Rumor: Scottie Pippen upset with Michael Jordan due to documentary


Horace Grant and Craig Hodges have issues with how Michael Jordan – who held control over “The Last Dance” – handled the documentary.

Apparently, so does Scottie Pippen.

David Kaplan of ESPN 1000:

What I was told yesterday, he is so angry at Michael – and how he was portrayed, called selfish, called this, called that – that he’s furious that he participated and did not realize what he was getting himself into. Very upset.

He felt that – up until the last few minutes of Game 6 against the Jazz – it was just bash Scottie, bash Scottie, bash Scottie. As one of his friends said to me yesterday, he’s one of the top 21 players, according to ESPN, in the history of the sport. He said, and prior to the last seven minutes of the documentary on Sunday night in episode 10, all it was was the migraines, the surgery, Michael calling him selfish, his contract. He said every single thing you showed about him, basically, was negative. And he is beyond livid.

Multiple teammates of his – multiple – have all felt Scottie got a raw deal in the documentary, and they’re furious.

Nothing in the documentary made Pippen look worse than Pippen himself. He made the indefensible statement that he stands by his refusal to enter with 1.8 seconds left in Game 3 of Bulls-Knicks in 1994. That’s on him.


Jordan mixed praise and criticism of Pippen throughout “The Last Dance.” Jordan said, “Whenever they speak Michael Jordan, they should speak Scottie Pippen. … Everybody says I won all these championships. But I didn’t win without Scottie Pippen.” Jordan also called Pippen wrong for delaying surgery in 1997, Pippen opting be laid up during the season rather than the summer.

But Pippen did frequently complain about his contract. He did demand a trade multiple times. These are important points to cover in Chicago’s story.

So was the migraine game.

Pippen struggled in the Bulls’ loss to the Pistons in Game 7 of the 1990 Eastern Conference finals due to a migraine. Jordan’s response in the documentary raised a few eyebrows:

To anyone who didn’t know the full story, that was probably a forgettable scene. But there was something to Jordan’s wording, his tone, his facial expression. It brought back a time when doubt persisted about whether Pippen actually had a migraine.

Michael Wilbon of The Washington Post in 1991:

The migraine in Game 7, for those of us who thought Pippen was too soft anyway, was confirmation that his psyche was fragile. A Chicago columnist suggested the Bulls should check the “Missing Pippens Bureau.” Fans in NBA arenas would scream, “Scottie, got a headache?” The Pistons, among others, would snicker within his earshot or jostle him needlessly. “Dennis Rodman still does it in games,” Jordan said Sunday.

So many people believe that if Pippen did have a migraine it was brought on by a fear of the Pistons in general, defensive ace Dennis Rodman specifically.

Scott Howard-Cooper of the Los Angeles Times in 1991:

But there probably always will be a little migraine in the Bulls’ lore; after a sub-par 22-point showing in Game 1 of the recent Eastern finals against Detroit, Bull guard Michael Jordan quipped, “I may have had a headache today.”

Pippen said he hasn’t had a headache since last year’s Piston finale, although he couldn’t tell you why. The only change he has made is that he wears glasses off the court, but the Bulls say his vision was only slightly off and not enough to cause a migraine. More than likely, they say, it was a combination of the slight vision problem and the stress of his father’s death.

Reports like that might at least partially explain why Pippen is sensitive about his portrayal in the media.

Maybe “The Last Dance” could have spent more time on Pippen’s positive on-court contributions. But this was a documentary about Jordan first and foremost. He’s the draw. Pippen’s play was also steady and understated, difficult to accentuate in this format. His surrounding nonsense – and there was plenty, more than “The Last Dance” got into – was far more vivid.

Yet, I thought “The Last Dance” still presented him mostly favorably overall – deservedly so.

Philadelphia 76ers reportedly hire Nick Nurse as new head coach

Toronto Raptors v Boston Celtics
Omar Rawlings/Getty Images

Doc Rivers could not take a contender in the Philadelphia 76ers — a roster with the reigning MVP in Joel Embiid and a former one in James Harden — past the second round. Again. As good as the Sixers have been in the regular season the past few years, it has not translated to playoff success.

