Basketball Wiretap

Rockets Believe They're Better Than Last Season

Apr 18, 2019 11:33 AM

The Houston Rockets consider themselves a significantly better team now than last season when they took the Golden State Warriors to seven games.

"We're as good as anybody, if not better than everybody," said Mike D'Antoni.

The Rockets began the season 11-14 but have recovered ever since with key midseason additions and better health from Chris Paul and Clint Capela. Houston has the NBA's best record and net rating since the All-Star break.

"We have more confidence than last year," Capela told ESPN after anchoring another dominant defensive effort. "But it's just the beginning, because last year we went so far. We still know we have a lot to do. It's just two wins in the playoffs. We know that we have to get 16 wins total, and it gets harder every game."

Tim MacMahon/ESPN

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

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Converse Introduces New Basketball Sneaker Featuring Kelly Oubre Jr.

Apr 18, 2019 12:50 AM

Converse introduced a new basketball sneaker called the All-Star Pro BB, with Kelly Oubre Jr. as the face of the relaunched line.

"It's a different vibration when it comes to someone who is trying to reinvent themselves in something that they started. It's not necessarily someone trying to come in and disrupt the game, or someone trying to step onto the scene as newcomers again. We started this," said Oubre Jr. 

Nike acquired Converse in 2003 for $305 million, a purchase largely driven by the popularity of Chuck Taylor's. 270,000 pairs of Chuck Taylor's are sold everyday, totaling 100 million pairs per year. 

Converse used Nike's resources in imagining what an updated Chuck Taylor would look like in 2019.

"We built this shoe through the lens of where the game is evolving - that positionless aspect of basketball. This is geared for players that have a more fluid style of play, and Kelly really evokes that in how he shows up on the court," said Converse VP of footwear Brandis Russell.

Nick DePaula/ESPN

Tags: Kelly Oubre, Jr., Phoenix Suns, NBA, NBA B-Ball IQ

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Caris LeVert, Jared Dudley Call Out Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons For 'Disrespectful' Apology

Apr 18, 2019 12:39 AM

Caris LeVert and Jared Dudley called out Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons for laughing during Embiid's apology for throwing an elbow at Jarrett Allen in game 2. 

"We didn't really like that. We thought that was kind of disrespectful, especially after the elbow he threw. It is what it is. There's no love lost. It's a playoff series. We expect that," said LeVert.

Embiid was called for a flagrant foul for his elbow. He and Ben Simmons laughed during his apology in the post-game press conference. 

"I felt a certain type of way for it just because you're laughing and someone could have really gotten hurt. Now, luckily, Jay did pop up. That's been Embiid's personality, but just because it's your personality doesn't mean it's right. So, for us, you can either get even however you want to do it, but the biggest thing for us to get even is winning Game 3," added Dudley.

Ian Begley/ESPN

Tags: Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons, Jared Dudley, Jarrett Allen, Caris LeVert, Philadelphia Sixers, Brooklyn Nets, NBA, NBA B-Ball IQ

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Study Concludes Giannis Antetokounmpo Is Most Underpaid Player In NBA

Apr 16, 2019 1:57 AM

An analysis conducted by Forbes concluded that Giannis Antetokounmpo was the most underpaid player in the NBA this season.

The study took into consideration the amount of wins a player produced to get an "expected" salary for that player, then took the difference between a player's "expected" salary and current salary. 

By the Forbes metric, Antetokounmpo was responsible for 18.1 wins on the season and should have been paid over $53 million for his contribution as compared to his $24.1 million salary.

Mitchell Robinson, Nikola Vucevic, James Harden, and Rudy Gobert rounded out the top 5. 

Brett Knight/Forbes

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

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Damian Lillard Calls Enes Kanter 'The MVP' Of Game 1

Apr 14, 2019 10:21 PM

Damian Lillard said that Enes Kanter was "the MVP" of the Portland Trail Blazers' 104-99 win over the Oklahoma City Thunder in game 1 of their playoff series.

Kanter finished the game with 20 points and 18 rebounds.

"[Kanter] was the MVP of the game, especially down the stretch getting us second opportunities, third opportunities. He had a huge presence down the stretch and played a huge part in us winning this game," said Lillard. 

Kanter, who began the season on the Knicks, said he appreciated the opportunity to compete in a playoff game. 

"I was on the worst team in the league and I wasn't even playing because they thought I was too old...it was frustrating because I just wanted to go out there and win...a couple of days ago I looked in the mirror and said I am blessed...it feels amazing," added Kanter. 

