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Sunday night NBA grades: Jason Collins takes the court, Jamal Crawford owns his

Feb 24, 2014, 2:19 AM EDT

Brooklyn Nets v Los Angeles Lakers Getty Images

Our quick look around the NBA, or what you missed while getting sucked into the “Reality Bites” power rankings

source:   Jason Collins, Brooklyn Nets. He was brought in to Brooklyn because he has a skill set they need — he can defend the post, he can rebound, and he sets a mean pick (Collins said after the game his favorite part of the night was when Jordan Farmar complained he set an illegal pick). Collins is an NBA player. He also happens to be gay — and yes, that is a story. A good story. A story that a lot of people need to hear. Who he loves and who he is can inspire a lot of people, many young and confused, who need to see they can be true to who they are and still accomplish what they set out to do. It matters. Collins matters. Good to see him back.

source:   Jamal Crawford, Los Angeles Clippers. That is swagger. Kevin Durant dropped 42 on the Clippers including a three that put the Thunder up three with 2:40 left, but in the end it was Crawford with the dagger three to put the Clippers up four a minute later, then if that wasn’t the dagger he hit a floater/jumper with: 39 left that kept the Clippers up four. Crawford had 11 of his 36 points in the fourth quarter. He took advantage of a soft Thunder defense (that was what cost OKC the game, not Russell Westbrook’s late shots) but if he plays like this while J.J. Redick is out the Clippers will be just fine.

source:  Isaiah Thomas/Rudy Gay/DeMarcus Cousins, Sacramento Kings. Miami has it’s big three, as they put it at SacTown Royalty Sacramento has its “only three” — Thomas/Gay/Cousins accounted for 92 of Sacramento’s 109 points on the night. That’s how it will be for this team, those three have to carry them to win, which they did on Sunday. What really matters is this trio shot 58.1 percent as a group, they were efficient. They also combined for 23 rebounds and 14 assists.

source:  Damian Lillard, Portland Trail Blazers. Portland trailed by 18 in the first half to Minnesota, and the only reason it was that close was Lillard’s 13 points in the first quarter. He also had 10 points in third quarter when Portland’s comeback kicked into full gear. He battled foul trouble in the fourth (and his grade fell for it), when Wesley Mathews put up seven points. Still, good game for Lillard who finished with 32 points, and who is about to jump from Adidas (but that is another story).

  1. saint1997 - Feb 24, 2014 at 2:25 AM

    SacTown is a fascinating case. They have Gay and Cousins as their inside/out and a solid PG in Thomas and a potentially lethal 2 in McLemore. Their big question is this draft pick. Do they go Exum or Smart and show no trust in Thomas/McLemore? Do they go Randle and forsake D in their starting 5? I think best option should be Noah Vonleh, good balance of both and fills a need at the 4

  2. velocirep - Feb 24, 2014 at 2:40 AM

    So.. He prefers men over women?.

    • Kevin S. - Feb 24, 2014 at 5:45 AM

      Yes. And despite that fact, he and anybody else who does can be honest about who they love and still play in the NBA if they’re good enough.

      • florida727 - Feb 24, 2014 at 2:56 PM

        5 fouls, 2 turnovers, and a whopping 2 rebounds in 11 minutes. That grades out to an A+? Your credibility just took a severe hit. Kevin S. says “if they’re good enough”. Maybe once before he was, but certainly not now. Let me ask you this: if he was straight, would you be talking about him today after last night’s game? Didn’t think so.

      • Kevin S. - Feb 25, 2014 at 5:32 AM

        If Jackie Robinson were white, would MLB have retired his number across all of baseball? Being the first to break down a barrier matters.

  3. sisisisisisisi - Feb 24, 2014 at 3:42 AM

    Prokhorov sending Putin a message?

  4. eugenesaxe1 - Feb 24, 2014 at 4:06 AM

    Lillard goes 11-17, 5-8 on 3s, 5-5 FT, and 5 assists, and gets a B.

