Kevin Durant has a whole Nike ad campaign centered around “not being nice.” Russell Westbrook needs no such campaign.
During the timeout break of a hotly contested game in Denver, Westbrook decided to take some frustration out. As the Nuggets’ mascot “Rocky” fired a heave from halfcourt, Westbrook jumped up and goaltended the shot. Why? Who knows. Some men just like to watch the world burn.
As you’d expect, Westbrook got some serious heat from the crowd when the real (but decidedly less entertaining) action resumed. Blocking the shot of the opposing team’s mascot is funny and innocent enough…but not when something free is on the line. You’ve seen how crazy fans go for free items thrown or launched by cannon into the crowd — small children get trampled, elderly women catch elbows to the face — it’s all bad. But there was something more serious on the line when Rocky reared back for those halfcourt shots.
And we all know you don’t mess with a fan’s queso. Westbrook’s treason didn’t even stop with one goaltend — he did it again the next timeout break. Here’s the hilarious footage of Westbrook denying both of Rocky’s attempts from halfcourt:
Funny as it all was, the mascot denials kind of pumped Westbrook up. A few plays after, he responded to the crowd’s vigorous booing drilling a tough long 3-pointer that helped the Thunder take the game to overtime.
While Denver fans may not have gotten their queso, they did eventually get an overtime win, a deal for discounted tacos, and Westbrook with egg on his face after all the barking he did at the crowd over the course of the game. So all’s well that ends well, except maybe for Rocky the mascot, who might be a little more weary of shotblockers on his halfcourt heaves from now on.
The No. 28 pick, R.J. Hunter became the first first-rounder from last year’s draft to fall out of the NBA when the Celtics waived him.
He won’t be out of the league for long.
The Bulls, the only team with an open roster spot, appear close to adding him.
Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports:
Hunter belongs in the league. Though he must knock down shots far more reliably than he has, Hunter has potential as an outside shooter with complementary ball skills to provide value. Boston just had more NBA-caliber players than roster spots.
He’s far from a lock to succeed in the NBA, but I value Hunter about as much as Tony Snell – whom the Bulls just traded for an upgrade at backup point guard in Michael Carter-Williams. That they could so cheaply replace Snell makes that deal look even better.
Gerald Green was drafted by the Celtics and spent two seasons with them before being traded (in the Kevin Garnett deal).
After stints with the Timberwolves, Rockets, Mavericks, Nets, Pacers, Suns and Heat, he signed with Boston this summer.
Think he’s happy to be back?
Abby Chin of CSN Mid-Atlantic:
Joel Embiid couldn’t endear himself by playing in an NBA game, because he’s been too injured to do that in two pro seasons.
He’s had to resort to witty nicknames, practice-gym dunks, fun-loving stunts, attention-seeking tweets and self-deprecating humor.
Embiid is scheduled to make his NBA debut tonight, when the 76ers play the Thunder. Soon, we’ll judge him more for what he does on the court.
But, first, Embiid went out with one last bang of a quote.
Embiid, via Lee Jenkins of Sports Illustrated:
“You know how I learned to shoot?” Embiid says. “I watched white people. Just regular white people. They really put their elbow in and finish up top. You can find videos of them online.”
LeBron James might be the greatest athlete in NBA history.
But even he has shown signs of decline at age 31.
He has gotten multiple back injections and even took a break during the season to rehabilitate in Miami. The forward has treated the last two regular-seasons as glorified warmups for the playoffs.
Just where does LeBron stand physically?
Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue gave quite the answer.
Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com:
Lue said James, at 31, “had a chance to get tested this summer and they said he had a body of a 19-year old. Maybe he’s getting younger. Benjamin Button.”
It was a little perplexing because neither James, nor his personal trainer, Mike Mancias, nor general manager David Griffin had any real idea what test Lue was talking about.
This reminds me of Derrick Rose attributing the Knicks and Warriors being super teams to “They’re saying.” Who is they, and what are they smoking?
That LeBron, Mancias and Griffin won’t cop to knowing is quite revealing.
LeBron does not have the body of a 19-year-old. Years of other-worldly play and long playoff runs has taken a toll.
Because he’s declining from such a high peak, LeBron should remain elite for a while. His athleticism might even fluctuate as it trends downward overall.
But Father Time is undefeated, and LeBron didn’t just get a mid-career reset to his rookie physical form.