Ricky Rubio was benched during the fourth quarter of Wednesday night’s loss to the Nets, in favor of J.J. Barea, who was making things happen for the Timberwolves in a somewhat close game down the stretch.
Rubio is still on a minutes limit as he makes his way back from knee surgery, and had already played 24 that night. And, with Rick Adelman away from the team due to a personal matter, Terry Porter is the acting head coach, and may see things a little differently than Adelman would under similar circumstances.
Either way, Rubio was not pleased with the current coach’s decision, and said so to reporters afterward. That public criticism likely didn’t go over well internally, and now, a couple of days later, Rubio said he apologized.
“I apologized to him because it came out like I was saying something against him, and I never went against him,” Rubio said following a morning shootaround ahead of Friday night’s game against the Washington Wizards. “It was something against me, by myself, because I was frustrated with me because I didn’t play. It was something that didn’t have to be against him or the team.”
Rubio doesn’t have a history of causing problems, and it’s probably a good thing that his competitive fire caused him to care that much about playing what probably would have been less than four minutes, as he was up against that limit.
During Porter’s brief time as head coach in Phoenix following Mike D’Antoni’s departure, he had similar issues relating to his players, so the fact that something like this came up with him in charge while Adelman is gone probably isn’t too much of a surprise.
Andre Drummond is a terrible free-throw shooter…except, apparently, when he’s shooting from the other free-throw line. Monday night against the Raptors, Drummond cut Detroit’s deficit to five at the end of the third quarter with this three-quarter-court heave at the buzzer:
Now, if only he could work on his accuracy from his own free-throw line.
Not a lot has gone right for the Nets this season, but an impressive clutch shot by seven-time All-Star Joe Johnson gave them their 14th win of the season on Monday. With time expiring, Johnson banked in a long three-pointer to put Brooklyn up 105-104 over Denver and secure the victory:
Johnson had 12 points on the night.
For about a week, word has circulated throughout the NBA that George Karl’s days in Sacramento were numbered. They’ve lost eight of their last 10 games, and players have more or less checked out on him. Remember, it’s only been a year since the Kings unceremoniously ousted interim head coach Ty Corbin to bring Karl in, which came on the heels of their puzzling dismissal of Mike Malone in December 2014.
Now, ESPN.com’s Marc Stein reports that the Kings have made the decision to let Karl go:
The decision itself isn’t surprising—it always seemed to be a matter of “when,” not “if” Karl would be fired. But the optics here are not good. If everybody knows it’s coming, it makes no sense to leak that the change is going to happen hours or even days before it’s made official.
The report of the Kings’ decision on Karl comes on the heels of a concerning bombshell Rajon Rondo dropped following Sacramento’s 120-100 loss to the Cavaliers on Monday night.
Via the Sacramento Bee‘s Jason Jones:
Sports Illustrated‘s Jake Fischer further reported that only three players indeed showed up on Monday morning:
That’s a bad look for everybody involved. An optional shootaround is more or less unheard of in the NBA, and if only three players bothered to come, that’s an unignorable sign that the team has quit on Karl.
Since he came into the league, Karl-Anthony Towns‘ offensive footwork has been unusually advanced for a rookie. He showed off his impressive moves again on Monday night, getting to the basket around Luke Babbitt with this spin: