Mark Jackson: Clippers fans should boycott Game 5 due to Donald Sterling allegations

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Mark Jackson appeared on the Dan Patrick Show, and Patrick asked the Warriors coach whether he could coach the Clippers if Donald Sterling remained the team’s owner. Jackson:

I cannot be the head coach of the Clippers. Like I said, there’d have to be some dialogue. I believe that people can be changed and healed and saved and delivered. It’d have to be some dialogue, and it’d have to be a process with him wanting him wanting to change his thought process and his beliefs. But as it is right now, I could not coach for him.

Patrick also asked how the players should respond to the allegations:

People probably pressured and said the Clippers should boycott and all that. I didn’t agree with that at all. At the end of the day, you’ve got some young, successful guys that dreamed of playing at this level. You’ve got a coach that dreamed of coaching at this level. And they’re being paid very well to do it.

If I were a fan – I’m being paid. Now I’m paying to watch – I wouldn’t show up to the Staples Center. In an ideal world, I’d prefer the Clippers and the Warriors play in the Staples Center with no fans. That made a statement. That speaks volumes. It could be on TV, and we could treat it like it’s normal, but I think it would make a heck of a statement saying you won’t tolerate what was allegedly said.

To everyone telling the Clippers’ players, coaches and fans what to do – shut up.

It’s so easy to give those directions when you don’t have to take the downside of them.

But try being in those shoes. It’s not so easy. These are extraordinary circumstances. There’s no roadmap for how to respond here.

Jackson’s response on coaching the Clippers bothers me, because he doesn’t have to make that choice. Doc Rivers has a nice salary, front-office control and a championship-caliber team. He’s supposed to throw all that away because Sterling allegedly said something racist? That’s a judgment Rivers should make for himself, because he’s the only person in position to do so. It’s completely unfair for Jackson to apply peer pressure for a certain outcome.

But Jackson’s suggestion for fans is even worse, because it would benefit him directly by removing Golden State’s homecourt disadvantage in this series.

Do I think Jackson is being purposefully self-serving? No, though I won’t completely rule it out. But that his suggestion helps the Warriors must be taken into account.

It’s not a money thing. Those Game 5 tickets are already sold. Sterling is getting that cash.

Why didn’t Jackson advocate a fan boycott of Game 4 in Oakland? That would have sent a message, and like Game 5, not affect the gate revenue for any owner.

Jackson is pushing a principled stance of boycotting – one he’s strongly opposed to for his role in participating in the game – when he doesn’t have to eat his tickets. Playoff tickets don’t come cheap, and I’m sure many fans want to support the players and Rivers. Whether going to the game endorses Sterling is a judgment fans must make for themselves, because they’re the only ones in position to do it.

At least Jackson wasn’t scolding the Clippers’ players for not boycotting. You can find that plenty of other places, though.

Everyone – including Jackson, Chauncey Billups, Jalen Rose, George Hill and Jerryd Bayless – is entitled to their opinion. But they’re not in the shoes of the people they’re speaking for.

The Clippers’ players, coaches and fans are doing the best they can. I have no clue what they should do, and I suspect many of them don’t, either.

It’s so much easier to say what you’d do when you don’t actually have do it. I wish a few more people would acknowledge that before saying what they’d do – because they sure don’t have to follow through.

Watch Raptors fans give Vince Carter a standing ovation in Toronto (VIDEO)

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Vince Carter is 40 years old and playing in what could possibly be his final NBA season. The Sacramento Kings guard started his career with the Toronto Raptors, and on Sunday he played what could possibly be his final game at the Air Canada Centre.

And so, when Carter was subbed out late in the fourth quarter on Sunday, the folks in Toronto did what came naturally: they cheered.

The whole thing was pretty great to watch, and a real testament to how Carter is viewed by fans in Toronto.

Via Twitter:

Carter scored just four points in 25 minutes for Sacramento, going 2-of-5 from the field while adding three blocks, two assists, a rebound and a steal.

The Raptors got the win over the Kings, 108-93.

Report: Isaiah Thomas looking at first week of January for return to Cavs

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Just when we though Isaiah Thomas had fallen off the collective radar of the NBA, he squeaks right back in.

Thomas, who the Cleveland Cavaliers acquired in a trade this summer for Kyrie Irving, has yet to play a game due to a nagging hip injury. That injury caused some back-and-forth squabbling between Cleveland and the Boston Celtics, but things got sorted and the teams went on their way.

