Former NBA player C.J. Watson talks Chris Paul, Trae Young, can the Bucks win the Finals without Giannis Antetokounmpo.
Watson believes that Derrick Rose is Hall of Famer, Ben Simmons has to shoot if he wants to be better, Dame Lillard’s future in Portland, can LeBron James win another title, and who is the best player in basketball?
C.J. talks Foundation and children’s books:
The Atlanta Hawks got off to a great start on Sunday in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semifinals against the Philadelphia 76ers. Atlanta shot 72 percent from the field in the first quarter, including 6/12 from three-point range, and would lead 42-27 after one quarter and led 74-54 at halftime.
The Hawks would withstand a furious Philly rally in the fourth quarter to win 128-124 at Wells Fargo Center.
Game 2 is Tuesday night in Philadelphia.
The 76ers had a hard time slowing down Trae Young. The All-Star point guard hurt the 76ers with his shot and passing ability. Young scored 25 of his 35 points in the first half and had 10 assists. According to StatMuse, Young became the first Hawks player with 35 points and 10 assists in game since 1965.
Philadelphia had no answers for Young and his teammates. Atlanta averages 12 three-pointers made per game. But the Hawks made a franchise-record 20 three-pointers on Sunday and had Philly scrambling throughout the game. Bogdan Bogdanovic had 21 points, including five threes, Young had four threes, and John Collins also added 21 points and made three threes
Danny Green mostly guarded Young in the first half and could not contain him. The 76ers went with Ben Simmons on Young in the second half, but he picked up two quick fouls, and ultimately he was moved off of Young. However, in Game 2, Simmons wants to guard Young.
“I mean, I want to,” Simmons said about guarding Young. “If the refs aren’t going to call so many fouls and I can be physical and be 6-10, then I’ll be 6-10. But we’ll see.”
Philadelphia did get MVP finalist Joel Embiid back in this game after coming back from a torn meniscus, and he played very well. Embiid scored 39 points and grabbed nine rebounds, and as he goes forward, Embiid hopes to be able to manage the injury.
“All I have to do is keep managing it, do my best, try to get as much treatment as I can,” Embiid said. “Try to manage it to make sure it doesn’t swell up too much.”
If the Hawks shoot as they did in Game 1, they could sweep the first two games in Philly but expect a better defensive effort out of the 76ers, who has the second-rated defense in basketball.
The Hawks got what they wanted at this point, which is split, but now they have to get greedy and try to capture Game 2.
Atlanta Hawks guard Trae Young was named NBA Eastern Conference Player of the Week for games played May 10-16, it was announced today. The third-year guard averaged 24.3 points on .471 shooting and 8.5 assists in 29.0 minutes per game in leading the Hawks to an undefeated 4-0 week. Among Eastern Conference players, he was 6th in points per game and tied for 4th in assists per game. The Hawks have now won 11 straight at State Farm Arena, the longest active home win streak in the NBA. This is the third time in Young’s career that he has won Player of the Week honors (for games played March 18-24, 2019 and Oct. 22-27, 2019).
Young started the week with a 36-point, six-rebound, nine-assist effort in a 125-124 win over the Wizards. In a rematch against Washington two days later, he tallied 33 points, eight rebounds and nine assists in 37 minutes. He scored 18 points and dished out seven assists in 26 minutes in a 116-93 victory over Orlando on May 13 and closed the week by nearly recording a double-double with 10 points and nine assists in 16 minutes against Houston last night.
A 2020 NBA All-star, Young averaged 25.3 points (14th in the NBA), 3.9 rebounds and 9.4 assists (2nd in NBA) in 33.7 minutes per game in his third NBA season, starting all 63 games he played in. He was the only player in the NBA this season to average at least 25 points and nine assists.
At 41-31 (.569), the Hawks finished 5th in the Eastern Conference, earning their first trip to the NBA Playoffs since the 2016-17 season. The Hawks will tip-off the 2021 NBA Playoffs this weekend at New York against the Knicks.
Trae Young, who left last night’s loss to the Knicks due to a sprained left ankle, was diagnosed with a lateral left ankle sprain, the team announced on Thursday.
Young had an MRI on Thursday, which confirmed the injury after an X-ray taken at Madison Square Garden on Wednesday night came back negative.
