Kurt Helin

Associated Press

Kings’ Darren Collison charged with two counts of domestic violence

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This is the last thing a Kings team trying to turn a corner — new coach, new arena, new uniforms — needed.

Sacramento point guard Darren Collison has been charged with two counts of domestic violence stemming from a May 30 incident in Placer County, just north of Sacramento. Collison has been charged with two misdemeanors: domestic violence and domestic battery.

This is from the Placer County District Attorney’s release, via CSNBayArea.com.

Our office additionally requested and received photographs of the victim’s injuries in the case and a copy of the 911 call made by the victim on May 30th, 2016. After review of the all the above evidence we have concluded there is sufficient evidence that will allow our office to file and prove this criminal case against Mr. Collison beyond a reasonable doubt.

Details from the Placer County Sheriff’s Office Facebook page: “Deputies found that the woman had visible injuries and they arrested Collison on a charge of domestic violence. He was booked at the Placer County Jail in Auburn. He was additionally booked for two misdemeanor warrants, totaling $7,500, for driving on a suspended license. The name of the female victim will not be released as she’s a victim of domestic violence.”

The Kings have said that they are aware of the situation and looking into it as well. Traditionally teams and the league like to let the legal system play out before adding any punishments of their own.

That said, the NBA and other professional sports leagues have come down with longer suspensions on players found to have committed domestic violence in recent seasons. As they should, this behavior should not be tolerated. For example, the Hornets’ Jeff Taylor was suspended 24 games. Collison likely will get more than just a slap on the wrist if he pleads of is found guilty.

Collison is under contract for $5.2 million next season, and may be in line to see increased minutes next (depending on the team’s free agent moves). How this impacts the Kings’ and what they do with Collison remains to be seen.

It’s official, Brandon Bass opts out of Lakers’ contract to be free agent

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It what was an unusual locker room — in part due to the Kobe Bryant farewell tour — Brandon Bass was a true professional. The kind of rock solid pro the Lakers hoped would rub off on their young stars and show them what it takes to last in the NBA. Bass could fit in anywhere.

Bass is going to count on that landing him a nice contract elsewhere — he has officially opted out of his contract with the Lakers and will be a free agent this summer. Broderick Turner of the Los Angeles Times has the details.

Bass would have earned $3.1 million next season if he had not opted out of his contract. Bass, an 11-year veteran, would like to return to the Lakers if the team wants to bring him back, his agent said.

Bass averaged 7.2 points and 4.3 rebounds in 20.3 minutes in the 66 games he played in last season for the Lakers.

Bass will make a little more money, and likely will opt for more of a playoff team than the rebuilding Lakers. He could be a solid big off the bench for a team in that situation.

LeBron has heartfelt exchange with Craig Sager after win

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CLEVELAND — After taking down one of the best teams in NBA history, LeBron James had a heartfelt moment with one of the game’s most popular sideline reporters.

James was interviewed by Craig Sager after Cleveland’s 115-101 victory over the Golden State Warriors in Game 6 tied the NBA Finals at three games apiece.

It was Sager’s first NBA Finals in 34 years on the job. His employer, TNT, worked out a deal with ABC, the network that broadcast the game, to get Sager on the air.

Sager was diagnosed with leukemia in 2014 and has been in a fight for his life over the last two years. After asking James several questions about the game and his 41-point performance, Sager congratulated him on the victory.

“First of all, let me ask you a question,” James said with a wide grin. “How in the hell do you go 30-plus years without getting a finals game? That don’t make no sense.”

Decked out in one of his trademark colorful suits, this one a black number with blue and silver flowers, Sager beamed as James continued his salute.

“I’m happy to see you, man,” James said. “Much love and respect. I’m happy I was able to witness it in front of these fans. We really appreciate you.”

Sager replied, “Thanks for entertaining me.”

Steve Kerr goes off on officials postgame, invites fine from league to plant seed

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CLEVELAND — Steve Kerr knew exactly what he was doing.

In a time-honored NBA Finals tradition used by the likes of Phil Jackson, Pat Riley and Gregg Popovich, Golden State coach Steve Kerr fired shots at the officiating in his postgame news conference Thursday night. His team just had played poorly, and his star Stephen Curry fouled out (then was ejected for throwing his mouthpiece), in a loss to Cleveland 115-101. Kerr wanted to plant a seed for the next game.

“But (Curry) had every right to be upset. He’s the MVP of the league. He gets six fouls called on him, three of them were absolutely ridiculous,” Kerr said in his rant. “You know, he steals the ball from Kyrie clean at one point. LeBron flops on the last one. Jason Phillips falls for that for a flop. As the MVP of the league, we’re talking about these touch fouls in the NBA Finals.

“Let me be clear, we did not lose because of the officiating, they totally outplayed us and Cleveland deserved to win. But those three of the six fouls were incredibly inappropriate calls for anybody, much less the MVP of the league.”

