Despite Spending the Pistons' First Two Playoff Games in a Suit, Blake Griffin is Padding His Stats...With Technicals
I'll admit, Blake Griffin having made himself a thorn in the side of officials by picking up two technicals despite spending a grand total of zero minutes in uniform throughout the start of what's all-but-guaranteed to be an early and otherwise uneventful finish to the Pistons' postseason is statistically impressive.
It's just not nearly as statistically impressive as the 75 games played this season by a freakish talent whose body has betrayed him more often than a sociopathic lover with a crippling sex addiction.
In all likelihood, it's the second stat that explains the first one. This has been Blake Griffin's healthiest season since he was 24 years old, never mind one of his most productive, and yet he's still been shunned to the sidelines when it matters most by the only body that's been able to consistently limit him as an otherworldly athlete, with that quite obviously being his own.
I'm sure the fact that his team is getting predictably pissed all over by the unrelenting water pressure of the Greek Freak's golden shower is making the matter worse. However, what's really the matter is that he can't do anything about it for the umpteenth time in a career that will sadly be remembered for what it could have been. That's not to discredit what it actually has been, which is one of sports' most seducing cockteases, as much as it is a testament to the MVP-worthy talent in a DNP-worthy skeletal structure. We can laugh at him quickly working towards ejections from games he's not even participating in, but if you were Blake Griffin then untimely injuries would have you feeling pretty damn irritable too.
Wesley Matthews Threw an In-Bounds Fade Pattern to...Basically No One In Sealing a Game 2 Win For The Celtics
I just have one question and shockingly it's not "dude, WTF?". Well, on second thought, I suppose it could be pretty easily translated as such, but in the interest of my own curiosity I'd just like to ask what the plan was there. Far be it for me to think I have better court vision than an NBA player, but like...in his perfect world, how did Wesley Matthews see that cross-court, overhead throw-in to a blanketed teammate playing out?
From the outside looking in, it kinda seems like the optimal result would have been suboptimal in prospective completion percentage. With all due respect to Bojan Bogdanovic, he doesn't exactly strike me as a Randy Moss-type receiver who is even open when he's not, so depending on him to pull in the type of circus catch that saves NFL head coaches from their own lack of creativity in calling untimely fade patterns seems questionable at best.
Maybe there's something I'm missing, but I don't think it's a good sign that I'm struggling to see whatever the hell it was that Wesley Matthews thought he saw. In fact, I don't think I'm going out on too much of a limb in saying the absolutely absurd outcome lends more support to my confusion than his confidence, so perhaps an explanation would do some justice to his Fail Mary of an instant turnover that all-but-ended a playoff game in anti-climactic fashion. Probably not though.
Jared Dudley Took an Exaggerated, But Not Entirely Untrue Jab at Ben Simmons' Offensive Abilities Ahead of Game 3
Typically I would find it very dumb of a veteran role player and leader of a young team whose biggest advantage is that they have nothing to lose to provide motivational material to one of most impactful members of a much more talented opposition ahead of a pivotal Game 3.
The key word being typically, for as much as I think Jared Dudley should have just shut up and let the crowds in both Philadelphia and Brooklyn loudly remind Ben Simmons of his offensive inadequacies, I hardly think of the latter as the type of player who is more successful playing with spite. After all, if he could be instigated into playing with more aggression in an effort to prove people wrong then it probably would have manifested itself in a couple more wide-open jump shots during the first hundred times he casually crossed the 3-point line like it didn't exist and turned his own fanbase's hopeful cheers turned into exasperated sighs.
Point being, until proven otherwise, Ben Simmons just is what he is on the offensive end. That happens to be a athletic marvel who is selflessly innovative, ultra-skilled, and stupid fast regardless of having a frame that makes him an immediate mismatch. What he is not, on the other hand, is someone who is going to mercilessly use that to his advantage in taking over a game by scoring a basketball that he's simply afraid to shoot from outside 10-12 feet. Still a massive threat, of course, but not the type you'd dread looking dead in the eyes after challenging him.
