Tony Parker says for Spurs this is “last crack at it to try to win it all”

12 Comments

San Antonio won the offseason.

They landed LaMarcus Aldridge. They brought back Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green. Tim Duncan agreed to return. They got David West to decide to come for pennies on the dollar. They improved one of the best rosters in the NBA last season. They even won Summer League.

The Spurs are a title contending team, but one in a loaded Western Conference. What could make the difference is hunger — which team wants it the most? Which team plays with the right level of controlled desperation?

Tony Parker says don’t count out the Spurs in that category. Parker did an interview with France 24 and said he and the team realizes this is their last shot with this core (via the San Antonio Express-News).

“It’s been an unbelievable summer for us. LaMarcus is going to help us a lot. I’m so happy that Manu and Timmy are back. And so we’re going for a last try, a last crack at it to try to win it all.”

For the Spurs, Warriors, Clippers, Thunder, Rockets and maybe Grizzlies, the first key in the West will be just staying healthy. There is no margin for error.

But after that it will be about desire, about execution, and in the end about matchups come the playoffs. And in what will be the last year for Duncan and Manu Ginobili, not to mention David West’s long career, there will be plenty of desperation and energy in San Antonio. Predicting things in the West now is impossible, but in the end expect the Spurs to be in the mix.

 

Miami Heat suspend Dion Waiters. Again.

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Miami suspended Dion Waiters for the first game of the season due to conduct detrimental to the team (to which he responded by taking a shot at Erik Spoelstra on Instagram).

The second time was for “conduct detrimental to the team” for his behavior, and not too coincidentally right after first responders had to be called to the Celtics’ team plane because Waiters took too many “edible” gummy bears and had a panic attack.

For the third time this season, the Miami Heat have suspended Waiters, the team announced. This time it is for “failure to adhere to team policies, violation of team rules and continued insubordination.” He can return to the team after the game against Utah on Dec. 23 (six games).

All these suspensions are hitting Waiter hard in the pocketbook.

Waiters has yet to set foot on the court for the Heat this season — they haven’t needed him. With the emergence of Kendrick Nunn, Tyler Herro, and Duncan Robinson, Miami’s guard rotation has been impressive. That allows Miami to take a hard line with Waiters and not pay a price on the court.

Waiters is making $12.1 million this season and $12.65 million next season. Miami would love to trade Waiters but no team is going to take him and that contract on without some serious sweeteners (which Pat Riley and company are not about to do).

Three Things to Know: Joel Embiid is having fun again, which was bad news for Boston

Brian Babineau/NBAE via Getty Images
Leave a comment

Every day in the NBA there is a lot to unpack, so every weekday morning throughout the season we will give you the three things you need to know from the last 24 hours in the NBA.

1) Joel Embiid is having fun again, which was bad news for Boston. This is how special a player Joel Embiid is: After dropping 22 and 10 on Nikola Jokic and the Nuggets on Tuesday night in a Sixers win, Shaq and Charles Barkley (on TNT’s Inside the NBA) ripped Embiid for not being dominant enough.

This is how special a player Joel Embiid was Thursday night: Boston’s Enes Kanter had probably his best game as a Celtics’ big man, and he couldn’t even slow Embiid, who had 38 points, 13 rebounds, and six assists. Embiid was the best player on the floor and was having fun in a 115-109 Philadelphia win on the road.

Shaq and Barkley are right to a degree, and Embiid even admitted as much after the game — he can be more dominant than he has shown this season. “Maybe. I do think they are right. I do need to be more aggressive. Look to impose myself. Look to dominate,” Embiid said, via Noah Levine at NBC Sports Philadelphia. “I think the whole season I haven’t done that and you can see the ways it’s affecting my efficiency and my stats. I guess I need to go back to having fun and just dominate. I get what they are saying. I think they are right and I gotta make a change.”

Of course, Shaq won his rings when he didn’t have to be that dominant every night because he had someone else who could step up and take over (Kobe, Dwyane Wade). Nobody is sure who that would be on the Sixers. Tobias Harris stepped up with 23 points in this game, but Ben Simmons just has not been the guy the Sixers need. He finished the night with 7 points on 2-of-6 shooting. Josh Richardson seems to have more pick-and-roll chemistry with Embiid than Simmons. Still, Simmons makes a few plays every game that shows what he can be.

