May 6, 2017, 9:24 pm
Well the playoffs are starting to get a little exciting with some actual basketball drama. Round one’s faux competition stink has worn off and it’s good to see the Spurs give it to the Rockets on the road and take back their home court advantage in what should continue to be an exciting series that I hope goes the full seven games. The Eastern playoff series are getting less and less exciting from a competitive basketball perspective, but it’s getting ramped up on the in full on man drama as the the Wizards and Celtics get more and more chippy with every game. It’s weird to think that the NBA playoffs last a little over two months but we don’t really get to the action until half way through round two, but thus is the landscape of the NBA at the moment. Still it all seems a bit bleak as the Warriors loom around every corner, and seemingly only need to play at 80% in order to blow teams off the floor, but the Jazz put up a fight tonight so lets break it down!
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Warriors 102 Jazz 91
This game looked over after the first quarter as the Warriors hopped out to a 27-17 lead but the Jazz were able to battle back in the second to make it a game and actually go up one point.The French Connection was in full swing as Boris Diaw and Rudy Gobert played very good games. Diaw ended up as a +3 on the game in his 26 minutes while scoring 10 points to go along with five rebounds, one assist, and a steal, but his contributions were typical for the ex-Spur as he created offensive opportunities for those around him while he was on the court. Gobert finished the game with 21 points, 15 rebounds, four assists and two blocks and was actually a far more impressive offensive force tonight than he was defensive. He got wide open for multiple lob opportunities and took full advantage as he put in seven of his eight shot attempts.
The name of the game for the Jazz though was shooting, and they couldn’t get anything going tonight. Gordon Hayward struggled to deal with Kevin Durant on the defensive end and it may have hurt him on the offensive end as well as he hit just 7-of-18 shot. He did get to the basket a ton in this game however and hit 13-of-14 free throw attempts while adding in six assists and a pair of 3-pointers. Rodney Hood played 32 minutes while coming off the bench but only hit 1-of-8 shots to score three points with three assists and three boards, and the Jazz just need more from him. He’s shown the ability to be special before but every time he’s been given more opportunity this season he’s just had something missing. Meanwhile Australian Steph Curry A.K.A. Joe Ingles had another solid outing as he scored 10 points with five rebounds, two steals, a block, and two 3-pointers. He’s going to get a nice contract this off season, possibly to start. Shelvin Mack started at point and played 37 minutes and had maybe the best game of any Jazz player on both ends of the court as he scored 11 points with five assists, four rebounds, a steal and a 3-pointer to end with a team best +6 differential on the night.
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The Warriors were up and down throughout this game as the came out to a blazing start and ended with a bang, but they had some struggles in between where they nearly let this game go. The beginning of the third quarter was particularly brutal as the Warriors scored just seven points in the first six minutes of the quarter, five of which belonged to Zaza Pachulia. Kevin Durant was unstoppable in the end as he scored 38 points with 13 rebounds, an assist, a steal, a block and four 3-pointers all while hitting 15-of-26 from the field and all four of his free throw attempts. He was the complete package as he brought it on both ends of the court every minute he was out there, and I think doubts can be laid to rest about what kind of condition he is in after played 39 minutes and putting on a clinic. Stephen Curry played well but struggled with his shot some as he started off 0-of-6 from beyond the arc but ultimately ended up with three 3-pointers and a 6-of-2o mark from the field. Curry scored 23 points and added five rebounds and four assists while getting to the line to hit 8-of-9 attempts as well.
Klay Thompson had a rough night on offense as he scored just six points on 1-of-9 shooting and barely added one rebound and a block to register on the stat sheet. There’s a reason he still ended up a +4 for the night though and that’s because he brought some excellent defense to the floor as he and the rest of the Warriors were able to suffocate the Jazz on offense. Draymond had a subpar game by his standards but he still managed to score nine points with 10 rebounds, five assists, a steal, and a block. Andre Iguodala scored 11 points with four rebounds, two assists, and two 3-pointers while locking absolutely abusing the Jazz on the defensive end and JaVale McGee made it onto the court for 12 highly effective minutes where he scored two points and grabbed seven rebounds for the Warriors. They’re an embarrassment of riches that can’t even lose on nights when only two of their starters can crack double digit scoring.
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July 4, 2020, 9:35 amCaris LeVertPG-SG, Brooklyn Nets
Caris LeVert embraces challenge of being a leader.
LeVert has been an active participant in the racial inequality protests and admitted that basketball is very minor right now compared to everything else going on in the world but is ready for the NBA restart saying, "For me, it’s just taking on that challenge of being a leader, being the leader of that group, going down there with some of the most experience on the team, playoff experience." In the 16 games since rejoining the starting lineup, LeVert has put up All-Star numbers with 24.1 points, 4.8 rebounds and 5.3 assists, while shooting 41.7 percent from three-point range and leading the Nets to a 9-7 record over that span. The upward trajectory continues for the Nets' 20th overall pick in the 2016 draft.
July 4, 2020, 9:16 amJordan CrawfordSG, Free Agent
Jordan Crawford has agreed to a deal with Russia's Lokomotiv Kuban.
Crawford last played in the NBA for the Pelicans in 2018 with career averages of 12.2 points, 2.5 rebounds and 3.1 assists in 24.4 minutes. The career journeyman has played for five NBA teams since 2010 with a few stints with China in between. Since the beginning of 2019, he has played in Israel, China, Germany and now we can add Russia to that list.