Now, I'm still not sure I agree with any Nets' player, never mind one that's extremely limited in his own skill set at this stage of his career, going out of their way to offer the Sixers' billboard material. However, it does say quite a bit about Ben Simmons' reputation around a league in which confidence is key that the lumbering 33-year old who successfully helped shut him down in Game 1 before sitting out Game 2 was far from worried that slighting him will stoke his competitive fire and bring the best out of him in Game 3.
The Warriors Made NBA Playoff History in Blowing a 31-Point Lead (3...1...Ha!) to the One Team That Has Every Reason to Never Let Them Forget It
Make no mistake, that one hurts more than your "average" cataclysmic home playoff loss in a game that was led by 30+ midway through the third quarter. I don't mean that in the sense that the Warriors' odds of winning a championship, much less this first round series with an undermanned-but-unrelenting opponent, have taken a significant hit. However, you can bet your ass that their pride woke up this morning feeling like it absorbed every big shot in a 12-round slugfest with a bottle of tequila, and that's due - in part - to the identity of the opposition that, metaphorically speaking, proceeded to crack them over the head with it.
Ever since Chris Paul & Co. delayed their dominance by one year in a contentious postseason series, the Warriors have pounded their chest just a little a bit more pompously in beating the Clippers. Though the roster for which they harbored such resentment has changed drastically, the spite with which they have shot their lights out over the past few seasons has far from faded. Patrick Beverly has talked...and talked....and talked himself into the role of demonstrative defensive nuisance that was left vacated by the departure of CP3, and Golden State has used that to fan alive a flame that probably should have died out once Blake Griffin got shipped off to Detroit.
I don't know whether the Warriors would admit to the following or not, but it's pretty obvious that the only thing they relish more than winning is doing so at the expense of the Clippers losing. Therefore, it stands to reason that the sting of being defeated in the most humbling, humiliating, and historical of fashion (well, since they blew a 3-1 series led to LeBron, anyway) would reverberate just a little more painfully with said loss having carved out a spot for the Clippers in the NBA record books.
If you wanted to pull down the corner of the web page on which you watched the highlights of history being made in order to look at the big picture then you could craft a decent argument that the Warriors aura of invincibility is much more penetrable than in years' past. You could also use last night as proof in suggesting that the Clippers are the perfect destination for premier free agents, as their proposal of pieces young and old is laughably more intriguing than that of the self-important team they share a city, arena, and market with.
However, I would rather take some time to appreciate last night for the aspect of it that the Warriors are most likely to dismiss, with that being the most unforgettable of role reversals in the otherwise one-sided rivalry that they went out of their way to resuscitate.
This Old Clip of Derrick Rose Finding out He Was Traded to New York is Humanizing for Him...And Mildly Embarrassing for the Knicks
Look, without a shadow of a doubt, 95% of the emotion that Derrick Rose was overcome with when receiving that news was a product of having his first run-in with the business side of basketball be one that sent him packing from the hometown where he experienced the highest of highs (MVP) and the lowest of lows (enough injuries to finance a medical startup) as a professional athlete. As evidenced by his instant and audible loss of breath, the fraying of his strong ties to the city of Chicago was undeniably devastating. In that sense, this was a pretty relatable and humanizing moment for someone that's said some dumb shit and allegedly done some disturbing throughout the course of his career.
However, in the sense that being traded for by someone who owns two entire fists full of championship rings and offered a home arena that's long been lauded as a mystifying Mecca where basketball players grow up dreaming of having their success, that reaction is at least slightly embarrassing for the Knicks. I can't emphasis enough that it says far, far more about his love for Chicago than his feelings toward New York at the time, but there wasn't even a half second of excitement about being courted by Phil Jackson to play at MSG. That proved more than fair seeing how instantly an era that was overseen by the senile became a contributing chapter in the dark comedy that James Dolan has spent the last two decades drawing up. Still, that doesn't make it any less funny to look back on a starting PG of the New York Knicks being unable to see any silver lining in being given that title.
