Basketball Wiretap

Paul George Says This Season Is The Best He's Ever Played

Dec 14, 2018 9:23 PM

Paul George has credited his bond with Russell Westbrook on and off the court as a key reason for this season's career year. His averages of 24.3 points, 6.6 rebounds, 4.3 assists and 2.2 steals per game are all career-highs.

George also ranks third in real plus-minus.

"I think just the experience and not having to shoulder everything offensively, it's definitely helped..but I do feel I've grown, and just been seasoned, just knowing how to attack, how to play off certain defenses," George said.

George also added that he told Billy Donovan to stop calling plays for him, preferring to find scoring opportunities within the flow of the game. 

"I've always been a guy to just let the game come to me...if it's a shot for me, if I can make a play, create for someone else, I'll do that. A lot of times you run a play, everybody's watching, everybody's locked in, everybody's pulling over and it just makes the game tougher for me. I like it when I can kind of manipulate and be on attack mode where they don't know what to do, as opposed to a play other teams [can] scout."

Royce Young/ESPN

Tags: Paul George, Oklahoma City Thunder, NBA, NBA B-Ball IQ

Lakers Players Put Hands Behind Back To Protest Foul Calls Against Rockets

Dec 14, 2018 2:06 AM

Frustrated by the officiating during their 126-111 loss to the Houston Rockets, several Los Angeles Lakers players, including LeBron James and Lonzo Ball, played a series of defensive possessions with their hands behind their back. 

James said that the Rockets "got guys that can sell calls really good -- Chris [Paul] and James [Harden] -- so you got to try to keep your hands out of the cookie jar". 

Ball and Kyle Kuzma both added that "you can't touch" Rockets players when playing defense. 

Of his players' frustration, Luke Walton said "I thought we could've done a better job of keeping our composure as a group. I think that's a great learning experience for us as we try to prep for becoming a type of team that can win toward the end of the year. We have to be able to succeed in tough environments and when things aren't going in our favor. And the only way to learn how to do that is to go through it. And I thought tonight was an example that we could've done things better."

The Rockets shot 32 free throws on the night, while the Lakers went to the line 27 times. James Harden had his fourth career 50-point triple double, and went 18-19 from the line. 

Dave McMenamin/ESPN

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

Jabari Parker Out Of Bulls Rotation

Dec 14, 2018 1:29 AM

Jabari Parker will no longer have a regular role in the Chicago Bulls rotation. He played just four minutes in the Bulls' 97-91 loss to the Orlando Magic, all in the first half. 

The 23-year-old Parker signed a two-year, $40 million deal with the Bulls last offseason. He is currently averaging 15.8 points, 7.1 rebounds, and 2.3 assists per game. 

There have been no conversations thus far between Parker's representatives and Bulls officials about a potential buyout. 

Malika Andrews/ESPN

Tags: Jabari Parker, Chicago Bulls, NBA, NBA Misc Rumor, NBA B-Ball IQ

Harrison Barnes Criticizes Refs, Frustrated By Inability To Draw Fouls

Dec 13, 2018 5:28 PM

Harrison Barnes said "it'd be great to go to the free throw line" following the Dallas Mavericks 114-107 win over the Atlanta Hawks.

Rick Carlisle was ejected in the third quarter after complaining about a lack of foul calls as Barnes draws contact on drives. 

After the game, Barnes said "I ask the refs on almost every play what I could be doing or what I'm not doing. Still haven't got any answers from that. Maybe [NBA executive vice president of basketball operations Kiki VanDeWeghe] can give me some answers. I'm just trying to be aggressive and trying to find spots where I can."

Barnes is averaging 4.1 foul shots per game this season, the same number as last year. 

Tim MacMahon/ESPN

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

Kyrie Irving Challenges Jaylen Brown To Overcome Early Struggles

Dec 13, 2018 2:43 AM

After struggling for the early part of the season, Jaylen Brown acknowledged the challenge of living up to last season's expectations on a deep roster with limited opportunities. 

Brown said "it's probably been the hardest thing I've had to deal with so far in my career. Just coming from a position where you had so much responsibility, and now that responsibility is lessened. Expectations have been raised, but your responsibility goes down, so it's hard to reach those expectations when you aren't being asked to do as much.

Brown was ranked 417th out of 430 players in Real-Plus-Minus when the ratings were first released. 

Kyrie Irving says it's time for Brown to accept the challenge and grow as a player.

