Dallas Mavericks head coach Rick Carlisle’s disdain for reporters is well-documented. In January, he took issue with reporters publishing LaVar Ball’s quotes and suggested banning those who did, thereby causing those same reporters to report Carlisle’s complaints and bringing even more attention to the Ball family patriarch’s opinion. Carlisle continued fanning those flames on Friday by offering a subversive response to Orange County Register Lakers beat writer Bill Oram. Oram asked Carlisle for his thoughts on Pat Forde and Pete Thamel’s Yahoo report indicating that Mavericks point guard Dennis Smith Jr. accepted an illicit $43,000 payment from an agent while he was still an amateur. Carlisle could have offered up a simple “no comment” or brushed aside Smith’s college woes as no concern of his. After all, Smith doesn’t appear to be in any legal jeopardy and the status of his collegiate eligibility is moot. Instead, Carlisle uttered a dizzy array of disparate thoughts that vaguely represented cogent sentences. Carlisle could have easily stopped at, “I don’t claim to be an expert on the college game,” but he continued rambling off-topic, dipping into non sequitur and began telling tales regarding his 33-year journey to becoming an NBA head coach. At the conclusion of his thought, Carlisle admits to feigning ignorance. The lesson to reporters is simple here.
Don’t ask Carlisle questions that he doesn’t want to answer because he will make you transcribe garbage.
Some mindless talking heads think that Kevin Durant should “shut up and dribble.” Or, more generally, that he should “stick to sports”. Over the coming years, dozens, and perhaps hundreds of kids in Durant’s hometown are going to be incredibly grateful that the Golden State Warriors star doesn’t stick to sports. Durant has committed $10 million to College Track, a program whose mission is to “empower students from underserved communities to graduate from college.” He has partnered with public schools in Prince George’s County, Maryland, where he grew up, to get his initiative up and running. Durant’s $10 million will go toward facilities and operating expenses. It’ll help build the first east coast branch, or chapter, of College Track in the neighborhood where he grew up. Durant’s millions will, essentially, help the kid that he was 20 years ago – but the ones who don’t have a road to college and subsequent professional opportunities through basketball. Durant spoke of his childhood: “We didn’t have the resources to get our minds thinking about the next level. I want to do my part, whatever it is. If College Track students want to be the next Steve Jobs or the next influencer or the next tastemakers, they can get there. The majority of my friends, we didn’t have households. When your mom’s at work and you don’t have a dad, you’re leaving school, and you need to know what you want at that age. You need somebody to guide you in the right direction. Your mind wanders and you want things, but we don’t know how to achieve them”. Durant wants to provide that guidance to kids from his hometown. He added: “Coming back to the neighborhood and showing them the experiences you went through, coming back and showing them what you’ve seen. You start the upward cycle.”
Minnesota Timberwolves All-Star Jimmy Butler’s X-rays on his right knee were negative Friday night, and he will undergo an MRI on Saturday morning in Minnesota. There was some hope around Butler about the status of his knee, but he and the Timberwolves understand the significance of his looming MRI to determine the extent of the injury. Butler suffered the injury early in the third quarter of Minnesota’s road loss to the Houston Rockets on Friday night. Butler, a four-time All-Star, has led the Timberwolves to a resurgent season, averaging 22.4 points, 5.5 rebounds and five assists in 55 games. The Timberwolves currently hold the fourth seed in the Western Conference at 36-26. As a two-way player and stalwart for coach Tom Thibodeau, Butler is also is averaging a league-high 37.3 minutes per game.
Nikola Jokic had 28 points, 11 rebounds, and 11 assists before fouling out, Wilson Chandler had 18 points and a season-high 16 rebounds, and the Denver Nuggets beat the San Antonio Spurs 122-119 on Friday night. Jokic has a triple-double in three straight games and six this season, but didn’t stick around for the finish. He was called for five fouls in the fourth quarter and fouled out on a charge with 1:46 left. Gary Harris scored 23 points to help Denver win its fourth straight and seventh in its last eight. LaMarcus Aldridge had 36 points and Patty Mills scored 20 for San Antonio. The Spurs lost for the sixth time in seven games despite the return of Aldridge, who missed the last two games before the All-Star break to rest his sore right knee. He looked strong Friday, hitting 13 of 23 shots and 12 of 14 free throws. The Spurs rallied from down nine in the fourth to take a two-point lead late in the game. They were 14 of 17 from the line in the fourth quarter but couldn’t hold on. With the game tied at 114, Harris made a layup to put Denver up for good. Mills made a free throw and Harris scored on a step-back jumper and then a dunk with 45 seconds left to make it 120-115. After Aldridge hit a jumper to cut it to three with 33 seconds left, Mason Plumlee‘s dunk with 10 seconds to play sealed it.