National Basketball Association
Kyrie Irving is having the best season of his career and it shut up his critics
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Kyrie IrvingPhoto: Getty ImagesMaybe, just maybe. Some of them were “pawns.”That’s what Kyrie Irving called “the media” before the season started, as he was coming off a failed attempt to not speak to reporters this season. Irving would eventually apologize for referring to professionals as the weakest piece on a chessboard, but feelings were hurt.But, on some level, did Irving have a point? Because all the drama — I’ll get to that in a second — and noise that once smothered Irving suddenly disappeared when he got back on the court. Taking shots at someone when they’re down and then going silent when they’re up is a pawn-like move. Keep that same energy for the good and the bad. The naysayers were quiet again last night, as the Nets defeated the Warriors 134-117 as Irving led Brooklyn with 23 points in Kevin Durant’s first game back in Oakland.This season has been a rollercoaster for Irving, as he’s only played 19 games so far. There was the “pawn” thing, others thought he should have been traded for James Harden, he took personal time away from the team without explaining why, then he was at his sister’s birthday party without a mask, he showed up on a Zoom call for Manhattan District Attorney candidate Tahanie Aboushi, and then we found out that Jackie MacMullan thinks he and other players are “property” of NBA teams. It got so ridiculous at one point that Stephen A. Smith said Irving should retire. G/O Media may get a commissionBut then, Irving started hoopin’. It’s like everyone had forgotten that he’s one of the best basketball players on Earth. 26.37.25.25.18.30.29.37.38.28.16.26.25.26.39.15.27.35.23.Those are Irving’s scoring numbers for every game he’s played this season in Brooklyn, making him the Nets’ second-leading scorer. Irving is in the midst of the best statistical season of his career. His 27.6 points per game are a career-high. He’s shooting 95.1 percent from the free-throw line, 52.5 percent from the field, and 40.9 percent from deep. His assists and rebounds have taken a dip, but that could be due to a position change on his part.As the NBA is still trying to force its players into playing what will be remembered as the worst and most lethargic All-Star Game of all time, Irving is still projected to be named a starter as the second round of fan votes have come in. Fans still find joy in watching the enigmatic star do his thing.Kyrie Irving has always been “different.” It’s just who he is. And while at some point there will be more controversy due to something he did or said, it’s always funny to see how quickly the noise around him lessens as soon as he starts dribbling a basketball. Whenever drama vanishes that quickly, it usually means it was never anything to begin with. .
คาสิโน ออนไลน์ ฟรีเครดิต โปรโมชั่น คาสิโน คาสิโน 168 คาสิโน168 คาสิโน ออนไลน์ 888
Recent stretch shows Carmelo Anthony could be Portland’s X-Factor as he climbs NBA all-time scoring ranks
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Always a prolific scorer, Melo still has something to give in Portland.Image: Getty ImagesWho doesn’t love nostalgia?Carmelo Anthony’s fourth quarter last night was arguably the most ‘Vintage Melo’ we’ve seen since his joining the Portland Trail Blazers in November 2019. While it was a season-high 24-point showing in a victory over the Philadelphia 76ers, and Anthony’s had seven higher point totals in Portland — including one in last year’s playoffs — last night’s fourth quarter offered a throwback to the takeover Melo that New York and Denver folks grew fond of at his peak.When you simply watched the bounce at which Anthony springs off, the fluidity in finding the desired spots to attack opposing defenders, it felt like watching a standard Melo highlight reel circa 2012-13 during his scoring championship season with the 54-win Knicks. But outside of a recent 1-for-8 showing five days ago, it’s what Anthony’s shown during his highs in an otherwise inconsistent 18th NBA season. The 36-year-old future Hall of Famer recently passed Oscar Robertson for 12th on the all-time scoring