Irving said "it's not about how many shots he's making or percentages or stats or anything like that. Now it's about, 'How do you get out of your own way to become the best version of yourself in an environment with other great players?' You're not in an environment where we can wait around for you. You're not surrounded by decent players who you will automatically play over, no matter how you perform".

Brown is averaging 12.5 points while shooting 42.4% from the field in 27.8 minutes this season, down from his 14.5 points with a 46.5% field goal percentage in 30.7 minutes last year. 

Jackie MacMullan/ESPN

Tags: Jaylen Brown, Boston Celtics, NBA, NBA B-Ball IQ

Steph Curry Says Raptors Have 'A Little Bit Of Everything' After Loss

Dec 13, 2018 2:17 AM

Steph Curry praised the Toronto Raptors for being a well-balanced team following Golden State's 113-93 loss.

Curry said that the Raptors "have a little bit of everything - athletic wings and bigs that can shoot threes and put the ball on the floor...they're pretty well-rounded and they've shown different styles to win games".

The Raptors won without Kawhi Leonard, who missed his second straight game with a hip injury. Jonas Valanciunas was ruled out after the second quarter with a dislocated thumb.

Kyle Lowry lead the way for the Raptors with 23 points and 12 assists. 

The Raptors are now 7-1 without Leonard. 

Mark Medina/The Mercury News

Tags: Kyle Lowry, Toronto Raptors, NBA, NBA B-Ball IQ

Kevin Durant Impressed By Zion Williamson, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander

Dec 12, 2018 7:34 PM

Kevin Durant said Zion Williamson is a "once in a generation athlete" and that he's "never seen anyone like that before" on The Bill Simmons Podcast.

Durant described Williamson's impressive leaping ability, saying he's never seen a left-handed player "who can dunk like that with his right hand, and cock the ball back so far, and jump so high off two feet".

"I've seen people jump high, but not that way", Durant added about the Duke forward.

Durant went on, saying that Shai Gilgeous-Alexander is the rookie that's impressed him the most this season.

Of Gilgeous-Alexander, Durant said "he's got the mid-range down. His mid-range is so good. He shoots it with a high release so it's hard to block at 6'6" with a point guard on him, so you gotta put a two-guard on him. And he's still shooting over two-guards...Once you learn how to shoot the mid-range, I feel like the three-ball is going to be easier for you to shoot". 

Durant also shouted out Ja Morant of Murray State and Bol Bol of Oregon.


The Bill Simmons Podcast/The Ringer Podcast Network

Tags: Kevin Durant, Golden State Warriors, NBA, NBA B-Ball IQ

Kevin Durant Says Warriors Will Be 'Bay Area Legends' If They Three-Peat

Dec 12, 2018 2:06 AM

Kevin Durant said he thinks about the significance and historical impact of the Warriors' legacy if they three-peat this season. 

Speaking on Chris Haynes' podcast, Durant said "I know for a fact that we'll all get our jerseys retired. We'll probably all get statues here in front of the Chase Center. We'll be Bay Area legends forever, meaning that people will recognize this team and this run forever in this area. I think about 50 years from now when they have our whole team on the Chase Center floor, or wherever the arena is at that point, all the fans will be cheering for us and reminiscing on those days."

A free agent at the end of this season, Durant is averaging 28.8 points per game, his highest average since 2013.

Posted Up with Chris Haynes/Chris Haynes

Tags: Kevin Durant, Golden State Warriors, NBA, NBA B-Ball IQ

Gregg Popovich Moves To Fourth In All-Time Coaching Wins

Dec 12, 2018 1:40 AM

Gregg Popovich passed Pat Riley and moved into fourth place in all-time coaching victories in NBA history following the San Antonio Spurs 111-86 win over the Phoenix Suns. 

Popovich now has 1,211 coaching wins in his career, with a .686 win percentage in the regular season and a .603 percentage in the playoffs. 

He trails Jerry Sloan by 10 wins for third place on the list.

Tags: San Antonio Spurs, NBA, NBA B-Ball IQ

Jimmy Butler Says He Only Took One Shot During Infamous Timberwolves Practice

Dec 11, 2018 7:09 PM

Jimmy Butler revealed that he only took one shot in the now-famous Timberwolves practice in which he verbally challenged teammates and team executives while running the table with end of the bench players.

He said he dominated the scrimmage with "dimes, boom, boom, boom. Steals, blocks. I only shot the ball one time".

