Doc Rivers, Rajon Rondo

Rondo, Rivers fire back Wade for “punk play” comment

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That’s the play in question.

Rajon Rondo, for much of the Celtics season opener against the Heat, felt he wasn’t getting the calls when he drove the lane, particularly on contact with Dwyane Wade. So with the game out of reach in the final minute, a frustrated he gave a little of what he felt he was getting to Wade.

Rondo got a flagrant for that. After the game, Wade called it a “punk play.”

Thursday, both Doc Rivers and Rajon Rondo fired back.

Rivers — who has said previously he didn’t think Rondo deserved a flagrant for that, said he thought Wade was tougher than this, via the twitter of A. Sherrod Blakely of CSNNE.com.

 

Then there was what Rondo said after Thursday’s practice, videoed by ESPN (hat tip to The Point Forward):

“I mean, I don’t think it was a hard foul. [Wade] sold it a little bit, and that’s basketball. They were up, he drove to the hole, I didn’t want to give up a layup. Simple as that. I didn’t yank him down, or, dirty plays that you’ve seen him play in the past. So that’s what it is.”

It’s pretty clear Rondo was referring to the play in the playoffs a couple years back where Wade and Rondo got tangled up and went to the ground and Rondo ended up with his elbow bent backwards. An injury that took Rondo a long time to recover from. This feud has some history to it.

This Celtics vs. Heat feud — whether it is Rondo and Wade or Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen — is going to go on all season. But if the Celtics want real revenge there is only one way to get it, and in that first game Miami showed Boston where the benchmark is.

PBT Extra: Who do you want to see most in first All-Star Game?

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Tonight the NBA All-Star Game starters will be announced. Then the coaches have a week to vote and the rest of the roster will be put together by them.

This year should see a few first-time All-Stars, guys bursting on the scene and grabbing fans attention — so we asked people on Twitter who they most wanted to see in his first All-Star Game and I break it down in this PBT Extra.

The winner? Giannis Antetokounmpo with 45 percent of the vote. Which shouldn’t be a surprise, he’s second in the fan voting for the frontcourt in the East (behind only LeBron James). Good news for those fans, the Greek Freak is almost guaranteed to be a starter, he’s getting plenty of media votes and likely a lot from the players as well.

Second place in the poll? Joel Embiid of the Sixers. I’d love to see him, but will players and media members vote in a guy on a minutes restriction? Will the coaches pick him for that same reason? He is on the bubble.

Russell Westbrook: ‘Don’t say what’s up to that b— a—’ (video)

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Did Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant talk during the Warriors’ win over the Thunder last night? Westbrook said no, though video and first-hand accounts indicate otherwise.

Even more clearly: Westbrook – who walked near teammates Enes Kanter, Anthony Morrow and Jerami Grant – didn’t want someone talking to someone as they left the floor after the game. ESPN caught Westbrook saying, “Don’t say what’s up to that b— a—.”

You will never convince anyone Westbrook is referring to anyone but Durant.

Russell Westbrook commits epic travel (video)

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Between getting laid out by Zaza Pachulia and apparently talking with Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook committed a travel for the ages.

The Thunder guard took an inbound pass against the Warriors and just started walking up court without dribbling. The violation was so blatant, NBA officials even called the travel.

And it’s not as if they’re inclined to blow a whistle in that situation. Before Westbrook, Kemba Walker set a high bar last season, but he got away with this walk:

Are Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant on speaking terms after apparent conversation? Westbrook: ‘Nah’ (video)

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Russell Westbrook deleted Kevin Durant‘s goodbye text and, months later, told the whole world they still hadn’t talked.

That apparently changed during the Warriors’ win over the Thunder yesterday – though not if you ask Westbrook.

Westbrook dunked in the third quarter, and according to ESPN commentator Mark Jackson, Westbrook told Durant, “Don’t jump.” Anthony Slater of The Mercury News also wrote of the same quote.

ESPN’s telecast caught Durant clearly speaking to Westbrook shortly after. It appears Westbrook is talking back, but his back is to the camera.

After the game, Westbrook denied the exchange:

 

  • Reporter: “Are you and KD on speaking terms?”
  • Westbrook: “Nah.”
  • Reporter: “You guys had a little exchange in the third quarter.”
  • Westbrook: “What exchange?”
  • Reporter: “You and KD said something to each other.”
  • Westbrook: “Oh. You gotta maybe sit closer to the game. You maybe didn’t see clearly.”

This is so Westbrook – stubborn to the point of denying reality.

That approach worked for him when everyone rightly told him he was a significantly lesser player than Durant. Westbrook ignored that fact until it became false.

I suspect he wants to forget this exchange so he can maintain a cold animosity toward someone he prefers to resent.