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Kevin Durant Is Not Happy to See Dirk Nowitzki Succeed at His Expense

Throughout the NBA playoffs, we’ve seen a few constants: Dirk Nowitzki putting up points, the Thunder blowing leads, and reporters asking stupid questions at press conferences. One of those dumb questions came after Oklahoma City was eliminated from the playoffs Wednesday night. A reporter asked Kevin Durant, the franchise player for the Thunder, how he felt about seeing Dirk succeed at his expense. KD gave about as good of a response to the bad question as he possibly could have.

“I’m not happy at all. I’m a competitor,” Durant explained. “I really didn’t care about what he went through the last three or four years. I know it’s been tough for him, I’m sure he’s happy now he’s going back to the Finals, but I’m not happy for him at all because I wanted to be there. But [sometimes] it happens like that.”

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J.J. Redick Discusses Heckling Fans

During his collegiate days with the Duke Blue Devils, J.J. Redick was constantly pestered by fans of opposing programs. Since being drafted by the Magic, he’s endured less heckling because he’s no longer the superstar he was in college.

When asked about heckling fans on the Dan Patrick Show Tuesday, Redick brought up a particularly creative comment he once heard from a fan.  We all know fans can be brutal when they harass opposing players, but the former Duke star said that a fan telling him he “drinks his own pee” was the most creative verbal jab ever directed toward him.  You can hear the audio of the interview here.

Redick laughed that particular comment off and emphatically stated that he was most bothered by fans’ antics when they involved family members. “When you start talking about people’s mothers and people’s sisters, that’s where you can get a little angry,” Redick explained.

As fans we’ll do almost anything to help our team gain an advantage. Thanks to Redick — a man who has been targeted by fans for years — we finally have the recipe for getting in an opposing athlete’s mind: talk about their momma.  Beware if you do because that’s at your own risk.

Tom Thibodeau Calls Out Refs for Not Giving Derrick Rose More Calls

Even after the final buzzer sounds to end a game, another game begins: the one that happens in the postgame news conference. Phil Jackson used to be a master in that setting, finding ways to tweak the officials so he’d get calls in his team’s favor. In last year’s postseason, Phil primed the refs before the Thunder series by suggesting Kevin Durant gets calls he shouldn’t. Then he said refs need to watch out for Steve Nash’s carries. The result may be a minimal fine from David Stern, but you can’t put a price tag on extra calls from intimidated referees.

Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau must have kept that in mind, because he made a point to call out the refs following his team’s Game 4 loss in Miami.

Speaking about Derrick Rose after the game, Thibodeau said “He hasn’t been able to get to the line like we thought he would. There’s a lot of contact, and he hasn’t gotten calls.”

The numbers would back up Thibodeau’s assertion — Rose only attempted seven free throws compared to 13 for LeBron James and 11 for Chris Bosh. The Heat got to the line 38 times compared to 22 for Chicago, but they also were more aggressive with their drives to the hoop, and you can’t say LeBron got the calls — he was whistled for an offensive foul at the end of regulation.

Whether Thibodeau was right or wrong with his assessment is debatable. What is a certainty is that it’s usually a good idea to complain that your team isn’t getting enough calls. Believe me, the referees hear the criticism — they listen. And more often than not, they try to make up for it in the next game.

Mike Brown Reportedly Will be Next Lakers Head Coach on Four-Year $18 Million Deal

Less than three weeks after getting swept out of the playoffs by the Dallas Mavericks, the Los Angeles Lakers appear to have decided on their next head coach. According to Matt Steinmetz of CSN Bay Area, former Cavaliers coach Mike Brown will be the team’s next head coach.

If Brown does sign on to become the new head coach of the Lakers, he will have beaten out names such as Rick Adelman, Jeff Van Gundy, Mike Dunleavy and Lakers assistant Brian Shaw for the job.  Here are the details from Steinmetz’s report:

Mike Brown will not be the next head coach of the Golden State Warriors.

Brown, the former coach of the Cleveland Cavaliers, is expected to be named the new coach of the Los Angeles Lakers, according to two league sources.

Brown was considered a frontrunner for the Warriors’ job, but is expected to sign a four-year contract worth approximately $18 million with the Lakers — succeeding Phil Jackson as coach.

Nothing has been confirmed by the Lakers’ front office, but all the rumors Tuesday seemed to indicate this would happen.