Patrick Beverley, of the Clippers, Was Seen Giving Advice to Jae Crowder, of the Jazz, on How to Defend James Harden, of the Rockets
Now, it's quite possible that Jae Crowder approached Patrick Beverley for tips on how to guard someone he used to see a lot of in practice. Plus, you don't exactly have to be a degenerate gambler to know that the odds of both the Clippers and the Jazz getting past the Warriors and the Rockets in their respective series don't stand to parlay into any sort of profit. Still, giving a prospective playoff opponent advice on facing another prospective playoff opponent is a very weird move.
That being said, it's a very weird move that speaks directly to how frustrated the NBA, in its entirety, has become in trying to adequately defend James Harden. We've reached the playoffs, so the best chance you have of limiting him is probably to cross your fingers and hope the pressure turns him passive yet again, but the idea of the rest of Western Conference crowdsourcing strategies amongst themselves to stop one player is legitimately hilarious.
What we likely witnessed is a kinship between defensive stoppers that take more pride in suffocating opponents than putting up stats. However, I'd bet you could find quite a few players primed for the postseason that would also be interested in eavesdropping on a conversation whose context can be directly clued into through physical communication. If nothing else, otherwise confident NBA players adopting the "enemy of my enemy is my friend" mentality in being open to suggestions is really a testament to just how insane James Harden has driven almost every single one his primary defenders (as well as the viewing audience) with his unprecedented ability to draw fouls.
Carmelo Anthony Thought Long and Hard About Pulling Up From Three...While in Attendance of Dwyane Wade's Final NBA Game
Let's be real, he should have shot it. Not just because it would have been funny, but because it would have been a fitting, albeit unofficial, farewell.
Dirk's final act was a made mid-range jumper over a helpless defender...
Wade's final act was capping off a triple-double with an assist to longtime teammate Udonis Haslem...
Why wouldn't Melo's final act be a meaningless and ill-advised jump shot that he took after holding on to the ball for longer than he should have been?
That comes off as more mean-spirited than I'd like it to, as I do think Carmelo Anthony is a sure-shot Hall Of Famer whose bad rap isn't anywhere near as deserved as the teams that treated him like a scapegoat made it seem. For that reason, he's definitely earned a night like last of his own. Still, other than him shooting from wherever and whenever he wanted, there aren't too many things you'd think to be a necessary or appropriate part of it. That's not entirely his fault, as he made the mistake of "coming home" and putting his prime in the hands of a Knicks' organization that was at its most idiotic. However, the truth typically hurts and the truth is that Melo's career more than likely isn't going to be wrapped up with a pretty little bow like those of his best friends.
Right or wrong, Carmelo Anthony is going to be remembered as an unbelievable skilled and selfish scorer who is far richer in bankroll than he is in reputation. Might as well have stuck to that extremely under-appreciated script by continuing to polarize opinions in getting up what could have potentially been his last shot taken during an NBA game.
Anthony Davis Insists He Wasn't Trolling With His "Choice" of T-Shirt Last Night, Which is Either a Lie or a Cause for Concern
Excuse me? Are we supposed to believe that Anthony Davis doesn't have the authority to pick his own wardrobe, despite being a superstar in a league where style speaks as loudly as stats? My gut tells me that he's lying and was just passing the buck of blame to his stylist
after rocking an objectively funny fit to what's long been a cartoonish conclusion to his tenure in New Orleans, but if he's not then I'd consider his first grade level of free will as big a red flag as his past injury concerns.
I guess I shouldn't be surprised that he prefers off-court matters be put in his hands other than his own, as he silently let LeBron James and (literal) Co. rust his sterling reputation in about six seconds flat. Still, not having the presence of mind to take credit for and/or own his first praiseworthy public display of pettiness leaves me wondering whether he's cut out for the business of professional basketball.
The NBA isn't all about scoring at will as an intimidating and unguardable offensive presence, or protecting the rim with a pterodactyl-like wingspan. It's about showing a little me-first attitude while doing so. Unfortunately, too much 'tude would probably get AD's 'Looney Tunes' privileges revoked on picture day, seeing as he apparently has the autonomy and discretion of someone who still wears diapers...or would if they so happened to be laid out neatly for him at the end of his bed in the morning.