    Collins plays 10 minutes, has 2 rebounds and 5 fouls, and gets an A+ because he’s gay.

    I am absolutely speechless.

  5. davincizsp - Feb 24, 2014 at 5:20 AM

    The last shot made by Russell Westbrook shows the reason why he’s not as good as cp3

  6. shanelsweet - Feb 24, 2014 at 8:17 AM

    Hey Kurt, are you paying Steve Buckhantz so that you can use his “Dagger!” catch phrase? Hahaha. In the Wiz/Cavs game last night where Wall dominated, Buck had the opportunity to use “Dagger!” after an Ariza 3 pointer late. That was a great game for the Wiz to get back to .500 ball yet again. I know they don’t generate the clicks that get you paid like the LA and NY teams, but the Wiz are building a story this season that’s got a chance to be special. Don’t be late to the bandwagon everybody if you’re looking for another team to cheer ’cause your team is under performing this year.

  7. mat9844 - Feb 24, 2014 at 9:19 AM

    Really enjoy watching Crawford play; he never beats his chest or crows after all those 3-pointers, and just goes about his business of winning basketball games. And I’m really glad he’s a Clipper!

    • borderline1988 - Feb 24, 2014 at 12:15 PM

      That’s because he’s too busy falling down after the shot, trying to get a 3pt foul called.

  8. benjamincharlesparho - Feb 24, 2014 at 9:57 AM

    “1.1ppg? Keep gettin them checks, Jason!” -Jalen Rose

  9. unxpexted1 - Feb 24, 2014 at 10:13 AM

    Please tell me there will be an article about RW’s complete takeover of the end of the game….and not in a good way. It’s like he forgets he’s playing with the 2nd best player in the world.

    • casualcommenter - Feb 24, 2014 at 10:26 AM

      That’s what I hate about his game. Fans of Westbrook say critics are trying to stop him from playing with aggression, and that’s not true. He can and should be aggressive when he gets the ball in transition. He should be aggressive when he’s matched up against a bad defender at guard or a big who got switched onto to him. Those are all good times for him to be aggressive.

      However, a pullup 3 point shot early in the shot clock when he’s shooting 3 of 13 from the field after missing weeks of basketball games due to injury isn’t aggressive. It’s dumb. As a point guard, if Westbrook feels a pullup 3 pointer is the Thunder can get, he should try to get the ball to Durant, who is a far superior shooter.

      • unxpexted1 - Feb 24, 2014 at 1:39 PM

        Exactly, I think KD needs his aggression. Takes some of the pressure of him, but at the same time RW makes too many dumb basketabll decisions and as a PG you can’t do that.

        I think it was Barkley was talking about him and Derick Rose a couple years back and talking about the evolution of the scoring PG position. Paraphrasing: The poing guards job is to get the best shot for his team, but it doesn’t work when the PG also thinks that he is the best option to get that shot for the team.

  10. Unity Teacher - Feb 24, 2014 at 10:17 AM

    The media really pays too much attention to the sexuality of working professionals. Jason Collin’s job is basketball, its always been basketball, and sexuality of any form has no need to be an issue, concern, problem, nor success within any workplace. In his case, only how he does his job is important. On this note, yes, he can set a screen and grab a rebound, but there are a whole lot of players who can do it better than Jason Collins, which is why Jason Collins was signed to a 10-day contract this late in the season. For his role in the game, maybe a C is deserved. For all the media hoopla about sexuality being a concern in the professional workplace, F to the media. A+ to basketball. Love the game.

  11. casualcommenter - Feb 24, 2014 at 10:33 AM

    Also, not mentioned in the article but deserving credit – Dwyane Wade. The Bulls are terrible on offense due to the losses of Derrick Rose, Luol Deng, and Jimmy Butler, yet somehow, they are a still top-5 defensive team. Props to Thibs.

