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Good morning, Gregg Popovich ruined another Thursday

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That and more in the final NBA newsletter of the week.

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Good morning. Let's basketball.

BLAZE ON: So Portland's bench sure got the job done against a more touted reserve unit from Dallas as the Blazers won 108-87.

THIS IS A DUNK THAT HAS HAPPENED: James Harden up in Aron Baynes' personal area. The Rockets smoked the Spurs ...

WE INTERRUPT THIS NEWSLETTER FOR A CONTROVERSY ALERT ... the Spurs, who rested Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili. For a national TV game against an undefeated in-state rival. The Spurs are the only franchise who would do that. They are also currently the league's most successful franchise over the past 15 years. Other teams can stop this practice by beating them for the No. 1. The league can stop this practice by leaving the Spurs off national TV, especially when they are on back-to-backs. The Spurs can stop this by putting a little more weight on not pissing off half the pro basketball and media establishment. But no one will do anything, and we'll bicker about this in the spring when Pop Pops again, and we'll complain about it again next year, and some other team will pirate the practice and we'll all go to bed angry, which is never a good idea.

WELP: Apparently LeBron and Kyrie had themselves some words after a loss this week. DION WAS RIGHT ALL ALONG.

KERRIFIC: Great Sam Amick piece on Steve Kerr's start. The Andrew Bogut quotes are real interesting in the context of the coach Kerr replaced.

OH NO: I love you adidas, but these gray Celtic sleeved things -- how are you getting away with claiming this has historical significance?

OH HO HO! The Nuggets poke fun at the Cavaliers on Twitter.

CHARLES BARKLEY IS GOING TO DIE. THANKS KOBE. Chuck said he won't eat until the Lakers win. He might have about three weeks. He might miss Thanksgiving!

HIGH MARCS: Marc Gasol is playing like an MVP for the unbeaten Grizzlies.

HEY YOU: Don't panic about the Cavaliers.

CUBAN IN ROLLING STONE: This Mark Cuban interview in Rolling Stone is really good. Among the interesting notes: the Mavericks previously had a functioning alcoholic on the team, Dallas has a rule that no more than one knucklehead can be on the roster at any time and this beautifully honest response to close it:

What would surprise people about being a billionaire?

Nothing. It's f--king amazing and off the charts.

We'll have to take your word for it, Cubes.

HOPE IT GOES HORRIBLY: The Lakers may pursue Rajon Rondo in free agency.

MYSTERIES OF THE WORLD: So just how did the Pacers end up getting Roy Hibbert a potential game-winning three-point attempt? What drugs were involved?

A NASTY LITTLE CINDERELLA: Paul Flannery on how fun the Celtics have been to watch so far.

THE LAKERS HELLSCAPE: Good piece by Alex Goot summing up all of the problems with the Lakers.

OH BOY: People are mad that Steve Nash is on Instagram swinging at golf balls and hiking, just like they were mad when Andrew Bynum was giving a Playboy bunny a piggyback ride. Folks must really think that basketball is not at all physically demanding if they equate those activities to it.

AN ORAL HISTORY OF 'SPORTS NIGHT': This was never really my bag, but it's very popular among sports fans my age, so enjoy!

Happy Friday. Friday! See you next time.

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