SAN ANTONIO (AP) — Tony Parker had 17 points and seven assists, and the San Antonio Spurs never trailed in a 114-92 victory over the Houston Rockets on Friday night.
SAN ANTONIO — The San Antonio Spurs have been a model of consistency in the Tim Duncan era, but have struggle this season to put a complete game together.
You might recall a Miami Heat win over the Los Angeles Lakers from back in March of 2011 , one that saw Kobe Bryant decide to take to an impromptu postgame shooting session in full view of reporters after a poor performance in that game’s fourth quarter. Kobe enjoyed plenty of plaudits following that post-performance performance, while some of us shook our head at the showiness of it all. Because the Miami arena has a practice court that Kobe knew all about, and he didn’t have to turn his basketball penance into a “look at me!” event.
On Thursday night, Miami Heat All-Star LeBron James pulled the same junk after an embarrassing Heat loss to the New York Knicks. Except that … he didn’t.
James used that practice court, declining to share his reps for the snapping cell phones of the waiting media. And after that, much like Kobe in 2011, James came clean about Miami’s lost week to reporters. From ESPN’s Brian Windhorst , who was in the scrum for all of our benefit:
LeBron went thru an extended workout after the game on the practice court. Said Knicks “kicked our ass” & he “had to get better”
The Los Angeles Lakers beat the New Orleans Hornets on Tuesday night, coasting to a 103-87 win over the Don’t-Call-Me-Pelicans behind a record-setting performance from Kobe Bryant, strong second-half pressure defense and a combined 11-of-21 mark from beyond the 3-point line turned in by the foursome of Metta World Peace, Antawn Jamison, Jodie Meeks and Darius Morris. For Lakers fans wearied these last few weeks by their expected juggernaut’s fits-and-starts opening to the season — and, more recently, talk of needed ass-kicking , possible exit-prepping , dismal foul-shooting and metaphorical pants-pooping — it was a good, calming night.
Lakers big man Pau Gasol took in the feel-good extravaganza from the L.A. bench, sitting out for the second consecutive game as he rests in the interest of recovering from tendinitis in both of his knees . News of Gasol’s length-as-yet-undetermined siesta — which comes with his scoring averages (per-game and per-minute) and field-goal percentage at career lows, his rebounding and assist rates down from last year, and Bryant having openly questioned his conditioning — immediately stoked speculation that the Lakers were shelving him ahead of shipping him out to shake up the struggling L.A. roster. That speculation reached new heights following reports that Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak had told Gasol’s representatives the team could look to move the 32-year-old four-time All-Star if he proved unable to adapt to new coach Mike D’Antoni’s more uptempo spread pick-and-roll system.
Perhaps emboldened by those reports, word’s now trickling out about multiple teams reaching out to the Lakers to gauge Gasol’s availability, though — thus far — unsuccessfully. From Marc Stein and Ramona Shelburne of ESPN.com :
The Toronto Raptors and Minnesota Timberwolves have both recently tried to engage the Lakers in trade discussions for Gasol, sources told ESPN.com, but the Lakers continue to tell teams that call that they will not consider dealing the Spaniard until L.A. can fully assess its roster after the return of injured point guard Steve Nash. [...]
A look around the league and the web that covers it. It’s also important to note that the rotation order and starting nods aren’t always listed in order of importance. That’s for you, dear reader, to figure out.
C : New York Times . In case you missed it, in honor of Ball Don’t Lie’s fifth anniversary, a discussion of the origins of Rasheed Wallace’s famous catchphrase as penned by Tony Gervino.
PF : The Basketball Jones . Seth Rosenthal’s list of menacing things for David Stern to say as he threatens teams.
SF : Hardwood Paroxysm . Pretty cool look from Sean Highkin at a recent history of players to make the All-Star game while working on losing teams.
SG : Grantland . The Oklahoma City Thunder are pretty scary, you guys.
PG : HoopsAnalyst . ‘Are there any [Kenneth] Farieds in the 2013 draft class?’
Brooklyn Nets small forward Gerald Wallace has been fined $5,000 by the NBA for committing his second violation of the league’s anti-flopping rules, the league announced Wednesday . He is the second NBA player to receive a flopping fine this season, following in the footsteps of trail-blazing teammate Reggie Evans, who two weeks ago became the first victim of the league’s new method of penalizing players who exaggerate or simulate contact in an attempt to draw phantom fouls against their opponents.
Wallace received his first warning from the NBA’s disciplinary office last Thursday, stemming from this play against Carmelo Anthony late in overtime during the Nets’ 96-89 win over the New York Knicks on Nov. 26:
The second violation — which, in accordance with the NBA’s newly instituted anti-flopping policy , triggers an automatic $5,000 fine — came as a result of this defensive play against LeBron James near the end of the third quarter of Brooklyn’s 102-89 loss to the Miami Heat on Dec. 1:
When Nike and Jordan Brand unveiled the Air Jordan XX8, the latest iteration of their most iconic basketball shoe, the immediate, gut-level response from many observers was mixed, to say the least. My colleague Eric Freeman noted the controversy surrounding the XX8′s appearance on Monday evening, describing it as “something like a black rain overshoe,” thanks to the big black zip-up shroud encasing the outside. Arguments abounded as to how the sneaker — which will reportedly retail for $250, have a special release on Feb. 15, 2013 in Houston during the NBA’s All-Star Weekend, and be available for general consumption nationwide on Feb. 16, according to Nikeblog — would look both on the street and on the court, how players would choose to handle that zipped upper, and whether the Tinker Hatfield/Josh Heard design represented a landmark advancement, a swing and a miss, or somewhere in the middle.
The long walk toward answering at least the first two questions began Tuesday night, when point guard Russell Westbrook — who signed an endorsement deal with Jordan Brand two months ago — became the first player to wear them on the floor during an NBA game when his Oklahoma City Thunder took on the Brooklyn Nets at Barclays Center. As you can see in the shot above, Westbrook opted for a mostly-zipped-up look that left a bit of an opening at the top, allowing the neon-green tongue to pop through. He sure seemed comfortable in the performance shoe, dropping 25 points on 9-for-17 shooting with nine assists and three steals in 34 minutes as the Thunder hung a 117-111 loss on Brooklyn to move to 15-4 on the season. Then again, Westbrook’s been playing sharp of late even before changing his kicks, averaging 19.4 points, 9.4 assists, 6 rebounds and 3.4 steals per game over his previous five (all Thunder wins) while shooting nearly 39 percent from 3-point range and 80 percent from the foul line. So while we don’t know that the XX8 makes you better , I guess we at least know it doesn’t make you worse .
Check out some more photos of the XX8 in action after the jump, and let us know what you think about the shoe’s on-court look in the comments below.
Kendrick Perkins is spending a lot of time this season policing OKC’s roster, tempering any friction aimed at Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook.
(Reuters) – The Oklahoma City Thunder cruised to their sixth straight win on Tuesday after an incredible night of shooting earned them a 117-111 victory over the Brooklyn Nets. The red-hot Thunder made a season-high 60 percent of field goals, Kevin Durant leading the way with 32 points while Russell Westbrook added 25 and nine assists. Oklahoma City (15-4), the defending Western Conference champions, made 30 of 34 free throws and 7 of 14 three-pointers. …
NEW YORK (AP) — Kevin Durant scored 32 points, Russell Westbrook had 25 points and nine assists, and the Oklahoma City Thunder held off the Brooklyn Nets 117-111 on Tuesday night for their sixth straight victory.