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#pounditThursday, June 20, 2024


Kristaps Porzingis went against advice from Celtics’ doctors in Game 5

Kristaps Porzingis looks on

Mar 25, 2024; Atlanta, Georgia, USA; Boston Celtics center Kristaps Porzingis (8) in the game against the Atlanta Hawks in the first quarter at State Farm Arena. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

Kristaps Porzingis fought through an injury to help the Boston Celtics close out the NBA Finals on Monday night, and he apparently did so while ignoring advice from medical professionals.

Celtics head coach Joe Mazzulla joined the “Pardon My Take” podcast on Tuesday to discuss his team winning a championship. During the interview, Mazzulla revealed that Porzingis played in Game 5 against the Dallas Mavericks despite doctors telling the 7-foot-2 forward that he should sit out to heal his leg injury.

“It was like, we don’t know how long this series is going to go on for, let’s try to save him from himself because he was trying to play,” Mazzulla said. “So let’s see if we can get through a game or two.

“And then when it was Game 5 at home, it was like, ‘Hey, this might be it. I’ve got to be out there.’ He was like, ‘I’m playing.’ He overrode the medical team and was just like, ‘I’m playing.’ Credit to him.”

Porzingis missed most of the playoffs with a calf injury but worked his way back for the NBA Finals. After playing a huge role in Game 1, he suffered an unrelated leg injury in Game 2 that the Celtics said is very rare. It is safe to assume Porzingis played through some pain in Game 5, especially when you look at what one of his teammates said.

The Celtics did not need Porzingis to get to the Finals, but there is no question they are better with him on the floor. If Porzingis can stay healthy next year, Boston will have a much better chance of defending their title.

Monty Williams linked to 1 prominent job after being fired by Pistons

Jan 10, 2020; Phoenix, Arizona, USA; Phoenix Suns head coach Monty Williams against the Orlando Magic at Talking Stick Resort Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The Detroit Pistons fired head coach Monty Williams on Wednesday, and many people feel he could quickly become a candidate for one of the most prominent jobs in the NBA.

Williams was let go after one season with the Pistons despite having five years and more than $65 million on his contract. As soon as the news broke, people began speculating that the Los Angeles Lakers might want to chat with Williams.

JJ Redick is viewed as the overwhelming favorite to be named the next head coach of the Lakers, but even his ESPN colleague Stephen A. Smith said L.A. “should look at” Williams.

The reaction on social media was a bit more mixed:

Following the Lakers’ failed pursuit of Dan Hurley, it seemed like a foregone conclusion that Redick would get the job once he was done covering the NBA Finals for ESPN. Nothing has been announced, however, which leaves open the possibility that the Lakers could pivot (again) and reach out to Williams.

Williams has been a head coach the last five seasons and has 10 years of NBA head coach experience in total. He was also named NBA Coach of the Year just two years ago. Redick has zero NBA coaching experience.

It seems like the Lakers have been determined to explore all options, so it would hardly be a shock if Williams received consideration from them.

Pistons make decision on head coach Monty Williams’ future

Apr 19, 2022; Phoenix, Arizona, USA; Phoenix Suns head coach Monty Williams reacts during the second quarter against the New Orleans Pelicans during game two of the first round for the 2022 NBA playoffs at Footprint Center. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

It has been barely a year since the Detroit Pistons made Monty Williams one of the highest-paid coaches in NBA history, but the franchise has already decided to go in another direction.

Williams was fired by the Pistons on Wednesday, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reports. He has five years and more than $65 million remaining on his contract, but Woj says new president of basketball operations Trajan Langdon wants to make his own head coach hire.

Many were surprised when the Phoenix Suns fired Williams last year, as he was named NBA Coach of the Year the previous season and led the Suns to the playoffs three straight years. After flirting with the idea of taking a year off, Williams signed a massive 6-year, $78.5 million deal with Detroit. It is unclear if Phoenix agreed to some sort of buyout with the 52-year-old coach, but they will owe him a ton of money either way.

