chris paul

Players boycotting playoff games in protest of Donald Sterling was never a real option

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Adam Silver handled the Donald Sterling situation about as perfectly as could have been expected, imposing a lifetime ban on the Clippers owner along with detailing plans to force him to sell the team, thereby exiling him from the NBA altogether.

In case the commissioner had come down less forcefully on Sterling, the players were reportedly considering boycotting games — a move that may have seemed impactful today, but in the long run, would have been extremely short-sighted.

The Warriors detailed their plan, and on paper, it seemed incredibly dramatic. But we’ll never know whether or not this might have actually happened, and honestly, it wouldn’t have made a whole lot of sense.

Donald Sterling is the league’s longest-tenured owner, having purchased the Clippers for $12 million back in 1981. That’s more than 30 years as an NBA owner, while players are often fortunate if their careers last even a third as long.

That’s one reason a boycott would only have served to hurt the players themselves.

Chris Paul and Blake Griffin have very few years where championship contention is a legitimate reality, and this happens to be one of them. The West is as wide open as ever, with teams like the Spurs and the Thunder both struggling to advance against lesser first round opponents.

L.A. already has essentially forfeited a playoff game against the Warriors by allowing all of this Sterling nonsense to become a distraction, and a boycott by ether team would only serve to make this first round series even more difficult to win by either side.

Players’ careers are finite, and the opportunities to contend for a title are even more limited. Sterling’s remarks were awful, and it has to be incredibly difficult for the players to focus under these circumstances. But no one signed up to play specifically for Sterling — he may own the Clippers, but players came there either through the draft or free agency simply to play basketball at the professional level for one of the league’s 30 teams.

Maybe in Dallas, free agents choose to sign on with the Mavericks because of Mark Cuban, and how active he is in his team’s pursuit of a winning culture. But most players have very little interaction with ownership, so in the case of the Clippers and the Warriors, they need to be a little more selfish.

The reality is that the players are playing for themselves — their personal legacy, or their personal future earning potential. Choosing to sit out of playoff games in some form of protest would only damage those goals, and would have little impact on anyone else. For that reason, a boycott of any kind was never a real option.

Thankfully, the league’s response was of the appropriate strength so that the players never needed to seriously consider it.

Gallinari, Faried lead Nuggets to 121-113 win over Magic

Denver Nuggets v Portland Trail Blazers
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ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) Danilo Gallinari scored 21 points, Kenneth Faried had 19 points and 10 rebounds off the bench, and the Denver Nuggets defeated the Orlando Magic 121-113 on Saturday night.

Jusuf Nurkic added 17 points on 8-of-11 shooting and grabbed eight rebounds for the Nuggets, who lost their previous two games. Will Barton scored 16.

Faried was 9 of 10 from the field and Denver shot 57 percent in sending the Magic to their third straight loss.

The Nuggets outscored short-handed Orlando 64-34 in the paint. Magic center Nikola Vucevic did not suit up because of an injury.

Evan Fournier led Orlando with 24 points. Serge Ibaka had 22 points and four blocked shots.

After trailing by four in the fourth quarter, the Nuggets bounced back with big baskets from Nikola Jokic and Faried. Denver, which led by as many as 11 in the third, went ahead 109-106 on a 3-pointer by Gallinari with 4 minutes left and never trailed again.

Sparked by Ibaka’s block on Nurkic and 3-pointer at the other end midway through the third quarter, the Magic fought back from an 11-point deficit to take a 95-92 lead going into the fourth.

Taking advantage of numerous defensive breakdowns by Orlando, the Nuggets took a double-digit lead during the second quarter before settling for a 65-58 lead at halftime. Gallinari had 12 points while Faried and rookie Juancho Hernangomez both scored 12 off the bench for Denver.

The Nuggets, who led by 11 in the second period, shot 55 percent from the field and nearly 56 percent from 3-point range in the first two quarters. Coming off a loss to Charlotte on Friday night and playing their fourth game in five nights, the Magic seemed a step slow as Denver was allowed to drive the lane at ease in the first half.

Led by big men Jokic and Nurkic, the Nuggets scored 36 points in the paint compared to just 20 for Orlando and won the rebounding battle 25-16 in the first 24 minutes.

TIP-INS

Nuggets: Hernangomez shot 4 of 5 on 3-pointers in the second quarter. … Denver’s bench outscored the Magic’s reserves 34-16 in the first half.

Magic: Vucevic (sore shoulder) and fellow center Bismack Biyombo (sore back) were game-time decisions after coming out of Friday night’s loss at Charlotte banged up. Biyombo started and had 12 points in 34 minutes. … The Magic recalled rookie center Stephen Zimmerman from the Erie BayHawks of the NBA Development League.

UP NEXT

Nuggets: Their six-game road swing ends Monday in Dallas. The Mavericks have won five of the last six regular-season matchups.

Magic: Orlando visits Atlanta on Tuesday night. The Magic have lost 17 of their last 22 games against the Hawks.

Pistons send Stanley Johnson, 2 others to D-League

Stanley Johnson
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AUBURN HILLS, Mich. (AP) The Detroit Pistons assigned forwards Stanley Johnson and Henry Ellenson and guard Michael Gbinije to the team’s D-League affiliate in Grand Rapids.

The moves came before Grand Rapids hosted Delaware on Saturday night. The Pistons were off Saturday. Detroit hosts the Philadelphia 76ers on Sunday night.

Johnson, a first-round draft pick in 2015, has averaged only 3.3 points in 21 games this season after showing potential as a rookie. Ellenson, who was drafted in the first round this year, has appeared in only six games this season.

Check out Tim Duncan’s giant new back tattoo

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San Antonio Spurs great Tim Duncan is apparently enjoying his retirement. He’s cutting loose, one could say.

And what’s the first thing you do when you try to cut loose? That’s right, get a tattoo that spans from traps to sciatica.

In a post shared by Elite Custom Tattoo in Arizona, it appears that Duncan got a full-length back tattoo on one side of his back.

The tattoo is elaborate, with a yin-yang symbol and a lot of mechanical underpinnings meant to look like Duncan is more machine than man.

I wonder where he got that idea?

#tattooing the #legend #wip #mechanicaltattoo #yingyang #turbo #gears

A photo posted by Christopher Escobedo (@elitecustomtattoo) on

Joel Embiid shows off custom “Trust the Process” shoes on Snapchat

Philadelphia 76ers' Joel Embiid reacts to the call during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Cleveland Cavaliers, Saturday, Nov. 5, 2016, in Philadelphia. The Cavaliers won 102-101. (AP Photo/Chris Szagola)
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Philadelphia 76ers big man Joel Embiid has a certain sense of humor, one that has embraced former Sixers GM Sam Hinkie’s motto of “Trust the Process” as a kind of personal mantra and brand.

Embiid has apparently taken it a step further, showing off custom sneakers on Snapchat of his “Trust the Process” shoes.

You read that right.

The inside tongue of a pair of kicks Embiid was rocking on Saturday read in all lowercase letters the phrase we now associate with the Cameroonian center.

Embiid famously dubbed himself “The Process” and even filed for a trademark on the language in order to sell merchandise no doubt to be with us shortly.

Keep it coming, Joel. Absolutely each and every one of these are great.