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Kevin Durant and Greivis Vasquez were High School Buddies at Montrose Christian

Kevin Durant and Greivis Vasquez are squaring off against each other in the NBA playoffs, but they’re actually used to playing on the same side. TNT shared a story about Vasquez and Durant during Game 4 of the Grizzlies-Thunder playoff series, giving some background on how close the two are. Folks from the Maryland-area probably already knew that Grizzlies backup guard Greivis Vasquez and Thunder star Kevin Durant were high school teammates, but for most people it was a surprise to learn they played together in high school.

In fact, Marty Smith of TNT reported that “Vasquez and Durant were best friends in high school.” He added that Durant was one of the guys who taught Vasquez how to speak English while the two were teammates at Montrose Christian. Vasquez is from Venezuela and did not come to the U.S. until 2004 when he arrived to play basketball and attend high school. Another aspect of their relationship Snyder shared is that the two would arrive at school at 6:30 in the morning and shoot around until school started. He also said that Durant took the train to school at 4:30 in the morning.

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Chris Bosh Admits He was Nervous in Boston Before Game 3

Chris Bosh, there are just some things that are better left kept to yourself. How you felt entering your first playoff game in Boston on a monstrous stage is one of them. As Pro Basketball Talk shared with us, Bosh admitted he was (take your choice of) spooked/nervous/intimidated prior to Game 3 in Boston. From ESPN’s Brian Windhorst:

“Given all the elements that were out there [Saturday] night … they were so hyped,” Bosh said. “My emotions got the best of me early on and it kind of dictated what I was doing for the rest of the game.”

“I was not trusting my game,” Bosh said. “The toughest thing to do in hostile environments is not just to trust your teammates but to trust yourself. Trust things you’ve been doing all your life.”

Alright, so Bosh essentially admitted he was taken out of his game because the crowd and environment was too harsh. He only had six points and five rebounds in the game, so that makes sense. But anybody watching the game could have told you that. Bosh shouldn’t have.

I generally appreciate honesty from people, but when you’re trying to win a championship, admitting that you can be intimidated on the road is the last thing you want to do. Do I need to remind you that you’ll probably have another six or seven road playoff games the rest of the way? Do you understand how bad fans can be on the road? Come on Chris, use better judgment next time when it comes to revealing your feelings.

What’s really weird is he denies getting married, but admits to things like this. Dude, where’s your head?

You can add this to the growing list of Chris Bosh missteps since joining the Heat:

Andrei Kirilenko Gets Massive Back Tattoo

We’ve seen our fair share of tattoos here at LBS. Some are self-indulgent like David Beckham’s, some can be feminine, and some are just downright disgusting. Classify Andrei Kirilenko’s new back tattoo how you choose, I’ll call it elaborate:

Hey, it could be worse — at least he didn’t go Birdman neck tattoo on us.

To see all sports-related tattoos posted at LBS, go here

Pictures courtesy Vicback on twitter via SLC Dunk and The Basketball Jones

Did Pau Gasol Confirm Off-Court Issue with Girlfriend, Kobe?

It’s been a long month for Pau Gasol, and it looks like the summer will be even longer. On Friday we passed along a report saying Pau Gasol’s girlfriend broke up with him and that Pau was blaming Kobe’s wife for it. When asked about the report, Pau expressed dismay over the “lies” and Kobe said his wife barely knew Pau’s girlfriend.

Now that the Lakers were embarrassingly swept out the playoffs and went down dishonorably, Gasol seems to have opened up about some of the issues. From Bill Plaschke’s column in the LA Times:

“I have to learn from this,” Gasol said. ”I have to learn that when something happens off the court, you have to keep it off the court.”

He was referring to the report that he stopped talking to Bryant during the postseason because Bryant’s wife, Vanessa, had contributed to the breakup of Gasol and his longtime girlfriend. Lakers fans will remember that Karl Malone once publicly accused Vanessa of interfering with his personal life in a similar fashion.