Kerr wasn’t done. He was asked about Curry throwing his mouthpiece into the crowd after the sixth foul (which based on past precedent will lead to a fine for Curry).

“Yeah, I’m happy he threw his mouthpiece. He should be upset,” Kerr said. “Look, it’s The Finals and everybody’s competing out there. There’s fouls on every play. It’s a physical game. I just think that Steph Curry and Klay Thompson, the way we run our offense, we’re running, we’re cutting through the lane, we’re a rhythm offense. If they’re going to let Cleveland grab and hold these guys constantly on their cuts and then you’re going to call these ticky-tack fouls on the MVP of the league to foul him out, I don’t agree with that.”

Kerr will see this as money well spent if his team wins Game 7.

The officiating has been inconsistent through parts of this series, including Game 6. That cuts both ways, Kevin Love was called for a phantom foul in Game 6 where the official anticipated contact that never occurred.

But through that officiating, Cavaliers have been the more physical team these past couple games. Also, the Cavaliers have played through those calls while the Warriors have focused more on them then lost their composure.

If the Warriors don’t get it back and play through the officiating in Game 7, their historic season will end with a historic collapse.

 

LeBron’s transcendent play lifts Cavaliers into Game 7

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CLEVELAND — The numbers are staggering.

In two games where his team would be eliminated if it lost, LeBron James has 82 points, 24 rebounds, 18 assists, 6 blocks, has hit 7-of-14 from three, and is a +37. As Matt Moore of CBS noted, in the last two games LeBron has had 188 touches and just three turnovers. Through the Finals, LeBron leads all players (on both teams) in points, assists, blocks and steals, and he’s tied with Tristan Thompson for most rebounds. In a crucial stretch of Game 6, he scored or assisted on 27 straight Cavaliers points.

And the numbers don’t do his play justice.

LeBron has set the tone and carried a Cavaliers team that looked beaten and dejected after Game 4 all the way to a Game 7 chance to win it all. When Cleveland needed him most, he put on transcendent performances and made himself the Finals MVP favorite (regardless of who wins).

“It’s LeBron being LeBron. He’s one of the greatest of all times,” Warriors coach Tyronn Lue said. “Our back was against the wall and he took it upon himself in the last couple games, himself and Kyrie (Irving), to really put this team on their backs and really get us to where we’re trying to get to and that’s a Game 7 in Golden State.”

He took it upon himself, and Lue has put the ball in his hands during key stretches the past couple games, turning LeBron into the fulcrum of the offense.

“Then down the stretch we decided to put the ball in LeBron’s hands, let him facilitate, get guys open shots because we had a lot of shooting on the perimeter, and it opened up the floor for LeBron to get into the paint, score some, and also distribute,” Lue said.

The Warriors have had no answers for this LeBron. And they are impressed.

“He’s playing great,” said Stephen Curry, who himself dropped 30 in a losing effort. “He’s doing things that are game-changing and helping his team win. He’s been more aggressive shooting the ball.”

“I mean, he’s making his three ball, shooting 50 percent from three the last two games, maybe above,” Klay Thompson said (and it is 50 percent). “His jumper’s going in. We’ve got to do a better job of contesting at the rim with him. But give him credit, he’s making shots. Hopefully, he’s off Sunday.”

The Warriors need to try and come up with an answer for LeBron, but like countless teams before them Golden State is finding stopping this peak LeBron is next to impossible. And while LeBron looked exhausted at times he didn’t come out until the game was decided.

“I don’t think he got tired,” Lue said with a laugh. “I thought he was great. He said he felt good. With our season on the line, at the end of the third quarter he said, “I’m not coming out.” I didn’t have any intention on taking him out anyway. I don’t care what y’all say. We’re going to ride him.

“He had another unbelievable game, and that’s what we expect of LeBron, and that’s what he’s been doing his whole career. So, one more game, and we need another one out of him.”

Irving said part of the challenge is not to become a spectator and fan yourself.

“You try not to sit back and watch because you’re trying to make sure that you create space for him and able to give him outlets when he needs it, but I mean, when a guy’s got it going like that, I mean, it’s just unbelievable to be a part of,” Irving said.

LeBron, for his part, tried to deflected the chance to hype up his play.

“My teammates, like I said, have put me in position to be successful either when I have the ball or don’t have the ball, they give me the ball wherever I would like it,” LeBron said. “Setting great screens and trying to put pressure on their defense. I’ve been fortunate enough to see the ball go through the hoop the last couple of games. So, you know, I feel pretty good.”

LeBron’s “pretty good” has his team on the doorstep of an NBA Finals win — but now they have to do it on the road.

“I’ll take it. It don’t matter to me,” LeBron said with a laugh. “Like I told you guys the other day, it’s two of the greatest words in the world, and that’s “Game 7”, so I’ll play it anywhere.”

And if he plays like he has the last two games, LeBron may well end the long title drought in The Land.