If Gregg Popovich were Luol Deng’s coach, he may have written on Thursday night’s lineup card “DNP — Spinal Tap.” And we all would have turned the jokes up to 11.
But Tom Thibodeau and the Bulls play things closer to the vest, so the official word as to why Deng was sent home before Game 6 Thursday was he had flu like symptoms. Nate Robinson played through the flu Thursday — he was throwing up during timeouts. With half the Bulls team playing through injuries Deng didn’t come off well in the exchange.
Deng took to twitter to clear the air Friday — he was not sent home by the team because of a mere flu, it was far more serious (the first tweet used twitter extension service TMI):
On Wed I was taken to the ER and my symptoms indicated I may have meningitis In order to play on Thurs I was required to undergo a spinal tap
Deng says he was back in the ER on Friday, which obviously will make him questionable for Game 7 Saturday, although he wants to play.
Deng has been through this before — he had a fracture in his leg and the team played coy, so fans were all over him for not playing through pain. Deng’s savvy enough to go over the team’s head and directly to the fans with this stuff now.
The release of NBA 2K17, the latest edition of the popular 2K video-game series, is less than a month away. Players are starting to get their likenesses in the game, as well as their player ratings, and tweet them out. Magic forward Evan Fournier wasn’t too happy with the way his came out.
Fournier’s countryman Rudy Gobert got in on the fun, too, changing his Twitter avatar to Fournier’s screenshot and encouraging others to do the same. He even created a hashtag for it.
At least they’re having fun with it.
On Friday, the Jazz traded German center Tibor Pleiss to the Sixers along with two second-round picks for Kendall Marshall. The big draw of the trade for Philly was the picks, and Pleiss is not expected to stay with the Sixers, according to Comcast SportsNet Philadelphia’s Jessica Camerato.
Pleiss had a forgettable season with Utah, and the Sixers have a glut of bigs including Nerlens Noel, Jahlil Okafor, Joel Embiid and Dario Saric. It would have been virtually impossible for Pleiss to crack the rotation, and it’s unlikely another team picks up his contract, which has $3 million guaranteed this season.
As a Jordan Brand athlete, Russell Westbrook is under the same Nike umbrella as former teammate Kevin Durant. But his latest Jordan spot, released Friday, has a very pointed tagline: “Some run, some make runways.”
Given the circumstances, it’s hard to interpret that as anything other than a reference to Durant signing with the Warriors and Westbrook signing an extension with the Thunder.
For two decades, Kobe Bryant saw everyone and everything as an obstacle to overcome: The Pacers, Sixers, Nets, Magic, Celtics, Tim Duncan, Gregg Popovich, Smush Parker, a torn Achilles. It didn’t matter. Kobe’s work ethic and drive had him rising above it all.
His focus hasn’t changed now. Kobe was on the Jim Rome show, and the topic of the new-look Warriors with Kevin Durant came up, along with the “woe is me” attitude of some players (and plenty of owners and GMs).
“I would have thought less about myself if I looked at that move and said, ‘That’s unfair,'” he said. “If you’re a real competitor, you look at that and say, ‘OK, lace ’em up. Let’s go. I don’t care how many players you have over there; we’re still going to take you down.'”
Easier said than done to make that happen, but that attitude is the only one to have if you think you have a chance. You can be sure LeBron James is thinking that way and telling his Cavaliers teammates the same.
We’re going to miss Kobe.