Dirk Nowitzki Received a Hero's Welcome and Was Bid a Legend's Adieu on the Night He Officially Announced His Retirement From the NBA
Welp, it doesn't get much more fitting than that. From the start, during which Dirk Nowitzki entered the arena that he's called home for the entirety of his illustrious career to the love and adoration of the most extended of his work family. To the finish, during which a bunch of the NBA legends he grew up idolizing took both the floor and the mic in speaking to his eternal place amongst them. Sprinkle in a tidy 30 point stat line capped off by a mid-range fadeaway that's been entirely unblockable since he all-but-copyrighted it decades ago, a teary-eyed tribute to his efforts in the local community, and a retirement announcement that would have been understated if not for a sold-out arena losing their voices in honor of his legacy. Put it all together and what you get is a night that did as fantastic a job as one night possibly could in encapsulating all that Dirk Nowitzki means to the game of basketball as the living embodiment of the Dallas Mavericks.
The overseas talent who, more or less, gave the "they're with me" wave in opening up the NBA's door to the flood of European players to follow. The game-changer to which every new school stretch four with a wet jumper owes a piece of their paycheck. The champion that didn't just repeatedly take less money in shrugging off the notion of joining a "superteam", but beat the brakes off what was the most notorious one at the time in proving that team can trump talent en route to a title that officially filled his resume. The leader whose career with the one franchise for which he may always be the face of might just be one of final few arguments that loyalty in sports isn't a complete farce. Dirk Nowitzki shattered both regional and physical stereotypes while all-out assaulting defensive game plans in a way that forced the entire sport to adapt for the better, and he did so as a universally beloved figure who became synonymous with his city. I don't know that last night was proof of all that, but it was as strong, thorough, and...well...awesome an implication as you could have possibly expected.
Well, It Wouldn't be a College Basketball Game of Consequence if Senseless Officiating Didn't Create Some Controversy in a Big Spot
In an completely ass backwards way, college basketball might just be the viewing experience for you if consistency is what you value most in officiating. That consistency might be in a complete lack of common sense, but if you're solely looking for a sport with reliable referees then look no further than the one in which the whistle blowers are so dependably dumb in big spots that even the calls they take far too much time to get technically right are egregiously wrong.
Even if you don't take into account the fact that he was fouled prior, there is not a person on the planet that watched De'Andre Hunter smack the ball clean out of Davide Moretti's hand and thought that a frame-by-frame investigation of film was necessary in determining who was responsible for it ending up out-of-bounds. That includes the person who unknowingly forced the turnover, who didn't care to utter a single argument against the original call on the floor. That also includes the person who could have potentially recovered to save himself from said turnover had the ball brushing against his pinky in a form and fashion that not even CSI's most faithful forensics team could provide evidence of been so unbeknownst to him that he actively slowed up and watched his team's National Championship hopes bounce casually into the crowd.
At almost any other point of that title game, other than an overtime period during which the score was within one possession, that's Texas Tech's ball without any debate whatsoever. Therefore, at it's absolute best, that reversal was only circumstantially accurate, with said circumstance being the most impactful one during which you'd think the spirit of both the sport and of replay would be most highly prioritized.
Of course, actually thinking is the quickest way to find yourself confused by the decision making of the NCAA's most trusted officials. Therefore, the real mistake was made by those, much like myself, that believed logic and reason should have factored into the process of squinting at a tiny TV monitor while determining whether or not to create an otherwise non-existent controversy in the waning minutes of an otherwise awesome championship game.
Years After Zaza Pachulia Taunted Him Following A Bodycheck, Russell Westbrook Was Finally Able To "Get His Ass Back" as Promised
Anyone else. Almost anyone else in the NBA and I'd presume this was nothing more than a coincidental product of ironic circumstances. Almost anyone else and I'd think that unforgiving flagrant foul wasn't as much of a long-overdue execution of a poignantly promised revenge plot as much as it was a desperately physical play between two players whose contentious history is water under the bridge at this point.
