Tag:Chris Paul
Posted on: December 5, 2010 12:47 pm
Edited on: August 14, 2011 9:16 pm
 

NBA takeover could mean Hornets relocate?

A takeover by the NBA could signal a relocation is in the New Orleans Hornets' future and raises old questions about Chris Paul's future with thechris-paulteam. Posted by Ben Golliver We've been tracking the news that the NBA may step in to purchase the New Orleans Hornets pretty closely this weekend. First, here's the breaking news. Second, here's the explanation for why expected new owner Gary Chouest got cold feet. The early word was that the NBA would be looking for local investors to keep the franchise in New Orleans, where it's been since moving from Charlotte in 2002. The latest updates to the story, however, paint a bleaker picture for the future of basketball in New Orleans. The Times-Picayune says the NBA takeover "could be the absolute worst thing to happen in terms of the Hornets remaining in New Orleans beyond the next couple of seasons" because a league-run auction of the franchise would be open to bids from around the world.
Yes, sources indicated that the league would try to find a sole buyer or investment group that would keep the Hornets in New Orleans. There’s no reason to doubt the attempt wouldn’t be made.
But if the highest bidder came from, say, Seattle, the NBA’s desire to keep the team in New Orleans probably would take a back seat to that. In money matters, generally what matters most is money. And if deeper pockets from outside Louisiana emerge, and if that means the franchise is more likely to be economically sound because of it, the NBA hardly would be inclined to make a bad business decision.
Sports Illustrated reports Sunday that the NBA's takeover of the Hornets is imminent -- it could happen within the next few days -- and lists Kansas City, Anaheim and Chicago as possible relocation sites. One would assume the current sale process, which has dragged on for nearly a year, would have exhausted any other possible local ownership groups during its early stages. And if the giant "for sale" sign on the Hornets for the last nine months didn't attract a legit local buyer, it's difficult to see how a new "for sale" sign, this time embossed by the NBA's logo, is going to make much of a difference in the gulf. Making the possibility of relocation even more likely is a recent report that the Hornets are not hitting the attendance benchmarks needed to lock itself into its arena lease in New Orleans. In other words, should an outside buyer emerge with an eye towards moving the team to his destination of choice, a la Clay Bennett and the Oklahoma City Thunder, a major, expensive hurdle that usually exists wouldn't be there to slow down the process. It's grim news for the Hornets, their fans and, especially, new coach Monty Williams and new general manager Dell Demps, who have put the team's roster in order quickly upon their arrivals this summer and have created a winning basketball atmosphere in the face of all of this uncertainty and adversity.  In the long run, a new owner not named George Shinn is better for all involved, but the sale of the team will undoubtedly remain a painful process, one that could cost the team its franchise player, Chris Paul. If I'm Paul, intent on winning and competing for an NBA title in the short-term, thanks to questions about my surgically-repaired knee -- I take a step back and realize that franchises with this much front office turmoil simply do not win titles -- nor consistently compete for them -- in the NBA. If this ownership group can't even sell its majority stake properly, and there are no prospective buyers anxious to do a better job, how will this franchise ever build a true contender? The answer? It won't.  Which leaves Paul with two options: settle in for the (potentially years-long) long haul of up-and-down, day-to-day confusion about the franchise's direction, or start seriously exploring greener pastures. While trade requests are always met with a lot of backlash, in this case it's hard to tell who would blame him. It's one thing to carry four teammates on your back, it's another to carry an ownership group. No player can reasonably be expected to shoulder that burden. Update (5:25 pm):
The Times-Picayune reports Sunday afternoon that the NBA is maintaining a public commitment to the city of New Orleans, and has installed a Lousiana native to oversee the ongoing sale negotiations.
Jac Sperling, vice charrman of the NHL's Minnesota Wild is a New Orleans-born attorney who has in the past negotiated the sale of professional sports teams and guided the Wild into one of hockey's most successful franchises, according to a report at SI.com.
A league source said Sunday that NBA Commissioner David Stern would likely be taking these steps because he firmly wants the Hornets to remain in New Orleans. By taking over the team, the source said, Stern would be able to ensure a sale to someone who was also committed to keeping the team in New Orleans. The Hornets said team president Hugh Weber would not comment on the latest developments, but that Weber would still be in control of the day-to-day operations of the team.
Of course the NBA is invested in franchise stability. And it's also invested in keeping Hornets fans interested in their team in the short term. The league has no choice but to take a pro-New Orleans stance publicly. But as Seattle recently taught basketball fans, money speaks far louder than rhetoric. The only hope for basketball in New Orleans is local money that has, to this point, been nonexistent. 
Posted on: December 4, 2010 1:44 am
Edited on: December 4, 2010 1:45 am
 

