NBA players want to see something done — and done sooner rather than later.
As the NBA continues to investigate the alleged racist comments of Donald Sterling, the NBA players union called for sanctions against Sterling. They did it through the voice of Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson, the former All-Star NBA guard and Sacramento mayor who is helping lead the search for a new union executive director and has been asked to help the union with this situation. Johnson and Silver met Sunday in Oakland.
“There must be sanctions that make it clear that the NBA family will have zero tolerance for such conduct. Today, tomorrow, forever,” Johnson said, according to ESPN’s J.A. Adande, who had other comments from Johnson’s press conference at halftime of the Clippers/Warriors Game 4.
Adam Silver said he wants the NBA to deal with this situation quickly. Johnson plans to hold him to that, reports Marc Spears of Yahoo Sports and Scott Howard-Cooper of NBA.com.
As for the idea of a boycott, Johnson sided with the Clippers players saying that is not the appropriate action here. At least not yet. The union wants to give the Clippers a chance.
The league wants to move quickly on this — everybody is talking about Sterling and not what has been a thrilling, upset-filled first round of the playoffs. Every game, every media session Sterling is the question. The league needs to get this in the rear-view mirror and the focus back on games, as much as they can. The other owners apparently want this too — if Michael Jordan is speaking out you know the other owners are frustrated as well.
The challenge for Silver is the options before him. He can’t force a sale (it’s not allowed in NBA bylaws unless the owner is behind on his payments, and the Clippers are not). Plus Sterling’s MO is not to sell — not his real estate properties, not any of his holdings. Are fines and suspensions enough?
Among those watching Silver closely is now the players union.
It’s not good news, but it looked like it could have been much worse.
Timberwolves big man Karl-Anthony Towns is out for weeks with a right calf strain, the team announced Tuesday following an MRI exam. Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN reports it is likely 4-6 weeks.
The injury occurred midway through the third quarter Monday when Towns started to run back upcourt and went to the ground without contact, grabbing his knee and calf. It looked scary — Achilles scary — and he had to be helped off the court.
Towns has averaged 21.4 points and 8.5 rebounds a game, and while his numbers are down this season — just 32.8% on 3-pointers — the team has struggled at times without him, particularly lineups with Rudy Gobert and Anthony Edwards together, an -11.8 net rating (in non-garbage time minutes, via Cleaning the Glass).
Kevin Durant carried the Nets to another win Monday night, scoring 45 points on 19-of-24 shooting, plus seven rebounds and five assists.
If you’re having an MVP conversation a quarter of the way into the NBA season, Durant has to be part of it: 30 points per game on 54.8% shooting (and a ridiculous 65.9 true shooting percentage), 6.6 rebounds and 5.5 assists a game, plus playing solid defense and being the anchor of the Nets. After his 45-point outing to get Brooklyn a win over Orlando, Durant was asked about MVP chants and the chase for the award and was clearly not interested.
Durant has MVP numbers, but so do Stephen Curry, Luka Doncic, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Jayson Tatum and others. If Durant is going to move to the front of the conversation, the first thing that has to happen is Brooklyn has to win a lot more games — 11-11 is not going to cut it when Tatum’s Celtics and Antetokounmpo’s Bucks have the two best records in the NBA. Winning games and finishing on a top-three team in the conference matters to some voters (and traditionally is one measure of an MVP).
With 2.3 seconds left in the game and the Thunder down 2, they needed to steal the inbounds pass from New Orleans to have a real chance. That’s why when Aleksej Pokusevski walked on the court it looked like he was going to guard the inbounder, Herbert Jones.
Instead, Pokusevski turned his back to Jones, putting himself in position to step in front of anyone cutting to the ball to catch the inbounds. Except, Jones made the clever play to seal the game.
Pokusevski fouled Jones, who sank both free throws and sealed the 105-101 Pelicans win.
The Pelicans got 23-8-8 from Zion Williamson and picked up a win without CJ McCollum or Brandon Ingram in the lineup. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander continued his dominant start to the season and scored 31.
It might have been the loudest the crypto.com Arena was all night.
Between the third and fourth quarters, Lakers fan Jamie Murry of Downey won $75,000 draining a half-court shot — and he got to celebrate with Anthony Davis.
Murry’s celebration is the best part — with Anthony Davis coming out to celebrate with him (and seeming a little shocked by the hug).
One other big shot fell at this game, but Lakers’ fans didn’t like it as much — Pacers’ rookie Andrew Nembhard drained a game-winning 3-pointer as time expired.