That’s what happened to this Nets fan sitting courtside, who was bonked in the head by a loose ball while texting. Not only did he have to suffer the physical pain of a basketball to the head, but he ended up getting called out by Marv Albert on-air, which is the ultimate form of shaming. Let this be a lesson to all of us: if you’re sitting courtside, pay attention to the game.
The whole play took about 3 seconds. And the ball never touched the floor.
Not everything came that easily for San Antonio in the opener of the Spurs’ Western Conference semifinal series against Oklahoma City. It only seemed that way, as they rolled to a 124-92 win and will now look to take a 2-0 lead when the series resumes in San Antonio on Monday night.
“Now we’ve got to get back to the drawing board and see what we’ve got to do better to get ready for Game 2,” Oklahoma City guard Russell Westbrook said. “Come out and play with a different mindset.”
That would be a start.
The three worst playoff losses of Kevin Durant and Westbrook’s time together in Oklahoma City all have one thing in common – they all happened in San Antonio.
The Spurs won by 35 on May 21, 2014, followed that up eight nights later with a 28-point win and now added a 32-pointer for good measure. And the Game 1 margin was the biggest defeat Thunder coach Billy Donovan has dealt with in more than 17 years.
It was Feb. 10, 1999 – 660 games ago for Donovan – when his Florida Gators lost 91-56 to Tennessee. That Gator team recovered and won four of its next five games, and if the Thunder are going to get out of this series they’ll have to do something similar.
“I think the guys in that locker room are pretty competitive,” Donovan said. “I think they’re going to want to come back and respond.”
The key for the Thunder in Game 2 will be stopping Aldridge. They had no answers for him in Game 1; Aldridge scored 38 points and didn’t even play 30 minutes.
When the Spurs acquired him, it was evident that San Antonio would again be a major title favorite. It’s working out exactly as San Antonio planned.
“I don’t know an exact date,” Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said when asked how long it took Aldridge to get comfortable with the Spurs. “It was a progression. Any new player in a new program, it’s a progression. It takes a little bit of time to get comfortable with the system and secondly, with teammates – who does what, when, where, how, all that kind of thing. It was just a steady kind of improvement and recognition as the year went on.”
If players get asked to play big minutes Monday, that shouldn’t be an issue. Game 3 isn’t until Friday night in Oklahoma City.
A look at Game 2:
Thunder at Spurs, San Antonio leads 1-0. 9:30 p.m., TNT
It’s been long established that Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili are one of the league’s all-time trios. But the sheer margin by which they’re separating themselves from some of the others on that list is getting to be staggering.
Magic Johnson, Michael Cooper and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar won 600 games together for the Los Angeles Lakers. Larry Bird, Kevin McHale and Robert Parish won 632 in their days as Boston Celtics teammates.
It took a long time for those numbers to be passed. It’s going to take a real long time before anyone even comes near what Duncan, Parker and Ginobili have done – now with 700 wins together after Saturday’s Game 1 triumph.
Everything worked for the Spurs in the opener. They had 39 assists and all but one of their players who got minutes had at least one – the exception being Andre Miller. And the Spurs are now 43-1 at home this season, 34-0 when Duncan is in the lineup.
And for all the adjustments Oklahoma City will make, figuring out how to get better against Leonard’s defense probably should be foremost. Leonard spent much of Game 1 guarding Westbrook, helping force him into a 5 for 19 night from the floor. Meanwhile, Leonard and Aldridge combined to make 28 of 36 shots.
It was one of the most discussed plays in the final minutes of Toronto’s thrilling if sloppy Game 7 win against Indiana. The Pacers were down three with less than 20 seconds left (after Frank Vogel had taken a poor timeout messing up a four-on-two transition chance) and ran a play for a quick two that resulted in Paul George driving on the right side and Bismack Biyombo coming over to help. George could have gotten off a shot but instead threw a lob to Ian Mahinmi at the rim.
Except that DeMar DeRozan can in and fouled Mahinmi, pushing him out of the way. The ball flew over Mahinmi’s head and became a turnover on what was Indiana’s last decent offensive possession of the game.
DeRozan (TOR) makes body contact with Mahinmi (IND), dislodging him and affecting his ability to catch the alley-oop pass.
This, of course, changes nothing.
There were a number of other questionable calls in this game, but the league said every other one in the last two minutes of the game was correct, save for the fact Myles Turner should have been called for a foul on Biyombo with 2.6 seconds left, but that would not have changed the outcome. The NBA’s report does not look at close calls outside the final two minutes, such as Paul George’s offensive charging foul on DeRozan with 3:51 left.
Ultimately, it’s not the referees that decided this game. If Pacers fans want to be frustrated, they need to look at the fact their team let Toronto grab the offensive rebound on 35 percent of their missed shots, and the seven George turnovers (including a couple of key ones late). Those are the things that turned the game.
If you’re on the fringe of the NBA, trying to get teams to take a chance on you, this is the opposite of what you should do.
Former Michigan State star Keith Appling, who last season was a D-League All-Star for the Erie Bay Hawks and got a couple of 10-day contracts with the Orlando Magic, has reportedly been arrested and is still in jail in Dearborn, Michigan, for allegedly taking a loaded assault rifle into an area strip club. (Dearborn police have not yet responded to NBC’s request for confirmation. Some Michigan outlets with sources in the area do have confirmation but few details.) This is how the story broke:
If true, Appling has much bigger problems then getting an invite to an NBA training camp next fall.
Lakers fans were demanding it. Logic dictated it — even the questionable talent did not fully explain why Byron Scott could not get the Lakers to defend, they had one of the two worst defenses in the NBA each of his two seasons as coach.
Still, Byron Scott said he was blindsided by his firing by the Los Angeles Lakers, something he said on the Dan Patrick Show this morning (video above).
Scott makes a couple of valid points. First, the Lakers did take their time after the season (letting good coaches get snapped up elsewhere) while making this call, giving the impression Scott might be safe.
Second, the Lakers did not give Scott much talent to work with. I don’t care if you resurrected Red Auerbach and John Wooden and had them tag team as the coach, these Lakers were not making the playoffs. Scott was brought in to both shepherd the Kobe farewell years — he did that exactly as management wanted — and start to develop the young talent on the team, building a foundation for the future. That is where he fell short, both in terms of building a defensive foundation or forming a strong relationship with the young Lakers, most notably D'Angelo Russell.
Scott discussed his relationship with Russell, too.
It’s far too early to say how good a coach Luke Walton will be for the Lakers, but it’s safe to say he’s an upgrade over Scott. In that way, the Lakers made the right move.