August 8, 2016, 7:07 am
As time passes, we find ourselves learning more and more about Kevin Durant’s decision to leave Oklahoma City for the Golden State Warriors. He was consistent throughout free agency in saying that it was a ‘basketball decision,’ but can anything ever be so simple?
ESPN’s Royce Young, in talking about Russell Westbrook’s commitment to the Thunder and the shiny new contract that goes with it, makes brief mention of how the OKC-Durant personality match wasn’t as perfect as it seemed on the surface.
“Durant always appeared to be the perfect fit with Oklahoma City, with his humble nature and down-home demeanor. But he also was drawn to a bigger city, not necessarily for the brighter lights, but for the ability to blend. In Oklahoma City, Durant carried a larger-than-life burden everywhere he went. He’d privately lamented to friends an inability to be in public.”
That’s interesting, and a point that hadn’t been made nearly enough before. Celebrity status, whether you want it or not, is one of the burdens of playing in a smaller city where you’re the only game in town. In the Bay Area, the Warriors are certainly the most popular attraction but if you don’t care for basketball there are other sources of civic pride; the 49ers and Raiders, the Giants and the Sharks all exist, with the latter two proving very successful in the recent past. There’s also the fact that the area is awash with cash thanks to the tech boom and as a result is no stranger to celebrities.
It’s tough to imagine him sticking out in a sea of the rich and famous; at least not nearly to the extent he did in Oklahoma City.
On the other hand, it’s hard to envision Durant being less of a celebrity now than he was in Oklahoma City. He’s the biggest villain in the game for at least this year and likely more. Even if Steph Curry’s star shines brighter at the end of the day, Durant will be under a massive microscope. It’s one of the devil’s advocate arguments that starts to look flimsy given the circumstances of Durant’s decision.
If he wanted to shy away from the spotlight the right move was probably to stay put. Now he’s made himself the center of attention by taking a bulldozer to the NBA landscape. The guy who does that usually doesn’t ‘blend.’
April 20, 2019, 6:26 pmBlake Griffin - F - Detroit Pistons
Blake Griffin (left knee soreness) is feeling "much, much better" according to coach Dwane Casey and is will go through warmups to determine his status for Saturday's game.
Detroit has not been able to make the first two games of this series competitive and it would make sense for them to let him give it a go for the home crowd. Either way, the Bucks look to be in total control of this series.
Source: Keith Langlois on Twitter
April 20, 2019, 6:22 pmSpencer Dinwiddie - G - Brooklyn Nets
Spencer Dinwiddie scored 18 points with four boards and one steal in Saturday's 112-108 loss to the Sixers.
Dinwiddie continues to play well off the bench along with his fellow guards Caris LeVert and D'Angelo Russell. The Nets let this one slip away and will now have to win in Philly to keep their season alive.
April 20, 2019, 6:17 pmJarrett Allen - C - Brooklyn Nets
Jarrett Allen scored 21 points with seven rebounds, six assists, two steals and one block in Saturday's Game 4 loss to the Sixers.
Allen had a nice final stat line, but he was getting worked by Joel Embiid all game. He also had a costly turnover at the end of the game when Tobias Harris, Embiid and Ben Simmons trapped in on the block – Harris may have gotten away with a foul.
April 20, 2019, 6:10 pmD'Angelo Russell - G - Brooklyn Nets
D'Angelo Russell scored 21 points with six assists, seven boards, two steals, one block and four 3-pointers in Saturday's loss to the Sixers.
Russell played well in this game outside of his 2-for-10 shooting on two-pointers, and even hit a few clutch shots down the stretch. He continues to give the Sixers fits on offense, but the Nets came up just short in this one.
April 20, 2019, 6:04 pmCaris LeVert - G - Brooklyn Nets
Caris LeVert played 42 minutes in Saturday's Game 4 loss scoring 25 points with five rebounds, six assists, one setal and three 3-pointers.
LeVert was expected to play more in this game after only logging 23.7 minutes per game over the first three. He once again looked healthy and commanded the game at times. After watching today's game you could not have guessed he suffered a gruesome injury earlier this season.
April 20, 2019, 5:53 pmJoel Embiid - F/C - Philadelphia Sixers
Joel Embiid was unstoppable in the Sixers' Game 4 win posting 31 points, 16 rebounds, seven assists, two steals and six blocks on Saturday.
Jarrett Allen had absolutely no chance against a one-legged Embiid. He's clearly the best player on the floor in this series and the Nets will have to get creative in defending him, or hope for an injury, if they want any chance at coming down from a 3-1 deficit.
April 20, 2019, 5:49 pmTobias Harris - F - Philadelphia Sixers
Tobias Harris tallied 24 points, eight boards, six dimes, one block and one steal in 43 minutes of work in Saturday's win against the Nets in Game 4.
Harris seemed fairly quiet in this one but he still managed to come away with a great line, as he does sometimes. We'll see if he's tired for Game 5, but they will get an extra day of rest for travel.
April 20, 2019, 5:41 pmMike Scott - F - Philadelphia Sixers
Mike Scott logged 27 minutes and hit a go-ahead three with 19.7 seconds left in the game and the Sixers held the lead to take a 3-1 series lead.
Scott also grabbed eight boards in this one and played a lot down the stretch with Jimmy Butler out due to ejection. The Sixers could not get past the four or six point mark for most of the game but finally closed the gap and took the lead towards the end. This game was surely the most exciting of the playoffs so far.
April 20, 2019, 5:00 pmJimmy Butler - G/F - Philadelphia Sixers
Jimmy Butler was ejected in Game 4 in the third quarter for escalating a fight started by Jared Dudley, who was also ejected.
Butler was protecting Joel Embiid after Dudley shoved Embiid following a foul on Jarrett Allen. Butler was 4-for-6 from the field with 11 points, four boards, four assists and two steals and the Sixers will certainly miss him as they try to come back against the Nets in this one.
April 20, 2019, 4:55 pmTorrey Craig - F - Denver Nuggets
Torrey Craig will start Saturday's Game 4 over Will Barton.
This was somewhat expected as Barton has disappeared so far in the playoffs. Craig will give the Nuggets a lot of defense in the starting lineup and will hopefully let Barton do his thing off the bench.
Source: Harrison Wind on Twitter