Morning shootaround — Nov. 5


VIDEO: Highlights from games played Nov. 4

NEWS OF THE MORNING

LeBron: ‘Long process’ ahead for Cavs | Kidd responds to Prokhorov’s barb | Wizards’ Rice took hit from Knicks’ Smith | Injuries pile up for OKC

No. 1: LeBron cautions of ‘long process’ ahead for Cavs — A glance at the NBA history books will tell you that when LeBron James got started on his last championship-seeking venture, in Miami, the Heat got off to a 9-8 start despite having a startling lineup laden with three All-Stars. James is in Cleveland now and the Cavs are off to a 1-2 start after losing 101-82 to the Portland Trail Blazers last night. After the loss, James told ESPN.com’s Dave McMenamin and other reporters how the high expectations for the Cavs have to be tempered with the reality that Cleveland must first break a lot of losing habits forged over the last few seasons:

“We have to understand what it takes to win,” James said. “It’s going to be a long process, man. There’s been a lot of losing basketball around here for a few years. So, a lot of guys that are going to help us win ultimately haven’t played a lot of meaningful basketball games in our league.

“When we get to that point when every possession matters , no possessions off — we got to share the ball, we got to move the ball, we got to be a team and be unselfish — we’ll be a better team.”

After starting the game 10-for-10 as a team against the Blazers, Cleveland went 21 for its next 75, finishing with a dismal 36.5-percent clip from the field. James was bad (4-for-12), but the Cavs starting backcourt of Kyrie Irving (3-for-17) and Dion Waiters (3-for-11) was even worse.

Irving and Waiters were on the team the last two seasons, of course, as the Cavs racked up a combined record of 57-107.

James did not call out any teammate by name, but seemed to be referencing Irving’s and Waiters’ play when reflecting on what needs to change in order for Cleveland to start playing the right way.

“There’s a lot of bad habits, a lot of bad habits have been built up over the last couple of years and when you play that style of basketball it takes a lot to get it up out of you,” James said. “But I’m here to help and that’s what it’s about.”

Cavs coach David Blatt deflected the blame from James on a night when the four-time MVP finished with 11 points, seven rebounds and seven assists along with three turnovers.

Even though James went scoreless in the second half en route to the least amount of points he’s scored since Dec. 5, 2008, he managed to extend his double-digit scoring streak to 575 games, tying Karl Malone for the third longest such streak in NBA history.

“I don’t hold him responsible,” Blatt said of James. “We have to help him get looks. It’s not only about him. It’s about helping him get looks. That’s what I feel like.”

Blatt chose to point the finger at the Cavs’ defense, or lack thereof.

“I don’t think we brought any type of mindset to defend,” Blatt said, later adding, “We never took a stand defensively tonight at all.”

The question is, just how long will it take before the Cavs start to play like the team that many predicted would be in the championship chase come June?

“Hopefully not too long but it could go on for a couple months until we’re all on the same page, we know exactly where we need to be both offensively and defensively and we buy in on what it takes to win,” James said. “I think a lot of people get it misconstrued on what it takes to win (by thinking) just scoring or just going out and trying to will it yourself. This is a team game and you have to rely on your teammates as well. So, we will get an understanding of that as the time goes on.”


VIDEO: LeBron James talks after the Cavs’ road loss in Portland

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No. 2: Kidd responds to Prokhorov’s jab — Brooklyn Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov took a few jabs at former coach Jason Kidd during his Monday news conference, famously saying: “I think there is a nice proverb in English. ‘Don’t let the door hit you where the good Lord split you.’ ” The barb got a lot of play in NBA circles the last day or so and Kidd, reports Charles F. Gardner of the Journal-Sentinel, tried to take the high road about Prokhorov and his last coaching job:

“I’m no longer in Brooklyn,” Kidd said. “Unfortunately they keep talking about it. I don’t. I’ll let them keep talking.

“Now if it was me and him playing one-on-one on the court, that would be fine.”