Fortunately for haters of Cro-Magnon brutes who have little business on a basketball court these days, it was not anyone else. It was Russell Westbrook, and for that reason I couldn't be more positive that that proverbial bridge was about as eternally burned in his brain as the image of Zaza Pachulia towering intimidatingly over him before a single ripple crossed under its shadow. Two years and change, during which a largely irrelevant goon that evolution appears to have left behind changed teams from the one with which Brodie harbors eternal animosity, and there's not a doubt in my mind that in that moment vindication was on his mind as he brought down the hammer to that oversized head.
As an appreciator of timeless and unconditional grudges, I respect the hell out of that type of long-term memory for the malicious. Especially when it results in the ass of a reckless idiot having finally been gotten back with a vengeance by a player who prides himself on never forgetting.
The Unsatisfying End to the Auburn/Virginia Game Was an Unmistakable Reminder that Our Relationship with College Basketball is Love/Hate
Unpredictability. If you had to boil the sports' world's universal appreciation for the NCAA tournament down to one characteristic, it would be unpredictability. It's called March Madness for a reason, and that reason is exemplified by the fact that you statistically have almost as good a chance of defending the rim of Zion Williamson as you do of picking the entire first round right.
However, what's often lost in that unpredictability is the aspects of the game that are often responsible for it, with those primarily being unreliable/borderline incompetent officiating and the preposterous decision making of young players whose developing minds have a tendency to betray them during the most pressure-packed moments of their careers to date. The combination of those two things allowed for an ending so unsatisfying that it had some people putting aside the evidence of their eyeballs in proposing that one of the most obvious fouls you'll ever see should have been intentionally overlooked as a makeup non-call of sorts.
The way I see it, however, is that putting forth a product whose amateurism is far more obvious competitively than it is fiscally is both a gift and a curse. I'd love to sit here and chastise the officials for having but a single eye open in missing a clear double dribble, just as I'd like to have reached through my TV and tugged the back of the jersey of Auburn's Samir Doughty as he performed a flying hump of Virginia's Kyle Guy before the ball had even left his hands. Unfortunately, the truth of the matter is that we've seen similar situations arise annually so to consider those wrongs anything other than part of the unprofessional package at this point would be a fool's errand.
The fate of the Final Four being decided on the free throw line after a shooting foul on a shot that should have never been taken is clearly the worst case scenario. That said, it's those same moving parts that often make for the best case scenarios of unimaginable comebacks and buzzer-beating half court heaves. College basketball is flawed, in both supervision and sport. It would be disingenuous to only acknowledge that when we're left longing for a better ending, since we are so quick to ignore it when it gives us the most entertaining of endings. In theory, the amount of revenue generated should result in it being called correctly, but as it pertains to the oft-immature gameplay...well...you can't say the NCAA doesn't get what it pays for.
I get that the adrenaline that comes with playing a professional sport from above a 10-foot rim played a huge role in Corey Brewer bouncing right back up from a forceful 7.5 foot free fall onto the hardest of wood.
It's just that now I need to assume that the man is incapable of spilling blood and the only thing coursing through his veins is adrenaline, because that recovery was quick enough to make Deadpool feel inferior as an immortal. The Kings' guard didn't just avoid serious injury while making the best possible argument on behalf of the legitimacy of a lay-up, he actually got up smiling and laughing as if what he just endured was a trip over his own shoelaces as opposed to an uncontrolled, one-story drop straight onto his shoulder blades. It's never a good sign when you get an official to leave behind his lack of bias and run over flailing his arms in playing the role of well-intentioned-but-entirely-unhelpful good samaritan. Yet, Corey Brewer blew straight through that sign like it was about as warranted as a crossing guard in the countryside of Kansas.
Getting up and giving an entire arena that was collectively holding its breath a chance to exhale before it even came remotely close to becoming lightheaded might be the most athletically impressive thing he's accomplished throughout his career, and I promise that I don't even mean that as an insult. Dude plummeted from the sky like his chute malfunctioned in deployment and didn't so much as scratch up his pride, as if you needed another reminder (other than the fact that he was that high in the first place) that professional athletes are just built differently.
