Author: Brett Pollakoff

Tim Duncan

Former Spurs teammate and current friend of Tim Duncan: ‘I would be very surprised if he retired’


Once the Spurs were eliminated from the playoffs by the Clippers in an absolute war of a seven-game series, it began to set in that we may have seen the last of one of the game’s all-time greatest players.

Tim Duncan finished up his 18th NBA season, and showed plenty of times throughout it that he’s still capable of playing at an extremely high level. But he’s no longer contractually obligated to do so, and has a decision to make this summer as to whether or not he wants to return to continue to compete for one or more seasons.

Duncan wasn’t in any rush to decide his future immediately following the Game 7 loss, and it may be a while before his intentions are known. But for Spurs fans hoping for a positive sign, a friend of Duncan’s who happens to be a former teammate doesn’t feel like Duncan is ready to hang ’em up just yet.

From Jeff McDonald of the San Antonio Express-News:

“I would be very surprised if he retired,” said Antonio Daniels, Duncan’s friend and former teammate with the Spurs. “As long as he’s staying at a level where he feels like he’s relevant and competing, I can’t see it.” …

If this summer goes the other way, and this turns out to be it for Duncan, Daniels has a feeling how that will play out, too.

“He’s not going to be like Kareem and go out on a big retirement tour,” Daniels said, referring to Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, the Lakers Hall of Famer who retired at age 42. “He’s going to wake up one morning and say, ‘You know what? I don’t have it anymore. I’m done.’”

Duncan’s decision will not only force a reshaping of the San Antonio franchise, but it will also have a strong effect on a similar decision weighing on one of his teammates.

Manu Ginobili seems like he may be ready to retire, but the commitment to the franchise and the relationship he shares with Duncan makes it seem like if Duncan returns, he will, as well.

Kevin McHale on Clippers complaining that Rockets shot too many free throws: ‘Well, quit hacking us’


Game 2 between the Rockets and the Clippers was far from an aesthetic masterpiece.

While Houston will take the result — a very necessary come-from-behind victory that evened the best-of-seven series at a game apiece — it was an ugly contest that saw the Rockets go to the free throw line an insane 64 times.

L.A. was predictably less than pleased with this aspect of the loss.

“You’re not going to win many games when the other team shoots 64 free throws and they make more free throws than we even attempted,” Blake Griffin said after Game 2.

A day later, Rockets coach Kevin McHale fired back with a somewhat expected response.

From Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle:

“I heard them saying, ‘Well, they shot too many free throws.’ Well, quit hacking us,” McHale said. “We shoot a lot of free throws when you decide that you’re just going to get in the penalty and start hacking everybody. You end up (with your opponent) shooting a lot of free throws when you put in your backup, backup center (Ekpe Udoh) to just grab guys.

“James (Harden) goes downhill and plays hard. There’s a lot of contact when James plays. I can show you every game, five where he clearly gets grabbed and they don’t call. But I mean, James runs downt he floor. The referees are not trying to screw anybody. It’s a hard game to referee. I’m the worst referee in practices you’ve ever seen. I never blow my whistle. It’s a tough game to call. I don’t put too much into all that.”

Harden led the league in free throw attempts during the regular season, and in fact attempted more (824) than the player who finished second was able to make (Russell Westbrook, 546).

Add in the intentional fouls, along with the way Houston plays the percentages in taking their shots almost exclusively from beyond the arc or in the paint, and McHale is right — if the Clippers want to keep Houston off of the line, they’ll simply need to do a much better job defensively.

McHale appeared on Sports Talk 790 radio in Houston and had plenty more to say on the subject.

David Blatt: ‘There’s a chance’ Iman Shumpert could miss Game 3 with groin injury

Oklahoma City Thunder v Cleveland Cavaliers

Iman Shumpert suffered a groin strain in the third quarter of Cleveland’s Game 2 win over the Bulls on Wednesday, and while he did return to the contest to play an additional four minutes, it could be serious enough to where he’s forced to miss some time.

