Atlanta fared surprisingly well in Game 3 without Josh Smith, losing a closer-than-expected contest to a Celtics team that saw both Rajon Rondo and Ray Allen return to the lineup.
The Hawks won’t have to go without him again in Game 4, reports A. Sherrod Blakely of CSNNE.com:
Josh Smith acknowledges the left knee sprain that kept him out of Game 3 is still bothersome.
That pain, he says, won’t prevent him from playing in Game 4 on Sunday.
“It’s still a little pain in there, but I understand the importance of this game,” Smith told CSNNE.com. “You can’t play injured, but you can play a little hurt.”
Smith won’t practice on Saturday, and will test the knee at shootaround on Sunday. But he clearly feels it’s a pain management issue at this point, and if that’s the case, expect him to be back in the lineup for Game 4.
Even a little Smith for the Hawks should help them immensely. They got next to nothing from their frontcourt players in Game 3, yet behind big games from Joe Johnson and Jeff Teague, along with a solid all-around 40-plus minutes from Tracy McGrady, Atlanta was able to hang tough and take things to overtime before eventually falling to Boston.
Expect everything the Hawks have on Sunday to avoid going down three games to one to Boston. We’ll see if whatever Smith is able to provide will be enough to even the series.
NEW YORK (AP) — A lawyer representing a professional basketball player arrested outside a New York City nightclub has told a jury his client was targeted because he’s black.
Attorney Alex Spiro said Tuesday in Manhattan Criminal Court that a white police officer saw a black man in a hoodie when he confronted the Atlanta Hawks’ Thabo Sefolosha on April 8.
Sefolosha was arrested while leaving a Manhattan nightclub following a stabbing. He subsequently suffered a season-ending leg fracture after a confrontation with police.
A prosecutor said in opening statements that Sefolosha called an officer who repeatedly told him and others to leave a “midget.”
Sefolosha pleaded not guilty to misdemeanor obstructing government administration, disorderly conduct and resisting arrest charges. The Swiss citizen declined a plea deal from prosecutors.
DeMar DeRozan has a $10,050,000 player option for 2016-17. Given the rapidly escalating salary cap, it’s a practical certainty DeRozan will opt out and get a major raise.
But he says he doesn’t want to talk about it.
DeRozan, via Eric Koreen of the National Post:
“I hate that, honestly,” DeRozan said in a one-on-one interview. “I never speak about it. With me, I’ve always been that one player: I’ve been loyal. I’ve been every single thing you can think of here. I think people don’t understand how much pride I take in playing (in Toronto). A lot of times when I do get asked that, it kind of frustrates me.
“Everyday I wake up, I take pride in being the longest Raptor here. People bring up third or whatever in franchise scoring — there is so much stuff like that.”
This sounds awfully similar to LaMarcus Aldridge, who stated his desire last year to become the great Trail Blazer ever and then signed with the Spurs this summer.
Things change, and the impracticality of an extension ensures DeRozan will hit free agency. I believe he’s devoted to the Raptors right now, but his loyalty might change in the next nine months – especially once he sees contract offers from other suitors.
Toronto’s interest in DeRozan might fluctuate, too. He’s a nice player, but the Raptors haven’t won a playoff series with him despite winning the division the last two years. Depending how this season goes, Masai Ujiri might want to rework the roster significantly next summer, and letting DeRozan walk could create major cap space.
I believe DeRozan wants to return to the Raptors, and I believe they want to keep him. But so much can change between now and when both sides must make that call.