Tarik Black

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Joel Embiid learned shooting from YouTube videos of “white guys shooting 3 pointers”


Joel Embiid is a treasure.

Not just a beast on the court and a future Defensive Player of the Year, not just a guy who can get buckets, he’s a guy who is loving his experience — and taking it to social media. He’s holding nothing back and jumped into American culture and the NBA with both feet.

That includes a fantastic story he penned at the Players’ Tribune. Embiid shot 30.8 percent from three last season and has to be respected out there, but how did he come up with his shooting form? Watching YouTube videos. And not just any YouTube vids, because he said he didn’t search “good shooting form” or “how to shoot three pointers” but instead…

Then the light bulb went off, man. I typed in the magic words.


Listen, I know it’s a stereotype, but have you ever seen a normal, 30-year-old white guy shoot a three-pointer? That elbow is tucked, man. The knees are bent. The follow-through is perfect. Always. You know how in America, there’s always an older guy wearing like EVERLAST sweat-shorts at the court? That guy is always a problem. His J is always wet.

Those are the guys I learned from on YouTube. Just random people shooting threes with perfect form. Me and Michael [Frazier II, who went on to play in college at Florida] would play after practice for hours, and I’d just try to imitate how they shot the ball, and I started being able to compete. It was crazy, because getting some range changed my whole game. Teams couldn’t play off me anymore, and I started doing a lot better.

I’m pretty sure that’s not how J.J. Redick learned. Stephen Curry just watched his father.

It’s worth reading the entire piece, Embiid talks about the misconceptions of what it was like growing up in Cameroon. How his parents were strict, how he used to sneak out of the house to play soccer, and when he wanted to play basketball his father told him to play volleyball. (For the record, Embiid would probably be really good at volleyball.) He talked about wanting to be Kobe, about being invited to Luc Mbah a Moute‘s camp in Cameroon and how that changed his life, about Tarik Black dunking on him at Kansas, about almost quitting, and about how his parents’ worth ethic and how much they valued education kept him going.

It’s a great story. And it includes some random white dudes on YouTube.

Chris Paul helps Rockets to 148-142 win over Lakers in double OT


HOUSTON (AP) With James Harden in the locker room with a hamstring injury and the Houston Rockets desperate to end their losing streak, Chris Paul came to the rescue.

Harden scored 40 points before leaving with the injury late in the fourth quarter, and Paul scored 15 of his 28 points in overtime as the Rockets snapped a five-game skid with a 148-142 double-overtime win over the Los Angeles Lakers on Sunday night.

“He just willed us to win, and great players can do that,” coach Mike D’Antoni said. “Certain guys can just say, `We’re not losing,’ and `Whatever it takes,’ and that’s what he said tonight and that’s what he did.”

Los Angeles led by as many as 17, but couldn’t hold on as the team’s season-long losing streak stretched to six games.

Paul made a pair of free throws to tie it at 142 with about a minute left in the second overtime before Tarik Black blocked Kyle Kuzma‘s shot on the other end to give Houston the ball back. P.J. Tucker grabbed a rebound on a miss by Paul and put it back up to put Houston on top.

Tucker blocked a 3-point attempt by Kuzma, and Paul added two more free throws to make it 146-142 with 3 seconds left. Paul made two more free throws after that to secure the win.

The Rockets had hoped to limit Paul’s playing time in his second game back after missing three games with a groin injury. But with Harden out, he ended up playing 42 minutes.

“We worked too hard to let that game go,” Paul said. “We had fought. Different guys had been in and out of the lineup. James carried us all game long and different guys had to step up and it’s just will at that point. Let’s just figure out a way to win it.”

Julius Randle set season highs with 29 points and 15 rebounds, but fouled out with about three minutes left in the first overtime.

“It’s obviously frustrating but … we’re short-handed right now and it would’ve been a lot easier to kind of just pack it in and individually go out and try to put up big numbers until we get healthy or until we get to an easier part of the schedule,” Lakers coach Luke Walton said. “Our guys really came together tonight and really played well for most of the game.”

Los Angeles was up by 4 in the second overtime before a dunk by Black followed by a 3-pointer from Trevor Ariza made it 140-139 with 2 1/2 minutes remaining. The Lakers scored the next three points before Paul’s free throws tied it.

Ariza finished with a season-high 26 points.

Paul gave Houston its first lead since the second quarter with a 3-pointer that made it 127-125 with 2:40 remaining in the first overtime.

The Lakers got two free throws from Brandon Ingram, and Josh Hart added a basket on a goaltending call to make it 131-129 with about a minute to go in the first OT.

Black tied it up before Hart missed a 3-pointer to give Houston the ball back. Paul put Houston on top with a short jumper with four seconds remaining, but P.J. Tucker fouled Ingram and he made both free throws with 0.8 seconds left in the first overtime to tie it at 133-133.

