What you missed while wishing Ricky Gervais would host the Oscars…
Nuggets 120, Wizards 109: This was the dreaded fourth game in five nights for the Wizards, usually the night every team mails it in. The good news is that Andray Blatche didn’t — he hustled. Didn’t see that coming, did you Flip? It was certainly not perfect play from him, but there was effort.
John Wall got taken to school by Chauncey Billups and Ty Lawson (Wall’s defense needs work). That combo started to wear down the Wizards, as the Nuggets pulled away for good in the second quarter. And that was without supersub J.R. Smith, who was late to shootaround and got benched for the first half.
Arron Afflalo can play on my team any time.
Celtics 112, Cavaliers 95: Kendrick Perkins returned for this glorified Celtics scrimmage. Boston started to pull away late in the first quarter behind Paul Pierce and in the second quarter they just overwhelmed the Cavaliers. Paul Pierce 8-11 in the first half for 24 points. The Celtics were controlling the paint and getting shots inside on offense while Ray Allen was coming of screens for wide open looks. We’re at 18 straight Cavaliers losses and counting.
Mavericks 112, Clippers 105: This is a game where Dallas started out slow on offense and the Clippers were up 10 quickly, putting up 33 points in the fist quarter. But you knew the Mavericks run was coming. What you didn’t expect is that J.J. Barea (25 points) and Tyson Chandler (21) would lead it. Dirk Nowitzki was 6-of-15 shooting and still is struggling since his return.
I wonder if we will see a lot of with the Clippers on the road more — them not able to hold leads.
Bobcats 94, Kings 89: You can say the Bobcats were playing good defense or that this game was sloppy. Either way you’d be right. The Kings shot 36 percent and were 1-of-12 from three. You don’t win doing that.
Lakers 120, Jazz 91: The Lakers on three days rest — all the time hearing from Jerry West and reporters about how they can’t play defense — taking on a struggling Jazz team. Not a shock the Lakers were up 15 after one and 66-38 at the half. Nothing much to say here, the Lakers are good and were focused, the Jazz have lost five straight (with the Spurs on tap for Wednesday).
Chauncey Billups is a Denver native happily getting to play out the end of his career in his hometown. Well, either that or the swamps of Jersey (and maybe Brooklyn in a couple of years).
Billups has been swept up in the momentum of the Carmelo Anthony trade rumors — he would be moved to the Nets as the deal is currently constructed. Partially because Anthony is demanding some quality players come East with him, partially because if they are rebuilding the Nuggets will not want Billups’ contract on the books for the next couple years.
Billups is a big boy; he gets the business end of the NBA. But he doesn’t want to leave, he is a veteran with a family established in Denver and told Chris Tomasson of FanHouse (on twitter) that was his big concern.
Billups most worried about possibly moving family if dealt. “I’d be able to play basketball on the moon if they had a flight there.”
Somebody forgot to tell Billups all those moon landings were staged by the government and were done on a soundstage. Still it has to be a tempting thought because in the light gravity of the moon Billups could leap like Blake Griffin.
Billups agent said that if traded the player would seek a buyout of his deal — which sounds a lot more like an agent negotiating for an extension, but it’s out there.
I asked Chauncey Billups if he’d seek buyout right away or summer if dealt to NJ. “That’s something that we’ll talk about later,” he said.
As for ‘Melo saying “tell Chauncey I’m sorry for sucking him into this little bit of hell” (not an exact quote, for the record), Billups responded:
“I really respect him and appreciate the fact that Melo is concerned with my future.”
If this deal goes down, Billups is on the move one way or the other. To New Jersey or the moon. You know, it is about time for Space Jam II.
Much of the focus on Carmelo Anthony’s trade prospects has centered on whether Anthony would sign a contract extension to play wherever he was sent.
But what if a contending team was willing to trade for him without caring about an extension? That is apparently happening (well, that or it’s a negotiating tactic).
Sources told the Denver Post that a couple of unnamed contending teams have contacted the Nuggets about a deal where they would “rent” Anthony for the rest of the season. Trade for him for this playoff run with no intention of signing him to an extension, then let him become a free agent.
The Knicks really, really like this idea.
An interesting question is what teams reached out to the Nuggets? As the Post points out, Dallas Mavericks owner Marc Cuban has said he would consider such a trade depending on what the Nuggets wanted in return. Another possibility might be the Chicago Bulls, a team that Anthony apparently had on his short list but that trade hung up when the Bulls refused to include Joakim Noah in the deal (and that certainly has not changed).
Frankly, there are only so many contending teams. Hard to see the Lakers or Celtics making huge roster moves, and the Heat have no large contracts they’ll give up or young players of interest to the Nuggets. Not a lot of choices left.
