Morning shootaround — March 17


VIDEO: Highlights of the games played March 12

NEWS OF THE MORNING

Thompson hobbled after win | Blatt: Cavs ‘got to’ finish No. 2 in East | Nuggets unhappy about resting top players | ‘Crash’ pondering retirement?

No. 1: Thompson hobbled after win vs. Lakers — Golden State’s dream season continued last night with a win over the Los Angeles Lakers that, coupled with the Oklahoma City Thunder’s loss, let the Warriors become the first team in the West to clinch a playoff spot. Despite the positive vibes in Oracle Arena after the win, though, there was some news to possibly monitor. According to Monte Poole of CSNBayArea.com, Warriors shooting guard Klay Thompson had a noticeable limp after the game:

It’s not unusual for Klay Thompson to be slow peeling off his jersey before heading into the shower. What was unusual Monday night was his gait once he got moving.

Thompson was limping. And it was a very, very obvious hobble.

The Warriors issued no update late Monday night, but Thompson left the game in the third quarter of a 108-105 win over the Lakers, retreating to the locker room to have his right ankle re-taped.

Though he returned in the fourth quarter, scoring 5 points in the final 4:31, he still was in pain after peeling off the tape. His status for Wednesday’s showdown with the Atlanta Hawks is uncertain, pending closer examination.

Warriors coach Steve Kerr, in his postgame news conference, said he didn’t think Thompson had sustained a serious injury.

“I don’t think it’s bad,” Kerr said, “but we’ll see what JoHan (Wang, the head athletic trainer) says.”

 


VIDEO: Golden State tops the Lakers to clinch a playoff berth

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No. 2: LeBron not sweating Blatt’s edict to finish No. 2 in East LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers made their second trip to Miami to face James’ old team last night and at the end of it, the Heat were the victors, 106-92. The loss, coupled with the Toronto Raptors’ win vs. the Indiana Pacers, kept Cleveland in the No. 2 spot in the East — which is where Cavaliers coach David Blatt wants the team to be come season’s end. After the game, though, James didn’t sound concerned about where the team finishes or if he is asked to rest down the stretch. Joe Vardon of the Northeast Ohio Media Group has more:

The Cavs (43-26) finished the most grueling portion of their schedule against the Heat, concluding a stretch of 11 out of 14 games on the road since the All-Star break.

They held up quite well during that stretch – the last four were all on the road, and the Cavs scored 127, 128, and 123 in wins over Dallas, San Antonio, and Orlando in the first three. Cleveland maintains a two-game advantage for second in the East despite the loss to the Heat.

James said he’s “never in my 12-year career played for seeding. That’s just not how I work.” But if he’s going to play for coach David Blatt, that’s apparently going to change.

“We’ve got to finish in second place,” Blatt declared.

Resting James before the playoffs has been a priority for Cleveland since January when he returned to form after two weeks off. And it’s still going to happen sometime in Cleveland’s final 13 games.

But Blatt’s recent insistence on finishing second in the East – which means homecourt advantage for at least the first two series – and the Cavs’ 2-9 record without James do not align with the goal of resting him.

The Cavs are attempting to hold off Toronto and Chicago, and the Raptors picked up a game by beating the Pacers Tuesday night. Speaking of Indiana, the Cavs and Pacers would play each other in the first round if the playoffs started today, and Cleveland hosts the Pacers Friday night.

The Cavs also play a road game Sunday at Milwaukee, a potential first-round matchup if either Cleveland or the Bucks (but not both) slip a spot between now and mid-April.

But Blatt’s also never been this adamant about seeding.

“Now there’s not that many games left, it’s pretty easy to see what you’ve got to do to fall where,” Blatt said. “And recognizing that, we want to go after that. It will not be at the expense of the health of the players, but we certainly want to do all we can to finish as high as we can.”

 

James played his 900th career regular-season game Tuesday, and went over 42,000 minutes for his career (counting playoffs) during this trip. He’s also now scored at least 10 points in 630 consecutive regular-season games.

James appears ready to balance the priorities of supporting his teammates and resting for the postseason, even if playoff seeding is not a stated goal for him.

“That’s for the coaching staff, that’s what they want,” he said of the No. 2 seed. “For me, I never play for seeding, I just play. Wherever at the end of the season we land, I’m ready.

“I feel like I can win on anybody’s floor. I feel like I can win at home. I’m that confident in my ability and in our team’s ability.”


VIDEO: LeBron James talks about the plans for the Cavs to finish No. 2 in the East

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No. 3: Nuggets’ stars unhappy about resting vs. Grizzlies — As the season winds down to its final month, the last few seasons many of the NBA’s best teams have taken a liking to the practice of resting their best players as the playoffs approach. But what about the teams that are clearly not playoff-bound, such as the Denver Nuggets? Hours before last night’s game against the Memphis Grizzlies, the Nuggets made it known they would sit top players Ty Lawson, Danilo Gallinari and Kenneth Faried — all of whom are healthy. After losing to Memphis, Nuggets forward Wilson Chandler wasn’t happy about his teammates being rested. Christopher Dempsey of The Denver Post has more :

It could be that two days off between Monday night’s 92-81 loss to the Memphis Grizzlies and Thursday night’s game at the Houston Rockets will do wonders for Nuggets bodies that are said to be weary and need rest.

Or maybe not.

The roster Nuggets interim coach Melvin Hunt has to work with that night will tell the tale.

