Portland Trail Blazers v Los Angeles Lakers

On Brandon Roy and the loss of control

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“I don’t think any of us can speak frankly about pain until we are no longer enduring it.” -Arthur Golden.

My wife’s biggest problem with being pregnant has nothing to do with the nausea. She’s not bothered by her increasing lack of balance, nor the fact that she now craves fried food as if she was the one raised in rural Arkansas and not me. She doesn’t even mind being unable to drink. Okay, that’s a lie. The booze is a bummer. But the biggest issue with being knocked up is the lack of control. Her body is reacting to something which she has no control over, and while they can be considered consequences in many ways of various decisions she’s made, it doesn’t change the fact that she’s hungry but not because she hasn’t eaten, tired but not because she hasn’t slept, and irritated but not (just) because I’ve done something stupid. The body is the one that’s in control, and that can be pretty frustrating.

In this discussion, Brandon Roy’s tired of feeling pregnant.

Roy has broken a bit out of his recent slump, and he’s attributing it to reaching his limit with his limits. Let’s let the Oregonian explain:

“I’m not that kind of player,” said Roy, 26. “Maybe when Im older, but right now, Im fine, so I just want to play.”

The deterioration of Roys game — he has openly limped and grimaced through games lately — has been widely chronicled and debated, both internally by Blazers management and by fans on message boards and radio waves. But Roy said he has neither listened, nor worried, what others have to say or think. This was his body, his game, and only he would decide how the next chapter was written.

“There was no one moment. It just built up, and I finally said there are two ways to go: You can keep it up or do something about it. So I just decided to do something about it.”

via Portland 101, Phoenix 94: Brandon Roy scores 26 as Blazers win streak grows to four games | OregonLive.com.

Roy’s taken the gloves off. The minute limitations, the self-concerns, the awareness that he’s working with no brake pads on his knees, with no meniscus and that he’s not who he once was. He’s just trying to be who he once was. Or some other version of himself that doesn’t need that explosiveness, who can just shoot jumpers. It’s fearless. It’s bold. It’s heroic.

It’s sad.

Sad because at the end of this, Roy doesn’t get to go back to rollerskating and wine spritzers like my wife does (rollerskating and wine spritzers meaning explosive dunks and long minutes to Roy, and she neither rollerskates nor drinks wine spritzers, but that’s neither here nor there). At the end of this, Roy still won’t have meniscus tissue in his knees, will still hurt when he plays basketball, and will still have to wonder why it is that his body revolted in such a cruel and disappointing way.

But true to form, Brandon Roy is going down swinging.

There’s no alternative, really. To admit defeat is to go down a road of failure and self-restraint which, to be honest, is all too common in our society and is sometimes called for, but is also not heroic. And athletes, though they are almost never heroic anymore, still need that heroic mindset. They need to be able to push themselves beyond limits in order to succeed at their jobs, to really succeed.

And we’ll keep hoping that Roy is able to get to that next level, even if his comments bring concern that perhaps the cost is too great on him personally. To push himself as he’s proposing to is to invite severe injury. Things tearing, breaking, keeping him out for long stretches and worst of all, bringing even more pain. But that’s something that may happen anyway, something he can’t control. And this way at least it happens on his terms. He’s in control of his body, even if he’s destroying it in small doses.

You have to wonder if the cost isn’t too great sometimes.

Then you remember the millions of dollars and the fact that everyone loves him and it’s cool.

Kind of.

NBA: Kenneth Faried got away with foul on decisive basket in Nuggets’ win over Bulls

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The Bulls’ biggest loss Friday was Jimmy Butler to injury. His absence certainly contributed to a loss to the Timberwolves the following night.

But Chicago also lost to the Nuggets on Friday, and perhaps that wouldn’t have happened if the game were called correctly down the stretch.

With Denver up two points and 21.1 seconds remaining, Kenneth Faried offensively rebounded a free throw and scored. The Bulls then intentionally fouled down the stretch, and Faried and Danilo Gallinari added a few free throws in the Nuggets’ 115-110 win.

