Toronto Raptors v Brooklyn Nets - Game Three

Kevin Garnett says he ‘blacked out’ during emotional play in Game 3 win over Raptors

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The crowd in Brooklyn for Friday night’s Game 3 win over the Raptors wasn’t exactly comparable to the one we saw in Toronto for the first two games of the series, at least not in time for the opening tip.

Early start times in giant cities are problematic for fans not used to it, and dealing with work responsibilities, traffic and arena setup that makes it a challenge just to enter the building, it can create some embarrassing scenes — like this photo I snapped as the Nets took the floor, mostly to a lower level full of empty seats.

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It took a while, but eventually, the Brooklyn crowd woke up and became as loud as ever in supporting its team. And there were two key plays late in the first half that got it all started.

First, it was Paul Pierce crossing over Tyler Hansbrough on the perimeter, before getting to the rim to throw down a a powerful one-handed slam that brought the crowd to its feet.

A couple of possessions later, Kevin Garnett did his part to incite the crowd himself, hitting the deck to go after a loose ball, then jumping up and screaming as only he can, before popping his jersey for the fans, who were now beyond fully engaged.

Garnett is famous for displays like these, but apparently, when in the moment, he has no idea what’s happening.

From Rod Boone of Newsday:

Remember that play with about a minute left in the second quarter Friday night, when Garnett dived on the floor for a loose ball, got up with it and screamed after tugging on his jersey?

Garnett nearly doesn’t.

“I blacked out at that point,” he said. “I have a kid at the games. Being an example, a role model, all that goes out the door. I’m playing on heart at that point, my passion. I’m playing off the crowd — my friends are there, my teammates, J-[Kidd]. I’m just going. I have no idea what I’m doing. I’m going.”

Garnett said the fans “could do better” when asked overall how the crowd was afterward, and Deron Williams mentioned the early start time as being tough for folks in NYC.

That might be true, but it may be comforting for the Nets to know that all it takes is an intense display of emotion from some of their key players in order to work the fans into the required state of frenzy.

Kings’ Rudy Gay suffers apparent torn left Achilles tendon, would be done for season

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This not only changes the Kings dreams of making the playoffs in the West, it also alters the trade deadline and free agency.

Rudy Gay, the Kings wing and second-leading scorer, has been diagnosed with a torn left Achilles tendon, according to the team. During the third quarter of Wednesday night’s game against the Pacers, Gay drove out of the right corner and, untouched, fell to the floor hard. He had to be helped off the court by teammates.

Team doctors made the initial torn Achilles diagnosis, which will need to be confirmed by an MRI scheduled for Thursday. He would be out not only for this season but likely the start of the next one as well.

Without Gay, a lot more will fall on Matt Barnes and, once he returns from his calf injury in a couple of weeks, Omri Casspi. However, those two are a drop off from what Gay brought to the Kings, and the team’s playoff chances have taken a serious hit (they are 1.5 games out of the eight seed after Wednesday’s loss to the Pacers).

Gay was not happy in Sacramento and had said planned to opt out of the $14.3 million final year of his contract to be a free agent next summer, which made him someone potentially traded before the deadline (although the Kings being in the playoff hunt impacted that). Gay averaged 18.7 points and 6.4 rebounds a game for the Kings, and while his game was a little old school — more isolation and midrange shots than teams prefer — he put up points. Enough that he was drawing trade interest heading toward the deadline from Oklahoma City and other squads.

That is all off the table now. At age 30, if Gay does still opt out of his contract for next season this will impact what he would make on the free market.

Zaza Pachulia lays out Russell Westbrook, stands over him (video)

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Kevin Durant playing the Thunder invites extra emotions.

Russell Westbrook felt them – in the form of a flagrant foul by Warriors center Zaza Pachulia, who stood over Westbrook for emphasis.

Pachulia is really embracing his role doing the dirty work for star-studded Golden State.

Report: 76ers’ Ben Simmons sitting entire season still on table

TARRYTOWN, NEW YORK - AUGUST 07:  Ben Simmons of the Philadelphia 76ers poses for a portrait during the 2016 NBA Rookie Photoshoot at Madison Square Garden Training Center on August 7, 2016 in Tarrytown, New York. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2016 NBAE  (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)
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That rumor No. 1 pick Ben Simmons won’t play this season?

It just won’t die.

Even after Simmons tried to quash it, even after the 76ers’ CEO outright denied it, even after Simmons returned to practice, even in an otherwise optimistic report.

Chris Haynes of ESPN:

76ers rookie forward Ben Simmons could make his much-anticipated NBA debut shortly after the All-Star break, league sources told ESPN.

Barring a setback in his recovery, sources say the No. 1 overall pick in the 2016 NBA draft has a chance to take the hardwood near March. There still remains the possibility Simmons sits the entire season, sources said, but his situation will continue to be thoroughly evaluated throughout his comeback quest.

76ers coach Brett Brown said there’s “no chance” Simmons plays in Philadelphia’s nationally televised game against the Rockets next week. Other than that, there isn’t much clarity.

It mostly sounds as if Simmons is still too far from returning to say something definitive.

Roy Hibbert passes ball into hoop, reacts with perfect facial expression (video)

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The Hornets did so much right in their 107-85 win over the Trail Blazers, even a bad pass went through the hoop.

Roy Hibbert reacted fantastically to blunder/basket (blasket?).