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Clippers’ Montrezl Harrell to Lakers fans: “At the end of the day, y’all gonna have to recognize us”

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The Lakers were underdogs last night against the Clippers for good reasons: The Lakers were on the second night of a back-to-back having traveled in from Sacramento (and a close game, so guys played deep into the fourth), and they were without LeBron James.

Plus, the Clippers are good. Their net rating this season (+1.6) is basically even with the Lakers (+1.8).

Some Lakers fans couldn’t get their head around all of that and booed their team after Friday night’s 118-107 loss to their Staples Center roommates (the Lakers did give up an ugly 22-0 run in the second half).

Clippers big man Montrezl Harrell — he of the awesome Kamakazi-style tied off headband who had a dozen points off the bench and remains near the front of the Sixth Man of the Year conversation — was waiving his arms encouraging the boos after the game. Then he went on a rant demanding some respect after the game, via Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN.

“I love it,” Harrell said of hearing the boos. “Because they already don’t recognize us as a so-called L.A. team, but we don’t really care about that. But we want y’all to know that we’re the LA Clippers. That means Los Angeles Clippers, man. So there’s two teams in L.A.

“Y’all try to overlook us, just because of everybody in that purple and gold and the history of it. Yeah, I respect that. But that don’t mean s— to me. Excuse my French — that don’t mean nothing to me. I come out here and play for the guys that I am on the floor with. At the end of the day, y’all gonna have to recognize us, man. We are going to make you understand who we are.”

The Clippers deserve respect. A team with a lot of question marks coming into the season — mostly about health, but also the roster fit — has answered them for coach Doc Rivers (who is in the Coach of the Year conversation). Tobias Harris has quietly had an impressive season averaging 21.1 points per game with the kind of true shooting percentage (61.1) usually reserved for guys who just shoot in the paint. Danilo Gallinari has had a bounce-back season and is averaging 19.5 a night. Lou Williams is in the Sixth Man conversation (again) with Harrell, averaging 18.5 a game. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander has been impressive as a rookie.

We could go on and on, but you get the point — the Clippers are legit. They are in the playoff mix in the crowded West (currently the four seed). They deserve respect.

But in Los Angeles, with the Lakers, they will always be “the other team.” That’s just the reality. The Lakers are Los Angeles and have too long and too deep a history in the community. Even when the Clippers are better, it will be about the Lakers in L.A.

Vince Carter wins NBA Sportsmanship Award

Hawks forward Vince Carter
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Vince Carter’s 22-year NBA career ended amid the chaos of coronavirus, preventing him from getting the deserved fanfare.

But fellow players will send Carter into retirement with the NBA Sportsmanship Award.

NBA release:

NBA players have selected Vince Carter as the recipient of the 2019-20 NBA Sportsmanship Award, the NBA announced today.

Carter, who spent the 2019-20 season with the Atlanta Hawks, announced his retirement from the NBA in June after playing a league-record 22 seasons.  He receives the Joe Dumars Trophy as the winner of the NBA Sportsmanship Award.  Dumars, a two-time NBA champion and Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Famer, played 14 NBA seasons and won the inaugural Sportsmanship Award in the 1995-96 season.

Each NBA team nominated one of its players for the NBA Sportsmanship Award, which is designed to honor a player who best represents the ideals of sportsmanship on the court.  From the list of 30 team nominees, a panel of league executives selected one finalist from each of the NBA’s six divisions.  Current NBA players selected the winner from the list of six finalists, with more than 250 players submitting their votes through confidential balloting conducted by the league office.

Full voting (with first-, second-, third-, fourth-, fifth- and sixth-place votes and voting points):

1. Vince Carter (Hawks): 143-70-34-13-4-2-2,520

2. Garrett Temple (Nets): 22-78-63-52-25-26-1,746

3. Steven Adams (Thunder): 34-57-41-52-58-24-1,632

4. Harrison Barnes (Kings): 24-25-75-48-35-59-1,418

5. Langston Galloway (Pistons): 23-22-29-60-79-53-1,244

7. Tyus Jones (Grizzlies): 20-14-24-41-65-102-1,016

What a nice honor for Carter, who gracefully aged from high-profile star to veteran mentor.

Heat: Bam Adebayo, Goran Dragic doubtful for Game 2 of NBA Finals

Heat players Bam Adebayo and Goran Dragic
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Bam Adebayo‘s and Goran Dragic‘s injuries… not looking great for the Heat approaching Game 2 of the NBA Finals.

Heat:

This is a disaster for Miami. The Lakers dominated Game 1, and now the Heat have two starters hobbled at best. At worst and more likely, Adebayo and Dragic are out.

Adebayo would be the bigger loss. Miami was completely overmatched when facing Anthony Davis without a center. Kelly Olynyk and Meyers Leonard can try to keep up, but they’re far from great solutions.

At least the Heat have more options at point guard. Kendrick Nunn can get an elevated role (especially after excelling in garbage time of Game 1). Jimmy Butler can become the de facto point guard. Tyler Herro can also play the position. But Dragic was playing so well during Miami’s run through the Eastern Conference. This is also a major setback.

 

Report: Tyronn Lue ‘early favorite’ to become Clippers head coach

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Doc Rivers is gaining momentum in the 76ers’ coaching search.

As for the job Rivers left behind with the Clippers… Clippers assistant and former Cavaliers head coach Tyronn Lue, unsurprisingly, has the inside track.

Marc Stein of The New York Times:

Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:

The Clippers are planning to interview other candidates, starting soon, sources said.

The New Orleans Pelicans are planning to interview Lue in the near future too, sources said.

Lue would be a sensible hire. He has championship experience, which would help the Clippers hit the ground running in a make-or-break season before Kawhi Leonard and Paul George can become unrestricted free agents. Lue managed stars in LeBron James and Kyrie Irving. The Clippers must improve their chemistry around their stars. And the last time Lue got promoted from assistant to head coach, his team won a title.

New Orleans also has an appealing job. But the Clippers are far closer to championship contention. And if both teams want Lue, I bet Clippers owner Steve Ballmer would outspend Pelicans owner Gayle Benson.

Still, the Clippers are conducting a coaching search. Other candidates could emerge. This isn’t necessarily Lue’s job for the taking.

How long would he wait on L.A. if the Pelicans make an offer? Lue has shown he values being entrusted.

Report: 76ers focused on Doc Rivers and Mike D’Antoni in coaching search

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The 76ers appeared focused on Mike D’Antoni in their coaching search.

Then, Doc Rivers surprisingly became available.

The former Clippers coach met with the 76ers and is now in the center of the conversation.

Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:

For the Sixers now, the focus is on Rivers and D’Antoni, a source told ESPN. A decision is expected this week.

Rivers would be an easier fit with this roster than D’Antoni, whose style doesn’t appear to work as well with both Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons. Rivers also looks like he’d help Philadelphia take the next step.

But that seemed like it’d be true with the Clippers and wasn’t.

Tyronn Lue’s candidacy with the 76ers has clearly faded. Could he join the Clippers, Rockets or Pelicans? If Philadelphia hires Rivers, maybe D’Antoni still lands with the Pacers?

Rivers’ availability has definitely thrown a wrench in the coaching carousel.