Attorneys for Derrick Rose, accuser give (differing) accounts of consensual sex/rape during opening statements

AP Photo/Mary Altaffer
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LOS ANGELES (AP) — Lawyers for NBA star Derrick Rose and two friends accused of raping an incapacitated woman doubled down Wednesday on their assertions that the accuser willingly had sex with the trio, saying she performed sex acts on the men earlier that night at Rose’s mansion in Beverly Hills.

In sharp contrast to the opening statement in the civil case from the woman’s lawyer who called the incident a “classic gang rape,” the defense described an August 2013 scene for jurors in Los Angeles federal court that sounded like a porn movie.

They said the woman gave lap dances earlier under a sky full of stars by the side of Rose’s pool overlooking city lights, performed oral sex on Rose and had sex with his two friends before inviting them back to her apartment.

“There was no gang rape,” attorney Mike Monico said. “There was no rape at all.”

The woman’s lawyer said the story about her having sex earlier in the night was falsely concocted to try to show she was insatiable and wanted to have sex with the men later that night. He said the three got into her apartment in the early morning hours after she passed out from drinking and raped her while she faded in and out of consciousness.

“The plaintiff will tell you all three men were in the bedroom at the same time,” attorney Waukeen McCoy said. “Each of them took turns raping her, they don’t even know who went first.”

As the incident was graphically described and jurors looked on with pained expressions, the 30-year-old woman leaned forward so her long dark hair covered her face and dabbed at her eyes with tissues.

The Associated Press is not naming her because it generally doesn’t identify people who say they are victims of sexual assault.

The jury of six women and two men will have to decide if the accuser consented to sex or was too intoxicated from either alcohol or drugs to give consent.

They will have to rely primarily on her word against that of Rose and the other two men, Ryan Allen and Randall Hampton. There is no physical evidence because the woman was not examined by a doctor afterward and did not report the rape to police for two years – after filing the $21 million suit.

McCoy said the woman was too embarrassed to initially report the incident.

After sex, Rose took his condom, put it back in the wrapper and took it with him “like he was never there,” McCoy said.

NBA players are instructed to flush their condoms down the toilet or take them so women can’t use the sperm to impregnate themselves, Rose’s lawyer said.

Rose, 28, was traded to the New York Knicks this season after spending his previous seven years in his native Chicago with the Bulls. He’s in the final year of a five-year deal that will pay him $21.3 million, almost identical to what the plaintiff is seeking.

“It’s a sad effort to get a lottery hit,” attorney Mark Baute said of the lawsuit.

Rose, who was not in court after Tuesday’s preseason opener in Houston but expected to be present Thursday, had shown no remorse and told New York Knicks President Phil Jackson that he’d lost no sleep over the matter, McCoy said.

The defense will focus on the many text messages the woman exchanged with Rose, whom she dated on and off for nearly two years. The lawyers said the messages showed she was lucid and not intoxicated after returning home from Rose’s mansion. They denied she was ever drugged.

The two were split up when she texted Rose out of the blue the morning of Aug. 26 to say he makes her “horny.”

Rose replied by asking what she was doing that night and suggested she bring a friend over for a threesome. She rejected that idea, but agreed to bring a friend over later for drinks.

A clip from a deposition taken of Rose was played in which he was asked if there was anything in the text messages that led him to believe the plaintiff wanted to have sex with him and two friends that night.

He said, “No.”

In a later clip, he was asked if he understood what consent means.

He also answered, “No.”

Watch Kawhi Leonard score two clutch buckets, including game-winner, in his return

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Kawhi Leonard looked rusty in his return for the first 47 minutes Monday night: 5-of-13 shooting, 0-3 from beyond the arc.

But that final minute was special.

First, there was a great hustle play from Paul George — also making his return — that got the ball to Leonard to tie it up.

Then, after a stop, the Clippers got the switch they wanted, cleared out the side and let Leonard go to work on the game-winner.

Los Angeles picked up the 119-117 win on the road. Not exactly pretty, but for a team just starting to get healthy and build some chemistry, they showed resilience and got the win. Leonard finished with 16 points on 7-of-15 shooting, and George looked sharp on his way to 19 points on 8-of-15 from the floor. It was a balanced Clippers attack, which is what Tyronn Lue is trying to build.

Kelly Oubre Jr. scored 28 and P.J. Washington added 26 for the shorthanded Hornets.

