Associated Press

Three Things to Know: Kevin Durant steals a little of Kobe’s thunder with game winner

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LOS ANGELES — Every day in the NBA there is a lot to unpack, so every weekday morning throughout the season we will give you the three things you need to know from the last 24 hours in the NBA. We’re coming to you live from Staples Center with tonight’s three things.

1) Kobe Bryant gets his jersey retired, then Kevin Durant crushes Lakers’ fans dreams of perfect night with game winner. It was Kobe Bryant’s house one last time at Staples Center Monday. This building may not exists but for the energy Kobe and Shaquille O’Neal brought to the Lakers, and after a legendary 20-year career it was fitting that the Lakers retired both of his jerseys, 8 and 24.

Kobe finally answered wether he thought 8 or 24 had the better run.

“Eight will have something 24 will never, ever, ever, ever have — the ability to grown hair,” Bryant joked. “It’s really tough for me (to choose between 8 and 24), but 24 was tougher. And I tend to gravitate toward things that are harder to do.”

Then there was the actual game at Staples Center, where for the second time this year the Lakers pushed the Warriors to overtime. It was the second time the Lakers played one of their better games of the season — except at the free throw line, where they were 22-of-35 (62 percent) — while the Warriors took the Lakers lightly. This time the Warriors were also short-handed with Stephen Curry, Draymond Green, and Shaun Livingston all out.

Kevin Durant was off, he started the game 4-of-20 from the floor. But KD has a little Kobe in him — when he’s not scoring his confidence never falters, and he keeps on firing. From the middle of the fourth quarter on he was 6-of-9 shooting including three from beyond the arc.

The biggest of those was the game winner in overtime to give Golden State a 116-114 win to take a little luster off Kobe’s big night. Durant got the matchup he wanted, isolated on Lonzo Ball, then went to work.

2) Pacers throw game away to Celtics — literally — and waste another great game from Victor Oladipo. Pacers’ GM Kevin Pritchard — who has won more than his share of trades in his career — looks smarter and smarter every day for getting Victor Oladipo and Domantas Sabonis out of Oklahoma City in the Paul George trade. I wouldn’t say you “win” any trade where PG13 goes out the door, but he did better for the Pacers than most of us realized at the time.

Given another chance and the ball in his hands as a shot creator, Oladipo has exploded with an All-Star level season. That continued Monday night against the East-leading Celtics, where Oladipo had 38 points — 30 in the second half — to put the Pacers in a position to win it. Indiana was in control and the Celtics were fouling and jacking up threes trying to hang on in the final two minutes. Then Kyrie Irving hit a couple of big threes (he had 30 points on the night and was clutch), and with 9 seconds left the Pacers were up one, 111-110. Indiana called timeout to advance the ball to halfcourt, then inbounded the ball to Cory Joseph who was not instantly fouled and made a quick pass to Bojan Bogdanovic to kill more time. Smart play. Then Bogdanovic tried the same idea but executed it poorly, throwing a hanging, slow cross-court pass.

Terry Rozier from Boston stole the pass, tipping it forward to himself, then racing in for the game-winning layup.

Rough night, rough loss for a Pacers team that showed it belonged all night.

3) Larry Nance Jr. with Dunk of the Year candidate. For the third thing we could have gone with Jimmy Butler scoring 37 points than ranting about how he loves defense after the game. Russell Westbrook had 38 points in a one-point Thunder win over the Nuggets.

But how can we not go with Larry Nance’s Dunk of the Year candidate, throwing it down on Kevin Durant?

KD created his own problem here with an ill-advised look-ahead pass that led to a turnover and a Lakers’ transition chance, but even so nobody can expect to get destroyed like that. KD is the Warriors best rim protector and has played at an All-Defensive Team level this season, he stayed in to try to block the shot. But that was not happening. Nance has had big throwdowns before, but this was one for the ages.

Former President George H.W. Bush says he’s more concerned with Rockets beating Timberwolves than his own health issues

AP Photo/Rick Bowmen
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Former President George H.W. Bush is hospitalized with an infection.

Spokesman Jim McGrath:

The Rockets, up 3-1, play the Timberwolves in Game 5 tonight.

Warriors players upset with team’s handling of media member taking security manager’s jacket

AP Photo/Mark Humphrey

After the Warriors’ Game 5 win over the Spurs, Draymond Green was asked about video of a jacket incident. Green:

Obviously it’s unfortunate. I think, you know, what it boils down to it, it’s a jacket but I think it’s more so the principle. You’re in your own space and you want to return your jacket, and all of us do and so I think it’s more so the principle than the actual thing.
Like, you know, if I got a dollar sitting here, it’s a dollar, but it’s my dollar. I wouldn’t expect nobody to take it. That’s an unfortunate situation. We got a great front office and great media PR staff that will figure it all out.

Green was talking about a video of KGO-TV sports anchor Mike Shumann.

