Let’s get the facts out of the way first:
With 1:12 left in Game 2 and the Celtics up by seven, Paul Pierce came over to help Kevin Garnett up off the ground and said:
“We are not going back to L.A.“
Here is the video, via Sports By Brooks, and Pierce is clearly saying it.
Some Lakers fans are taking offense at this. Some Celtics fans are taking this as a sign of the confidence of their team to take the whole thing. Both fan bases are delusional (which we knew going into this series).
So, in the heat of the moment, Paul Pierce talked trash. His team was about to even the NBA finals on the road, and he was pumped up and talking smack to a fan.
So what? Athletes stay stuff in the heat of an intense game all the time, things that are far worse. To fans, to refs, to each other. Pick up games at the Y have worse trash talk, let alone what gets said on the interior of an NFL line.
But, some microphone picked this up and it is a story. Look, the 2-3-2 NBA finals format punishes the road team something fierce. Winning three games in a row — even at home — against a quality opponent is a real long shot. The Lakers are going to win one of the games in Boston, at least. What, you think a Rondo triple-double and a Ray Allen three-point record are going to happen nightly?
Then the Celtics will have to win one more on the road. Probably a Game 7. And that’s what we all want to see anyway. Whatever Paul Pierce says during a game.
Archie Goodwin had been stuck behind better guards with the Suns, most notably Eric Bledsoe and Brandon Knight.
But when Goodwin lost playing time to someone better and younger – Devin Booker – it became time to exit Phoenix.
Suns general manager Ryan McDonough complied.
Paul Coro of The Arizona Republic:
McDonough said they did not see a way Goodwin would play meaningful time in a fourth Suns season.
“We told Archie Goodwin and his agent at the end of last season that if there wasn’t going to be an opportunity for him to play going into the last year of his deal, that we would try to help him get to a good spot,” McDonough said. “We explored some trade scenarios throughout the summer and into the fall. We tried to help him get elsewhere in a trade.“
Unable to fulfill a trade request from the Goodwin camp, the Suns waived the 22-year-old
This allows Phoenix to keep two players without guaranteed salaries, John Jenkins and Derrick Jones Jr.
Jenkins, the No. 23 pick in the 2012 draft, previous played for the Hawks and Mavericks. He looks like a good spot-up shooter and shot well from beyond the arc in Phoenix after being claimed on waivers last season. But he was dreadful from beyond the arc in Dallas and has had other lulls prior. Despite quality defensive rebounding for a shooting guard, he’s a defensive minus.
Undrafted out of UNLV, Jones is a phenomenal athlete. But he needs to develop his skills and, at 6-foot-7 and 190 pounds, his body. He’s an intriguing project.
So was Goodwin, but the guard didn’t progress enough in three NBA seasons. He remains a lousy 3-point shooter and unreliable defender. His ability to penetrate goes only so far without better finishing or floor vision.
Goodwin’s athleticism and raw tools could convince a team to take a flier on him. But he has a long way to go to being a helpful NBA player. The team that knows him best being willing to let him walk says something.
The Golden State Warriors vs. the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Like virtually every other prognosticator, we at PBT are predicting that as the NBA Finals as well.
Is having the same teams in three straight Finals good for the league? Which teams could get in the way of that rematch? Kurt Helin and Dane Carbaugh of NBCSports.com discuss just that, including the Celtics, Spurs, and Clippers. They also talk surprise teams and the log jams in both conferences after you step back from the top few teams on each side. There’s a lot to cover.
As always, you can check out the podcast below, or listen and subscribe via iTunes (check there to see all the NBC Sports podcasts), subscribe via the fantastic Stitcher app, check us out on Google play, or check out our new PBT podcast homepage and archive at Audioboom.com.
NEW YORK (AP) — The Golden State Warriors and TNT will begin the season with a tribute to sideline reporter Craig Sager, who is battling leukemia.
TNT will unveil a T-shirt during its Tuesday night studio show that was inspired by the suit Sager wore while receiving the Jimmy Valvano Award at this year’s ESPY Awards. Proceeds from the sale of the shirt will benefit the SagerStrong Foundation .
The Warriors will then give their fans at their season opener against San Antonio a Sager Strong T-shirt. The team also will play a message in the arena supporting his fight.
The popular reporter, best known for his colorful suits, won’t be able to work the game as he continues treatment for the disease.
He also designed a special edition Nike sneaker, and 100 pairs will be available via online auction beginning Tuesday through Nov. 4. A portion of the proceeds from the auction will benefit the SagerStrong Foundation.
Starting Tuesday night, the games matter. The dunks matter.
But before we move onto those dunks, let’s have some fun with the top 10 dunks of the meaningless preseason. They may not matter, but they certainly were fun.
Of course there are some expected highlights — can you have a dunk reel without Russell Westbrook? — but game-winning dunks always get the top slot.