Andray Blatche responds, says he didn't quit


Thumbnail image for blatche_game.jpgUPDATE 4:56 pm: More comments from Blatche, via the amazing Dan Steinberg (yes, you have to use the word amazing there) at the D.C. Sports Bog. Read the comments yourself, basically Blatche is showing a lot of immaturity. Not a shock. Sad, but not a shock.

4:29 pm: According to Wizards Beat reporter Michael Lee — and his well-sourced twitter account — Blatche will not be suspended and will play tonight.

2:49 pm: What we have here is a failure to communicate.

Andray Blatche said he was more than willing to go back into the game last night for the Washington Wizards, and said so to 106.7 The Fan in DC.

“I never said I didn’t wanna go back in the game. I love the game. I love to play. No coaches came to me. I never told anybody [I didn’t want to go back in the game].”

Blatche confirmed that he didn’t want to listen to what his head coach, Flip Saunders, had to say when he was removed from the game eight minutes in to Tuesday night’s loss, Washington’s 12th straight.

“I thought it was gonna be about shot selection, and it was too early to be talking about that,” he said. “So I just went over to the bench and sat down.”

Andre, just a word of advice — I don’t care if the coach wants to talk to you about what he is getting his wife for her birthday, if he wants to talk to you, you listen, smile and nod. You don’t have to do what he says — just ask Vince Carter — but you have to listen. Blowing off the coach never, never works.

Saunders apparently didn’t let it go this morning at a practice, and Blatche likely will not suit up tonight. Saunders has to set the tone and get the players to, “respect my authoritah” on a team that has lost a dozen straight and is heading into the tank. He needs to establish something that will carry over to next season.

But now is the time for everyone to be adults, talk it out and move on. And do all of it quietly. Blatche is finally showing flashes of the player he can be, and while Saunders needed to send a message, he doesn’t want one of his best players to mentally end the season a few weeks early. The Wizards will be better down the line with that Blatche than without.

Kristaps Porzingis grew up a Kobe fan. Still is one.


When you hear player comparisons for Knicks rookie, the most common is Dirk Nowitzki — a European big with ridiculous shooting range and potential to embarrass anyone.

So did he grow up idolizing Dirk? Not so much.

Rather, like many of his generation, he grew up idolizing Kobe Bryant, he told Mike Francesa of WFAN.

“My favorite player growing up was Kobe. The Lakers were my team and I still love him.”

There is an entire generation of NBA players — and just fans — who would say the same thing.

In the interview, Porzingis laments his missed shots and turnovers, he thinks he can be a lot better. That is exactly what you want out of a rookie. It’s a huge adjustment playing at the NBA level, the speed of the game and IQ is a leap from Europe (or college). Recognizing the challenge is part of it.

There’s a lot to like in Porzingis. He could be special (we don’t know yet, we see only the potential). But idolizing Kobe — and if you understand the work he put in, the passion for the game — can be a good start.

(Hat tip NBA reddit)

Warriors’ interim coach Luke Walton’s car stolen

Luke Walton

If you’re looking for a “when are things going to go wrong for the Warriors” moment, we have one for you. But it may not be what you had hoped for.

Warriors’ interim head coach Luke Walton — the guy on the sidelines for the 15 (soon to be 16) game winning streak — had his car stolen during a crime spree, reports

One of the cars stolen during an Oakland Hills crime spree belongs to Golden State Warriors coach Luke Walton, Alameda County District Attorney Nancy O’Malley said late Monday.

Walton’s Mercedes Benz was stolen Tuesday by two suspects, who police believe are also responsible for a violent attack on a 75-year-old woman outside her home on Thursday. The suspects also took the woman’s car during the attack, according to police.

Yikes. That’s serious.

I’m sure Steve Kerr has like 14 cars, he can loan one to Walton.

Pacers guard George Hill returns Tuesday against Wizards

Paul George, Marcus Morris
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WASHINGTON (AP) — Pacers guard George Hill returned to the lineup Tuesday night against Washington after missing three games with an upper respiratory infection.

Hill is averaging 14 points and just under 37 minutes in 10 games this season. He was on the bench in case of emergency in Saturday’s victory over Milwaukee.

Coach Frank Vogel said Tuesday Hill’s infection had improved “to the point where he’s fine to play,” but would keep an eye out for fatigue after an 11-day layoff.

Hassan Whiteside on intentional fouls: “It’s not working, so keep fouling me”

Hassan Whiteside

Remember how Adam Silver was preaching that the league didn’t want to change the intentional foul rule — the hack-a-Shaq strategy — because it was really about two players (DeAndre Jordan and Dwight Howard) and a handful of others now and then. The fact that it’s not basketball didn’t matter.

Well, it’s not just two — Miami’s Hassan Whiteside has gotten the treatment this season. He’s a 53.4 percent free throw shooter this season.

And he says bring it on. From Jason Lieser of the Palm Beach Post:

“I’m enjoying this,” he said. “Foul me so I can get a double-double and we can win. It’s not working, so keep fouling me.”

He’s even smart at not getting fouled.

Whiteside also is liking that teams are looking at their options against the best defense in the NBA — yes, Miami at 94 points allowed per 100 possessions, is the best defense in the NBA right now — and deciding to attack Whiteside.

“There’s teams that’s out there that say ‘Stay away from Hassan,’ and there’s teams that say, ‘We don’t care if Hassan’s down there. Attack Hassan.’ I love them teams that do that. God bless them coaches. I love them teams.”

Whiteside is not as great a defender as the block totals would indicate — if he doesn’t see a block in it, his rotations can be a bit slow. One scout recently called him a selfish defender to me recently, suggesting he is in it for the numbers, not the sacrifices needed for an elite defense. True or not, the Heat have an elite defense and Whiteside is at the heart of it.

And if the strategy is to try to exploit him, Whiteside plans to make people pay.