James Harden returns to 76ers Monday night, is on minutes restriction

Minnesota Timberwolves v Philadelphia 76ers
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The 76ers were able to keep their heads above water. For 14 games, James Harden was out with a right foot tendon sprain — both Joel Embiid and Tyrese Maxey missed games in that stretch as well (Maxey remains out) — and Philadelphia went 8-6 with a +2.9 net rating and the best defense in the NBA over that stretch.

Monday night in Houston, Harden returns.

This wasn’t a surprise, nor is the fact Doc Rivers confirmed Harden will be on a minutes restriction at first.

Harden averaged 22 points, 10 assists and seven rebounds a game before his injury, and while his 3-point shooting percentage was down (33.3%) he was still efficient and finding his footing as more of a facilitator than scorer.

The 76ers are 12-11 on the season and sit in a three-way tie for fifth in the East (with the Pacers and Raptors). If Harden can spark the Philadephia offense there is plenty of time for them to climb into the top four, host a first-round playoff game and position themselves for a deep playoff run. But it starts with getting their starting guards healthy again.

Harden is ready to take that on.

Trae Young frustrated ‘private conversations get out to the public’ about missed game

Atlanta Hawks v Philadelphia 76ers
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Rumors and chatter of tension in Atlanta — about how Trae Young was adapting to playing with Dejonte Murray, and his pushback on coach Nate McMillan and his efforts to get the ball moving more — have been all over the league since the start of the season. Over the weekend, a little of that leaked out, with reports Young chose not to come to the arena Friday after McMillan gave him a choice of participating in shootaround or missing the game.

Young addressed the report and seemed more concerned that it got out than the report’s content.

“I mean, it was just a situation. I mean, we’re all grown men here and there’s sometimes we don’t always agree. And it’s unfortunate that private situations and private conversations get out to the public, but I guess that’s the world we live in now. Yeah, I’m just gonna just focus on basketball and focus on helping my team win. And that’s what I got to be focusing on…

“Like I said, it’s a private matter, again, made public, which is unfortunate. And if it was to stay private, it probably wouldn’t have been as big of a deal. But like I said, it’s unfortunate in my job, and my goal is to win championships. And that’s what I focus on.”

Young went through shootaround  Monday and is set to play against the Thunder.

Murray has been professional throughout this situation, saying he didn’t see anything at the shootaround Friday and backing Young and McMillan when asked.

Bringing in Murray was supposed to take some pressure off Young and spread the wealth more on offense, ideally allowing Young to be more efficient. Instead, Young’s usage rate is nearly identical to last season, he is shooting just 30.3% from 3 and his true shooting percentage has fallen below league average. The Hawks as a team make the fewest passes per game of any team in the league (stat via NBA.com). The Hawks’ offense is still a lot of Young, but it’s not as efficient as it has been in years past.

Atlanta is still 13-10 on the season, has a top-10 defense and sits fourth in the East — they are not struggling. But neither have they made the leap to become a team that could threaten Boston or Milwaukee atop the conference, and that’s what the Hawks expected.

There could be personnel moves coming in Atlanta — John Collins is available via trade, again — but if the Hawks can’t smooth out their internal, existing concerns (and get Collins and DeAndre Hunter healthy) other roster moves will be just cosmetic.

Nike, Kyrie Irving part ways, making him a sneaker free agent

Toronto Raptors v Brooklyn Nets
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Here’s the positive spin for Kyrie Irving: He will have the chance to remake his situation into something he’s more comfortable with during 2023. As a player, he will be an unrestricted free agent and can choose where he wants to play in coming seasons (how many teams are interested and for how many years will be interesting to see).

Irving also is a sneaker free agent — Nike has cut ties with him, reports Shams Charania of The Athletic.

Irving is happy with this.

The separation is not a surprise. Nike suspended its relationship with Irving after he Tweeted out support for an antisemitic film, did not apologize (at first), and was suspended by the Nets. Here was the company’s statement at that time:

“At Nike, we believe there is no place for hate speech and we condemn any form of antisemitism. To that end, we’ve made the decision to suspend our relationship with Kyrie Irving effective immediately and will no longer launch the Kyrie 8. We are deeply saddened and disappointed by the situation and its impact on everyone.”

Nike founder Phil Knight said it was likely the end of the company’s relationship with Irving.

That’s not a small thing by Nike, Irving has had a signature shoe line since 2014 and is reported to have a deal with Nike worth more than $10 million a season because his shoes are popular. However, his contract with the shoe giant was set to end in October 2023, and there had been reports Nike did not plan to extend that deal before this current controversy started.

Nike is already looking in a new direction, at Ja Morant.

Irving now has the chance to choose his new direction.