Butler says he was riled up by an unnamed person trying to force him to practice with the starters. He originally told Tom Thibodeau that he didn't want to play because he was only going to try to "prove a point".

"I was on one," Butler added.

He described the sequence, saying he was "yapping. I always talk anyways, I'm always talking about how someone can't guard me...that's what I do. This time it was just a little bit different because of whose team I was on, and I ain't been around, so it was just like taken up a notch. And it didn't help who was ownership, management, all of that good stuff."

He said he hoped that details from the practice gave him a reputation as a player who "wants to win at all costs".

The J.J. Redick Podcast/The Ringer

Tags: Jimmy Butler, Minnesota Timberwolves, NBA, NBA B-Ball IQ

Warriors Receive Sports Illustrated's Sportsperson Of The Year Award
The Warriors are the fourth team to be named Sportsperson of the Year.

Joe Reedy/Associated Press

Dwyane Wade Says He And LeBron James Shifted NBA Culture Following Final Matchup
Wade says the friendship between him and James helped each other's careers reach another level.

Ramona Shelburne/ESPN

Draymond Green Returning From Injury Still Aiming For Defensive Player Of The Year
Draymond Green would eligible for a supermax extension this offseason if he wins Defensive Player of the Year.

Logan Murdock/San Jose Mercury News

Bulls Players Hold Two-Hour Players-Only Meeting
Bulls players met with the coaching staff following the players-only meeting lead by Zach LaVine and Justin Holiday.

Malika Andrews/ESPN

Luka Doncic Scores 11 Straight Points In Mavs Comeback Win
Doncic finished the game with 21 points and 7 rebounds.

Tim MacMahon/ESPN

Bulls Set New Franchise Record With 56-Point Loss to Celtics
Jim Boylen benched his starting five on two separate occasions.

K.C. Johnson/Chicago Tribune

LeBron James Sets Lakers Scoring Record Through 25 Games
James is averaging 28.7 points this season, his highest average since 2009.

Chris Cwik/Yahoo! Sports

Giannis Antetokounmpo Doesn't Want To Work Out With NBA Stars
Antetokounmpo turned down Carmelo Anthony's invitation to play in a pickup game last summer to work out with Kobe Bryant.

Eric Nehm/The Athletic

Joel Embiid Admits Struggles Since Jimmy Butler Trade
Embiid, shooting 29% from the 3-point line this season, was rested by Brett Brown against the Pistons.

Keith Pompey/The Inquirer

Frank Ntilikina Misses Third Straight Game With DNP-CD
Ntilikina hasn't played a game since November 28th.

Dan Devine/The Ringer

David Stern Wants To Bring Virtual Reality To NBA
Stern has invested in over a dozen companies ranging in biometrics to augmented reality.

Washington Post

LeBron James Wants Carmelo Anthony On Lakers
James believes Anthony can be a valuable contributor to a young Lakers team.

Joe Vardon/The Athletic

Africa Has '10 Embiids Walking Around' According To Masai Ujiri
Joel Embiid was discovered at Luc Mbah a Moute's basketball camp in 2011.

Lori Ewing/The Canadian Press

Gregg Popovich: There's No Basketball Anymore, No Beauty In It
Gregg Popovich recently lamented the current aesthetics in the NBA.

Kirk Goldsberry/ESPN

Russell Westbrook Records 108th Career Triple-Double, Moves To Third All-Time
Westbrook had 21 points, 17 assists, and 15 rebounds in a 114-112 win over the Nets.

RealGM Staff Report

Jazz Set Franchise Record For 3-Pointers In Kyle Korver Home Debut
The Jazz went 20-33 from 3 on the night, while Korver added 15 points in 15 minutes.

Lonny Krasnow/

Hassan Whiteside Leaves Bench Early In Loss
Whiteside went to the locker room with 40 seconds left in Heat loss after sitting out the fourth quarter.

David Wilson/Miami Herald

Steph Curry Says Comparisons With Trae Young 'Getting Old'
Curry also added that Young will carve out his own lane in the league.

Anthony Slater/The Athletic

DeMar DeRozan Told By Gregg Popovich To Shoot With 'No Guilt'
DeRozan is shooting 48.2% from the field while averaging a career high in assists and rebounds.

Michael C. Wright/ESPN

Dwyane Wade Says Donovan Mitchell 'Wants To Be Great'
Donovan Mitchell sought advice from Dwyane Wade over the summer about the differences between his rookie and sophomore season.

Eric Woodyard/Deseret News