DONUT 1: THUNDER ROLLS
Did I think the Spurs were going to go away this meekly? Far from it, as I picked The San Antonio Machine over the rather erratic Thunder.
But OKC got the job done in six games, did so with a 113-99 win last night, rode Kevin Durant racking up 37 points and Russell Westbrook recording 28 and 12 assists, and now march to the Western Conference Finals.
Thunder-vs.-Warriors launches on Monday in Oakland and it will be must-watch — and not just because the Warriors are must-watch.
DONUT 2: THE END?
Oh, and OKC might’ve ended the brilliant career of Tim Duncan, too.
It was a sight to see, Duncan huddling for a private conversation on the bench with Gregg Popovic before playing the entire fourth quarter and totaling 19 points (with the Spurs at plus-12 in his 34 minutes and minus-26 in the 14 minutes he sat.)
Duncan isn’t talking and Pop isn’t talking but there certainly was a “The End’’ vibe about it all.
Said KD of TD: "It's a joy to play against Tim Duncan, someone so classy, so great at this game of basketball and playing for so long. If it is his last game, it was an honor. But we'll see in the next couple of weeks what he decides – or maybe when the season starts."
Was it “sad’’? Not if you sports-hate the Spurs as we all do.
DONUT 3: DIRK UPDATES
Duncan’s contemporary and peer Dirk Nowitzki isn’t going anywhere — retirement or otherwise — but is very much in the news for a variety of reasons. Come get your Mavs Dirk-Centric Donuts here for all the latest.
DONUT 3: TOP-RANKED DWIGHT?
Somebody is suggesting that Dallas’ top-rated free agent is Dwight Howard, and there is some flawed thinking there.
No, not by Dallas. By the “somebody.’'
The top-ranked free agent is Kevin Durant, and every team owes it to itself to at least explore that pipe dream (as we do here on behalf of the Mavs).
But the top-ranked realistic free agent for Dallas? Ah, that is a different story — and we have the story on how the Mavs should be trying to transition from Zaza to Dwight at center … with all the positives and the negatives that come with that. Click here for the good stuff.
DONUT 4: STABILITY CHALLENGE
Scott Skiles announced his resignation this week and I assume this is a surprise to most everyone in Orlando. Is it because he doesn’t like a certain player, or this particular collection of Magic guys?
This is a setback for the Magic; consider this:
Therefore it’s also a reminder of how valuable Rick Carlisle is to the Mavs. Stability and skill is an enviable combo. Unless they sign Dwight and then Carlisle eventually quits because he “doesn’t like a certain player.’’
I’m kidding. I think.
DONUT 5: JUST SAY NO TO SLEEVES
The Utah Jazz are/is rolling out new uniforms but the only reason for that edition on the far right is because sometimes it gets chilly in Salt Lake City.
Otherwise, no sir.
DONUT 6: SHAQ AND KOBE, TOGETHER!
Kobe's offering to mentor Shareef O'Neal — who happens to be the prep-star son of Bryant's old friend/rival Shaquille O'Neal. The kid (on his way to being a 6-8 junior in high school) told TMZ that the Black Mamba's made an offer to workout with him.
As you can see, there is plenty to work with.
DONUT 7: OTHERWORLDLY
Steph Curry scored 17 points in overtime in an NBA playoff game, and we write about it here. It’s time for the old-timers to embrace this and the ones who do not are on the verge of extinction in terms of relevance.
Evolution or extinction. Steph is in charge of the former. The “He-Couldn’t-Have-Done-This-In-My-Day’’ Crowd is bordering on the latter.
DONUT 8: AUPING’S BIG HITS
DB.com's Jonny Auping does good work here at VICE in writing about Aldridge needing to become bigger for the Spurs going forward ... and here, on the idea that Deng may be a better free agent than DeRozan.
DONUT 9: DISRESPECTFUL DWYANE
Dwyane Wade swears that he’s not a “disrespectful’’ person and his defenders swear there is no NBA rule that requires him to show respect during the pregame playing of National Anthems.
Wrong. And Wrong.
Said Wade by way of explanation:"I'm not thinking about nothing like that. I'm thinking about what I need to do before every game that I prepare for and have been doing my whole career. I understand whatever's said from that standpoint, but I'm not a disrespectful person. If anybody thinks I'm being disrespectful to their country, then they have no idea who Dwyane Wade is. No disrespect from myself ... because that's not this guy right here. Find somebody else with that."
Actually, any Mavs fan who "knows’’ Wade knows that his mock-cough during a conversation about Dirk Nowitzki during the 2011 NBA Finals was the height of “disrespect’’ — so much so that Nowitzki (who dislikes almost nobody) still carries a grudge.
And the NBA rules? Yeah, it’s right here. So clear. The NBA has lots of “gray area’’ in its rules, lots of judgement calls. But not this.
Wade is clearly disrespectful. By actions and by rule.
DONUT 10: McLOVIN
My initial reactions to Knicks beat writer Frank Isola's "Twitter Beef'' with actor Christopher Mintz-Plasse ("McLovin'' from the movie "Superbad'') are:
a) The actor has blind devotion and thin skin.
b) The journalist seems willing to dip a bit beneath a standard where maybe a beat writer should dip.
But then I thought about it, looked at my own Twitter feed at @FishSports and realized ...
c) I do both a) and b) all the time.
So carry on, fellas. I'm McLovin' it!
DONUT 11: IT'S A FREE COUNTRY
Spurs general manager R.C. Buford is the NBA's Executive of the Year. He edged Portland’s Neil Olshey for the award, voted on by the other general managers.
Among those also receiving votes: Sam Hinkie, who got one second-place vote and two third-place votes from his peers despite overseeing the second-worst NBA team of all time before turning in his resignation.
DONUT 12: THE FINAL WORD
"This is not our championship." - Durant on beating the Spurs.