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Russell Westbrook takes exception with Reggie Jackson’s celebration

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AUBURN HILLS, Mich. – After the Thunder beat the Pistons in November, Russell Westbrook acted as if he’d never heard of Reggie Jackson.

Westbrook sure knew who Jackson was on Tuesday.

Jackson was the guy hopping around the court celebrating Detroit’s 88-82 win over his former team.

 

“Honestly, I think it’s some real bullshit,” Westbrook said. “I don’t appreciate it from our team and our organization. I don’t like it all. But it is what is. We’ll see him down the line. We’ll take care of that when we get there.

“It doesn’t matter. Honestly, he wasn’t changing nothing for us. Obviously, he didn’t want to be here. He’s in a better spot. He’s not doing  too much of a difference, if you ask me.

Jackson had a very bitter end with Oklahoma City, which traded him to the Pistons last season. In Detroit, Jackson has escaped Westbrook’s shadow and become the Pistons starting point guard, even drawing All-Star consideration.

If Westbrook thinks Jackson isn’t making a difference here, he doesn’t realize how underwhelming Detroit’s point guard situation was with D.J. Augustin, John Lucas III and an injured Brandon Jennings. Jackson isn’t Westbrook, but he can still help a team.

It’s also hypocritical for Westbrook to call out an opponent for histrionics. Westbrook shows off plenty himself – and I have no problem with that. It’s an emotional game.

Jackson has slumped lately, but he dunked and made 4-of-4 free throws in crunch time to help the Pistons pull out the win. While the Thunder looked locked into the No. 3 seed in the West – they rested Kevin Durant and Serge Ibaka tonight – Detroit is in the heat of a playoff race.

Why shouldn’t Jackson be excited? And if he’s excited, why shouldn’t he show it?

Some of Jackson’s joy was certainly directed at the Thunder, but so what? You’ll see plenty of more extravagant celebrations around the league.

To be fair, Westbrook wasn’t the only Oklahoma City player to take exception to Jackson. “I’m surprised, that’s all. It says a lot about him. Keep it up here,” Steven Adams said pointing at his head, “for next time. He can do whatever.”

But with Westbrook, when it comes to Jackson, it always seems personal – which is great. I disagree with Westbrook’s stance, but I love that he wears his emotions on his sleeve. These petty feuds make the sport more fun.

It was a frustrating night for Westbrook, who shot 8-for-28. He also stumbled on an Aron Baynes screen as his nemesis drove for his late dunk:

Even after the game, Westbrook dropped his plastic knife on the floor as he handled his dinner. Westbrook threw up his hands, as if to say, what else could go wrong?

Then, he delivered a message for Jackson.

“He’s going stay over here in Detroit. We’re going to stay over here,” Westbrook said. “We’ll see them next season.”

Watch Carmelo Anthony’s first bucket as a Trail Blazer

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That Carmelo Anthony started the first game he played for Portland speaks to why they signed him in the first place — this team is so shorthanded along the front line that the guy they just signed got thrown into the fire.

Anthony responded with a solid level of play. His first bucket was a wing three where both defenders went to CJ McCollum and left ‘Melo wide open.

Anthony played 12 minutes in the first half and had 7 points, 3 rebounds, 1 block, and three fouls. The team was looking to keep him at around 20 minutes for his first game back.

Portland led New Orleans 54-53 at the half.

How a single computer folder and dogged HR official exposed former Kings executive’s $13.4M embezzlement scheme

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Just how close did Jeff David come to getting away with embezzling $13.4 million from the Kings while working for them? He already secured a new job with the Heat and was in the process of moving from Sacramento to Miami.

Kevin Arnovitz of ESPN:

On this Monday, walking through the Davids’ new front door is a dizzying procession of cable guys, utility workers and movers. Amid all of this, Jeff receives a phone call from a former co-worker with the Kings. Her name is Stacy Wegzyn, and she works in HR. Jeff last remembers sitting in her office in Sacramento just months earlier, being told that the Kings were going to eliminate his position. After a few pleasantries, she gets down to business. She tells Jeff she’s been going through his old files, and in doing so she found one labeled “TurboTax” that references an entity called Sacramento Sports Partners.

“I was just curious what that is and if those are documents that should go to somebody else,” Wegzyn says.

It’s a seemingly innocuous inquiry from an HR lifer. But it’s one that will dictate the rest of Jeff David’s life. If he knows that — or senses it — he doesn’t let on.

“No, no, no,” Jeff responds. “That was a … man, this is taking me back. Maybe 2015?”

Wegzyn presses on. She asks Jeff whether the documents contain anything that anyone with the Kings needs to see. Jeff assures her they can trash them because the entity isn’t around anymore. A few minutes after he hangs up, his mother-in-law, Nancy, is standing at the front door when an FBI investigator appears, asking to speak to Jeff.

If you like the NBA or true crime – let alone both – I HIGHLY recommend reading Arnovitz’s full piece. It’s riveting!

Warriors Kevon Looney cleared for on-court basketball work, will return soon

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At least someone on the Warriors is getting healthy.

Big man Kevon Looney, who played opening night and has since been sidelined with a sore hamstring and neuropathy (what the team described as “nerve-related symptoms”), has been cleared to return to on-court basketball activities, the team announced Tuesday. From the official press release:

He will participate in select practice sessions with the Santa Cruz Warriors this week and will re-join the Golden State Warriors over the weekend. We will continue to monitor his progress and will provide another update on his status on Sunday.

Looney has already been officially assigned to Santa Cruz.

This is good news for the Warriors, who have been starting Willie Cauley-Stein but desperately need more shot blocking and depth up front.

Anyone getting healthy is good news for a Warriors team that is 2-12 and has the worst net rating in the NBA (-10.4).

Carmelo Anthony to start first game for Portland, apparently thinks he’s wearing number infinity

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Carmelo Anthony will wear No. 00 with the Trail Blazers.

Why?

Apparently because 00 kind of looks like ∞.

Anthony:

Somewhere, Kyrie Irving is nodding in support.

In terms of numbers that make sense…

Marc J. Spears of ESPN:

That’s a sizable role for a 35-year-old in his first game in more than a year. But Portland needs scoring with Damian Lillard sidelined, and – at last check (though, again, a while ago), Anthony was accustomed to big minutes.

Besides, we all want ample opportunity to see Anthony back on the court after his lengthy absence.