August 14, 2020 | 9:34 am EDT Update
Nick Friedell: Jacque Vaughn on trying to defend Dame: “We gave him the full boat tonight. What a compliment. What a player. He’s changing the game — the ability to cross half-court and shoot the basketball with ease and accuracy. You give him a lot of credit.”
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander: Chris has been been amazing. I can honestly say he’s like a brother to me. It almost feels like we do everything together. We go eat together. We watch games together. Work out together. Yeah, he’s been he’s been amazing. Like I said, he taught so much from eating correctly to recovery to reads in the game. And the biggest thing about Chris is I think down to earth and genuine he is. Obviously with him and his accolades, he could easily act like, you know, I mean, he’s the best thing in the world to walk around like he’s better than everybody. But he honestly makes you feel like he’s just like, like your homie from back home.
Booker — who is still only 23 — was an All-Star this season, but he was initially snubbed before replacing Damian Lillard at the last minute. Booker’s numbers were undeniable, but as the best player on a perennial loser, he was building a reputation as an empty-calorie scorer. These eight games went a long way in changing that perspective. “We had one objective — to get better — and we did that,” Booker said. “I think we approached this with the right mindset from the beginning, from practices, from training camp in Phoenix, from the first two weeks we got down here, everybody was locked in on all cylinders.”
Tim Reynolds: Going into today’s regular-season finale, Duncan Robinson’s TS% of .687 represents … only the best season in NBA history for a perimeter player. (The only players with a better TS% for a season are all bigs — Mitchell Robinson, Artis Gilmore, Rudy Gobert and Tyson Chandler.)
Outside of the campus, the league cannot exactly enforce and monitor player, coach and staff behavior. That group will also no longer undergo mandatory testing for COVID-19. To that end, Kings guard Buddy Hield has outlined a simple itinerary once he exits the bubble: “stay my ass home.”
David Fizdale: I’m just hoping that I didn’t lose so many guys that I don’t get to sit in that seat again because I really felt like I can do it. You know, I proved that I can do it. And I just want that opportunity because I just learned after that situation that I think I got a lot to give to the next job that. If I can get the just the right pieces in place, boy, let me get a bunch of y’all running around out there. See what happened when I get junkyard dogs, a whole team full of them and see what happened. I had some puppies in New York. They weren’t your dogs yet. But I’m telling you: the kid Mitchell Robinson, Kevin Knox and RJ Barrett… Those kids are gonna end up being players in this league. They’re just babies.
August 14, 2020 | 9:29 am EDT Update
Mark Medina: Gregg Popovich on the Spurs’ playoff streak ending (1998-2020): “That’s fake news. That’s total fake news! Lots of guys have been telling me the streak hasn’t ended! I talk to people all the time. They call me. They tell me, ‘Pop, the streak didn’t end! It didn’t end!'”
The final buzzer sounded Thursday night with the Utah Jazz topping San Antonio 118-112, officially eliminating the Spurs from contention for a Western Conference play-in spot and ending their record-tying run of 22 consecutive postseason appearances. “It means a lot to a lot of people probably, but I don’t dwell on the past,” said legendary Spurs coach Gregg Popovich, who captured five NBA titles during that span. “That stuff’s totally [not] important; what’s important is the moment you do what you’ve got to do then you move on, but looking at the past doesn’t do much good. Any success we’ve had has been because we’ve had some great players.”
Though the NBA saved itself from losing more than $1 billion by not canceling its season, the league will still suffer substantial revenue losses due to Covid-19. That will likely affect Oladipo’s next contract, as the players will see a drop in income available. Oladipo said his current concern is helping the Pacers in the NBA bubble and “continuing to strengthen my knee.” “I’m just focused on doing what I can to help my team the best way I can,” he said. “One day, it will all click again, and then I can worry about those other things when the time comes.”
So when the Kings’ season ended Thursday, and Hield was asked if he’s comfortable with his role off the bench in Sacramento heading into next season, his answer raised some eyebrows. Including, I’d imagine, some in Philadelphia. Here’s what Hield had to say: [Hield] provided a series of short answers during a Zoom session with reporters and offered a cryptic response when asked if he could be content with his role going into next season. “Y’all know me,” Hield said. “Y’all know how I talk. Y’all know how I feel. Y’all can read me well, so I’ll let y’all answer that yourselves.”
