Gregg Popovich to reporter in postgame press conference: ‘Good Lord. And they pay you, don’t they?’ (video)

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Correction: Upon closer listening, it sounds as if Popovich said “it’s” rather than “you’re” “not worth much.”

Games in the Spurs-Thunder series have been decided by 17, 35, 9, 13 and 28 points – and in the lone single-digit game, the winning team led by 20 late in the fourth quarter before surrendering a meaningless run.

Despite five blowouts, the series is as close as possible with San Antonio holding a 3-2 lead.

That’s quirky and somewhat interesting, but I have no clue how to explain it. If only there were a basketball genius fielding questions whom we could ask.

After the Spurs won Game 5, a reporter asked Gregg Popovich about the string of big wins by both teams.

  • Reporter: “Five games, five blowouts. To us who don’t really know the game, how do you explain that?”
  • Popovich: “You’re serious? You really think I can explain that?”
  • Reporter: “In simplest terms. I know you can. The question is, will you?”
  • Popovich: “Good Lord. And they pay you, don’t they? They pay –”
  • Reporter: “Very little.”
  • Popovich: “Thus the question. It’s not worth much.”
  • Reporter: “That’s why I’m not up there.”

I hope the reporter wasn’t offended, though Popovich’s words – even with his laugh – were way out of line. I know I wouldn’t have been offended, because this is who Popovich is. He’s a jerk to the media. A long history of him acting like this might mean we shouldn’t take his retorts seriously, but normalizing them doesn’t make them acceptable.

To make matters worse as the exchange continued, the reporter clearly thought Popovich used “can’t” in the same way he says he “can’t” explain his tactical adjustments – as a synonym for “won’t.” But, in this case, I legitimately believe Popovich truly meant “can’t.” Of course, Popovich made no effort to get on the same page as the reporter, instead opting to belittle him.

Another reporter followed up and again asked whether Popovich can explain the series producing five routs. This time, Popovich answered:

No. There’s no way. I have no clue, honestly. I think every game, it’s a different animal. It really is. We talk to our team about that all the time. You have no clue what’s going to happen, how a team is going to come out, whether they’re going to be lethargic or hold the ball, don’t hold the ball, get 50-50 balls or don’t get 50-50 balls. The game is played once it begins, and adjustments start.Both sides are going to make their adjustments, whether it’s substitutions or changing pick-and-roll defenses or who you want to go to, how many minutes so-and-so should play. All that happens when the game starts. There are plays, there are calls, there are runs that happen that make momentum stop or get extended.  And then a lot of it has got to do with players making shots on a certain night, and it can go in either direction.

What do you know? Popovich had a reasonable reply in him all along.

Draymond Green says Warriors are “more relaxed” this season

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Last year, the Warriors entered the NBA Finals with the weight of expectations: Defending NBA champions, 73 regular season wins, if they got the title they would leap up the ladder of all-time great teams, lose and it would be a massive let down. We all know what happened from there.

The Warriors are back in the Finals, taking on the Cavaliers for the third year in a row — but this year things are going to be different. Mostly because of Kevin Durant changing the equation. But also the Warriors mindset is better if you ask Draymond Green. Which Mark Spears of ESPN did.

This makes sense. The Warriors to a man denied the pressure and how physically/mentally taxed they were by the chase for 73, but it clearly wore on them physically and mentally. Green was thrashing about and drawing techs, over-reacting to everything (although sometimes that feels like his default setting). Curry was injured but also tired. The Warriors opened the door, LeBron James and the Cavaliers stormed through it.

Will a rested Warriors make a difference this time around? Maybe. But again, Durant matters more than rest.

Report: Harlem Globetrotters to resume series with Washington Generals

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The Harlem Globetrotters dropped the Washington Generals as an opponent a couple years ago – a sad development for basketball traditionalists.

But the sport’s most-lopsided rivalry is returning.

Darren Rovell of ESPN:

Sources said the Generals will be put into rotation to play the Globetrotters again as early as this summer and will take on a greater life than before as the lovable losers.

This just feels right. There’s a spirit about the Generals that complements the Globetrotters so well.

Report: Turkish government issues arrest warrant for Enes Kanter

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The current, authoritarian government in Turkey is not big on dissent (they have beaten protestors of the Turkish regime at a march in this country). Or human rights.

So what’s real trouble for them is opposition and dissent from a famous, well-known person.

Which brings us to Oklahoma City big man Enes Kanter. He is a native of Turkey, and he has been outspoken in his opposition to that country’s current president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. Last week the Turkish government revoked Kanter’s passport while he was traveling the globe promoting his charity. He barely got out of Indonesia and was able to get to Romania, where he was detained for a stretch before getting to return to the United States via London.

Now, the Turkish government has issued an arrest warrant for Kanter, reports the Agence France-Presse.

Turkey issued an arrest warrant on Friday for Turkish NBA star Enes Kanter, accusing him of being a member of a “terror group”, a pro-government newspaper reported.

A judge issued the arrest warrant after an Istanbul prosecutor opened an investigation into Kanter’s alleged “membership of an armed terrorist organisation”, Sabah daily reported.

He is in no danger of being extradited by the United States because of this. If anything, it strengthens his case for U.S. citizenship based on asylum.

Kanter is a supporter of the Gülen movement in that country, which is led by the exiled cleric Fethullah Gulen, who currently lives in Pennsylvania. That movement has opposed Erdogan (who recently won a disputed election in that country that gives him sweeping, almost dictatorial powers). Erdogan blamed Gulen for masterminding a failed 2016 coup attempt in Turkey, one with members of the military involved (after that attempt members of the Gulen movement have been swept up by the government all over Turkey). This has come at a cost for Kanter, who has been disavowed by his own family because of his political beliefs.

Kanter is not about to back down from his position. Which means it may be a long time before he gets to visit his homeland again.

Report: Duke guard Frank Jackson undergoes foot surgery before NBA draft

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Duke guard Frank Jackson declared for the 2017 NBA draft with an outside shot of going in the first round and a likelihood of getting picked in the second-round.

This won’t help his stock.

Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports:

Duke’s Frank Jackson, a well-regarded point guard in the 2017 NBA draft class, underwent right foot surgery and is expected to be fully recovered sometime in July.

When Jackson recovers will determine whether he plays in summer league, and that can affect transition to the pros as a rookie.

The bigger questions: Will this hinder his athleticism long-term? Does this put him at greater injury risk?

Jackson, a 6-foot-4 scoring guard, relies on a strong first step to attack the basket and high elevation on his jumper.