Klay Thompson on Raptors fans cheering Kevin Durant’s injury: ‘That was freaking ridiculous’

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TORONTO – The Warriors were still trying to process the emotions of an eventful night – winning Game 5 of the NBA Finals to avoid elimination, Kevin Durant getting hurt in his first game in a month.

But they had no trouble determining how they felt about Raptors fans who cheered Durant’s injury.

Klay Thompson, via Ethan Sherwood Strauss of The Athletic:

“Trash,” DeMarcus Cousins said. “So trash.

“We’re only idolized as superstar athletes, not human beings. It’s always about what we can do between those lines. That’s it. That’s all that ever matters.”

Said Stephen Curry: “I’ve lived here. I really enjoyed the people and their passion and excitement for not only the game, but just when you come into town they just enjoy life and they’re nice people. Very confused around that reaction. It’s not my experience with the people of this city.”

The fans who cheered Durant’s injury are jerks. There were definitely fans near the court waving goodbye to him, making their ill-intent known.

But I’m not sure how many fans in the arena were cheering for that reason.

Serge Ibaka got a steal and drew a shooting foul on a fastbreak as Durant went down. There was certainly excitement about that play. While the telecast immediately noticed Durant’s injury and focused cameras on him, I’m sure many eyes in the arena were following the ball to the other end of the court. I certainly was, and what sounded like normal cheering for Ibaka’s play coincided with the fans shown waving off Durant.

Once Durant got up, the crowd cheered louder. Fans applauding an injured player standing up is common and usually appreciated. The Warriors took exception here. Kyle Lowry, Danny Green and Pascal Siakam tried to quiet the crowd.

Were some people cheering that Durant was limping? Given the antics near the court, undoubtedly. Were some people applauding that Durant got up? That’s such a common show of support for an injured player, I have to think so.

How many were cheering for good reasons and how many for bad reasons? I can’t read anyone’s mind. One fan celebrating Durant’s injury is too many, and there was way more than one. We’ve condemned entire fan bases for the conduct of fewer people. Fairly or unfairly, the jerks reflect on the entire Raptors fan base.

But the context should also be considered. That arena was rocking last night, and fans got into frenzies over plays even smaller than Ibaka’s steal and drawn foul. Unlike TV viewers, not everyone there had their view focused on Durant so quickly. Cheering at games tends to beget more cheering. Some fans cheered Durant’s injury. Some fans cheered Ibaka’s play. Some fans cheered just because they were fueled by others cheering.

Multiple things occurred simultaneously. I really don’t think it was an arena full of Raptors fans celebrating Durant’s injury.

As full attention turned to Durant leaving the court, fans clearly cheered in support. Many chanted, “KD! KD!”

In the aftermath, all this is being used to judge the Toronto fan base. But I think this says more about how Durant is viewed.

Durant has become the biggest villain in the NBA. Raptors fans had been jeering him all night, with chants of “KD sucks!” I don’t expect fans to cheer rival players, but Durant was grinding through a previous injury to help his team. Other players would have at least been silently commended under those circumstances.

But fans of other 29 other teams still haven’t gotten over Durant signing with Golden State. They’ve labeled him a snake, a coward and worse and have treated him as such.

That reached its gross logical conclusion last night, with at least some fans celebrating Durant’s injury. All because he took a better job three years ago.

It’s fine to dislike the move as a basketball fan. Durant choosing the Warriors did undermine competitive balance.

But the very personal hatred of him has gone way too far.

Brandon Clarke bullies Ian Mahinmi with monster dunk (video)

Brandon Clarke
AP Photo/Brandon Dill
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How wild is it that the Grizzlies have two rookies who can dunk like this?

After Ja Morant threw down a jump-out-of-your-seat jam over Aron Baynes a few days ago, Brandon Clarke just made Ian Mahinmi — a good rim protector — look helpless in Memphis’ win over the Wizards yesterday.

Add Jaren Jackson Jr., and the Grizzlies are onto something with their young core.

Patty Mills hits game-winner in Spurs’ NBA-record fourth straight OT game (video)

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Spurs coach Gregg Popovich pioneered resting players.

But San Antonio has played an NBA-record four straight overtime games, meaning the Spurs have had to play an extra 25 minutes.

Popovich, via ESPN:

“It’s awful,” said Spurs coach Gregg Popovich

At least Patty Mills spared San Antonio a sixth overtime period in these four games. After DeMar DeRozan missed a free throw, Mills hit the game-winner in a 121-119 victory over the Suns yesterday.

And at least the Spurs are mostly winning these longer games. In this span, San Antonio beat the Rockets in double overtime, beat the Kings, lost to the Cavaliers and now beat the Suns. I’d also argue the Cleveland result was worth it.

 

Report: Luka Doncic might return to Mavericks within a couple weeks

Luka Doncic
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images
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Luka Doncic sprained his ankle during the Mavericks’ loss to the Heat yesterday.

Whether this timeline constitutes good news or bad news depends on your perspective.

Tim MacMahon of ESPN:

Doncic’s injury is a blow not just to Dallas, but the NBA. He’s one of the league’s brightest stars. In the next eight days, the Mavericks make their only appearances of the season in Milwaukee, Philadelphia and Toronto.

Though Doncic has played like an MVP candidate, the Mavericks also boast considerable depth. They’ve outscored opponents by 8.0 points per 100 possessions without Doncic.

Those non-Doncic lineups will be thrust into more difficult situations now. That net rating will likely drop, especially against a tough upcoming schedule. Dallas might have been in line for some losses, even with Doncic. So, don’t overreact to that.

But the Mavericks can remain at least competitive without their best player.

Bucks’ Eric Bledsoe out two weeks due to right fibula avulsion fracture

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The Milwaukee Bucks keep right on rolling, they won their 18th straight on Saturday night, cruising past the Cleveland Cavaliers. Now they’re going to have to keep this winning streak going without point guard Eric Bledsoe.

Bledsoe will miss at least two weeks with a right fibula avulsion fracture, the team announced Saturday. The injury happened Friday night in a win against Memphis.

An avulsion fracture is where a strain to ligament pulls a little bit of bone off where the two connect. It sounds worse than it is medically, and while it hurts rest is usually the only treatment needed.

Bledsoe is averaging 15 points and 5.7 assists per game for the Bucks, shooting 34.4 percent from three, playing solid defense, and providing another ball handler and shot creator next to Giannis Antetokounmpo. Milwaukee has been +4.1 points per 100 possessions this season with Bledsoe on the court.

George Hill, who has had a strong season for Milwaukee off the bench, will step into the starting role for now.

The injury comes at a rough time as the Buck hit a tougher part of the schedule this week, facing Dallas (which may be without Luka Doncic) and the Lakers on Thursday.