Dan Feldman

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Spurs call Kawhi Leonard questionable for Game 6 against Rockets

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Kawhi Leonard (ankle injury) said he’d play in Spurs-Rockets Game 6.

Officially, San Antonio isn’t as confident.

Spurs:

Up 3-2, San Antonio still controls this series – if Leonard is healthy for Game 7. The Spurs, with Leonard, would be favored to win that at home. They could even win Game 6 in Houston tomorrow without Leonard.

San Antonio outscored the Rockets in Game 5 when Leonard sat, but the rest of the series shows a far different tale. Leonard’s scoring has taken on greater importance with Tony Parker‘s injury, and Leonard’s defense on James Harden has been instrumental. Just because Patty Mills (offensively) and Jonathon Simmons (defensively) picked up the slack in Game 5 doesn’t mean those role players will duplicate their production in Game 6 or 7. Also, don’t discount Leonard wearing down Houston, which used a seven-man rotation, before getting hurt yesterday.

Still, the Spurs got the Game 5 win, and that buys them some leeway if Leonard needs more time to recover.

Marcin Gortat: Avery Bradley threatened to beat me up

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The testiness between the Wizards and Hawks has continued in their second-round series.

Marcin Gortat in Onet Sport, translated from Polish, via DJ Bean of CSN New England:

[Isaiah] Thomas said after the second game: we do not like them, they do not like us …

“Which is a popular story with the media. This hostility thing between these two teams looks a bit different, though. We play tougher, but we only care about our own team, while they want to provoke us. Avery Bradley approached me last game and said that if I set one more screen, he’s going to beat me up.”

And what was the reply?

“I laughed at him. I advised him to come to come back when he grows up and gains some weight. It really is the Celtics who get excited with this. In other words, they build their unity around their disliking of the Wizards players.”

The Wizards wore all black to a regular-season game against the Celtics, but only the Celtics want to provoke the Wizards? OK.

To be fair to Gortat, he clearly wanted nothing to do with the all-black gimmick. Via Chase Hughes of CSN Mid-Atlantic that night:

But Gortat ought to own his team’s role in escalating the rivalry.

No matter who provoked whom, it’s hard to see the 6-foot-2, 180-pound Bradley beating up the 6-foot-11, 240-pound Gortat. Beyond the size difference, Bradley is basketball tough and Gortat is fighter tough.

Isaiah Thomas on Draymond Green: ‘I don’t know how he can call anybody dirty’

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Draymond Green – who has kicked dudes in the nuts a bunch of times – called Kelly Olynyk dirty.

Isaiah Thomas stuck up for his Celtics teammate, who dislocated Kevin Love‘s shoulder and set a high screen on Kelly Oubre (and got laid out for it).

Thomas on Green, via Jay King of MassLive:

“I mean, I don’t know how he can call anybody dirty,” Thomas said. “But it is what it is. Everybody’s got a comment or something to say about others, I guess.”

“It’s a joke that he said that,” Thomas added later, offering that he knows everything gets blown out of proportion during the playoffs. “We can’t worry about what others are saying or doing.”

Green then sent a tweet that appeared to be directed at Thomas, whose Celtics are tied 2-2 with the Wizards:

Thomas is the only NBA player to say what most fans though: Green is too dirty to call someone else dirty. But that doesn’t make Green wrong about Olynyk. At minimum, Olynyk has been repeatedly reckless – and, personally, I don’t see much point parsing the difference between that and dirty.

As far as Green’s retort, this is the upper-hand of playing for the Warriors, the NBA’s best team. It always provides a comeback – even when you’re the pot calling the kettle black.

NBA: Spurs got away with two key late violations in Game 5 win over Rockets

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With 1:20 left in overtime of Game 5, the Rockets led the Spurs by one and had the ball. Twenty-four seconds later, San Antonio led by two.

What changed?

LaMarcus Aldridge got a steal, and Danny Green hit a 3-pointer en route to the Spurs’ 110-107 win.

Also: Aldridge got away with two violations, according to the NBA’s Last Two Minute Report.

While stealing the ball from James Harden, Aldridge should have been called for a foul with 1:19 left, per the league:

Aldridge (SAS) make contact to Harden’s (HOU) arm and affect his ability to pass the ball.

On the other end, Aldridge got away with an offensive three-second violation with 1:06 left, according to the league:

Aldridge (SAS) is in the paint for longer than three seconds.

A correct call would’ve resulted in a turnover. Instead, the Spurs kept the ball – which they had only because of the incorrect no-call on Aldridge’s steal – and Green hit a 3-pointer.

We can’t know what would have happened with correct calls down the stretch, but those were two huge swings in a game that was separated by just two points once Houston began intentionally fouling.

The two-minute report also includes three other uncalled violations – but all three were offensive, and the offending team didn’t score anyway. Those were washes. Aldridge’s uncalled foul and three-second violation were the only noteworthy missed calls in the report.

Celtics’ Isaiah Thomas fined $25,000 for swearing at a fan (video)

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Celtics guard Isaiah Thomas apparently told a Washington fan:

I’ll f— you up. You know that.

Make sure after, come right here and say it.

NBA release:

Boston Celtics guard Isaiah Thomas has been fined $25,000 for directing inappropriate language toward a fan, it was announced today by Kiki VanDeWeghe, Executive Vice President, Basketball Operations.

The incident occurred during the Celtics’ 121-102 loss to the Washington Wizards in Game 4 of an Eastern Conference semifinals series on May 7 at Verizon Center.

The above video was posted May 5 – two days before Game 4 and the day after Game 3, both in Washington. The league described the fine as for an incident in Game 4. However, the video didn’t really catch on until after Game 4.

I’ve asked for clarification, but here’s my strong hunch: This date discrepancy just further indicates the NBA doesn’t care enough about player language toward fans enough to actively police it. The only problem is getting caught on video.

Update: The NBA confirmed the fine was for Game 3.