I pointed this out on twitter earlier this week — if you read just one basketball story (not on PBT) this week, it should be Chris Ballard’s profile of Tim Duncan. This is what the best of sports writing looks like, and Ballard has killed it with a few pieces these playoffs.
But I will share the juiciest part of the Duncan piece with you — he can’t stand Kevin Garnett. Which makes me want a Celtics vs. Spurs NBA finals all the more.
It’s not hard to imagine the intense-but-reserved Duncan clashing with the intense-in-your-face Garnett. Here is what Ballard wrote.
In fact, Duncan hates Kevin Garnett. Hates him the way liberals hate Sean Hannity. This information comes from very reliable sources, who talk about how KG has made a career of trying to punk Duncan, baiting him and slapping him and whispering really weird smack into his ear. They talk about how funny this is, because the worst thing you can do as an opponent is piss off Duncan. Then, as Malik Rose says, “he f—— destroys you.” Duncan’s lifetime numbers versus Garnett’s teams, by the way: 19.4 points per game, 11.6 boards and a 44–17 record, including the postseason.
Duncan is diplomatic about the topic. Asked if perhaps all those years battling Garnett have softened his feelings for the man, led to a Magic-Larry type of kinship, Duncan leans back on the couch in his hotel room and grins. There is a pause. A longer pause. Finally he says, “Define kinship.”
Come on basketball gods, you robbed us of Derrick Rose these playoffs. You’ve made us suffer through the first two games of Philadelphia vs. Boston. You’ve exacted your pound of flesh. Can you at least give us Duncan vs. Garnett in the finals? Please.
Hassan Whiteside defends himself when questions about his maturity early in his career with the Kings arise:
“That was a long time ago,” Whiteside said. “If they want to think about things that happened four, five years ago, that’s up to them.
“I don’t think it’s something that should follow me, but I really don’t know right now. That was years ago. Things didn’t work out in Sacramento. I worked my way to get back here. I could’ve easily gave up and went back home and just chilled. But I put in the work, and I feel like I’m a hard worker or I wouldn’t be here.”
But then he does something like this.
Rodney Hood got the Jazz to overtime.
Gordon Hayward took it from there.
This extends Utah’s win streak to eight games and snaps a 10-game losing streak in Dallas. The last time the Jazz won in Dallas? Mavericks guard Deron Williams started – for Utah.*
*Those Jazz brought Paul Millsap, Kyle Korver and Wesley Matthews off the bench. Dang
Up three points and the final seconds winding down, the Mavericks had a great chance to intentionally foul Trey Lyles (a 62% free-throw shooter) with his back to the basket.
Instead, they allowed Rodney Hood to hit this shot and get the Jazz to overtime.
The Bucks led the Celtics led the Bucks by 19 in the fourth quarter and four in the final minute.
But Boston completed its comeback when Jerryd Bayless committed a boneheaded foul on Kelly Olynyk with a second left, shoving Olynyk in the back on the inbound. Olynyk sunk both free throws to tie the game.
Then, Khris Middleton got Bayless off the hook.
Middleton drew a foul on Avery Bradley, who was trying to contest the game-winning shot. The Milwaukee wing made one free throw then intentionally the second, and Jae Crowder couldn’t replicate this.