Well, at least one aspect of the Kobe-Michael Jordan comparisons are valid. According to the Associated Press, Thursday night’s game 7 of the NBA Finals drew a massive overnight rating of 18.2. (The game drew a 39.7 rating in Los Angeles, and a 33.9 rating in Boston.)
BOSTON (AP) — Boston police say they do not plan to investigate an apparent nightclub scuffle involving Philadelphia 76ers center Jahlil Okafor unless someone involved comes forward to say they were the victim of a crime.
Officer James Kenneally said Friday that police responded to reports of a fight outside the nightclub hours after the winless Sixers lost to the Boston Celtics on Wednesday night. But Kenneally says the participants were gone by the time officers arrived and nobody was arrested or charged.
TMZ posted cellphone video of the altercation on Thursday, showing Okafor yelling and later shoving a man. The website reports that the confrontation started when someone taunted the 76ers. Philadelphia has 16 losses and is the only team in the NBA without a win.
An agent for the No. 3 pick in the 2015 draft did not immediately return a message Friday seeking comment. The 76ers declined comment.
Philadelphia plays at Houston on Friday night.
Jason Kidd sure wasn’t.
Milwaukee Bucks head coach Jason Kidd has been suspended one game without pay for aggressively pursuing and confronting a game official, slapping the ball out of his hands, and not leaving the court in a timely manner upon his ejection, it was announced today by Kiki VanDeWeghe, Executive Vice President, Basketball Operations.
The incident, for which Kidd was assessed a technical foul and ejected, occurred with 1:49 remaining in the fourth quarter of Milwaukee’s 129-118 loss to the Sacramento Kings on Wednesday, Nov. 25 at BMO Harris Bradley Center.
Kidd will serve his suspension tonight when the Bucks play the Orlando Magic at Amway Center.
One game is a standard suspension for bumping an official, and it’s probably what Kidd deserved (what Budenholzer deserved, too, for what it’s worth).
But slapping the ball from a ref’s hands looks so much worse than a standard bump. Kidd should feel fortunate the NBA suspended him on the merit of the action rather than perception of it.
The Warriors have surged to a 16-0 start with interim coach Luke Walton, as Steve Kerr is out after a bad reaction to his offseason back surgery.
Walton’s coaching record: 0-0.
Per NBA policy, the 16 wins are credited to Kerr.
Kerr and Walton are engaged in a brutal war of deferential humility. To hear Walton tell it, he’s just a functionary, carrying out Kerr’s well-laid plans. To hear Kerr tell it, Walton deserves all the credit.
“I think it’s ridiculous,” Kerr told ESPN.com when asked about getting all of Walton’s wins. “I’m sitting in the locker room and watching the games on TV, and I’m not even traveling to most of the road games. Luke’s doing all the work with the rest of the staff. Luke is 15-0 right now. I’m not. So it’s the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard, to be honest with you. I don’t even understand it.”
Walton expresses no angst over being winless, saying of Kerr, “Steve’s done a lot for me. It’s the least I can do to add a couple wins on his total for him with all he’s done for me.”
This is purely an academic argument. It doesn’t really matter which coach gets the wins.
But we care about records in sports, so it is important to get this right. Personally, I think Walton should get credit. He’s the head coach for these games.
The biggest counterargument is that Kerr is still involved, which is true. But he’s involved on a level more in line with an assistant. Several people are involved in a team’s coaching for every game. Only the head coach gets the win or loss on his record.
The Warriors have designated Walton their head coach. He should get the wins.
The biggest hindrance in changing the policy is probably retroactively altering other coaches’ records. Specifically, Don Nelson is the all-time wins leader with just three more than Lenny Wilkins. But the Mavericks went 10-4 in 2004-05 while coached by Avery Johnson as Nelson attended to health issues, both his own and his wife’s. Nelson stepped down for good later in the season, and Johnson’s 16-2 finish goes to Johnson. But Johnson’s first 14 games as acting head coach are credited to Nelson. Does the NBA want to revoke Nelson’s wins record over this?
So, this issue is bigger than the Warriors.
For them, the key facts much simpler. An undefeated team has two people fighting to credit the other for its success.
Whomever officially gets the wins, this is a healthy organization.
The team has released a short, vague statement. CSN Philly:
“We are aware of the report and we are currently working to gather additional information. Until that time, we will have no further comment.”
But what do the 76ers really think?
I spoke with somebody close to him. They’ve talked to the 76ers. They’ve talked with the NBA.
The Sixers are very supportive of Okafor. They understand the situation, but they have to do their due diligence and look into it.
The Sixers are supporting him. They’re not blaming him. If they have to discipline, it still won’t sully him in their eyes.
Again, I’m told that they’re very supportive of him.
If the 76ers really support Okafor, they’ll do so publicly. Leaking their support anonymously doesn’t really move the needle.
I also find this report a little dubious, because Broussard only said he talked to someone close to Okafor. If the 76ers’ viewpoint came filtered through an Okafor rep, there could be a lot of spin – though it’s possible Broussard also spoke with someone from the team.
What choice do the 76ers have but to support Okafor, anyway? He’s a promising young player on a team that desperately needs hope. It seems he made a major mistake, but it’s not a career-ender. And as long as the 76ers are keeping him, they might as well stand by him.
However – based on what we’ve seen, which is obviously not everything – this incident should “sully him in their eyes.” He appeared to be the aggressor, and the team should be concerned by that. Perhaps, further investigation has provided extenuating circumstances, but absent new evidence, the 76ers should view him less favorably – and be proactive about helping him correct any underlying issues.
That’s the support Okafor needs from them.