As if that wasn’t enough, Marc Spears wrote at Yahoo! that “Pau Gasol … seemed to confirm reports that he was bothered by off-the-court issues. “I’m going to look back and see everything that’s been going on,” he said. “Try to handle it better. And whatever goes on, on or off the floor, just try to keep it that way and not let it affect anything that goes on on the floor.”

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Bennett Salvatore Admits to Mistake on Inadvertent Whistle

Chicago Bulls fans were complaining that the refs screwed them at the end of Game 4 in Atlanta, and it looks like they are justified. Referee Bennett Salvatore admitted he got a call wrong at the end of the game that helped shift momentum towards the Hawks.

Derrick Rose pump faked a three-point attempt with 2:28 left in the game and was hit by Jamal Crawford who tried to block the shot. Rose should have been awarded three free throws for being fouled on the shot, but Salvatore apparently blew his whistle inadvertently. The result was a jump ball won by Atlanta, and they converted on their next possession to go up by eight points, 92-84. Had Rose been awarded his free throws and made all three, it would have been a one-possession game 90-87.

“I blew my whistle. I was positive it was not a foul,”
Salvatore said after the game
. “I blew my whistle by accident, which is an inadvertent whistle. That’s why I disallowed it.
“Having watched the replay, it was a foul. I made a mistake. I was wrong.”

Salvatore may have admitted his mistake, but you can’t make egregious errors like that in such a key situation. And are you telling me there was no other way to handle the situation than by having a jump ball? This is almost as bad as the Kendrick Perkins tip-in by Oklahoma City that killed Denver in Game 1. The refs can apologize all they want, but it doesn’t help the team that got screwed. I suppose the only equalizer in the situation is that there were several incidents when the Bulls got away with hard fouls on guys like Josh Smith. As disappointed and upset as Bulls fans are, I think it all evened out, so keep that in mind.

Thanks to Tom Ziller for the Salvatore link

Kobe Bryant: ‘I Grew up Under Phil’

Kobe Bryant guaranteed the Lakers would beat the Mavericks in Game 4 and still believed his team would win the series despite being down 3-0. They came out, played an awful Game 4, and truly embarrassed themselves with cheap shots to the Dallas players. Even though he had to be hurting inside, Kobe was as gracious as I’ve ever seen him following a defeat. Kobe exuded nothing but class, shared thoughtful sentiments about Phil Jackson, and he gave Dallas its proper due. Kobe said “The credit belongs with [the Mavericks],” and then he explained how he feels about Phil Jackson, who likely is done coaching.

“Phil, it’s tough for me to put into words what he’s meant for me. I grew up under him. So the way I approach things, the way I think about things — not only in basketball but in life in general — a lot of it comes from him because I’ve been around him so much, so it’s a little weird for me to think about what next year’s going to look like.”

I almost had to catch myself from choking after hearing that. Kobe? Kobe really said that? Kobe has feelings? I thought Kobe was only capable of scowling publicly, but he proved me differently. He was actually sentimental, and even in his toughest moment he was able to express how he felt about Phil Jackson.

I always thought Kobe was an independent guy who didn’t have a heart, but apparently he “grew up” under Phil. Don’t know about you, but that’s just crazy to hear from Kobe.

Andrew Bynum and Lamar Odom Cheap Shot Videos Show Classless Behavior

The Lakers are so used to winning and going far in the playoffs they had no idea how to react when things didn’t go their way. They have become so spoiled by their success they had to resort to cheap shots when they were losing to make up for their poor performance. A bitter Ron Artest clotheslined J.J. Barea to end Game 2 of the series and ended up suspended for Game 3. Andrew Bynum did the same thing to Barea at the end of Game 4 and will likely have to miss games to begin the ’11-’12 season. Check out the video of the play and tell me it wasn’t sickening to watch.

That was truly pathetic of Bynum, and it’s sad they had to pick on a guy like J.J. Barea. If you didn’t want Barea to do well, you should have stopped him when it mattered. The sad thing is Bynum’s cheap shot only came slightly after Lamar Odom shoved Dirk Nowitzki out of nowhere. Don’t think Bynum and Artest were alone … Odom even beat Bynum to it:

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