Basketball Wiretap

Kyrie Irving On Leadership Growth: 'It's Not On Me To Lead The Group By Myself'

Feb 26, 2021 1:32 AM

Kyrie Irving discussed his growth as a leader on the Brooklyn Nets this season, adding that he had learned from his previous experiences with the Cleveland Cavaliers and Boston Celtics.

"You gotta be able to galvanize the group, even when it's low and even when it's high. It's the balance of leadership. There isn't one leader. And I've had to accept that too, it's not on me to lead the group by myself, and be the hero that everybody wants," said Irving on Thursday.

The Nets currently have an eight-game win streak, with Irving averaging 27.4 points on the season.

Irving added that he now takes accountability for past failures of leadership.

"I'm grateful to be in this position to be able to set a better example now than I did then. And I take accountability for not necessarily stepping up to the plate or stepping up the responsibility for my own actions. I had a lot to do with success and failures of the teams I was on. I take my role very serious in terms of that, and I've been able to learn lessons from that to give to other. That's been the most beautiful part, is just to learn." 

Colin Martin/SNY

Tags: Kyrie Irving, Brooklyn Nets, NBA, NBA B-Ball IQ

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Rockets Hope To Turn Kevin Porter Jr. Into Point Guard

Feb 23, 2021 7:04 PM

The Houston Rockets plan on converting Kevin Porter Jr. into a point guard.

The Rockets are having Porter work on his development with the Rio Grande Valley Vipers in the G League bubble.

Porter is averaging 23.3 points, 4.6 rebounds and 6.1 assists per game on 44.1 percent shooting from the field while shooting 29.1 percent from 3 and 76.2 percent from the free throw line.

Porter's game has been compared to James Harden and the Rockets hope he can follow a similar career arc in more of a point guard role.

The Rockets also hope John Lucas can make a difference as a mentor for Porter.

Kelly Iko/The Athletic

Tags: Kevin Porter, Jr., Houston Rockets, NBA, NBA B-Ball IQ

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Billy Donovan Says Zach LaVine Is 'Deserving Of Being An All-Star'

Feb 21, 2021 1:56 PM

Billy Donovan vouched for Zach LaVine to make the All-Star reserves following the Chicago Bulls' 122-114 win over the Sacramento Kings on Saturday night.

LaVine scored 38 points on 15-of-20 shooting. He is currently averaging 28.9 points, 5.4 rebounds, and 5.1 assists on the season. 

"When you look at players that are All-Stars, you are saying they are playing at a high level individually and they are also raising the level of the team. I think Zach has done that," said Donovan after the game.

The All-Star reserves, voted on by coaches, are announced on Tuesday.

LaVine attributed his improvements to being more aware on the court, especially on the defensive end.

"I’m just working. I’ve gotten a lot better with it, especially just awareness. I’ve always been able to guard the ball. Athletically, I don’t feel like it’s a lot of guys who are more athletic than me that’s going to beat me off the dribble. But just being locked into coverages, watching film and knowing what the other team is going to do and the player that you’re guarding, try to take away what they do well.

"You’re not always going to be good at it, or it’s not always going to work. But at least just try to make him do something that he’s not good at."

K.C. Johnson/NBC Sports Chicago

Tags: Zach LaVine, Chicago Bulls, NBA, NBA B-Ball IQ

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LeBron James Says He Has To 'Adjust Again' Without Anthony Davis

Feb 21, 2021 1:15 PM

LeBron James put it on himself to adjust his game without Anthony Davis following the Los Angeles Lakers' 96-94 loss to the Miami Heat.

James finished the game with 19 points on 7-of-21 shooting, his worst shooting percentage of the season.

"I think that's what it all boils down to, and right now is another challenge for me, to be able to adjust. Not having AD for a long period of time is something that we haven't had over the last year and a half, and now it's time for me to adjust again and see ways I can be even more effective to help this team win ballgames," said James.

Davis will be out four weeks, according to team doctors. 

Kentavious Caldwell-Pope said the Lakers' role players need to help James out as much as possible without making mistakes or turnovers. 

"We try to help him out as much as possible, and we want to do it as perfect as possible, as we can. We try to help him out, we try not to make too much mistakes when we're on the floor with him or even running a play with him, just to give him some help. We do ask Bron for a lot; he gives us a lot each and every game," said Caldwell-Pope. 

