Sports fans willing to go too far in support of their team are not confined to college football tailgate parties…
You remember Rudy Fernandez, the solid two guard who didn’t enjoy the NBA and wanted to get back to Europe as fast as he could? Well he is back in his native Spain playing for powerhouse Real Madrid. If I need to tell you there are a few over the top sports fans in Europe, you need to watch more soccer highlights.
Fernandez was attacked Thursday by a couple of fans near the team bus after a road win for Madrid against Zalgiris Kaunas in Lithuania. The fans reportedly struck Fernandez on the neck and shoulder and also hit a security guard who stepped in.
The incident is being investigated by the EuroLeague itself as well local police and both teams.
Fernandez released a statement, which we saw via BlazersEdge.com.
“I am fine. Thank God things did not go further. I have to say thanks for the support of everyone that has contacted me through social networks and private messages. I am not enjoying this; people have to know that basketball cannot get dirty this way. Things like this don’t have to happen again. I think that people should not think that all Lithuanian fans are like that just because of these two people. Not at all. In the game, as always in all games, there was some tension, but I was respected at all times, which is the most important thing. This happened because of these two and that’s the image I keep. Something worse could have happened; I hope it never happens again. I hope [the media] respect me a bit because I am struggling, but I would like to thank those who have supported me and will carry on supporting me.”
We should be glad and feel lucky this wasn’t worse.
The second round was supposed to be when things got exciting. Instead, the San Antonio Spurs put on an absolute clinic at home, blowing out the Oklahoma City Thunder, 124-92 to take a 1-0 series lead.
Just about everything went in for San Antonio, particularly for LaMarcus Aldridge and Kawhi Leonard, who combined for 63 points. How dominant were they?
Aldridge in particular got anything he wanted against the Thunder. Oklahoma City’s stars were quiet, with Kevin Durant scoring just 16 points and Russell Westbrook 14. San Antonio controlled the game from the start and Oklahoma City never recovered from the opening punch.
It’s hard to imagine Durant and Westbrook are this ineffective again, and hopefully the rest of this series will be a little more competitive. But the Spurs did what the Spurs do, and did nothing to shake the feeling that they’re the favorites to win the west, now that Stephen Curry‘s status is unknown.
ATLANTA (AP) A year ago, Atlanta’s magical season ended with a resounding sweep by Cleveland in the Eastern Conference final.
Now, the Hawks have another shot at LeBron James and the Cavaliers.
Feeling confident after an opening-round victory over Boston, the Hawks returned to practice Saturday to begin preparations for the best-of-seven series.
Game 1 is Monday night in Cleveland.
The Hawks were the top-seeded team in the East last season after a record 60-win campaign. It didn’t do them much good against the Cavaliers, who steamrolled Atlanta in four straight games.
Even though they slipped to 48 wins and fourth in the conference, the Hawks actually sound a bit more confident heading into this matchup, largely because of their improved defense and rebounding.
For the second consecutive year, the Warriors have lost their lead assistant to another team. When the Pelicans hired Alvin Gentry during last year’s playoffs, Steve Kerr promoted Luke Walton to associate head coach and added former journeyman big man Jarron Collins to the bench. Now that Walton is headed to the Lakers as their next head coach, the Warriors will go outside the organization to find a replacement, according to ESPN.com’s Marc Stein. And one name that will likely not be in the mix is David Blatt, who very nearly became an assistant under Kerr in 2014 before being offered the Cavaliers’ head job.
Given Walton’s success this season as interim head coach while Kerr recovered from back surgery, this will undoubtedly be the most attractive assistant job in the league.
In the last few years, NBA head coaching salaries have skyrocketed, and new Lakers coach Luke Walton is no exception. According to the Los Angeles Times‘ Mike Bresnahan, Walton is getting $25 million over five years, which is the same as Steve Kerr’s deal with the Warriors, now-former Knicks coach Derek Fisher’s deal in New York, and Fred Hoiberg’s deal with the Bulls.
This kind of money has become standard for head coaches who don’t also have front-office power. Tom Thibodeau and Stan Van Gundy both get between $7 and $8 million annually to do both jobs. Given how good Walton’s current situation with the Warriors is, the Lakers probably had to be on the high end of the coaching spectrum to get him to leave.