Monday And-1 links: Patty Mills got to lift weights with Sir Paul McCartney

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Here is our regular look around the NBA — links to stories worth reading and notes to check out (stuff that did not get its own post here at PBT) — done in bullet point form. Because bloggers love bullet points like your grandmother loves CSI: Miami reruns…

• San Antonio’s Patty Mills tells the story of when he got to lift weights with Paul McCartney. The Spurs were staying in the same hotel as the Knighted former Beatle. “They knew we just wanted to get a lift after our practice, so they let us in,” Mills said. “We walked in, and there he was, Paul McCartney. Before we could say hi or anything he said, ‘Go Spurs go.’ It was one of those rare moments when I didn’t know what to say. A special moment, and now I can tell everyone I lifted weights with Paul McCartney.” (Hat tip to KD at Ball Don’t Lie.)

• Speaking of the Spurs, some guy started a controversy around Tony Parker not getting into a restaurant, which annoyed Parker because he was never actually at the restaurant. Nice gimmick to drum up business, though.

Happy 75th birthday Jerry West.

A look back at the long run of Geoff Petrie as GM in Sacramento.

• A report the Nets think they can move the $12 million, last year contract of Kris Humphries. Maybe they can. But they better not expect any quality  players back.

ESPN’s draft expert Chad Ford reports that there are some teams whose doctors think Nerlens Noel could miss the entire next season recovering from ACL surgery. Would the Cavaliers really care that much? He still probably goes No. 1.

• Gonzaga’s Kelly Olynyk’s 6’9 3/4″ wingspan measured at the combine was shorter than swingmen Otto Porter and Shabazz Muhammed.

• Here is a great post about the flaws of trying to make player comparisons when talking about draft picks.

• The Wizards say they are going to focus on character and attitude with their draft picks. Of course every team says that. What really wins in the league is talent, they should just take the best player.

• San Antonio’s Tiago Splitter with a great explanation of why he is laughing at the rumors he could leave the Spurs to play for Real Madrid: Every four years the major clubs have presidential elections, when they do there are wild promises that have no chance of coming true. Wow. Thank God we would never have anything like that in this country.

• John Wall’s three-day holiday weekend was better than yours.

PBT Extra: How big a threat are Pelicans to Warriors?

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Anthony Davis, Jrue Holiday and the New Orleans Pelicans were the surprise of the first round of the NBA playoffs. We knew they were good, but they looked dominant on both ends sweeping the three-seed Portland Trail Blazers right out of the postseason (and into a somber period of reflection).

New Orleans looked like the best team in the West in the first round and now they take all that momentum to Golden State where… let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

In this PBT Extra I discuss how the Pelicans have found an identity, but the matchups against Warriors are dramatically more challenging than what they saw in Portland. And that’s before Stephen Curry returns to the fold.

The Pelicans are a great story, but the pecking order in the West is real for good reason.

Nuggets’ Mason Plumlee undergoes surgery to fix core-muscle injury

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DENVER — Denver Nuggets center Mason Plumlee underwent surgery to fix a core-muscle injury.

The team said Plumlee had the procedure performed Thursday morning by Dr. William Meyers in Philadelphia.

Plumlee is expected to return to basketball activities this summer and be ready for training camp in the fall. He averaged 7.1 points, 5.4 rebounds and 1.9 assists for a Nuggets team that narrowly missed out on the postseason.

The 28-year-old Plumlee was acquired by Denver as part of a deal in February 2017 that sent center Jusuf Nurkic to Portland. Plumlee signed a three-year, $41 million deal with the Nuggets last September.

 

PBT Extra: Spurs many off-season questions start with Kawhi Leonard

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San Antonio has a lot of roster questions heading into this summer. When Danny Green opts out at $10 million a year, how much do they offer to bring back a key wing defender? What about Tony Parker, an unrestricted free agent? Will Manu Ginobili come back at age 78 41 for another season?

But at the top of the list: Can the Spurs relationship with Kawhi Leonard be repaired?

If so, do they trust his health enough to offer him the $219 million designated veteran max extension?

If not, do they test the trade market (likely we will know the answer to that around the draft, well before July 1)?

I get into all of it in this latest PBT Extra.

NBA makes it official: LeBron did goaltend on Oladipo’s final shot

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Ultimately, this is moot. Nothing changes — not the critical last Pacers possession, not the fact LeBron James drained a three afterwards (and may well have anyway). All it provides is a little validation for frustrated Pacers fans and players.

Yes, LeBron did goaltend on Victor Oladipo‘s shot with 5.1 seconds remaining in what was then a tie game between the Pacers and Cavaliers. The NBA confirmed it in its Last Two Minute Report on Game 5 in that series. From the report.

“(Above the rim view) shows that James (CLE) blocks Oladipo’s (IND) shot attempt after it makes contact with the backboard.”

Oladipo called it goaltending. However, the officials didn’t call goaltending on the play, therefore it was not reviewable. Often on bang-bang plays like this one an official will call goaltending just to give themselves the chance to review it, but this crew did not (and that is a tough call to make accurately in real time).

From there, LeBron went on to hit the dramatic game-winning three that gave Cleveland the win and a 3-2 series lead.

The report also concluded that it was Thaddeus Young who knocked the ball out of bounds on the baseline with 27.6 seconds left, knocking the ball out of LeBron’s hands. The ball bounced on the line — and was therefore out, but the official didn’t call it — then bounced back up, hit LeBron on the arm and went clearly out of bounds. The referee called the second bounce after it hit LeBron. From the report:

“(Video) shows that Young (IND) deflects the ball away from James (CLE) and it lands out of bounds, but there is no whistle. The ball then bounces and hits James’ arm and lands out of bounds again, which is called. Possession of the ball is incorrectly awarded to the Pacers.”

One other note to Pacers fans: The goaltending call is not why Indiana lost. Oladipo shot 2-of-15 on the night. Darren Collison had a very an off night, was not aggressive, and was 1-of-5 shooting. There are a myriad of plays and decisions that go into a game, one blown call is not why the Pacers lost.

The question is can they regroup at home, get more secondary playmaking and buckets from someone other Oladipo, and can their defense force a Game 7? It can, but they have to put the end of Game 5 behind them first.