- Kelly Dwyer at Ball Don't Lie14 hrs ago
Larry Brown spent six years running the Philadelphia 76ers. Former Philadelphia general manager Billy King would take offense to us pointing out that Larry ran the Sixers, but at the end of the working day Larry Brown and Larry Brown’s ideas ran the 76ers from 1997 through 2003. He took those Sixers to the playoffs in 1999, which was a bit of a surprise, and led the team to the NBA Finals in 2001 – a piece of work that in the minds of most made up for just about everything else he did with that particular franchise.
Larry Brown acted as a coach and de facto GM along the way. He salted the squad’s crops prior to his Larry Brown-styled flight to Detroit in 2003, leaving it with a GM in King that made a series of Larry Brown-styled win-now moves over and over again in the wake of Larry Brown’s departure. Yes, Allen Iverson crossed over Tyronn Lue and the 76ers took Game 1 of the Finals in 2001, but by and large Brown’s whole time in Philadelphia was just a series of penny-(barely) wise and pound-foolish maneuvers.
(We’ll get into those later.)Sat, Nov 14:00 PM PDTMiami at PhiladelphiaPreview Game
- Kelly Dwyer at Ball Don't Lie16 hrs ago
For a while there, it appeared as if Russell Westbrook was going to have to carry the load. To use his own formidable gifts to put together an MVP-worthy month while Kevin Durant slowly and smartly worked his way back from a right foot fracture.
At this point, sadly, it looks as if the rest of the Oklahoma City Thunder will have to do the heavy lifting, as both Durant and Westbrook are likely out until the middle of December. Westbrook suffered a fracture in his right hand on Thursday night in OKC’s second game of the season, likely knocking him out for the next four to six weeks.
The early indication is that Russell Westbrook could miss four to six weeks after fracturing the second metacarpal in his right hand Thursday against the Los Angeles Clippers.Sat, Nov 15:00 PM PDTDenver at Oklahoma CityPreview Game
It’s not so much that the Oklahoma City Thunder are already without Kevin Durant. It’s that Durant’s sweet-shooting reserve, Anthony Morrow, is also injured. It’s that his potential perimeter complement, hybrid guard Reggie Jackson, is nursing an ankle injury. It’s that James Harden’s hoped-for replacement, Jeremy Lamb, is out with a bad back.
Now, another dagger. All-Star point man Russell Westbrook had to leave the Thunder's 93-90 loss to the Clippers on Thursday night because of a fractured second metacarpal in his right hand.
Thunder coach Scott Brooks, according to reporters at the game, did not reveal how much time Westbrook could miss.
Here’s how it happened:
It’s unclear if Westbrook hurt the hand while bashing it into Kendrick Perkins’ thigh, or if the hand was caught in Perkins’ uniform. He may have injured himself while driving on Clippers reserve guard Jordan Farmar, as well. Whatever the spark, Westbrook had to leave the game after just 8:43 of frustrating play – he dished four assists, but turned the ball over three times, picked up two fouls, and missed two of three shots from the field.
NBA commissioner Adam Silver is tinkering, at least so far.
The NBA in five or ten years might look almost entering identical to the NBA we’re watching right now, save for possibly the addition of a few more holograms. The league might still feature 30 teams, all in the current NBA cities. The games could last as long as they do now, the season could start and finish at around the same time, and the road toward the NBA lottery drawing might possibly still be forged by the same rules in hand now.
Or, Silver could attempt to blow things up.
For now, though, he’s still working around the fringes. A recent interview with Bleacher Report’s Howard Beck revealed as much. The commish didn’t outline any impending plans to make significant changes to how the league operates, and most importantly unlike his predecessor Silver didn’t deem imminent change necessary for the future well-being of the league via the media.
If you have time, take a look:
The first game of the post-LeBron James era featured a standing room only-level crowd in Miami and a convincing 107-95 win over the Washington Wizards. Chris Bosh dominated as he warmed to his role as a go-to guy, finishing with 26 points, 15 rebounds and four assists. Miami crushed the Wizards on the glass, taking advantage of the suspension Wizards big man Nene received during the exhibition season, and all in all it should have been a very satisfying night for Heat fans.
The Heat still, um … they kind of still pump in crowd noise. I’m watching the archived game right now, and there’s that underlying hum that isn’t commensurate with what is going on between the lines.