Detroit went 15-67 this season, and there was talk of some tension between Williams and his players.

It seemed like the Pistons were planning to keep Williams after they recently hired an assistant with whom Williams shares a history, but they are opting for a change following a fifth straight losing season.

Photo of Lamar Jackson standing next to Victor Wembanyama goes viral

Aug 11, 2022; Baltimore, Maryland, USA; Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson (8) walks on the sidelines during the first half Tennessee Titans at M&T Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

There are very few people in the world who can make Lamar Jackson look like a 10-year-old boy, and San Antonio Spurs star Victor Wembanyama is one of them.

Jackson and Wembanyama were among the many athletes and celebrities who attended the Louis Vuitton show in Paris on Tuesday. The two posed for a photo together at one point, and you can probably guess how they looked standing next to each other.

Wembanyama, who is 7-foot-4, towered over Jackson so much that the Baltimore Ravens star looked superimposed. Jackson shared the photo on Instagram and captioned it “Ya I should’ve stood on the bench.”

Jackson is 6-foot-2, so he is far from the tallest quarterback in the NFL. He rarely ever looks small, however. Wembanyama has that effect on a lot of people and even made a fellow NBA star appear shockingly tiny once.

Matthew Stafford reportedly seeking contract adjustment from Rams

Dec 13, 2021; Glendale, Arizona, USA; Los Angeles Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford (9) against the Arizona Cardinals at State Farm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Matthew Stafford has quickly tumbled down the list of the highest-paid quarterbacks in the NFL, and it sounds like he would like that to change.

Stafford is seeking a reworked contract from the Los Angeles Rams, Ian Rapoport of NFL Media reports. While Stafford is not expected to hold out from training camp, the 36-year-old has communicated to the team that he wants a new deal.

“The breakdown essentially here is that Stafford, my understanding is, wants more guaranteed money,” Rapoport said Tuesday. “It doesn’t sound like he would mind a raise, either. He wants his contract adjusted.”

Stafford is set to make $31 million this season and has no guaranteed money remaining after that. The average annual value of his current contract is $40 million, which places him outside the top 10 at his position following mega-deals that were signed by other quarterbacks over the last two years. The most recent was Trevor Lawrence, who got $55 million per year from the Jacksonville Jaguars.

There have been rumors that the Rams might try to trade Stafford, but head coach Sean McVay put them to rest at the start of the offseason.

After being shut down with an injury for the second half of the 2022 season, Stafford bounced back last year with 3,965 yards, 24 touchdowns and 11 interceptions. He played at a high level for much of the year and led the Rams back to the playoffs. It would be a surprise if the team does not give Stafford more guarantees, at the very least.

Panthers GM Bill Zito throws water bottle after Oilers score final goal of Game 5

Florida Panthers general manager Bill Zito threw a fit — and a water bottle — as he watched his team unable to close out the Stanley Cup once again.

The Panthers lost 5-3 to the Edmonton Oilers in Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final at Amerant Bank Arena in Sunrise, Fla. on Tuesday night. Edmonton got out to a 3-0 lead in the second period, but Florida came back to make it 4-3 in the third. However, Connor McDavid scored an empty net goal to seal the 5-3 win for his Oilers, which left Zito furious.

The Panthers got out to a 3-0 series lead but have now lost two in a row, which sends the series back to Edmonton for Game 6.

From Florida’s standpoint, the series is going on much longer than it should.

Dodgers complete wild 9th-inning comeback thanks to blown call

The Los Angeles Dodgers on Tuesday mounted one of the biggest 9th-inning comebacks of the season with a little help from the umpires.

The Dodgers entered the final inning trailing 9-4 against the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field in Denver, Colo.

Dodgers outfielder Jason Heyward hit a 1-out grand slam to cut the deficit to just one.

Shohei Ohtani then got on base with a single and later went to second on a wild pitch thrown by Rockies reliever Victor Vodnik. The Rockies intentionally walked Dodgers first baseman Freddie Freeman so that Vodnik could face Teoscar Hernandez with Colorado one out away from winning.

