LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Kobe Bryant, Chris Paul, Carmelo Anthony, Lance Stephenson … Nope, Charlotte Hornets coach Steve Clifford doesn’t think that Lance is among those superstar names yet.
LANCE HAS NO SUPERSTAR STATUS AT THE MOMENT
It’s coming though.
Stephenson sat the entire fourth quarter during Charlotte’s 105-97 defeat to the Portland Trailblazers last night, the Hornets seventh straight loss and when asked about his lack of involvement, Clifford came up with this strange response.
“To be fair, one of the things that’s made it more difficult for him is that he came here and people proclaimed him as the next superstar,” Clifford said Wednesday. “He’s not a star. He’s a guy that has talent to become a star. To be a star in this league, you have to do it over years.”
A combination of preseason injuries and struggles since then to find his rhythm and a consistent role in Clifford’s offense has made Stephenson’s transition much more difficult than some anticipated. Stephenson, one of the most versatile guards in the league, left Indiana in free agency this past summer to sign a three-year, $27 million deal with Charlotte after meeting with owner Michael Jordan.
Stephenson arrived to join third-team All-NBA pick Al Jefferson and promising point guard Kemba Walker, with expectations that he could help the Hornets build on last season’s playoff appearance that followed years of futility.
But the transition has been far from seamless. Clifford is widely regarded as a straight shooter who doesn’t mince words or shy away from offering constructive criticism.
After missing his first two shots of the second half Wednesday, Stephenson was replaced by Brian Roberts at the 8:04 mark of the third quarter and didn’t return for the remainder of the game. Stephenson had eight points, seven rebounds, five assists and two steals in 23 minutes.
CHANDLER WANTED TO BEAT THE KNICKS TO END THE LOSING RUN RIGHT?
Well, that’s what Tyson Chandler, who was traded to Dallas roughly six months ago from the New York Knicks said, anyway.
We know that Chandler left New York unhappy with how he was treated towards the end of what was otherwise an enjoyable spell in the Big Apple. But Mavs team-mate Dirk Nowitzki might have dropped Chandler in it a little when the real reason possibly came out.
Tyson Chandler insisted his desire to nip the Dallas Mavericks’ losing streak in the bud fueled his motivation Wednesday night, not the fact that he was facing his former team for the first time since his less-than-friendly departure from the New York Knicks.
Believe it or not, the big man wasn’t hooked up to a polygraph test after his 17-point, 25-rebound performance.
If you wanted the truth, all you had to do was ask any of Chandler’s teammates.
“We were actually talking about before the game that we had to shoot him with a tranquilizer gun to slow him down a little bit,” Dirk Nowitzki said. “He was obviously amped up for this one. And we wanted to get this one for him.”
It wasn’t pretty, to put it politely, but the Mavs got the win over the Melo-less Knicks. They had to go five extra minutes, pulling out the 109-102 victory in overtime at the American Airlines Center. And Dallas needed everything the 7-foot champion warriors who were reunited this summer could give them.Chandler, who was barking even more than usual in the Mavs’ huddles, was a dominant presence from the opening tip, scoring the game’s first bucket on a ferocious putback slam. He had a double-double by halftime, already hitting his per game averages.
Chandler’s last bucket was a thunderous, two-hand slam to give the Mavs the lead for good with 1:37 to go in overtime. After the Knicks called timeout, Chandler unleashed a primal scream, tiling his head toward the rafters where that 2011 title banner hangs and releasing emotions he refused to admit feeling.
“Like I said, this is more important because we dropped two and we felt this is one we wanted to get,” Chandler said.
Chandler had 17 points and 25 rebounds as the Mavs won in OT 109-102. But NOT because it was the Knicks.
MESSINA BECOMES FIRST EURO COACH IN THE NBA
Former CSKA Moscow coach Ettore Messina replaced Gregg Popovich on the San Antonio sideline last night as he watched his Spurs go down 121-90 to the Indiana Pacers.
And NBA.com report that he could miss several more as well.
Gregg Popovich ('minor medical procedure') out for tonight's #spurs game; Ettore Messina to become 1st European-born to coach NBA game
— Mike Monroe (@Monroe_SA) November 26, 2014
Popovich, out tonight with'minor medical procedure' also may miss Friday's game vs. Kings, per #Spurs
— Mike Monroe (@Monroe_SA) November 26, 2014
Not only is this Ettore Messina's 1st game in #Spurs head coach chair, but also Becky Hammon's 1st on bench, rather than behind it
— Mike Monroe (@Monroe_SA) November 27, 2014