Generally speaking, Jackson is a good man. He respects all of his players and treats them as equals. He would never speak ill towards any of them and never utters a curse word – not easy to do when you’re involved with the game of basketball.
Here’s the bottom line on Carmelo Anthony’s recent play. Using the measuring stick of points per shot, it is his worst four-game stretch of the postseason since the first four playoff games of his career.
Furthermore, when compared alongside other worst four-game stretches of contemporary solo superstars, it is near the bottom.
Following Sunday’s loss to Indiana in the Eastern Conference semifinals opener, the Knicks are 1-3 in their last four games, including 0-2 at home. Their only win saw them nearly squander a 26-point lead in a matter of minutes as they repeatedly force-fed Anthony (and, to be fair, J.R. Smith) in isolation situations.
Suddenly, everything is a whole lot clearer. Four teams were eliminated last night, and we’ve got just one more game in the first round of the playoffs. It’s tonight, between the Bulls and Nets, and the winner gets to face the Heat. So maybe not the best reward, but every team in the East knows they’ll have to go through the Heat if they want to reach the Finals.
Now here’s all the latest news from around the NBA:
- With the Clippers’ season now over, they may be another team riding the coaching carousel, reports Ramona Shelburne of ESPNLosAngeles.com: “Clippers sources insist no decision has been made on (Vinny) Del Negro yet and that this early playoff exit won’t be the only basis upon which he’s judged. The team won a franchise-record 56 games this season and Del Negro has always had a good relationship with the team’s ownership. The team is expected to take “about a week” to evaluate the season before making a decision on Del Negro, according to one source. Officially Del Negro’s contract runs a few more months, and the Clippers have been known to take their time with such matters — interim coach Kim Hughes famously worked several months after he was dismissed as interim head coach — but “that’s not going to happen this time,” the source said.”
- Ric Bucher of CSN Bay Area weighs in on the Clippers’ coaching situation: “A tantalizing candidate to be the Clippers’ next head coach posited by one NBA executive if the team would like to maximize its chances of Chris Paul re-signing with the franchise: Chauncey Billups. I can’t tell you if Billups is interested in retiring as a player at this point, or even if being a head coach is what he wants to do next, but he certainly knows the game well enough, has long held unusual authority among his peers on the court and in the locker room. Then there’s this: no one is closer on that team than Paul and Billups. I also know that Paul’s control of the franchise, by virtue of the fact the Clippers will do anything to keep him, is nearly absolute. As for the current head coach, Vinny Del Negro, the consensus around the NBA is that this first-round ouster is almost certain to cost him his job.”
Vinny Del Negro will be coaching his final game with the Los Angeles Clippers tonight when they lose Game 6 to the Memphis Grizzlies.
Wait a minute, is that fair to say? And is that fair to surmise?
No, and maybe.
This much we know: The Clippers have lost three in a row, Blake Griffin is iffy with a sprained ankle, the Clippers are getting virtually nothing from anyone not named Chris Paul or Jamal Crawford, and the time to take desperate measures has arrived — especially for a coach in the final year of his contract.
What might those desperate measures be?
How about starting Crawford over Chauncey Billups? Or maybe starting Eric Bledsoe. Or maybe Matt Barnes over Caron Butler.
Or maybe nothing?
We shall see tonight, as I discussed with Travis Rodgers of KLAA-ESPN Radio in Los Angeles this morning:
SH Blog: Can The Nuggets/Clippers Bounce Back? J.R. Says Series Should Be Over; And Can Anybody Beat LeBron?
Whether it’s cruising into the second round, battling to stay alive or gearing up for an offseason overhaul, everyone’s making headlines right now.