Jalen Rose RIPS hypocritical media & fans: “Everybody’s fake acting like they care about KD’s best interest when they don’t. It’s phony to me.”

Jalen Rose blames media, sports culture for Kevin Durant’s injury in passionate segment

” ‘People will bring you flowers to your funeral but won’t bring you soup when you’re sick’. That’s what I’m seeing for KD right now.”

Jalen Rose blames media, sports culture for Kevin Durant’s injury in passionate segment

Nick Schwartz | USA TODAY SPORTS

ESPN’s Jalen Rose went off on fans and analysts who he claims are pretending to care about Kevin Durant’s best interest after he made a questionable return to the NBA Finals and suffered what looks to be a severe Achilles injury on Monday night.

Before Game 4 on Friday, Rose reported that he did not believe Durant would make a return in the Finals, as he had learned that Durant’s on-court session the day before “did not go well on any level.” Durant was eventually cleared to practice on Sunday, but a video of Durant appearing to walk with a limp on his way to practice quickly went viral, and Durant did not practice very long, according to reports.

Durant was impressive in the first quarter for the Warriors, scoring 11 points and hitting three 3-pointers, but was forced to leave the game in the second quarter.

On Tuesday, Rose said that the toxic culture created by fans and the media – one where many fans had labeled Durant ‘soft’ for sitting out the first four games of the Finals, while countless analysts have been urging him to leave in free agency this summer to prove he can carry a franchise – forced Durant into a position where he had to return before he was ready.

“One, I blame the overall culture of sports. There’s a herd mentality that takes place when you’re a professional athlete… If the Golden State Warriors were up 3-1, KD would not have returned. But since they were down 3-1, he was forced to return based on all of the chatter that we knew was going to take place. ‘He’s soft, he really didn’t want it, he wasn’t committed to the team. Oh, and he was leaving anyway.’ And he knows that. That’s why he decided he wanted to come back.

There’s a group called State Property that I loved growing up. And one of the things, I think it was Oschino and Sparks said: ‘People will bring flowers to your funeral but don’t bring you soup when you’re sick.’ That’s what I’m seeing for KD right now. Everybody fake acting like they caring about KD’s best interest when they don’t! It’s phony to me.”

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DeMarcus Cousins calls Raptors fans ‘trash’ for cheering Kevin Durant’s injury

DeMarcus Cousins rips Kevin Durant’s critics, fans who cheered injury

Marcus White | NBC SPORTS 

DeMarcus Cousins did not hold back Monday night. 

After the Warriors’ season-prolonging win over the Toronto Raptors in Game 6 of the NBA Finals on Monday, the Golden State big man repeated two words to reporters when NBC Sports Bay Area’s Kerith Burke asked about his reaction to questions about Kevin Durant’s heart.

“F— them, f— them,” Cousins said at Scotiabank Arena following the Warriors’ 106-105 win.  

The reigning back-to-back Finals MVP made his 2019 Finals debut Monday, playing just shy of 12 minutes before injuring his Achilles and leaving Game 5.

Durant had not played since straining his calf in Game 5 of the Warriors’ second-round NBA playoff series on May 8, and scored 11 points on 3-of-5 shooting in his only action of the series. Cousins started Game 6 outside of the rotation, but was called into action after Durant’s injury. The six-time All-Star responded with 14 points off the bench, his highest total since the Warriors’ regular-season finale two months ago. 

Durant’s absence reportedly caused “confusion” and “angst” among his teammates, especially as other Golden State players fought through their injuries, but the reaction of Cousins and other Warriors on Monday were much different. Warriors general manager Bob Myers was moved to tears announcing that Durant had injured his Achilles and that the forward would need an MRI on Tuesday.

Fans at Scotiabank Arena initially seemed to cheer Durant’s injury when he went down in the second quarter on Monday, before chanting “K-D” as he was helped off the court. Cousins made it clear he didn’t like the crowd’s initial reaction. 

[RELATED: KD says he’s ‘hurting in the soul’ after Achilles injury]

“Trash,” Cousins told reporters. “So trash. But like I said, we’re idolized as superstar athletes, not human beings. It’s always about what we can do between those lines [on the court]. That’s it. That’s all that ever matters. 

