When it’s a grind-it-out game, the Spurs usually win. They expect to win.
But Monday night the Clippers went into San Antonio, had an off night from their leading scorer (Jamal Crawford), had banged up starters, got into a defensive struggle and won. The Clippers ground down the Spurs, played good defense and made the big shots late. They out-Spurred the Spurs.
And Gregg Popovich didn’t like it. Not one bit.
He ripped into his team like he was Randy Wittman. Here are Pop’s comments, NBA.com.
“Of all of our games, this is in the soft category,” he said calmly. “We never had five guys that competed hard enough to win the basketball game, the Clippers took it with their aggressiveness and toughness, both mentally and physically. And I thought for a portion of that game we were an embarrassment. So we’ve got to look at that and look at the film and make sure everybody understands that this is a game that has to be played with competitiveness for 48 minutes. And that’s the bottom line.”
Losing to the Clippers is no embarrassment — they are playing as well as anyone in the NBA so far this season. They always had offensive firepower, but now they are defending and that should scare the other top teams in the West.
And Popovich knows what he’s doing here, he’s playing a game. He says this in the media to light a fire under his team when he thinks they are losing focus. The same way Phil Jackson and countless other smart coaches have done.
The Spurs are still 8-3 on the season, they are still executing, they are still near the top of the West. But sometimes they need jolt to keep going, so Popovich went to the media whip. And we’re happy to do our part and help out.
The Los Angeles Lakers are having a pretty good January.
The team has a losing record overall but is 6-5 in 2018, despite the noise from the Ball family and the need for public confidence for Luke Walton as coach.
Still, I’m not sure they’re having as good a time as the guy who won $100,000 by banking in a halfcourt shot on Sunday.
The fan’s name is apparently Suni Strong, and he’s from Palmdale. He played high school basketball, works at Space-X, and was on a canceled A&E show about bounty hunting.
Via OC Register:
“When I first walked in I said have my check ready,” he said. “I knew I was going to make it. I had to.”
Asked if he called “bank,” Strong replied, “Why would I do that? I called money.”
That’s some serious scratch.
Spencer Dinwiddie was once a member of the Detroit Pistons. They traded him to the Chicago Bulls back in 2016 for Cameron Bairstow, and the Bulls promptly waived him less than a month later. That same day, Bairstow was waived by the Pistons.
On Sunday, Dinwiddie got his revenge on Detroit by ending their matinee matchup with a step-through jumper that two Pistons failed to defend.
The play came with 4.7 seconds left and the Brooklyn Nets trailing, 100-99. Dinwiddie ran across the far side of the floor to receive the ball from the sideline, then to the near elbow before putting on a series of moves to get his shot off.
The play gave Detroit just 0.09 seconds left, and they couldn’t get an attempt off.
Brooklyn beat the Pistons, 101-100.
Meanwhile, Dinwiddie continues to have the best season of his career. He’s averaging 13.2 points, 6.5 assists, and 3.3 rebounds per-game, all career-highs. He’s also boosted his VORP to 1.1, another personal best.
Enes Kanter likes to inject himself in situations he doesn’t belong in.
The New York Knicks forward likes to take aim at the biggest star in the game, LeBron James, and has said in the past that he would fight LeBron if he had to.
Some previous comments from LeBron riled up members of the Knicks organization, and there’s been animosity between the two sides ever since.
So it wasn’t too much of a surprise when Kanter had something to say on Twitter about his former team, the Oklahoma City Thunder, dropping 148 points during a win over the Cleveland Cavaliers on Saturday. Heck, even former Cavaliers coach David Blatt jumped in on that one, albeit immediately before his own team got 151 scored on them.
Kanter took to Twitter, using LeBron’s own catchphrase against him:
Of course, that’s probably not the best idea. Kanter is a role player and LeBron is one of the best who ever played. Even if the Cavaliers are stinking it up lately, you can’t go after the King like that. You just might miss.
“One texted [teammate] me just to say — I’m not going to say who — but he texted me ‘You’re about to get 50 dropped on you, boy.'” Kanter said before Sunday’s matinee against the Los Angeles Lakers. “I responded something back, but I’m not going to say what it is.”
Kanter added that he’s just “having fun” and wanting to put “a smile on people’s face” with his constant prodding.
We’ll see if he ends up smiling the next time Cleveland and New York meet on April 9 at MSG.
David Blatt, perhaps sensing his time to pounce as rumors swirl around Tyronn Lue’s departure, decided to troll the Cleveland Cavaliers on Sunday. It did not go so well.
Blatt, who was fired from the head coaching spot in Cleveland in 2015, now heads Darüşşafaka S.K. in the Turkish Super League.
Blatt was also coaching Team Europe vs. Team Asia in the Turkish BSL All-Star Game on Sunday. During the game Blatt joked during a TV interview that he was just hoping his team didn’t give up as many points as the Cavaliers did to the Oklahoma City Thunder on Saturday. That game ended with a score of 148-124.
So what happened to Blatt’s Team Europe in the All-Star Game?
According to Erik Gundersen over at LeBron Wire, Team Europe promptly got rolled on with a tally of … 151 points.
The final total in the Turkish All-Star matchup was 151-142 in favor of Team Asia.