Suns’ Booker on Monty Williams: ‘We’re going to keep playing hard for him and winning basketball games’

Before the Phoenix’s 123-111 win over the Rockets on Thursday night at Footprint Center, a story was released by ESPN that accused Suns owner Robert Sarver of racism and misogynism, which was denied by some members of the Suns organization and Sarver.

After the win, Chris Paul, who had nine points and 13 assists, gave his thoughts on the allegations against Sarver.

“I think for us it’s about controlling what we can control, and that’s hooping, that’s basketball,” Paul said. “That’s what we did today, and that’s what we’re going to continue to do.”

Paul knows firsthand what it’s like to deal with distractions from ownership as he was with the Clippers when Donald Sterling was forced to sell the team after a video surfaced of him making racial remarks, and Paul knows what it takes to work through it.

“It’s important, it’s important to stay focused, stay locked in,” Paul said. “I went through a few situations in my time in the league and the powers that be, they look into it and do their investigations and what not, but I think the biggest thing I’ve learned in all these years is that us, as a team, we got to talk. It’s not about what everyone else is saying or what everyone else is telling you to do, or what you should do. It’s about how we feel as a team, as a unit, coaching staff, everybody within the organization.” 

Devin Booker, who nearly recorded his first double-double of the season on Thursday night, finishing with a game-high 27 points and season-high nine rebounds against Houston, is happy that the Suns have Monty Williams to help them navigate through this situation.

“Perfect person, man. I heard his quotes pregame; he’s the best at that, at managing situations, controlling the room, and keeping people focused forward,” Booker said. “That’s what he’s done with our team. We’ve talked about it as a team, and you can feel everything he said. We’re sticking by him, and we’re going to keep playing hard for him and winning basketball games.”

There could be difficult times ahead for the Suns, but they have a great core group to work through this situation.

Mavs’ Doncic on the whole team playing against Rockets: ‘I think it was a great idea’

The Dallas Mavericks(2-1) defeated the Houston Rockets(1-3) 116-106 in their home opener on Tuesday night. Dallas trailed 60-57 at halftime but took a three-point lead into the fourth before pulling away.

Here’s the great, Not so Great, and the Bottom Line of the Mavs’ win over the Rockets.

The Great for the Dallas Mavericks:

-Luka Doncic had 26 points to go with a season-high 14 rebounds and seven assists. Doncic also had a game-high +15 rating.

-Jalen Brunson recorded a double-double with 11 points and a career-high-tying 11 assists off the Mavericks’ bench. This was the seventh double-double of his career.

-Boban Marjanović came off the bench and recorded 11 points and four rebounds in only nine minutes of action.

Interesting stat: Marjanović moved in a tie (Freddie Crawford) for third place all-time for the most times scoring 10-or-more points when on the court for under 11 minutes. 

-Tim Hardaway Jr. (6-12 FG) and Reggie Bullock (6-11 FG, 4-7 3FG) each added 16 points for the Mavericks tonight.

 -All 15 players got minutes tonight for the Mavericks, which was the plan from the start for Dallas. After the game, Jason Kidd explained why he went 15 deep against Houston.

“Yes (the plan was to play everyone),” he said. “The matrix was in a twist, but we figured it out. It’s a really cool thing because we talk about team sports and to have all 15 play — and they knew that they were playing. I give them credit for not telling you guys. It’s really cool thing in this league opening night here. The floor has all of the past players, and for those (current) players to be able to touch the floor with their names out there was really cool.”

Also, Kidd revealed that Dallas has a leadership council, and according to Kidd, it was the decision of the leadership council to play all 15 guys. However, Kidd did not reveal who was a part of the council.

“We’ll let the council stay the council,” Kidd said. “It’s a communication thing. Talking to those three guys before, they wanted to do it. It’s a cool thing because we always talk about 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15 as part of the team, and they tend to not get to play. They come to work every day just like the starters or the rotation guys, and I think this just shows what kind of character, what kind of guys we have in that locker room, which is really, really cool.”

Doncic added: “I think we all agree. We have 15 guys. They are able to play. I think it shows that we trust them, and I think it was a great idea. I think all 15 players, they can play, and we got the win, so that’s what matters.”

-Bench Points: It’s rare for a team to play the whole roster in a reasonably close game. However, the Mavericks did get a season-high 52 points from their bench. By comparison, Dallas only had 52+ bench points on five occasions last season.

The Not so great for the Mavericks:

Kristaps Porzingis left the game for Dallas in the third quarter with a lower back injury. Any injury to Porzingis is not good, and hopefully, it’s not something that Dallas will have to worry about going forward.

Bottom Line:

This is a game Dallas should win, but last season the Mavericks lost at home to Houston and other bad teams, so it’s good to see them get a victory over the Rockets.

What’s Next:

The Mavericks get back at it on Thursday night when they host the San Antonio Spurs.

Best of the rest:

Houston’s Christian Wood had 16 points and a game-high 17 rebounds

Eric Gordon led the Rockets with 22 points off the bench.

