SAN ANTONIO — Tony Parker said that he was feeling no additional pain in his strained hamstring the day after his Spurs suffered a Game 4 loss, but that doesn’t mean that he’s entirely healed.
After practice on Saturday at the AT&T Center, Parker gave us an idea of just how tenuous the situation is.
“My hamstring can tear at anytime now,” Parker said, when asked if a couple of extra days of rest might help him get closer to 100 percent. “If it was the regular season, I would be resting it for like 10 days. But it’s the NBA Finals now. If it gets a tear, that’s life.”
Despite delivering this somewhat ominous news, Parker maintained that he’s feeling better, and that the treatment he’s been receiving has him optimistic about turning in a stronger performance in Game 5 after being limited to 13 minutes in a scoreless second half the last time out.
“I’m getting stronger with it,” he said. “My goal is to be close to 100 percent by [Sunday]. I feel confident, and I’m being disciplined with all the treatments, with the ice right now. Hopefully I’ll be good for tomorrow.”
Spurs coach Gregg Popovich has said for three straight days now that his star point guard is “fine,” but the dropoff in production in that second half of the last game says otherwise.
As for whether or not Parker will be able to contribute for the entirety of his minutes on Sunday, he wasn’t willing to speculate on his Game 5 chances.
“I don’t know,” Parker said. “We’ll see tomorrow, I guess, huh?”
A couple of days ago, Kevin Durant got into it with a fan on Twitter but used a third-person voice that made it look like he was on another, separate account where his identity was protected. He didn’t hold back going at one of the many fans who have come at him saying he took an easy path. It was a poor choice by Durant.
Tuesday at a Tech Crunch event, he owned up to it, saying what he did was “childish.. idiotic.”
KD went further speaking to Sam Amick of the USA Today after the event.
“I played a little too much, and that (expletive) really hurt me,” Durant… told USA TODAY Sports afterward. “To know that I affected Billy Donovan and the Thunder – like I love those people and I don’t never (want to hurt them).
“That was just me being a total (expletive) idiot. I own up to it. I want to move on from it. It probably hit me probably harder than what everybody (thought). Everybody else was telling me to relax, to snap out of it, but I was really, really upset with myself more than anything. It’s not the fact that people were talking about me, because I deserve that, but I’m just more upset with myself that I let myself go that far, you know what I was saying? It was a joke to me at first. I was doing it all summer, and it went too deep. I went too hard… I haven’t slept in two days, two nights. I haven’t ate. It’s crazy, because I feel so (expletive) pissed at myself and I’m mad that I brought someone into it.”
Durant went on to say he tries to treat the NBA like a playground game, so he can still feel the joy of the sport. Interacting with fans online is just another form of trash talk, he said, then added he let it go too far and said things he regrets.
Durant heard a lot of trash talk coming his way after he left Oklahoma City. Not quite LeBron James leaving Cleveland levels, but plenty. The mature thing to do might be to let this go, because he’s got a ring now. Maybe post a picture of him with the Larry O’Brien trophy and say “for the haters:” and leave it at that. In an NBA world where championships impact legacy (too much, I would argue) he has one now. He will get more in the next few years. He won. So don’t sweat the small stuff.
But that’s not what Durant did. Now he’s going to hear about it for a long time. No matter how much he apologizes, says how bad he feels, and explains himself.
LJUBLJANA, Slovenia (AP) — NBA guard Goran Dragic has confirmed he is retiring from the Slovenia team that won the European basketball championship.
Dragic says on Tuesday, “I achieved what I wanted, the gold medal, and this is the right time to bid farewell.”
The 31-year-old Dragic led Slovenia with 35 points to beat Serbia 93-85 in the final on Sunday in Istanbul, earning the MVP award.
He says Slovenia’s qualifying campaign for the 2019 world championship will start in November, and it would be impossible for him to play due to his professional duties with the Miami Heat in the NBA.
Tens of thousands of jubilant Slovenes greeted the new European champions on Monday in the capital of Ljubljana.
An intriguing battle emerged late in free agency over Dante Cunningham.
The Pelicans and Timberwolves were desperate at small forward, and Cunningham rare contributor at the position still available. New Orleans even traded a second-rounder and cash to dump Quincy Pondexter and get far enough below the hard cap to take advantage of Cunningham’s Bird Rights.
That’ll pay off.
Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports:
It’s not the $3,106,500 Cunningham opted out of, but a $2.3 million salary beats his minimum ($2,106,470), which is all Minnesota could’ve offered.
That’s a great rate on someone who might be the Pelicans’ starting small forward, considering Solomon Hill‘s injury. Even if he plays behind Tony Allen on a team that starts small on the perimeter, Cunningham will reduce the time New Orleans must rely on also-rans.
Cunningham is probably better at power forward, but he can defend either position. He also has become a good enough 3-point shooter to credibly play small forward.
For the Pelicans, he’s a huge upgrade at a bargain price.
Kevin Durant – tweeting in the third person, suggesting he forget to switch to a secret Twitter account – said he left the Thunder because he didn’t like the organization or playing for Billy Donovan and that Oklahoma City’s surrounding cast around himself and Russell Westbrook was lacking. Durant also appeared to have a second Instagram account he has used to insult critics.
Durant at TechCrunch:
I do have other another Instagram account, but that’s just for my friends and family. So, I wouldn’t say I was using that to clap back at anybody.
But I use Twitter to engage with the fans. I think it’s a great way to engage with basketball fans.
But I happened to take it a little too far, and that’s what happens sometimes when I get into these basketball debates. Or what I really love is just to play basketball. I went a little too far.
And I don’t regret clapping back at anybody or talking to my fans on Twitter. I do regret using my former coach’s name and the former organization that I played for. That was childish. That was idiotic. All those type of words. I regret doing that, and I apologize to him for doing that.
But I don’t think I’ll ever stop engaging with my fans. I think they really enjoy it, and I think it’s a good way to connect us all. But I will scale back a little bit right now and just focus on playing basketball. So, I want to move on from that. It was tough to deal with yesterday. I was really upset with myself. But definitely want to move on and keep playing basketball. But I still want to interact with my fans, as well.
Durant can defend himself all he wants on social media. Fans, even those who detest him, do enjoy the interaction.
But an anonymous-looking account defending Durant provides no joy to those fans. They don’t – or at least didn’t – know they were interacting with the famous basketball star. This is something else entirely.
And it sure looks like Durant used his secret Instagram account to clap back at fans. Via SB Nation:
Durant denying that really makes it hard to accept this as him coming clean.
Mostly, Durant just opened himself to numerous follow-up questions:
Did he really dislike the Thunder organization? Did he really dislike playing for Donovan? If yes to either question, why? If no to either question, why say that? How does lying serve the fans he’s claiming he wants to engage?