HANG TIME CAPITAL BUREAU – The Brooklyn Nets are “very close” to acquiring six-time All-Star guard Joe Johnson from the Atlanta Hawks in exchange for guards Jordan Farmar, Anthony Morrow and DeShawn Stevenson and centers Jordan Williams and Johan Petro, as well as a protected first-round pick that came from Houston, according to a league source.
The deal, the source said, would be completed whether or not Brooklyn is able to convince free agent guard Deron Williams to re-sign with the team. Williams is entertaining an offer from the Dallas Mavericks as well.
Brooklyn, however, is hopeful that Williams will want to stay after the addition of Johnson, whom the Nets coveted before he became a free agent in 2010. The deal also allows the Nets to keep promising guard MarShon Brooks, who played well for the team last season as a rookie and would help comprise a strong three-guard rotation with Williams and Johnson.
The trade would dramatically change the look of the Hawks’ roster and eliminate Brooklyn from being able to make a potential deal for Magic center Dwight Howard, who wants to go there. The Nets would be taking on the final four years and $89.2 million of Johnson’s contract, after agreeing over the weekend to a new four-year, $40 million deal with forward Gerald Wallace.
Channing Frye did it again. One day after hitting the game-winner at the buzzer in Indiana, Frye hit another one with 6.6 seconds left to beat the Nets on Monday night, ruining Deron Williams’ home debut with his new team.
According to NBA.com StatsCube, only 45 shots (out of 186 tries, in 891 total games) have given a team the lead in the final 10 seconds of the fourth quarter or overtime this season. That’s a pretty dismal shooting percentage (24.2).
But amazingly, Frye isn’t the first guy to hit a game-winner in the final 10 seconds of a game two days in a row this season. Travel back Dec. 15 and 16, when Manu Ginobili hit game-winners against Milwaukee and in Denver. He gets extra credit for drawing a charge on Carmelo Anthony after the Denver bucket.
Three other players have hit multiple game-winners in the final 10 seconds of a game this season…
Michael Beasley: Nov. 17 vs. the Clippers and Dec. 26 at Cleveland
Rudy Gay: Nov. 20 vs. Miami and Jan. 24 at Toronto
Deron Williams: Nov. 6 vs. the Clippers and Nov. 13 at Charlotte
Carmelo Anthony and David West have hit two potential game-winners in the final 10 seconds, but one of Anthony’s was followed by Ginobili’s game-winner, and one of West’s was followed by a buzzer-beating tip-in by Mike Dunleavy in Indiana on Dec. 20.
In total, 125 different players have attempted to give their team the lead in the final 10 seconds of the fourth quarter or overtime. Deron Williams’ six attempts (including one after Frye’s game-winner last night) are the most, while Frye, Gay and Stephen Jackson (one make) have five attempts.
The most attempts without a make is three. Jordan Farmar, LeBron James, Chris Paul and Louis Williams are all 0-for-3 in such situations.
Looking good: Who says the Hawks can’t survive without Joe Johnson, who is out 4 to 6 weeks with an elbow injury that will require a surgical procedure from Dr. James Andrews to fix the problem? They did just fine without him in this win over the Hang Time Grizzlies. The Hawks piled up a season-high 33 assists (on 42 made field goals) without Johnson in the mix. It’s the best Larry Drew‘s movement-based offense has looked this season.
Sound the Alarm: Whatever experiment our Grizzlies are conducting at shooting guard needs to stop. Rookie Xavier Henry got the start against the Hawks and O.J. Mayo finished with 10 points off the bench. But their combined work didn’t come close to matching the 25 points and 10 assists the Hawks got from Mo Evans and Jamal Crawford.
HT’s Take: All that chatter about Jeff Teague snatching Mike Bibby‘s starting job has vanished in just one month of the season. Bibby was clutch in the win over the Grizzlies, nailing four of his five shots from beyond the 3-point line. Without Johnson for the next month or so, the Hawks are going to need more big games from Bibby, Crawford, Evans, Teague and rookie Jordan Crawford.
Looking good: Nets point guard Jordan Farmar will have to wait a while longer to get the shine he deserves, because as good as his 28-point, nine-assist night was, it wasn’t nearly as wicked as the performance Russell Westbrook had. Westbrook scored all 13 of the Thunder’s points in the third overtime and finished his night with 38 points, 15 rebounds and nine assists. If Westbrook keeps this up, the Thunder will have to make room for two names (Kevin Durant and Westbrook) on the marquee. And I want to see the Western Conference coach brave enough to leave Westbrook off of the All-Star team.
Sound the Alarm: Despite the fireworks, this wasn’t an instant classic. Neither team played well before halftime and it did take them three overtimes to pile up 223 total points. That’s what happens when both teams are missing their catalysts (both Durant and Nets point guard Devin Harris were in street clothes). The injury concerns for both of those guys will have a serious impact on their respective teams if they persist.