I mean, as the winners of something called the 'National Invitational Tournament', the Texas Longhorns aren't not National Champions. I don't know that the university to which Kevin Durant once devoted his amateur status should be claiming accolades that require a double negative as a qualifier, but hey - it's not up to us to set expectations for a once proud program that now considers technical titles to be the peak of their performance.
Personally, I'd be a bit embarrassed to so publicly celebrate the highly undecorated honor of winning first runner-up to a 68 team tournament, but so long as it's also an admission that a Big 12 team has slowly sandbagged their way into considering a country-wide consolation bracket to be equitable competition then I'm cool with it. Texas might be "National Champions" in a way that makes last year's UCF football team feel like the gridiron Goliath of the universe by comparison, but they are still "National Champions" and there's no amount of sarcasm and shame you can send their way that will change their min...
I'd Imagine That Eric Bledsoe Would Consider His Two Technicals to be Well Worth it After Getting Ejected For Pegging Joel Embiid In The Chest
If you want to tell me that Eric Bledsoe didn't waste any time in letting Joel Embiid get up under his skin and/or in his head, thus prompting an overreaction worthy of a dishonorable discharge then I wouldn't be at liberty to argue with you. However, if the return velocity on that passive aggressive serve is any indication then I'm willing to bet that not even a couple hours spent alone in the locker room reflecting on his ejection was enough to make him to regret it. You couldn't even sneak in a snap of the fingers before he whipped that ball back with the ferocity of someone who's been dreaming of the opportunity to bean the breath out of one of the sport's most incessant talkers, so you won't convince me that Eric Bledsoe wasn't more than satisfied with his efforts in calling it an early night.
Take into account that Giannis proceeded to remind us of his status as the immaculate lovechild of freaks and Greeks in willing the Bucks to victory, and there was ultimately even less harm/foul attached to Eric Bledsoe's dedication to being defensive in flashing Gold Glove potential as a shortstop. Punishable by prompt removal, sure. However, you can't say that 2.5 minute performance was forgettable as he may have turned in the NBA's first Web Gem in pulling a hair trigger to "turn two" into the belly of one of basketball's biggest antagonists. Joel Embiid may have won the battle by suckering him into street clothes, but Eric Bledsoe won the WAR as his wins would be far above replacement had he shown that type of off-balance velocity and accuracy from the hot corner. The former got to stay in the game, but he would have been out in emasculating fashion had that game been kickball and he were running to first as opposed to running his mouth.
Oddly enough, that might even have been a better fate...
Clippers' Announcer Don MacLean Went Just A Wee Bit Too Far With His James Harden Hate in Basically Calling Him A Cheater
I'm going to do something rare here and sympathize with this hottest of hot take...while wholeheartedly disagreeing with it.
It's fairly obvious that James Harden is not, in fact, cheating the sport by being unstoppably good with the basketball in his hands. At worst, he's guilty of gamesmanship in finding slick and creative ways to draw contact, but to say someone is "manipulating the game" to their advantage is essentially the same thing as saying that they are successfully strategizing. I feel like a professional broadcaster, whether he's justified in being bored by it or not, should probably know that not to be illegal.
James Harden is also not playing a style that even a handful of players could match at if simply given the opportunity. Like him or not, a lefty that can shoot the lights out, ball handle in a phone booth, and stop-n-start on a dime in efficiently creating open opportunities for himself and his teammates while going one-on-five against a set defense is entirely unprecedented. James Harden is not the best or most well-rounded player in the world, but he is far and away the greatest at what he does.
Now, if you wanted to tell me that what James Harden primarily does is rack up nearly 40 points and 8 assists a night in a way that is nonsensically frustrating to follow then I'd give you a kiss smack dab in the middle of the forehead, for I'd love where your head was at. Even though I was shaking my head at the ridiculous words coming out of the mouth of the Clippers' announcer, I sympathized with the spiteful spirit of them as I too was growing increasingly annoyed while watching the Rockets. Aesthetically pleasing, James Harden's game is not, which is perplexing given how often we applaud the insane offensive efforts of particular players.