According to the team, Young will be listed as out for tomorrow’s game vs. Miami and Sunday vs. Milwaukee, and his status will be updated as appropriate.
Young, the Hawks leading scorer, is averaging 25.3 points, 9.6 assists, and 3.9 rebounds per game.
At 32-27, Atlanta is the fifth seed in the Eastern Conference.
Adding 15 players to 42 previously selected USA Basketball Men’s National Team finalists, 57 athletes today were announced by USA Basketball as finalists for the U.S. Olympic Men’s Basketball Team. The player selections were approved by the USA Basketball Board of Directors. The official 12-member U.S. Olympic Men’s Basketball Team roster will be announced later this year.
Added to the 2021 USA National Team roster, from which the U.S. Olympic Men’s Basketball Team will be selected, were
– Jarrett Allen (Cleveland Cavaliers); Eric Gordon (Houston Rockets); Jerami Grant (Detroit Pistons); Blake Griffin (Brooklyn Nets); Jrue Holiday (Milwaukee Bucks); DeAndre Jordan (Brooklyn Nets); Zach LaVine (Chicago Bulls); Julius Randle (New York Knicks); Duncan Robinson (Miami Heat); Mitchell Robinson (New York Knicks); Fred VanVleet (Toronto Raptors); John Wall (Houston Rockets); Zion Williamson (New Orleans Pelicans); Christian Wood (Houston Rockets); and Trae Young (Atlanta Hawks).
Forty-two of the athletes who were named as finalists on Feb. 10, 2020, also were confirmed for the 2021 list, including: Bam Adebayo (Miami Heat); LaMarcus Aldridge (San Antonio Spurs); Harrison Barnes (Sacramento Kings); Bradley Beal (Washington Wizards); Devin Booker (Phoenix Suns); Malcolm Brogdon (Indiana Pacers); Jaylen Brown (Boston Celtics); Jimmy Butler (Miami Heat); Mike Conley (Utah Jazz); Stephen Curry (Golden State Warriors); Anthony Davis (Los Angeles Lakers); DeMar DeRozan (San Antonio Spurs); Andre Drummond (Cleveland Cavaliers); Kevin Durant (Brooklyn Nets); Paul George (LA Clippers); Draymond Green (Golden State Warriors); James Harden (Brooklyn Nets); Montrezl Harrell (Los Angeles Lakers); Joe Harris (Brooklyn Nets); Tobias Harris (Philadelphia 76ers); Gordon Hayward (Charlotte Hornets); Dwight Howard (Philadelphia 76ers); Brandon Ingram (New Orleans Pelicans); Kyrie Irving (Brooklyn Nets); LeBron James (Los Angeles Lakers); Kyle Kuzma (Los Angeles Lakers); Kawhi Leonard (LA Clippers); Damian Lillard (Portland Trail Blazers); Brook Lopez (Milwaukee Bucks); Kevin Love (Cleveland Cavaliers); Kyle Lowry (Toronto Raptors); JaVale McGee (Cleveland Cavaliers); Khris Middleton (Milwaukee Bucks); Donovan Mitchell (Utah Jazz); Victor Oladipo (Houston Rockets); Chris Paul (Phoenix Suns); Mason Plumlee (Detroit Pistons); Jayson Tatum (Boston Celtics); Myles Turner (Indiana Pacers); Kemba Walker (Boston Celtics); Russell Westbrook (Washington Wizards); and Derrick White (San Antonio Spurs).
“With the postponement of the Tokyo Olympics from 2020 to 2021, it’s important that we continue to remain flexible and consider all players who can contribute to our efforts to field the best USA team possible. These additions we are announcing today will help ensure that we are doing that,” said Jerry Colangelo, who has served as the managing director of the USA Basketball Men’s National Team since 2005.
“Having a larger player pool than what we normally have is critical because of all of the uncertainties we face about availability. But for USA Basketball to receive the commitment of so many outstanding players remains an indicator of the great honor of representing your country means to these men.”
The USA National Team coaching staff is led by long-time San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich, and serving as USA assistant coaches are Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr, former Atlanta Hawks head coach Lloyd Pierce and Villanova University head coach Jay Wright.
All told, there are 29 players who have played for the USA in an Olympics and/or a FIBA World Cup, and together they have won 31
Olympic or FIBA Basketball World Cup gold medals and four bronze medals.
