NBA on ESPN: “If [the Nets] do not win a championship…

NBA on ESPN: “If [the Nets] do not win a championship. … Kevin Durant is on the verge for being recognized more so for the guy that left Steph Curry to go with Kyrie Irving, than he is for the two chips and two finals MVP.” — @stephenasmith. Kevin Durant: Egregious

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But all this Grizzlies fun is too much for LeBron James, who didn't make it past the free throw line in the backcourt during Memphis' latest highlight. A minute later, a Lakers turnover leads to another fast break for the Grizzlies. Bane swishes a trailer 3 -- wide open because James is slow getting back in transition -- and lets the all-time great know about it: "Them footsteps ain't scaring nobody."
James has seen and heard enough, especially from Bane. James breaks up the Grizzlies' party in the paint to confront him under the basket. "That's your last time," James says to Bane, loud enough to be heard clearly on the local television broadcast. "That's your last motherf---ing time. That's your last time disrespecting me."
Along with setting the record straight on the long-told story of Oakley’s fight with Barkley at a late-1990s players’ association meeting — “I did not punch Charles Barkley,” Oakley clarifies in the book. “I did, however, slap the s--- out of him” — Oakley refuted Barkley’s recent public claims that their relationship has since become cordial. “He’s not close with Michael (Jordan) no more. I don’t know who he’s really on (good) terms with now,” Oakley said of Barkley. “So I know he wants to come to the cookout and play 18 holes with us. But we’re not inviting him no more. He’s out. You act up, you go stand in the corner with one leg in the air .... That’s Charles, in the corner of the playground by himself. You can see him, because he’s kind of big.”
And the trash-talking ensued. But it was all one-sided. Curry never said a word back to Porter. "I highly encourage it," said Warriors head coach Steve Kerr of players jarring with Curry. "I think he's unfazed by it, to be honest," Juan Toscano-Anderson said. "He finds it comedic. I mean, he's great. He's gonna do what he does. ... What do y'all say? Steph's gonna Steph."
Garnett shares something else -- a point posited by scouts throughout Wiggins' basketball life. Early on, frustrated by the perceived gap between his talent and performance, Garnett wondered about Wiggins' passion for the game itself. "I thought he liked basketball, but I don't think he loved it," Garnett says. "Like, Wiggs has other interests in life. He has other things that stimulate him, and I have to respect that."
“I don’t know, you’ve got to ask the ref, man,” Harrell said when asked to explain what happened. “...He got his rebound, he got an and-one, and it’s cool you got an and-one, but he had it in my face. I ain’t one of them guys. It is what it is, I wouldn’t change it no differently from what I did, on either emphasis, both techs. I stand on both of them and I don’t feel I did nothing wrong.”
Chase Hughes: Kyle Kuzma said hecklers motivated him, that the ending was "their fault." He said it was Cavs fans had a sign that said "Without LeBron, Kuzma wouldn't have a ring." He told them: "Cleveland wouldn't be shit without LeBron."
The rumblings began following the Pelicans' 0-3 start (currently a league-worst 1-11 after Wednesday’s loss to OKC), coupled with Griffin's public handling of All-Star forward Zion Williamson's prolonged recovery from offseason foot surgery. New Orleans brass certainly hoped Griffin's tenure would finally lead to a playoff berth, despite its tenuous two years building around Williamson. Word of a heated exchange between the chief executive and Sacramento Kings associate head coach Alvin Gentry has since circled around the league.
While New Orleans projected optimism about competing for a postseason berth during the Orlando bubble, Gentry and a large portion of Pelicans staffers were already prepared for the coach's ouster, sources said, as Griffin was widely known to covet Ty Lue, who was the head coach in Cleveland when Griffin served as the general manager for LeBron James' 2016 championship team. Griffin would often tell team and other league officials that he'd given Gentry "all the answers to the test, and he still fails," sources confirmed to B/R.
That expression was first reported in a September article from NOLA.com, which served as the catalyst for Griffin and Gentry's exchange in New Orleans, sources told B/R. After the Kings defeated the Pelicans 113-109 on Oct. 29, Griffin approached Gentry in the bowels of Smoothie King Center to offer a warm hello to his former head coach, yet Gentry brushed off his initial efforts as inauthentic. From there, according to multiple sources with knowledge of the incident, Griffin denied the findings of the NOLA.com article, particularly his "answers to the test" line, and the notion that he played piano for Williamson during the team's bubble stay in Disney World.
Gentry responded with his own choice words, noting how his eventual replacement, Stan Van Gundy, who was also fired after one season in New Orleans, finished just one game better (31-41) than the Pelicans did under Gentry (30-42) the year he was let go. "You must not have given Stan the answers to the test, either," Gentry shouted at Griffin, according to multiple sources, and the two men had to be physically separated.
The aftermath of that event has seemed to ripple around the league, leading to increased whispers about the future of New Orleans without Griffin at the helm of the Pelicans basketball operations. League observers have noted New Orleans' repeated appearances in national television games, that were supposed to feature Williamson, have cast a far larger spotlight on the Pelicans' losing dynamic than otherwise would have existed.
In a recent Instagram story posted by Garnett, he cropped the sharpshooting Allen out in a photo taken during the 2011 All-Star game where the four of them were named All-Stars for the Eastern Conference. Tensions began to rise with the emergence of Rondo in the Celtics’ locker room being a huge factor. Allen and Rondo have been involved in shouting matches as told by Allen in his 2018 memoir, From the Outside: My Journey Through Life and the Game I Love.
Apparently, though, Ronnie 2K had a follow-up tweet to mock Kamiah after her latest rant about the game. The post has since been deleted, but not before the wife of the Wizards guard saw it and his followers saved a screenshot.
Kamiah Adams-Beal: Dogs bark. Ducks quack. So don’t be so surprised when clowns, do clown shit. But atleast I have the courage to stand on my own two feet. @ me next time pussy @Ronnie2K. That was deleted quickly 😭😂
Kevin Porter Jr: @Ronnie2K what my scan coming like? I better be in the 80s ya’ll can’t grill me me this year, & please can u have my swag right wit da long socks/calf sleeves, & my right arm sleeve sheeesh, ya’ll got me out there lookin like I’m at la fitness Camoot 2k. @NBA2K. Ronnie 2K: Swagged out… but a 77. Did we get this right or should he be in the 80s as he says? #2KRatings. Kevin Porter Jr: A 77? Carry on 🥱, You got rookies rank higher than me? Can you validate that?
Following Team USA’s win over France in the gold medal game, Durant and Draymond Green took to Instagram Live to roast Kendrick Perkins and their doubters who thought they would be falling short of a medal finish, let alone gold. “Everybody who said we were going to take the L. … They had some power rankings out. They had us fourth behind Slovenia. Come on, man,” Durant said. “Talking about they’re catching up to us, like, are you serious? This skill is unmatched, you dig?”