list, and is trailing Hakeem Olajuwon by only 200 points, a number he should amass by April, barring any setbacks. In all likelihood, Anthony — who is 663 points behind Moses Malone’s ninth spot, should crack the top 10 if he plays a 19th season. It’s easy to view the surface level metrics, the mid-range sweet spots, and the lack of defensive upside, and deem that the Brooklyn-born swingman has no place in this NBA — and prior to February 2, you might’ve had a convincing argument. But especially on a depleted roster, there is indeed still a place for Anthony in this league. Yes, he’s shooting 39 percent from the floor this season, which was 36 percent before his recent five-game stretch, and sure, the rebounding is numerically the worst of his career both per game and per 36, but positive Melo outbursts have been conducive to the Blazers’ success as of late. In his last five games, Anthony has scored 21, 22, 2, 23, and 24 points, in that order. Portland has won four of those previous five, and you could guess which one they lost. Anthony’s netted 18 or more points on seven occasions this season, and Portland’s gone 6-1 during that stretch, all of which were performances of at least 43 percent shooting from the field. This season, the team is 14-10, remaining above water despite brutal injuries to C.J. McCollum, Jusuf Nurkić, and Zach Collins. Last season, when Portland finished 35-39 and barely obtained the Western Conference’s eighth seed, in 18 games where Melo — a full-time starter — dropped at least 20 points, the Blazers went 12-6.The consistency of these high-scoring Vintage Melo outputs is what you seek if you’re the Blazers, though. Melo hasn’t quite been an Immanuel Quickley-like Kingda Ka roller coaster, but he had been mostly down prior to this month, where he’s now on his best five-game stretch of the season. Even with that two-point performance, he’s still averaging 18.4 points on 47.8 percent shooting from the field and 54.2 percent from three during this stretch.G/O Media may get a commissionThe career-low rebounding is concerning, but it’s not his primary agenda for being there. His offensive rating is 106, which is bottom half on the team, but his personal best since 2016-17, his last go-round with the Knicks. The 115 defensive rating is tied for a career-low set last season, but it’s tied for the fifth-best on this defensively-challenged roster, where the worst D-ratings are held by Rodney Hood, Damian Lillard, Anfernee Simons, and Gary Trent Jr. Most advanced metrics aren’t favorable to Anthony this season, where he generally ranks in the bottom half of the team in most categories, like box plus-minus, value over replacement player, true shooting percentage, and rebound percentage, the latter of which is actually 0.1 lower than Simons, a 6-foot-3 combo guard averaging just over two boards per contest. The major room for improvement for Anthony is the 2-point shooting, which is in a much better place today than it was before 10 days ago. On two’s, Melo’s at a team-low 39.4 percent (unless you count Keljin Blevins’s 16.7 percent, but he’s logged 38 minutes all season). The key to Anthony turning this around and becoming a more consistent threat for the Blazers to ride along with Lillard (and eventually McCollum) offensively this season are the twos in his usual sweet spot between 16 and 24 feet, a frowned-upon shot in today’s NBA, but one Anthony’s executed as well as anyone over the past 20 years.The two-point shooting percentages for Anthony are as follows: 47.1 from 3-feet and in, 42.3 percent between 3-and-10 feet, 40 percent between 10-and-16 feet, and just 35.1 percent between 16 feet and three-point-range. Just last season, Melo’s percentages from these same spots were 53.0, 47.6, 41.9, and 38.0. It’s critical Melo converts his 2s, especially from 10-feet out, because his usage rate of 22.6 trails only Lillard (31.3) and McCollum (28.4), who has missed 10 games and counting. But perhaps what would be most helpful is converting more long 2s into 3s, where he is 39 percent on over four attempts per game. Whatever it is, Anthony’s proven he could still be the team’s X-Factor, they’ll just need him to do it more consistently, which we’re starting to see. .
