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Friday Bolts – 1.13.17

Friday Bolts – 1.13.17

Neil Johnson of ESPN.com on the Jazz finishing fourth: “It’s also a nice chance for Utah to

make up its 2.5 game difference with L.A. While the Clippers are favored in all but four of their next 14 games, a startling 10 will come on the road — including a matchup in Utah after an Eastern road trip. In another three of those games in which the Clippers are favored, their chances to win are less than 60 percent. Utah has a 46.2 percent chance of getting up to 50 wins and a 20.3 percent chance of obtaining the No. 4 seed in the West and home-court advantage in the first round of the playoffs.”

Ian Begley of ESPN on trading Melo: “They should, but it doesn’t really matter how hard they push for it. Until and unless Carmelo waives his no-trade clause, any discussion about moving him is moot. If Phil Jackson hadn’t handed Anthony a no-trade clause, I believe that he would have traded him at some point last season. At this point, it would make sense for all parties involved if Anthony waived the clause and asked for a trade to a contender (to the Clippers with his buddy Chris Paul? Cavs with his pal LeBron?). But there are several factors, including his family’s comfort in New York, that may prevent this from happening.”

The Kyle Singler All-Star campaign is rolling.

Zach Lowe of ESPN.com: “But little by little, Kanter is starting to get it. He’s on pace for a (modest) career high in assists, and he whipped some snazzy passes out of double-teams against both Chicago and Memphis this week. He dished three dimes in each of those games. That doesn’t sound like much, but Kanter has hit that mark only 19 times in six seasons. Three of those games have come in the past three weeks. Kanter has never recorded more than four assists in any NBA game. Could that be the next baby step?”

Silver wants to speed up the end of games.

Marc Stein’s All-Star ballot: “Westbrook, meanwhile, now has a 50 percent chance of becoming just the second player in league history to average a triple-double for an entire season, according to the latest calculations from ESPN’s tireless Kevin Pelton. Our firm belief is that Curry’s supposed dropoff is really more of a scaling back from last season’s historic production, which was probably inevitable with the arrival of Kevin Durant from Oakland and the equally inevitable adjustment phase for all involved.”

Ben Alamar of Stats and Info: “So can a below-average shooting team like Oklahoma City will its way to the playoffs and title contention by taking good shots? The numbers are not in their favor. Over the last five seasons, the average playoff team adds about 1.5 points per 100 shots via shooting accuracy. Only 15 percent of playoff teams over the last five seasons lost two or more points per 100 shots from shooting accuracy — remember, the Thunder are losing three points per 100 shots. Shot selection, meanwhile, is rarely a reliable formula through which a team can reach the playoffs. Over the past five seasons, the average playoff team added an average of less than half a point per 100 shots via shot selection.”

Timmy Clickity-Clack of the Washington Post: “When Kevin Durant chose to go to Golden State this summer, the eyes of the league shifted to Oklahoma City — first to see whether Russell Westbrook would commit to staying with the team. And once he did, what kind of numbers he could put up this year without anyone else with whom to share the ball. The result has been even better than anyone could’ve expected, with Westbrook averaging a triple-double for the season, something only Oscar Robertson has ever done. Whether Westbrook can hang onto those numbers through the end of the regular season (the bet here is he does) will be the most closely followed story line in the season’s second half.”