It’s becoming a close contest, what do I want to hear least: Another Obama/Romney attack ad or more back and forth between Ray Allen and the Celtics.
Ray has consistently said that basically he didn’t feel wanted by the Celtics — they had him coming off the bench (which is he doing in Miami anyway), he called the contract an insult (it was twice what he took in Miami) and he was tired of feeling like he was on the trade block (Boston offered him a no-trade clause in the new contract). Boston made its offer but by that time the bridges had been burned. He didn’t feel the love and Miami was courting him with all Pat Riley’s charm. So now he plays for the Heat.
Anyway, Doc Rivers was on The Felger and Mazz Show in Boston (video below courtesy CSNNE.com) and talked plenty more about Allen and his split with the Celtics.
“Ray was great here, and he made the choice to leave. And that’s where he should leave it and we should leave it. It’s like I said today, when we play them on Tuesday we’re not going to be trying to stop Ray. We are, but we better focus on LeBron and Wade and I hope this game doesn’t become a Celtics vs. Ray, because if our guys think that way we won’t win, I can guarantee you that. But I am disappointed (about the talk back and forth) and he made a choice. Do I think it was the wrong choice? I absolutely do. I think at times he feels that way himself. That’s the way I’d like him to think at least. But at the end of the day I want him to do well I just don’t want him to do well against us.”
On his relationship with Ray Allen:
“I didn’t think it was bad, but maybe I’m the last to know. It didn’t help when I decided to start Avery (Bradley), obviously. But as a coach you make choices. You worry about people’s feelings but you worry more about the team. If anything, Ray probably didn’t like that. I’ll probably always look at myself first. Ray wanted the ball more, things like that. It’s like I tell my guys ever year, ‘If you’re here for me to run stuff for you look good then you are in the wrong place.’”
Rivers said he and GM Danny Ainge tried to call Allen during free agency but their calls weren’t being returned.
“Listen, if you’ve been with my team, with me for five years, or four years, and I gotta be here every 10 seconds in free agency then you probably don’t want to be here.”
I wish Rivers would have gone with his first thought and just left it there after one sentence. Make this stop.
Joel Embiid injured his ankle in the 76ers’ loss to the Trail Blazers yesterday.
How serious is it?
Noah Levick of NBC Sports Philadelphia:
Joel Embiid is out for Tuesday’s game against the Suns with the left ankle injury he sustained in the first quarter Sunday vs. the Blazers. He’ll be undergoing treatment and evaluation at the team’s practice Monday night.
Brett Brown said he expected Embiid to play again before the playoffs, though characterized that view as “just one man’s opinion.”
That sounds like great news for Philadelphia, which is already without Ben Simmons.
Embiid can be dominant. With him, the 76ers still have a chance of advancing in the playoffs. It might even be easier to create space around Embiid – where Embiid can really feast – without Simmons (though the loss of the talented Simmons lowers Philadelphia’s ceiling).
However, the 76ers don’t deserve benefit of the doubt for setting accurate injury timelines, particularly with Embiid. There’s an element of “see it to believe it” here.
As J.J. Redick stared into the distance, he had to see this coming.
Redick will miss the playoffs for the first time in his 14-year career. His Pelicans were eliminated from the postseason race yesterday.
At 13 years, Redick’s playoff streak is tied for the 13th-longest in NBA history. No current player has a longer streak at any point his career. LeBron James also had a 13-year playoff streak (which was snapped last year).
Here are the longest individual postseason streaks in NBA history:
Obviously, some of Redick’s streak was out of his control. He got drafted in 2006 by the Magic, who were rising with Dwight Howard. But Redick’s competitiveness and professionalism made him a steady contributor, and he chose winning situations with the Clippers then 76ers.
But New Orleans was too flawed to make a major leap in this Western Conference.
This clears the way for Bucks wing Kyle Korver to take over the longest active playoff streak. He has played in the last 12 postseasons, and Milwaukee has already clinched a playoff berth.
Here are the longest postseason streaks that could remain active this year.
Players whose teams have already clinched a playoff berth are in blue. Players whose teams are still in the race but haven’t clinched are in gold.
Players are listed with the teams they made the postseason with during their streaks. If they haven’t reached the playoffs with their current team, that team is listed in brackets:
Another testing issue for Deandre Ayton.
This one comes at a terrible time for the Suns.
Phoenix is trying to complete a longshot run to the playoffs and playing the Thunder in a key game today. But Ayton arrived late to the arena after missing a coronavirus test yesterday.
Shams Charania of The Athletic:
Like many Suns, Ayton has played well in the resumption. Phoenix doesn’t have another big-man option like him, especially with Aron Baynes sidelined. The Suns started Dario Saric in a small lineup today.
Ayton arrived to the arena and is warming up on an exercise bike. He could still get into the game and make a difference.
Already locked into the 4-6 range in the Western Conference and perhaps trying to keep its top-20-protected first-round pick, Oklahoma City is playing without Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Danilo Gallinari, Steven Adams, Nerlens Noel and Dennis Schroder. None of those will players will make a late entrance into the game.
Also: It’s ridiculous this wasn’t publicly disclosed sooner. The NBA continues to tout transparency while trying to draw more gambling revenue. Yet, a major lineup issue like this remains secret? That opens the door for some bettors to get inside information, which would be so damaging to the league’s integrity.
The Kings’ 2018-19 season ended with optimism.
Facing a meager over/under of 25.5 wins, Sacramento surged to 39 wins – its best record in 13 years. Under Dave Joerger, the Kings played a fast and fun style. De'Aaron Fox made historic improvements. Buddy Hield broke out. Several other young players showed promise.
Sure, the Kings missed the playoffs for a 13th straight season – matching the second-longest playoff drought in NBA history. But they were on track to end the skid soon enough.
Except, of course that’s not how it went in Sacramento.
The Kings were eliminated from the postseason chase yesterday, ensuring a 14th straight season outside the playoffs. That alone is now NBA’s the second-longest-ever postseason drought, breaking a tie with the Timberwolves (2005-17). Only the Buffalo Braves/San Diego/Los Angeles Clippers’ 15-year non-playoff streak (1977-91) is longer.
Here are the longest postseason droughts in NBA history:
The Suns could still reach 10 straight years outside the playoffs, but they’re still in the race this season.
The Kings might not be far from climbing this list, either.
Their future looks far bleaker than a year ago. Sacramento fired Joerger to hire Luke Walton, who has underwhelmed. Buddy Hield signed a lucrative contract extension then had a rough season. Fox progressed, though he didn’t make the desired leap into stardom. Other young players had ups and downs. Luka Doncic casts an even larger shadow from Dallas. The Kings’ organizational turmoil continues.
This was a feel-bad season in Sacramento, anyway. All the preceding losing only adds to the misery.
The Kings enter next season with one last chance to avoid the longest playoff drought in NBA history, and they do have a chance. But there’s only pessimism now.