“And then once we lash out and do human-type things, then we’re considered bad guys.”

He and the Warriors will play one more game at Oracle Arena on Thursday in Game 6, trailing the best-of-seven series three-games-to-two and once again facing elimination. 

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NBA FINALS • GAME 5 • WARRIORS vs. RAPTORS • GAMEDAY • June 10th 2019

Warriors hang on to stay alive, win Game 5 of NBA Finals

Associated Press

TORONTO — The Golden State Warriors aren’t letting go of the NBA title just yet.

With Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson shooting and Draymond Green swatting, the champions found a way to win even after a gut-wrenching loss.

Curry scored 31 points, Thompson added 26 and they led a season-saving surge long after Kevin Durant was injured again to give the Warriors a 106-105 victory over the Toronto Raptors on Monday night in Game 5 of the NBA Finals.

Devastated by the loss of Durant, the All-Stars that the Warriors had left made sure there was celebration along with their sadness, pulling out what Green thought had to be the greatest win during their run to five straight NBA Finals.

[RELATED: Kevin Durant reveals he’s ‘hurting in the soul’ after Achilles injury]

“When you’re down six with a couple minutes to go in an elimination for these guys to win a championship, we could have thrown in the towel. We could have folded, but we didn’t,” Green said. “I said it before: I’ve never seen this group fold. And that stands true still.”

Curry and Thompson, nicknamed the Splash Brothers, combined for three straight 3-pointers in the closing minutes after Toronto had taken a six-point lead with under 3 1/2 minutes remaining in front of a raucous, red-shirted crowd.

“Even going down six with three minutes left, their ball, we didn’t panic,” Thompson said. “We just do what we do.”

The Warriors lost Durant barely a quarter after getting him back but got the win, cutting Toronto’s lead to 3-2 and sending the series back to Oracle Arena for Game 6 on Thursday.

Kawhi Leonard scored 26 points for the Raptors but couldn’t get the final shot, which went to Kyle Lowry and was blocked by Green.

The two-time defending champion Warriors were minutes away from their title reign ending, having lost Durant and a 14-point lead during an emotionally exhausting game. They had controlled Leonard for three quarters, but he scored 10 straight Toronto points in the fourth and the Raptors were close to their first championship and a party that would have stretched coast to coast in Canada.

But even after everything the Warriors had lost, they still had two of the best perimeter shooters in the world on the floor. Thompson hit a 3, and Curry followed with one to tie it at 103. Golden State got it back to Thompson and the Raptors lost sight of him just long enough for the tiebreaking shot with 57 seconds to go.

Toronto cut it to one when Kyle Lowry was credited with a basket and the Raptors got a final chance when DeMarcus Cousins was called for an illegal screen. Leonard had the ball but the Warriors forced him to pass and it ended up in the corner to Lowry, but Green sprinted over to get a hand on his shot as the buzzer sounded.

“He got a piece of it, that’s what great defenders do,” Lowry said. “He got a piece of it and we’ll continue to look at it and see how we can be better for the next game.”

Cousins had 14 points for the Warriors and Green finished with 10 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists.

Golden State is the only team to lose a 3-1 lead in the NBA Finals, when Cleveland came back to win in 2016.

Now the Warriors have a chance to pull off the feat themselves, but it became more difficult after Durant limped off in the second quarter after he had missed the previous nine games with a strained right calf.

“We understand the moment and I think we can rally, considering how the second half went tonight,” Curry said.

Durant, the two-time NBA Finals MVP, was attempting to dribble past Serge Ibaka early in the second quarter when he suddenly came to a stop, lost the ball and limped sideways before grabbing at his lower right calf as he fell to the court.

Fans at first cheered but then, spurred in part by some Raptors players, chanted “KD! KD!” as he was helped to the locker room area joined by Curry, Andre Iguodala and general manager Bob Myers.

Durant left the arena on crutches with what a tearful Myers said was an Achilles tendon injury and the Warriors said he would get an MRI on Tuesday.

