With the Thunder losing to the Warriors on Saturday, setting the stage for Game 7, one could point to several reasons Oklahoma City came out on the wrong end of the final score. When watching the game, Stephen Jackson noticed a lack of effort from a Thunder star.
Kevin Durant was criticized by some for the nineteen shots he took during the first half. However, it was what happened after a fourth quarter turnover by Durant that caught Jackson’s attention. The former NBA player ripped Durant for not closing out on Stephen Curry shooting a three-pointer, saying Durant didn’t even try. Jackson went on to emphasize that Oklahoma City isn’t going to beat the Warriors or anyone in the Western Conference Finals by “half-assing like that.”
A video posted by ☆Sports Heaven (@ballgod) on
Given Oklahoma City at one point had a 3-1 series over Golden State and are now staring at Game 7 in Oracle, there has been no shortage of people picking apart the last two games to see what the Thunder need to correct. In this particular instance, it’s tough to find fault with Jackson’s analysis on the play in question. The good thing for Oklahoma City is they have one last opportunity to close out Golden State and it will likely take maximum effort to do so.
What jump shot issues?
Ben Simmons is strengthening his case to be drafted No. 1 overall this June one trick shot at a time.
The 19-year-old forward posted the following video to his Twitter account on Sunday of him hitting a crazy soccer-inspired trick shot during a workout:
GOOOAAAALLLLL 🏀⚽️ pic.twitter.com/W4ReWgjR22
— Ben Simmons (@BenSimmons25) May 29, 2016
Perhaps it’s time to add “nifty footwork” to the former LSU Tiger’s scouting report. With the Sixers (who are reportedly “leaning heavily” towards selecting Simmons) holding the No. 1 overall pick and the Lakers (whom Simmons is said to be trying to steer his way to) holding the No. 2 overall pick, at least Simmons might be able to explore a career with the Philadelphia Union or the Los Angeles Galaxy of the MLS if this whole basketball thing goes south.
- Ben Simmons
Apparently, the way some of the NBA’s current players, most famously Stephen Curry, use their mouthguards as toys does not go over well with the old guard.
Portland guard C.J. McCollum brought that to light on Sunday when he called out said old guard for their thoughts.
McCollum himself found out through this tweet, which he retweeted.
Just learned that the way guys hold their mouth pieces irks old hoops fans. The more you know. 😂😂😂
— Nate Jones (@JonesOnTheNBA) May 29, 2016
McCollum saw this and had some words for those who feel that way.
Some of them old heads would catch this modern day fade 👀 https://t.co/gzKVBKdEcF
— CJ McCollum (@CJMcCollum) May 29, 2016
Of course, Curry is a central figure in this “controversy,” and he and the Warriors are also a lightning rod for criticism from some older NBA legends. Perhaps it’s all part of that.
H/T Bleacher Report
- CJ McCollum
If the Oklahoma City Thunder don’t win at Golden State on Monday, their defeat at home in Game Six of the Western Conference Finals will go down as one of the more devastating defeats in NBA history.
In fact, the Thunder are already refusing to watch the tape.
Interesting tactic. Durant says Thunder didn’t watch game film on Game 6: “We know all about this team." pic.twitter.com/L61PvkEj4C
— Fred Katz (@FredKatz) May 29, 2016
In fairness, Oklahoma City and Golden State have battled relentlessly for six games. If the Thunder don’t know what they do by now, they probably never will. You can hardly blame Durant and company for not wanting to relive the end of that game, though. Well, maybe this part, but not the rest.
Adam Silver heard all that chatter about the NBA refusing to suspend Draymond Green because they didn’t want to interfere with a competitive series. He doesn’t like it one bit.
Silver appeared on ESPN Radio on Sunday and refuted the talk of pro-Warriors conspiracy theories, saying that the league office deemed Green’s kick to Steven Adams’s groin reckless, but unintentional.
“I acknowledge that that was a close decision on upgrading Draymond’s kick to a Flagrant 2, but not suspending him for (Game Four),” Silver said, via Diamond Leung of Bay Area News Group. “I will say that we do full investigations around those plays the next day. We interview the officials. We interview the players who are involved, and ultimately we made a decision that he did not intentionally try to kick him in the groin, but it was a reckless act, and it was upgraded to a Flagrant 2.”
Silver even hit back at those who believe that the league didn’t suspend Green because they want to ensure that the Warriors make it to the NBA Finals again.
“I hear it, and it’s the most sensitive issue for me, and it goes to the core integrity of the league and frankly to my integrity,” Silver said. “Even from a business standpoint, it would be impossible to predict which Finals would have a greater following. It depends on how many games, how close the games are. I can only thus sort of swear to the world that we do the best we can and that we don’t prefer one market or one team over another.”
It’s really, really silly that Silver even feels the need to assert this, but because even high-profile players believe something fishy went on with regards to the Green non-suspension, he had to. It was a bit surprising that Green wasn’t suspended given league precedent, but there wasn’t any funny business going on in the league office.
- Adam Silver
The New York Jets have reportedly offered Ryan Fitzpatrick a three-year deal that includes $12 million in the first year, but the way the deal is structured after that is the reason Fitzpatrick remains a free agent.