Kidd and former Nets assistants Joe Prunty, Eric Hughes and Sean Sweeney left Brooklyn after one season. Lionel Hollins now is coaching the Nets.

Bucks owners Wes Edens and Marc Lasry pursued Kidd even before notifying then coach Larry Drew and current general manager John Hammond of their intentions. Eventually an agreement with Kidd was reached, Drew was fired and the Bucks sent a pair of second-round draft picks to Brooklyn as compensation.

Kidd said of the ongoing saga: “You would have to ask him (Prokhorov) why they keep talking about it.”

Speaking about the game on Nov. 19, Kidd said: “It’s one of 82. I’m only worried about tonight (against Indiana). I’ve been in hostile environments as a player, as a coach.

“I think it’s a part of the game. I think the one thing we can all learn from this is class.”

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No. 3: Wizards’ Rice took late-game shot from Knicks’ Smith — A review of a late-game play in last night’s Washington Wizards-New York Knicks game at Madison Square Garden may soon be forthcoming. According to J. Michael of CSNWashington.com, the Wizards’ Glen Rice Jr. was guarding the Knicks’ J.R. Smith at the top of the key with just under 6 minutes left in the game when Rice took a hit from Smith that was called a foul on Rice (you can see the play in question here):

Glen Rice went down so hard that it appeared he might’ve had an issue with a right ankle sprain that he developed in the preseason. Instead, it was clear what happened: J.R. Smith, making a move with the ball and probably frustrated by the pressure defense, chopped him in the crotch with his off hand. The Wizards expect the league office to review and expect some form of discipline to come soon.

The irony, of course, was that Rice was called for the foul. Smith used his off-hand, his left, as he made his move at the top of the key and with a closed fist pounded Rice. The fourth quarter had 5:45 left and the Wizards led 83-73.

Rice missed all five of his shot attempts and failed to score, but his defense clearly annoyed Smith who created breathing room for himself by leaving Rice gasping on the Madison Square Garden floor.

It’s standard for the league office to review plays such as these in case game officials miss the call. The Wizards, CSNwashington.com is told, will be in contact and encourage the NBA to render a judgment on the play which could result in a fine, suspension or both for Smith.

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No. 4: Injuries keep building for OKC — First, it was Kevin Durant. Then, it was Russell Westbrook. Now, it’s Perry Jones (and perhaps a few others) who have been bitten by injury for the Oklahoma City Thunder. At one point in OKC’s loss last night to the Toronto Raptors, the team had just six healthy players to use. Darnell Mayberry of The Oklahoman has further assessment on the Thunder’s many injuries and where they can go from here:

Because in its fifth game in seven nights, on the last half of a back-to-back, the injury-riddled Thunder nearly made the most of that opportunity and pulled off what would have been its second mammoth victory in three games.

OKC was halfway home. Until yet another injury occurred.

No, really.

Perry Jones sustained a right knee injury in the third quarter of the Thunder’s eventual 100-88 loss to the Raptors inside the Air Canada Centre on Tuesday night. The injury occurred with 11:07 remaining in the period when Jones collided with Raptors forward Patrick Patterson while driving to the basket. The two banged knees, and replays showed Jones’ right knee buckle outward when Patterson’s left knee connected with the inside of Jones’ leg. Jones collapsed to the court and immediately grabbed his knee, clearly in discomfort.

Jones left the arena on his own power, but he walked to the team bus with a pronounced limp. The team did not make him available for interviews after the game.

After Jones limped off, the Thunder was left with seven.

Less than a minute later, Thunder guard Reggie Jackson hit the floor hard and came up clutching his right wrist, the same wrist that forced him to miss the final five preseason games. He favored his wrist for the remainder of the game, keeping it close to his midsection, holding it with his left hand and flexing it at various times. He dribbled with his left hand as much as possible and passed up a few open shots.

By the time he emerged from the shower area inside the locker room, Jackson, who labeled it a charley horse, still walked gingerly and appeared barely able to bend his left leg.

