Setting a franchise record in any statistical category in the NBA is no doubt something to be celebrated. But when you do it in an area that’s traditionally dominated by big men, for a franchise that’s had two of the greatest frontcourt players of this era, it’s even more impressive.
Allow me to introduce you to Nikola Vucevic, who scored a career-high 20 points and pulled down a franchise record 29 rebounds for the Orlando Magic in their overtime loss to the Heat on Monday.
You can see how active Vucevic was in the clip above — granted, the Heat aren’t exactly known for their dominant presence inside, and opposing team’s bigs regularly go to town on this season’s version of the defending champs.
But 29 rebounds is a [bucket] load, and in fact, that number has been matched or exceeded only twice in a game since the 1985-86 season.
Kevin Love hauled in 31 rebounds against the Knicks back in 2010, and Kevin Willis equaled the 29 back in 1991. That’s it; no one else besides these two has achieved the feat at any time in the last 27 years.
Add all that to the fact we’re talking about a team that had several seasons of two of the most dominant big men we’ve seen in the past couple of decades in Shaquille O’Neal and Dwight Howard, and you’ve got something really special.
That’s what Vucevic was on this night, shattering the Orlando franchise record of 28 set by O’Neal back in 1993.
Kevin Durant on Twitter fiasco: “That was just me being a total (expletive) idiot”
A couple of days ago, Kevin Durant got into it with a fan on Twitter but used a third-person voice that made it look like he was on another, separate account where his identity was protected. He didn’t hold back going at one of the many fans who have come at him saying he took an easy path. It was a poor choice by Durant.
“I played a little too much, and that (expletive) really hurt me,” Durant… told USA TODAY Sports afterward. “To know that I affected Billy Donovan and the Thunder – like I love those people and I don’t never (want to hurt them).
“That was just me being a total (expletive) idiot. I own up to it. I want to move on from it. It probably hit me probably harder than what everybody (thought). Everybody else was telling me to relax, to snap out of it, but I was really, really upset with myself more than anything. It’s not the fact that people were talking about me, because I deserve that, but I’m just more upset with myself that I let myself go that far, you know what I was saying? It was a joke to me at first. I was doing it all summer, and it went too deep. I went too hard… I haven’t slept in two days, two nights. I haven’t ate. It’s crazy, because I feel so (expletive) pissed at myself and I’m mad that I brought someone into it.”
Durant went on to say he tries to treat the NBA like a playground game, so he can still feel the joy of the sport. Interacting with fans online is just another form of trash talk, he said, then added he let it go too far and said things he regrets.
Durant heard a lot of trash talk coming his way after he left Oklahoma City. Not quite LeBron James leaving Cleveland levels, but plenty. The mature thing to do might be to let this go, because he’s got a ring now. Maybe post a picture of him with the Larry O’Brien trophy and say “for the haters:” and leave it at that. In an NBA world where championships impact legacy (too much, I would argue) he has one now. He will get more in the next few years. He won. So don’t sweat the small stuff.
But that’s not what Durant did. Now he’s going to hear about it for a long time. No matter how much he apologizes, says how bad he feels, and explains himself.
Goran Dragic retiring from Slovenia team after Eurobasket win
The Pelicans and Timberwolves were desperate at small forward, and Cunningham rare contributor at the position still available. New Orleans even traded a second-rounder and cash to dump Quincy Pondexter and get far enough below the hard cap to take advantage of Cunningham’s Bird Rights.
That’ll pay off.
Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports:
Cunningham has agreed to a one-year, $2.3M deal with New Orleans, league sources tell The Vertical. https://t.co/C9BF6n6hBE
It’s not the $3,106,500 Cunningham opted out of, but a $2.3 million salary beats his minimum ($2,106,470), which is all Minnesota could’ve offered.
That’s a great rate on someone who might be the Pelicans’ starting small forward, considering Solomon Hill‘s injury. Even if he plays behind Tony Allen on a team that starts small on the perimeter, Cunningham will reduce the time New Orleans must rely on also-rans.
Cunningham is probably better at power forward, but he can defend either position. He also has become a good enough 3-point shooter to credibly play small forward.
For the Pelicans, he’s a huge upgrade at a bargain price.
Kevin Durant cops to tweets, calls elements of them ‘childish’ and ‘idiotic’
Kevin Durant – tweeting in the third person, suggesting he forget to switch to a secret Twitter account – said he left the Thunder because he didn’t like the organization or playing for Billy Donovan and that Oklahoma City’s surrounding cast around himself and Russell Westbrook was lacking. Durant also appeared to have a second Instagram account he has used to insult critics.
I do have other another Instagram account, but that’s just for my friends and family. So, I wouldn’t say I was using that to clap back at anybody.
But I use Twitter to engage with the fans. I think it’s a great way to engage with basketball fans.
But I happened to take it a little too far, and that’s what happens sometimes when I get into these basketball debates. Or what I really love is just to play basketball. I went a little too far.
And I don’t regret clapping back at anybody or talking to my fans on Twitter. I do regret using my former coach’s name and the former organization that I played for. That was childish. That was idiotic. All those type of words. I regret doing that, and I apologize to him for doing that.
But I don’t think I’ll ever stop engaging with my fans. I think they really enjoy it, and I think it’s a good way to connect us all. But I will scale back a little bit right now and just focus on playing basketball. So, I want to move on from that. It was tough to deal with yesterday. I was really upset with myself. But definitely want to move on and keep playing basketball. But I still want to interact with my fans, as well.
Durant can defend himself all he wants on social media. Fans, even those who detest him, do enjoy the interaction.
But an anonymous-looking account defending Durant provides no joy to those fans. They don’t – or at least didn’t – know they were interacting with the famous basketball star. This is something else entirely.
And it sure looks like Durant used his secret Instagram account to clap back at fans. Via SB Nation:
Durant denying that really makes it hard to accept this as him coming clean.
Mostly, Durant just opened himself to numerous follow-up questions:
Did he really dislike the Thunder organization? Did he really dislike playing for Donovan? If yes to either question, why? If no to either question, why say that? How does lying serve the fans he’s claiming he wants to engage?