Brooklyn went big with Jeff Green at power forward next to Durant, Joe Harris sliding down to off-guard and Bruce Brown going to the bench. But the Nets still got beaten on the boards, run off the court 26-4 in fast-break points, and left in an 11-2 early hole that reached 21 and proved too much to overcome. “The biggest thing is just how we start,” Landry Shamet had warned beforehand. “Even going back to the other night in Game 5, slow start, struggled to find our rhythm early, didn’t play with the right physicality. Things really that we can control that we did really, really well in Game 1 and Game 2, jump out to a big lead. “Those are the biggest things that we’re missing in the two road losses. It’s our energy, how we start the game. That’s all we can control, so that’s our plan going forward.”
August 2, 2021 | 7:07 am EDT Update
There is a strong possibility that Howard returns for a third go-around with the Lakers. Howard won a title with the Lakers in 2020, but he bolted to the 76ers last season. Now, there appears to be interest on both sides to have Howard back for his physical and defensive play. Howard, 35, averaged 7.0 points and 8.4 rebounds in 17.3 minutes last season in Philadelphia, his 17th in the NBA.
Barry Jackson: ESPN reports tonight that New Orleans and Dallas – two Lowry suitors – have begun to look elsewhere for point guards. The Dragic/Achiuwa package should get this done for Lowry barring any late issues; Achiuwa hasn’t yet been informed because talks can’t begin until 6 p.m. Monday.
Donatas Urbonas: Ignas Brazdeikis will play for the Orlando Magic in the NBA Summer League, per sources. Brazdeikis averaged 11.1 points, 5.1 rebounds, and 2 assists in 8 NBA games with Orlando last season.
Rob Schaefer: Zach LaVine on keeping up with Bulls’ free agency from Tokyo: “I should have a good idea what’s going on. I take that very serious, keep up to date with what’s going on back home, but obviously still get my rest cause we got a game tomorrow. One way or another I’ll find out.”
August 2, 2021 | 1:19 am EDT Update
“It looks like [Kawhi] is expected to re-sign with the Clippers, but sources informed me that he will listen to other teams.” @ChrisBHaynes on Kawhi Leonard’s free agency
Sources tell cleveland.com the Cavs are no longer expected to pursue Los Angeles Lakers free agent guard Alex Caruso or Indiana Pacers pesky reserve TJ McConnell — both of whom will garner interest from several suitors and could command the full mid-level exception, which starts around $9.5 million.
That means the Cavs need to set their sights elsewhere. Sources say they are considering splitting the exception among two players, depending on the target, but would use the full MLE on the right fit. Indiana sharpshooter Doug McDermott will get consideration, sources say. But that will be a battle. Shooters get paid in this league. A source suggested the Cavs would likely have to go an extra guaranteed year to boost their appeal. Let’s call that the “Cleveland tax.”