Report: NBA may acquire control of Hornets

Reports indicate league considering acquiring control of Hornets in effort to stabilize ownership situation as word spreads that new majority owner has cold feet.  Posted by Matt Moore




The sale of the New Orleans Hornets has gone from interesting to strange to bizarre, to downright berserk. 

First, George Shinn had "come to terms" with Gary Chouest to sell the Hornets, ending a reign of anxiety for Hornets fans as the man who ripped the Hornets out of Charlotte (which still has not recovered) would be replaced with a local guy that could bring new life to the franchise. Then the months dragged on. And on. And there were rumblings that the sale was held up with details. Some rumors suggested that the holdups were non-issues. 

Then earlier this week the Times Picayune reported that the city was facing the possibility of the Hornets being able to opt-out of their lease if attendance measures weren't raised. For the Hornets to have looked like they have (up until about six games ago) and still not be pulling is a huge concern. 

That is, it was until bigger concerns hit. 

Reports surfaced Friday night that the NBA is considering purchasing the New Orleans Hornets, in an effort similar to Major League Baseball's acquisition of the Montreal Expos to find them a stable ownership group. It is believed that the league intends to find an ownership group committed to keeping the Hornets in New Orleans, even with the opt-out possibly becoming available soon. Originally it was believed the effort could be considered in an effort to help the sale to Chouest. 

That's not sounding so promising anymore. 

Late Friday the Times-Picayune reported the following:
Sources indicated Friday night that Chouest does not think he can devote the needed time to run an NBA franchise and operate his private business.
via New Orleans Hornets could become first franchise owned by the NBA | NOLA.com.   

The loss of Chouest as the next owner throws much of the situation in doubt. Shinn no longer wants to own the team, there's not a new majority owner in place, the league may have to step in, and oh, yeah, Chris Paul's been involved in questions about his future in New Orleans since July. It's almost funny to think that it may be the team itself that moves, taking Paul with it, if it weren't for the fact that it would be so depressing for a team that's gone through so much. 

Losing the Hornets in New Orleans wouldn't be a crushing blow for the city by any means (as evident by the attendance woes). But the Hornets' fortunes are tied with memories of Hurricane Katrina, of their temporary relocation to Oklahoma City and the rousing welcome they received that led to the Thunder shipping there from Seattle, and of the Hornets' resurgence in 2008, the same year the league held the All-Star game in a still-rebuilding New Orleans. It would look bad for the league, particularly as it shores up strength and public approval for CBA talks this summer which are sure to be tooth-and-nail, to have to acquire a team and not have solid ownership in place in such a publicly sensitive city. 

It's also a very heavy-handed approach for a league and a commissioner who very much does not usually act in such a manner. David Stern is hard-line and involved when it comes to his players and the control of the league, but hands-off with ownership, wanting them to sort things out on their own. That's why he never formally became involved during the Isiah Thomas era in New York, and, despite what many Sonics fans feel, there was no evidence that Stern condoned or supported Clay Bennett's move to Oklahoma City. This approach would mean a significant financial investment from the league, and sets a dangerous precedent, considering how often NBA teams are switching hands these days. With ownership situations in Memphis, Detroit, and potentially Milwaukee, Sacramento, and eventually Charlotte (come on, it's MJ), the league could be putting itself in a dangerous position with other owners wanting a handout-for-a-way-out. 

Meanwhile, the Hornets have now lost 5 of their last 7, Chris Paul looks very much like he's not 100%, and Jarrett Jack is not the savior off the bench. 