“It feels like a nightmare that I can’t wake up from,” Jackson said of the team’s injuries.

Before the final buzzer sounded, the Thunder had just six players left standing.

Sebastian Telfair was called for a flagrant 2 foul when he hit Raptors forward Tyler Hansbrough in the face. The contact looked incidental, but the call carries an automatic ejection.

Center Kendrick Perkins became the lone reserve left.

Reaction on the Thunder bench to yet another bruised and battered night ranged from heart-stopping, as Jackson described the all-too-frequent scene, to dazed.

“We’re just kind of numb to it,” said Nick Collison. “We’re used to guys going out now.”


VIDEO: Can the Thunder make the playoffs despite all of their injury woes?

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SOME RANDOM HEADLINES: Oregon native and current Cleveland Cavaliers power forward Kevin Love says his heart will always be in Portland … According to one report, Kevin Durant‘s free-agency decision will come down to the Oklahoma City Thunder or the Washington Wizards … Minnesota Timberwolves coach Flip Saunders says Sam Cassell‘s famous dance in the 2004 playoffs cost those Wolves a title … Can the Chicago Bulls really be a contender if they can’t count on Derrick Rose? … Confused about who owns what records for the New Orleans Pelicans and Charlotte Hornets? You’re not the only oneMarcus Morris of the Phoenix Suns took it personally that folks were criticizing his defenseJosh McRoberts has hardly played for the Miami Heat, but he’s already a fan favorite

ICYMI OF THE NIGHT: Don’t tell Sixers rookie Nerlens Noel he is supposed to be nice to All-Star players like James Harden once the ball goes up. He’s not hearing that at all …


VIDEO: Nerlens Noel gets up to swat James Harden’s driving dunk

30 Comments

  1. rafa says:

    princess LaBron now you can’t leave your peasants for the 3rd time when bad times come by eh?

  2. asdf says:

    if Josh McRoberts was a soccer player in europe, most fans at big clubs would have hated him, ripping apart you clubs jersey is disrespectful. but I guess that doesnt matter i basketball:p

  3. Seriously everyone’s surprised by the Cavs start? Just look at the past to see the future. Miami started 9-8 yet ended up the finals. When superstars come together – especially 3 ballhandling superstars like Love, Kyrie, & LeBron – there’s going to be a feeling out period. I wouldn’t be surprised if it took them a quarter or even half the season to really get things going, especially considering they have a first year coach that’s from Europe. Which isn’t a bad thing, it’s just a whole different game. I love LeBron, I love Kyrie, Love is awesome, and I love the Cavs, but I’m realistic. It’s going to take time. “Rome wasn’t built in a day.” The team will make the playoffs and that’s when the real season starts, LeBron has nothing left to prove in the regular season. But for them to be better LeBron is going to need to be the guy. Kyrie is going to have to play off the ball a bit more, and Love to. I still think they should feed Love the ball the first couple possessions of every game to get him going before going into their offense. Either way, I’m not worried. I know the hate will rain on this season and as long as LeBron doesn’t win a title, and even when he does, so it doesn’t really matter. No matter what LeBron does, there will be hate for it. The guy can’t win, and as a supporter – especially one living in so cal – I gotta deal with it to. But the championship contention will come, and he’ll win another, and things will seem good again.
    I’m happy enough to just enjoy the view as I get to see some of the games greatest players to ever play play. LeBron is going to go down as a top 5 talent and maybe even end up as the GOAT (albeit it’ll be super controversial and people will deny it just b/c he’s LeBron). But there’s also guys like Durant who will finish top 5 at the SF position. And we’ve got other young and entertaining guys, some of my favorites being Kyrie & Lillard, but there’s also Davis. Then the new guys like Smart, Parker, Wiggins, Noel, & even Embiid. It’s a pretty good time to be a basketball fan.

