Monthly Archives: July 2017

Stephen Jackson appreciated Don Nelson for being ‘cool’ about players’ use of weed

Stephen Jackson gives former coach Don Nelson some credit for whatever success the Warriors had in the late 2000s. One way Nelson fostered that success, it seems, was to be accepting of his players’ marijuana use.

“Don Nelson, we talked about weed all the time, he was cool with talking about weed,” Jackson told Michael Rapoport in a podcast (via ESPN.com).

“(M)e and [teammate] Baron [Davis] are coming out the locker room just screaming, excited with our last pink slip saying we could smoke for the rest of the season, and Don Nelson hauls ass down there giving us high-fives, like, ‘Yeah, we can smoke now!'” Jackson recalled. “It was cool, the fact that he knows what’s going on off the court with his players, which was great, man. We enjoyed it. That’s why we were a great team.”

“Great team” is a vast overstatement. The Warriors made the playoffs only once in Jackson’s tenure with Golden State, in 2006-07. The next two seasons they were 48-34 and 29-53. Jackson was traded to the Bobcats nine games into the 2009-10 season.

Maybe Jackson’s memory is cloudy because, as he admitted to Rapoport, he smoked weed before some games. He said he had great nights after smoking and nights where he was so hyped he was spraying shots all over the place.

One more thing that’s worth noting: Because Verlander is owed so much money, the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline doesn’t mean much for him and Detroit. He would sail through waivers, which would give the Tigers the opportunity to trade him through August 31 (the deadline for players to be eligible for the postseason with their new team). And they could wait until the offseason to make a move, too. t_rangers_041-115x115

Jazz emerging as Western Conference contenders

The Jazz won just 40 games all of last season and finished ninth in the NBA’s Western Conference.

Utah’s 41st victory this season came Wednesday night with an impressive showing against the Rockets.

Gordon Hayward and Rudy Gobert scored 23 points apiece to lead the Jazz to a 115-108 victory at Houston.
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With his 20th point Tuesday night against the Lakers, Dirk Nowitzki became the sixth player in NBA history to score 30,000 career points. The Mavericks star joins all-time NBA greats Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Wilt Chamberlain, Karl Malone, Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant in the club.
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Moments after he reached 30K, this tribute video ran in-arena for Nowitzki. He finished with 25 points in the 122-111 win.

Brandon Jennings and Jared Dudley were ejected after getting involved in a scuffle during the second quarter of the Wizards-Suns game. Each player was standing up for their teammates but crossed the line in doing so. Dudley nearly headbutted Wizards big man Jason Smith and Jennings made his hand into a shape resembling a gun and pointed it at Dudley.

Celtics (40-24) at Warriors (52-11), 10:30 p.m. ET — Playoff contenders square off Wednesday in Oakland with each squad looking over their shoulders. Losers of two straight, the Celtics are in danger of dropping from the No. 2 seed while the Warriors are trying to stay in front of the streaking Spurs for the top seed in the West.

The Grizzlies led by 12 in the first half, but New Orleans charged ahead with a 21-0 run in the third quarter which saw Cousins score 15 points.

Giles never got a chance to waste his time playing high school basketball in the 2015-16 season

As I saw him from the stands that day, I laughed and remarked to a friend (and media colleague) that Giles would be wasting his time playing high school basketball over the course of the next year. He was that ready to come in and dominate the college game, just weeks after dominating the U19 World Championships in a similar manner. It was just a matter of time until Giles got to the NBA and had a chance to impose his impressive tools on the game as a top draft selection.

Unfortunately, Giles never got a chance to waste his time playing high school basketball in the 2015-16 season. He tore the ACL in his right knee in November 2015, just two years after tearing the ACL, MCL and meniscus in his left knee in 2013. Giles then had arthroscopic surgery on the left knee in the fall of 2016, cutting his preseason short and putting the freshman behind. By season’s end at Duke, the formerly presumptive top-five pick (Giles fell all the way to No. 19 in my mid-March prospect rankings) had only put up 3.9 points and 3.8 rebounds per game in a sample of just 300 minutes played.

Michael Bennett Limited Jersey That’s the thing. The Cavaliers are a terrible defensive team when it comes to guarding transition, allowing 1.19 points per possession, worst in the league. But they’re pretty good at guarding most of the typical halfcourt stuff, which gets more important as the game slows down in the playoffs: fifth in stopping isolation plays, eighth in guarding spot-up shooters, 14th against post-ups, first against cutters.
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The pick-and-roll, though, is the staple of playoff basketball. And with Kyrie Irving heading up the team’s PNR defense, the Cavs have been awful when it comes to coping with the play all year. Cleveland allows 0.91 points per possession in PNR plays finished by the ballhandler, which is third-worst in the league. They’re fourth-worst (1.09 ppp) when it comes to stopping the roll man on the play.

LeBron James feeling ‘fine’ after brutal elbowing in back

Limited Bobby Portis Jersey With the playoffs quickly approaching, LeBron James isn’t going to let injuries get the best of him.