They were initially OK without him because Cousins — who returned from injury himself in this series — came off the bench to score their next seven points before feeding Green for a layup that gave them a 48-37 lead. It got as high as 13 on Curry’s four-point play, and Golden State led 62-56 at halftime.

But eventually it would come down to Curry and Thompson, who both logged more than 41 minutes and will have to be ready to go again Thursday in what will be the final game in Oracle Arena.

Lowry had 18 points and Marc Gasol scored 17 for the Raptors, who were trying to give Canada its first championship in one of the traditional major sports since the Blue Jays won the World Series in 1993.

Fans had been waiting through on-and-off rain all day — some since Sunday — to watch at one of the outdoor watch parties that have popped up in and around Toronto. The crowd inside the arena that included hockey Hall of Famer Wayne Gretzky and former Raptors star Vince Carter thought it would witness history as Leonard powered past his defenders repeatedly in the fourth quarter.

But the Raptors needed one more basket, and the only way the local fans can see them win in person is if it goes the full seven games and Toronto wins it at home on Sunday.

“We had a chance to win a championship tonight and we didn’t do it,” guard Fred VanVleet said. “We didn’t play well enough, we didn’t execute enough down the stretch and that stings a little bit.”

TIP-INS

Warriors: Golden State also lost Kevon Looney again after he aggravated his injury to upper body cartilage. … Durant finished with 11 points. He came in averaging 31.7 points per game in the NBA Finals, trailing only Rick Barry and Michael Jordan on the career list.

Raptors: Serge Ibaka scored 15 points and VanVleet had 11 off Toronto’s bench.

UP NEXT

Golden State hosts Game 6 on Thursday night.

Kevin Durant reveals he’s ‘hurting in the soul’ after Achilles injury

Brian Witt | NBC SPORTS 

The Warriors were emotional before, during and after their Game 5 victory over the Raptors on Monday night.

The aftermath of Golden State’s win left the Dubs in a mixed state: elated at extending their season another game, but devastated by the cost it exacted.

Following the win, Warriors GM Bob Myers announced that the injury Kevin Durant suffered early in the second quarter was to his Achilles, and not the same calf injury that had kept him out for the last month.

Durant left Scotiabank Arena during the game and will undergo an MRI in the Bay Area on Tuesday, but he’s already made his first comments to the outside world during what is undoubtedly an extremely trying time. [WARNING: NSFW LANGUAGE]

Game 6 on Wednesday will represent the final game ever at Oracle Arena, and clearly, Durant is expecting a raucous atmosphere. Both he and the Warriors would much rather have him taking shots in the game, but for now, tequila will have to do.

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Kevin Durant will play for Warriors in Game 5 of NBA Finals; Doctor explains what to expect

Monte Poole | NBC SPORTS 

TORONTO – Official word from the Warriors early Monday afternoon was that Kevin Durant’s status for Game 5 of the NBA Finals will not be determined until an hour or twobefore tipoff.

That’s just language, according to multiple league sources that insist Durant will be in the starting lineup as the Warriors try to resuscitate their hopes for a third consecutive championship.

Durant has been sidelined for 32 days with a strained right calf. He returned to the practice floor on Sunday for a light afternoon workout, followed by a more strenuous session a few hours later.

Having passed those tests, Durant participated in the team’s shootaround Monday morning and also did well.

“He looked good,” coach Steve Kerr, adding that Durant will be “a game-time decision.”

Durant will continue to receive treatment before game time, but he has experienced no setbacks since the Warriors arrived Saturday afternoon.

“You worry about the conditioning,” Kerr said. “The skill obviously is undeniable. He’s a guy who can get his shot off any time he wants. He’s been in similar situations with us, where he’s had long layoffs. He’s Kevin Durant. So, if we have him out there, he’ll be a threat. I know that.”

The Warriors surely need anything Durant can provide. Their rotations are out of sync and often ineffective. Their scoring is down, and so is their defense.

With Durant’s unavailability, along with several other injuries, they’re not the team that has won back-to-back championships.

His return will bring them much closer to that level.

