Morning shootaround — Jan. 15


VIDEO: Highlights from games played Jan. 14

NEWS OF THE MORNING

Hawks keep on soaring | Lakers may shut down Kobe | Gortat pokes Bulls fans on Twitter | Report: Clippers closing in on Rivers trade | Shaw: Nuggets not actively shopping Afflalo, Chandler

No. 1: Hawks’ winning ways show now signs of stopping — Atlanta rested Al Horford and Kyle Korver last night in Boston,  yet still beat the Celtics by 14 points. That makes 10 straight wins for the Hawks. Are there still doubts about just how good this team is? Chris Vivlamore of the Atlanta Journa-Constitution breaks down how Atlanta just keeps winning, and winning and winning:

For the second consecutive night Atlanta rested several starters and still won going away. This time it was Boston that was run out of its own arena against a less-than-complete opponent.

The list of accomplishments for the NBA’s hottest team gets more impressive with each victory.

The Hawks (31-8, 15-5 road) have:

  • Won 10 consecutive games for their longest win streak since they started the 1997-98 season with 11 consecutive victories;
  • Won 10 consecutive games on the road, improving on their franchise record;
  • Won for the 24th time in the past 26 games as they have lost just twice since Nov. 28;
  • Won three in a row against the Celtics, including two this season.

“You have to give credit to the bench,” DeMarre Carroll said of the Hawks’ past two victories. “That shows you the beauty of our team. We’ve got a lot of guys who can play. That is what we expect. These guys work just as hard and when their opportunity came they took advantage of it.”

The Eastern Conference-leading Hawks continue make believers of those around the NBA. Boston coach Brad Stevens called the Hawks “elite” prior to the game.

Then the Hawks went out and proved it.

The remaining three starters, all of whom sat out Tuesday’s victory at Philadelphia, carried the Hawks. Carroll (22), Jeff Teague (22) and Paul Millsap (18) combined for 62 points. Millsap also had 10 rebounds for a double-double. Mike Scott added 11 points off the bench.

“They stepped up to the occasion,” Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer said. “When you are feeling fresh and healthy and in attack mode, all three of them, it’s really positive. They can score in different ways and impact the game in different ways.”

“We are happy to grow and develop,” Budenholzer said. “Guys get different opportunities. Different players are put in different situations. To find a way to win on the road is always good. I think where we just want to continue to grow and develop and get better. On a night like tonight, we did that. I think last night we did that. Going forward, we have to continue.”


VIDEO: The Hawks have piled up wins against the NBA’s elite all season long

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No. 2: Lakers may shut Kobe down for season — We brought this news to your attention last night in this space, but the gist of the news from Lakerland is as follows: if L.A. continues to struggle as it has all season, there’s a good chance Kobe Bryant will just punt this season. The Los Angeles TimesMike Bresnahan has more on the move and why coach Byron Scott is mulling it:

Bit by bit, clues are being dropped about when the Lakers might shut down Kobe Bryant.

“I’m pretty sure if we’re nowhere near playoff contention in March or something like that, then we might discuss that,” Lakers Coach Byron Scott said Wednesday. “But the plan right now is to continue to play.”

Bryant, 36, has sat out six of the last 12 games for rest reasons. He said he felt as creaky as the Tin Man after making only three of 19 shots Tuesday against Miami in his return from a two-game hiatus.

They would need to go 35-8 the rest of the way to reach 47 victories, the average number needed the last five years based on win percentage of the West’s eighth-best team.

It makes sense to eventually shelve Bryant if they want to keep their top-five protected pick in the draft, but fan interest and ticket sales presumably slip if Bryant sits.

“I don’t worry about that business [aspect],” Scott said. “I could care less about that, to be honest with you. That’s something that’s out of my control anyway. My main interest is him and this team.”

As Bryant’s shooting accuracy has plummeted to 36.9%, his playing time has been limited to 32 minutes per game, his body unable to sustain anything beyond that in an NBA season going asunder for the Lakers.

Bryant began his “rest” retreat Dec. 23, after making eight of 30 shots in a 108-101 loss at Sacramento on Dec. 21.

He will play Thursday against Cleveland and stay home for the Lakers’ game Friday in Utah, part of the plan to sit him for a game in every back-to-back situation.


VIDEO: Byron Scott talks about why he may rest Kobe the rest of the season

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No. 3: Gortat rips Bulls fans on Twitter — The Wizards topped the Bulls last night at United Center to give Washington a 2-1 edge on the four-game season series. Combine that with the Wizards’ ousting of the Bulls, 4-1, in the first round of last year’s playoffs and some Chicagoans aren’t ever happy when Washington comes to town. After the game, Wizards center Marcin Gortat took to Twitter to complain about how Bulls fans are constantly bothering him. The Washington Post‘s Gabe Hiatt has more:

It’s not that Marcin Gortat wants to block you, but he can only take so much whining.

That tweet – posted after the Wizards’ 105-99 win over the Bulls  – was directed at salty Chicago loyalists, perhaps still upset about being bounced from last season’s playoffs, but Wizards fans were getting on Gortat’s nerves, too.

You do not question the Polish Machine’s effort, and you most certainly do not question whether he is rad enough for his current choice in follicular styling.

But while he was at it on Twitter, he also granted a retweet request and promised to bring Marcin Gortat action figures to Phoenix.

