February 2020 Basketball Wiretap

Kawhi Leonard Says 'Sky's The Limit' For Healthy Clippers

Feb 29, 2020 1:30 PM

The Los Angeles Clippers improved to 7-0 with a full roster following their 132-103 win over the Denver Nuggets, with Paul George calling the win their most complete performance of the season.

"I would say with us being healthy, full roster, yes," said George, who had 24 points and 4 rebounds in the game.

Kawhi Leonard added that the Clippers are still one of the best teams in the league when healthy and focused. 

"I mean sky's the limit. We have very talented players, we got some youth, veterans, and when it's all put together, I feel like we can be one of the top teams. It's about just keep sustaining our health and trusting each other and just taking it one game at a time," said Leonard.

The Clippers bench scored 78 points in the game, with Marcus Morris saying that it is the best second unit in the league. 

"We probably have the best second unit in the league. I look around the league and don't see no second unit that is even close to ours."

Ohm Youngmisuk/ESPN

Tags: Paul George, Kawhi Leonard, Los Angeles Clippers, NBA, NBA B-Ball IQ

Mike Malone Following Loss To Clippers: 'We Were Soft Tonight From Beginning To End'

Feb 29, 2020 12:28 PM

Mike Malone criticized the Denver Nuggets' mentality following their 132-103 loss to the Los Angeles Clippers.

"We were soft tonight from beginning to end. They didn't feel us on either end. They got whatever they wanted. We couldn't run offense because they took us out of our stuff, and we just allowed them to do it for 48 minutes. They're a good team, but I'm just very disappointed in our competitive spirit and our effort," said Malone after the game.

Malone added that his team never responded to the intensity of the game.

"We came into this game thinking it was just going to be a standard NBA game. They approached this game like something was on the line, and you could tell a difference from the jump ball all the way until the final buzzer."

Will Barton reportedly gave a five minute speech after the game, telling his teammates how the league considers them to be soft.

"They think if they get into us, they can disorient anything we do. They did that tonight. Our offense was stagnant from [the start]. They weren't feeling us on defense. I think going forward, these teams we've got to beat to be elite. If we talk about [a] championship, we can throw it out the window if we ain't going to show up in [these] games," said Monte Morris. 

Baxter Holmes/ESPN

Tags: Denver Nuggets, NBA, NBA B-Ball IQ

Giannis Antetokounmpo On James Harden Comments: 'My Game Is Not Just Power'

Feb 29, 2020 2:42 AM

Giannis Antetokounmpo responded to James Harden's comments about his lack of skills following the Milwaukee Bucks' 133-86 win over the Oklahoma City Thunder.

"My game is not just power for sure ... obviously, it's going to be times where you've got to power through guys. Like one of the best players, LeBron, Michael Jordan, Kobe and all those guys ... Shaq, all those guys, they were extremely physical with their play. They made their presence felt in the paint, but obviously I try to work on my game, midrange shots, 3s, being able to screen and roll faster and make the right pass," said Antetokounmpo.

Antetokounmpo had picked Kemba Walker on his All-Star team over Harden, insinuating that he wants someone who passes the ball.

Harden responded to Antetokounmpo in an interview with Rachel Nichols, saying "I wish I could just run and be 7 feet and just dunk. Like that takes no skill at all. I gotta actually learn how to play basketball, how to have skill."

Antetokounmpo also said that he's still adding pieces to his game.

"It's hard to drive full speed and try to make the right pass to the corner. I try to get my passes more accurate and it's a lot of things I'm still adding, and hopefully when I add all those things in my game, I'm a more complete player and I'm better and can help my team win and the game is easier."

Eric Woodyard/ESPN

Tags: James Harden, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Houston Rockets, Milwaukee Bucks, NBA, NBA B-Ball IQ

Giannis Antetokounmpo After Win In Toronto: Last Year's Playoffs Were 'Definitely On My Mind'

Feb 26, 2020 1:55 AM

Giannis Antetokounmpo said he still remembered how the Milwaukee Bucks struggled the last time they played in Toronto following their 108-97 win over the Raptors.

The game was the first time the Bucks returned to Toronto since losing in game 6 of the Eastern Conference Finals.

"You always remember the last time you play here, the problems you had. It was definitely on my mind," said Antetokounmpo after finishing with 19 points and 19 rebounds in 38 minutes. 

The Bucks outscored the Raptors 45-20 from the 2:58 minute of the second quarter to the end of the third.

The Bucks also improved to 8-0 on the second night of back-to-back games.