Point being, Don MacLean is way off base in implying that one of the most unique scorers of all time isn't playing basketball, as if he's out there kicking the ball into the hoop while beating off defenders with an L-shaped stick. However, if he softened that stance by saying that one of the most unique scorers of all time isn't playing the type of team basketball that most want to watch for more than five minutes at a time then he might just be on to something. As good as Harden is, nothing he does - over, and over, and over again - can fully make up for the stagnancy of the other nine, routinely statuesque players on the court when, by design, he goes full-AAU in dribbling the ball with the ferocity of someone trying to dig their way to China.
That, of course, is most certainly not his damn problem, as he should do whatever the hell it takes to will Houston to victory. However, it's certainly not surprising that it has drawn some overboard opinions along the way, as the only thing more irrationally infuriating than an unsightly brand of basketball is one that also consistently works.
Gregg Popovich Made History in Getting Tossed 63 Seconds Into a Game, And Then Turned His Prompt Ejection Into a Comedy Skit After The Game
At the risk of turning up the water pressure in showering Gregg Popovich with the unconditional praise that seems to roll off his back just about any time he opens his mouth, be it as an endearing grandfather figure or an grumpy old man, I must say that he handled that perfectly. Of course, I speak not of the mildly contentious interaction that got him dismissed with the quickness of an alcoholic during Communion by an overreactive official that was clutching his pearls so tightly you'd think his house had been broken into and his favorite ensemble was at risk. Rather, I speak of the sarcastic way in which he went about addressing it.
It takes a severe lack of fucks to set an NBA record in the race "up to here" on a referee, so I highly doubt the aftermath was all that calculated. Regardless, Pop being more than gracious in defeat while roping the winning coach into a comedy bit of which the punchline was the absurdity of his instant ejection gets the same point across as setting $25,000 on fire by spewing spite through the media.
Maybe there's still a fine coming his way, maybe there's not. Fact remains that it's tough not to be swayed into believing he was in the right by the smirk that crept across your face while watching him perform satire with a respected peer of an opponent. He doesn't always care enough to display the type of veteran savvy from which the Golden State Warriors should take notes in his dealings with the people he unquestionably considers professional inconveniences. However, when he does he sure has a way of reminding us why we're so quick to give him the benefit of the doubt when he doesn't.
Russell Westbrook Put Forth an Absurdly Historic Performance While Going Above and Beyond in Honor of Nipsey Hussle
A small, curious part of me can't help but wonder whether it was before, during, or after Russell Westbrook begun compiling historic numbers that are without precedent over the last half century that he started doing the addition on his in memoriam math. After all, you can let his triple-double inspired MVP chase from a few seasons ago serve as proof that there is no stopping that man when he is on a mission, even if that mission is the NBA equivalent of the fucking moon landing.
The truth of the matter is that whatever that truth is doesn't really matter.
What does matter is that Russell Westbrook took the floor across from the hometown team of both himself and senselessly slain rapper-turned-role model he was clearly paying tribute to and put on a performance that made damn sure that, if only for one more day, the latter's name and legacy would continue to lead the news.
It would be wildly disingenuous for me to act as if I fully understand everything that Nipsey Hussle meant to the community to which he both figuratively and literally gave his life. However, being the blatantly obvious motivation for Russell Westbrook's monumental effort certainly didn't do anything to blur that admittedly naive perspective. As much attention as you could possibly bring to the memory of an objectively good man through the playing of basketball, his friend and peer achieved in a triumphantly bittersweet way that had all eyez on the undeniable impact of someone who has been described as this generation's Tupac.
The importance of that might not calculate as cleanly as the first 20/20/20 game in 51 years, but hopefully an undeniable association with a legend translates across the boundaries of the culture that it was unquestionably for as we discuss what was as legendary a stat line as it was a well-deserved dedication.
