Kurt Helin

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Steve Kerr fined $25,000 for ripping officials on traveling calls

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“How is it that everybody on Earth can see these traveling violations except for the three people that we pay to do the job? I don’t get it…. But I can literally put together a blooper reel of plays that are embarrassing travels that are just not called. I believe it’s a case of they have so many things to look at — they are looking at defensive three seconds, the contact in the lane when people are cutting through the lane, they’re looking at the charge and block circle — they’re looking at everything except what they should be looking at which is the basic rule of the game, which is traveling.

“And it’s a shame because guys are getting away with murder out there and the fans see it. My favorite is when you see the visiting team travel and you see like a 1,000 fans in the background all doing the traveling signal with their hands. If those people saw it, how come the refs didn’t?”

That Steve Kerr rant in a radio interview on KNBR 680 in the Bay Area (via CSNBayArea.com) is going to cost him $25,000. The league announced the fine Sunday. It is not a surprise, the league always fines criticism of referees, even when the coach/player is right.

And make no mistake, Kerr is right. Inconsistency on travel calls is an issue in the NBA. Kerr was mad because he thought DeMar DeRozan was getting away with a lot of walking on plays in transition during the Warriors win over the Raptors this week. He was planting a seed. Of course, the Warriors have some guards that take advantage of the liberal traveling calls in the NBA at times.

The Warriors have been doing a lot of seed planting this season. GM Bob Myers went to meet with the NBA league office about some of the flagrant foul calls against Draymond Green that they think are more reputation than reality.

Watch Anthony Davis drop 38 on Trail Blazers in win

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Anthony Davis has been an absolute beast this season.

The lastest team to learn that first hand were the Portland Trail Blazers — as Davis dropped 38 on them on 14-of-22 shooting, plus he had nine rebounds and six assists. How hot was Davis? Check out this shot chart.

Davis shot chart

The big difference this game was Davis got some help — Jrue Holiday was back and scored 21 in the Pelicans 113-101 win.

Draymond Green chastises Celtics fans for booing Durant, says it could cost them other free agents

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Last summer, Kevin Durant sat down and met with Danny Ainge and the Boston Celtics’ brass, he listened to their pitch about why he should play for the Celtics. While Durant has said nothing but positive things about Boston and its pitch, he obviously chose Golden State.

Friday night, Golden State came to Boston, and some Celtics fans decided to let Durant know they didn’t like his decision — they booed him every time he touched the ball.

After the game, Draymond Green ripped the fans for it. You can see his comments above, via CSNNE.com.

“Fans must be desperate. Like, who boos a guy for taking an interview? That’s crazy. I don’t get that. Y’all booing somebody for interviewing with y’all? Man, they may scare free agents away. You don’t want to take an interview and then make enemies for taking an interview. I don’t know. They may want to be careful with that….

“If you’re that mad at what somebody else did with [their] life, you need to evaluate your own life. He made a personal decision for his life, for his happiness, for his career. And if people that mad, they need to reevaluate where their head is at in life. Because I don’t know if I can stay that mad at somebody for deciding to do something with their life. That’s a slippery slope.”

Durant, for his part, pretty much blew the boos off, saying he had “no hard feelings” and praising the passion of the Boston fans. Durant finished with 23 points on 13 shots, plus 10 rebounds and seven assists in the Golden State win.

I don’t know that future free agents are going to make decisions about who they meet with based on Durant getting boos, elite players are not that thin-skinned. I think Green is overstating that impact.

But he’s not wrong about the big picture — booing a guy because he met with your team and went another direction? That’s junior high. At best. If OKC fans want to boo Durant for breaking their hearts — and they will — that makes sense. I can see Mavericks fans booing DeAndre Jordan after the way he handled his decision. But Boston fans weren’t “defending the honor of their city,” they were acting like petulant children throwing a tantrum because they didn’t get their way.

Chris Paul threw a ridiculous bounce pass to Blake Griffin for a bucket

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I guess technically this came off the pick-and-roll between Chris Paul and Blake Griffin.

But only Chris Paul (and maybe a couple of others in the league) could have made that pass — one handed, from the hip, off the dribble, bounce pass that threads a nonexistent needle to find Griffin for the bucket. This is as great a pass as you are going to see all season long.

The Clippers went on to get the win, 121-115. Griffin had 29 points in the game, Paul 12 assists.

