NBA finals Celtics Lakers Game 1: Pau Gasol tears the Big Ticket in half


pgasol_dunk.jpgThe spirit was willing. The body was not.

Kevin Garnett reached up with the ball to dunk and found it just.. wasn’t there.

In Game 1 of the NBA finals, there were many reasons the Celtics fell to the Lakers by 13 (at one point down 20). But it cannot be overstated the level of Pau-nage that Pau Gasol unleashed upon Kevin Garnett Thursday night. Whereas Garnett enjoyed size advantages over Udonis Haslem, Antawn Jamison, and Rashard Lewis, facing seven foot Gasol was a completely different matter.

Gasol finished with 23 points, 14 rebounds, 3 blocks, and 3 assists, with two considerable blocks on Garnett in the block. There was nothing the Celtics could do against Pau. He was a monster. 8, count ’em, 8 offensive rebounds. He had the mid-range, nailing contested shots with a hand in his face. He had the inside game going, cleaning up misses and working the pick and roll superbly.

Garnett? On the long list of red flags for the Celtics after Game 1, Garnett has to wave the brightest and most alarmingly. It wasn’t just how Gasol blocked him, dwarfing Garnett, but it was the measure of fail. The play that encapsulated his night was a fourth quarter bunnie miss where all he had to do was dunk with two hands. But the ball just came out, Garnett got almost no lift and the Lakers walked away with possession.

Garnett had made a living in the playoffs off the pick and pop 18 footer. But not only was Gasol’s length covering the shot itself, but the Lakers’ perimeter defense picked off Garnett’s passes resulting in deflected resets and a few steals. Garnett was out of his zone, and then his age did the rest of the damage. 

It was one game, something Garnett can brush off. And he recognizes he has to play better. But the question is what Garnett can do to combat the physical and talent advantages Gasol presents.

One thing’s certain. Screaming, yelling, cursing, and hitting your head on a stanchion isn’t going to get the job done.

Report: Some Hawks executives doubt Danny Ferry’s contrition

Danny Ferry, Mike Budenholzer
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Since his racist comments about Luol Deng, Danny Ferry has mostly avoided the public eye.

He apologized through a couple statements released around the beginning of his leave of absence. He met with black community leaders. He claimed “full responsibility.”

A cadre of NBA people vouched for him. A law firm the Hawks hired to investigate themselves essentially cleared of him of being motivated by racial bias.

But there’s another side.

Kevin Arnovitz and Brian Windhorst of ESPN:

Ferry’s efforts at contrition sometimes fell short to some inside the organization. Several Hawks executives were at times put off by Ferry’s behavior during a compulsory two-day sensitive training session, especially since they considered his actions triggered the assembly in the first place. He came across as inattentive and dismissive of the exercise, some said, and fiddled with his phone quite a bit. Ferry contends he was taking notes on the meeting.

“It was awkward for everyone because I had not seen or been around Hawks employees for three months,” Ferry told ESPN this summer about the sensitivity training. “I took the seminar seriously, participated in the role-play exercises and certainly learned from the two-day session.”

the Hawks satisfied Ferry on June 22 by releasing both the written Taylor report and a flowery press release in which Hawks CEO Koonin was quoted saying, among other things, that “Danny Ferry is not a racist.” Some Hawks executives grumbled that the team overreached in exonerating Ferry, but doing so — not to mention paying Ferry significantly more than the $9 million he was owed on his “golden ticket” deal — was the cost of moving on.

I don’t know whether Ferry has shown the proper level of contrition, whether he was playing on his phone or taking notes.

But I know what he said:

“He’s a good guy overall, but he’s got some African in him, and I don’t say that in a bad way other than he’s a guy that may be making side deals behind you, if that makes sense. He has a storefront out front that’s beautiful and great, but he may be selling some counterfeit stuff behind you.”

He was not reading directly from a scouting report. He did not stop when his paraphrasing repeated a racist trope.

That’s a problem.

I don’t think Ferry intended to say something racist – but he did.

It’s a fixable issue, though. Through introspection and a desire to change, he can learn from this mistake. Maybe he already has.

That some around him don’t think he took that process seriously is worth noting. They might be off base, and Ferry obviously disagrees with their perception. But this is a two-sided story despite the common narrative focusing on Ferry’s redemption.

It’ll be up to any potential future employers to sort through the discrepancies.

Gilbert Arenas: Caron Butler’s version of gun incident ‘false’

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Caron Butler recently detailed the Gilbert Arenas-Javaris Crittenton gun incident.

In a since-deleted – but screenshot-captured – Instagram post, Arenas gives his description:

The biggest differences between Butler’s and Arenas’ versions:

1. Arenas claims he wasn’t the one who owed Crittenton money, that the feud escalated over Arenas prematurely showing his hand during a card game.

2. Arenas says he told Crittenton to pick a gun to shoot Arenas with – not to pick a gun he’d get shot by Arenas with.