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I tuned in to watch Tuesday’s NBA Draft Lottery for two reasons: to see the outfit Knicks representative Walt “Clyde” Frazier put together and to see where they would wind up picking. . .IN THAT ORDER!
Fortunately, Clyde did not disappoint. The ping pong balls, on the other hand, did. But I digress. The draft lottery (waste of time) was the appetizer for Game 2 of the Western Conference Finals between the San Antonio Spurs and Golden State Warriors. So when the lottery was over, and the Brooklyn Nets, I mean Boston Celtics, had secured the overall first pick, we were swept out for the proceedings at Oracle Arena.
Mike Breen of TNT began the coverage with “close out-gate”, or so I’m calling it. What is that you ask? Flashback to Sunday’s Game 1. With just under eight minutes remaining in the third quarter, and the Spurs leading 76-55, Kawhi Leonard rose up for a jump shot right in front of his bench. When the play was over, he was on the floor grimacing in pain and holding his ankle. The Warriors’ Zaza Pachulia was whistled for a foul on the play because as a result of his close out (contest) on the shot, Leonard landed on his foot and was lost for the rest of the game. You know the rest, the Splash Brothers caught fire and wound up beating San Antonio in the end.
Was Pachulia at fault? What were his intentions? Was his “close out” illegal? Did he intentionally set out to injure the opposing team’s best player, with which he has some history? Here is the play in question. Please look for yourself and answer the questions referenced above.
I have watched the play many times, and what I see is NOTHING! Pachulia is a 6-11, 275 pound, 33 year-old journeyman center, not a ballerina. That he is contesting the shot of a league MVP candidate small forward in the first place is not advantageous for him. I looked over, and over, AND over to see him step unnaturally forward with the hopes that Leonard would come down on him; and I just did not see it. Spurs head coach, Gregg Popovich has a different opinion, and in vintage Pop speak he goes off on it here:
Really coach? Manslaughter? Where were you when former Spurs like Bruce Bowen and Dennis Rodman were doing the same type stuff if not worse? Yes, losing an uber talent like Kawhi Leonard is a bad break, but your TEAM blew a 23-point lead. I was not surprised by Pop’s heated post-game remarks. He has a history of being rude, surly, and downright dismissive of sideline reporters. Listen, I do not think they add anything to a broadcast, but they at least deserve respect, and how about real answers to their questions (inane as they might be). Hey Pop, you are a basketball coach, you are not curing cancer, come down off your high horse please! The “interview” takes 30 seconds! Here is a compilation from the 2015 playoffs of what I am talking about:
And, last but not least, why Gregg continues to Pop off on national politics is beyond me. His tirades on the president, valid or not, have no place in pre or post game press conferences. If he wants to become a political pundit, I suggest he book himself on one of the Sunday morning shows. In the meantime, let’s stick to hoops please.
And that is My 2 Sense for this week.