https://www.instagram.com/p/CRfEV43lLNY/?utm_medium=copy_link
“I’m disappointed in Scottie, because he’s burning every bridge,” Barkley said. “I know he has a book coming out. Listen, Scottie was a very good player, I’ve always liked Scottie, too. I’ve always liked him, I’ve never had a disagreement or an argument with him. But he’s taking shots at me, and I’m just laughing, because I’m like, ‘Yo, man, you do know we’re, like, 60 years old. We don’t have beefs anymore, we’re like 60.’
“I was disappointed he’s taking shots at Michael, Phil Jackson, and myself,” Barkley went on to say. “But I understand he’s got a book coming out. And I just think it’s silly and stupid, to be honest with you. Listen, hey, we know you’ve got a book coming out, stop trying to take shots at big fish, he’s big game hunting. You come after myself, you come after Michael, you come after Phil Jackson, and we know you’ve got a book coming out. But it really just makes you look stupid and silly in the long run, to be honest with you.”
We spoke with Jennings about the Wagyu-quality beef between the two guys ... and he tells us Pippen's resume cannot live up to KD's, so he better respect the greatness. "I mean if I'm KD I wouldn't listen to Scottie," BJ said outside Crustacean on Thursday. "I mean, KD is better than Scottie." When we pointed out the ring count -- Scottie has 6, KD has 2 -- Jennings says it's bigger than that. "At the end of the day, KD was shorthanded, and at the end of the day, he did the best that he could do just like when Mike left the Bulls back in the '90s and Scottie had a chance to be the man."

http://twitter.com/OnlyFacts1234/status/1408168327206289413
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."
GreenRunsDeep: Big Baby Glen Davis has comments on Kyrie Irving injury.

http://twitter.com/CelticsGRD/status/1404181007637561346
Tommy Beer: Julius Randle, during post-shootaround media availability this morning, says he doesn't care about Capela's comments: "Why would I give a hell what Clint Capela has to say?"
Stefan Bondy: Julius Randle on Clint Capela: “I don’t care.”
Stefan Bondy: Clint Capela (who has been awesome in this series BTW) ripped Julius Randle for his Flagrant foul at the end of Game 4: "You’re just trying to look physical but it’s not working. It’s kind of your last solution."

