to be the bad guy in this saga but people don’t know all the facts, then he wouldn’t discuss what it was people didn’t know. Butler also was frustrated with teammates that the Timberwolves had a 21-point lead in the third but it got close again in the fourth (Butler himself was -3 for the game, he was part of that problem). But in the end, as it often does (and as Thibodeau seems to be betting on), winning cures all ills.
The Bucks led 62-53 at the half and extended it to 93-76 entering the third quarter.
Milwaukee, which ranked 25th in the NBA last season with 24.7 3-point attempts per game, continued to fire away under new coach Mike Budenholzer. The Bucks were 17 of 47, with Antetokounmpo going 0 for 7.
WhatAntetokounmpo was doing was dunking.
Middleton had five 3-pointers, including a four-point play that put the Bucks up 111-88 with 5:03 remaining.
The Bucks were 14 of 34 beyond the arc in their 113-112 season-opening victory at Charlotte on Wednesday night.
The Bucks shook off a slow start en route to a 30-25 lead after one quarter, extending it to 62-53 at the half. Milwaukee took 26 of its 51 first-half shots from 3-point range, making eight.
Antetokounmpo had 22 points and 11 rebounds in the first half.
Jonas Jerebko? Yes, Jonas Jerebko with game-winner for Warriors
Jonas Jerebko was a quality under-the-radar pickup for Golden State last summer, a solid veteran power forward who can space the floor and hit threes.
Obviously, the Warriors got him to be their go-to player in the clutch.
Or, at least, that’s what happened in Utah on Friday night.
Jerebko inbounded the ball then rolled to the rim. Rudy Gobert put a body on him, but as Kevin Durant went up for his game-winner attempt, Gobert took a step toward him and that gave Jerebko the space to get inside Gobert. From there it was just a tip in.
This was a wildly entertaining game, where Kevin Durant dropped 38, Stephen Curry had 31, and for Utah Joe Ingles put on a show on his way to 27. Check out the finish of this game, it was amazingly fun basketball with a lot of emotion for the second game of the season.
Kawhi Leonard hears MVP chants, plays like it with 31 points, leads Raptors past Celtics 113-101
TORONTO (AP) —Kawhi Leonard had 31 points and 10 rebounds, Serge Ibaka added 21 points and the Toronto Raptors beat the Boston Celtics 113-101 on Friday night in an early matchup between Eastern Conference contenders.
Boston’s Gordon Hayward scored 14 points in 24 minutes, connecting on six of 13 field goal attempts.
Leonard made 10 of 25 attempts, including 2 of 5 from 3-point range, and went 9 for 9 at the free throw line.
Brown made a 3-pointer to give the Celtics an 87-86 lead with 9:03 remaining. VanVleet answered with a reverse layup, the first basket in a 6-0 spurt that gave Toronto the led for good.
Green and Lowry each made 3-pointers around an offensive foul by Tatum with just over two minutes remaining, giving the Raptors a 107-99 edge. Green went 4 for 7 from long range, while Lowry made 3 of 5.