From Tom Withers of The Associated Press:

“There’s a chance of that,” Blatt said. “The hope is that he’ll be able to play, but we need a little more time.”

After he got hurt, Shumpert told LeBron James he felt something “pop.” He hobbled to the locker room, but soon returned and rode a stationary bike before re-entering the game. Blatt said the injury isn’t as bad as first feared.

“He’s feeling a little bit better than we originally expected and that’s a positive,” he said, “but we’re monitoring and hoping that he’ll continue to progress.”

The good news for the Cavaliers is that they’ll get J.R. Smith back, who missed the first two games of the series after being suspended for leveling Boston’s Jae Crowder in the closeout game against the Celtics.

Shumpert has played well in these first two games against the Bulls, and has done so on both ends of the floor. If he can’t go in Game 3, it will force the Cavaliers to once again juggle unfamiliar lineups as two key players (Kevin Love included) remain missing from the regular rotation.

Shumpert has averaged 17.3 points and six rebounds over his last three playoff games, and had gotten the start in both games against the Bulls while Smith had been sidelined.

20 years ago today: Reggie Miller’s 8 points in 9 seconds (VIDEO)

reggie miller

From David Benner of

“I still smile thinking about it,” said the centerpiece of that tiny time frame, Reggie Miller. “To do it in New York, on that stage, against them. It was us, Indiana, vs. them, New York, small market vs. big market. That’s why I smile.”

“I am surprised it still comes up,” he said. “What has kept it alive is the 30 for 30. Most people think it’s the best one done or in the top five, so it keeps it alive for the younger generation, especially the younger generation of players.

“I get reminded of it constantly, more than I think about it. But I still smile thinking about it.”

Miller’s eight points in nine seconds remains the stuff of legend — an insane late scoring binge on the road against the hated Knicks to pull out the most improbable of playoff victories. It happened 20 years ago today.

Tristan Thompson expected to start for Cavaliers in Game 2 vs. Bulls

Tristan Thompson

With Kevin Love lost for the remainder of the postseason due to injury, it may take more than one game for the Cavaliers to figure out the best alternative lineups and rotations.

Mike Miller got the start in Game 1, and though he did grab five rebounds in 16 minutes, his inability to positively affect the offense meant that the team would be better-served with Tristan Thompson in the lineup, who is a better defender and a tireless force on the glass.

Thompson played a starter’s share of minutes (37) in Game 1, and will reportedly get the chance to do so from the opening tip of Wednesday’s critical Game 2 contest.

From Chris Haynes of

In an attempt to split the series at home, Cavaliers coach David Blatt will start Tristan Thompson in Game 2 against the Chicago Bulls on Wednesday, league sources informed Northeast Ohio Media Group.

Sources spoke on the condition of anonymity. Thompson will make his first postseason start at power forward, pairing up with LeBron James and Timofey Mozgov in the frontcourt, one source said.

The biggest effect of this decision might be how it impacts LeBron James, who can now return to playing the small forward position where he’s traditionally been able to do the most damage. Kyrie Irving explained why that’s a huge positive.

“We get our 3-man back,” Irving said. “It was great seeing Bron at the 4, but at times he was getting the ball just like our bigs and he’s giving it right to me.”

“Our dynamic throughout the entire year and what we’ve created is we play off one another and our bigs get the rebound,” Irving said. “Me and Bron are sprinting dang near at half-court ready to get our offense started, so we have our 3 man back and he’ll be out on the perimeter and all that energy battling Joakim Noah and all those other bigs can be afforded on Mike Dunleavy playing the 3 and also on the offensive end.”

James has admitted he needs to be more aggressive heading into Game 2, after a 9-of-22 shooting effort that accompanied a six-turnover Game 1 performance. Playing the position where he’s consistently been the most comfortable may do plenty to help achieve the desired result.