One problem: Faried should’ve been called for offensively fouling Taj Gibson on the key putback, according to the NBA’s Last Two Minute Report:

Faried (DEN) extends his arm into Gibson (CHI) and dislodges him, affecting his ability to retrieve the rebound.

This was a huge swing. Instead of Taj Gibson – a 69% career free-throw shooter – going to the line for two attempts with Chicago down two points, Faried put the Nuggets up four. Even if Gibson split at the line, the Bulls would have been in significantly better shape.

As usual, we can’t know what would’ve happened if this call were made correctly. But it significantly set back Chicago.

NBA considering if jump-on-back foul should be flagrant foul

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The video above is an intentional foul — Chris Paul jumped on the back of Dwight Howard. The same thing has happened to Andre Drummond.

Is it a flagrant foul?

The Boston Celtics tweeted this out on Sunday.

The NBA was quick to let people know that this is just something under consideration — there has been no change in the rules. This may well be where the league is headed, but it’s not there yet.

The NBA defines a flagrant foul as “unnecessary contact committed by a player against an opponent.” To me, leaping on a player’s back like that qualifies. (A flagrant two foul is “unnecessary and excessive contact” and leads to an ejection; this is not that.)

Jared Dudley — one of the more vocal players on union issues — added a good point.

Consider this part of the coming changes on the intentional fouling rules period. But this one tweak could come much faster.

NBA: Foul on Cavaliers that sparked Celtics’ comeback called in error

Cleveland Cavaliers' J.R. Smith makes a move on Boston Celtics' Evan Turner (11) during the third quarter of a NBA basketball game in Boston Tuesday, Dec. 15, 2015. (AP Photo/Winslow Townson)
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The Cavaliers were in great shape against the Celtics on Friday, leading by four points with seven seconds left.

Then, it all went so wrong for Cleveland.

J.R. Smith was called for fouling Evan Turner on a made layup, cutting the margin to two points. Turner missed the free throw, but the ball went out of bounds off the Cavs. Then, Avery Bradley made a buzzer-beating 3-pointer to give Boston the win.

Rewind, though, and an incorrect call drove the sequence, according to the NBA.

Smith shouldn’t have been called for fouling Turner, per the Last Two Minute Report:

Smith (CLE) makes incidental contact with Turner’s (BOS) body as he attempts the layup.

If this were officiated correctly, the Cavs would’ve had the ball and a two-point lead with 5.9 seconds left. That’s not a lock to win – they’d still have to inbound the ball and make their free throws – but it’s close.

Cleveland is definitely entitled to feel the refs wronged them out of a victory.

Report: Kevin Durant has “done his due diligence on the Bay Area”

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Kevin Durant has not made up his mind about what he will do as a free agent this summer. Until his playoff run ends, whenever that may be for the Thunder, his focus will be on bringing a title to Oklahoma City.

But even he admits he can’t help but think about free agency a little.

The buzz around the league is Golden State is at the front of the line if Durant decides to leave OKC, and he has done some research, reports Marc Spears of Yahoo Sports.

The Warriors play in front of an intimidating Oracle Arena crowd and are expected to debut a new San Francisco arena in 2019. Durant has quietly done his due diligence on the Bay Area, too, sources told Yahoo Sports.

His people — specifically agent Rich Kleiman and personal manager Charlie Bell — would be stupid not to have done some research on not only Golden State but on every other team he might consider: Houston, Miami, Washington, both teams in Los Angeles, the Knicks, and on down the line. Golden State, playing with Stephen Curry, certainly would have its attractions.

I’m still in the camp that Durant signs a 1+1 deal to stay in Oklahoma City (meaning he can opt out after one more season, in 2017), and it’s all about the cash. While he could get 30 percent of a $90 million cap this summer (about $27 million a season to start), with one more year of service in 2017 Durant could get 35 percent of $108 million ($37.8 million to start). That’s a lot of cash. Plus he gets one more chance at a ring with Russell Westbrook and Serge Ibaka, who both are 2017 free agents.

But you can be sure whatever Durant decides, it will be well researched and thought out. And he’s not going to announce it in a live special on ESPN.