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(Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

Doctor explains what to expect from Kevin Durant in Game 5 of NBA Finals

Dalton Johnson | NBC SPORTS 

The moment Kevin Durant hopped around and grabbed his lower left leg in Game 5 of the Western Conference semifinals, all of Twitter turned into doctors, proclaiming the Warriors star injured his Achilles tendon. 

Relax, an actual doctor thought the same thing. 

“Based on the video of the injury, I did believe that this was an Achilles tendon injury,” Dr. Selene Parekh, co-founder of the Fantasy Doctors, told NBC Sports Bay Area. 

Parekh, who is a Co-Chief of the Foot and Ankle Division at Duke University, has seen recent videos of Durant walking — not practicing — and offered his take on how he expects Durant to look after sources told NBC Sports Bay Area’s Monte Poole that the Warriors forward will play Monday night in Game 5 of the NBA Finals. Right away, Parekh noted that he believes Durant would still be sidelined if this were the regular season. 

“In his first game back, I think he will not be as effective,” Parekh said. “He will likely decrease his speed, agility, mobility, and time on the court. This will hurt his ability to go up and down the court, driving to the basket and even shooting 3-pointers.” 

Durant will be playing in his first game since May 8. He’s now missed 32 days, and many questioned by why his absence was taking so long. Parekh noted that calf injuries can be tricky and even likened it to hurting your hamstring. 

“The calf is funny,” he said. “It is big and muscular, but like the hamstring, needs time to heal. Otherwise this becomes a nagging injury.” 

Warriors coach Steve Kerr will insert Durant back into the starting lineup, and he isn’t expected to put a minutes restriction on the two-time Finals MVP. With that being said, Durant will surely be monitored closely. Parekh says a complete tear of the calf is rare, though the longer Durant plays, the more of a question mark his calf will be. 

“Given the importance of this game, look for KD to push through the pain. As fatigue and dehydration set in, especially in the third and fourth quarters, he can reinjure the calf, have a more severe strain, and if his mechanics are way off … be at risk for a tear.” 

Durant initially injured his calf after draining a shot. The Warriors will need plenty of that as their hampered offense has suffered lately with his loss, but cutting — not jumping — is what will be most difficult for Durant. 

[RELATED: Why it’s unfair to question Durant’s toughness]

“That side to side motion depends on the calf muscle to stabilize the ankle and propel the body in the right direction,” Parekh said. “He will not do this effectively.” 

Kevin Durant is back. What version of the superstar we’ll see, is the question only he can answer in the coming hours. 

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NBA FINALS • GAME 4 • WARRIORS vs. RAPTORS • GAMEDAY • June 7th 2019

SportsLine

Leonard, Raptors move within victory of first championship

Associated Press

OAKLAND, Calif. — Kawhi Leonard‘s hot hand is sending the Raptors home to Toronto on the cusp of a startling upset for Canada.

Leonard outdueled the Splash Brothers for 36 points and 12 rebounds, and the Raptors moved within a victory of the franchise’s first championship by winning a second straight game on Golden State’s home floor, beating the Warriors 105-92 on Friday night for a 3-1 lead in the NBA Finals.

Not that the Raptors are ready to celebrate yet.

“We’ve won three games, it’s the first to four,” Kyle Lowry said. “We understand that they’re the defending champs and they’re not going to go out easy. They’re going to come and fight and prepare to play the next game. That’s how we’re preparing ourselves. We’ve got to prepare ourselves to play the next game. We haven’t done anything yet.”

Klay Thompson made a strong return after missing Game 3 with a strained left hamstring and scored 28 points with six 3-pointers in what might have been the final game after 47 seasons at Oracle Arena before the team’s move to new Chase Center in San Francisco next season. Stephen Curry added 27 points but shot just 9 for 22 and 2 of 9 from 3-point range on the heels of his postseason career-best 47-point outing in a 123-109 Game 3 defeat.

Serge Ibaka scored 20 points on 9-of-12 shooting in 22 minutes off the bench for the composed and confident Raptors, who for a second straight game found an answer to every Warriors threat at raucous Oracle — where home fans were stunned and silenced when the final buzzer sounded.

