Indiana Pacers v Miami Heat - Game One

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


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.

PBT Extra bold prediction previews: Don’t expect more wins in Toronto

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After winning the Atlantic Division then getting thumped in the playoff two years running, the powers that be in Toronto decided it was time for a change.

The added DeMarre Carroll and made shifts to make this a more defensive-minded team, all because of dreams of playoff success (which for the Raptors would be making the second round). What this changeover is not going to mean is an improvement off the 49 regular season wins the Raptors had last season — they sacrificed some scoring to get this defense, and there is a trade-off.

That said, I still expect the Raptors to win the Atlantic. Maybe they make the second round of the playoffs (way too early to make that call).

How many regular season wins they get — and if they win a postseason series — for me is going to come down to if Jonas Valanciunas takes a step forward. Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan will be strong, Carroll is an upgrade, but the big man in the middle will be the hinge for everything.

Mike Budenholzer smirks at lawyer calling Thabo Sefolosha ‘NBA superstar’

Mike Budenholzer, Thabo Sefolosha
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The funny part, via Robert Silverman:

The substantive part:

NEW YORK (AP) — NBA player Thabo Sefolosha, who was arrested outside a New York City nightclub in April following a confrontation with police officer, has a character “of the highest order,” his head coach, Mike Budenholzer, testified Thursday.

Taking the stand as the final defense witness in Sefolosha’s trial, Budenholzer described the Atlanta Hawks guard-forward as “highly intelligent” and a “hard worker.”

When asked by defense attorney Alex Spiro to describe his character, he said it was, “of the highest order.”

“Thabo is of the highest character,” he said during brief testimony in Manhattan Criminal Court.

The Swiss national is charged with misdemeanor obstructing government administration, disorderly conduct and resisting arrest charges stemming from a confrontation with officers outside a trendy Manhattan nightclub early in the morning on April 8. He has pleaded not guilty.

Officers testified this week that Sefolosha and former teammate Pero Antic repeatedly disobeyed their orders to move off the block and away from a crime scene that had been established following the earlier stabbing of another NBA player, Chris Copeland, and two women.

One of the officers also said Sefolosha lunged at an officer with his arm extended but was intercepted before making contact, eventually taken to the ground and arrested.

Sefolosha has testified that he was complying with orders and moving up the block as a particularly aggressive officer screamed profanities at him.

His attorney has argued that his client was singled out by the officer, who is white, because Sefolosha is black.

Sefolosha testified Thursday that he was trying to give money to a panhandler before entering an awaiting car when he was grabbed by police. He said his leg was kicked in the scuffle and he was taken to the ground, handcuffed and hauled to a police precinct. He suffered a fractured right leg, which forced him to miss the playoffs.

The case is the second one involving high-profile athletes accusing New York Police Department officers of wrongdoing this year. On Wednesday, the city agency charged with investigating police misconduct substantiated claims by former tennis star James Blake that an officer used excessive force when he took him to the ground last month after mistkaing Blake for a fraud suspect.