คาสิโน ออนไลน์ ฟรีเครดิต โปรโมชั่น คาสิโน คาสิโน 168 คาสิโน168 คาสิโน ออนไลน์ 888
The Derrick Rose trade could work for Knicks, but only if Immanuel Quickley is allowed to grow
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Derrick Rose is headed for New York... for the second time.Image: APDerrick Rose is back in his second home. The New York Knicks re-acquired the former MVP in a deal over the weekend with the Detroit Pistons, confirmed on Monday morning. The Knicks sent a 2021 second-round pick and enigmatic 2017 top-10 draft choice, Dennis Smith Jr., to Detroit.It’s a return to NYC that nobody really asked for, but one Knicks fans shouldn’t be mad at unless the team decides to keep Elfrid Payton beyond the March 25 trade deadline. The deal reunites Rose with the head coach he’s had the most success with in Tom Thibodeau, and gives the Knicks a top-six-or-seven rotation piece at the minimal cost of a non-rotation player and a second-round draft choice. Rose is also in the final season of a two-year deal worth $15 million total. Quietly, Rose has played his best basketball post-ACL tear since initially joining the Knicks prior to the 2016-17 season. In the last five years, Rose has averaged 16.6 points and 4.3 assists while shooting over 47 percent from the floor, and that includes a bizarre stint with Cleveland Cavaliers, as well as a nine-game cup of coffee with the Minnesota Timberwolves that same 17-18 season, when he appeared to be at the end of the line before a resurgence the following year. (Should be noted that Rose did average over 14 points, shot nearly 51 percent from the field and 70 percent from three in five playoff games with Minnesota that season, though, in his only taste of playoff basketball without the Chicago Bulls.)In 2018-19, Rose produced the highest offensive rating of his career, 114 per 100 possessions. Last season with the Detroit Pistons, his 109 O-rating was the fourth-highest of his career, and his 25.1 points per-36 minutes were a personal best, one whole point higher than his 2010-11 MVP campaign. In both the last two seasons, Rose finished in the top-seven of Sixth Man of the Year voting, successfully reinventing his basketball career as a scoring lead guard with above league average playmaking abilities. This season, Rose is good for 14.2 points and 4.2 assists in just under 23 minutes per game, though he only shot 43 percent from the field, but give him a break, he was a Detroit Piston. Per-36 minutes, Rose’s averages sit at 22.4 points and 6.6 assists. For reference: This is slightly up from his 20.3 points and 6.4 assists per-36 during his seven-season Bulls tenure. (No, he’s not a better player now, necessarily.) G/O Media may get a commissionThe Knicks indisputably got the best player in the deal, but if Payton remains on the team, and or the acquisition of Rose stunts rookie Immanuel Quickley’s growth, what’s the ultimate benefit? At 11.9 points, 3.8 rebounds, and 3.7 assists per game, while logging the fourth-most minutes on his team (28.5), Payton’s statistically one of the NBA’s least productive starting point guards, and would be better served coming off the bench for a contender instead of standing in Quickley’s way. Quickley is averaging 12.0 points and 2.7 assists while logging only 18.9 minutes per contest. He’s also shooting 36.3 percent from three, and providing more hope for Knick fans than fellow Kentucky-alum Kevin Knox ever has. Quickley’s minutes have been as consistent as his shooting, but if the Knicks are ever going to conclude their seemingly multiple decades long rebuild, developing young talent is the essential method. Quickley doesn’t need 30 minutes per night, but he should hover around at least 20-25 for the bulk of his rookie campaign, unless he Swanton Bombs into a rookie wall. And Austin Rivers has been exactly who Austin Rivers has been throughout his career, which isn’t to say that it’s bad; it’s to say that Quickley’s development should supersede a nightly 8-2-2 in 23 minutes. IQ already has eight games of 16 or more points, including four of 23-plus. Play Rose, play Quickley; play Rose with Quickley, but clear the way by dealing Payton (and perhaps other stuff to acquire draft capital or a player to help your playoff push) elsewhere. .