http://twitter.com/theScore/status/1399410186838814722
Word spreads quickly on social media of Nurkic's comments, too. Perkins responded to Nurkic's "clown" comment in what is now a deleted tweet. But apparently that response was too nice. Instead, Perkins decided to throw some gas on the fire and used an old video of Kobe Bryant speaking fondly of the now TV personality.
Was there motivation, too, behind the comments from Perkins and Smith? “Not really motivate, I don’t know if I do anything different from game to game,” Nurkic said. “I just feel like I was more into not getting the fouls. Trying to contest and be into him.” Whatever it was, it worked, and those around the Blazers could tell. A member of the Blazers’ coaching staff was asked if he was the one who showed Nurkic the tweet. “Wasn’t me,” the coach said. “But I’m glad whoever did tell him!”
Rajon Rondo has some history with the Dallas Mavericks, and that much is not lost on Mavs owner Mark Cuban. Appearing Thursday on 105.3 The Fan in Dallas, Cuban had funny trash talk for Rondo ahead of Mavs’ first-round series against Rondo’s LA Clippers. “I hope he shoots a lot,” said Cuban of Rondo. “I hope he takes more shots than any guy on the team from outside the paint.”
Brandon 'Scoop B' Robinson: Kyrie Irving’s sneakers won’t touch Dennis Schroeder’s feet ever again says Lakers PG: “Unfortunately l can’t wear them no more. It’s not possible after what happened in the game. “I can not do it. Not going to wear it again. We will do giveaways for everybody who wants them.”

http://twitter.com/ScoopB/status/1394440577618436096
Brown received word of the comments and fired back at the trio live on Instagram and with an hour-long YouTube video (Warning: graphic language below). In the video, Brown called Jackson “fake” and Barnes “Becky with the good hair” and claimed Arenas took millions from them through contracts. “I think you guys need to focus and channel that energy to some more real problems,” Brown said. “And Stephen Jackson, maybe you can put that (expletive) blunt out and pull your pants up on your ass and put that rag down and act like a grown-ass man instead of a little ass boy.”
After Brown’s rant, Jackson responded on Instagram, saying he refused to interact with him. Jackson claimed Brown chose to target them because of their platforms in sports media. “Don’t make this personal bro,” Jackson said in the video. “A million people talk about you, but you want to come at us because you know we hot, because you know we can put you back on. ... It ain’t personal. Wish u the best big guy.”

http://twitter.com/FearTheBrown/status/1392689993701896194
Bradley Beal: @24Bazemore you don’t know me or shit about me bruh!!! You don’t know why I go out there and play and it damn sure ain’t for another man’s approval!!! You a straight LAME!!! But it don’t surprise me coming from you, thats what’s yo type do!!
Bradley Beal: @24Bazemore 👇🏾👇🏾👇🏾

http://twitter.com/RealDealBeal23/status/1391947618058653703
Monte Poole: Kent Bazemore, marveling at teammate Stephen Curry: “49 points in 29 minutes, that’s unreal. We got guys hurting hamstrings to keep up.” Curry leads NBA in scoring, at 31.9 ppg Bradley Beal is second, at 31.4, but will miss at least 2 games with, yes, a strained hammy.
Stefan Bondy: Julius Randle on Jae Crowder: “He’s just a frontrunner. He didn’t say a word in the first half. They were down and they tied the game up and he got a stop on me and wanted to say something. That’s just who he is. Everybody in the league knows it. But I’m not worried about him.”
Clutch Points: Reporter: "You aware how tough the schedule w/ 2 against Celtics, 1 against 76ers, 1 against Bucks?" Jimmy Butler: "That's tough for you?" R: "I don't know." JB: "Maybe if your sorry ass was on our team it'd be tough, but I think we'll be just fine" 🤣 pic.twitter.com/sESF09v44p