HBSE hires Tad Brown as CEO, will oversee 76ers, Devils

Harris Blitzer Sports & Entertainment (HBSE) announced that Thaddeus “Tad” Brown has been named CEO on Monday.

Brown will oversee all business and growth functions for the HBSE brand and its properties, including the Philadelphia 76ers, New Jersey Devils, and Prudential Center. Brown begins with the organization on Aug. 3, according to the statement from the organization.

Brown, who takes over for Scott O’Neil after he resigned back in June, joins HBSE after nearly two decades with the Houston Rockets, Toyota Center, and Clutch City Sports and Entertainment, 15 of which were spent as CEO. In his role in Houston, he was a member of the NBA’s Board of Governors, served as the representative to the Executive Committee, and served on the league’s Media Committee.

He reunites him with longtime friend and colleague, Daryl Morey, the 76ers President of Basketball Operations. During their time together in Houston from 2007-2020, the Rockets compiled a 640-400 (.615) record, the second-best of any NBA team, while becoming one of the NBA’s most successful franchises. 

Prior to joining the Rockets, Brown was a Founder and President of Streetball Partners International. For more than a decade, he worked in partnership with NBC Sports and the NBA to build Streetball into the world’s largest global grassroots basketball property. 

Doncic on Mavs’ loss to Rockets: ‘Anybody can play a bad game, right’

Coming into Wednesday night’s game against the Houston Rockets(14-37), the Dallas Mavericks(28-22) had won a season-high five straight, including defeating the Utah Jazz on Monday night, who have the best record in basketball. Conversely, the Houston Rockets had lost five straight and have the second-worst record in basketball, but that’s why you play the game. 

Led by John Wall’s 31 points and Christian Wood’s 22 points, the Rockets shocked the Mavs 102-93 at Toyota Center. Kristaps Porzingis and Luka Doncic had 23 points apiece for the Mavs. Porzingis also chipped in with a team-high 12 rebounds. 

The Rockets led for most of the game and took an 11-point lead into the fourth quarter. Dallas tied the game with under three minutes to go, but Houston went on a 13-4 run to close out the game and get the victory.

“Disappointing loss,” Mavericks head coach Rick Carlisle said after the game. “We gotta be better at the beginning of the game and carry it through, and we didn’t do that.”‘

Doncic, who was 9/26 from the field, added: “Anybody can play a bad game, right? So, we played a horrible game as a team. We just have to flush it out and continue to get better.”

Back to Porzingis, who returned after missing the last two games with a wrist injury, he was 10/19 from the field entering the fourth quarter. However, in that quarter, Porzingis did not have a field goal attempt. When asked why he was not involved in the offense in the fourth, he said the following.

“Good question,” Porzingis said. “It’s just the plays we were running. It happened before also.”

Porzingis not getting touches in the fourth is a problem, and maybe that’s on the play calls or the players for not getting him the ball. No matter what happened, this was a bad loss and one of those games you would love to have back, especially when you’re chasing the Blazers for sixth-seed in the Western Conference. 

Fortunately for Dallas, they’ll have an opportunity to redeem themselves on Thursday night as they host the Milwaukee Bucks.

Notes:

Dallas was without Maxi Kleber(Right Lower Leg; Soreness) and Trey Burke (Injury/Illness – Left Calf; Strain) on Wednesday night.

Wall returned on Wednesday night after missing four games due to swelling in the knee.

Cavs’ Altman on Porter Jr. trade: ‘We feel this move is in everyone’s best interest’

The Cleveland Cavaliers traded guard Kevin Porter Jr. to the Rockets in exchange for a future second round draft pick, the team announced on Friday.

Porter, 20, who returned to the team on Friday for the first time this season after missing time due to personal reasons, reportedly had an outburst after the Cavs’ victory over the Knicks. According to The Athletic, Porter became angry when he realized that his locker had been moved.

On Friday, Cavaliers GM Koby Altman explained why the team decided to go in a different direction.

“After careful and thoughtful evaluation, we made the very difficult and collective decision to make this trade,” said Altman. “Given the culture and environment we have worked to cultivate here in Cleveland, we feel this move is in everyone’s best interest. Kevin has a bright career ahead of him as a professional basketball player and, at his core, is a good person. We wish Kevin and his family well in Houston.”

Porter has had his share of off the court issues this offseason, including being arrested and charged with improper handling of a firearm in a motor vehicle back in November. Ultimately, the charge was dismissed.

The second-year guard was the 30th overall pick in the 2019 NBA Draft by Milwaukee and was acquired by the Cavaliers in a trade with Detroit on June 26, 2019. He appeared in 50 games (three starts) with Cleveland last season, averaging 10.0 points, 3.2 rebounds, 2.2 assists, and 0.92 steals in 23.2 minutes.

Houston gets a talented player in Porter, and if he works on whatever is hindering him off the court, he could be a key contributor for the Rockets in the future.