 


VIDEO: The Wizards handle the Bulls in Chicago

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No. 4: Report: Clippers moving forward in Rivers deal — As part of the three-team deal on Jan. 12 that landed Jeff Green in Memphis, the New Orleans Pelicans shipped former lottery pick Austin Rivers to the Boston Celtics. Before the Green trade was completed, there was talk that Rivers would end up with the L.A. Clippers, where his father, Doc Rivers, coaches the team. That obviously didn’t happen in the Green trade, but a Rivers reunion in Lob City could be coming soon. Ben Bolch of the Los Angeles Times has more:

The Clippers’ efforts to acquire guard Austin Rivers from the Celtics appeared to be progressing, with one league source saying a trade could be completed Thursday.

The source, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to publicly discuss player movement, said the trade probably would involve some combination of Clippers guard Jordan Farmar and/or forwards Chris Douglas-Roberts and Reggie Bullock.

The Clippers need to relinquish at least $1.8 million in player salary to acquire Rivers, who would become the first NBA player to play for his father.

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No. 5: Shaw: Nuggets not actively shopping Afflalo, Chandler — In the past week, the Denver Nuggets have dealt backup point guard Nate Robinson (to Boston) and former starting center Timofey Mozgov (to Cleveland). Are more trades on the horizon? According to Christopher Dempsey of the Denver Post and Nuggets coach Brian Shaw, the team may have more moves up its sleeve. But rumors about the team looking to move guard Arron Afflalo or guard/forward Wilson Chandler are just that at this point:

The Nuggets are not making calls to deal Chandler and Afflalo, coach Brian Shaw said.

“I just have to try to do a good job of assuring them that I’m not, and we’re not, actively shopping them and putting them out there,” Shaw said. “Obviously calls come in, and we field calls. But we’re not saying, ‘Hey, we’re trying to get rid of Arron, we’re trying to get rid of Wilson.’ That’s not the case at all. That’s all we can really tell them.”

In fact, Chandler said he has been told he will not be traded. He takes that knowledge with a grain of salt.

“If a deal comes along that’s a pretty good deal, you’ve got to make it of course,” Chandler said. “And some guys say they’re not going to trade you, and then they trade you. I’m not saying that (Nuggets general manager Tim Connelly) is that guy, but you never know. You can never feel too safe about anything.”

Portland is among a bevy of teams that covet Chandler. The Trail Blazers are in need of punch coming off of the bench, and Chandler would nicely fit that bill. The L.A. Clippers are also very interested in Chandler.

The reason the rumors have had no impact — for Chandler and Afflalo — is simple: This is not the first time they’ve been down this road.

“I went through it before,” Chandler said. “I was told I wasn’t going to be traded and then I got traded. So, I just try not to even think about it.”

That trade was the Carmelo Anthony deal in 2011.

Afflalo, meanwhile, is in one of his hottest stretches of the season, averaging 24.0 points on 54.8 percent shooting during the Nuggets’ current four-game winning streak. His scoring has drawn the interest of a number of teams that are looking for the final pieces to lift them into title-contending status.

Asked how much attention he pays to all of it, Afflalo said, “not much.”

“I’ve been through it for the past few years now,” he added. “It was really heavy last season. For me, it is what it is. I kind of just look at the perspective of my career, just where I started and where I’m headed. To me, rumors, in a sense, tend to be a positive thing. It just shows my development and my growth as a player.”

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SOME RANDOM HEADLINES: Everything you need to know about the D-League Showcase, which begins today … Strangers were at an Orlando mall were going out of their way to compliment Nikola Vucevic for his big dunk on Pau Gasol … New York Knicks point guard Jose Calderon won’t be surprised if he gets traded soon … The Boston Celtics are getting a lot of calls about guard Marcus Thornton … Is last season’s Rookie of the Year, Michael Carter-Williams, being dangled in trades?Jameer Nelson should make his Denver Nuggets debut on Friday … Minnesota Timberwolves rookie Andrew Wiggins might be participating in the Slam Dunk ContestBismack Biyombo has found a role, at last, in Charlotte

ICYMI(s) OF THE NIGHT: Marc Gasol gets fancy with this dish to Tony Allen …  


VIDEO: Marc Gasol’s pretty no-look dime to Tony Allen

… and Derrick Rose, who was on fire all game, capped the first quarter off with a miracle shot 


VIDEO: Derrick Rose nails the super-deep 3-pointer at the horn

 

 

5 Comments

  1. kobeoverbron says:

    The two most valuable teams of the NBA(the Lakers and the Knicks) are absolute trash, what does that say about the NBA? or a better question is what does that say about the NBA under Adam Sylver? Needless to say the Eastern conference had been watered down to D-league quality products. As a fan I’d love these answers to be answered.

  2. Only for the Season? says:

    How ’bout for good?!? It’s time to start anew for the Lakers franchise.. and they can do themselves one huge favor by dropping the aging, high shoot/low accuracy ball-hog, albatross around their necks, called Kobe.

  3. dustydreamnz says:

    2. Kobe won’t be shut down, he’s too competitive.

  4. kobeisweak says:

    No one ever said bosh is good.
    Besides, Kobe is worth 30mil. U dun take 30mil to shoot these shots. Any rookie can have a better %