HT’s Take: We hear all the complaints about the Thunder being overhyped and not really ready for prime time, yet they keep finding ways to win games, with and without Durant in uniform. They have the same record as the Los Angeles Lakers, so they can’t be too far off the pace. We predicted the Thunder would be among the top two in the West when it was all said and done and we’re not ready to toss that out just yet. We still believe they have the potential to chase that spot.
BOSTON 99, PORTLAND 95
Looking good: Raise your hand if you thought the Celtics’ Big 3 would still be going strong like this 200 games deep into this experiment. We certainly can’t make that claim. But the Celtics continue to defy all of the rules of age by continually waxing the opposition. It certainly helps when Paul Pierce is dialed in the way he was against the Trail Blazers — he torched them for 28 points (including a 4-for-5 showing from long distance).
HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS –Derek Fisher‘s name wasn’t on any free agent hot list outside of Los Angeles.
But his phone was ringing after midnight, just like all the rest of the members of the Class of 2010. The Los Angeles Lakers have a decision to make on their 14-year veteran point guard and his replacements, both Shannon Brown and Jordan Farmar are free agents.
Fisher is the main free-agent concern for a team that is well over the salary cap but definitely wants him back without going too far beyond a $2.5-million deal for next season. Fisher, 35, wants to make closer to the $5 million he earned this past season. The Lakers and Fisher did not agree to terms Wednesday, but there was definitive movement involving two Lakers’ reserve guards earlier in the day.
Shannon Brown officially opted out of a contract that would have paid him $2.15 million next season, making him an unrestricted free agent., and the Lakers decided not to tender a qualifying offer of about $3 million to Jordan Farmar, making him an unrestricted free agent who can also sign wherever he wants.
Just the same, the Lakers called the agent for Brown within minutes of the advent of free agency to also express interest in re-signing him.
LOS ANGELES –Andrew Bynum and Kendrick Perkins will be linked together forever after Thursday night and they might not have to play a second of basketball to make it happen.
The Lakers’ center and his Celtics counterpart are both ailing with right knee injuries and their status for Game 7 of these NBA Finals is in question (Bynum) and serious doubt (Perkins), respectively.
In a series filled with star players and star coaches on both sides, it’s become increasingly clear that the players most important to their respective teams are these two young big men.
(Medical updates on both players will come later this afternoon, so check NBA.com and Twitter for the details.)
You saw the Lakers in Games 4 and 5, when the torn meniscus Bynum has played on throughout this postseason started bothering him to the point where he couldn’t be effective. The Lakers were a different team without him taking up residence in the paint on both ends of the floor. They simply could not slow the Celtics down without him.
You saw the Celtics’ interior defense disintegrate before your eyes in Game 6 Tuesday night, moments after Perkins sprained ligaments in his right knee and had to be carried to the locker room by Shelden Williams and Brian Scalabrine with 5:30 to play in the first quarter. The Celtics couldn’t stop Shannon Brown and Jordan Farmar from getting to the basket, let alone Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol and Lamar Odom.
Celtics coach Doc Rivers has to make the toughest decision. He has to decide who plays if Perkins cannot. Big Baby Davis and Rasheed Wallace will get first crack at those minutes. Shelden Williams better be ready to go as well.
“It’ll be one of two guys, Rasheed or Baby,” Rivers said after Game 6. “But I’m not sure. We’ve got to get better play out of Baby, and I told him that after the game. We do. He has to come with that same spirit he came in with for the famous Shrek and Donkey game. We need that again, and we need that from everybody.”
That means Kevin Garnett must dip his toes into the paint on both ends of the floor and play to his size if the Celtics are going to battle the Lakers inside in what is, as Garnett put it, the biggest game of the series, the season and the careers for all involved.
(Garnett has been splendid since rebounding from two ugly games to start this series, but he’s still avoiding the paint like the plague in favor of shooting face-up jumpers on offense.)
The bottom line, the team with the rebounding edge has won every game. It doesn’t matter if it’s a slight margin, like the Celtics’ 35-34 edge in Game 5, or a huge one, the Lakers dominated 52-39 with Perkins out of the mix in Game 6. That’s the one statistical factor that has held up throughout this series.
“It’s huge,” Gasol said. “When you out-rebound a team like we did [in Game 6], you’re giving yourself a huge advantage. So it’s really important that we continue to work extremely hard as a group, as a team, on the rebounding. Because it’s just something that you need to control and it gives you an advantage.”
With the uncertainty surrounding Bynum and Perkins, that advantage is up for grabs, just like everything else will be in Game 7.