A huge section of Toronto fans then broke into singing “O Canada!”

“It’s awesome,” Raptors coach Nick Nurse said. “Our fans travel really well in the regular season. We get this a lot on the road. It’s really amazing. It’s Canada’s team, and Canadians from all over the country are traveling down and making plans when we play in Florida or California or Detroit especially.”

The two-time defending champions’ quest for a three-peat is suddenly in serious jeopardy.

Toronto will take its first try at the title in Game 5 on Monday night back at Scotiabank Arena. Golden State, still hopeful of injured star Kevin Durant‘s return, will try to force one more at Oracle next Thursday.

“It’s not over. It’s not a good feeling right now, obviously,” Curry said. “We’ve been on both sides of it and for us it’s an opportunity to flip this whole series on its head.”

In 2017, Leonard’s postseason with San Antonio got cut short against the Warriors in Game 1 of the Western Conference finals after he re-injured his troublesome left ankle when Zaza Pachulia‘s foot slid under his.

Dominant in his first postseason since, Leonard knocked down two jumpers in the final 42 seconds of the third to put the Raptors up 79-64. Fred VanVleet then dealt another dagger on the first possession of the fourth with a 30-footer.

A bloodied VanVleet then went to the locker room with 9:35 left after being hit in the face by Shaun Livingston‘s left elbow when the Warriors guard went up for a shot and VanVleet was just behind him. Replays showed a tooth in the middle of the key even after play resumed.

These poised Raptors kept level heads again after falling behind by 11 points in the first half. Pascal Siakam scored 19 for Toronto.

Two days earlier, Kyle Lowry was praised for staying calm when shoved on the sideline by Warriors minority owner Mark Stevens, who received a one-year ban by the team and NBA along with a $500,000 fine for the incident.

Now, the Raptors as first-time finalists and in their 24th year of existence can bring Canada its first NBA championship.

The Warriors, the only team to blow a 3-1 lead in the NBA Finals, are confident they can overcome that deficit.

“I’ve been on the wrong side of 3-1 before. Why not make our own history?” Golden State’s Draymond Green said.

Toronto outscored Golden State 37-21 in the decisive third, a complete reverse of the Warriors’ dominance after halftime with an 18-0 run in the Game 2 victory.

Green delivered another impressive all-around performance with 10 points, 12 assists, nine rebounds, two blocks and a steal.

Warriors coach Steve Kerr challenged his team to do a better job defensively and Golden State did so early but couldn’t handle Toronto’s depth.

Kevon Looney, a key backup big man, scored 10 points for the Warriors after it was initially believed he would be out the remainder of the series because of fractured cartilage near his right collarbone. He was hurt in the first half of Game 2.

Looney drew huge applause as he checked into the game at the 6:45 mark of the first.

Danny Green, who hit six 3s in Game 3, began 0 for 6 with five missed 3s before finally connecting from deep midway through the fourth. His 48th 3-pointer in the finals tied him with Kobe Bryant and Derek Fisher for seventh place on the NBA list.

TIP-INS

Raptors: Toronto overcame being outrebounded 29-18 in the first half and a 42-38 deficit overall. … The Raptors were 10 of 32 from deep after making 17 3s in Game 3, but converted 23 of 24 free throws Friday.

Warriors: The Warriors’ streak this year of 19 straight postseason games scoring 100 points ended. It was 25 dating to last season’s run. … Golden State fell to 4-2 this postseason in games following a loss. … Livingston played in his 100th career playoff game with the Warriors, the fifth in team history to reach the mark. … The Warriors held a closed pregame shootaround 2 1/2 hours before game time.

ATTLES’ PRESENCE

Hall of Famer Al Attles, the Warriors’ former general manager, coach and player, attended Game 4 . It was the first game in approximately eight months for the 82-year-old Attles, who has had health issues.

DURANT’S STATUS

Durant missed his ninth straight game since the injury May 8 in Game 5 of the Western Conference semifinals against the Rockets.

Kerr is done providing every detail and step of Durant’s rehab progress.