Now Nick Nurse will get the chance.

Nurse will be hired as the 76ers’ new head coach, a story broken by Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN and confirmed by Noah Levick of NBC Sports Philadelphia.

The buzz around Nurse to Philadephia spiked in the last 24 hours after Milwaukee announced hiring Adrian Griffin as their coach. Wojnarowski says Nurse chose Philadelphia over the Phoenix Suns, although it’s unclear if Phoenix made any kind of formal offer to Nurse (he did interview for the job, where assistant Kevin Young is rumored to have the momentum to land the gig).

Nurse makes sense for the 76ers as a coach who is unafraid of unorthodox, out-of-the-box strategies, which is part of the reason he was able to lead the Raptors to the 2019 NBA title. His defenses in Toronto were aggressive and tried to force turnovers, then the Raptors ran off that. He is considered a more creative Xs and Os person than Doc Rivers, the man he replaces in Philly.

Nurse also has a connection to Philadelphia president/GM Daryl Morey, who hired Nurse to coach the Houston Rockets’ G-League team the Rio Grand Valley Vipers back in 2011 (when Morey was running the Rockets). That connection was another reason the league sources thought of Nurse as the frontrunner in Philly.

The question is what the roster Nurse will coach looks like. James Harden is a free agent with persistent rumors he might return to Houston, does bringing in Nurse influence his decision?

Philadelphia will be in win-now mode with MVP Embiid, rising star Tyrese Maxey (who will have to shoulder much more responsibility if Harden leaves), plus quality players such as Tobias Harris, De'Anthony Melton, Shake Milton and others. However, expect changes over the summer.

Nurse walks in the door facing high expectations but with a roster capable of reaching them.

NBA investigating if referee Eric Lewis had burner Twitter account defending himself

2023 NBA Playoffs - Los Angeles Lakers v Golden State Warriors
Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images

About the last place an NBA referee should want to spend time is Twitter — pictures of puppies and ice cream can draw dark and cruel reactions in that social media space. One can only imagine fans’ reactions to the people making calls against their team (the legitimacy of those calls is moot).

Yet the NBA is investigating if referee Eric Lewis had a Twitter burner account where he defended himself, something first reported by Marc Stein. The account — now deleted — had the username “Blair Cuttliff” with the handle @CuttliffBlair.

The NBA has a rule that referees cannot comment on officiating publicly (outside of specific, authorized moments).

There was some commentary on Twitter that Lewis’ brother, Mark, ran this account, not Eric. That will be part of the league’s investigation.

Lewis has been an NBA official for 19 seasons and is highly rated by the league, having worked an NBA Finals game along with numerous playoff games. The last game he officiated was Game 1 of the Western Conference finals between the Lakers and Nuggets on May 16.

This is not the first time the league investigated a Twitter burner account. In 2018, then 76ers GM Bryan Colangelo stepped down after Twitter burner accounts — linked to him and his wife — criticized 76ers players and more. Kevin Durant has admitted to having Twitter burner accounts in the past (which is not a violation for players).

Three things to watch in Game 7 between Miami Heat, Boston Celtics


After three games, the Boston Celtics looked done — not only did they get blown out in Game 3, they dropped the rope. They quit. This looked over. But Boston found their pride and won Game 4, then won Game 5 at home, and finally came the insane Derrick White Game and a Game 6 win to become only the third team ever to go down 0-3 and force a Game 7.

Miami was in control of this series, but some cold shooting nights — particularly from their stars — and a lot of turnovers opened the door for the Celtics. Miami and its vaunted culture, find itself in the exact place it was a year ago, having to win a Game 7 against these Celtics to advance to the Finals — if Jimmy Butler hit an open 3-pointer late a year ago the Heat would have advanced. Can they take that one more step now?

Game 7. The sweetest two words in sports, and we get one Monday night from the TD Garden.

Here are a couple of things worth watching, plus some betting advice from Vaughn Dalzell of NBC Sports Edge.

