October 2021 NBA Wiretap

James Harden Still Playing Himself Into Form

Oct 28, 2021 8:50 AM

James Harden's frustration with his current level of play is evident. And it's something Harden owns. Following the Brooklyn Nets loss to the Miami Heat on Wednesday, Harden said, As much as I want to get back to just, you know, 30's and 40 points, I can't do that. As much as I want to, obviously I would love to."

Harden expressed his frustration in how long it has taken him to find his usual form. Harden spent the offseason recovering from a last season's hamstring injuries. The Nets star guard said, "I had no opportunities to play pickup or nothing this summer. Everything was rehab for three months, from a Grade 2 injury that happened three times in one season. So this is my fifth game of trying to just play with competition against somebody else. And as much as I want to rush the process and be back to hooping and killing, [have to] take your time."

Through five games, Harden is averaging his lowest stats since early in his career, when he was coming off the bench for the Oklahoma City Thunder. Harden also seems to be slowly adapting to the NBA's new points of emphasis on offensive players flopping for fouls. To this point, Harden has averaged just 3.0 free throw attempts per game. That is the lowest free throw rate of his career, and well below his recent rate.

Ohm Youngmisuk/ESPN

Tags: James Harden, Brooklyn Nets, NBA, NBA Injury

Russell Westbrook Says Darius Bazley Steal And Dunk 'Things You Don't Do'

Oct 28, 2021 9:06 AM

The Los Angeles Lakers had a complete collapse against the Oklahoma City Thunder on Wednesday night. For the first time in franchise history, the Lakers lost a game after holding a lead of 25 points or greater. The frustration of the blown lead boiled over at the end of the game.

With the game in hand, Thunder forward Darius Bazley stole an inbounds pass with three seconds to play. After Bazley dunked the ball, Lakers guard Russell Westbrook made it clear he didn't like Bazley showing up the Lakers. Westbrook received a second technical foul and was ejected for going after Bazley following the play.

Postgame, Westbrook said, “It is what it is. I don’t think I should have gotten the first tech … If the last one was a tech, that’s cool. But, just how I play the game — I’m old school. When shit like that happens, I don’t let it slide. I’ll take it on the chin and move on.”

The former Thunder guard added, “But in the game of basketball, there’s just certain things you don’t do. Like in baseball, you don’t flip the bat. There’s certain things you just don’t do in sports. Game’s already over. And I didn’t like it, simple as that.”

Prior to the ejection, Westbrook had put up a triple-double, but also turned the ball over 10 times.

R.P. Salao/Clutch Points

Tags: Russell Westbrook, Los Angeles Lakers, NBA, NBA Misc Rumor

Zach LaVine To Play Through Small Ligament Tear In Thumb

Oct 27, 2021 10:43 AM

Zach LaVine has a small ligament tear in the thumb of his non-shooting hand but intends to play through the injury.

For LaVine, it is a matter of pain tolerance to continue playing with the injury. 

LaVine is averaging 25.5 points, 5.3 rebounds and 4.8 assists in 33.8 minutes per game this season for the 4-0 Chicago Bulls. 

Shams Charania/The Athletic

Tags: Zach LaVine, Chicago Bulls, NBA, NBA Injury

Nikola Jokic Exits Game, Avoids Serious Knee Injury

Oct 27, 2021 8:41 AM

When Nikola Jokic banged knees with Rudy Gobert late in the first half of Tuesday's game, the worst was feared. Fortunately, it's believed Jokic avoided any sort of serious injury. Denver Nuggets coach Michael Malone said, "I don't think it's anything too, too serious."

Malone said he held Jokic out of the second half of the game out after the reigning MVP told him that his knee "felt a little weak". Nuggets point guard Monte Morris said that Jokic told him that "He thinks he's fine".

Prior to the injury, Jokic had scored 24 points on 8-of-9 shooting, to go along with six rebounds and six assists. The Jazz took control in the second half to improve to 3-0 on the season.

Mike Singer/Denver Post

Tags: Nikola Jokic, Denver Nuggets, NBA, NBA Injury

Ime Udoka Says Celtics Poor Intensity And Focus Pregame Carried Into Game

Oct 28, 2021 9:16 AM

Ime Udoka didn't mince words when talking about the Boston Celtics lack of intensity and focus during their loss against the Washington Wizards. Udoka said the problems started at shootaround early on Wednesday morning.

The first-year head coach said, "Our intensity and focus wasn't there from the start. It was like that at shootaround and I got on the guys for it then. And then it carried over into the game."

"I told the guys this morning if they play tonight with this intensity and focus, they'd get their asses kicked. And for three quarters that's what happened", Udoka added.

A visibly disappointed Al Horford echoed his coach's sentiments postgame. The veteran big man said, "We need to be committed to preparing and working before the games. We have to be better at that."

As for the cause of the effort and intensity issues, Udoka, Horford, Dennis Schroder and Jayson Tatum didn't have any answers. All recognized that it needs to change if Boston is to reach their potential.

Keith Smith/CelticsBlog

Tags: Boston Celtics, NBA, NBA Misc Rumor

TNT To Move Typical Thursday NBA Programming To Tuesday Until NFL Regular Season Ends

Oct 27, 2021 4:05 PM

TNT has shifted its typical NBA programming from Thursday to Tuesday during the months of November and December in order to avoid competing against the NFL.

TNT will air its typical Thursday doubleheader with Ernie Johnson, Charles Barkley, Kenny Smith and Shaquille O'Neal in the studio on Tuesdays until January.

