The director of sports medicine at AdvocateAurora, and sports physician for the University of Illinois-Chicago, Skiba says the long-term effects of COVID-19 have stumped doctors and wishes he had better answers for players like Tatum—who is not a client, but sounds like one. “He’s not the exception,” Skiba says. “I see that at least a half dozen times a week.” “A lot of it is a mystery,” Skiba says. “It’s like having a fleet of Ferraris. It requires a certain amount of know-how and mechanics to be able to take care of that fleet. And right now, no one’s got the owner’s manual.”
June 14, 2021 | 9:43 am EDT Update
“They’re really loaded on him,” Rivers said. “We showed him on film, the flow pass the bounce pass are the two areas where we’re going to need him to be great.” Harris’ scoring is still his calling card and the area that you look at first to cite his playoff improvement: Through eight games, he’s averaging 23.6 points per game on 60 percent true shooting this postseason compared to 15.8 points per game on 46 percent true shooting in last season’s sweep against Boston in the bubble. But especially on those backup units, teams might force Harris to be a distributor. In Game 3, he looked up to the challenge.
Rivers joked on Sunday about how he doesn’t like “football players” in basketball, emphasizing that you can’t rest on defense in basketball. For Korkmaz, who gets on the floor because of his shooting, the defensive side is where he is forced to work harder. “Furk is doing all the little things that are required out of him,” Rivers said. “We’re not asking him to be Ben. But we’re asking him to be a better version of himself defensively. And I think he’s doing that.”
But with the Nuggets’ season on the line, and their two best players — Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray — out (Jokic was ejected at the 3:52 mark of the third quarter due to a flagrant foul 2), Denver scored 43 points over roughly the final 16 minutes. The Suns suffered a bit of a defensive letdown. “We know when we’re not playing the type of defense that we need to be playing,” Devin Booker said after the game. “So we communicate that amongst each other, and we tell each other ‘It’s time to lock in.’ And that’s what we do. But we saw a different style of offense once Jokic went out. Them having JaVale (McGee) picking and rolling to the rim.
Both of them get it, that life is bigger despite being uber-competitive. Paul is known for his relentlessness on the court that borders on maniacal. But even when he was going through his shoulder issues, he kept making it clear people are going through worse and he’d be fine. “To be on this journey with him and to see it paying off is nice,” Paul said. “We’re a lot alike. We stay locked in. I don’t feel good until the buzzer sounds. Mont’s the same way. When the series is over, and the game is over, it’s nice to share those moments.”
Davis, a member of the Celtics’ 2008 championship-winning squad, had some thoughts on the injury. In an Instagram reply, Davis seemed to imply that it was a result of basketball karma after Irving stomped on Boston’s center court logo earlier in the playoffs. “Karma is real. Energy is real no matter what you guys say,” Davis said in another IG comment. “That logo means something negative or positive. Ky wished that on hisself (sic). Energy is real, always have respect for other no matter if its (sic) a logo are (sic) not.”
June 14, 2021 | 8:27 am EDT Update
A gold medal is one thing missing from his resume, but he said he has yet to make up his mind. He continues to look at the logistics of playing in Tokyo. He is curious to learn which other players are planning to go and to see how strong the team will be. “I’m literally 50-50,” he said of his decision. “I probably need to decide in the next two weeks.”