August 2020 Basketball Wiretap

Carmelo Anthony Expects To Be 'Back In The Fray Of Things' Next Season

Aug 30, 2020 12:08 PM

Carmelo Anthony said he wanted to return to the Portland Trail Blazers next season following their season-ending loss to the Los Angeles Lakers in game 5.

"In my mind, I'll be right back in the fray of things when next season comes," said Anthony following the game.

Anthony, who finished the game with 27 points on 9-of-17 shooting in the loss, averaged 15.4 points and 6.3 rebounds on the season.

Anthony added that he feels he's found a home with the Blazers after being out of the league for over a year.

"I pray that it can be Portland, I think I found a home in Portland. ... I think you [media members] saw it, why this is a good fit for me. Whenever you find a situation that's comfortable and allows you to be who you are, you want to stay in that situation."

Baxter Holmes/ESPN

Tags: Carmelo Anthony, Portland Trail Blazers, NBA, NBA B-Ball IQ, NBA Playoffs

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Rockets Want NBA To Investigate Dennis Schroder Low Blow On P.J. Tucker Following Ejections

Aug 30, 2020 1:04 AM

Dennis Schroder and P.J. Tucker were ejected in the third quarter of the Houston Rockets' 114-80 win over the Oklahoma City in game 5. 

The Rockets took a 3-2 lead in the series.

The incident began with Schroder hitting Tucker during what was eventually deemed an illegal screen. Tucker would then headbutt the back of Schroder's head.

Schroder was given a Flagrant 2, while Tucker was called for a dead-ball technical foul with an ejection.

NBA security questioned Tucker after the game, according to sources.

The Rockets were upset that the league did not investigate Chris Paul's shot against Ben McLemore's groin in game 3.

The team also reportedly wants the league to investigate Schroder's shot against Tucker. 

"First thing was, it was obviously an illegal screen. And it was kind of a bang-bang play. P.J. obviously after the play was over kind of head-butted Dennis, so they certainly had to eject him, and I didn't know if they felt like they needed to eject Dennis because they ejected P.J. But it was a very quick, aggressive play, and I understand with P.J. getting thrown out maybe they felt like Dennis needed to be thrown out," said Billy Donovan after the game. 

Royce Young & Tim MacMahon/ESPN

Tags: Dennis Schroder, P.J. Tucker, Houston Rockets, Oklahoma City Thunder, NBA, NBA B-Ball IQ, NBA Playoffs

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Pistons Close To Adding Ryan West To Front Office

Aug 29, 2020 1:36 PM

The Detroit Pistons are nearing an agreement to add Ryan West to their front office, league sources told Adrian Wojnarowski.

West would be assigned to a player evaluation role. 

West has previously worked for the Lakers and Clippers. 

Adrian Wojnarowski/ESPN

Tags: Detroit Pistons, NBA, NBA B-Ball IQ

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NBA Rules Eric Gordon Was Fouled On Inbounds Play With 24 Seconds Left In Game 3

Aug 23, 2020 5:59 PM

The NBA ruled that Eric Gordon was fouled on an inbounds play with 24 seconds left in the Houston Rockets' overtime loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder.

The Rockets, who were up two at the time, should have a free throw and possession of the ball.

PJ Tucker threw the ball away on the original play, with the Thunder taking possession. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander hit a go-ahead three on the ensuing possession.

"I mean, you know I hate to even talk about that because as strong as I am, ain't nobody going to just throw me to the ground. Things happen. We got to move on. We shouldn’t put ourselves in that situation," said Gordon of the correction.

Jonathan Feigen/Houston Chronicle

Tags: Eric Gordon, Houston Rockets, NBA, NBA B-Ball IQ, NBA Playoffs

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Joel Embiid Takes Blame For Late-Game Turnover In Loss

Aug 22, 2020 1:24 AM

Joel Embiid took the responsibility for a late-game turnover that lead to the Philadelphia 76ers' 102-94 loss to the Boston Celtics.