Jared Cowley/KGW

Tags: Enes Kanter, Portland Trail Blazers, NBA, NBA B-Ball IQ

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Clippers Are Biggest Playoff Underdog In 30 Years

Apr 13, 2019 12:29 PM

The Los Angeles Clippers represent the biggest playoff underdog since 1988 as they match up against the Golden State Warriors.

The SuperBook at Westgate Las Vegas has the Clippers at 100-1 to upset the Warriors in the first round.

The Warriors are -50,000 to beat the Clippers at the SuperBook. They have received no straight bets on the Warriors, with only 9 people betting on the Clippers.

The odds are so lopsided that several Vegas sportsbooks kept the series off the board.

David Purdum/ESPN

Tags: Golden State Warriors, Los Angeles Clippers, NBA, NBA B-Ball IQ

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Dwyane Wade Records Triple-Double In Final Game Of Career

Apr 11, 2019 2:47 AM

Dwyane Wade recorded a triple-double as the Miami Heat lost to the Brooklyn Nets 113-94 to close out his NBA career. Wade finished with 25 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists for his 5th career triple-double.

The "Banana Boat" crew of Chris Paul, LeBron James, and Carmelo Anthony were all in attendance.

"Obviously, it means a lot [to have them here]. They know that I will always be there for them, especially in a moment like this. No matter what I'm doing, I will be there for their last game. It was cool to see those guys over there. I'm glad they came, but at the same time I wish they weren't here because the whole time they kept telling me to shoot, shoot, shoot. But it was great. We've got a brotherhood. Those are my brothers," said Wade.

LeBron James, speaking in a sideline interview in the second quarter, echoed his sentiment.

"Listen, we all started this journey together. Obviously, CP came into the league a couple years after us, but we have a brotherhood that is just so much more than basketball. CP played last night, we had our last regular-season game last night and Melo is right here in New York, so we kind of made the plan and made the decision to come up here."

Tim Bontemps/ESPN

Tags: Dwyane Wade, Miami Heat, NBA, NBA B-Ball IQ

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Dwyane Wade Following Final Home Game With Heat: 'This City Means Everything To Me'

Apr 10, 2019 2:24 AM

Dwyane Wade scored 30 points in his final home game with the Miami Heat, a 122-99 win over the Philadelphia 76ers. The Heat were eliminated from the playoffs after the Pistons beat the Grizzlies.

Wade will retire after 16 seasons in the league.

"It's meant everything. To be able to come here and be embraced, to find a home, to be able to grow. I think that's the one thing. When I was on the court early on and Stan (Van Gundy) let me grow, as a player, to whether it was mistakes I made in life, to whatever it was, this city has allowed me to grow. I hope they are proud of what they have helped me become. This city means everything to me. It's forever, forever, forever going to be my home," said Wade following the game.

The Heat played a video tribute to Wade before the game that traced his career with the team.

"Man, you're going to make me cry before this game. Man, I love you guys. I'm thankful for this moment. I'm thankful for this entire season. I thank you guys for dancing with me this year. I thank you guys for your patience this year. I thank you for all your love, and for you having my back this year. I've got some brothers that will always be my brothers. I love you guys," Wade added.


Tim Bontemps/ESPN

Tags: Dwyane Wade, Miami Heat, NBA, NBA B-Ball IQ

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Alvin Gentry: Anthony Davis Is Good Kid Who 'Got Some Bad Advice'

Apr 10, 2019 1:37 AM

Alvin Gentry reflected upon the turmoil surrounding the New Orleans Pelicans following their 112-103 loss to the Golden State Warriors in their season finale.

Gentry said he had never seen the level of toxicity that followed the Pelicans and Lakers after the non-trade for Anthony Davis.

"Not this toxic, no. Not that affected two teams. And two guys. One lost his job and the other one resigned from his job. So no, in 31 years I hadn't had anything that would equal this kind of fallout. No, I haven't," said Gentry.

Gentry added that Davis was a good person who received some bad advice, although he didn't specify from whom.

"I think he's a great kid. I think he's a very good kid. I think he's a solid guy. ... I think he got some bad advice. You know me to just tell the truth. I'll leave it at that. But there's nothing wrong with AD. He's a good solid guy with good character. That's the way I feel," added Gentry.

Nick Friedell/ESPN

Tags: Anthony Davis, New Orleans Pelicans, NBA, NBA B-Ball IQ

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Dirk Nowitzki Announces Retirement After 21 Seasons In NBA

Apr 10, 2019 1:05 AM

Dirk Nowitzki officially announced his retirement from the NBA following the Dallas Mavs' 120-109 win over the Phoenix Suns.