"We have a winning culture. So it doesn't matter if you are hurt, it doesn't matter if you are tired -- the next guy up is ready to go. Everybody wants to play, everybody wants to win, and that's why we win games. Sometimes on a back-to-back you lose because you're tired, right? And you give up. But this team doesn't do that. So I think that we really don't think about, 'Oh, it's a back-to-back. We are going to win it.' We just have to go out there and do our job, which is to just win games," added Antetokounmpo. 

Tim Bontemps/ESPN

Tags: Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee Bucks, NBA, NBA B-Ball IQ

Doc Rivers Says Clippers Are Not A 'Flip-The-Switch Team'

Feb 25, 2020 1:47 AM

Doc Rivers addressed how injuries have shaped the Los Angeles Clippers' season, forcing him to use 28 different starting lineups.

Their win against the Grizzlies on Monday night represented only the fifth time this season that the Clippers had their entire roster available.

"That has been the hand we've been dealt. And we have to play that hand and we can play that hand and still win it," said Rivers before the Grizzlies game.

Rivers reasoned that the Clippers could still win the title despite their injuries, using the Warriors as an example. 

"I don't think we are a flip-the-switch team. I would say anyone who says that doesn't know what they're talking about. Because flip-the-switch teams are teams that have been healthy all year and just have chosen not to play. But when you are out of sorts with different lineups, that's different. I would say it is dangerous [to do that] but teams have done it. Golden State, by the way, did it a couple of times and won titles. You can do both."

Ohm Youngmisuk/ESPN

Tags: Los Angeles Clippers, NBA, NBA B-Ball IQ

Joe Lacob: Kevin Durant Leaving Warriors For Nets 'Made No Sense'

Feb 24, 2020 3:08 PM

The decision Kevin Durant made to leave the Golden State Warriors left Joe Lacob bewildered. 

"I can't get mad when Kevin Durant -- who I felt pretty close with -- decides he's going to leave. Which to me, made no sense," Lacob said Monday morning on 95.7 The Game. "You're (with) the best organization -- I hope he thinks -- in the world.

"Winning, other great players, the new arena. To me, there was every reason in the world to stay. But I'm not gonna be mad at him because it's his life and he earned the right. And for whatever reason, he decided he wanted to leave.

"I can't control that. I tried (laughing)."

Drew Shiller/NBC Sports

Tags: Kevin Durant, Golden State Warriors, Brooklyn Nets, NBA, NBA Misc Rumor, NBA B-Ball IQ

Mavs File Protest Over Loss To Hawks, Want To Replay End Of Game

Feb 23, 2020 8:07 PM

The Dallas Mavericks have filed a protest to the NBA office over their 111-107 loss to the Atlanta Hawks.

The protest focuses on John Collins' putback with 8.4 seconds, which lead to Mark Cuban criticizing the state of the league's officiating on Twitter following the game. 

The Mavs want the game to be replayed before the incorrect goaltending call. The game would then resume with a jump ball with 9.7 seconds left and the Hawks up by 2.

Adam Silver has five days after receiving evidence regarding the issue to decide whether the final sequence will be replayed. 

Tim MacMahon/ESPN

Tags: Atlanta Hawks, Dallas Mavericks, NBA, NBA B-Ball IQ

Russell Westbrook On Being Guarded By Rudy Gobert: You Can't Scout For Speed

Feb 23, 2020 11:43 AM

The Utah Jazz attempted to guard Russell Westbrook with Rudy Gobert during a 120-110 loss to the Houston Rockets.

Westbrook finished the game with 34 points, pulling the Rockets even with the Jazz for fourth place in the Western Conference standings.

"I get what I want, get whatever I want. Get to the basket and shoot, drive and kick, pace and speed. It's something you can't scout for. You can scout moves, you can scout for all that, but speed you can't scout for. And that's what I've got to my advantage," said Westbrook after the game.

Westbrook, who is shooting 40.9% on midrange jumpers this season, went 7-of-13 in the game. 

Gobert said that he would do the strategy over again despite Westbrook's success. 

"I think I would do it again. Having Russ being guarded by one of our guards is a mismatch. When I'm guarding him, at least he doesn't get to the rim. He's going to miss shots, he's going to make shots, but at least he doesn't break us down and bring the double team and find his teammates. We make him work. That's pretty much it. We make him work, and he's able to make those shots sometimes, and sometimes he's not. We've got to live with that and do what we do," said Gobert.

Tim MacMahon/ESPN

Tags: Rudy Gobert, Russell Westbrook, Houston Rockets, Utah Jazz, NBA, NBA B-Ball IQ

Mark Cuban Criticizes Officiating Following Loss To Hawks

Feb 23, 2020 1:23 AM

Mark Cuban went on Twitter to criticize the level of NBA officiating following the Dallas Mavericks' 111-107 loss to the Atlanta Hawks.