What was once a murky situation for the Hornets is quickly becoming a full-blown quagmire for the city, the team, and now the league. 
Posted on: December 1, 2010 1:41 am
 

The future of the Hornets in NOLA is murkier

Doubt about the future of New Orleans is beginning to creep in as attendance deadline nears.
Posted by Matt Moore




There's been constant talk regarding the Hornets relocating since their (still) current owner George Shinn already moved the team once from Charlotte and has always hungered for the dollar. But when the Hornets started rocking in 2007-2008, those talks subsided as the city got behind the team.

Now, with the team off to a hot (although starting to cool) start, surely the city has responded and there are no legality concerns surrounding the arena attendance, right? Right?

Oh, heck.

If the Hornets do not average crowds of at least 14,213 for the next 13 games at the New Orleans Arena, the franchise can opt out of its current lease agreement with the state, according to Doug Thornton, vice president of SMG, the company that manages the Arena and the Superdome.

The Hornets and the state amended their lease agreement in 2007 to extend it through 2014, but an attendance benchmark of 14,735 was implemented. The franchise can opt out of the pact if the benchmark is not made over a period of two consecutive years during the agreement.
via Apparently, the attendance benchmark is back on the table for the New Orleans Hornets | NOLA.com .

The real problem here is that there's no real way to figure it out. New Orleans has long been viewed as suspect from a financial standpoint. In major markets, ticket price alone and sheer demand will keep you afloat (see: Clippers, The Los Angeles). But in smaller markets like NOLA, you have to rely on support, especially in the "fat" years when you're winning in order to survive the "lean" years when you're rebuilding.

And the Hornets just aren't getting it. Now these numbers are more complicated than just ticket sales, since sponsorships and suites have more to do with the economics of arenas nowadays than actual sales. But those provisions are built in for a reason, to protect the team from a city that just won't support it.

Now, I'm sure Hornets fans feel very strongly about their team and its support, but the numbers unfortunately are pretty damning. And with this kind of economy, it becomes harder for a new owner in Gary Chouest to avoid looking at the options. Chouest however, has given no indications that he'll move the team during his discussions.

Then again, Chouest hasn't been confirmed as owner, yet.

It's a sticky situation for the Hornets, the city, and an arena that insiders say is one of the worst in the league. But they faced a similar situation in 2008, and once the Saints season was done, the city responded. Fans have to trust that will happen again this year, provided Chris Paul keeps the good times rolling.
Posted on: November 30, 2010 3:35 pm
 

Award-O-Matic MVP 11.30.10: CP3 as MVP

NBA F&R breaks down the MVP candidates after the first month of the season by dissecting the award down to three parts: Most Valuable, Most Important, and Most Oustanding Player. CP3 is in control.
Posted by Matt Moore with contributions from Ben Golliver and Royce Young




Well, we're a month into the season and the context of this year has begun to take shape. While certainly a long way from the finish line, we've already gotten a glimpse of who's playing well, who's playing average, and who ... not so much. And so it is that we begin our monthly look at awards. On a regular basis we'll take you around the award contenders and give you a look at who is in contention for the NBA's major awards by breaking down what they really mean in our Award-O-Matic. Today we start with the MVP.

The problem, as has been elucidated approximately a million times by various media members, is that the MVP is a nebulous, hard to define award. Its name is Most Valuable, but it most often goes to the Most Outstanding Player on a winning team. If your play is other-worldly but your team doesn't win, you have no shot. If you contribute the most to a winning team but your numbers aren't stellar, again, your chances are slim. It takes a combination of three factors: value, performance, and importance to snag the award. As such, we decided to break the award into those three categories, tally them up with the top player getting 3 points, the second 2, the third 1, then summing to see if we could come up with a list.

First up?

Most Valuable Player (To Their Team): Who is most responsible for their team's success? Or, to put it another way, whose team suffers the most without them?


Matt Moore:


1. Dirk Nowitzki: Without him that offense is anemic and it's been his rebounding that's kept them in games at points.
2. Carmelo Anthony: Seriously, Nuggets. Cliff. Teetering. Melo's the only thing keeping the truck from smashing into pieces.
3. Dwight Howard: Get him in foul trouble and the Magic turn into a Mid-Major college team, just wining it from perimeter to perimeter.