The Nuggets have rested players for two straight games. On Monday night, those players just happened to be three of the team’s four leading scorers and the leading rebounder since the coaching change in a season that team brass — and many fans — hope ends with a high lottery pick.

Not everyone is pleased, though.

Forward Wilson Chandler was asked if he expected a full roster Thursday with the long rest between games.

“I have no idea what they are going to do,” Chandler said. “Whoever is on the court just has to keep playing. It’s the nature of the business. I’m not a GM; I don’t know what’s going on. It’s tough when you’re fighting together but you’re getting set up for failure.”

Ty Lawson, Danilo Gallinari and Kenneth Faried were held out with their health in mind, not for any other reason, Hunt said.

“It’s part of the game,” he said. “It’s part of the league. We’re no different. We have to have great vision. We have to be nearsighted and farsighted, and this is just part of that vision.”

Asked if he had ever been part of a non-playoff team that suddenly employed a rest rotation as the Nuggets have done, Hunt said: “Yeah, but we’re in a very unique situation here, having come off what we did last year with so many injuries. We had players with ACL injuries; our owner’s dog had an ACL injury. We had a little bit of everything going on. We have to be very, very careful. We have to be really wise, given the situation that we are in.”

 

Asked what he thought about sitting, Faried said “no comment.”

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No. 4: Wallace may retire after season — Boston Celtics forward Gerald Wallace hasn’t been a superstar, but he’s had his moments in the sun in the NBA. He was an All-Star in 2009-10, led the then-Charlotte Bobcats to their first-ever playoff appearance that same season and, in his prime, was one of the top defenders in the league. But the years have caught up with Wallace and as he plays out this season in Boston, he’s pondering an end to his career after 2014-15. Gary Washburn of the Boston Globe has more:

Gerald Wallace has made such an impression around the NBA that there are draft prospects being compared with him or projected as Gerald Wallace types of players. It is flattering for the 32-year-old Celtic, who has served as more of a mentor than a player during his two seasons in Boston.

Wallace has played in 27 of the Celtics’ 65 games this season and has provided some impressive moments, although his most productive days are past him after years of diving for loose balls and using his athleticism to defend bigger players, earning the nickname “Crash.”

Wallace has one year left on his contract at $10 million, and while he plans to fulfill that, he said he will spend this summer deciding whether his career in 2016-17.

“Hopefully, I’ll reflect going into the last year of my deal,” he said. “This is my [14th] year. You kind of sit back and look at your career and all you’ve done and kind of just evaluate your past and try to set up for your future and see what you want to do. That’s the time I’ll do it, in the offseason.”

Can Wallace envision making it to 16 seasons?

“I would love to continue to play, but it’s more about my family and my kids,” he said. “I’m only 32 years old and I’ve been in here 14 years. That’s almost half of my life in this league. My kids are getting older. They’re starting to play high school sports now. It depends on if they’re comfortable with me still playing or they’re ready for me to come home and be part of their lives.”

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SOME RANDOM HEADLINES: Cleveland Cavaliers guard Iman Shumpert opens up a little about playing with LeBron James and more … For what it’s worth, Miami Heat legend Alonzo Mourning thinks Kevin Love won’t be re-signing with the Cleveland Cavaliers … The Utah Jazz, Los Angeles Clippers and Boston Celtics are all reportedly eyeing Eric Griffin of the Texas Legends … How President Barack Obama‘s budget may affect the Milwaukee Bucks’ hopes for a new arenaCeltics fans love Luigi Datome … The Brooklyn Nets are still holding onto hopes of a playoff berth

ICYMI(s) of the Night: Dwyane Wade gets the better of his old teammate, LeBron James, on this sequence


VIDEO: Dwyane Wade pokes the ball away from LeBron James, then nails the layup

… and what the heck got into Jeremy Lin on this play?


VIDEO: Jeremy Lin hustles back to block Draymond Green’s layup attempt

8 Comments

  1. HeatLifer says:

    Did LeBron join the hair club for men??? No headband and a new hairline……

  2. HeatLifer says:

    Blatt is out of his league…. playing the team for seeding, really???? Sorry buddy, you are a rookie coach!!!

  3. B-Ball freak says:

    Maybe Blatt will keep playing Delavadova in the 4th quarter and ‘rest’ KLove.
    K love will be so rested when he moves to the Lakers after the disrespect.

  4. harriethehawk says:

    Who cares if bottom feeder teams rest their bottom feeder players? Let’s Go Hawks!!!!#

  5. European says:

    Agressive Jeremy Lin is a really great player!! Phlegmatic Jeremy Lin should come and play in Baltic Basketball League for 400€ monthly wage.

  6. NorCal Warrior says:

    All I can say is “Let’s go Warriors!!”

    It’s the Bay’s year

  7. TheKush says:

    Nuggets players are being rested because most of them will probably be traded at the end of the season!!!

  8. wiz fan says:

    I can understand coach Blatt ‘ sentiment on the importance of cleveland’s seeding.. kinda refreshing that coach can see what more than 3/4 of the nba fan base sees, and that is that the cavs without their Homer refereeing have little chance of winning against the current 3,4, and 5 seeds. I mean either Vegas sure can guess or they must have had a crystal ball to see all the changes that were to come before the trade deadline to even make Cleveland a legitimate contender. LeBron benefits from horrible calls all the time but these superstar gimme are especially abundant on Cleveland’s home court.