Here’s the problem with the Lakers hiring Mike Brown: he can’t run an offense if his life depended on it, unless you consider Kobe isolation plays an offense. The one thing Mike Brown is good at is coaching defense, and this hire may be a reaction to the Lakers’ poor defensive showing against the Dallas Mavericks in the playoffs.

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Chicago Bulls: Three Keys to a Game 4 Win

Following Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals, nearly every media outlet in the country said the Miami Heat were in trouble. The Chicago Bulls looked good, really good. Their defense was stellar and a hero was born in their 21-point blowout.

Since that game, Miami has won two in a row, placing Chicago in a near must-win situation. The Heat are poised to go up 3-1 in the series if they win Tuesday night. Here are three changes the Bulls need to make in order to pull out a win.

1) Focus on stopping Chris Bosh

Chris Bosh has been motivated by Carlos Boozer’s pre-series comments and it’s resulted in stellar play. He’s scored 30 points or more in two of the first three series games after only doing so three times the entire regular season. Bosh hurt Chicago more than any other Heat player in Game 3, and it’s time for them to start sending help defense to him.

2) Joakim Noah must stay out of foul trouble

Noah is Chicago’s best player at protecting the rim. In the Game 3 loss, Noah got into foul trouble and totaled just five boards, a single point and a certain slur that cost him 50 grand. Noah does the dirty work and he must play significant minutes for Chicago to stay close.

3) Derrick Rose needs to show up in the fourth quarter

In the fourth quarter of the two losses, Derrick Rose has scored a combined four points. Rose won the regular season MVP award for closing games late, not disappearing. Miami has strategically placed LeBron on Rose during the fourth quarter which has disturbed his game. If Chicago is going to even the series, Rose will need to play close games out like the MVP he is.

Chris Webber and Filipino Manny V. Pangilinan Could Team up to Buy Kings

Though it appeared to be a certainty that the Kings would move from Sacramento to Anaheim, the city was awarded an extra year to hold onto the team. There was a check list of items the NBA advised the city to fulfill in order to keep the franchise long-term, and the most important requirement was to build a new arena. It will be difficult for the cash-strapped current owners, the Maloofs, to hang on to the team, so there is room for new ownership. One potential group of owners is led by Chris Webber and would be backed by Filipino businessman Manny V. Pangilinan, according to the Inquirer.

The Inquirer, which is a Filipino news source, says “Webber met with Pangilinan, chair of the Philippine Long Distance Telephone Company—among other firms—during a recent trip to Sacramento, where he visited the Kings’ home stadium, the Arco Arena.”

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Taj Gibson: Joakim Noah Received Verbal Abuse from Drunk Fan

Chicago Bulls center Joakim Noah was fined $50,000 for cussing at a fan and directing a gay slur towards him (see the video here). It’s never acceptable to use the language Noah did, he knows that, and that’s why he apologized. But just because Noah’s getting criticized for the incident doesn’t mean he’s the only one who deserves blame in the situation. The fan also should take some responsibility for being out of line.

Forward Taj Gibson told CBS Sports’ Ken Berger that a drunk fan was verbally abusing Noah prior to the slur. “The guy just kept going. I know the crowd looked at the guy too, like, ‘Come on man, leave him alone. It’s over.’ But the guy just kept going. … It was the usual, but in that circumstances, it was heavy because he was really loud. And he was a big guy, too. He was intoxicated. When I saw him, I was surprised, because he just kept going and going. Normally a fan may say a couple of things and then sit down. But he just kept going and going, and it was Joakim the whole time.”

Having thick skin is part of playing professional sports, but to assume athletes are able to ignore fan taunts and heckling is foolish. We’ve seen Milton Bradley go after fans, and we even heard LeBron respond to one in Detroit. They hear it, and sometimes it’s tough not to react. I’m not excusing Noah, but the fan needs some blame too. Purchasing a ticket (even if it’s for thousands of dollars), does not entitle one to become a drunken jerk at a game. Fans should be held responsible for their actions too and getting hammered and cussing out players is unacceptable, especially with children around.

Additionally, the $50,000 fine is reasonable because it helps send the message that that sort of language is unacceptable. The problem is the NBA is only reactionary with this issue, not proactive. They only respond if the media applies pressure to them. If this video or the Kobe video doesn’t get shown on TV or on several websites, they wouldn’t do anything. Do they fine players for yelling f-bombs, or the n-word which is equally offensive? Of course not. They’re just reacting to public pressure and want to make sure people know they’re doing what’s politically correct. If they really cared about getting rid of the language, they’d fine players in low-profile situations, not just when Kobe or Noah say it during highly-watched games.