คาสิโน ออนไลน์ ฟรีเครดิต โปรโมชั่น คาสิโน คาสิโน 168 คาสิโน168 คาสิโน ออนไลน์ 888
Stop the seasons now and let’s get sports right
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Sports are a total shitshow right now and it’s time to stop putting money ahead of health.Image: Getty ImagesWe learned this week that the Biden administration wants the start of baseball season to be delayed, a desire that at this point stands to go unfulfilled because the Major League Baseball Players Association is not willing to let ownership link such a delay with a reopening of their collective bargaining agreement.The MLBPA is right about this. If the season is to be delayed because of COVID-19, it shouldn’t be connected to other labor issues like the universal designated hitter and expanded playoffs. It should be about doing the right thing.The right thing is a delay, not opening spring training camps in another week and a half. We’re still seeing more than 100,000 new cases of coronavirus on a daily basis in this country, and losing 3,000-plus people a day. The situation with the pandemic remains far worse than it was 11 months ago when sports shut down. Pushing back baseball season would allow for more time to get people vaccinated, in order to proceed with a safer summer game.But if we’re talking about delaying baseball because it’s really not safe yet to go ahead with a sport where the vast majority of the activity is outdoors, and a game that’s reasonable to play while wearing masks, well, what the hell are we doing with the indoor sports whose seasons are underway?Hockey is a total shitshow right now, which anyone could have seen coming since October. The cold air at ice level and heavy breathing of players are a recipe for trouble, and the slew of cancellations in hockey, from various NHL games to the scrubbing of the NWHL’s Isobel Cup playoffs, are nothing more than that recipe being followed by continuing to play.G/O Media may get a commissionBut what’s really galling right now is basketball, where not only is the NBA trying to futz its way through a season, with ludicrous results — such as Kevin Durant being held out of Friday night’s game, then allowed to play, then pulled — but planning to hold an All-Star Game.LeBron James wants nothing to do with it. Same for Giannis Antetokounmpo. And De’Aaron Fox. And Joel Embiid. Friday night, Kawhi Leonard offered the most blunt take on the situation, pointing out that the only reason to be going ahead with the All-Star Game is money.Money over health has been the story of far too much of the past 11 months, and even longer than that in America, if we’re being honest. It’s time for the NBA and NHL to hit pause again, and for the baseball season to be delayed. We did it last year, and we can do it again now, especially with the light visible at the end of the tunnel thanks to a ramping-up vaccination program. It didn’t have to be this way, of course, but the entire country endured a much worse situtation than we could have had thanks to completely incompetent leadership under the previous president.It’s time to finally put health over money. Call off the All-Star Game. Stop the seasons. Get it right and stop sending athletes around the country to keep spreading the virus in the name of collecting television dollars and putting on a charade that we’re closer to normal than we really are. The lesson we should be learning is that the longer you screw around with a pandemic, the longer it takes to beat it. It’s time to stop screwing around. .
คาสิโน ออนไลน์ ฟรีเครดิต โปรโมชั่น คาสิโน คาสิโน 168 คาสิโน168 คาสิโน ออนไลน์ 888
Kevin Durant debacle shows NBA’s COVID policy is a disaster
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Kevin Durant had a lot to say after being pulled.Image: Getty ImagesIf you didn’t watch the Nets’ 123-117 loss to the Raptors last night, you might have woken up this morning wondering what the fuck happened with Kevin Durant.Well, you’re not alone, because everyone who saw the game is wondering what the fuck happened with Kevin Durant, too.So, let’s go through it slowly and figure out what the fuck happened with Kevin Durant, beyond the basic story that Durant didn’t start the game due to health and safety protocols, then was allowed to enter the game, put up an 8-6-5 line in 19 minutes, then was told that he had to leave the game.Durant, who had to quarantine for a week in January because of a close contact, and was one of the first athletes to contract COVID-19 last March while he was still out recovering from his torn Achilles, was understandably frustrated by his latest ensnarement in the pandemic, as he put out a simple tweet as the fourth quarter went on just down the hall from where he was sequestered: “Free me”G/O Media may get a commissionIf only it were that easy. Based on the statement