JUST WANNA HOOP

“This is how it goes: When I hoop, I have no friends.  On the court, they know not to talk to me.  Steven is a real close friend of mine, but inside those lines, there’s no friends. Spalding, that’s my friend, and my teammates, but that’s it.  Before the game, after the game, I’ll talk to my guys.  That doesn’t mean I don’t have friends, but during the game, I don’t.  If you try to talk to me, I ain’t going to say s— to you.”

Russell Westbrook following Houston’s 116-112 over the Thunder.

KNICKS-BULLS FROM 33RD AND 7TH

Carmine from Brooklyn was very disappointed in New York Knicks fans turning on Dennis Smith Jr.   “Hey look,” Carmine told me over the phone,  “Edmond Sherrod or Rory Sparrow are not walking through those doors.  So why not embrace and support your young point guard?”  Before tonight’s Knicks-Bulls game it was announced that Smith Jr. would miss the game due to the death of his step-mother.

RJ Barrett in his first three games with the Knicks has joined some elite company.   With his 63 total points, he is right behind Patrick Ewing who scored 64 and Bill Cartwright who scored 80.  Barrett is also the 2nd player in NBA history with 60 points, 15 rebounds, and 5 three-pointers in his first 3 games.  (Kevin Durant is the other)

As for the game, Bobby Portis, the ex-Chicago Bull scored 28 points on 10-14 shooting leading the Knicks to their first win of the season, 105-98.  Portis came off the bench and sparked the Knicks making 4 of 4 from Greenwich Village.

”I’m just an animated player. I don’t know what I’m saying sometimes,” Portis said. ”I just have fun. I love playing this game.

”I feel like I wasn’t myself the first couple games and I didn’t bring the energy, so I had to get back to being who I am.”

Knicks entered the game having committed 51 turnovers the past two games. And wouldn’t you know it, they turn it over on the first possession of the game.  For the game they turned it over 17 times.  Julius Randle had 8 of them.

New York closed the game out on a 15-0 run.

”I’ve always said that Bobby Portis is one of my favorite guys of all time,” Bulls coach Jim Boylen said. ”He’s a tough, competitive guy who works and cares. We traded Bobby Portis because that’s what happens in our league. It doesn’t mean we’re not fond of that player or don’t believe in that player. There are situations when a deal works and you put a player in it. He played great tonight. I’m disappointed that we lost but I’m happy that he played well.”

Barrett finished with 19 points, 15 rebounds and 5 assists in 40 minutes.  A big plus was just 2 turnovers but Knicks fans will criticize him for shooting 5-11 from the free-throw line.   Coach Fizdale needs to hand the keys over to the rookie – get out of his way and let him run the show.

Frank Ntilikina went 0-6 from the field, including 0-4 from deep in 22 minutes.  But his coach is not worried:  “It didn’t matter. His minutes were fantastic.  He guarded.  He set the tone defensively.  The shots will fall for him.  The thing I’m proud of is how he kept himself ready.” 

There’s a lot more things than scoring you can do to help your team.

Bulls shot 9-35 from deep, Knicks 9-29.

The Bulls and Knicks are now 1-3.

THE BIG EASY

Golden State Warriors got their first win of the year over the New Orleans Pelicans, 134-123.  Draymond Green had a triple-double, 16, 17, and 10.  Steph Curry scored 26 points and had 11 assists.  D-Lo, 24, 7 and 8.  The Warriors dished out 37 assists.

“When I said we sucked last night, a lot of people blew it out of proportion.  Lotta former players who ain’t ever led shit blew it out of proportion. We sucked. We still not very good. But I’ve known how to lead my entire life.” -Draymond Green

FOUL OR DEFEND

“Do you foul?” the Spurs play-by-play guy asked the color analyst.  The Spurs were on defense, up 3 with :07.1 to play.  Portland had the ball.  Damian Lillard had scored 18 points in a row.  Pop decided to defend.  Blazers missed a 3.

Speaking of fouling, Denver Nuggets guard Gary Harris has never fouled out of an NBA regular season game.  The former Michigan State Spartan has been in the league for 5 full seasons playing in 314 games.  Harris did foul out of Game 3 against Portland in the 2019 playoffs.

THE REF

Smush Parker is learning how to become an official.  Good call.  The game needs more officials.  https://www.nydailynews.com/sports/basketball/ny-smush-parker-referee-20191026-htjosa7jnbeftmrghzhk4dmvhq-story.html

“You have to snap every call. Point to certain places. It’s very structured,” Parker says. “That’s the side of it I didn’t see as a player. Just seeing the game, seeing the flow of the game, reading the game, reading plays – that’s the easy part. I played. That’s the easy part for me.”

