That doesn’t mean Gobert has no influence on the team. Rudy Gobert fed tips for guarding Marcin Gortat to Ekpe Udoh, who had his best game of the season, throughout Utah’s win over the Wizards. He answered questions for rookie Tony Bradley on the bench. He stood in the huddle for timeouts. “He’ll share some of his wisdom with me in a game,” Udoh said. “Just defensively, the players he’s played against throughout the game, possession after possession.” He’s still there, and so is his intensity. And even though the Jazz miss his play, they’ll take whatever he has to offer now — and hope there’s still more to come in the second half of the season. “I think that’s the biggest deal — he’s continuing to be vocal,” Donovan Mitchell said. “That’s what’s awesome about having a guy like that who’s still a leader, who doesn’t lose it. It’s tough. He understands his presence. There’s a large gap when he’s out. But continuing to be that leader is good.”
April 20, 2018 | 5:47 am EDT Update
Will Guillory: Will: DeMarcus hasn’t really talked to anybody about his plans in free agency, that’s why you haven’t heard much about it. But everyone within the organization likes what he brings and they’d love to have him back. At this point, I’d bet on him coming back to New Orleans after free agency, but a lot can happen between now and then. He’s developed a really good relationship with Anthony Davis and everyone else on the team, and I think he’d love to finish what they started this year. The Pelicans’ success in the playoffs certainly doesn’t hurt their chances either.
Joe Freeman: This is a tired debate, IMO. Important people have made it clear to me that McCollum isn’t going anywhere. (http://www.oregonlive.com/blazers/index.ssf/2018/02/portland_trail_blazers_brace_for_nba_trade_deadlin.html) And I can assure you Lillard isn’t going anywhere. It’s incumbent on the front office to put the right players around them.
Stephen Watson: Jabari Parker was very animated talking about his frustration right now with limited minutes. He mentioned the only way to see the floor more was to be on the “coach’s good side”. When asked if he was on Prunty’s good side, he smirked and said “I don’t think so.” #Bucks
Heat center Hassan Whiteside suggested a change in Miami’s offensive approach has affected his production in the playoffs. “It’s just different, man. I feel like our offense is a lot different. I’m not as involved in as many dribble handoffs as I was and post-ups as I was in the regular season,” Whiteside said after scoring five points in 13 minutes in Miami’s Game 3 loss to Philadelphia. “That’s what coach [Erik Spoelstra] wants. Coach wants me to just be in the corner and set picks. That’s what he wants. I’ve just got to trust it.”
“I want to get more rebounds out there. I want to get more minutes out there. I’m just going to keep trusting coach’s decision-making,” Whiteside said. “Even with the fouls, I still could have been out there. I wouldn’t have fouled out. I am going to keep trusting coach’s decision-making.”
Playing for the first time since March 28, Embiid had 23 points, 7 rebounds and 4 assists in 30 minutes in the Sixers’ 128-108 Game 3 win over the Miami Heat. Afterward, Embiid had a bold message for the Heat. “I’m going to be a nightmare for them,” the All-Star center said.
Embiid acknowledged that the mask bothered him at times Thursday night. “At the end of the day, no matter how much it bothers me I still got to be a basketball player,” he said. “If the shots aren’t falling or it gets foggy and I can’t see, you know, there’s a lot of different stuff I can do.”