Dominique Wilkins’ advice to Kobe Bryant: Be patient

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Not many people can relate what Kobe Bryant is going through — an elite NBA player who tears his Achilles and is going to attempt a comeback in his mid-30s.

Dominique Wilkins is one.

On a January night in 1992, a 32-year-old Wilkins (who was averaging 28.1 points and 7 rebounds a game that season) tore his Achilles and needed to have surgery. He missed the rest of that season.

He had advice for Kobe, speaking with the USA Today.

“That’s tough, man. That’s tough,” Wilkins told USA TODAY Sports on Saturday. “As you get older, you don’t heal as easily like we did when we were younger. Six months is quick. I will tell you that.

“It took me nine months to really get back to the form and the level that I once played. He’s got to be patient. That’s the biggest thing for me. He has to be patient.”

Wilkins bounced back — that next season he averaged 29.9 points a game, and while his efficiency dipped some he played in a couple more All-Star games and was still a force.

Wilkins said he could relate to what Kobe went to but he also thinks Kobe can bounce back.

“When I found out, when I tore mine, I was just depressed,” Wilkins said. “It’s the same thing Kobe said (on Friday night), ‘How can it happen to me? Why now? Why me? When I’m playing so well and the team has a chance to get in the playoffs and I tear my Achilles tendon?’ So once he gets over the frustration of this injury happening — go get surgery, and now you have to put together a plan for yourself to rehabilitate that injury….

“It’s going to be a process, because you’ve got to get the strength back, got to get that range of motion back, and you’ve got to feel comfortable walking normally with that injury,” Wilkins said. “It takes time. But there’s no doubt in my mind that once he re-focuses himself, gets over the frustration of having this injury, that he’s going to come back and be as good as ever.

Warriors complained of no water in showers in Cleveland

Michael Hickey/Getty Images
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The Cavaliers are clearly frustrated.

Did someone in Cleveland take out that frustration on the Warriors after they beat the Cavs last night?

Chris Haynes of ESPN:

Players were complaining about there being no hot water in the visiting locker room showers. When they walked in, they could be heard screaming in discomfort. Most of the players emerged shivering from taking a quick wash-off.

“Man, they got to do something in ‘The Q.’ Somebody call Bron!” Kevin Durant yelled, referring to LeBron James.

No one seemed angry; the situation was more humorous.

That’s the right approach. Whenever the hot water is out in a visiting locker room, the finger is pointed at the home team for sabotage. Sometimes, heating systems just fail.

Giannis Antetokounmpo assists fastbreak dunk with football-style long snap (video)

AP Photo/Nick Wass
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Giannis Antetokounmpo is scoring more in the post, the basketball analogue of football’s trenches.

Apparently, he’s taking the comparison to the next level.

In the Bucks’ win over the Wizards yesterday, Antetokounmpo played the part of a long-snapping center to set up Khris Middleton in transition.

NBC Sports Washington:

Report: James Harden, Chris Paul and Gerald Green were holding back Trevor Ariza in back hallway

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Rockets players James Harden, Trevor Ariza, Gerald Green and Chris Paul reportedly went through a back hallway to confront Austin Rivers and Blake Griffin in the Clippers’ locker room after last night’s game.

That’s one version of the story, at least.

But it apparently isn’t the only one – at least when it comes to Harden’s, Green’s and Paul’s involvement.

Lee Jenkins of Sports Illustrated:

A hallway runs between the Clippers locker room and the visitors locker room, where players from opposing teams often see each other and catch up. According to a Rockets source, Ariza was waiting on Griffin, and when the game ended he charged from the hallway into the Clips locker room. When Rivers spotted Ariza near the entrance, according to the source, he said: “Let his b—– a– come in.” Ariza then turned his attention to Rivers.

ESPN reported that Ariza was flanked by three teammates—Harden, Paul and Gerald Green—but their purpose was unclear. “They were holding Trevor back,” the source said.

Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:

Harden was sitting out his seventh straight game with a strained hamstring on Monday night, and Rockets sources believe that he’ll be ready for a return to the lineup on Thursday night against Minnesota.

Austin Rivers challenging Ariza is juicy, but the type of thing people say during altercations. The rest of this sounds like the Rockets trying to position themselves ahead of the NBA handing down punishments.

If they were just trying to restrain Ariza, then Harden, Paul and Green shouldn’t be fined or suspended. But if Harden is suspended, he could serve his penalty Thursday – even if the Rockets are fibbing about him being ready to play (though they at least previously laid the groundwork for that one).

There’s a lot for the league to untangle.

Russell Westbrook ejected (video)

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Russell Westbrook jumped from fifth to second in the NBA in technical fouls in about two seconds.

The Thunder star received two technical fouls and an automatic ejection late in Oklahoma City’s win over the Kings last night, leaving his nine technical fouls behind only Draymond Green‘s 11.

Westbrook got hit in the face on a drive, but instead of a foul being called on Sacramento, Westbrook was whistled for travelling. That’s quite a turnaround from the expected call to the actual call, so I understand why Westbrook was so upset. But I also wouldn’t be surprised if Westbrook said something that warranted ejection. Thunder coach Billy Donovan also got a technical foul in the sequence.

Fred Katz of The Norman Transcript:

The league used to crack down on that more with public fines, but the Thunder have skirted the rule this season.