laid out by the NBA, it made sense for Durant to be quarantined. That statement, however, also maps out a series of failures.Kevin Durant has tested negative three times in the last 24 hours, including two negative PCR tests today. However, someone he interacted with this afternoon subsequently had an inconclusive test result return shortly before the game. Durant was initially held out of the game while that result was being reviewed.So far, so good. This is the “abundance of caution” that we hear so much about. You have a close contact with an inconclusive test, you treat it like a positive until you know otherwise. That’s just smart when you’re dealing with a virus that’s killed more Americans than the population of Oakland. That sucks for Durant, but that’s life right now.Under the league’s health and safety protocols, we do not require a player to be quarantined until a close contact has a confirmed positive test.Well, there’s your first problem. If you, regular person, had a close contact with an inconclusive test, you’d (hopefully) stay the hell home until you got word that their test was confirmed negative. And then if it was positive, you’d stay quarantined at least until you had your own negative tests, or, to actually play it safe, two weeks. But the NBA’s policy here is, nah, stick around and see how this plays out.Exactly what process of “review” allowed Durant to enter the game, well, it didn’t work out, because…During the game, a positive result was returned for the person Durant interacted with this afternoon.Whoops! So, the “review” didn’t show a negative test, just an inconclusive one? Because when it actually came back, it was positive. Just a quick question: Did this “review” indicate that Kevin Durant is a superstar and his team was playing a game on ESPN? Would Bismack Biyombo have been allowed to enter the Hornets-Jazz game under the same circumstances?Once that test was confirmed positive, out of an abundance of caution, Durant was removed from the game, and contact tracing is underway to determine if he was in fact a close contact of the positive individual.Let’s allow Durant to react to that last part.Indeed, you can’t fool em with your Wack ass PR tactics. Not so sure about the #FREE7 part, though, because “close contact” or not, Durant was around someone in the afternoon who tested positive for coronavirus. It’s imperative to make sure that he didn’t wind up getting it — yes, you can get COVID-19 twice — and that he didn’t spread it further.James Harden recognized that “he was around all of us” and that if it was about contact tracing, “The game should have been postponed.”Not only was the game not postponed, of course, the game was played, Durant entered, Durant was pulled… and the game still wasn’t postponed. Not that he’s anywhere near the person most to blame, but if Raptors coach Nick Nurse “was told right before the game that Durant was out because of health protocols,” and then the series of events unfolded as it did, why didn’t he, Nets coach Steve Nash, or both, sensibly raise a stink about continuing to play the game? Nash, for his part, saw at least some fault in how he dealt with things.But this comes back squarely to the NBA, which pulled off such a feat last summer with the Orlando bubble, and has predictably struggled mightily with coronavirus outside of that Disney lockdown.Eleven months ago, Rudy Gobert got coronavirus and the NBA and the rest of sports shut down completely. What’s become clear is why the pre-shutdown idea of just playing games behind closed doors would’ve been a disaster. Because that’s what this is.Wait, the NBA isn’t just playing behind closed doors. We had Courtside Karen just this week. But a much more enjoyable fan was in the stands in Orlando for the Bulls’ visit, a man properly wearing a mask that nicely accented his Michael Jordan jersey — a jersey for which he was thoroughly roasted by NBC Chicago announcers Adam Amin and Stacey King.This being 2021, word quickly got to the man that his favorite team’s broadcast was highlighting him this way, and he not only got a good laugh out of it, he got some love from his favorite team online.For the record, Mack McClendon insisted that his jersey was not a knockoff, just old and well-worn. And both King and Amin dapped him up online, too.Also for the record, the “Nyquil” reference is extremely real, long live the Choncago Balls. And, it’s kind of funny that this whole thing happened in Orlando, where Jordan himself once had to wear a weird-looking jersey, number 12, because his actual jersey had been stolen and hidden in the ceiling.Jordan took it personally, and scored 49 points. McClendon did not, and got to have the night of his life even though the Bulls lost, 123-119. .
คาสิโน ออนไลน์ ฟรีเครดิต โปรโมชั่น คาสิโน คาสิโน 168 คาสิโน168 คาสิโน ออนไลน์ 888