Channing Frye Dropped The Mic On His Long, Successful NBA Career With A Classic Quote For Any Haters
Bravo. Just, bravo. We should all be so lucky to talk such talk while happily walking away from our livelihoods feeling so self-satisfied, though far more likely to be much older and much less accomplished. Channing Frye won't be the within the first 100 names you mention if one day you're asked to craft a list of the most impactful players of his era, but that doesn't change the fact that he's got things that appreciate much better than fame in both a championship ring and long-term financial security. I don't know that we all needed to reminded of that on his way out the NBA's backdoor, but with the disproportional amount of social media scrutiny professional athletes are subjected to in his era, I can respect him quickly sneaking in a middle finger of a mic drop to the haters while in the process of waving goodbye to basketball.
I guess my only question is, does any fan really think that there's an NBA player that sucks relative to regular folk? I suppose I could see why some might think they couldtest Brian Scalabrine, just from a stereotypical perspective, but is there really anyone out there that read Channing Frye's challenge and responded with "alright, bet"? I love him semi-sarcastically using the LA Fitness line as a dig at every person that's ever questioned his capabilities, but - at the risk of giving society too much credit - I have a hard time believing there are all that many people that needed to hear it. As a 7-footer whose shooting 38% from three throughout his career, Channing Frye wouldn't even have to put in a flipped switch worth of effort to absolutely light up almost any gym. I accepted that as fact long before he showed his personality in half-heartedly threatening me into doing so, and so should everyone else that consumes a sport whose highest level is reached only by incredibly talented physical freaks of nature.
The Infamously Defective Sneaker That Injured Zion Williamson Is MIA, In Case You Were Looking For A "Conspiracy" That's Nothing Of The Sort
TMZ- No one seems to know the location of Zion Williamson's infamous blown-out Nike sneaker -- not Zion, not Duke, not even Nike ... and it's a huge problem considering it's worth around $250,000!!!
Of course, Zion exploded his left PG 2.5 PE sneaker during the Feb. 20 game against North Carolina -- injuring his knee in the process. Thankfully, he's better now.
But, what happened next? Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski has said Nike reps came out to Durham and inspected the shoe in hopes of identifying the problem. But, it's unclear who has the shoe now.
So, when we spotted Zion and his Duke teammates in Washington, D.C. the other day, we asked the 18-year-old straight up ... who's got the shoe?
Zion smiled and told us, "Uh, ask coach about 'em."
So, we did! We hit up the Duke athletic dept., and a rep told us they have no idea where the shoes ended up.
Next call was to Nike -- maybe they have the shoe, right?
A Nike spokesperson told us ... “We’re thrilled to see Zion returning to the court. After working closely with the Duke Basketball team to examine the issue, we are confident this was an isolated incident. We continue to work with Duke, and all of our partner programs, to ensure we are providing the best product for their athletes.”
When we again asked who currently possessed the busted sneaker, Nike told us ... "I don't have any more information [on the location of the shoe]."
Up next on 'The First 48 (days)': The sneaker last seen in the hands of the company that could have potentially lost millions upon millions of dollars following its insanely public eruption that put in jeopardy the health of sports' most prospectively profitable foot in a decade has gone missing...
Talk about a show that would be over prior to the first commercial break. I mean, what are we even talking about here? This is far more common sense than conspiracy. What was Nike supposed to do? Perform the autopsy then immortalize it's most embarrassing moment as a bajillion dollar company in bronze before returning it to the person who proved to be too physical a freak to be restrained by rubber? Put their most monumental miss in manufacturing on display in a glass case to be reminded of it daily?
If we're really interested in finding this thing then I'd suggest a search crew take to the deepest, darkest, and most unexplored body of water near Nike HQ, and feel around the bottom for a cinderblock, as either the shoe or it's original inspector will likely be to laced tightly to it. I don't see that as necessary, since treating a defective shoe turned Size 16 piece of trash like a missing person is very extremely odd. Leave it to TMZ to make something diabolical out of absolutely nothing, but whatever it's been appraised at is peanuts in comparison to what it's disposal meant to the company that created it. Therefore, I'd venture to guess it ultimately ended up in the same resting place as peanut shells. Not exactly a groundbreaking revelation is you ask me.