  4. Obby says:

    Of course Cleveland are going to struggle, it will take months for the team to mesh. At this stage it is important for no-one to try to takeover at this stage because otherwise the team will not get better. Neither of Cleveland’s big 3 is used to playing with another big star.

    If LBJ really wanted to win championships only he would have stayed with the strengthened Miami team which already worked well together. Instead he has chosen the more difficult route of starting again with the Cavs in the hope of getting one ring before he retires. He, like Kobe and other greats get to a stage when they did not to prove themselves anymore he wants a hard fought ring for Cleveland.

    Things may get tougher for Cleveland because they are healthy at the moment. Imagine what happens if they get an injury. The league is much stronger now, East and West, more better teams so a ‘new’ team is going to struggle. Cleveland will get to 2nd round of playoffs, may be eastern conference finals this year. They will struggle against Chicago, Toronto, Brooklyn and Miami.

  5. The Voice Of Reason says:

    I’m not a Thunder fan, but I feel so bad for those guys! It’s last years Lakers all over again…except unlike the Lakers last year, the Thunder actually were expected a top 3 seed and come out of the West. Time to see what kind of Coach Mr. Brooks really is…

  6. Lukas says:

    Kyrie and Dion are talented but not smart players, they dont know how to win championships they just know how to hog the ball. Watch how these two players ruined the reputation of Coach Blatt and Lebron. Too much one on one for tese two guys, too much exhibition, too much dribble. I think Lebron should stand up and be the voice of this Cavs team, he’s got more experience and he has two rings already. Cavs is better without Waiters and Irving that is for sure.

  7. Igorconqueso says:

    Blah, blah, Cavs, Blah, Blah Lebron. I’m more interested in whether Steve Novak is going to get more playing time than the Cav’s soap opera.

  8. Nick says:

    JR Smith is a punk and a ball hog

  9. harriethehawk says:

    I’m liking the Hawks and they are looking really good. On the hand, I’m embracing (reluctantly) the reality that the OKC Thunder won’t make playoffs. Not even 8th seed. They can’t even win one game. Too bad sooooo sad.

  10. cmonfoolofsheet says:

    lebron can’t win without norris cole

  11. JJD says:

    I probably was the only one in the world that called the Cavs woes. While everyone was giving the Cavs high expectations and putting the Cavs in the top 5 NBA teams, I was saying, even with LeBron and Love, they’re not even a top 10 team! Why? Because this is the CAVALIERS! A team that’s never made the playoffs since LeBron left, and that’s even with Kyrie Irving in a weak Eastern Conference. I was realistic because LeBron left a an average team (Miami) to go on a mediocre team – the Cavs.

    For them to have a chance LeBron cannot let Kyrie Irving run the show. Kyrie has never led a basketball team to a playoff spot and this strategy is getting them off to a lousy start. LeBron needs to do what makes him great and lead the plays on the floor.

    • aaa says:

      Thats you judgement after 3-4 games in an 82 game season? wow! the fact is that the cavs are to talented to be bad, your comment will be reversed in 2 months, the fact is that only the cavs and the bulls are the only teams in the east thats gonna be really good come playoff time.

      Lebron is the best player on the planet, he may not look like it now, but when he and his teammates starts to figure things out, cavs are gonna start to destroy teams.

      And you could clarely see against portlant that lebron refused to shoot the ball to learn his teammates a lesson, that they have to share the ball for the greater good.

      The cavs will be fine, in a couple of months they are gonna be really good:)

  12. Dance Puppets Dance says:

    Wade and Bosh are laughing right now, Heat will go 16-0 in the playoffs, no doubt, LeBron will come back to Miami and we will 5 peat, also we will get KD to join us then it would be a 17 peat for sure.