The list of finalists includes nine members of the gold medalist 2016 U.S. Olympic Team, seven gold medalists from the 2012 U.S. Olympic Team and three gold medalists from the 2008 U.S. Olympic Team.
Three-time Olympic medalist James (2008 and 2012 gold, 2004 bronze) could be become just the second U.S. male basketball player to make four U.S. Olympic teams (tying with Carmelo Anthony), while Durant (2012 and 2016 gold medalist) and Paul (2008 and 2012 gold medalist) are seeking to become three-time Olympians.
Nine players from the gold medal winning 2016 U.S. Olympic team that went 8-0 in Rio de Janeiro remain in contention, including Barnes, Butler, DeRozan, Durant, George, Green, Irving, Jordan and Lowry.
Davis, Durant, Harden, James, Love, Paul and Westbrook were members of the 2012 U.S. Olympic team that compiled an unblemished record of 8-0 and captured gold in London; while Howard, James and Paul were gold medalists with the 2008 U.S. Olympic Team.
Eleven members of the USA’s 2019 World Cup Team are among the 2021 finalists, including Barnes, Brown, Joe Harris, Lopez, Middleton, Mitchell, Plumlee, Tatum, Turner, Walker and White.
Seven were members of the 2014 USA World Cup Team that finished 9-0 and captured gold in Spain, including Curry, Davis, DeRozan, Drummond, Harden, World Cup MVP Irving and Plumlee. Five finalists were members of the 2010 USA World Cup squad that went 9-0 and captured gold in Istanbul, Turkey, including Curry, World Cup MVP Durant, Gordon, Love and Westbrook; while Howard, James and Paul earned a bronze medal at the 2006 FIBA World Cup in Japan.
The finalists represent 24 different NBA teams, with the Brooklyn Nets (Durant, Griffin, Harden, Joe Harris, Irving and Jordan), leading the way with six players; while the Cleveland Cavaliers (Allen, Drummond, Love and McGee), Houston Rockets (Gordon, Oladipo, Wall and Wood) and Los Angeles Lakers (Davis, Harrell, James and Kuzma) all feature four players; and the Boston Celtics (Brown, Tatum and Walker), San Antonio Spurs (Aldridge, DeRozan and White), Miami Heat (Adebayo, Butler and Duncan Robinson) and the Milwaukee Bucks (Holiday, Lopez and Middleton) each feature three players. The Detroit Pistons (Grant and Plumlee), Golden State Warriors (Curry and Green), Indiana Pacers (Brogdon and Turner), LA Clippers (George and Leonard), New Orleans Pelicans (Ingram and Williamson), New York Knicks (Randell and Mitchell Robinson), Philadelphia 76ers (Tobias Harris and Howard), Phoenix Suns (Booker and Paul), Toronto Raptors (Lowry and VanVleet), Utah Jazz (Conley and Mitchell) and Washington Wizards (Beal and Westbrook) each have two players among the 57 finalists; and represented by one player are the Atlanta Hawks (Young), Charlotte Hornets (Haywood), Chicago Bulls (LaVine), Portland Trail Blazers (Lillard) and Sacramento Kings (Barnes).
Fifty-five finalists possess USA Basketball international or USA National Team experience. James leads the way with 68 games of international experience, and he is followed by Paul (50), Durant (44), Curry (40), Howard (38), Irving (33), Plumlee (31), Love (28), Westbrook (28), Tatum (26), Barnes (25), Davis (25), Harden (25), Drummond (25), Jordan (23), Green (22), Lopez (19), Turner (19), Brown (18), Walker (18), Beal (16), DeRozan (16), White (15), Gordon (14), Harrell (14), Butler (13), George (13), Joe Harris (13), Lowry (13), Middleton (13), Mitchell (13), Hayward (12), Allen (6), Conley (6), Holiday (6), Randle (6), Brogdon (5), Grant (5), Young (5), Kuzma (3), Lillard (3), Wall (3), Adebayo (1), Griffin (1), Ingram (1), Leonard (1) and Oladipo (1). Additionally, Aldridge, Booker, Tobias Harris, LaVine, McGee, Mitchell Robinson, VanVleet and Williamson have participated in previous USA National Team training camps. Only Duncan Robinson and Wood have no prior USA Basketball experience.
The USA National Team’s complete training schedule for 2021 will be announced at a later date.