If you watch closely every night in the NBA you can learn a little something. We know you are busy and can’t keep up with every game, so we’re here to help with those lessons from another night in the Association. Here’s what you missed while pointing out some egregious mistakes in the new J-Lo movie…
1) Anthony Davis still plans to play in All-Star Game. Anthony Davis sat out Monday night’s Pelicans’ loss to the Jazz because of a grade 1 sprained shoulder after his nasty fall. (That’s the kind of loss that is going to make it hard for the Pelicans to catch the Suns and make the playoffs, but that’s another story.) The good news is Davis plans to be in New York this weekend and play in Sunday’s All-Star game, something mentioned both during the broadcast of the game and in several postgame reports. Whew. He has been the NBA’s best player this season at age 21, and the game would not be the same without the league’s fastest rising star.
2) Carmelo Anthony may not. Carmelo would have shut it down for the season and had knee surgery already if he did not so badly want to play host as the All-Star Game comes to New York City. But Monday night midway through the fourth quarter he extended his knee while planting to go up for a turnaround jumper and aggravated his already sore left knee. ‘Melo left the game, not to return. He is now unsure if he will be able to go in Sunday’s game. After Sunday, I’d but the under/over on games Anthony plays before he shuts it down for the season at 2.5. And I’d bet the under.
3) Kevin Durant is unstoppable. The All-Star game is an exhibition that is supposed to showcase the NBA’s best — Monday night is exhibit A as to why you need to have Durant in that showcase. Even if he’s only played in 25 games this season. He dropped 40 points on 19 shots on the Nuggets, including hitting 7-of-10 threes from above the break. When he get going like this there’s nothing you can do.
4) DeAndre Jordan played like a guy who will get paid this summer (and he will). DeAndre Jordan is going to get a max or near max contract from the Clippers next summer and a lot of people are going to shake their heads when it happens. There are two reasons it will happen, and the way he absolutely owned the paint against Dallas Monday is one of them — he had 20 points and 27 rebounds, 11 of them offensive. He can be a force of nature on the court. Jordan is by no means a great shooter, but he knows what he can’t do (shoot jumpers) and avoids it. Of Jordan’s 12 shots, 11 were at the rim. He also had three blocks on the night. The second reason Jordan is going to get paid next July is pure basketball economics: The Clippers are already pushing the salary cap for next season without re-signing him. If they let him walk, they can’t come close to replacing the quality he brings to the court with the money they will have left. So the Clippers, who have Jordan’s Bird rights and can go over the cap to keep him, will outbid everyone else. Steve Ballmer can afford the tax.
5) Gregg Popovich has the formula down for winning 1,000 games. Get good players, stick around a long time. Like it’s just that easy. (Note to Sacramento, Orlando and a number of other struggling franchises — notice what consistency of a system can do for you?)