Ben Golliver:

1. Chris Paul:
  I like Darren Collison as much as the next guy, but CP3's return from injury to lead New Orleans' absurd hot start, despite an unimpressive supporting cast, reveals exactly how valuable the league's best point guard is.
2. Rajon Rondo Boston would still be good without Rondo, but his game ownership places them on an elite level and makes them the odds on favorite to win the East yet again. 10.6 points, 14.2 assists (what!), 4.8 rebounds and 2.5 steals through the end of November. Crazy.
3. Kevin Durant The Thunder have had an up-and-down start but imagining this team with Russell Westbrook at the helm by himself, dragging an ineffective Jeff Green along for the ride, would be a recipe for a guaranteed lottery team. KD will get better -- perhaps much better -- over the course of the season, and he's already easily leading the NBA in scoring again.

Royce Young:

1. Chris Paul:   Subtract Paul and what do you have. I can promise you it's not an 8-1 team. It's really as simple as that.
2. Dirk Nowitzki:   The Mavericks are dangerous in every fourth quarter that they're close in. The reason is because Dirk can score in every situation, at any time. He essentially is the Maverick offense.
3. Steve Nash:   Take Nash away and yes, there's Goran Dragic who can dazzle in stretches. But without Nash this Suns team is nothing more than a 35-win club. With Nash, there's potential to push for the playoffs.

Most Important Player: Who is most crucial to their team's success? Ex. Last year I argued that Josh Smith was MIP because when he did Josh Smith-y things, the Hawks were nearly unstoppable, and when he didn't, they were much more beatable.


Matt Moore:

1. Chris Paul:
He does everything and it starts and stops with him. This is even more clearly illustrated by their recent struggles down the stretch where he hasn't been involved.
2. Al Horford: The level of production Horford is creating right now is simply astonishing. More astonishing is how overlooked he is.
3. Pau Gasol: It's him that's carrying the Lakers. Even as Kobe scores all the high points, the most dominant Laker performances this season are from Gasol.

Ben Golliver:


1. Pau Gasol: His virtuoso early season performance has single-handedly made Andrew Bynum an afterthought. What more needs to be said?
2. Deron Williams:   Utah's streak of comebacks begins with Williams' tough-minded leadership and ends with his play-making and shot-making.
3. Dirk Nowitzki:   Another banner start from Dirk singlehandedly puts a Dallas roster loaded with question marks in the playoff mix.

Royce Young:

1. Pau Gasol: Having Gasol as part of the triangle has been like a revelation. He's really what makes the Lakers so darn dangerous.
2. Kevin Garnett:
We saw what an impact his has in regard to the Celtic defense two seasons ago when his knee was injured.
3. Nick Collison:   He's a classic no-stats All-Star. He's only played for a few weeks so far this season for Oklahoma City but his value is immeasurable and impact immediate. He tips rebounds that become extra possessions, takes charges, sets outstanding screens and makes two or three small (but big) plays a game.


Most Outstanding Player: Who has simply wowed you?


Matt Moore:

1. Rajon Rondo: Key plays every time he's on the floor and he makes it look easy, There are a lot of moments where he looks like he's just on a different plane from everyone else.. and he's got three Hall of Famers on his team.
2. Russell Westbrook: Westbrook has managed to take over the game down the stretch. His turnovers are down, assists are up, he's got range and that mid-key pull-up jumper is as deadly as it ever has been. He's been simply phenomenal in half-court and full-court sets.
3. Deron Williams: Three point guards? Yup. Check Deron at the end of the clock with the game on the line. Money. And that's after all the assists, rebounds, key plays and floor leadership. Man's a ninja, no joke.

Ben Golliver:


1. Dwight Howard:
  Lost in the Miami Heat wave, Howard is quietly putting up 22.6 points, 11.9 rebounds and 2.4 blocks as the defensive and rebounding engine that will make Orlando a title contender for years to come. By the way, Orlando sits atop the Southeast Division -- 3.5 games ahead of the Heat.
2. LeBron James: His numbers are crazy and his highlights are spectacular. It's a wonder he can jump so high and dunk so hard carrying the burden of Chris Bosh and Erik Spoelstra's corpse on his shoulders.
3. John Wall:   Wall doesn't belong in the MVP discussion -- there are too many holes in his game (jumper, turnovers) and his team is terrible -- but for sheer "outstanding-ness" and "wow factor" he merits inclusion here. His assist numbers have been great and his speed is tops in the league; he's a lot further along the NBA readiness scale than even his biggest fans could have imagined.