http://twitter.com/ClutchPointsApp/status/1389314583458840576
Rapaport posted private messages that he said Durant had sent him -- which included threatening language and anti-gay and misogynistic slurs. Coach Steve Nash said the organization had a conversation with Durant about the language used in the exchange.
No, the NBA should NOT punish Kevin Durant for the homophobic insults he used in a private IG convo with Michael Rapaport ... so says P.J. Tucker. "Of course not, he did nothing wrong," the Milwaukee Bucks player told us in Beverly Hills on Wednesday before taking on the L.A. Lakers. "He didn't do nothing wrong."
Well, that was the one video that didn’t sit well with Kyrie and the player took to social media to make it clear he doesn’t like people making fun of his culture and his ancestors. “I respect your comedy, but tell your ignorant counterpart @maxisnicee do not disrespect my ancestors or indigenous cultures with his gestures. It’s sacred to us Natives to burn sage and it’s a remembrance of the people who died to preserve our customs,” he wrote on Instagram.
It also wasn’t the only thing that caused the Lakers to channel their inner MJ meme and take things personally: We hear some of those guys talking about how they’re the team to beat in LA. It’s fine if Kawhi says stuff like that. He’s defending a championship. We don’t trip if someone like Patrick Beverley is talking trash; that’s how he feeds his family. We get it. We respect the hustle. Oh? Then who did bother the team by saying stuff like that? Do tell, Jared. But we think it’s disrespectful for Paul George, who hasn’t won, to put himself on the level of Bron and AD. This motivates us. When we see those guys around the compound, we don’t really kick it with them. The one exception of course is Markieff, whose twin brother, Marcus, is on the Clippers. This probably keeps tensions from boiling over.
According to former NBA champion and no. 2 pick Darko Milicic, this new display of strength also showed that Jokic is so superior to Gobert that if the French center gets a contract of 205 million, then the Nuggets big man has to sign for half a billion. “We must be aware that money is the basis of NBA’s existence. If Gobert is worth that much money, then our Jokic should sign a contract for 500,000,000 dollars. That’s how much better he is than Rudy,” Milicic said to 24 Sedam.
The McGruder-Warriors beef simmered on social media after the game with McGruder’s teammate Wayne Ellington speaking up in his defense, calling Klay and Draymond ‘unprofessional’ and ‘not classy.’ And, thanks to one eagle-eyed NBA Redditor, we know that Kevin Durant smashed the like button on an aggregation of Ellington’s comments.
Whether Durant is holding onto grudges from his time with the Warriors’ or simply poking the bear, he knows exactly what his doing. Durant’s social-media presence sometimes presents as chaotic but he’s smart enough to know that this would be noticed by somehow, and smart enough to know that it would get aggregated and make it’s way back to the Warriors, and smart enough to know that we all know what kind of effect that would have. Gamesmanship or petty for the sake of petty, Kevin Durant is definitely playing games.
The longstanding feud between Nets star Kevin Durant and hoops Hall of Famer Charles Barkley may never end. “I don’t know why they still ask for this idiot’s opinion,” Durant recently wrote on Instagram, in response to Barkley saying that athletes “deserve some preferential treatment” with coronavirus vaccines because they pay high taxes.
Durant appeared to reference the exchange in another Instagram post, saying “Them old heads need to go enjoy retirement. These boys have coaches they work with everyday lol.” Lakers star LeBron James also commented “There’s a difference between constructive criticism and soft hating though. I’ve seen it both ways come my way, mostly the hate. You can hear it in their delivery.”
Jared Weiss: Marcus Smart comes out for his post game presser still in his jersey. "(Embiid) alone shot 21 free throws, we shot 20. Can't beat that." Smart: "We got our hands up a lot of the times and (Embiid) flails and he gets the call. Meanwhile on the other end we attack and we don't get the whistles. It's tough playing like that."
ClutchPoints: Shaq: “Chuck, if 11 points gets you $200 million, 38 points will get you $600 million, right? Chuck: “If I played today, I’d be going to the games in a space ship. ”

http://twitter.com/ClutchPointsApp/status/1346816451286597635
Because of that, it should come as no surprise that Nowitzki couldn’t stand LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh and the Miami Heat. That tidbit comes courtesy of Nowitzki’s longtime teammates J.J. Barea, who revealed Nowitzki’s hatred for the Heat on JJ Redick’s podcast. Barea made the following comments about Nowitzki around the 35 minute mark of the podcast: “[Nowitzki] was not going to let us lose. The way he prepared the whole year for it. He hated Miami. He hated LeBron, Wade, Bosh. He’s never going to say that, but he couldn’t stand it.”
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Goran Dragic talked to the Slovenian press before Saturday’s prep game against Montenegro and explained his motivation about his return to the Slovenian national team. “I predict the semi-finals, but then anything is possible”, said a smiling Dragic, who is ready to defend the title he won together with a young Luka Doncic back in 2017. However, after five years things are different and Dragic understands it: “In my opinion, I will play a little less minutes, it will not be at that level. I don’t know how much I played, 36 minutes per game? Everything will depend on how I feel. The role will definitely be different. I was Batman, but now I’ll be Robin. The most important thing will be to make sure we have good chemistry and be a leader on the court and lift guys up when it’s most difficult. My role remains the same, Luka’s may have changed a bit more, but I believe that everyone has their own role in the national team and that there will be no problems. We all understand each other, we are one big team, and that’s why we can make a good result. That chemistry is what other teams don’t have.”
Dragic had also to convince the Chicago Bulls to let him play, something that was not ideal for them: “When I had a medical exam with Chicago and sat down with them, they said I’d rather not play. I said I’d rather and in the end it’s the player who decides. I had to go to Chicago, undergo a medical examination and everything else. When you go to a medical examination, you always wait for the results, because you never know what can happen”.