According to Charles Robinson of Yahoo Sports, New York’s offer to Fitzpatrick is for three years and $24 million. The contract would reportedly pay $12 million in 2016 and $6 million each of the two seasons after that.
I was told #Jets offer to Ryan Fitzpatrick was 3-yrs $24 mil. $12 mil yr 1, avg of $6 mil per final 2. Starter $ yr 1, then elite backup $.
— Charles Robinson (@CharlesRobinson) May 29, 2016
As we said previously, the Jets are probably the ones who leaked the report about them offering Fitzpatrick $12 million in year one. And in reality, even that isn’t all that reasonable. Brock Osweiler inked a contract worth $18 million annually with the Houston Texans, and Fitzpatrick was much better than him last season.
Fitzpatrick had a career year in New York in 2015, and one star receiver reportedly skipped OTAs to protest that the team has not re-signed the quarterback. While Fitzpatrick would have already signed elsewhere if someone was offering him big money, he should be worth more than $24 million over three years. If anything, the Jets should pay him legitimate starter money for the next two seasons. That seems like a fair compromise.
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While the links between DeMar DeRozan and the Los Angeles Lakers won’t go away, it sounds like the team itself isn’t exactly beating down his door to talk to him.
According to Kevin Ding of Bleacher Report on Bleacher Report radio, the Lakers “aren’t that high” on the Raptors swingman.
— Noah Coslov (@NoahCoslov) May 29, 2016
There’s been a pile of conflicting information on DeRozan, who is soon to be a free agent. We’ve heard that the Lakers would give him the max, we’ve heard that he’s already mentally on his way to Los Angeles, and then we hear this. Combined with the fact that DeRozan has repeatedly committed himself to Toronto, the more likely scenario seems to be that he’ll stay where he is.
It wasn’t long ago that Jameis Winston was being labeled “fat” by some teammates. Now, he’s turned himself into the picture of fitness.
Winston told ESPN’s Britt McHenry that he had dropped 18 pounds since February thanks largely some tweaks he made to his diet and astute offseason planning.
“I heard from around the league that most rookies that come in, if they have a great year, they don’t have a plan for the offseason,” Winston said. “I had never handled an actual offseason before.”
Winston, who estimated that he weighed in the upper 240 pound range at season’s end, was motivated by attending the Pro Bowl and seeing players such as Russell Wilson and Julio Jones in such exemplary shape. He placed a call to Tim Grover, who has trained Kobe Bryant and Michael Jordan, to help him come up with an offseason plan. Grover put Winston on a dietary plan and began physical training with him.
“He’s 22 years old; I’m not going to tell him you’re not going to go out and eat only kale,” Grover said. “Instead of eating a whole bag of potato chips, cut it down by a third. It’s too difficult to give individual food plans, and it’s better to change eating habits.”
The results are obvious. Winston has dropped nearly 20 pounds, and Grover hopes to see him lose about five more before the season starts. His dedication has impressed coaches and teammates alike.
Winston was aware that he had work to do when the offseason started. Now he has teammates raving about how much he’s changed. It’s a good sign for a player coming off what was already a strong rookie season.
- Jameis Winston
Ray Rice has not appeared in an NFL game in over two years, but the former Baltimore Ravens running back refuses to give up on his playing career.
Rice spoke to incoming Ravens rookies last week about making good life choices. He also made an appearance at Western Michigan recently as a guest speaker, leading some to believe he has accepted his NFL career is over and moved onto other things. However, TMZ reports that Rice has continued “training like crazy” and is still hoping a team signs him for the 2016 season.
One source close to Rice told TMZ that the three-time Pro Bowler is focusing on being with his family and educating others but would still like to end his playing career on better terms.
Aside from Rice’s disturbing history of domestic violence, he is a running back who turned 29 in January. Not many NFL backs are effective when they near 30, which is why teams aren’t willing to deal with the PR nightmare of signing Rice when he likely isn’t going to be able to play at a high level.
There’s an outside chance that Rice could join a team for training camp, as at least one NFL franchise has reportedly discussed the possibility of signing him. We still wouldn’t bet on it.
- Ray Rice
Wayne Schneider, the owner of a luxury Los Angeles rental car company, tried to confront Johnny Manziel on Friday over some money he claims the former NFL quarterback owes him, but Manziel would not get out of his vehicle to talk to Schneider.
A video that was taken by TMZ in New York City showed Manziel getting into the back of an SUV. Moments later, several cars blocked the SUV from driving away, and Schneider was seen yelling to Manziel to come out of the car. Manziel stayed put.
“Straight punk. Straight b—h,” Schneider later told TMZ. “He’s not paying for nothing. Look what he just did — he couldn’t even get out of the car to talk. He’s been dodging for a month and a half. I try to keep giving him opportunities not to (go to court) and be like men and handle your business.”
As TMZ reported earlier in the week, Schneider claims Manziel promised him he was going to buy him a new $90,000 Mercedes after the 24-year-old was a passenger in a hit-and-run last month. The car was left totaled, and Manziel was picked up by one of his troubled former teammates.
Schneider said that Manziel has continued to rent cars from his company, Precision Concierge, through his friends.
I guess we can just add this to the list of problems Manziel has piled up in his life.