VIDEO: Highlights from games played Nov. 4
NEWS OF THE MORNING
Report: Kerr could be out until All-Star break | Raptors get defensive, move to 5-0 | Report: Saric says he’ll join Sixers next season | Scott ‘loved’ Lakers’ verbal altercation on bench | Paul suffers strained groin
No. 1: Report: Kerr could be out until February — After last night’s thrilling win over the rival Los Angeles Clippers, the Golden State Warriors remain undefeated at 5-0. That they have accomplished that mark without the coach who guided them to an NBA title last year, Steve Kerr, is a testament to both the Warriors’ talent and resiliency. Interim coach Luke Walton has done an admirable job filling in for Kerr and according to a report, he may have the job for a while longer. Monte Poole of CSNBayArea.com has more:
Warriors coach Steve Kerr, who five weeks ago took an indefinite leave of absence, could be out until February, according a report.
One Warriors player said the team “wouldn’t be surprised if it takes (Kerr) until after the All-Star break” to rejoin the team, ESPN’s J.A. Adande communicated Wednesday on the night of the Warriors-Clippers game.
The break comes in mid-February.
It’s conceivable Kerr could be out another two or three months, given that Kerr and the Warriors have been consistent in saying there is no forecast, no target date –- and definitely no timetable –- for his return.
Kerr underwent two back surgeries, one in July and another in September, and the resultant complications, including a spinal fluid leak, have slowed his recovery. He is able to work out but continues to deal with headaches
No. 2: Resilient Raptors move to 5-0 — Understandably, the NBA world is abuzz about the defending-champion Golden State Warriors racking up a 5-0 start, all while putting on an impressive offensive show each night. However, in the Eastern Conference, another squad is also 5-0 and is doing it with an improved defensive showing each night. The Toronto Raptors knocked off the Thunder in Oklahoma City last night, turning to stops down the stretch to get the win. The Raptors have a top-10 in defensive rating (they were a bottom-10 defensive team in 2014-15) and are trying to keep that trend going as the season rolls on, writes Mike Ganter of the Toronto Sun:
There was nothing at all to suggest the Raptors would still be undefeated Thursday morning, but they are.
Underestimate this team’s resiliency at your own peril. The Raptors proved that, rallying over the final six minutes from an eight-point deficit for a 103-98 win to run their perfect record to 5-0.
The Thunder were at home, they were the more rested team, and they were still fuming over a loss in Houston on Monday night. They came out in the first quarter like a team ready to take its anger out on the Raptors.
And for the bulk of the night they did.
But this Raptors team is playing wise beyond its years together.
“I don’t know how many games we’re going to win but I know that we’re going to scrap, we’re going to compete, play hard, get after people,” head coach Dwane Casey said after the win.
“Tonight our shots weren’t falling and we attacked the rim, got to the free throw line, make the officials make a decision, force the defence to react … It was a grind-it-out type game and that shows mental toughness can (help you) win when everything is not clicking.”
Kyle Lowry, who isn’t one to compliment the coaching staff, gave the Raptors staff full credit for this one.
The game seemed to turn when the Raptors went with a small lineup. This time the opposition followed suit and it wound up costing it.
“I think we made them adjust,” Lowry said. “The coaching staff made a great decision by going small and we made them match up with us and I think that helped us down the stretch.”
VIDEO: DeMar DeRozan discusses the Raptors’ big win in OKC
No. 3: Report: Saric says he’ll join 76ers next season — The 76ers and their fans have gotten used to the idea of someday seeing former first-round pick Dario Saric in a Philadelphia uniform. According to a recent story, the Saric contract saga may be coming to an end as early as the 2016-17 campaign. While any news about Saric getting out of his deal and making it to the NBA is taken with a grain of salt, Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer has more:
According to Croatian newspaper Večernji list, Dario Saric will be a Sixer next season.
“In the summer, I will still go because I have a way out in the contract,” the Croatia native told the newspaper on Saturday.
