Pacers’ David West explains his ‘blame the GM’ comment after last week’s win over Nets

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The Pacers are sitting atop the Eastern Conference standings with a record of 23-5, just a half-game back of the Spurs and the Thunder out West for the best record in the league overall.

This lofty position wouldn’t seem to warrant publicly trashing an opposing team following an easy double-digit victory, especially when that team is nine games under .500, out of the playoff picture, and woefully underachieving given the talent assembled on its roster.

But after Indiana beat the Nets in Brooklyn by 17 points last week, that’s exactly what David West appeared to do.

West posted a comment to his Twitter account following the game, which read simply, “Blame the GM.” He explained the reasoning behind his remark in advance of the rematch between the two teams in Indiana on Saturday.

From Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News:

“There were a couple guys that were kind of ripping us throughout the game. They sit pretty close,” West explained before the Pacers hosted the Nets on Saturday.  “They were hollering at us. We hear that everywhere we go.  That’s like the last option, when we’re about to win the game – like, “Y’all alright, but y’all ain’t gonna beat the Heat.’ It kind of gets on my nerves after a while.

“I was just kind of playing around with (the tweet) A lot of it was about us. There were a couple fans on the way out of the arena saying things about us, about where we were, about how we weren’t going to beat the Heat and all that type of stuff. Everybody has a problem with the way our team looks, the way we play. We were put together too, you know what I’m saying.”

The Pacers are going to be hearing that part about not beating the Heat until they actually do it, considering that Miami has been to the Finals for three straight seasons.

But West was justified in making this not-so-subtle remark about how the Nets were constructed. Brooklyn went the mercenary route, signing or trading for big-named stars who are struggling to fit together under the questionable leadership of a rookie head coach.

The Pacers were built more traditionally, and are reaping the rewards as one of the league’s top teams.

Remembering Notre Dame, Laker legend Tommy “the hawk” Hawkins

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Tommy Hawkins passed away recently at the age of 80.

The former NBA player was the first black athlete to earn All-America honors in basketball at Notre Dame (he still holds the school’s total rebounds record), was drafted in the first round, and went on to have a 10-year NBA career playing for the Minneapolis/Los Angeles Lakers as well as the Cincinnati Royals. Los Angeles fans may also remember him as the long time director of communications for the Los Angeles Dodgers after his playing days ended.

The NBA put together this well done video look back at Hawkins’ career.

Celtics’ Brad Stevens said early September tests will show if Thomas ready for camp

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Isaiah Thomas said he expects to be ready for the Celtics’ training camp next month. The guard’s All-NBA season came to an early end in the playoffs when he aggravated a labral tear in his right hip initially suffered back in March. At least the injury did not require surgery.

Players are also about the worst judges of when they will recover from an injury. They pretty much all think they are invincible and will be healthy faster than doctors predict.

Coaches tend to be more pragmatic. Take Boston’s Brad Stevens, who told Chris Mannix on The Vertical Podcast that tests in a couple of weeks will show if Thomas is ready for camp.

“He has another follow-up and another scan in the early part of September. Obviously, it’s been a lot of appropriate rest, a lot of rehab. There have been some good strides here certainly in the last month or few weeks, but we’re not going to know that until after that early September timeframe.”

The Celtics are understandably going to be cautious with Thomas, while Thomas wants to prove he is healthy and has no ill effects from the injury as he enters a contract year (one where he expects to get PAID). Also, the Celtics could use him in camp as they start to figure out how he and Gordon Hayward can share playmaking duties.

Still, from the outset, the timelines have suggested he should be ready for camp in late September. Coaches are just cautious on these things by nature.

Allen Iverson predicts LeBron James will win MVP

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LeBron James has four NBA MVP trophies in his case. (Does he keep that case in his home in Akron or the one in Los Angeles… that’s a question for another day.) Only Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (six) and Michael Jordan (five) have more.

Could LeBron James add a fifth to his case this season?

Allen Iverson said yes at last weekend’s Big3 playoffs in Seattle.

LeBron was fourth in preseason odds to win the MVP at 15/2, behind Russell Westbrook, Kevin Durant, and Kawhi Leonard.

To me, LeBron could be a good bet. If/when Kyrie Irving is traded, the chances of LeBron getting the MVP go up. If LeBron puts up impressive numbers (again) and leads a depleted Cavaliers team to a top two seed in the East, he is certainly going to be in consideration. And should be.

It’s a long season, and personally, I think you need to get midway through the season before seriously considering the year-end awards. But history says LeBron will be in the mix, and Allen Iverson could be proven prophetic.

Phoenix Suns with quality solar eclipse joke on Twitter

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With the cooler-than-I-expected solar eclipse on Monday came a lot of bad solar eclipse jokes on Twitter. Because that’s what Twitter does. Especially the NBA Twitterverse. We knew a lot of “where on the flat earth will Kyrie Irving watch the eclipse?” jokes were coming.

There were a couple of good ones, however.

Appropriately, the Phoenix Suns won the day.

One personal favorite here, an old meme that never goes out of style.