Royce Young:

1. Rajon Rondo: He's been nothing but insanely ridiculous. Manages the game perfectly, understand his place within an offense and runs the show beautifully.
2. Kevin Love: When given the time on the floor, he's a legitimate 20-20 threat every single night. How many players can you really say that about?
3. Russell Westbrook: There's a case to be legitimately made for Westbrook as an MVP contender. Kevin Durant is still leading the league in scoring, but Westbrook is what's kept the team winning games. But his play has been just insane this year (23.8 ppg, 8.4 apg, 5.1 rpg) and he's a super-highlight waiting to happen.

Here are the tallies:

Most Valuable Player:
1. Chris Paul (6)
2. Dirk Nowitzki (5)
Tied for 3rd: Carmelo Anthony, Rajon Rondo (2)
Tied for 4th: Kevin Durant, Dwight Howard, Steve Nash (1)

Most Important Player:
1. Pau Gasol (7)
2. Chris Paul (3)
Tied for 3rd: Deron Williams, Al Horford, Kevin Garnett (2)
Tied for 4th: Dirk Nowitzki, Nick Collison (1)

Most Outstanding Player :

1. Rajon Rondo (6)
Tied for 2nd: Russell Westbrook, Dwight Howard (3)
Tied for 3rd: Kevin Love, LeBron James (2)
Tied for 4th: John Wall, Deron Williams (1)

Top 5 in Totals:
1. Chris Paul: 9
2. Rajon Rondo (8)
3. Pau Gasol (7)
4. Dirk Nowitzki (6)
5. Dwight Howard (4)
Posted on: November 30, 2010 12:28 pm
Edited on: November 30, 2010 1:35 pm
 

Westbrook gets the best of CP3 in big PG showdown

Posted by Royce Young

OKLAHOMA CITY -- NBA fans, probably more than any other group, love to debate and argue. Mostly about who is the best at this position, who is the best overall, or if you're a Laker fan, you just yell "KOBE KOBE KOBE" when asked about anything.

Kobe or LeBron used to dominate every message board and comment section, but really, 2010-11 has become the season of the Great Point Guard. At the beginning of the year, it was Rajon Rondo with all those history-making assists. Then it was Chris Paul again as he led his Hornets to a surprising start. Then of course there's Deron Williams, who is consistently excellent. Oh yeah, Derrick Rose who wows us with his up-and-unders, plus is carrying the Bulls to one of their best starts in years.

Everyone has a favorite in the race, but the lineup is pretty well settled. Those four really make up the current pantheon of great point men in the league. But there's another player that's standing at the door, asking for an invitation to the club.

I think it's time to start talking about Russell Westbrook.

Monday night in Oklahoma City, we were treated to a duel between Westbrook and Paul and by the end of the game, we were getting exactly what we wanted. Both players were going right after each other, trying to put their team on their back. Everyone expected Paul to have the edge. But it was Westbrook who came out on top.

In the fourth quarter, Westbrook scored 12 of his 25 points, while going a perfect 4-4 from the field. He also finished with 11 assists, five rebounds and five steals. He hit the game-clinching shot too, a 3-pointer right in the face of Paul with 1:38 left that put OKC up 88-81. Westbrook took over the game entirely, and did it against maybe the best player in the league at his position.

"It's the new Russell man," Kevin Durant said after the game. "He’s just taking over games and controlling games. That’s what we need for us to win.”

It's true. While Durant is Oklahoma City's de facto best player, Westbrook has probably been the team's MVP in the opening month. While Durant has struggled shooting the ball, Westbrook has found a way to pick up the slack, scoring in bunches all while running a fluent point guard. He's the team's unquestioned emotional spark and Westbrook has developed a knack for the dramatic in big moments.

Westbrook was so terrific in the game that his eight turnovers almost went unnoticed until you looked at the box score. It's true - Westbrook was out of control at times and four of those turnovers were completely unforced. But it speaks to something when a guy can shake that off and still put up the effort he did against one of the best defending guards in the league.