Note that this rumor comes out of Denver — if you were the Denver Nuggets and were trying to get Anthony to agree to sign an extension with the Nets, and he was refusing demanding the Knicks only, what kind of leverage could you create? Well, you could leak rumors about being contacted by teams that have no interest in giving him the extension. Threaten him with a move where he would have to risk signing a new contract under the new Collective Bargaining Agreement being hammered out. Whatever that turns out to be it likely means less money for new deals. Does Anthony want to go to New York so badly he’s willing to risk a big pay cut?
Here is the schedule to set your life — or at least your DVR — by for the next couple of weeks. Note that all times listed are Eastern. If you don’t live out East (and I don’t) then do the math in your head. It keeps you sharp.
Cleveland vs. Chicago
Game 1 – Sat April 17 at Cleveland 3:00PM ABC
Game 2 – Mon April 19 at Cleveland 8:00PM TNT
Game 3 – Thu April 22 at Chicago 7:00PM TNT
Game 4 – Sun April 25 at Chicago 3:30PM ABC
Game 5 * Tue April 27 at Cleveland TBD
Game 6 * Thu April 29 at Chicago TBD
Game 7 * Sat May 1 at Cleveland TBD
Orlando vs. Charlotte
Game 1 – Sun April 18 at Orlando 5:30PM TNT
Game 2 – Wed April 21 at Orlando 7:00PM TNT
Game 3 – Sat April 24 at Charlotte 2:00PM TNT
Game 4 – Mon April 26 at Charlotte TBD
Game 5 * Wed April 28 at Orlando TBD
Game 6 * Fri April 30 at Charlotte TBD
Game 7 * Sun May 2 at Orlando TBD
Atlanta vs. Milwaukee
Game 1 – Sat April 17 at Atlanta 5:30PM ESPN
Game 2 – Tue April 20 at Atlanta 7:00PM NBATV
Game 3 – Sat April 24 Milwaukee 7:00PM ESPN
Game 4 – Mon April 26 at Milwaukee TBD
Game 5 * Wed April 28 at Atlanta TBD
Game 6 * Fri April 30 at Milwaukee TBD
Game 7 * Sun May 2 at Atlanta TBD
Boston vs. Miami
Game 1 – Sat April 17 at Boston ESPN
Game 2 – Tue April 20 at Boston 8:00PM TNT
Game 3 – Fri April 23 at Miami 7:00PM ESPN
Game 4 – Sun April 25 at Miami 1:00PM ABC
Game 5 * Tue April 27 at Boston TBD
Game 6 * Thu April 29 at Miami TBD
Game 7 * Sat May 1 at Boston TNT
L.A. Lakers vs. Oklahoma City
Game 1 – Sun April 18 at L.A. Lakers 3:00PM ABC
Game 2 – Tue April 20 at L.A. Lakers 10:30PM TNT
Game 3 – Thu April 22 at Oklahoma City 9:30PM TNT
Game 4 – Sat April 24 at Oklahoma City 9:30PM ESPN
Game 5 * Tue April 27 at L.A. Lakers TBD
Game 6 * Fri April 30 at Oklahoma City TBD
Game 7 * Sun May 2 at L.A. Lakers TBD
Dallas vs. San Antonio
Game 1 – Sun April 18 at Dallas 8:00PM TNT
Game 2 – Wed April 21 at Dallas 9:30PM TNT
Game 3 – Fri April 23 San Antonio 9:30PM ESPN
Game 4 – Sun April 25 San Antonio 7:00PM TNT
Game 5 * Tue April 27 at Dallas TBD
Game 6 * Thu April 29 at San Antonio TBD
Game 7 * Sat May 1 at Dallas TNT
Phoenix vs. Portland
Game 1 – Sun April 18 at Phoenix 10:30PM TNT
Game 2 – Tue April 20 at Phoenix 10:00PM NBATV
Game 3 – Thu April 22 at Portland 10:00PM NBATV
Game 4 – Sat April 24 at Portland 4:30PM TNT
Game 5 * Mon April 26 at Phoenix TBD
Game 6 * Thu April 29 at Portland TBD
Game 7 * Sat May 1 at Phoenix TBD TNT
Denver vs. Utah
Game 1 – Sat April 17 at Denver 10:30PM ESPN
Game 2 – Mon April 19 at Denver 10:30PM TNT
Game 3 – Fri April 23 at Utah 10:30PM ESPN2
Game 4 – Sun April 25 at Utah 9:30PM TNT
Game 5 * Wed April 28 at Denver TBD
Game 6 * Fri April 30 at Utah TBD
Game 7 * Sun May 2 at Denver TBD