Author: Brett Pollakoff

Doc Rivers

Doc Rivers mocks Draymond Green’s toughness after his reaction to bump from Dahntay Jones


After the Warriors soundly beat the Clippers on Sunday, Draymond Green was the one in the spotlight, conducting a walk-off interview to conclude the nationally-televised contest.

Seldom-used Dahntay Jones gave Green an intentional bump with his shoulder that the cameras caught, and was fined $10,000 by the league for his actions.

Green was vocal about this immediately afterward, wanting the league to look into what Jones did.

“I think he wanted a reaction from me, but he don’t play,” Green said. “Me getting suspended and him getting suspended, it’s different. When you don’t play, that’s probably his role on that team.”

Clippers head coach Doc Rivers mocked Green for making such a big deal out of something seemingly so small.

From Melissa Rohlin of the Los Angeles Times:

“Honestly, I just saw it an hour and a half ago and, wow, that was such a violent bump,” Rivers quipped.

Rivers went on to poke a bit of fun at Green.

“I guess that tough guy in Golden State, the bump was too hard for him, clearly, the way he reacted,” Rivers said. “My goodness. I thought the guy was tough. Anyway, that’s my take on it.”

To be fair to Green, Jones was looking for a reaction; that’s why the league saw fit to fine him for what he did.

As for Rivers going after him a bit, well, there’s a bit of a history between the Clippers and the Warriors that dates back to their many battles from last season. So, we’ll just add these remarks to the ever-growing rivalry between the two teams.

Nicolas Batum will play for French national team this summer, which won’t make Blazers fans happy

Denver Nuggets v Portland Trail Blazers

Nicolas Batum is having a down season for the Blazers, and his dip in production has been one reason why Portland hasn’t been able to make the leap to the level of legitimate contender this year.

His scoring and field goal percentage have dropped significantly, and Batum has admitted to being fatigued.

But contrary to what might make the most sense for his NBA career, Batum will once again play for the French national team this summer — which may enrage some fans of the Blazers.

From Joe Freeman of The Oregonian:

He knows his decision will seem perplexing. He knows some Trail Blazers fans will be upset. He knows there will be animosity and debate on internet message boards and talk radio. …

But he also knows his country needs him.

So Batum has decided to play for the French National Team this summer, when it will try to defend its EuroBasket Championship on native soil in August. …

“I have to fight for my country,” he said.

It isn’t just fatigue that’s caught up with Batum this year, after leading France to a bronze medal in FIBA World Cup play last summer. There have been medical issues, too — Batum underwent platelet rich plasma injections in his knee, and also spent time dealing with a wrist injury.

But plenty of foreign-born players feel an incredible sense of loyalty to their home country, and Batum is merely one more that places additional significance on playing for his national team, despite how it may ultimately affect his ability to perform in the following NBA season.

Dwyane Wade ‘very’ disappointed in Hassan Whiteside after ejection vs. Celtics

Phoenix Suns v Miami Heat

Hassan Whiteside has been a great story for the Heat for most of this season, but the maturity issues that kept him out of the NBA for so long seem to be creeping back in at the worst possible time.

Miami is battling for the eighth and final playoff spot in the East, but Whiteside has been more of a distraction lately than the helpful player he’s been.

He was ejected from Monday night’s loss to the Celtics for a complete non-basketball play, and Dwyane Wade was among those who came down hard on him afterward.

From Jason Lieser of the Palm Beach Post:

Shortly after Whiteside’s ejection, Udonis Haslem (he was out with multiple injuries) stormed from the bench to the locker room. It is unknown why he went back there, but there is one obvious possibility.

Miami coach Erik Spoelstra, who appears to have been very patient with Whiteside since the team signed him early in the season, was clearly angrier about what happened Monday than Whiteside’s previous ejection.

Dwyane Wade went so far as to say there is nothing left for the veterans to tell Whiteside at this point. He has to figure this out himself.

Is Wade disappointed?

“Very,” he said. “We all are. As a Heat fan you are. In this locker room we are. Everybody. He’s gonna have to learn and he’s gonna learn the hard way. He’s doing it his own way. Hopefully he changes his mentality pretty quick.”