The Cavaliers forward claimed to feel fine after suffering a brutal elbowing to his back during Monday’s ugly 103-74 loss to the Spurs.

I’ll be ready by Thursday [in Chicago], James said after the game, via ESPN. I got elbowed in the neck and spine.

James endured a hard hit from Spurs forward David Lee in the middle of his upper back in the third quarter and writhed on the floor in pain for several minutes before being forced to exit the game early. According to ESPN, Lee assured he didn’t even know he had struck James.

James was accompanied by Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love on the bench as they sat out the fourth quarter. Despite James’ opposition and desire to keep playing, the starters could be resting more during the team’s final regular season games.

It’s mostly between the ears for Oliver, who is a 6-8 forward with off-the-charts athleticism and the potential to be an elite defensive player and a versatile stretch-4 in the NBA. He improved this season as a shooter (38.3 percent from the 3-point line) and as a scorer (15.8 points) but he still has a long way to go to truly cash in on his potential.
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Oliver would hold his own as a dunker and shot-blocker in the league right off the bat, but he gambles too much and struggles with shot selection. Still, he is a dynamic player and the 12th-seeded Wolfpack has a shot at an early upset or two. The more Oliver can show some discipline and team-first approach in front of NBA-types on the big stage, the better his chance of landing in the first round.

Chandler Parsons is the most beautiful man in the NBA … according to Tinder

Leave it to Reddit to settle a hair salon argument.

Apparently, Chandler Parsons is the best looking player in the NBA.

Reddit user Aesthetikal recently did a bit of a social experiment that led to this conclusion, creating profiles on the popular dating app Tinder for several players. Listing only their heights (no names) and posting pictures of them in street clothes, Aesthetikal tracked who got the most interactions in 24 hours.

Parsons prevailed in a landslide with 127 interactions ahead of Kevin Love (96) and J.J. Redick (95) who rounded out the top three.

Ultimately, though, this trade comes down to New Orleans going from the middle of the road with seemingly few avenues for tangible improvement to something totally different with a lot of upside. Even if the Pelicans end up losing Cousins in two summers, the fact that they went for it is something they will certainly be able to stomach — and something that their fans should appreciate regardless of result.

And heck, even if it goes totally wrong this spring, it’s hard to see them not getting similar value on the market if they would decide to move him on again in the summer. It’s a calculated risk that is well worth taking for the organization. We’ll see now if it pays off.

Bulls: Chicago will likely never see the first-round pick it acquired when the Bulls decided to trade Luol Deng to the Cavaliers for Andrew Bynum, that first, and two second-rounders. For a team that needs to continue stockpiling young talent, that’s a loss.
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Sporting News’ 2017 Midseason MLB Awards

We’ve already given you the Sporting News 2017 All-Star squad, and now it’s time to hand out the hardware.

Well, the figurative hardware. Some of these choices are no-brainers, and others might help certain players get long-overdue recognition. Anyway, dig in.
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Why he’s here: Remember when Judge hit just .179 in his 27-game MLB debut last season? Or when the Yankees were leaning toward starting Judge in the minors this spring? Feels like a long time ago, doesn’t it? With apologies to a few guys on the Astros having fantastic seasons (George Springer, Jose Altuve and Carlos Correa), Judge is the easy choice in the AL. He’s been either leading or near the lead of the Triple Crown categories (average, homers, RBIs) all season, and he’s basically carried the Yankees into playoff contention in a season that didn’t have sky-high expectations this spring.

With Trevor Ariza and Ryan Anderson expected to knock down shots, Harden and Paul can orchestrate the offense, making sure everyone is in the best position to succeed. It may seem sad, but right now decisions teams make have to be judged by whether or not they positioned themselves toward catching the Warriors. Houston probably still wouldn’t beat Golden State in a best-of-seven series, but they certainly have a better chance with Paul.

Game Youth Rob Ninkovich Jersey Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant re-signing with Warriors — This is technically cheating because these two didn’t move anywhere, but Golden State still had to act to bring them back. Curry signed a supermax deal, which will see him wearing yellow and blue for the foreseeable future, while Durant opted to sign a team-friendly two-year deal.

Gordon Hayward ‘doesn’t really want to be the man,’ former Jazz teammate says

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Gordon Hayward’s decision to join the Celtics over the Jazz came with a bit of controversy, namely from current and former Utah players.

Trevor Booker, who currently plays power forward for the Nets, but spent two seasons with Hayward at Utah, took a shot at the new Celtics star.

Gordon’s a guy who doesn’t really want to be the man, Booker said, via The Salt Lake Tribune. I’m not sure he wanted a franchise on his shoulders. Gordon’s a great player, and one of the best players in the league. But I wasn’t really surprised at his choice. I heard the rumors.

According to ESPN, the deal is worth a whopping $228 million. Previously, Warriors star Stephen Curry had the biggest contract extension after he recently signed a four-year deal worth $201 million.
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ESPN reported once the extension starts in 2019, Harden will start earning $37.8 million, with his annual salary going up to $40.8 million, $43.8 million and $46.8 million over the next three seasons.