TNT has found success with its Tuesday studio show of Adam Lefkoe, Candace Parker, Dwyane Wade and O'Neal.

The NFL typically receives more than 10 million viewers for its Thursday Night game.

Marc Stein/Substack

Tags: NBA

Mavericks' Three-Man Leadership Council Requested Entire Roster Play In Tuesday's Game

Oct 27, 2021 11:23 AM

The Dallas Mavericks played all 15 players in Tuesday's win over the Houston Rockets following a meeting with the team's three-man leadership council of Luka Doncic, Kristaps Porzingis and Tim Hardaway Jr. 

Jason Kidd revealed the reasoning behind the expanded rotation in his postgame comments. 

Seven of the 15 players played in fewer than 10 minutes. 

Tim MacMahon/ESPN

Tags: Dallas Mavericks, NBA

Anthony Davis Says Knee Injury 'A Little Stinger'

Oct 27, 2021 9:03 AM

Anthony Davis was seen limping at the end of regulation during the Los Angeles Lakers game at the San Antonio Spurs on Tuesday. Davis stayed in and scored four points and grabbed four rebounds, while playing the entire overtime in the Lakers victory.

Following the game, Davis termed his knee injury "a little stinger". Davis said he would see how he felt when he woke up on Wednesday. Lakers head coach Frank Vogel said that Davis banged knees with a Spurs player with about a minute to go in the fourth quarter. Vogel confirmed the Lakers would see how Davis was feeling before deciding his status for Thursday's game at the Dallas Mavericks.

Davis also suffered a scary moment early in the game. He attempted to dunk on Jakob Poeltl and his arm contorted at an odd angle, as Poeltl blocked the shot. Davis grabbed at his right shoulder, but ultimately stayed in the game.

The Lakers played in San Antonio without LeBron James, who sat out due to a sore right ankle. James was injured when Desmond Bane fell into his leg on Sunday night. Vogel said Los Angeles is taking a "marathon approach" with their star forward.

Ryan Ward/Lakers Nation

Tags: Anthony Davis, Los Angeles Lakers, NBA, NBA Injury

Caris LeVert Says He's 'Ready To Go'

Oct 27, 2021 9:13 AM

Caris LeVert has yet to suit up for the Indiana Pacers this season, but his return seems to be on the horizon. LeVert took part in contact practices earlier this week and has come through those feeling good.

LeVert said, "I’m trusting the coaches and medical staff, but I’m ready to go." The Pacers have listed LeVert as questionable for their game at the Toronto Raptors on Wednesday.

Indiana shut down the versatile wing after he experienced some back soreness during the preseason. At the time, Pacers head coach Rick Carlisle said LeVert would miss the first four games and then would be re-evaluated. Indiana has kept to that exact timeline. Carlisle didn't comment further on LeVert's status when asked recently except to say, “I don’t know when he will play in games…hopefully soon.”

Scott Agness/Fieldhouse Files

Tags: Caris LeVert, Indiana Pacers, NBA, NBA Injury

ESPN Hires JJ Redick As NBA Analyst

Oct 27, 2021 3:26 PM

ESPN has hired JJ Redick as an NBA analyst.

Redick retired as an NBA player during the 2021 offseason.

Redick has long been expected to enter broadcasting upon his retirement after hosting a podcast for multiple years. 

Redick will make his debut as a studio analyst on Nov. 3 during the game between the Brooklyn Nets and Atlanta Hawks.

"After 15 years in the NBA, I am excited to take what I have learned on the court and be able to provide my insight and strong opinions about the game I love," Redick said in a statement. "I am thrilled to have found a place on the biggest platform in sports, ESPN. I look forward to starting my post-playing career with such an incredible organization."

RealGM Staff Report

Tags: J.J. Redick, NBA

Donovan Mitchell Played No Role In Jazz Parting Ways With Dennis Lindsey

Jake Fischer/Bleacher Report

Hollinger & Duncan: What is Overtime Elite? Rookies Showing Out; Which Surprise Teams Are For Real?

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Spurs Assign Josh Primo, Joe Wieskamp To Austin

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Kristaps Porzingis Leaves Game With Lower Back Tightness

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Quinn Cook Signs With Lokomotiv Kuban

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Zion Williamson 'Progressing' In Foot Surgery Rehab


Kevin Durant, Sue Bird Added To USA Basketball Board Of Directors


Lonnie Walker 'More Excited, More Hungry' After Not Signing Extension With Spurs

Tom Orsborn/San Antonio Express-News

LeBron James Out With Ankle Injury As Lakers Take 'Marathon Approach'

Dave McMenamin/ESPN

Magic Sign Mychal Mulder To Two-Way Contract

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Daryl Morey: Things Moving In Very Positive Direction With Ben Simmons

NBC Sports Philadelphia

Meyers Leonard Hopes To Return To NBA


Chauncey Billups Calls Out Trail Blazers For Lack Of Effort

Casey Holdahl/Trailblazers.com

Thunder Exercise 22-23 Options On Darius Bazley, Aleksej Pokusevski, Ty Jerome

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ESPN Has Best Ratings For Opening Week Since 2017

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76ers Stop Fining Ben Simmons For Missed Practices, Games

Ramona Shelburne/ESPN

Miles Bridges, Stephen Curry Named NBA's Players Of The Week

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Dunc'd On: Around the NBA’s First Weekend

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NBA Net Rating (Week 1): Jazz, Heat, Blazers In Top-3

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Edward Rogers Tried To Block Raptors' Contract Offer To Masai Ujiri

Christine Dobby, Doug Smith/Toronto Star