Cuban was upset by a play late in the game in which John Collins putback Dorian Finney-Smith's block shot. The initial goal-tending call on Finney-Smith was overturned after a review, though the refs counted Collins' shot due to an "inadvertent" whistle.

"So they call a goaltend. They literally blew the whistle that it was a goaltend. There was a putback after the whistle. After review they said no goaltend but count the basket? WTF is that? That's NBA officiating," tweeted Cuban.

Cuban then criticized the system for producing what he perceived as incompetent refs for 20 years.

"Refs have bad games. Crews have bad games. But this isn't a single game issue. This is the same s--- that has been going on for 20 years. Hire former refs who think they know how to hire, train and manage. Realize 2 years later they can't. Repeat." Cuban added.

Crew chief Rodney Mott explained the call after the game. 

"The ball was blocked and reviewed. The ball hit the rim, so it was deemed an inadvertent whistle because it was ruled a good block. By rule, it's an inadvertent whistle. It's Rule 2. Because he (Collins) was in his shooting motion when my whistle blew, it's deemed a continuation, so therefore, the basket counts," said Mott. 


Tags: Dallas Mavericks, NBA, NBA B-Ball IQ

Kawhi Leonard Says 'The Time Is Now' For Clippers To Put Winning Run Together

Feb 23, 2020 1:04 AM

Kawhi Leonard said it's time for the Los Angeles Clippers to put together a winning run following their 112-103 loss to the Sacramento Kings.

The Clippers are on a three-game losing streak.

"The time is now. Just got to keep getting better. But it doesn't matter what seed you are. Just got to keep fighting. It is about the right team peaking at the right time. I don't think we have even got there yet. It feels like we are getting close, but we just need guys to get healthy," said Leonard.

The Clippers were without Paul George and Patrick Beverley, and used their 28th different starting lineup of the season.

Doc Rivers added that it was difficult for his team to find a rhythm due to the injuries.

"We didn't have rhythm before, so when you're bringing in new guys with other guys who probably don't have great continuity, as well, [there's no rhythm]," said Rivers.

Ohm Youngmisuk/ESPN

Tags: Kawhi Leonard, Los Angeles Clippers, NBA, NBA B-Ball IQ

Joe Harris Says He Wants To Re-Sign With Nets This Summer

Brian Lewis/New York Post

Lakers-Clippers Game Rescheduled For April 9th


Joel Embiid Declares Himself 'Best Player In The World'

Tim Bontemps/ESPN

NBA Expected To Use Target Score In Next Year's All-Star Game

Zach Lowe/ESPN

NBA Ratings Down 13% On Local RSNs, Warriors Viewership Down 66% On NBC Sports Bay Area

Joe Lucia/Awful Announcing

Adam Silver Senses 'A Return To Normalcy' In Relationship Between NBA, China

Brian Windhorst/ESPN

Joel Embiid Says Sixers' Offense Is 'Definitely Going To Be Better After The All-Star Break'

Tim Bontemps/ESPN

Jimmy Butler Says Heat Are 'Not Where We Want To Be At, Just Yet'

Ira Winderman/South Florida Sun Sentinel

Evan Turner To Workout With Clippers

Chris Haynes/Yahoo Sports

Tim Duncan, Kevin Garnett, Kobe Bryant Named As Finalists For Class Of 2020 Hall Of Fame

Tim Bontemps/ESPN

Lakers, Bucks Favorites To Win NBA Title

David Purdum/ESPN

Celtics To Retire Kevin Garnett's Jersey Next Season

Ohm Youngmisuk/ESPN

Mike Miller Could Remain With Knicks Outside Of Coaching Role

Ian Begley/SNY

Knicks Distance Team From Steve Stoute Comments About Coaching

Malika Andrews/ESPN

Paul George Says 'There Was Some Home-Court Cooking' Following Clippers Loss In Philadelphia

Ohm Youngmisuk/ESPN

William 'Worldwide Wes' Wesley Not Expected To Join Knicks

Shams Charania/The Athletic

Jrue Holiday: I Feel Like I'm Built For This Pelicans' Team

Jasmyn Wimbish/CBS Sports

Nick Nurse After Raptors' 15th Straight Win: 'We're Getting Everybody's A-Plus Game'

Tim Bontemps/ESPN

MacMahon: Whole Point Of Rockets Trading Clint Capela Was To Maximize Russell Westbrook

Tim MacMahon/ESPN

Warriors View Next Two Seasons As Window 'Before They Hopefully' Re-Sign Stephen Curry In 2022

Tim Kawakami/The Athletic