Let me tell you something my friend. Hope is a dangerous thing. Hope can drive a man insane.
–Red (Morgan Freeman) from the Shawshank Redemption
For Clippers fans, there is always hope.
Hope that this time the number one pick stays healthy. Hope that the owner and general manager will make more good calls than bad. Hope that the next coach will be able to pull it all together and make this team blend.
Hope that LeBron James will want to come play for the Clippers.
So much so on the last one that Clipper fans — led by their superfan Clipper Darrell — will put on a LeBron James parade on May 27.
The Clippers have the cap space to offer a max deal (something Mike Dunleavy did before being fired as general manager). They have a solid young core of guys like Blake Griffin and Chris Kaman inside to build on. They have an open coaching vacancy so they can appoint whomever LeBron wants as coach (say John Calipari).
On paper, they are a very good destination. Hope is high in Clippers Nation.
Whether an African American player would risk the public relations hit to play for a man (Sterling) who has faced multiple discrimination suits for his apartment buildings is another thing. Whether any star player wants to trust that Sterling will keep spending like he needs to win in the future is another thing. Whether a superstar wants to enter a media market where another team and anther superstar are already established and have won the city is another thing.
But there is hope. There is always hope for the Clippers Nation.
Watch Trae Young get ejected for launching ball at referee
Trae Young screwed up and he knew it.
“It’s just a play he can’t make,” Hawks coach Quin Snyder said via the Associated Press after the game. “I told him that. He knows it.”
With the score tied at 84 in the third quarter, Young had a 3-pointer disallowed and an offensive foul called on him for tripping the Pacers’ Aaron Nesmith. A frustrated Young picked up a technical foul for something he said.
Then walking back to the bench, Young turned and launched the ball at the referee with two hands. It was an instant ejection.
Trae Young ejected after throwing the ball at the Ref 😳 pic.twitter.com/4f4Tj7vHlM
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) March 25, 2023
“There wasn’t a single part of him that tried to rationalize what happened,” Snyder said.
Young can expect a fine for this. It also was his 15th technical of the season, one more and he will get an automatic one-game suspension.
The Hawks went on to win 143-130, improving Atlanta to .500 at 37-37 and keeping them solidly as the No. 8 seed in the East.
Report: ‘Strong optimism’ Anthony Edwards could return to Timberwolves Sunday
What looked so bad when it happened may only cost Anthony Edwards three games.
Edwards rolled his ankle last week but could be back Sunday when the Timberwolves travel to Golden State, reports Chris Haynes at Yahoo Sports.
There’s strong optimism Minnesota Timberwolves star Anthony Edwards (ankle) could make his return Sunday against the Golden State Warriors, league sources tell @NBAonTNT, @BleacherReport.
— Chris Haynes (@ChrisBHaynes) March 25, 2023
Edwards is averaging 24.7 points and 5.9 rebounds a game this season, and he has stepped up to become the team’s primary shot-creator with Karl-Anthony Towns out for much of the season. The Timberwolves have been outscored by 3.4 points per 100 possessions when Edwards is off the court this season.
Towns returned to action a couple of games ago, and with Edwards on Sunday it will be the first time since November the Timberwolves will have their entire core on the court — now with Mike Conley at the point. With the Timberwolves tied for the No.7 seed in an incredibly tight West (they are 1.5 games out of sixth but also one game out of missing the postseason entirely) it couldn’t come at a better time. It’s also not much time to develop of fit and chemistry the team will need in the play-in, and maybe the playoffs.
Nets announce Ben Simmons diagnosed with nerve impingement in back, out indefinitely
Ben Simmons — who has been in and out of the Nets’ lineup all season and often struggled when on the court — is out indefinitely due to a nerve impingement in his back, the team announced Friday.
Ben Simmons Medical Update: pic.twitter.com/kRcxsjrHLG
— Brooklyn Nets (@BrooklynNets) March 24, 2023
A nerve impingement — sometimes called a pinched nerve — is when a bone or other tissue compresses a nerve. Simmons has a history of back issues going back to his time in Philadelphia, and he had a microdiscectomy about a year ago, after he was traded to Brooklyn.
With two weeks and nine games left in the season, logic would suggest Simmons is done for the season. Coach Jacque Vaughn said Thursday that Simmons has done some individual workouts but nothing with teammates, however, he would not say Simmons is shut down for the season or would not participate in the postseason with Brooklyn.
Simmons had not played since the All-Star break when he got PRP injections to help deal with ongoing knee soreness. When he has played this season offense has been a struggle, he has been hesitant to shoot outside a few feet from the basket and is averaging 6.9 points a game. Vaughn used him mainly as a backup center.
Simmons has two fully guaranteed years and $78 million remaining on his contract after this season. While Nets fans may want Simmons traded, his injury history and that contract will make it very difficult to do so this summer (Brooklyn would have to add so many sweeteners it wouldn’t be worth it).
The Nets have slid to the No.7 seed in the West — part of the play-in — and have a critical game with the Heat on Saturday night.
Frustration rising within Mavericks, ‘We got to fight hard, play harder’
If the postseason started today, the Dallas Mavericks would miss out — not just the playoffs but also the play-in.
The Mavericks fell to the No.11 seed in the West (tied with the Thunder for 10th) after an ugly loss Friday night to a tanking Hornets team playing without LaMelo Ball and on the second night of a back-to-back. Dallas is 3-7 with both Kyrie Irving and Luka Dončić playing, and with this latest loss fans booed the Mavericks. What was Jason Kidd’s reaction? Via Tim MacMahon of ESPN:
“We probably should have been booed in the first quarter,” Mavericks coach Jason Kidd said…. “The interest level [from players] wasn’t high,” Kidd said. “It was just disappointing.”
That was a little different than Kyrie Irving’s reaction to the boos.
Kyrie Irving on boos in Dallas: "So what? … You obviously want to play well, but you it's only five people on the court that can play for Dallas Mavericks. If the fans wanna change places, then hey, be my guest. Got years of work ahead to be great enough to be on this level."
— Tim MacMahon (@espn_macmahon) March 25, 2023
Then there is franchise cornerstone Luka Dončić, who sounded worn down, by the season and the losing in Dallas.
"I used to have more fun, smiling on the court, but it's just been so frustrating for a lot of reasons."
Luka Doncic following the Mavericks' loss to the Hornets
🎥: @GrantAfseth pic.twitter.com/UNWD7iAuUG
— CBS Sports (@CBSSports) March 25, 2023
“We got to fight hard, play harder. That’s about it. We got to show we care and it starts with me first. I’ve just got to lead this team, being better, playing harder. It’s on me….
“I think you can see it with me on the court. Sometimes I don’t feel it’s me. I’m just being out there. I used to have really fun, smiling on court, but it’s just been so frustrating for a lot of reasons, not just basketball.”
Dončić would not elaborate on what, outside basketball, has frustrated him.
Look at seeds 5-10 in the West and you see teams that have struggled but have the elite talent and experience to be a postseason threat: The Phoenix Suns (Devin Booker, plus Kevin Durant is expected back next week), the Golden State Warriors (Stephen Curry and the four-time champions), the Los Angeles Lakers (Anthony Davis and maybe before the season ends LeBron James).
Should the Mavericks be in that class? On paper yes, they have clutch playoff performers of the past in Dončić and Irving, but an energy-less loss to Charlotte showed a team lacking the chemistry and fire right now that teams like the Lakers (beating the Thunder) and Warriors (beating the 76ers) showed on the same night.
The Mavericks feel like less of a playoff threat, especially with their defensive concerns. They don’t have long to turn things around — and get into the postseason.