Justin Kubatko: Most points scored by a player over the final three games of a regular season: 154 – Damian Lillard, 2019-20 128 – Dominique Wilkins, 1985-86 128 – Michael Jordan, 1986-87 128 – Kobe Bryant, 2005-06 127 – David Thompson, 1977-78 127 – Russell Westbrook, 2014-15
For New Orleans Pelicans rookie Zion Williamson, it’s time to turn the page to next season and focus on getting better — with his game and his body. “I’ll talk to my coaches and see what I need to do better from their point of view,” Williamson said Thursday morning. “Talk to my player development coaches as well, see what I need to do better from their point of view. Just work on every part of my game and work on getting my body where it needs to be.”
If the Warriors land the top selection in October’s draft, they’ll likely take Georgia shooting guard Anthony Edwards. Golden State believes, per a league source, that Edwards is one of the few players available in this draft who can contribute immediately and develop into a face of the franchise within the next few seasons.
Given how fluid this draft is, the Warriors could draft the same player at No. 5 that they’d eye with the No. 2 pick. According to league sources, Israeli small forward Deni Avdija, Iowa State point guard Tyrese Haliburton, Florida State shooting guard Devin Vassell and Auburn small forward Isaac Okoro are among the players Golden State would consider in that range.
With so much time spent off the court since his injury in January 2019, Oladipo stayed productive in other ways, including through business. Like numerous athletes, Oladipo has taken an interest in tech investing, and is particularly excited about his stake in a sports marketing company called Genies, which creates and licenses avatars of celebrities, mostly on social media.
The first game-worn jerseys from the NBA’s restart in Orlando have hit the auction block. NBA Auctions has launched a group of 58 jerseys from the league’s first few games in the “bubble” including those donned by LeBron James, Anthony Davis and Zion Williamson. Jerseys worn by members of the Lakers, Pelicans, Spurs and Nets are the first to reach the auction block from games played after the league stopped play in March due to COVID-19. Most of the jerseys are game-worn while a few were made for players who didn’t see action.
Google may finally end the internet tradition of traffic-grabbing how-to-watch posts with a new search feature that will display local TV and streaming options for NBA and MLB games when you search phrases like “how to watch the Lakers games.” The new feature is rolling out in the US today, and it can incorporate your location data to help you figure out which specific local channel is airing the game you want to watch. The new TV options will also appear on Google’s existing sport game search widgets alongside things like the box score or time remaining in the game.
Taylor Rooks: CJ McCollum’s shirt post game. Breonna Taylor’s picture on the front. Daniel Cameron (Attorney general of Kentucky) phone number on the back pic.twitter.com/eVbhgJ6s6k
Steve Kerr: Read this, and then read it again. He is literally TELLING US that he is interfering in the election by not funding the USPS.
Toronto Raptors assistant coach Adrian Griffin on Thursday denied a series of domestic violence accusations made by his ex-wife in a social media post. In a message posted to Twitter, Audrey Griffin said Adrian Griffin had repeatedly abused her, including choking her, throwing her into a wall with enough force to leave a hole and dragging her across a lawn while she was pregnant. “This morning, accusations were made against me on social media by my former wife that I vehemently deny,” Adrian Griffin said in a statement released by the Raptors. “We are involved in a longstanding legal dispute over alimony and child support arrangements. I am disappointed to have to address false accusations in this way, and I apologize for any distraction this has potentially caused for our team at this important time.”
The Raptors also issued a separate statement on the matter. “When we saw these allegations this morning, we were dismayed — Adrian is a valuable member of our team,” the team said in the statement. “Our leadership immediately spoke with him, and he flatly denied the allegations in the posts. We will support the process as he and his former partner settle these matters.” Audrey Griffin had previously made similar allegations of abuse on social media. On Thursday, she wrote in part, “How can someone do ALL of this and get away with it. … I will tell you how… just be in the NBA and win a game in the bubble. Cinderfella. That’s how. Simple.”
August 13, 2020 | 9:14 pm EDT Update
Andy Larsen: The Jazz’s regular season comes to a close with a 118-112 win over the Spurs. They finish the season with a 44-28 record, which is a 50-win pace nearly on the nose. Next up: Denver, in the playoffs. 11:30 AM Monday.