"As you guys might expect, this is my last home game...This is obviously super, super emotional. Just too many people to really thank. I put you guys on a helluva ride with a lot of ups and downs, and you guys always stuck with me and supported me, so I appreciate it," said Nowitzki in a speech after his final home game.

Scottie Pippen, Charles Barkley, and Larry Bird each gave a speech during the post-game ceremony.

The 40-year-old Nowitzki set a record by playing 21 seasons with the same franchise.

 


ESPN

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

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Magic Johnson Gave LeBron James No Indication He Would Step Down As President
Johnson admitted that he hadn't told Jeanie Buss that he was leaving the Lakers.

Adrian Wojnarowski/ESPN

Dwyane Wade: Taking Step Back To LeBron Was Toughest Part At The Time
Dwyane Wade sacrificed some personal awards to accommodate LeBron James and Chris Bosh in 2010, but he went on to win two more titles and cement his legacy.

Michael Lee/The Athletic

Quicken Loans Arena To Be Renamed Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse
The newly named Rocket Mortagage Fieldhouse is currently undergoing a major renovation.

Tom Withers/The Associated Press

Rockets Make NBA Record 27 3-Pointers Versus Suns
Gordon tied a career-high with 8 3-pointers as the Rockets set an NBA record for most 3-pointers in a game.

ESPN

Erik Spoelstra On Final 4th Quarter Possession: Early Referee Whistle Forced 'Botched Play'
Wade was supposed to receive the ball on the Heat's final possession in the 4th quarter.

ESPN

Nuggets To Rest Paul Millsap, Nikola Jokic, Jamal Murray Against Blazers
The Nuggets clinched their division and home-court in the first-round of the playoffs on Friday.

Chris Dempsey/Nuggets.com

Robert Sarver Looking To Hire Jeff Bower For Front-Office Role As Early As Next Week
Jeff Bower was most recently the general manager of the Pistons.

Adrian Wojnarowski/ESPN

Paul Pierce Says He'd Have Won 5-6 Titles 'Easy' With Shaq Or LeBron James
The debate arose during a segment comparing Pierce and Wade's careers.

John Karalis/Mass Live

Gordon Hayward After Perfect Night: It's Slowly Coming Back
Hayward is shooting 64.4% from the field and 42.9% from 3 in his last 5 games.

Tom Westerholm/Mass Lives

Vlade Divac To Be Inducted Into Basketball Hall Of Fame
Divac joins Chuck Cooper, At Attles, Paul Westphal, Sidney Moncrief, and Bobby Jones in this year's class.

Greg Wissinger/Sactown Royalty

Russell Westbrook Averages Triple-Double For 3rd Straight Season
Westbrook is averaging 22.9 points, 10.6 assists, and 11.1 rebounds this season.

Royce Young/ESPN

Dwyane Wade Says He'll 'Be In Therapy' To Deal With Retirement
Wade added that he has not specific goals after he retires from the league.

ESPN

Lonzo Ball Says LaVar Not Involved In Search For New Agent
CAA has emerged as the favorite to represent Ball in the future.

Tania Ganguli/Los Angeles Times

Mavs Have Brightest Future Of Lottery Teams, According To Survey
The Mavs, Kings, and Hawks rounded out the top 3 in the survey taken among league officials.

Jordan Brenner/The Athletic

Lonzo Ball Parts Ways With Agent
Ball said that the move was unrelated to recent controversies surrounding Big Baller Brand.

Ramona Shelburne/ESPN

LeBron James Having Difficulty Casting 'Top Players' For 'Space Jam 2'
James is looking to cast "top players" for NBA roles in the movie.

Erik García Gundersen/LeBron Wire

Steph Curry To Executive Produce, Star In Mini-Golf Show On ABC
Contestants, including Steph Curry, will play 3 rounds of mini-golf for prizes each episode.

Anne Victoria Clark/Vulture

Gregg Popovich After Getting Ejected 63 Seconds Into Game: 'Ask The Officials'
Popovich received two technical fouls after arguing a non-call on LaMarcus Aldridge.

ESPN

Bucks Think About Keeping Giannis Antetokounmpo Beyond 2021 'Strategically Every Day'
Giannis Antetokounmpo will be a free agent in 2021 if he doesn't sign a supermax extension in 2020.

Chris Ballard/Sports Illustrated

Lonzo Ball Sues Former BBB Co-Founder For Over $2 Million
Ball is seeking over $2 million plus interest for damages.

Ramona Shelburne/ESPN