Hardaway Jr. believes Dallas has the talent to compete with anybody

On Tuesday night, the Dallas Mavericks(3-4) went into Houston(2-3) and got a much-needed victory over the Rockets. Behind Luka Doncic’s triple-double, 33 points, 16 rebounds, and 11 assists, and Tim Hardaway Jr’s 30 points and seven rebounds off the bench, Dallas defeated Houston 113-100.

Doncic returned after missing Sunday’s loss against the Bulls with a left quadriceps contusion. Hardaway Jr, who started the first six games for Dallas, came off the bench last night for Dallas and was on fire. He shot 11/14 from the field, including 8/10 from three-point range and 13 points in the fourth quarter.

After the game, Hardaway Jr. reacted to coming off the bench. 

“It’s a coach decision,” he said. “You gotta be a pro. I said from day one, I’m ready to help this team out any way I can. Coach called someone else’s number, and I just had to make sure I was a pro, stay engaged in the game, and make sure when I got in the game, make an impact.

“All my teammates did a great job of just letting me know to stay aggressive and keep that aggressive mindset going into the game. I just wanted to contribute any way I can.”

Dallas is off to a slow start, but even at 3-4, Hardaway Jr. believes that Dallas has the talent to compete with anybody in the NBA. 

“There’s no hiding at this point,” he said. “Today(Rockets), against the Clippers, against the Miami Heat. Three playoff-caliber teams. It showed that we can hang with them, hang with those guys. If we’re all on the same rope, all on the same string, we could compete with anybody. 

“We all gotta stay even-keeled. We can’t get too high, get too low at this point, still early in the season, still a lot to improve on. Moving forward, I know we have the group of guys to get that done.”

Dallas has the talent to compete with anybody in the NBA, but can they do it consistently? At this point, they are not doing it consistently, and maybe once they get Kristaps Porzingis back, they can become the team that many thought they could be when the season began.

Instant analysis: Wizards trade John Wall, first-round pick to Houston for Russell Westbrook(VIDEO)

In a move that has been rumored for weeks, the Washington Wizards have reportedly traded six-time All-Star John Wall and 2023 protected first-round pick to the Rockets for former league MVP Russell Westbrook, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

Both Wall and Westbrook reportedly wanted to be traded, and if that’s true, they both got their wish. Both players have three years left on their contracts at $132 million. The 30-year-old Wall missed all of last season with a ruptured left Achilles tendon. Wall will now be teamed with James Harden in Houston, which should be interesting because there were reports that Harden wanted out of Houston. However, according to ESPN’s Tim MacMahon, Houston hopes to be competitive with him this season and does not envision a scenario where Harden would be traded before the opener.

For the 32-year-old Westbrook, this is an opportunity to reunite with his former coach in OKC, Scott Brooks, and a chance for Westbrook and Bradley Beal to lead the Wizards back to the playoffs, which should happen for Washington. 

Both players probably needed a change of scenery, and both players will have a lot to prove. Is Russell Westbrook, who averaged 27.2 points, 7.9 rebounds, and 7.0 assists per game last season, a declining asset? For Wall, can he become the player that he used to be before the injuries? 

Time will tell.

Listen below:

Charles Barkley believes the Warriors will sweep Houston(Watch)

The Golden State Warriors did would they needed to do in Game 1 on Monday night to steal home court advantage away from the Rockets as they beat Houston 119-106 to take a 1-0 lead in the Western Conference Finals.

Game 2 is Wednesday night.

James Harden was great for Houston as he dropped 41 points, but Kevin Durant was just as good with 37 points.

After the game, TNT NBA analyst Charles Barkley was very impressed with the Warriors and believes that Houston is done.

Take a listen:

I don’t see any team beating the Warriors four times in a seven-game series, but the Rockets do have a shot.

We’ll see if Houston can bounce back in Game 2.

NBA on TNT analyst Kenny Smith: ‘Any team LeBron is on is a super team’

After acquiring Chris Paul on Wednesday, the Houston Rockets have put themselves in position to challenge for a NBA title. Now, are they good enough to beat Golden State? Not yet, but the offseason is not over. NBA on TNT analyst and former Rockets G Kenny Smith thinks Houston has improved, but they’re not a “super team” just yet.

“Houston is not a super team, Golden State is a super team. You got five (four) all-stars on one team.  If they get Paul George, then we can talk about that, but (with) those two guys (Harden and Paul), they just got elevated, but they’re not a super team, yet,” Smith told TMZ Sports.

Smith believes there are two “super teams” currently in the NBA.

“Any team LeBron is on is a super team, and Golden State those are the two “super teams,” Smith said.

Smith added if Houston were to get Paul George, he would call them a “BIG 3,” but not a “super team.”

If you look at what happened to Miami and Cleveland before and after LeBron James, what Smith is saying makes a lot of sense. The Heat before LeBron was a playoff team, but not championship caliber. Once LeBron came, they went to four straight NBA Finals, and won two titles. Cleveland before LeBron James was a lottery team. Once LeBron came, they went to three straight NBA Finals, and won one title.

So, LeBron has played on a “super team” after all!