“We’re hoping he can play Game 5 or 6. And everything in between I’ve decided I’m not sharing because it’s just gone haywire,” Kerr said. “There’s so much going on, and so it doesn’t make sense to continue to talk about it. He’s either going to play or he’s not. So tonight he’s not playing.”

SNOOP DOGG: ‘KD to the Knicks is like LeBron joining the Lakers – why would you do it?’ & ‘AD is on the way’ to L.A.

Snoop Dogg likens Kevin Durant joining the New York Knicks’ seemingly dysfunctional franchise to LeBron James signing with the Los Angeles Lakers.

Snoop Dogg is optimistic that LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers will not strike out in the offseason and starts singing “AD is on the way,” in anticipation of the Lakers signing Anthony Davis.

Paul Pierce Says He Left 2008 NBA Finals in a Wheelchair Not Because Of Injury But Because He Shit In His Shorts

Paul Pierce Clears Up Longstanding Speculation That He Left NBA Finals in a Wheelchair Because He Had to Boo-Boo

Stephen A. Crockett Jr. | THE ROOT

Paul Pierce’s nickname is “The Truth.”

So, don’t expect Pierce to lie about why he left the 2008 NBA Finals in a wheelchair.

Let me set the scene for you: The Boston Celtics were anchored by the Big Three—Ray Allen, Kevin Garnett and The Truth. They were playing against longtime rivals Los Angeles Lakers when Kobe Bryant went up for a jumper and Pierce jumped to defend against the shot and suddenly collapsed to the floor. Pierce writhed in pain and was taken to the locker room in a wheelchair. Celtics fans thought all hope was lost. Minutes later, Pierce emerged, running from the locker room and the rest is either history or bullshit, depending where you stand.

According to the Big Lead, many began comparing Pierce’s in-game heroics to Willis Reed, who returned to play in the 1970 NBA Finals after suffering a thigh injury and torn muscle that had previously kept him out of Game 6 while covering Wilt Chamberlain.

Well, it turns out that Pierce wasn’t really hurt, after all. In fact, the actual story, as with most myths, is less heroics and a bit more messy. It turns out that while Pierce was covering Kobe’s jump shot, he sharted.

I wish I was kidding. Internet sleuths have already found the proof and it’s not for the faint of heart.

While Pierce did go to the locker room writhing in pain, what many assumed was a leg injury was actually just an “accident” and the wheelchair served as cover.

The retired NBA forward who now works as an analyst for ESPN, decided he’d clear up the rumors before Game 3 of the NBA Finals on Wednesday night. 

Jalen Rose, the best big point guard not named Magic Johnson, just cut to the chase and asked Pierce: “Were you streaking?” Pierce laughed and admitted that the wheelchair was because he had to go to the bathroom. So there you have it—yes, it was a shitty situation but The Truth is nothing if not honest, and now all of America knows that Pierce boo-boo’d himself on the largest stage in the NBA.

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Warriors minority owner who pushed Kyle Lowry banned from all NBA games, fined $500K & players demand more [UPDATED]

Drew Shiller | NBC SPORTS 

Raptors guard Kyle Lowry went after a loose ball near the sideline early in the fourth quarter of Game 3 of the NBA Finals. His momentum carried him into the courtside seats at Oracle Arena, and unfortunately this happened.

The fan who put his hands on Lowry is Warriors minority owner Mark Stevens, and the team issued the following statement about the situation Thursday morning:

Mr. Stevens’ behavior last night did not reflect the high standards that we hope to exemplify as an organization. We’re extremely disappointed in his actions and, along with Mr. Stevens, offer our sincere apology to Kyle Lowry and the Toronto Raptors organization for this unfortunate misconduct. There is no place for such interaction between fans — or anyone — and players at an NBA game.

Mr. Stevens will not be in attendance at any of the remaining games of the 2019 NBA Finals. Review of this matter is ongoing.

Multiple outlets reported that the Warriors have also banned Stevens from all team-related activities.

The NBA has banned Stevens from all games as a review of the matter continues.

The NBA Players Association released a statement Thursday afternoon as well.