In the middle of his team’s loss, Washington Wizards broadcaster Steve Buckhantz noticed as much, and called the American Airlines Arena crew for adding a little extra on top:
"They've gone to the canned crowd noise here in Miami. Which is, I guess, something you have to do when LeBron James leaves."Sat, Nov 14:00 PM PDTMilwaukee at WashingtonPreview Game
For a little while, things seemed so perfect. Madison Square Garden was celebrity-rich in the front and loud as hell in the back. Woody Allen’s newfound ingratiation with the team’s ownership allowed for an even better seat for the famed director of ‘Whatever Works.’ New York Knicks big man Amar’e Stoudemire got the start and was alternately hitting cutters with passes, destroying Chicago on the glass, and finishing in and out of the paint. Samuel Dalembert looked like the sort of post passer New York needed. Unheralded guard Shane Larkin was making life hell for Chicago’s Derrick Rose. New York was leading Chicago by five midway through the first quarter, and Carmelo Anthony hadn’t even gotten started yet!
Nobody really expected the Brooklyn Nets to contend for a championship last season, but the team’s goofball mix of aging veterans, All-Star-level players in prime and the addition of a wild card in rookie head coach Jason Kidd at least added some intrigue to things. With the right matchups and a little luck, the Nets could have possibly upended a top-tier team like Miami, Indiana, or Chicago (thought of as top-tier, prior to Derrick Rose’s season-ending injury) in the second round and made things interesting in the East.
Instead, the squad worked its way through a wildly inconsistent season, with Kidd nearly fired midway through, Brook Lopez breaking his foot yet again, and Deron Williams limping his way through another diminished year. D-Will only missed 18 games during the season while dealing with ankle woes, but he spent training camp in a walking boot, and contributed his worst box score numbers since his rookie season in 2005-06.Sat, Nov 14:30 PM PDTBrooklyn at DetroitPreview Game
NBA players and coaches, huge shocker here, are usually not good actors. That’s not their fault, it’s an entirely different profession, and yet for decades players have been pressed into service as either commercial pitchmen, would-be stars of the silver and/or small screen, or into all manner of thespian pursuits that more often than not turn out rather poorly.
This turned out rather poorly.
This is a pregame video put together by the New Orleans Pelicans, featuring the team’s mainstays and head coach pretending to act as line cooks at a New Orleans restaurant named “Borgne,” helmed by a “celebrity chef” that I’ve never heard of, ultimately serving a meal to the just-as-befuddled Pelicans owner Tom Benson.
Even by athlete standards, this is truly, truly awful. You have to watch:
Now, there has been some consternation of whether or not it is in good taste to feature a litany of African-American players serving dinner to their white owner, but I’ll leave that for you to pass judgment on.
I’m judging the acting here.
This is where we’re at now, I suppose. Kemba Walker is a $12 million a year player. The guy may never make an All-Star team, and yet he just signed a contract extension with the Charlotte Hornets that, starting next season, will pay him $48 million spread out over four years until 2019.
Of course, this is a duplicitous hot sportswriter take. Kemba Walker is not a $12 million a year player this year, even technically – he’s set to make over $3.2 million on the final year of his rookie deal. If the deal’s terms rise as the years move along, a likely scenario, he won’t be a $12 million a year player in 2015-16. And by the time the NBA’s new television contract sets in following the 2016 offseason, even if the league and its players decide to stagger the influx of revenue so as not to sharply raise the salary cap, Kemba Walker will likely be more than worth the money paid to him over the last three seasons of his deal.
- Kelly Dwyer at Ball Don't Lie3 days ago
Most readers of this column will pull out their tiny violin after skimming through this. They’ll probably head down to the comment section to creep up on some poorly-spelled screed about a cheerleaders’ worth, and ironically they’ll be the sort of person who pays unending attention to the cheerleaders during an NBA game. Doesn’t matter, we’re following through on this.
NBA cheerleaders – or, more accurately, NBA dance teams – are not integral to a live NBA showcase. Then again, neither are the boosters who fire T-shirts into the crowd, neither are the Jock Jam songs that blare from the sound system when the home team goes on a 12-2 run, neither is the Jumbotron that just replayed that last and-one, and neither are most concession stands. You don’t really need that $12 microbrew to watch this game, do you?