Monte Poole of NBC Sports Bay Area:

Shumann, the former 49ers receiver who has been with KGO since 1994, was in San Antonio last week to provide coverage of the Warriors-Spurs playoff series. He was captured on video after practice last Thursday bending over, picking up a jacket, folding it and walking out of AT&T Center. The jacket, it was later, confirmed, belonged to Warriors security manager Ralph Walker, who had not given Shumann permission to take it.

Approached about the incident, Shumann returned the jacket, apologized and also tried to explain his actions, essentially saying he wasn’t thinking clearly.

Insofar as Shumann is a Disney Company employee — Disney owns ABC and ESPN — the matter put the Warriors organization in a compromised position. Disney’s contract with the NBA gives ABC affiliates exclusive access on specific telecasts, something the Warriors take seriously. In their attempt to control the damage and preserve status quo with Shumann, they wanted to consider the matter a benign misunderstanding.

The players were not in such a forgiving mood. They urged that action be taken, partly out of loyalty to Walker but largely because of their belief the incident would not have been taken so lightly likely if the jacket had been removed by a person of color.

They smelled a double standard.

I’ve been professionally acquainted with Mike for years and had never formed an opinion of his character. I heard what had happened, followed up with a few people and became aware of how the team felt. I saw the video and considered it bizarre behavior on his part.

Maybe that’s all it is. Or maybe there is some medical or psychological explanation.

Some Warriors were merely bothered by the entire episode, others were outraged — mostly about the attempt to bury it.

My inclination in most circumstances is to give people the benefit of the doubt absent other information. Maybe this was an innocent mistake, a joke gone awry or, as Poole wondered, a medical or psychological episode.

But I also recognize that white people are more likely to receive that benefit of the doubt-.

The solution isn’t to throw Schumann under the bus without a better understanding of what happened. It’s to extend everyone that courtesy. Fairness doesn’t require extending vindictiveness.

This is only complicated by the NBA’s relationship with Schumann’s company. When justice and business interests align, it’s easier. When they diverge, it gets harder.

The Warriors have developed a cohesiveness throughout their organization (also easier done while winning). They must manage this incident to avoid undermining those bonds.

Report: Kawhi Leonard and Spurs must repair ‘broken’ relationship before San Antonio offers super-max extension

AP Photo/Eric Gay

The Spurs can offer Kawhi Leonard a super-max contract extension – which projects to be worth $219 million over five years – this offseason.

Will they?

Adrian Wojnarowski on ESPN:

The relationship between Kawhi Leonard is broken, and it’s got to be put back together again before the Spurs are going to make that kind of commitment to a player. And that’s going to take a lot of talking, communication and some comprise here in the next few months before the Spurs can make that offer. But the idea that an organization like the Spurs are going to just blindly walk in and give the biggest contract in franchise history to a player who has behaved the last few months like he doesn’t want to be a part of them, it’s not going to happen that way. So, there’s a lot of repairing that’s going to be done before they even make that offer, I believe.

Leonard will reportedly meet with San Antonio for an exit interview, and that’s the next big step toward mending fences.

Remember, LaMarcus Aldridge requested a trade last summer. Then, he and Gregg Popovich talked and got on the same page. Aldridge just had an excellent season for the Spurs. Handling unhappy players is part of the job. When they’re as good as Aldridge and Leonard, it’s worth making the effort to find common ground.

If San Antonio finds enough with Leonard to offer him the super-max extension, the next question becomes: Will he sign it? He might prefer to move on.

But nobody is that far. The big benchmark in this process is the Spurs offering or not offering the super-max extension. They must determine whether or not they will.

Report: Heat to explore Hassan Whiteside trade options

Associated Press

Is there much demand for Hassan Whiteside around the NBA marketplace?

The pro-Whiteside camp can point to some raw numbers: He averaged 14 points and 11.4 rebounds a game this season (and 17 and 14 a season ago), he shot 54 percent from the floor, and had a PER of 24.1.

However, his shortcomings were on full display in the playoffs. In the first two games, when Philadelphia played small, Whiteside didn’t have a place on the court and saw limited minutes. When Joel Embiid returned things got worse — in the three games matched up against Embiid, when Whiteside was on the court the Heat were outscored by 11.9 points per 100 possessions. Whiteside played just 10 minutes in Game 5, where he was 0-of-4 from the field, picked up three fouls, and was -14. All through the series, Whiteside complained about his lack of minutes.

Whiteside and Erik Spoelstra are not on the same page, and the Heat would like to move him in a trade… but good luck with that. From Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald.

The Heat is expected to explore a Whiteside trade, with the center due $24.4 million and $27.1 million in the final two years of his contract.

In a tight financial market, the Heat are going to struggle to find a team with the space (or willing to create the space) to take on $51.5 million over two seasons. Even if they do, the Heat are going to have to attach sweeteners — multiple first round picks, or a pick and young players that interest teams (Kelly Olynyk or Bam Adebayo, for example). It’s going to be a lot to give up to get out of that contract. Maybe in the summer of 2019, when the market loosens up and Whiteside is an expiring contract, they more easily can find a deal. This summer it would be difficult.

But expect the Heat (and Whiteside’s agent) to look for a trade. It’s time to part ways, it just may not be that simple to do.