John Lucas’s routine on the floor before each Rockets game is similar to that of any assistant across the league. Houston’s director of player development will warm up with John Wall, Eric Gordon or whomever else is on the floor, dishing passes as tip-off approaches at the Toyota Center. But there is one element of Lucas’s pregame preparation that’s anything but routine. Each night features a flood of greetings and conversations with opposing players and coaches, with a frequency likely unmatched throughout the NBA. If it seems as though nearly every player in the league has at least some relationship with Lucas, well, that’s because it’s the truth. “I consider myself an elder of the NBA family,” Lucas tells The Crossover. “I like to think I’m one of the gatekeepers of the game.”
May 8, 2021 | 6:38 pm EDT Update
Fred Katz: How crazy is this run Westbrook has been on of late? He has a chance to tie Oscar Robertson’s all-time triple-double record of 181 tonight. He has been in the NBA for 13 years. And more than 11 percent of his career triple-doubles have come in the last six weeks.
Jon Krawczynski: Asked Rubio if he’d try to get @Alex Rodriguez to pay his technical fine: “I will definitely call the league to see if they can take the fine out. Should he be the one to take it? I don’t think that’s a good way to introduce myself, to be honest with you.”
Josh Lewenberg: Nurse tells a story about going fishing with Jonas Valanciunas in Lithuania one time. “I have never seen a guy so happy when he was reeling in a fish. So intense, so excited. I just told him next year when we’re out on the floor I’m going to tell you to rebound like it’s a fish.”
May 8, 2021 | 5:28 pm EDT Update
Scott Agness: Pacers assistant coach Greg Foster is back, and continues working with Goga Bitadze. They hugged before beginning pre-game warmups.