Irving has been spectacular of course, helping to lead the Celtics to a record of 25-7 in the absence of Gordon Hayward, good enough for the top slot in the Eastern Conference.

Now, it appears that Thomas is ahead of schedule and will be ready to help the Cavaliers fight for that spot come early January. According to Yahoo! Sports’ Shams Charania, Thomas and Cleveland want him to be playing the first week of the new year.

Via Twitter:

Of course, we’ve heard this before. The team has said this season that Thomas would play in January. Then the line moved and the Cavaliers thought he would play in December. It’s now moved back to January, but reports are more firm as we’re closer to the expected date and Thomas is playing in 4-on-4 drills. The great news is this honed return date seems to directly target the second game of 2018 for the Cavaliers, which is conveniently against the Celtics.

No doubt Thomas will be jonesing to take on his former team, where he certainly would have preferred to stay after a stellar season in 2016-17. Still, Thomas has been in good spirits — he gets to play with LeBron James for goodness sake — and the Jan. 3 game will be one to watch.

If Thomas can’t make it for that January matchup, the next opportunity he will have to beat Boston will be on Feb. 11.

DeMarcus Cousins thinks refs are giving him techs off reputation alone

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New Orleans Pelicans big man DeMarcus Cousins is a fiery personality on the court, often arguing foul calls at length despite no official in NBA history reversing a call directly after player complaint.

Crafty veterans — your LeBron Jameses and your Chris Pauls — slowly and pointedly chatter with officials as a means to influence their subconscious leaning on calls (and to protect them against earning techs when they do decide to straight up yell at refs).

Cousins hasn’t used that kind of angling to success in his career, instead going hard at referees with some consistency. Cousins has tried to change that approach this season, but instead has found that his prior actions have earned him a reputation the Pelicans forward believes doesn’t befit his actions in 2017-18.

Speaking to The Undefeated’s Marc Spears, Cousins said that despite letting more calls go and changing his candor, NBA refs are not responding proportionately.

Via The Undefeated:

I am going out of my way. I am going over and beyond,” Cousins said. “I am coming in saying, ‘We can’t do this, this and this …’ Even calls I know I should be arguing, I’m letting go. And they’re still like … it’s a one-sided thing. Everything is changing from one end. But with them, it’s like, ‘We are not letting go of the past. You are who you are. You’re getting a tech.’

“So, when it comes to me getting a tech for saying, ‘Good call, referee …,’ vets and coaches tell me to butter them up. Switch it up a little bit. Do a little reverse psychology. Tell them it’s a good call. And you still getting a tech for it? They’re not trying to make it work. They’re stuck in their ways, and it is so obvious.”

Cousins added that he believes foes are taking advantage of his troubles.

“Now it’s to the point where teams are saying, ‘Yeah, just go over there and beat the s— out of him.’ I don’t get calls, and I’m not protected like other players are,” he said.

It’s interesting to see that Cousins has at least tried to change things up, and indeed acknowledges that he should be trying to work with the officials rather than antagonize them.

Still, we’re not sure what the tone of his “good call” comments are toward the refs. Are they sarcastic? Or are they contrite? You can see how one might earn Cousins a tech from an official — who seem to be particularly sensitive this season — and the other might endear you to them.

James Harden is playing with a bruised right knee

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James Harden, Chris Paul, and the Houston Rockets are on a 13-game winning streak. They have a 1.5 game lead over the Golden State Warriors in the Western Conference. But it’s not all rosy in Space City.

Harden suffered a bruised right knee against the San Antonio Spurs on Friday, and almost had to sit out the Rockets’ win over the Milwaukee Bucks on Saturday.

Speaking to reporters after the win over the Bucks, Harden said that he was in some pain but a doctor told him he would be able to play and that he would not make the condition worse.

Via ESPN:

“I wasn’t feeling well at all, but the doc came in and just told me that there’s going to be pain for a bit, but you can play through it,” Harden said. “It can’t get worse, but it’s going to be pretty painful until obviously you give it some time. Once he said that, I was like, ‘Let’s go.'”

“I wasn’t moving like I usually move, but we won,” said Harden.

If Harden wasn’t feeling well, it sure didn’t show. He had 31 points, although on 8-of-21 shooting against Milwaukee. Chris Paul chipped in with 25 points, six assists, and five rebounds.

It doesn’t sound like Harden will be missing a game any time soon, which is par for the course for him. He’s played in a minimum of 89 percent of his team’s regular season games since entering the league in 2009.

Meanwhile, the Rockets are blasting their way into 2018. They play the Warriors next on January 4.