Carmelo Anthony says Kenyon Martin will help Knicks if he’s ‘locked in and focused’

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The Knicks signed Kenyon Martin to a 10-day contract on Saturday, making the roster move that was reported to be in the works at the trade deadline official.

That means Martin could be active when New York plays next, at home against the Sixers on Sunday.

Carmelo Anthony played with Martin for several years in Denver, and knows what Martin can bring on a nightly basis — when he wants to.

Anthony was asked about the addition of his former teammate to this year’s Knicks roster, and seemed fine with it, but did provide plenty of qualification during his response.

From Marc Berman of the New York Post:

“If he’s in shape and locked in, I think he can be a big attribute to this team,’’ Anthony said before last night’s defeat. “I’ve been able to play with him for a few years and I know from a basketball standpoint what he brings to the game when he’s locked in and focused. I haven’t talked to him yet. People that I know have spoken to him and say he’s been playing and he’s in shape, ready and focused. As long as that’s the plan, we’re all for it.’’

For those scoring at home, Anthony used each of the terms “in shape,” “locked in,” and “focused” twice.

Anthony may know more than the rest of us in terms of Martin’s level of effort and commitment over the years, but it would seem that team coaches and general managers are clued in to what Anthony was talking about.

Martin’s averages with the Clippers a season ago were nothing amazing, but he provided some consistent mid-range jump-shooting at times, and his size was helpful both defensively and on the glass.

The Clippers have no shortage of big men, and are as deep a team the league has this season. But if Martin was a perfect teammate who was supremely coachable, you’d have to think the Clippers would have found a way to keep him at the end of their bench, if nothing else.

There’s a reason Martin hasn’t found a home until now, after the All-Star break with just 30 games left in the regular season. Anthony seems to be aware of it; hopefully for the Knicks, Martin understands, as well.

Scottie Pippen on LeBron James, Michael Jordan: “It’s not a fair comparison”

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The battle has, stupidly, raged on between supporters of Michael Jordan and LeBron James. Both sides seem to believe their preference is irrefutably the choice for the best player in NBA history.

And because they did not play in the same era, the question will never be answered. No doubt in 50 years they will write columns about Jordan vs. LeBron, just like their fathers, and their father’s fathers before them.

James has certainly seemed to take a bit of a leap in the eyes of the NBA community this season, likely because of his wonderful performance at age 33. He’s also single-handedly won two playoff series this year. It’s been incredible.

But LeBron rising above Jordan has also brought out some more reasonable takes. Former Chicago Bulls legend and Jordan running mate Scottie Pippen spoke up recently about the debate, giving a measured analysis that I think is pretty strong.

In short, Pippen basically said you can’t compare the two because of the eras, the style, and the fact they just don’t play the same position (if LeBron even has a position, that is).

Via Twitter:

That sounds right to me.

Cavaliers’ Kendrick Perkins not into “all that new stuff” like Chewbacca

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Chewbacca was at Game 3 in Cleveland Saturday. Sitting courtside.

Why? Because growing up on Kashyyyk he played a little hoop and admires LeBron James‘ skill? Because Drake gave him the tickets? Maybe. I mean, it’s not like that was just a clever little publicity stunt for a movie.

After the Cavaliers’ win, Kevin Love decided to make a little joke of it with noted humorist Kendrick Perkins, and it went over as well as expected (with Dave McMenamin of ESPN catching it).

That’s vintage Perkins.

Celtics’ Terry Rozier on Game 3: “We needed to get our butts whooped”

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Cleveland dominated Game 3 Saturday night. They played harder, to start. The Cavaliers’ defensive pressure on the ball was better, they were sharper rotating out to shooters and covering passing lanes. Cleveland’s role players stepped up and helped LeBron James.

Boston, meanwhile, wilted in the face of that pressure Saturday, something it has done a few times on the road these playoffs. The Celtics got away from the things that got them to the Eastern Conference Finals. Guard Terry Rozier put it more bluntly, via A. Sherrod Blakely of NBC Sports Boston:

“I feel like we needed this (loss) to get us back … to get us ready for Monday,” Rozier said.

Rozier later added, “We needed to get our butts whipped. Come back to reality and take care of business on Monday.”

Cleveland is a championship team — from LeBron James on down through the core guys, they all have rings. They have been down before, and heading home it was expected they would play with force. Cleveland’s back was against the wall and they responded.

From the Celtics’ perspective, they also got a little too fat and happy and were not ready for what the Cavaliers came with in Game 3.

Now the pressure is on Boston to push back, to get back to their level of execution and do it under pressure. Make the Cavaliers prove the improved defensive effort was not a one-off game. The Celtics must move the ball and play with some pace, then see if the Cavaliers can keep it together in the face of crisp play.

When this series heads back to Boston Wednesday, it will either see the Celtics in control up 3-1, or the series will be a best of three (with the Cavs still having to figure out if they can win on the road). At home, the Cavaliers are going to play with force again and have some depth. We’ll see if Game 3 was enough of a wakeup call for Boston.

PBT Extra: Can Rockets take Game 2 energy, execution on the road?

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Houston found its blueprint to beating Golden State in Game 2: Strong defensive pressure on the ball, quick switches and communication on defense, getting out in transition when possible, and starting sets earlier in the shot clock and attacking downhill with James Harden and Chris Paul.

Now can they do that on the road? Against a more focused and sharper Warriors’ team?

That will be the question in the next two games of the Western Conference Finals, and it’s what I discuss in this latest PBT Extra.