Paul had a shot to win it, but he missed a 3-pointer at the buzzer.

Houston got a 3-pointer from Ariza followed by a three-point play from Harden to tie it at 119-all with about a minute left in the fourth. But Kuzma, who scored a career-high 38 points in his last game against Houston, made a 3-pointer a few seconds later to put the Lakers back on top.

Harden was injured when he missed a layup after that and was taken to the locker room.

Gerald Green tied it again with a 3-pointer with 17.7 seconds remaining.

Kuzma followed with a missed 3-pointer, and the Lakers got the ball back with 0.7 seconds left, but they didn’t have time to get a shot off.

Houston center Clint Capela had seven points and seven rebounds in his return after missing two games with an orbital fracture. He wore a mask in the first half to protect the injured area, but it seemed to be bothering him and he took it off at halftime.


Report: Rockets sign Tarik Black as backup center

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The Houston Rockets will start Clint Capella at center, and they have veteran Nene behind him, but he’s 34 and has had injury issues in the past.

Now the Rockets have added another strong, reliable, solid big man to the mix by signing Tarik Black. Shams Charania of The Vertical at Yahoo Sports.

Black spent the past couple of seasons with the Lakers, and gave them a little more than 16 minutes a game last season, with 5.7 rebounds and 5.1 assists a night. He doesn’t have a diverse offensive game, but he stays within himself. He’s strong on the boards, can defend in the paint, and can run the floor with the up-tempo Rockets, and maybe play a little of the Montrezl Harrell four role as needed.

It’s a good pickup by the Rockets.

Lakers remove highly priced FAs Luol Deng, Timofey Mozgov from starting lineup

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The Lakers have pulled their splashy free-agent additions — Luol Deng (four years, $72 million) and Timofey Mozgov (four years, $64 million) — from the starting lineup.

Who could have seen that coming?

Oh, right. Practically everybody.

In their 121-107 win over the Knicks tonight, the Lakers started:

*Black had been starting at power forward next to Mozgov with Randle battling pneumonia, but Randle is Los Angeles’ primary starting power forward. Black supplanted Mozgov at center tonight.

It’s not just that Deng and Mozgov are underperforming relative to their salaries — though it is that. It’s that those two veterans aren’t even meeting the modest standard of making the Lakers respectable. Los Angeles entered tonight 17-36 and had lost 10 of 12.

The 31-year-old Deng and 30-year-old Mozgov have no upside. At this point, it’s about preparing for the future, and that means more playing time for younger players. Mozgov didn’t even get off the bench, as rookie Ivica Zubac played behind Black.

The Lakers’ future looks reasonably bright with a young core featuring Russell, Randle, Ingram, Jordan Clarkson, Larry Nance Jr. and Zubac. With the exception of Clarkson, those players are all still on low-paying rookie-scale contracts.

Los Angeles can pitch free agents on joining those youngsters just as they blossom manage an unnecessarily murky future with Deng and Mozgov occupying significant cap space over the next three years.

Video Breakdown: How the Lakers ran the split cut on the Warriors


Watch the full video breakdown above or read the text version below if you’d prefer.

The Los Angeles Lakers stunned the Golden State Warriors on Friday, 117-97. No doubt first-year Lakers coach Luke Walton aided in the win in part by using his old team’s system against them to get an easy bucket.

Today’s breakdown comes courtesy of the split action, or split cut. If you’re not familiar with it, the split cut typically comes as two offensive players crisscross or scissor cut the post player either at high post or low post.

It can also reference when a player setting a screen away from the ball for another player slips it instead of setting it, often on a back cut to the basket.

You’re going to be most familiar with this if you’ve watched a lot of Warriors basketball, where they run this action frequently to get easy buckets at the basket for Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson.

LA using it against Golden State is particularly great, so let’s get into how the Lakers ran the split cut against the Warriors with an example.

The Setup

The play starts with Brandon Ingram at the top of the floor with the ball. He’s going to loop all the way around to the left block for a post play.


After Ingram hands the ball off, there’s a quick reversal to the left side of the floor. Jordan Clarkson has the ball at the garden spot with Ingram getting the screen from Tarik Black down low. That sets up an inlet pass to Ingram in the post.


The Split Cut

Now comes the fun part. We’re going to see Clarkson and Nance run what’s called a split action or a split cut.

At this point it looks like Nance is setting a flare screen for Clarkson to pop out to the arc. That sucks both Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson up toward the 3-point line.


Notice the giant amount of space available in the painted area. Early in a play’s development, look for the negative space on the floor. This is often where a play’s scoring opportunity will come from or is aiming for.


From here, Nance refuses to screen Clarkson and instead cuts to the basket, catching Durant off guard. A little ball fake from Nance to get Durant in the air, and it’s a bucket for the Lakers.

Watch the full video breakdown at the top of this article and stay tuned for new breakdowns every week.