Dave McMenamin/ESPN

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

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Steve Kerr: Draymond Green 'Crossed The Line' With Late Ejection

Feb 21, 2021 12:55 PM

Steve Kerr admitted that Draymond Green "crossed the line" with his ejection in the final seconds of the Golden State Warriors' 102-100 loss to the Charlotte Hornets.

Green was given two technical fouls for arguing a jump ball call with seconds left to play and the Warriors up by two. The ejection gave the Hornets two free throws plus the ball, with Terry Rozier eventually making the game-winning shot. 

"He crossed the line. That's the main thing. We love his passion and his energy. We would not be the team we are without him, but that doesn't give him license to cross that line, and he knows that," said Kerr.

Crew chief Marc Davis said that Green got his first technical for taunting an opponent, and the second one for directing a "screaming profanity" at an official. 

Eric Paschall said that Green took responsibility for the technical fouls after the game.

"He said it was his fault. And he took ownership as he always does as a leader. We're still rocking with Dray no matter what. A great dude, competitor, so it's all good. S--- happens in the NBA. We're just going to learn from it and try to come back, try to win the next one. Great leader and competitor."

Nick Friedell/ESPN

Tags: Draymond Green, Golden State Warriors, NBA, NBA B-Ball IQ

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Devin Booker Calls Chris Paul's Fourth Quarter 'A Work Of Art' After Comeback Win

Feb 20, 2021 1:29 PM

The Phoenix Suns turned an 11-point four quarter deficit into an 18-point win in their 132-114 win over the New Orleans Pelicans on Friday night.

It was the largest defeat in the shot-clock era for a team that entered the fourth quarter with a double-digit lead.

Devin Booker credited Chris Paul, who finished with 15 points and 19 assists, for the comeback.

"Man is orchestrating out there. He knows what's going on on the floor before it even happens. With him, the game is never out of reach ... In that fourth quarter, it's a work of art. The way he was picking apart their defense and making plays for others and at the same time scoring when he had to," said Booker.

Paul also finished plus-28 in the fourth quarter.

The Pelicans are now 12-9 in games in which they've had a double-digit lead, the most losses for a team when leading by double digits this season. 

Andrew Lopez/ESPN

Tags: Chris Paul, Phoenix Suns, NBA, NBA B-Ball IQ

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Joel Embiid Says He's 'Unguardable' After 50-Point Career-High

Feb 20, 2021 12:24 PM

Joel Embiid scored a career-high 50 points in the Philadelphia 76ers' 112-105 win over the Chicago Bulls.

Embiid credited a new mentality for his play this season, saying that he's focused on dominating every minute he's on the floor.

"It just feels like the game has slowed down for me. I'll say the only difference this year from last year is not so much about coaching; it's more about me being willing to just dominate every single minute I'm on the floor ...  it's not about coaching, it's about me turning a corner and being willing to do it every single night on defense and on offense." said Embiid after the game.

Embiid is averaging 30.5 points and 11 rebounds this season.

The center added that his range of offensive skills makes him unguardable.

"That's what makes me unguardable. If you're going to crowd me, I'm going to find my way to the free throw line or I'm going to end up at the basket. If you back up on me, I've got the hesi -- that hesitation shot -- and my favorite, just pull-up shot. [That's] just an easy shot I always get in the post.

"So it's hard [to stop me] when you've got that much. And also off the dribble just dribbling the ball and just making things happen. I've been adding a lot to my game, and it's been working well."

Tim Bontemps/ESPN

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

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Nets-Lakers Averages 1.9 Million Viewers, Becomes Most-Watched Game On Cable For Season

Feb 19, 2021 11:34 PM

The game between the Brooklyn Nets and Los Angeles Lakers averaged 1.9 million viewers on TNT, making it the most-watched game on cable for this season.

That number represented an 88% increase between the Rockets and Warriors on a comparable February date last season.

The previous night's game between the Heat and Warriors averaged 1.05 million, while the Rockets and Sixers averaged 749,000.

Paulsen/Sports Media Watch

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

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Zach LaVine Says Thad Young Is 'MVP Of The Team'

Feb 16, 2021 4:12 PM

Zach LaVine described Thad Young as the MVP of the Chicago Bulls this season following the team's 120-112 overtime win over the Indiana Pacers.