"Russell made big plays for us, which was helpful in getting the victory," said Thunder forward Jeff Green. "That's what Russell does. He's been doing it all season for us. Russell has been playing big all year and hopefully, will continue."

Here's a fun fact: Westbrook is one of two players averaging over 20 points, five assists and five rebounds a game. The other guy sharing that honor is LeBron James. Actually though, save rebounds where James hold a slim edge, Westbrook is averaging more points and assists than the reigning two-time MVP.

In head-to-head matchups with the game's other elite point guards (Williams, Paul, Rondo and Rose), Westbrook is averaging 24.0 points, 7.5 assists and 4.5 rebounds per game. Plus, his team is 4-2.

The West is stacked with Steve Nash, Paul, Williams and Jason Kidd so getting an invitation to the All-Star Game won't be easy. But Westbrook's putting together a nice early campaign and he's got the attention of opposing coaches.

"He's an All-Star," said New Orleans head coach Monty Williams. "He probably won't get the votes unless [the commissioner] puts him in the game. But that guy is playing at a level that you scout for him about 10-15 minutes of your practice because of his pick-and-roll, how he's shooting the ball now, and he gets to the free throw line about 10 times a game. If you said that and just left the name blank, you'd say that's an All-Star."

Funny to think about this time last season people were still wondering if Westbrook was really even a point guard. Now the question is, is if he one of the best in the game. Right now, it's kind of hard to argue against it.
Posted on: November 30, 2010 11:28 am
Edited on: August 14, 2011 9:06 pm
 

The Game Changer: Heat go .500 in November

The Miami Heat actually win a game despite a crazy flagrant foul, Russell Westbrook and Chris Paul duel in OKC, Andrei Kirilenko's hair does it again and Houston ... poor Houston.
Posted by Ben Golliver


Each game is made up of elements which help formulate the outcome. Monday through Friday, we'll bring you the elements from the night before's games in our own specialized version of the game recaps. It's not everything that happened, but it's an insight into what lead to the results you'll see in the box scores. This is the Game Changer.

THE BIG ONE: MIAMI HEAT BEAT Wizards, GO .500 FOR NOVEMBER

The Miami Heat stood out on a light Monday night of NBA action, and not just because everyone wanted to know whether coach Erik Spoelstra would make it through halftime without being fired. The Heat hosted the Washington Wizards to close their November schedule, and salvaged a .500 month (8-8) with a commanding 105-94 win.

Washington was without rookie point guard sensation John Wall, sitting with a sore right knee, so most of the luster on this match-up was lost before tip. In its place arose violence, as a series of chippy episodes cluttered the second half as Miami began to pull away.

The biggest single incident, without a doubt, came when Wizards forward Hilton Armstrong used both arms to shove Heat center Joel Anthony during a layup attempt, sending him flying through the air Matrix-style and leading to gasps from the crowd. Just take a look at Anthony's horrific flight. joel-anthony Watch out, below, Gilbert!

Heat forward Juwan Howard rushed to Anthony's defense, shoving Armstrong to the ground from behind as he attempted to check on Anthony's health. The sequence led to ejections for both Anthony and Howard. For video of the whole thing, click here .

Tensions continued into the fourth quarter as Wizards guard Kirk Hinrich and Heat forward James Jones got into an elbows-flying, double-technical incident. But, in the end, the bitter back-and-forth proved to be a sideshow. The Big 3 were all dominant, combining for 76 points, 23 rebounds, 12 assists, and six steals, shooting a combined 23-49.

Still not enough to be a quality team, but more than enough to beat an ice-cold Wizards team that shot just 3-17 from downtown. The win ensured that the Heat avoid finishing their first full month of the season with a losing record and buys coach Erik Spoelstra a brief respite from the piranhas circling for his job.

GO-GO-GADGET LINE OF THE NIGHT:

This race came down to the two point guards leading the charge during the game of the night, a spirited New Orleans Hornets vs. Oklahoma City Thunder slug fest that saw OKC escape, 95-89. Despite the turnovers, Westbrook takes home the honor due to his fearless shot-making to provide most of the winning margin.

Russell Westbrook
: 25 points, 5 rebounds, 11 assists, 5 steals, 8 turnovers on 9-19 shooting in 37 minutes in a home win over the New Orleans Hornets.

Runner-Up...