ON THE HOUSE

NBA League Pass is free for one more night.

REST IN PEACE

Al Bianchi died on Monday at the age of 87.  The Long Island City alum played his college ball at Bowling Green.  He was the Knicks GM from 1987-1991.

Happy birthday Danny Vranes

E-MAIL:  Hoops135@hotmail.com

THE CITY GAME

Nets 113  Knicks 109:  Barclays Center on Atlantic and Flatbush was rocking.  Kyrie Irving leads the way for the Nets with 26 points on 8-19 shooting,  including a go-ahead 3-pointer with 22 seconds left in the game.  Spencer Dinwiddie adds 24.  Teams combined for 52 turnovers.  Nets 26. Knicks 26.  It also must be mentioned the teams combined for 57 fouls.  “There were a lot of mental mistakes,” Nets coach Kenny Atkinson said after the game. “A lot of silly fouls. A lot of general breakdowns that almost cost us. Even though we won the game, we will have another long film session to look at all the mistakes we made. We made a lot.”  Allonzo Trier had 22 points for the Knicks on 6-7 shooting.   Julius Randle 5-15 FG, 11 rebounds and 6 turnovers.  RJ Barrett with 6 steals.  New York is 0-2.   3-point shooting Knicks 17-25 Nets 16-37.  

Celtics 112  Raptors 106:  Tommy Heinsohn was in rare form.  After a call that went against the Celtics: “That’s a terrible call,” said Heinsohn.   Watched the Raptors run the flex on one possession.  Celtics with 21 offensive rebounds.  Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum each score 25.  Kemba Walker chips in with 22.  Celtics rookie Grant Williams played a solid game:  “Being that short guy that people don’t think is that tough, you just get that competitiveness and that mentality of you’re just going to come out there and do whatever it takes and be that physical presence.”  Kyle Lowry makes 6-10 from downtown.  Celtics 13-38 from deep.  Raptors 18 of 36. 

Timberwolves 121  Hornets 99:  Karl Anthony-Towns with 37, 15 and 8.  13 of 18 from the field.  K.A.T. has 11 made 3’s in two games.  T-Wolves had 30 assists with 15 turnovers.  Devonte Graham led the Hornets with 24 points. He now has 12 made 3’s in two games.  Minnesota is 2-0.   T-Wolves 12-38 from distance.  Hornets 12-29. 

Bulls 110  Grizzlies 102:  Zach LaVine scores 37 for the Bulls on 13-23 shooting.  Colby White chips in with 25. LaVine and White combine to shoot 8-16 from distance.  Jaren Jackson led Memphis with 23 points and 11 rebounds.  Bulls 12-42 from distance.  Grizzlies 10-29.

Mavericks 123  Pelicans 116:   Impressive road win for the Mavs who start the season 2-0.  Luka Doncic is a bad boy. “He’s a special offensive talent,”  said ESPN’s  Jeff Van Gundy.  Dallas trailed in the first quarter by 16 points. The 20 year-old finished with 25 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists.  His 9th career triple-double.  Most in NBA history for someone under 21, two more than Magic Johnson.   “I’m glad we got the win,” Doncic said.  Dallas is 2-0.  New Orleans 0-2.   3-point shooting Mavericks 14-40 Pelicans 15-41.

Wizards 97  Thunder 85:  Thomas Bryant leads the way for Washington with 21 points and 11 rebounds.  19 points for his teammate Rui Hachimura.  Shai Gilgeous-Alexander drops 28 (10-17 FG) for OKC who start the season 0-2.  3-point shooting Wizards 11-41 Thunder 5-23.

Nuggets 108 Suns 107 (OT):  Jamal Murray led the Nuggets with 27 points.  Nikola Jokic added 23 points, 14 rebounds and 12 assists.   With the Suns trailing by 3 with 1.8 left in regulation, Ricky Rubio was fouled at half-court attempting to tie the game.  Rubio  made 3 free-throws to send the game into OT.  Rubio has 20 assists in two games.   Kelly Oubre led the Suns with 23 points. Nuggets blocked 12 shots.  Denver moves to 2-0.  Suns 8-28 from downtown.  Nuggets 7-27. 