More from Wade, via Joe Goodman of the Miami Herald:

“He’s had enough veteran advice. There comes a time where you have to do it yourself. There’s only so many words people can continue to say to you. You gotta do it. Not for you, you got to do it for the other guys you see in here sacrificing — that you see out there playing hurt and all the things you see going on. You’re part of a team. You’re part of an organization.

“We all have our moments, selfish moments, but you can’t continue to keep having them because you got to be reliable, and you got to be able to be counted on. And right now, if he continues to act that way, then he’s not reliable.”

Whiteside was also ejected from a game against the Suns just one week prior to this latest incident.

The Heat see themselves as a family organization, and are willing to tolerate a lot from their players; Michael Beasley is a great example of that. We’ll see if that approach is able to reach Whiteside, who, with averages of 11 points, 9.8 rebounds and 2.4 blocked shots per game, has been an important part of the team this season.

Rumor: Recent play of Russell Westbrook makes it ‘much more likely’ Kevin Durant gets traded next year

Kevin Durant

Kevin Durant will be an unrestricted free agent at the conclusion of next season, and since he’s one of the game’s best players, that means speculation will run wild as to whether or not he’ll re-sign in Oklahoma City, or choose to play somewhere else.

In fact, it already has.

A former NBA executive (Tom Penn, now an analyst for ESPN) believes that because of the recent surge by Russell Westbrook — one in which he’s registered triple-doubles in five of his last six games — that makes it more likely that the Thunder will look to trade Durant next season if he doesn’t give an early indication that remaining with the team is a real possibility.

Penn, via ESPN’s SportsNation:

“I think this burst from Westbrook makes it much more likely that Durant ultimately gets traded next year. … Sam Presti has proven that he does not ever want to lose anybody for nothing. So he traded James Harden a year early to avoid a potential luxury tax problem a year later.

“The Kevin Durant drumbeat next year is going to be so loud because he will not commit early to Oklahoma City contractually because the rules are against that. He can’t get the same contract if he signs early as if he just goes to free agency and resigns.

So if Sam Presti doesn’t get that commitment, he’ll look to to trade Kevin Durant. And looking at the performance of Westbrook and the team around Westbrook will make it easier for him to do that potentially.”

Let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

Despite how great Westbrook has been recently, OKC is just 3-3 in the last six games in which he’s played. His one-man wrecking crew act has been a joy to watch, but it hasn’t been enough on its own to push the Thunder to wins on anything resembling a consistent basis.

If the goal is to win a championship, Westbrook needs help. The Thunder already have the reigning MVP in Durant in place, and aren’t going to even listen to offers for him as long as there remains the slightest hope that he’ll re-sign.

Now, if Durant should go the Kevin Love route and declare to the team that he’s intent on leaving, then — and only then — will the Thunder look to trade him.

That, of course, isn’t likely to occur until after next season is finished, and is a long shot, at best — all of which makes speculating on what may or may not happen well over a year from now more than a bit silly.

Celtics’ Isaiah Thomas takes hard fall late in win over Heat (VIDEO)

Isaiah Thomas

Late in the Celtics’ win over the Heat on Monday, Isaiah Thomas fell hard on his backside after a foul from Dwyane Wade.

There was nothing excessive about Wade’s hit; Thomas was simply caught awkwardly in midair and came crashing to the floor. He finished the game at the urging of his teammates, but was in severe pain afterward, and plans to have X-rays on Tuesday.

From Adam Himmelsbach of The Boston Globe:

Now the question turns to the severity of his injury. Thomas insisted that if he is able to run, he will play against the Memphis Grizzlies Wednesday. But he also acknowledged that the pain was severe and that he knew his body would tighten up on the long flight back to Boston. He said he plans to have X-rays Tuesday.

“Not too good right now,” he said. “Not too good.”

If he is sidelined it would be devastating for Boston, but Thomas said he is prepared to play through pain if he must.

Thomas has been incredible for the Celtics since coming over in the midseason trade from Phoenix.

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Boston has won six of its last nine games, and is eying the final playoff spot in the East, which the team currently trails by two games in the standings.