Saric was drafted by the Orlando Magic with the 12th pick in the 2014 and immediately was traded to the Sixers. However, he signed a three-year contract with Anadolu Efes of Turkish Basketball League the week leading up to the NBA draft. He can opt out of that contract and join the Sixers this offseason.
It would make more sense financially for him to stay another season. Saric would be tied to his rookie-scale deal if plays in the NBA next season. But he would be able to negotiate a restricted free-agent deal for a much richer salary with the Sixers if he waited until the summer of 2017.
No. 4: Scott ‘loved’ players having verbal altercation on bench — At 0-4, to call the Los Angeles Lakers a struggling bunch is a bit of a misnomer. To call their coach, Byron Scott, an old-school guy is equally not descriptive enough, either. All that aside, Scott doesn’t like being winless but did like what he saw out of his crew down the stretch of their latest defeat. The Denver Nuggets ripped the Lakers 120-109 at Staples Center on Tuesday and as the game wound down, Scott noticed several of his players arguing with each other on the bench. ESPN.com’s Baxter Holmes has more on Scott’s surprising reaction to it:
Los Angeles Lakers coach Byron Scott said several of his players engaged in a verbal “altercation” on the bench during the fourth quarter of Tuesday’s 120-109 loss to the Denver Nuggets, which dropped the Lakers to 0-4 this season.
“It was late in the fourth quarter, where we were losing the game and guys weren’t happy,” Scott said after practice Wednesday at the team’s facility.
“A few guys kind of discussed it in a very angry way. If they would have just sat on the bench with a smile on their face, I would’ve been much more concerned.”
Scott added, “I loved it. It tells me guys care.”
Scott wouldn’t reveal which players engaged in the verbal fracas, nor did he say that it was concerning, but he did say that it was the first such altercation involving any of his players this season.
“I don’t know if we needed it, but sometimes I think it’s necessary if guys need to go at each other, kind of hold each other accountable,” Scott said. “I like the fact that guys weren’t just sitting there smiling, having a good time when we were down by 8, 9 points with 35 seconds left. I like the edge that they got.”
VIDEO: Coach Byron Scott discusses the Lakers’ bench argument
No. 5: Paul suffers groin strain vs. Warriors — The marquee matchup of Wednesday was the Los Angeles Clippers visiting the Golden State Warriors and it did not disappoint. The only letdown came in the final seconds of the game as Clippers star point guard Chris Paul was kept off the court due to an injury. Dan Woike of the Orange County Register has more:
In the final seconds of a close, important early-season game, Chris Paul was forced to sit.
Clippers trainer Jasen Powell made the decision to keep Paul off the floor for the final 13 seconds of a four-point game after Paul suffered a strained right groin.
“It was real tough. Doc had drawn up a good play, but when I went out there, (Powell) said I probably shouldn’t go back out there, just to make sure I’d be alright.”
Paul, who scored 24 points in the Clippers’ 112-108 loss to the Warriors, wasn’t sure when the injury happened.
“It happened somewhere down the stretch,” he said. “I’ll be all right, though.”
The Clippers are off until Saturday, when Paul said he’d be able to play against Houston.
Paul will be re-evaluated Thursday.
VIDEO: Chris Paul’s highlights vs. Warriors
SOME RANDOM HEADLINES: From the interesting quote department: Kevin Durant said after last night’s loss that Russell Westbrook is the Thunder’s ‘best player’ … Washington Wizards center Marcin Gortat says he’s ‘just in a big, black hole right now’ as far as his play is concerned … Even as the Boston Celtics look up at a 1-3 record this morning, guard Isaiah Thomas insists the team isn’t panicking … Golden State Warriors center Andrew Bogut is still dealing with concussion symptoms …
ICYMI of the Night: Damian Lillard put in some serious work against the Utah Jazz …
VIDEO: Damian Lillard torches Utah for 35 points