"Thad (Young) has been, for me personally, the MVP of the team ... He does a little bit of everything. He can damn near average a triple-double. He makes up for our mistakes defensively, guards some of the best big men every night. Even if he's undersized, he knows how to play tricks with them. He has been great for us," said LaVine after the game.

LaVine had 30 points and 9 rebounds in the win, with Young adding 13 points and 11 rebounds. 

Young is averaging 11.3 points, 5.6 rebounds, and 4.3 assists on the season.

"He's a phenomenal pocket player. As a vet, he just thinks the game. He slows the game down for himself and it's pretty impressive, especially with the games I was out being able to really watch him. He's a great player and I see why he's been in this league for so long," added Wendell Carter.

K.C. Johnson/NBC Sports Chicago

Tags: Thaddeus Young, Chicago Bulls, NBA, NBA B-Ball IQ

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Jayson Tatum On Aftereffects of COVID-19: 'You Get Fatigued A Lot Quicker Than Normal'

Feb 16, 2021 4:06 PM

Jayson Tatum discussed the aftereffects of COVID-19, saying that he gets tired quicker than usual.

"I think it messes with your breathing a little bit. I have experienced some games where, I don't want to say [I was] struggling to breathe, but, you know, you get fatigued a lot quicker than normal.

"Just running up and down the court a few times, it's easier to get out of breath or tired a lot faster. I've noticed that since I've had COVID. It's just something I'm working on," said Tatum on Tuesday.

Tatum tested positive for COVID-19 in early January, and returned to the team on January 25th.

Tatum is averaging 24.5 points on 42.7% from the field in the 11 games since his return.

He added that he's discussed his breathing issues with Brad Stevens.

"It's something that we've talked about. And it's not like every game where I feel it the whole game. It's just certain stretches where breathing is a little out of whack, and I talk to the medical staff and coaching staff about it. It's gotten better, obviously, from the first game I came back and played."

Tim Bontemps/ESPN

Tags: Jayson Tatum, Boston Celtics, NBA, NBA Injury, NBA B-Ball IQ

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Kendrick Nunn Reaches Starter Clause, Increases 2021 Qualifying Offer To $4.7 Million

Bobby Marks/ESPN

Kemba Walker Says Celtics Aren't 'Playing Hard' Following Loss To Wizards

Tim Bontemps/ESPN

Kevin Durant On Return To Warriors: 'It Was A Good Vibe All Day'

Malika Andrews/ESPN

Immanuel Quickley On Playing With Derrick Rose: It's 'Like Pickup, Whoever Gets It, Gets It'

Ian Begley/SNY

Devin Booker Says Suns Are '15 Deep' Following Fifth Straight Win

ESPN

Kyrie Irving To James Harden: 'You're The Point Guard, And I'm Gonna Play Shooting Guard'

SNY

LeBron James Receiving Warning For Violating Anti-Flop Rule

NBA

Giannis Antetokounmpo Says Jazz 'Look Like Us Last Year'

Eric Woodyard/ESPN

Bradley Beal Out For Friday Game Due To Rest

ESPN

Knicks Remain Most Valuable NBA Franchise On Forbes List, Warriors Move Into Second

Kurt Badenhausen & Mike Ozanian/Forbes

Derrick Rose On Tom Thibodeau After Making Knicks Debut: 'We're An Odd Couple'

Tim Bontemps/ESPN

Pacers Assistant Bill Bayno Resigns Due To Mental Health Reasons

Adrian Wojanowski/ESPN

Rick Carlisle After Luka Doncic's 42-Point Game: 'The Basketball Floor Is His Stage'

Tim MacMahon/ESPN

Donovan Mitchell 'Very Impressed' After LaMelo Ball Scores Career-High 34 Points

ESPN

Nets Just Plus-4 In 155 Minutes With Durant, Harden, Irving On Floor Together

Zach Lowe/ESPN

Nets Outperforming Knicks By 10% In Local TV Viewership Since James Harden Debut

Marc Berman/New York Post

Cavs Receive Permission To Increase Home Attendance To 2,720 Fans

ESPN

Nikola Jokic After 47-Point Game: 'I'm Going To Score When We Need It'

ESPN

Tom Thibodeau: Immanuel Quickley Will Have 'Significant Role' Even If He Doesn't Start

Ian Begley/SNY

Joe Lacob: Warriors Losing 70% Of Revenue Without Fans

Eben Novy-Williams/Sportico