July 4, 2020, 8:13 amLance StephensonSG, Free Agent
Lance Stephenson is ineligible to sign with the Pacers according to Scott Agness.
Stephenson to the Pacers was being discussed in early March and made sense now with Victor Oladipo choosing to sit out the remainder of the season but this move apparently will not happen. The 29-year old Stephenson spent this past season in China where he averaged 26.7 points, 7.4 rebounds and 3.8 assists for the CBA's Flying Leopards.
Source: Scott Agness on Twitter
July 3, 2020, 10:10 pmAnthony DavisPF-C, Los Angeles Lakers
Anthony Davis has high expectations for the Lakers when they resume play later in July in Orlando, citing the long layoff as a favorable development for his squad.
As if the Lakers weren't already squarely in the hunt for an NBA championship. When speaking to ESPN's Dave McMenamin, Davis said that he believes their "chances are higher just because we’re all rested and we’re all ready to go.” Depth seems to be the most glaring issue potentially facing the Lakers as they prepare to make the trip to Disney World, as defensive stalwart Avery Bradley recently opted out of the remainder of the season. Bradley was subsequently replaced by well-traveled veteran guard J.R. Smith (who has a long history of playoff runs alongside LeBron James with the Cavs), but the team is still unsure of veteran center Dwight Howard's status the rest of the way. Other than Howard, the Lakers' roster is seemingly set for Orlando. Davis sounds like he's ready to rock, however.
July 3, 2020, 8:28 pmDeng AdelPF, Brooklyn Nets
Deng Adel, who played 19 games for the Cavs last season as a two-way player, is being pursued by the Illawara Hawks of Australia's NBL, which, notably was the team 18-year-old LaMelo Ball played for last season (and has attempted to purchase).
Adel had two short stints before last season with the Rockets and Nets in the Summer League and the preseason, respectively. He was originally a standout at Louisville but went undrafted in 2018 before hitching on with the Cavs on a two-way pact. This season he had been playing for the Long Island Nets, the Nets' G League affiliate, prior to the pause and ultimately the end of the G League season. Adel had registered averages of 11.1 points, 4.2 boards and 2.6 assists to that point. Also of note, Adel spent the lion's share of his childhood in Australia after his family moved from South Sudan around the time he was eight.
July 3, 2020, 4:35 pmDarius MillerSF, New Orleans Pelicans
Darius Miller is unsure if he will be able to play in Orlando, as he continues to recover from a torn a ruptured right Achillies.
Due to the lockdown, Miller has been unable to participate in any live-action, or else he would have played in 3-on-3 or 5-on-5 by now. At this point, it would be surprising for the Pelicans to risk his health by pushing for him to participate in the eight-game regular season.
Source: Will Guillory on Twitter
July 3, 2020, 4:26 pmJJ RedickSG, New Orleans Pelicans
J.J. Redick has intentionally lost 10 pounds since the quarantine began.
Redick's goal was to get back to his playing weight during his college days at Duke, and it's not a surprise that one of the most dedicated workers in the league was able to drop weight during the coronavirus pandemic. Redick's shooting will be sorely needed when the Pelicans try to chase down the Grizzlies for a playoff spot, but if he does not come out of the gates making an impact the Pelicans are likely to shift to another hot hand on their deep roster. Redick has only seen 26.4 minutes per game this season, and that is going to limit his impact to strictly 3-pointers (2.9 per game).
Source: Daniel Sallerson on Twitter
July 3, 2020, 4:14 pmTyler HerroPG, Miami Heat
Tyler Herro said the time off allowed his right ankle to fully recover.
Herro returned to action just before the shutdown due to COVID-19. With the ankle back to 100 percent, he will face no restrictions when play picks back up in Orlando. While Herro's scoring prowess caused some increased expectations for his rookie season, he's largely been an afterthought for the Heat. He can clearly shoot the rock (2.1 treys on .391 shooting), but the rest of his game is lacking, and the Heat do not have time to devote to rookie development when the season resumes.
Source: Ira Winderman on Twitter
July 3, 2020, 4:08 pmKent BazemoreSG, Sacramento Kings
Kent Bazemore, who has been a welcomed presence since joining the Kings in January, reiterated that he'd like to stay with the team.
Bazemore had a lot of opportunity before him when the Blazers were faltering due to injuries at the start of the season and he failed to take advantage. However, a change of scenery made a significant difference, as his field goal percentage leaped from .347 with the Blazers, to .426 with the Kings, and his scoring also increased from 7.9 points to 10.3 points per contest. He sounds locked in as the Kings prepare for the Orlando bubble, but a healthy Kings' roster could handicap his opportunity for playing time when things start back up.
Source: James Ham on Twitter
July 3, 2020, 3:57 pmVictor OladipoSG, Indiana Pacers
Shams Charania is reporting that Victor Oladipo will sit out the remainder of the Pacers' season.
Oladipo decided to exercise caution as his quad tendon is still susceptible to a relapse, and the circumstances of the Orlando bubble are anything but predictable. It's a big hit to the Pacers chances when play resumes, but Oladipo should be close to 100 percent next year as he continues his rehab and seeks to further strengthen his quad tendon. This season was a flop as he only appeared in 13 games, but Oladipo should be looking to return fully recovered and seeking early-round value next year. The Pacers will continue leaning on their depth to fill the void, and Malcolm Brogdon will continue to be the lead guard running the show in Indiana.
Source: Shams Charania on Twitter