Blazers 122 Kings 112:  I forgot Luke Walton was the head coach of the Sacramento Kings.  Late in the game with 2:34 to play and the Blazers up 18, Rodney Hood fouled De’Aaron Fox who was driving to the goal.  They called a flagrant 1 on Hood.  The Kings announcers mentioned that the Kings need an enforcer to do the same to the Blazers at the other end.  Understand this, this is not the 70’s, 80’s or even the 90’s. Xavier McDaniel, Maurice Lucas or Dennis Rodman are not walking through those doors.   Sacramento is 0-2.  3-point shooting Blazers 11-30 Kings 15-37.

Lakers 95  Jazz 86:  LeBron James scored 32 points, dished out 10 assists and grabbed 7 rebounds.  Troy “Layup” Daniels knocked down 4 of 8 3’s for the Lakers finishing with 15 points.  Yes, that Troy Daniels, undrafted out of VCU.  Daniels set the record for most 3’s in a game in the A-10 conference.  On January 2, 2013 Daniels shot 11-of-20 from three-point range en route to 33 points and 10 rebounds in a 109–58 win over East Tennessee State.  The Lakers are his 6th team.  “He’s earned a spot in the rotation with his ability to shoot the basketball,” Frank Vogel said of Daniels after the game. “He’s arguably the best shooter on the team.  He’s the kind of player you want put around LeBron James and Anthony Davis.  He works really hard on the defensive end, so he pulls his own weight on that side of the floor, and when he’s out there, he not only brings gravity but when the help comes, he’s able to punish defenses, and he did both of those tonight.”  3-point shooting Lakers 8-26 Jazz 8-25.

Happy birthday to the late Hot Rod Hundley and the late Joe C. Meriweather. 

E-Mail:  Hoops135@hotmail.com

 

JUMP-BALL

It’s finally here.  Tonight’s the night.  The official start of the 2019-20 NBA season.

Drazen-Petrovic-e1524593400453.jpg

TNT has the New Orleans Pelicans vs the Toronto Raptors at 8 followed by Lakers-Clippers.  I was so looking forward to the first game.  Obviously if Kawhi Leonard was still in Toronto, and Zion was not hurt,  this match-up would have been big-time.

S.M.H.

Zion, the high-flying rookie from Duke will be out 6-8 weeks with a knee injury.  The kid did so well in preseason, despite all the hype.

Jeff Zillgitt of U.S.A. Today with a piece on the situation in The Big Easy.  https://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/nba/columnist/jeff-zillgitt/2019/10/21/zion-williamson-injury-mutes-pelicans-opener-nba-season/4053741002/

“I just be myself,” Williamson said. “I’m not going to change who I am because there was a time when I didn’t have all this and I was the same person.”

But what about all the hype?

“I don’t pay attention to it at all,” he said. “I think the moment I start letting the outside noise dictate my game, something’s wrong. … I don’t watch much TV. I just play my game. I play the game I love. People try to add unnecessary pressure. … My game is to go out there and win. Whatever the team needs me to do, I’m ready to do it.”

Lakers-Clippers nightcap should be a lot of fun.  Going to sacrifice some sleep to check out this one.

Here’s a few things I am looking forward to this season:

LeBron James and Anthony Davis playing together.

The Golden State Warriors.

Kawhi Leonard and the Clippers.

Mike Malone and the Nuggets.

How many 3’s the Houston Rockets shoot.  Last season Houston attempted 45.4 per game.  This past preseason, in 6 games they chucked it up 55.5. times per game.  They had two games where they took 66 and 64 three-point attempts!

Looking forward to seeing James Harden and Russell Westbrook together.

The Pelicans…but that’ll have to wait until Zion returns.

Kemba Walker in Boston.

Can the San Antonio Spurs make the playoffs for the 23rd straight season?

R.J. Barrett with the Knicks.

Jim Boylen with the Chicago Bulls.

John Beilein in Cleveland.

By the way, someday Steph Curry will be inducted in the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame.  If he was eligible today, he’d get in.

Enjoy the games…

Happy birthday to the late Drazen Petrovic,

E-Mail:  Hoops135@hotmail.com

BERNARD KING

Brooklyn native, and former New York Knick, Bernard King stopped by Knicks training camp and spent time with rookie R. J. Barrett.

“I shared with him, the key is hard work. I said ‘Hey, when I was an all-pro, I’d go in on Sunday. And nobody was in the gym but me. So I was constantly working on my game.’ ”

https://nypost.com/2019/10/04/knicks-great-returns-to-drop-some-knowledge-on-rj-barrett/

Give a Good Day

-Steve Finamore

Hoops135@hotmail.com