1) Butler/Adebayo or Tatum/Brown? Which stars show up?

The last time we saw Jayson Tatum in a Game 7 was just two weeks ago, when he dropped a record 51 points on the 76ers in that deciding game. A season ago in a Game 7 against these same Heat, Tatum scored 26 points and hit 4-of-7 from 3, while Jaylen Brown added 24 points.

This item really isn’t about them. While the Celtics’ stars have to have good games, it’s reasonable to expect them to.

This is all about Jimmy Butler, and to a lesser extent Bam Adebayo. For the first 43 minutes of Game 6 these two shot a combined 7-of-35 and were not good enough. Butler had 14 points and was a non-factor in Game 5. For the last three games he has looked tired, he’s lacked some of his explosion, and he has struggled with the Celtics length as they have packed the paint and taken away his easy shots inside for buckets.

“Like I told the guys on the bench, I told the guys in the locker room, that if I play better, we’re not even in this position, honestly speaking,” Butler said after the Game 6 loss. “And I will be better. That’s what makes me smile, because those guys follow my lead. So when I’m playing better, I think we’re playing better as a whole.”

Butler turned things around in the final minutes of Game 6 — sparking a 15-4 run — mainly by attacking and drawing fouls, although he hit a 3-pointer in there as well. That Butler needs to show up Monday night in Boston, they need his points and they need his defense (he will draw Brown or Tatum as his assignment for much of the game).

If Miami is going to win, Butler has to be the best player on the floor. It’s that simple. If he struggles again, the rest will not matter.

2) Are the Celtics hitting their 3-pointers

Among the many ways the Heat have to feel they let a great opportunity slip away in Game 6 was this: Boston shot 7-of-35 from 3. The Celtics’ offense this season has been much more dependent on the 3-pointer, and the Heat did not take advantage of a bad 3-point shooting night from the Celtics.

Boston’s shooters — particularly role players such as Grant Williams and Derrick White — tend to be more comfortable 3-point shooters at home, and if this team gets rolling and hits 15 or more 3s and is shooting 40% or better on those, it’s lights out. Especially if they are breakMiami, even on a good Butler day, will have trouble keeping up.

It’s simplistic to say it’s a make-or-miss league, but when it comes to the Celtics shooting from beyond the arc it applies

3) Vaughn Dalzell’s betting recommendation for Game 7

In the last 16 Game 7’s when the total moved at least five points lower than the previous Game 6 total, the Under is on a 14-2 winning streak (87.5%), which is in play here. The total for Game 6 opened at 213.5 and closed at 209.5. Game 7 opened at 206.5 and is down to 203.5, so the trend is in effect with a 10-point or 6.0 point-move depending on how you look at it.

(Check out more from Dalzell and the team at NBC Sports Edge.)

NBA says Horford foul on Butler correct call, as was added time


While Game 6 will be remembered as the Derrick White game, a series of controversial moments on the previous play set the stage for the winning shot.

There was the Heat’s Jimmy Butler driving left, getting bumped by Al Horford and fumbling the ball, recovering it and starting to dribble again (which appeared close to earning a double-dribble call). Then Butler drew a shooting foul on Horford initially called inside the arc with :02.1 seconds left, but after Celtics coach Joe Mazzulla challenged and it was ruled a 3-point attempt (it clearly was) at the :03 second mark. The referees added 0.9 seconds to the clock, ultimately enabling White to get the game-winning putback with O.1 left.

The referees got all that right, the NBA said in its Last Two Minute Report from Game 6. The report found just two incorrect calls in the final five minutes:

Caleb Martin should have been called for a lane violation on Jaylen Brown‘s missed free throw with 1:01 left in the game.
Gabe Vincent should have been called for a foul on Jayson Tatum‘s stumbling layup attempt with :31 remaining.

None of that changes the results, the Celtics escape Miami with a 104-103 win to force a Game 7 on Monday night. Even though that is a Game 7, it will be hard for that game to surpass the drama of Game 6.