    However, I wanted to see how Wade did without LeBron drawing attention. Wade made plays as a scorer and facilitator, and finished with 23 pts, 10 rbs, and 7 assists. It was the first time he had finished a game with at least 23 pts, 10 rbs, and 7 assists since 2011, and it came against a good defensive team and good rebounding team. The Heat are going to need that type of production against the Pacers in the playoffs, so it’s a great sign for them that Wade is able to produce like that when necessary.

  12. ravenman22 - Feb 24, 2014 at 12:18 PM

    Can anyone please tell me the purpose of the DLeague, is there not any young players better than Collins, deserving of opportunity, wow!!!

  13. sdlakerfan - Feb 24, 2014 at 2:47 PM

    Sorry – don’t get the A+ for being a gay player. Hasn’t everyone been working with gay people their whole lives? Who cares? Non-issue. If the guy was a better player he would have been put to work sooner. We should all tolerate our differences – no reason to glorify one particular difference by giving an A+. The message to the NBA (and the rest of world) is that be people should be judged solely on their ability to perform. Giving an A+ solely because a guy’s gay goes against that.

  14. velocirep - Feb 24, 2014 at 3:47 PM

    Tsk tsk, don’t say the word ‘straight.’ Someone may be hetero-phobic.

    Really though, this story is pathetic. Jason Collins isn’t and hasn’t ever been better than a half-decent sub, regardless if he used to start. I’m glad he can feel comfortable about who he wants to be, but judging by the overall response from the league members of all positions, media, etc. this isn’t even really a human rights achievement. Everyone pretty much accepts him for who he is and there’s no sign that he’s had any resistance. So what ‘barrier’ was there to break?

    Please, please don’t be foolish enough to compare it to what Bill Russell has done for black players, and people, at least until a gay guys problems are bigger than hiding that he’s aroused in the change room.

    Get off the gay agenda ban wagon. If you want to raise awareness for human rights, focus on people who’s right are denied.

    • Kurt Helin - Feb 25, 2014 at 8:45 AM

      If you think the rights of gay people in the United States are not denied I’m pretty sure you live in a cave. Or the Fox News studio.

  15. velocirep - Feb 25, 2014 at 10:25 AM

    Kurt, I live in Toronto where our Mayor smokes crack and our best basketball ever has been 2nd round in the playoffs. Sometimes I think it might be better to live in a cave. But I obviously don’t since I follow your stories, though I haven’t had a TV for 10 years so you may be on to something!
    Plus I can’t stand Fox News and their blatant attempts at campaign manipulation (except for Billy O’Reilly, he’s hilarious)

    In Toronto we also have a gay parade which is considered a family friendly event, where 40-year-old men get to strut their dong-along openly down our main streets, so I’d say they have their rights.

    Point? nobody is hating on Jason Collins or the gay community anymore than people who troll Lebron James on this site, except you’re running with the story as if it’s ground breaking. God forbid Collins actually had some resistance.

    Take a second. Out of the same book that the constitution, from which we anchor our rights, is based on.

    The bad news:

    Morals are an endangered thought. They’re becoming confusing so people could be immoral without feeling guilty and being challenged to do right.

    The good news:

    Anyone who is wrong, for whatever sexually immoral sin, can be made right.

    Spending a little time in a cave with a lantern makes for good reading and undistracted reflection on what you read.

    • Kurt Helin - Feb 25, 2014 at 10:51 AM

      The idea that our laws come from the Bible is a wild misunderstanding of history. To use the simple examples, there were laws against murder and incest long before the bible and in cultures that never saw those writings. Some things like not stealing are seen as just wrong by a wide range of societies.

      The bible over the years has been used to justify heinous acts, I do not see it as painting a clear black/white picture of morality in the least. People project what they wish to read into it, which you see in the wide range of Christian faiths today, some of which are accepting of gays (Collins is an avid church goer, by the way).

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