No moral victory, but Lakers show Spurs they will not roll over

Associated Press
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LOS ANGELES — In the end, the Spurs were the Spurs.

They executed, they played smart, they moved the ball and found the open man/mismatch, they were disciplined, and when the defense made things difficult LaMarcus Aldridge and Kawhi Leonard (23 points a piece) hit the shot anyway. That’s what they do.

But the Lakers did not make it easy Friday night.

Los Angeles, the biggest surprise team in the NBA this season, started off a brutal stretch of their schedule showing the kind of fight any coach can respect.

“Luke’s (Walton) done a great job of making them believe and playing aggressively, and you can really see it,” Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. “They came back and stuck it to us… We got after it and executed better, but I am just so impressed with what he has done with this group.”

“I thought we did a good job of fighting,” said Lakers’ forward Julius Randle. “A decent job of executing. It’s just any mistake that you make on the defensive end, they’re going to make you pay.”

In each half, the Spurs starters would pull away to a comfortable double-digit lead in the first 10 minutes, and in each half the Lakers bench sparked a comeback that made things interesting Friday night at Staples Center. Los Angeles got 57 points from its bench on the night, the Spurs 28.

“We just compete,” Jordan Clarkson said of the Laker bench. “You know we get some stops during those times. We’re pushing the ball and getting easy buckets in transition.”

When it was getting tight late the Spurs did the things they always do — they destroy opponents’ runs by just making shots — and San Antonio got the 116-107 win. There may be no moral victories, but a season ago the Lakers would have rolled over in a game like this. No more. These Lakers are learning and they are gaining respect along the way.

“They’re talented, they’re playing hard — it looks like they want to play hard for Luke, and they play with a lot of energy and they have great pieces…” said Spurs point guard Tony Parker. “I give them credit. In the first half we had a good lead, they came back. They played physical, they got into us, they created turnovers, and in the second half we had to play a lot better, a lot smarter, and cut our turnovers to win the game.”

Los Angeles has a rough stretch coming up the next couple weeks — including a home-and-home with the Warriors — but they looked like a team that can compete through that stretch (and they need to if they are serious about their playoff dreams).

The Lakers’ core needs to step up like it did on Friday. Julius Randle bullied former Laker Pau Gasol at times, going right at him in transition (that got harder when the Spurs moved Aldridge onto Randle, people underestimate how big and strong Aldridge is and Randle could not push him around).

“It was good for him, going against Pau and Aldridge, two of the best in the game,” Luke Walton said of Randle. “I thought he did a good job, he still needs to do better doing his work early, especially against players that talented. Julius has the belief and strength to fight and defend bigger players.”

Los Angeles played without point guard D’Angelo Russell who was out with left knee soreness and will be re-evaluated Sunday. That meant this was a duel of older European point guards — Tony Parker vs. Jose Calderon.

Los Angeles missed Russell’s shot creation and attacking the rim in the half court. Combine that with the always-executing Spurs defense and the Lakers were just 6-of-22 shooting in the first quarter, had just two points in the paint, turned the ball over five times, and trailed 26-16. And the game didn’t feel that close.

Then in the second quarter, the Laker bench picks up the energy, gets a few stops, goes on an 8-0 run and cuts the lead to five, forcing Popovich to call a couple of timeouts. And get David Lee out of the game. But the Lakers had gained some confidence and the shots were falling — particularly for Nick Young, who had 14 points on 5-of-7 shooting in the first half alone (22 for the game). The Lakers were pushing the pace and attacking in the half court, getting buckets in the paint.

Los Angeles tried to carry that over to the third quarter, but then a 7-0 Tony Parker run had the Spurs starters back in a groove. The Spurs ran more pick-and-rolls to go at specific mismatches in the second half, and pretty quickly the Spurs were up a dozen. San Antonio hit 11 shots in a row, and put up 39 points on 74 percent shooting in the third, and by the end of the quarter it was 91-76 Spurs.

Tell me if you’ve heard this before, but in the fourth David Lee came in and the Spurs couldn’t get a stop — the Lakers got hot again and the lead got all the way down to five. The Spurs countered going small — Aldridge at the five — and it worked when he picked up a couple of quick buckets. But still there was no quit in these Lakers, and they cut the lead down to five when Nick Young and Jordan Clarkson hit threes while Spurs miss wide open ones on the other end.

However, in the end, the Spurs executed. Like they always do.

The Lakers can learn from that.