We are closely monitoring both the Warriors’ and the League’s continued investigation into this matter and anxiously await their conclusions and response. The NBPA has previously expressed its support of a “zero-tolerance” policy with respect to verbal and/or physical assaults perpetrated against Players. Stevens’ status as a member of the ownership group does not alter that view.”

Stevens joined the Warriors’ ownership group in August 2013 and is an executive board member. It’s unclear what this incident means for Stevens’ standing with the team, but Lowry clearly wasn’t happy when asked about it Wednesday night.

“He had no reason to touch me,” Lowry told reporters after Toronto’s 123-109 win. “He had no reason to reach over two seats and then say some vulgar language to me. There’s no place for people like that in our league.

“And hopefully he never comes back to an NBA game.”

Lowry was terrific Wednesday night, recording 23 points, nine assists, one steal and one block.

Game 4 is Friday night at Oracle Arena, with the Raptors leading the best-of-seven series two games to one.

Source

Warriors minority owner Mark Stevens ‘truly sorry’ for Kyle Lowry incident

Ali Thanawalla | NBC SPORTS 

A few hours after the Warriors and the NBA banned Mark Stevens for a year and fined him $500,000 over his shove of Toronto Raptors guard Kyle Lowry, the minority owner issued a statement Thursday.

“I take full responsibility for my actions last night at the NBA Finals and am embarrassed by what transpired,” Stevens said. “What I did was wrong and there is no excuse for it. Mr. Lowry deserves better, and I have reached out today in an attempt to directly apologize to him and other members of the Raptors and Warriors organizations. I’m grateful to those who accepted my calls.

“I hope that Mr. Lowry and others impacted by this lapse in judgement understand that the behavior I demonstrated last night does not reflect the person I am or have been throughout my life. I made a mistake and I’m truly sorry. I need to be better and look forward to making it right.
 
“I fully accept the punishment administered by the NBA and the Warriors.”

Early in the fourth quarter of NBA Finals Game 3 on Wednesday night, Lowry crashed into the first row of seats at Oracle Arena after trying to save a ball that was headed out of bounds. With Lowry on a seat, Stevens shoved the player and, according to the Raptors guard, directed a vulgar statement at him.

[RELATED: Kerr to apologize to Lowry, Raptors]

The league and the Warriors conducted an investigation and handed down the punishment shortly after 2 p.m. PT.

Lowry addressed the issue during his NBA Finals media availability Thursday, and said he has no desire to speak to Stevens.

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Kyle Lowry wants Mark Stevens out of NBA, not apology from Warriors owner

Scott Bair | NBC SPORTS 

OAKLAND – Kyle Lowry found top form in in Toronto’s vital Game 3 victory over the Warriors on Wednesday night, leaving the Raptors just two wins away from their first NBA championship.

Lowry scored 23 efficient points, locked in from inside and outside the arc in a 123-109 win over the Warriors at Oracle Arena.

Lowry wasn’t able to bask in a job well done. Thursday afternoon was spent dealing with what was done to him trying to save a possession on a ball headed out of bounds. That’s when a man later identified as Warriors minority owner Mark Stevens went out of his way to shove Lowry and shower him with obscenities.

Lowry answered two basketball questions on the eve of Friday’s pivotal Game 4. The rest of what should’ve been a moment in the sun was spent on Stevens.

That, in his view, is unfortunate.

“It sucks, because we just want to play basketball,” Lowry said before Thursday’s Raptors practice at Oracle Arena. “We just want to win a championship. … The game takes a backseat because of this.”

The Warriors announced after Lowry’s press conference that Stevens will be banned for a year and fined $500,000 for his actions Wednesday night.

Lowry doesn’t think that’s far enough. He wanted more, even before the punishment was levied. 

“A guy like that shouldn’t be a part of our league,” Lowry said. “That’s my personal opinion. That’s how I feel. We’ve had situations like this before and the NBA has done the right thing in protecting their players and the image of the league.”

Lowry couldn’t help but imagine if he had retaliated after getting shoved while in a vulnerable position, when being told to go f— himself. Lowry didn’t put hands on Stevens. He told officials about the incident, went back to his team and tried to calm down.

