Baron Davis says playing for Clippers almost killed his love of the game

14 Comments

Right now, the Los Angeles Clippers are the most entertaining team to watch in the NBA. They are athletic, fast paced, smart thanks to Chris Paul at the helm. They are learning to be contenders. There is a buzz around their games that is reminiscent of that other team in Staples Center — the building is full, it’s loud (louder than Lakers games) and there are a lot of people showing up to be seen in the lower bowl.

But the history of the Clippers still looms over this success — owner Donald Sterling is keeping an arm’s length from this team. Which is a good thing. Because he is the person most capable of killing all that momentum.

For an example of how, we bring you part of a must-read Baron Davis Q&A with the New York Post, where Davis recounts how Sterling used to heckle him from courtside.

And the other lowest point is when I played for the Clippers. … I just stopped liking basketball. And then you dribbling down the court and having the owner like cuss at you and call you an idiot. I didn’t even look forward to coming to the games, and if the owner [Donald Sterling] came to the game, I definitely was not gonna have a good game because it was just like, how do you play when the main heckler in the gym is the owner of the team, and he’s telling you how much he hates you and calling out your name?

Make no mistake, Davis was frustrating to Clippers fans. His injuries often stemmed from his conditioning early in the season, he seemed to be focused only every third game or so, and he fell in love with the pull-up three with 16 seconds left on the shot clock. Plus, a key reason they wanted to trade him was to get his attitude and work ethic out of a locker room where Blake Griffin was changing the culture.

But it’s a big jump from there to the owner sitting courtside and heckling one of his own players. It is right out of bad management 101. And we’re not going to get into the laundry list of other issues around Sterling. There are fantastic, hardworking people in the Clippers organization who have made smart moves to get them where they are. Let’s hope the man at the top doesn’t screw that up.

Back to Davis, he also talks about Jeremy Lin, UCLA, Steve Lavin, John Wooden and much more. Here are some comments on Lin and how their games mesh, but go read the whole thing.

He’s an attack, attack, attack, attack. Like he’s speed and fast. I’m more so kinda shifty and at a different pace than his. I’m more like pass first than I am scoring. … He plays like north-south … straight lines. … I play like … in squiggly lines. Jeremy sets the defense up because he attacks, attacks, attacks and gets in the paint and puts a lot of pressure on the defense. Then when they’re used to that pressure, when I come in, it’s like, “Oh, he’s not going all the way to the basket. He’s stopping, and he’s finding.”

Joel Embiid: Aron Baynes (‘Man bun’) ‘in NBA just to get dunked on’

AP Photo/Charles Krupa
1 Comment

During the second round of the NBA playoffs, Heat guard Goran Dragic slighted 76ers rookie Ben Simmons. That came after Philadelphia eliminated Miami in the first round.

The procession of disses continues with 76ers center Joel Embiid mocking Celtics center Aron Baynes during Game 4 of the Eastern Conference finals Monday. Boston, of course, eliminated Philadelphia in the previous round.

Embiid:

Baynes has gotten dunked on a lot this year – including by Embiid in the playoffs. The two also got into it during their second-round series.

But Baynes has the big edge: He’s still playing.

Though Embiid would like to be in the playoffs, that’s not his only goal. He also wants attention. So, mission accomplished, I guess.

Watch James Harden demolish Draymond Green with dunk (video)

3 Comments

It got buried by a – finallyclose finish, but James Harden‘s dunk over Draymond Green in the Rockets’ Game 4 win over the Warriors last night was spectacular.

Because the foul was called early in the play, Green essentially had free reign to do anything sub-flagrant to Harden during continuation. There wouldn’t have been a second personal foul called.

Harden dunked anyway, an amazing display of athleticism and will.

PBT Podcast: Conference Finals now best of three; plus Metta World Peace

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Both NBA Conference Finals are tied 2-2 in both the East and West — and breaking that down is not even the best part of this podcast.

That’s because NBA champion Metta World Peace joins us to talk about his new book, “No Malice: My Life in Basketball or: How a Kid from Queensbridge Survived the Streets, the Brawls, and Himself to Become an NBA Champion.” World Peace discusses the time he cracked Michael Jordan’s ribs in a summer game, how he was nervous before Game 7 of the NBA Finals in 2010, and how he was a pioneer in NBA players talking about mental health. (Metta’s portion of the podcast starts at 30:17, if you want to skip ahead).

Prior to that, Dan Feldman and Kurt Helin of NBC Sports dive into a discussion of the two conference finals series. LeBron James brought Cleveland back, but with the Celtics going home will the young players wearing green respond and change the momentum around again?

Do the Warriors have another gear and the ability to win another game on the road in Houston? How are both of those teams going to deal with fatigue from their tight rotations and intense games?

As always, you can check out the podcast below, listen and subscribe via iTunes at ApplePodcasts.com/PBTonNBC, subscribe via the fantastic Stitcher app, check us out on Google play, or check out the NBC Sports Podcast homepage and archive at Art19.

Clippers extend contract of coach Doc Rivers

Getty Images
2 Comments

While not many people were noticing, Doc Rivers did arguably his best coaching job since coming to Los Angeles this season. Chris Paul forced his way to Houston before the season, then during it Blake Griffin was shipped off to Detroit. Then there were the injuries to Patrick Beverley and Danilo Gallinari, two players expected to be key contributors who played a combined 32 games. The offense too often felt like Lou Williams vs. The World, yet the Clippers finished above .500 (42-40) and pushed for a playoff spot until the final days of the regular season.

The Clippers noticed what a good job he did, and how well he handled things after losing his GM powers to Lawrence Frank. That’s why they have rewarded him with a contract extension (the details of which are not yet public).

“I am proud of the success we have had here over the last five seasons, but there is more work to be done,” said Rivers in a statement released by the team. “We are coming off a year where our team battled through many challenges and much adversity, proving deep talent and even greater potential. I am looking forward to getting back to work on the court to develop our players and compete with the NBA’s elite.”

“Doc is one of the top coaches in the NBA, coming off one of his finest seasons since joining the Clippers,” Clippers’ owner Steve Ballmer said in a statement. “We trust Doc to lead a competitive, tough, hard-working team while upholding a culture of accountability expected to resonate throughout the organization.”

Rivers was entering the final year of his contract, and neither side wanted him to be in a lame duck status.

For a Clippers franchise in transition, this is a stabilizing move. CP3 and Griffin are gone, DeAndre Jordan can be a free agent this summer, and Los Angeles has some big-picture questions about the direction to take the team it needs to answer. Unlike in Boston, Rivers is going to stick around for this restructuring.

Plus, this is good for Rivers, who makes no secret of the fact he likes living in Los Angeles. He has a comfort level with the city and the organization. Rivers likely took a healthy pay cut from the more than $10 million a year he was getting to be coach and GM, but it’s still good money and an organization he likes. So he is sticking around.