Chris Paul
: 17 points, 2 rebounds, 14 assists, 5 steals, 2 turnovers on 6-13 shooting in 35 minutes in a road loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder.

LOOK BEHIND YOU CHRIS!

By Royce Young

We call this thing here the Game Changer because every night, there are plays that change games and therefore, outcomes. And Jeff Green's chase-down block of Chris Paul qualifies.

Not completely though, because the Hornets scored four straight points after, putting Oklahoma City down eight. Yet the play energized a somewhat unusually sedate OKC crowd and fired up his team. Green came streaking from halfcourt to block Paul and erase an easy two points. CP3 is one of the fastest players in the league with the ball in his hands, yet Green didn't take the two for granted. He went and made a play.

The Thunder who had been struggling mightily in the third quarter, scored 11 points in the final three minutes of the third and closed the Hornet lead to just two. At that point, the game was up for grabs again and with an energized arena behind them, the Thunder held the Hornets scoreless on 10 straight trips in the fourth, going on a 13-0 run to secure a big 95-89 win.

Here's the block, plus postgame comments from Green talking about it.

WHIMSY:

When in doubt, search for pictures of Andrei Kirilenko's hair on Getty Images. It's like putting a Wayne's World wig on Mt. Rushmore.

ak47hair

FINAL THOUGHTS:

The Houston Rockets lost to the Dallas Mavericks on Monday night, falling to 5-12. The New York Knicks are currently 9-9. Entering the season, not many would have guessed that Houston's own first round pick would wind up higher in the draft lottery than the pick owed to them by the Knicks. That's how it's shaping up so far.

Posted on: November 29, 2010 4:23 pm
Edited on: November 29, 2010 4:38 pm
 

Orlando is ready to deal when you're ready

Posted by Royce Young

Big news here: The Orlando Magic would like to have either Carmelo Anthony or Chris Paul on their team. I know, brilliant general managing there. But according to the Orlando Sentinel, the Magic are open to trading anyone on the roster not named Dwight. That's right, anyone.

J.J. Redick, Brandon Bass, Vince Carter, Jameer Nelson, Rashard Lewis, Marcin Gortat... any of those guys can be yours if you just pick up the phone. But here's the interesting part: The Magic are 12-4 on the season and look ready to contend once again for the Eastern crown. But according to the report, Orlando would be willing to take a little step back in the present, if it meant securing Paul or Anthony for the future.

When this original Carmelo stuff started to go down, Ken Berger mentioned the Magic as an early contender for Anthony. Most focused on other destinations like New Jersey, New York and Chicago, but the Magic have the pieces in place to potentially satisfy the wishes of the Nuggets. Paul on the other hand doesn't look like he's going anywhere for the time being. But Melo will be moved, eventually. And Orlando could be a destination.

By the sounds of it, the Magic are aggressively pursuing options in the trade market. Gilbert Arenas is mentioned. So is Monta Ellis. Orlando isn't satisfied with its current scoring punch and is searching for a reliable go-to option.

That's the biggest scratch on the Magic's armor and Vince Carter hasn't been able to fix it. Against premier defensive units, Orlando's drive-and-kick offense can easily be shut down. Dwight Howard's post game is much improved, but there has to be an isolation option.

There has to be a guy that can score eight straight points when shots aren't dropping. Great big men are the foundation of a championship team and the Magic have that. But they need the walls and a roof still. And apparently, they're willing to deal the furniture to get it.
Posted on: November 23, 2010 9:26 am
 

Game Changer 11.23.10: Spurs and ammo

Spurs and Magic have a classic, the Pacers show they're decent in dismantling a mediocre Miami team, and the Celtics take the Hawks to the shed in today's Game Changer.
Posted by Matt Moore


Each game is made up of elements which help formulate the outcome. Monday through Friday, we'll bring you the elements from the night before's games in our own specialized version of the game recaps. It's not everything that happened, but it's an insight into what lead to the results you'll see in the box scores. This is the Game Changer.  


THE BIG ONE: Spurs have one more round than Magic in shootout


San Antonio 106 Orlando 97 .