The Sixers are down 3-0 in the series.

"I thought I got better at passing out of the double-teams, and it happened. I turned it over. That was a big mistake. That was on me. It happens, and you move on," said Embiid on his turnover to Marcus Smart with the Sixers down two points with less than two minutes left in the game.

The turnover lead to a three-point play from Jaylen Brown.

Brett Brown said that Embiid has made progress in his decision-making out of double teams despite the turnover.

"I do feel like he's made tremendous progress in the environment that didn't favor him at the end of the game during crunch time. I've gone back and seen those two plays. If we had to do it again, there's other targets that were open. We made the wrong read, and there's the game," said Brown about the Sixers' execution late in the game. 

Embiid added that he'll continue fighting in the series.

"I don't want to be swept. I don't want that on my résumé, so like I said, I've been playing my butt off, and I'm going to come in and do everything that I can to make sure that we win a game and take one game at a time."

Tim Bontemps/ESPN

Tags: Joel Embiid, Philadelphia Sixers, NBA, NBA B-Ball IQ, NBA Playoffs

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Joel Embiid Says He's 'Got To Be More Aggressive' Following Game 1 Loss

Aug 18, 2020 1:10 AM

Joel Embiid said that he would be more aggressive in game 2 following the Philadelphia 76ers' 109-101 loss to the Boston Celtics to open the series.

"I've got to be more aggressive. Maybe we need to call some more plays but I don't know. That's another thing we've got to fix going into Game 2," said Embiid following the loss.

Embiid finished the game with 26 points, 16 rebounds, and 5 turnovers.

The Celtics double-teamed Embiid after he started the game shooting 5-for-5.

Brett Brown added that his side cannot force feed the ball to Embiid.

"This is the double-edged sword where you have to figure out what line do you want to walk. This overplaying the volume of just smashmouth, bully-ball post-ups; if you do it all the time it comes with some level of punishment if you're not careful."

Brian Windhorst/ESPN

Tags: Joel Embiid, Philadelphia Sixers, NBA, NBA B-Ball IQ, NBA Playoffs

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Hornets More Likely To Rent Cap Space Via Trade Than Pursue High Level Free Agents

Aug 17, 2020 3:38 PM

The Charlotte Hornets project to be one of the only teams with significant cap space this offseason, but they are unlikely to use it.

“Even though we’ll have cap room, I don’t feel free-agency is the answer for us at this time,” Mitch Kupchak said. “So that talent is going to have to come from the draft or a trade.”

The NBA is not yet sure what number the cap will come in at due to the uncertainty surrounding the league's finances amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We don’t know what the cap is going to be. Fortunately for us, we’re not contract-heavy,” said Kupchak.

The Hornets, however, could use their cap space in a trade with teams looking to create more room.

“Cap room is generally considered a valuable asset,” Kupchak said. “Whether it’s to sign players or acquire a player in trade.”

Rick Bonnell/Charlotte Observer

Tags: Charlotte Hornets, NBA, NBA Misc Rumor, NBA B-Ball IQ

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Hornets Will Target Best Player Available In Draft

Aug 17, 2020 3:35 PM

The Charlotte Hornets plan to select the best play available in the draft as they don't view themselves as being in a position to draft based on positional need.

“We have some nice pieces that we like, but to compete in this league at a high level, our talent level isn’t where we need it to be,” Kupchak said in a Friday interview with The Observer. “I don’t feel we have the luxury of being able to, at this point, pick-and-choose the position” of greatest need.

The Hornets will participate in the lottery but are most likely to select eighth or ninth.

The Hornets have never moved up in the lottery since joining the NBA as an expansion team in 2004. Before the original Hornets relocated to New Orleans, they moved up in 1991 (Larry Johnson), 1992 (Alonzo Mourning) and 1999 (Baron Davis).

