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Sunday, January 22, 2017

Basketball

Baron Davis blames Russian hackers for Russell Westbrook not starting ASG

Former All-NBA point guard Baron Davis has an elaborate theory as to why Russell Westbrook isn’t starting in this year’s All-Star Game.

In a tweet posted early on Sunday, Davis blamed none other than the Russian hackers for Westbrook’s snub.

That UCLA point guard bond clearly runs deep.

While Westbrook himself is downplaying the snub, Davis obviously isn’t the only one baffled that averaging a 30-point triple-double somehow isn’t enough to get a starting nod in the All-Star Game.

The now 37-year-old Davis made two All-Star teams during his own NBA career in 2002 and in 2004, so it’s safe to say that this is a textbook case of real recognize real.

Image via Golden State Warriors on YouTube

Ty Lawson compares ref to SpongeBob character on Instagram

Ty Lawson

DeMarcus Cousins isn’t the only Sacramento King going after referees.

In a post to his Instagram account on Sunday, Kings guard Ty Lawson appeared to compare NBA official Michael Smith to a character from the animated TV show SpongeBob Squarepants.

The above character was featured in a Season 3 episode of the series as an out-of-touch old man mistaken by the citizens of Bikini Bottom as a bully.

For some context, Smith was part of the officiating crew in Sacramento’s loss to the Chicago Bulls on Saturday, an affair marred by a controversial foul call in the final seconds that cost the Kings the game (video here).

As for the 29-year-old Lawson, he’s never had much of a filter, and it looks like that’s still the case now that he’s in Sacramento.

H/T NBA Reddit

Report: Bulls actively shopping Rajon Rondo, Nikola Mirotic

Rajon Rondo

The Chicago Bulls are open for business.

According to a report by Joe Crowley of the Chicago Sun-Times on Sunday, the Bulls are “actively shopping” both Rajon Rondo and Nikola Mirotic ahead of the February 23 trade deadline.

Rondo’s availability probably goes without saying given what an abject disaster that experiment has been for Chicago this season. He’s down to 6.6 points and 6.7 assists per game on the year and clearly has not responded well to his recent demotion to the second unit.

But Mirotic hasn’t been much better either. He’s averaging 9.8 points per game on 38.7 percent shooting in 2016-17 and is beginning to fit the profile of a stretch-4 who can’t stretch the floor.

It’s unclear what kind of interest the 22-23 Bulls might be able to stir up as both players are virtually at rock bottom of their respective values right now. Perhaps they choose to follow up with this Eastern Conference competitor. But it sounds like Chicago is willing to call up anybody who will listen in an effort to get rid of their dead weight.

Steve Kerr cracks political joke about Sean Spicer

Steve Kerr

Steve Kerr is no fan of new president Donald Trump, and he continued to make that clear on Saturday. Only this time he shared his feelings via a joke.

The Golden State Warriors beat the Orlando Magic 118-98 on Sunday. Before the game, Kerr, who played 15 seasons in the NBA, was introduced as a former Magic “star.” Such an introduction was quite the stretch given that Kerr only played 47 games for the Magic.

“I told my buddy, the PA announcer, that I was here three months and scored a total of 12 points,” Kerr said with a laugh after the game, via the San Jose Mercury News. “You’re going to have to look that up. It might have been 14.”

Kerr was then asked if that was like “alternative facts,” which is a term used by Trump’s staff to dispute facts about his inauguration attendance numbers. That’s when Kerr zinged White House press secretary Sean Spicer, who was in a dispute with the media about their reporting of Trump’s inauguration attendance and grossly exaggerated things.

“Sean Spicer will be talking about my Magic career any second now,” Kerr said. “14,000 points. Best player in Orlando Magic history.”

Between Kerr, Stan Van Gundy and Gregg Popovich, Trump sure doesn’t have many allies in the NBA coaching world. Here’s what Kerr said when Trump was elected.

Report: Jabari Parker benched for sharing locker room conversation with media

Jabari Parker

Jabari Parker did not start Milwaukee’s game against the Miami Heat on Saturday for violating a team rule, which marked the first time all season he did not start. Now we’re learning about the team rule he violated.

According to a report from ESPN’s Chris B. Haynes, Parker was benched for disclosing private locker room conversations with the media.

The Bucks have lost five in a row. After Friday’s loss to the Magic — their fourth straight loss — Parker revealed that the team had a players-only meeting and that his opinions were not well received.

Milwaukee’s players apparently did not appreciate Parker violating the locker room talk privacy rule and decided the proper punishment would be for him not to start against Miami.

Parker scored 16 points in 32 minutes off the bench against the Heat. He’s averaging 20.4 points per game this season, but is learning about the importance of following team rules.

Jabari Parker benched vs. Heat for violating team rule

The Milwaukee Bucks are in the midst of a five-game losing streak and may have some in-house drama to go along with it as well.

Bucks starting forward Jabari Parker came off the bench behind rookie Thon Maker Saturday against the Miami Heat for violating a team rule, head coach Jason Kidd said, per Charles F. Gardner of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

Parker still played 32 minutes in the 109-97 loss to Miami, finishing with 16 points, seven rebounds, and four assists.

Kidd didn’t provide any additional information about the violation. But it’s worth noting that the Bucks held a players-only meeting after a 112-96 loss to the Orlando Magic on Friday during which Parker’s opinions didn’t appear to be all that well-received.

Parker has been playing quite well this year with 20.5 points and 5.9 rebounds per game as his athleticism seems to have returned to pre-ACL injury levels. But this latest skid has seen Milwaukee fall to tenth in the Eastern Conference, and the last thing they need right now is any sort of internal conflict.

DeMarcus Cousins seen tossing trash cans after controversial loss to Bulls

DeMarcus Cousins

These wild Boogie Nights continue.

According to Nick Friedell of ESPN, Sacramento Kings center DeMarcus Cousins was seen by reporters tossing garbage cans in frustration after a controversial 102-99 defeat to the Chicago Bulls on Saturday night.

Friedell also shared an image of the aftermath of Cousins’ rage:

What Cousins was apparently upset about was being whistled for a questionable touch foul on a Dwyane Wade dunk attempt in the waning seconds of the fourth quarter.

Wade hit one of two free throws to break a 99-99 tie, and Cousins lost the ball on the ensuing Kings possession to seal their fate.

The All-Star big man has quite the history of these types of outbursts, of course, and leads the league with 14 technical fouls this season. But when you consider that Cousins finished with 42 points and 14 rebounds in the loss as well as the highly-dubious nature of the foul call, can you really blame him?

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