That's the final score but it doesn't even come close to descrbing A. how great this game was or B. how close this game was. It was a back and forth affair for the entire game, as neither team could shake the other one. Just as one team would seem to be pulling away, the other would respond with a flurry of offense. San Antonio would bruise their way to a lead, only to find the Magic creating turnovers, sparking the break, and dropping in three-pointers in transition. The Magic would burst their way into a lead only to find the Spurs settle down, get a bucket, then a stop, then Manu Ginobili Ginobili'ing his way with a knife to their heart. In the end, the Spurs had a few more bullets left in the gun and the Magic were unable to find an answer for Manu.

Duncan, Parker, and Ginobili combined to shoot 23 of 42, for 64 points, 13 rebounds, 21 assists, 5 steals, and 2 blocks. Guess Boston and Miami aren't the only ones with Big 3s. The efficiency with which the Spurs attacked was ruthless. In the third, Tony Parker got up to full speed and was using those wide curving pick and rolls to find Duncan, while Ginobili was using the deep wing picks for that step-back jumper he's gotten to like so much. It was a clinic in execution, and the Magic weren't far behind, with Dwight Howard forcing the issue and the Magic backcourt raining 3s. Combined the two teams hit 21 threes on 37 attempts which is just ridiculous. Matt Bonner came through with 4 big ones (4-4 from the arc) while Mikael Pietrus kept breaking up Spurs runs on his way to a 3-5 run from the perimeter.

Sharp defense, tough shots, fun basketball, a close game. This one was a beauty.

WHAT YOU MISSED: The Heat suck.


I torched the Heat for their lack of effort, cohesion, and heart.

Ken Berger spoke with Delonte West in a must-read interview about his experiences with bipolar disorder .


DEAD BEFORE THE SHIP EVEN SANK

Last night's Celtics-Hawks game was not a game. It was a mercy killing, only without the mercy. The Celtics owned the Hawks 39-13 in the first quarter, and it didn't feel that close. Boston simply could not miss. Sharp passes, smart playsets, intensity at both ends of the floor, attacking rebounds, and Nate Robinson doing his best Rondo Baron Davis when he was good impression, throw in the Hawks looking like they wanted to be anywhere but on the floor and Al Horford being physically dominated by Boston's size and you've got a recipe for Von Wafer to get a fair amount of time by the end of this one.

It was stunning, considering the Hawks swept the Celtics last year. But call it motivation over last year's flukes, or the Celtics' last fluke against the Raptors, or just the impact of a healthy Kevin Garnett, but this one was over with before the t-shirt guns had even been loaded. The Hawks continue to perplex as they look genuinely good and improved at times, and like roadkill in others.

Kevin Garnett looks not only like he's healthy, but like he's healthy like when he was 31. That's terrifying for the rest of the league.

YOUR DAILY "QUAKE" GRIFFIN NIGHTMARE DUNK:




GO-GO-GADGET LINE OF THE NIGHT:


Carmelo Anthony:
39 points (17-17 from the line), 9 rebound, 5 assists

Runner-Up:


Manu Ginobili: 25 points, 6 rebounds, 9 assists

FINAL THOUGHTS:


The Hornets are 11-2. Which is great. But the last few games have shown some of their cracks in the foundation. Relying on Jason Smith to be a significant bench contributor isn't going to get it done. Neither is hoping Emeka Okafor stays as an offensive force. The bigger concern may be that Chris Paul has started looking flat-out tired at the ends of games. Him missing the game-tying assist to David West was nothing more than one of those that happens, but in general he looked lethargic down the stretch. Some concerns for the Hornets do exist, even at 11-2.

Last night's game perfectly illustrates why Boston fans get so frustrated with their team. They look so awesome when they consistently try.

The story from Indiana-Miami was the Heat playing terribly but the Pacers deserve a world of credit for getting Danny Granger going, and Brandon Rush took it to Dwyane Wade, which, injured or not, isn't an easy thing to do. The Pacers look like a solid playoff contender.

People will tell you that the Oklahoma City-Minnesota game was closer than the final score appears. And it's true the Wolves lead down the stretch. So maybe I'm just exhibiting confirmation bias when I tell you that I never had a doubt the Thunder would win that game. The Wolves have no idea how to execute in clutch situations most times, and Michael Beasley still does a lot of Michael Beasley-type things.

Houston loses. Again.


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