Vodnik, ahead in the count 1-2, threw a high fastball that Hernandez appeared to swing at. But the umpires inaccurately ruled that Hernandez was able to check his swing. Rockies manager Bud Black, who vehemently contested the check swing call, was ejected from the contest.

As fate would have it, Hernandez blasted a three-run home run to right field on the very next pitch. Rockies outfielder Jake Cave and announcer Drew Goodman were equally furious over what had just transpired.

The Dodgers held on to win 11-9 thanks to a seven-run inning and the blown call from the umpires.

Adley Rutschman suffers bloody nose diving into second base on pickoff attempt

Adley Rutschman was left bloodied after hitting his face on the infield dirt during a pickoff attempt in his Baltimore Orioles’ 4-2 loss to the New York Yankees on Tuesday night in the Bronx, N.Y.

Rutschman had reached base with a single in the top of the first inning against Yankees starter Nestor Cortes. Ryan Mountcastle singled after that to move Rutschman to second base. The Orioles catcher hurt himself though when diving back into second base on a back-pick attempt by Yankees catcher Austin Wells. Rutschman accidentally hit his face on the dirt and came up with a bloody nose.

Rutschman remained in the game despite suffering a bloody nose. He was serving as the designated hitter in the game and went 2-for-4 in his team’s defeat.

Rutschman is batting .292 with an .809 OPS this season.

JJ McCarthy throws brutal first pitch at Twins game

Minnesota Vikings quarterback JJ McCarthy probably isn’t planning to switch sports anytime soon.

On Tuesday, McCarthy threw out the ceremonial first pitch before the Minnesota Twins took on the Kansas City Royals at Target Field in Minneapolis, Minn. It’s safe to say the pitch was not one of McCarthy’s best throws.

The Michigan alum may have been too focused on his velocity that he completely botched the pitch’s location. McCarthy threw the baseball several feet to the left of home plate.

A humiliated McCarthy immediately began skipping off the mound as the ball sailed toward the backstop.

McCarthy isn’t alone when it comes to embarrassing baseball moments. Dallas Cowboys linebacker Micah Parsons and Houston Texans QB CJ Stroud last month threw out a couple of underwhelming first pitches as well.

But at least McCarthy didn’t make a bold claim about crossing over to MLB like Parsons recently did.

The Vikings traded up in the 2024 NFL Draft to select McCarthy with the 10th overall pick. But despite Minnesota’s huge draft investment in McCarthy, the Vikings may not be willing to hand him the keys to their franchise just yet.

Fans at Rickwood Field give standing ovation in honor of late Willie Mays

The late Willie Mays got the ovation he deserved Tuesday from the fans in attendance at Rickwood Field in Birmingham, Ala.

Mays died peacefully on Tuesday at the age of 93, the San Francisco Giants announced via a post on X.

Before beginning his MLB journey, Mays famously started his career with the Birmingham Black Barons of the Negro Leagues.

Rickwood Field, where Mays played his first professional game, was holding a Double-A game when the news of the MLB legend’s death went public. Mays fittingly received a standing ovation as the stadium announcer finished his tribute for the Alabama native.

On Thursday, Mays was supposed to make an appearance at the same field for a tribute game between the Giants and St. Louis Cardinals. The event was organized in honor of Mays and the Negro Leagues.

However, Mays announced on Monday — a day before his death — that he was instead planning to enjoy the game from his San Francisco home.

“I’m not able to get to Birmingham this year but will follow the game back here in the Bay Area,” Mays said, via the Associated Press. “My heart will be with all of you who are honoring the Negro League ballplayers, who should always be remembered, including all my teammates on the Black Barons.

“I wanted to thank Major League Baseball, the Giants, the Cardinals and all the fans who’ll be at Rickwood or watching the game. It’ll be a special day, and I hope the kids will enjoy it and be inspired by it.”

Mays recorded 10 hits and 6 RBIs as a member of the Barons before being called up to the majors.

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