  13. notbias says:

    Your my hero LBJ. I am absolutely sure Kevin must LOVE that My way or the highway/take a backseat to me attitude. Also I do have a question…..why when Lebron loses or comes up short do writers/bloggers/fans cite lack of talent surrounding Lebron, but when Kyrie or Kevin loses in years past, Lebron gets to point to “selfish play” and “non-winning habbits”? What….Kyrie and Kevin did not exactly have 2 Superstars in their prime to play with until NOW. Also is this Lebrons way of telling the world that when Kyrie is running the show he will just be a spectator, but if he is running the show he will go all out and every Cav member better go all out too? Because yesturday’s game made Lebron look like one of those selfish Kids that took all his toys away from the other kids cause they didnt play how he wanted to play smh. G.O.A.T? closer to a sheep if you ask me.

  14. sinx says:

    Well, I for one am enjoying the young so far. I believe that Cavs made a mistake by trading wiggins for love. Brooks needes thw basketball gods to hamper the team so now he has to prove that he can reeally coach. The jazz will be the surprise team of the west one the totally gel. The clippers have too many average players and one great one (Griffen), and Kobe bryant bryant is still Kobe, until he learns to play team first ball, their season will be flushed this season. I honestly think the have a descent roster…and thats my 2 cents

  15. dustydreamnz says:

    Agree with New Yorker, I don’t like the Cavs much….this season and my bookie still has them faves.

  16. flushjackson says:

    Lebron does not deserve to win any more NBA titles. I’m sick of his smug affectations and his need to manipulate free agency in order to build super teams. He can’t hold a candle to the real greats of NBA history, but with a fading Kobe the league has built around him for years now. His championships with the Heat were a joke. Let any other superstar pick their teammates and they’d probably win a title or two as well.

  17. Caldron Pool says:

    Everybody should just prepare themselves now for the fact that OKC will not make the playoffs.

  18. Salsalito says:

    Blatt has a big empty space to fill in as what Spoe had when the Big 3 era started. Spoe is so underrated but what he did to MIA is something that other coaches needs to imitate. Time will tell season is still young.

  19. Mike says:

    LBJ feels home sick!!! He missed his old team mates already!!!

  20. LBJfan says:

    Needless to say, I am a huge Lebron supporter and believe he should be the greatest player of all time. However, it is games like last night that leave you scratching your head. There were several key transition baskets by Portland which were caused SOLELY as a result of Lebron not hustling back on defense. This unfortunately has become a frequent occurrence. If he is going to set the tone for the team on D, then those types of lapses can’t happen. At the end of last year I gave him the benefit of the doubt, thinking that he was just out of gas for playing so much basketball the last few years and carrying such a big load. However, this year, I don’t know what to think (not yet in shape?). On the offensive end, he has been far too much on the deferential side. He seems to just want to give Kyrie the ball and then go stand in the corner, not even making cuts to the basket to get more involved in the play. He is only taking shots that he is left with as opposed to shots that he wants. I know that he is trying to show people he is willing to let Kyrie handle the ball most of the time, but it is getting silly and it is only the third game of the season.

  21. MVP says:

    I just don’t see how the Cavs can win without the offense running through LBJ like it was in MIA…Untill Wade and Bosh took a few steps back, MIA never really took off…Same thing will have to happen for Love and Irving IMO.

  22. NewYorker says:

    This is really funny. All we have been hearing in the media all summer is how great the Cavs are going to be. Same with my friends. I was the only one saying, listen, this guys are playing together for the 1st time, the coach is also a 1st timer. They have 2 guys who play best with the ball. No way are they going to be a top NBA team. Not in this season, maybe in the future. I know it’s early, but that is my prediction.

  23. LakersTilliDie says:

    Cavs will be fine… they will go thru the same growing pains as the Heat did their first year together with that 9-8 start

  24. T gas TT ako says:

    this is your LBJ,, you should be the one responsible for ur own team

  25. T gas TT ako says:

    THIS IS REALLY BAD FOR OKC!!!!!!!!!

  26. philestena McLeod says:

    I like okc kd is one of my favourite Players in the NBA. He’ll get better soon and get okc back in play off standing. Get well soon Kevin

  27. rcast says:

    go clips