Kevin Love, Kurt Rambis hug it out, say everything is just fine

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Kevin Love had a lot of people rushing to his defense — including us here at PBT — after he sat out the final eight minutes of a one-point loss to Sacramento Wednesday. Rambis took some hits for playing Anthony Tolliver over Love down the stretch.

But while the Internet was doing what the Internet does — overreacting to one game then watching a cat playing a piano — Love and Rambis were hugging it out.

Well, there may not have been actual hugs involved, but Rambis and Love talked and said it was all good between them, according to the Star Tribune.

“If he wasn’t frustrated, I would be significantly more concerned,” Rambis said. “I want players who believe they should be on the floor for all 48 minutes.”

“Defensively, we had lapses the whole game,” Love said. “In that situation, Anthony (Tolliver) was playing great down the stretch. You have to give credit to him and the rest of the guys on the floor.”

“I talked to Kurt,” Love said. “I’m fine with it. I don’t want to use this as a telling tale for the whole season. I know I forced and rushed a lot of shots. We all were trying to play great because it was opening night, but it didn’t work out for a lot of us.”

Love was not having a great game at either end of the floor, but the question was more a philosophical one about keeping your best player on the floor in crunch time, about giving he the chance to lead.

But this may be a moot issue going forward — Minnesota just lost at home to a Sacramento team playing without it’s best player (Tyreke Evans). The Wolves keep playing like that and there won’t be a lot of crunch time this season to worry about.

Rockets bench hams it up over Andre Roberson missed free throw (video)

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Russell Westbrook might not want to talk about his supporting cast distinctively, but it’s a real issue for the Thunder, who trail the Rockets 3-1 in their first-round series.

Even Andre Roberson, who has impressively defended James Harden, brings a glaring weakness: free throws. Roberson is 2-for-17 from the line in the playoffs, including 2-for-12 in Game 4 yesterday. Houston even repeatedly intentionally fouled him late.

It was agonizing for all but the most partisan Rockets supporters – though even Houston’s bench, while at least implicitly mocking Roberson, appeared put off that he missed yet again.

Isaiah Thomas: ‘Mentally and emotionally, I’m not here’

AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast
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Isaiah Thomas previously explained his emotions in a statement, but the Celtics guard spoke publicly yesterday for the first time since the death of his sister in a car crash just before the playoffs.

Thomas, via A. Sherrod Blakely of CSN Northeast:

“Mentally and emotionally I’m not here,” Thomas said after Game 4, the first time he has spoken publicly since his sister’s death. “So I just feed off of what the guys give me. They give me a lot of confidence. I can’t do it without those guys. They believe in me. Being here is what makes me sane and makes me feel somewhat normal through these tough times.”

Thomas has played well for Boston, which won twice in Chicago to even its series with the Bulls, 2-2. It’s remarkable considering the heavy emotional burden and extra travel, going to Seattle for his sister’s funeral then joining the Celtics in Chicago.

His teammates have clearly rallied around him, and that surely helps. But I can’t even imagine how he’s simultaneously handling such a tragic family situation and the biggest games of his career.

Kyrie Irving knocks flamingo from Pacers fan’s hands (video)

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Pacers super fan Matt Asen brings his lucky flamingo to each game.

He also annoyed the heck out of Kyrie Irving by trying to hand it, rather than the ball, to the Cavaliers guard.

James Harden reveals he’s playing through ankle injury

AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki
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James Harden didn’t lead the Rockets in scoring in their Game 4 win over the Thunder yesterday.

He didn’t even rank second – or third.

Nene, Eric Gordon and Lou Williams each outscored Harden, who scored 16 points on 5-for-16 shooting, including 0-for-7 on 3-pointers.

What happened to the Houston star?

Calvin Watkins of ESPN:

Houston Rockets star guard James Harden said he has been hobbled by an ankle injury that occurred in Game 3 of this first-round series against the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Harden made the revelation to ESPN’s Lisa Salters after the Rockets’ 113-109 Game 4 victory on Sunday afternoon.

“It was pretty tough; we don’t make excuses,” Harden said in a news conference when asked about his health. “We just try to go out there and get the job done. You build trust, and trust in your teammates all year long. When there’s moments like this, guys step up and they did tonight. We have another opportunity in a few days to go out there and win on our home court, and we’re going to have to get off to a really good start.”

Many players are grinding through injuries this time of year. Is Harden’s exceptionally bad? There’s no way of telling from the outside.

But he didn’t look quite right in Game 4, and if he’s hobbled, that opens the door slightly wider for Oklahoma City to come back from its 3-1 deficit.