Wednesday night’s Sacramento Kings home opener wasn’t your standard home opener — it was a celebration of a team and the community that came together and fought to keep them. It was a celebration of all things Sacramento and the new owners there, Vivek Randive and his team.
The game was broadcast locally (without commercials) on News10, and they interviewed DeMarcus Cousins — who had his filter off when asked about he Maloof ownership (via SI’s The Point Forward):
“It felt like an AAU team. Everything [critics] were saying before, I believe it’s true. We were the worst. We weren’t building for the future, we were just living in the moment. That’s why we were that bad. … Honestly, I feel like I wasted time. I hate the fact that it took everything we went through to get to this. I guess you could say it makes that much better.”
What was great about the Kings event was that it looked forward — the focus was on building a new future, from the team on the court to the new building in downtown. While Cousins was Cousins, there were not a lot of looking back and taking shots at the Maloofs (who early on were good owners but mismanaged the business long term).
Announcement: Pro Basketball Talk’s partner FanDuel is hosting a one-day $25,000 Fantasy Basketball league tonight (Friday). It’s just $10 to join and first prize is $3,500. Starts at 7pm ET. Here’s the link.
Plus, the Kings beat the Nuggets 90-88. Cousins was in beast mode and dropped 30. It was a great night.
Check out the opening ceremony from the Kings’ first game this season.
The NBA’s award season seems more wide open than ever.
Ben Simmons was going to enter the season as the heavy favorite to win Rookie of the Year, but with him out injured the door is flung open to a lot of players. Coach of the Year is always a game of “which coach exceeds expectations.” Even MVP seems more open with Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant — the award winners the past three seasons — teamed up in the Bay Area.
In this latest PBT Extra I throw out my predictions for the awards, but let’s get on with the games next week and see who earns them.
During the ProBasketballTalk podcast with Sixers coach Brett Brown, you could hear the frustration in his voice. He has all these talented young front line players — Joel Embiid, Nerlens Noel, Ben Simmons, Dario Saric, Jahlil Okafor — but he can’t begin to figure out how they all fit together if he can’t get them on the court at the same time.
That problem just got worse.
The Sixers announced that Nerlens Noel will miss time following surgery to deal with soreness in his left knee. Here is the word from the press release itself:
During the normal course of evaluation and treatment for his left adductor strain, which was identified on October 6, Noel reported localized soreness in his left knee. After consulting with multiple specialists, the source of the soreness was identified as inflamed plica. Noel has elected to address the injury via a minor surgical procedure in the coming days.
The team gives no timeline for Noel’s return. Soreness from the plica — a band of tissue around the knee that is not important following birth — happens in some players and can be fixed by an arthroscopic surgery that removes the area being irritated. While the surgery is minor, it usually takes around six weeks to bounce back from this.
That likely means a little more run for Jahlil Okafor (just coming back from an injury of his own) and Richaun Holmes. But it’s just another injury setback for a Sixers team plagued by them.
The Sixers also announced that Jerryd Bayless will not have surgery on his wrist, but will remain out and be evaluated in two weeks.
This was flat out incredible.
After a back-and-forth, even series between the Minnesota Lynx and the Los Angeles Sparks, it came down to the final seconds (although maybe it shouldn’t have, the WNBA admitted Friday the referees missed a call with 1:14 left, giving the Sparks’ Nneka Ogwumike a bucket on a shot after the shot clock expired).
The biggest stars took over at the end, as you can see in the video above: L.A.’s Candace Parker drives and scores with 19 seconds left putting the Sparks up 75-74; Minnesota responded with a Maya Moore jumper to take the lead back, then it came down to Ogwumike (the WNBA’s 2016 MVP) getting the ball after a block by Sylvia Fowles and following it up with a fadeaway bucket that gave Los Angeles the title.
Congrats to Candace Parker on the win, after how she’s been overlooked on the awards circuit in the WNBA this season, this is some sweet revenge.
Pelicans point guard Jrue Holiday is away from the team as his wife, Lauren Holiday, battles a brain tumor.
First, Lauren gave birth to a healthy daughter.
Now, more good news.
John Reid of The Times-Picayune:
Hopefully, the Holidays continue to find good health.