But Harden earned his huge paycheck. He averaged 29.1 points, 11.2 assists, and 8.1 rebounds per game while helping the Rockets secure the third seed in the NBA playoffs last season.

Houston, which had a 55-27 mark last season, has also made the playoffs each of the five years Harden has been on the team.

there could be incentive on both sides to make a Bulls move happen.

Another possibility: the Bulls. It’s been a disappointing season in Chicago, and some of the young assets the Bulls hoped to developed have not blossomed. But the Bulls would be in position to make the Knicks an offer, and when he was a free agent in 2014, Anthony not only visited Chicago to take their pitch, he nearly decided to sign with Bulls. Should good friend Dwyane Wade decide against opting out this summer, there could be incentive on both sides to make a Bulls move happen.

The Cavaliers? “Longshot,” one exec said. Unless LeBron James pushes for such a move, Anthony landing in Cleveland is unlikely.

In all, it is not an enviable hand that Jackson is holding, trying to deal an expensive and aging star who has the right to veto any deal and is not much wanted by the rest of the league. Jackson was not wrong to say that Anthony might be better off elsewhere. The trick, though, is to pin down where that elsewhere is.

That was supposed to be part-and-parcel with this series, given two years of meetings between these teams that featured nose-poking (that was Wall’s nose being poked), a postgame police presence set up between the locker rooms, a broken nose, an ejection (that was Wall), repeated accusations of dirty play on both sides and a night spent in funeral attire (allegedly Wall’s idea). But Game 1 was mild when it came to such hijinks.

When the lack of fireworks was mentioned to Wall, he smiled. “We all had our back-and-forth, we are all going to talk trash, that’s just the competitive nature of everybody,” Wall said. “Nobody is trying to injure anybody out here. We’re just trying to have a clean-cut game. But there’s two teams who are trying to play hard, trying to win, but don’t like each other while you’re between those two lines. That’s how the game is supposed to go.”
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Kevin Durant’s 38 points lead Warriors to Game 3 win

While the series still has one game remaining, the Warriors have the Jazz beaten. That was especially clear after Golden State’s 102-91 victory Saturday to take a 3-0 lead in the second-round Western Conference series.
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The Jazz did every single thing they wanted to do in Game 3. They slowed the game down; they got Draymond Green in foul trouble and got in his head; and forced the Warriors into a bad shooting night.

What they couldn’t do was stop Durant. The 28-year-old All-Star scored 38 points on 15-of-26 shooting and added 13 rebounds. He had 22 points in the first half when Green, Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson combined for a total of 13 points.
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After Wizards forward Kelly Oubre Jr. was ejected in the second quarter for his bull rush of Celtics center Kelly Olynyk, Wizards guard Brandon Jennings decided to keep taunting Celtics guard Terry Rozier late in Washington’s 116-89 win. The result was a pair of hard fouls by Rozier and he and Jennings were both ejected after receiving a pair of technical fouls.

There were eight total technical fouls during the game as officials had difficulty trying to maintain control.

We know we want to be physical and want to be smart, but we don’t want to hurt anybody, said Wizards guard John Wall, who led six Wizards scorers in double figures with 24 points. That’s a great team over there. We just want to keep it clean and not hurt anybody. Even if you get fouled hard or screened hard, you’ve got to keep your composure and keep it level-headed. Two of our guys got out of it.

NBA Playoffs: LeBron James says Celtics fans are ‘born with pump’

Elite Daimion Stafford Jersey After a long layoff, LeBron James and the Cavaliers are finally set to play another game.

It’s been more than a week since Cleveland swept the Raptors, forcing the Cavs to wait and watch the Celtics-Wizards series stretch to seven games. The Celtics prevailed, which means they are back in the Eastern Conference finals for the first time in five years.

Elite Spud Webb Jersey Oh, and they have home-court advantage thanks to Cleveland’s strategic resting down the stretch.

While most think Boston fans will be even more riled up for this series, facing the defending champs, James believes that fan base is already as hyped as its ever going to get.

Think about the history he’s had, and what that means to a team, what happened last night, he continued. A totally unnatural closeout that the league has outlawed years ago and pays great attention to it. And Kawhi’s not there. And you want to know how we feel about it.

0.6 percent odds of No. 1 pick 鈥?Emmanuel Mudiay’s stats declined across the board 鈥?games played, starts, minutes, points, rebounds, assists, 3-point percentage 鈥?from his rookie season to his sophomore campaign, so if the Nuggets manage to win the lottery and get the No. 1 overall pick, they shouldn’t overthink it. Take Markelle Fultz.

While Mudiay’s career 3-point percentage in the NBA is a less-than-desirable 31.7 percent, he and Fultz have the size to potentially operate together in the backcourt. In the regular season, Denver was eighth in 3-point attempts and 11th in 3-point percentage, and Fultz’s physical tools could allow him to unlock even more of the Nuggets’ outside shooting potential.