Rick Bonnell/Charlotte Observer

Tags: Charlotte Hornets, NBA, NBA NBA Draft, NBA Draft General, NBA B-Ball IQ

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Mike D'Antoni: Going Small Is Our Only Chance, I Think It's A Good Chance

Aug 17, 2020 7:53 AM

Mike D'Antoni never fully followed his instincts while with the Phoenix Suns and doesn't want to have similar regrets now that he's in the final season of his contract with the Houston Rockets.

"If you think something's right and the numbers prove it's right, then go all-in," D'Antoni said. "You can't muddy the waters. You can't just go halfway."

D'Antoni wanted the Suns to play in an even more non-conventional way, playing faster and with fewer bigs.

 

"His instincts in Phoenix -- as you know, he's one of the all-time true innovators -- was to put it at 10," Daryl Morey said. "The noise dialed him back to six or seven.

"Then when he got here, we were like, 'Go full Spinal Tap. Crank it to 11.'"

The Rockets rank first in three-point attempts per game at 45.3, compared to 25.6 per game attempted by the Suns in 05-06 when they broke their own record the season before.

Houston realized they had to match up with the Golden State Warriors' "Hamptons Five" lineup during the 2018 playoffs and that began their small ball shift. The Rockets re-signed Clint Capela in 2018, but the franchise realized by the 2019 offseason that scrapping a traditional center could be beneficial if the circumstances were right.

Houston's Plan A was to sign Jimmy Butler and commit to full-time small ball, trading away both Capela and Eric Gordon. The Rockets instead traded Chris Paul for Russell Westbrook, and eventually traded away Capela in a package for Robert Covington.

Win or lose, D'Antoni at least realizes it won't be due to half-measures.

"People say, 'Well, you can't win,'" D'Antoni said. "Well, we weren't going to win the other way for sure. I get the arguments, I get it, but this is the only chance we have. And I think it's a good chance."

Tim MacMahon/ESPN

Tags: Houston Rockets, NBA, NBA B-Ball IQ

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Damian Lillard After Scoring 61 Points In Win: 'That's The Most Important Game Of Our Lives'

Aug 12, 2020 1:37 AM

Damian Lillard scored 61 points in the Portland Trail Blazers' 134-131 win over the Dallas Mavericks.

The win also vaulted the Blazers to the 8th seed in the Western Conference. 

"That's the most important game of our lives. Tonight was great. We said we need one win. We're going to focus on one game. We got this one done. And that's the most important one. We got to finish it out right," said Lillard after the game.

Lillard joined Wilt Chamberlain as the only two players in NBA history to have three or more 60-point games during a season.

Lillard shot 17-32 from the field, including 9-17 from 3, and went 18-18 from the free throw line.

"Nobody wanted to come into this bubble and make the playoffs more than Dame. And we've got one more game to go, but his leadership -- obviously his game speaks for itself," said Terry Stotts. 

 

Dave McMenamin/ESPN

Tags: Damian Lillard, Portland Trail Blazers, NBA, NBA B-Ball IQ

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Giannis Antetokounmpo Calls Head-Butt On Moe Wagner A 'Terrible Action'

Eric Woodyard/ESPN

Average Game Scoring Totals Are Nine Points Higher In Bubble Than Rest Of Season

ESPN

Victor Oladipo Says T.J. Warren Is 'On A Different Planet Right Now'

Royce Young/ESPN

Kemba Walker Says Knicks Were 'Definitely A Priority At One Point' Last Offseason

Danny Abriano/SNY

One-Dribble Three-Pointers Have Become NBA's Next Evolution

Michael Pina/The Ringer

Gregg Popovich Says Nikola Jokic Is 'Like A Reincarnation Of Larry Bird'

Ohm Youngmisuk/ESPN

Zion Williamson Says He 'Felt Alive Again' After Finishing Fourth Quarter In Pelicans' Win

Andrew Lopez/ESPN