Philly also won this game because their defense was impressive in the second half. Their length bothered Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown, who shot a combined 8-of-27.

When the Sixers defend like they did in the second half, and when Embiid is dominant like he was, Philadelphia looks like the second-best team in the East and a threat to Milwaukee. We just haven’t seen it consistently this season.

Boston has now lost back-to-back games to good East teams — Indiana and Philadelphia — and while it’s just December and far too early to panic, it also shows why Boston may want to be active around the trade deadline if they can find a good deal (but stop with the Kevin Love talk, that’s not happening).

2) Former NBA Commissioner David Stern suffers brain hemorrhage, has to undergo emergency surgery. David Stern collapsed at a Manhattan restaurant on Thursday and was raced to a hospital where he underwent emergency surgery for a brain hemorrhage. That means bleeding in or around the brain, and that is as bad and life-threatening as it sounds.

The NBA released this statement.

“NBA Commissioner Emeritus David Stern suffered a sudden brain hemorrhage earlier today for which he underwent emergency surgery.  Our thoughts and prayers are with David and his family.”

The reaction around the NBA was immediate.

Stern, 77, took over as NBA commissioner back when Finals games were shown on tape delay after midnight on major networks. Stern came along at the right time — first the Magic/Bird era and rivalry, then Michael Jordan — but he understood what an opportunity this was for the league and changed how it marketed itself, it became a league of stars. That remains to this day. He grew the NBA into one of the most dominant sports leagues on the planet.

Our thoughts are with him and his family.

3) Luka Doncic muy impresionante in Mexico City. There were “M-V-P! M-V-P!” chants in the Arena Ciudad de Mexico Thursday night — Mexico City loves Luka Doncic.

Doesn’t everyone right now?

Doncic did everything right Thursday, from addressing the crowd pregame in fluent Spanish (he played for Real Madrid in Spain before coming to the NBA) to dropping a 41-point triple-double on the Pistons to get the Mavericks another win, 122-111. Doncic finished the night with 41 points, 12 rebounds, and 11 assists.

Seth Curry added 30 as the Pistons found out just how good that Dallas offense is. Kristaps Porzingis scored 16 of his 20 points in the second half and got Andre Drummond’s attention.

Dallas is 17-7 on the season and looks like a team that could have home court for the first round of the playoffs.

Former NBA Commissioner David Stern undergoes emergency surgery following brain hemorrhage

Nicholas Hunt/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Let’s hope this is not as serious as it sounds.

David Stern, the man at the helm of the NBA through its explosion of popularity in the 1980s and 1990s, collapsed in a New York restaurant Thursday and had to be rushed to a local hospital, where brain surgery was required.

Here is the NBA’s statement on the matter.

“NBA Commissioner Emeritus David Stern suffered a sudden brain hemorrhage earlier today for which he underwent emergency surgery.  Our thoughts and prayers are with David and his family.”

The call to NYFD came in around 2 p.m., and he was taken from a restaurant straight to the hospital, according to reports.

Stern, 77, was a strong-willed leader when the NBA needed a direction. When he took over NBA Finals games were shown on tape delay after midnight on major networks. Stern oversaw the growth in the league’s popularity through the Magic/Bird era of the 1980s and into the Michael Jordan era of the 1990s. He grew the game and the league not only within domestic borders but internationally, branding the NBA as the best basketball played on the planet.

Our thoughts are with him and his family, hoping for a speedy recovery.

Glen “Big Baby” Davis pleads no contest to assault outside L.A. nightclub

Getty Images
Leave a comment

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Former NBA player Ronald Glen Davis avoided jail time after pleading no contest to a charge that he attacked a man outside a Los Angeles-area nightclub last year, prosecutors said Thursday.

Davis, 33, was accused of throwing the victim into a wall during an altercation in West Hollywood on April 8, 2018.

He entered his plea Wednesday to one felony count of battery with serious bodily injury, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office said.

As part of a plea agreement, Davis is required to complete 320 hours of community labor over the next year. If he meets that condition and breaks no other laws, the battery count will be reduced to a misdemeanor, prosecutors said.

Davis also paid $104,479 in restitution.

Known by the nickname “Big Baby,” Davis played for the Boston Celtics, the Orlando Magic and the Los Angeles Clippers. Since retiring from the NBA he played in the Big3, where his team the Power won the 2018 title.