Admittedly, he was pissed. Lowry says teammate Marc Gasol helped and others got him re-focused on beating the Warriors.

“It definitely kind of brought me back quicker,” Lowry said. “I knew it would be a big deal, but I didn’t know it would be as big of a deal as him being a part of the group that writes the checks.”

Lowry has received praise for how he handled the situation and its aftermath, both in private texts from his peers and public statements of support from across the league, including from LeBron James, and he’s proud to have showed restraint in a spot where others have lashed back at fans sitting courtside.

King James took to IG to break down the double standard

“Yeah, it could’ve gone the other way,” Lowry said. “It definitely could’ve gone bad, but I’m bigger than him as a person. My kids are more important to me than he is to me. I have to make sure that I always think of my kids first. That’s what it’s all about.”

Lowry doesn’t want a personal apology from Stevens. Not at this stage, when it would likely emerge from severe backlash these past 24 hours and be taken as hollow.

“I don’t know him. I don’t care to know him,” Lowry said. “He showed his true colors at the time. And you show what you’re really about in that time and at that moment.

“…In the heat of the moment, when the pressure and the tightness is on you, you show who you really are.”

[RELATED: Full Kyle Lowry presser transcript]

Lowry said he wouldn’t address the situation again, preferring to shift focus back to basketball during a series loaded with on-court storylines. He was disappointed that anything distracted from that.

“It sucks that this has to take the front page of the Finals,” Lowry said. “It has been a fun Finals. It has been a competitive Finals. It really sucks that this had to be a part of it.”

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Why Warriors minority owner Mark Stevens wasn’t given lifetime NBA ban

Ali Thanawalla | NBC SPORTS 

Toronto Raptors point guard Kyle Lowry believes there’s no place in the NBA for Warriors minority owner Mark Stevens.

The league and the Warriors saw things differently, though, and handed down a one-year ban and a $500,000 fine to Stevens for pushing Lowry during Game 3 of the NBA Finals on Wednesday night.

So, why wasn’t Stevens given a lifetime ban by the league?

“I think we recognized that it’s not a science in terms of making these decisions,” NBA commissioner Adam Silver said Thursday afternoon. “I think ultimately we felt that given how contrite Mr. Stevens was, the fact that he was extremely apologetic, the fact that he had no blemishes on his prior involvement with the NBA or the Warriors, that a one-year ban seemed appropriate together with the fine.”

A few hours after the NBA announced the punishment, Stevens released a statementthrough the Warriors, saying he was “embarrassed” by his actions directed at Lowry.

Lowry spent most of his press conference Thursday discussing the matter, and said he has no desire to talk to Stevens.

We imagine Lowry’s not thrilled with Silver’s reasoning for the punishment, either.

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Warriors’ DeMarcus Cousins: ‘I was just ready to quit’: Center wanted to ‘throw in the towel’ after suffering his quad injury

CHUCK BARNEY | THE MERCURY NEWS

With all the postseason injuries suffered by the Warriors, DeMarcus Cousins has gone from being a luxury to a necessity for the team. But he apparently was close to giving up any hope of making it back for the NBA Finals.

“I was just ready to quit — like throw the towel in,” he told Rachel Nichols during an interview Wednesday on ESPN’s “The Jump.”

When Cousins sustained a torn left quadriceps (thigh muscle) in the first quarter of Game 2 of the Warriors’ first-round series against the Clippers, Golden State initially thought the big man was done for the year. But over the next 45 days, a determined Cousins worked extremely hard to make it back. And he played a huge role in the Warriors’ Game 2 victory over the Toronto Raptors.

The comeback, however, almost didn’t happen as Cousins, who had already been through an arduous rehab process after tearing his left Achilles, experienced a dismal period of self-pity.

“It’s human nature,” he told Nichols. “The first thing is: ‘Why? Why me? Why now? What did I do wrong? Why do I deserve this?’”

And even though Cousins eventually got over it, he wasn’t sure that all the difficult rehab work would even be enough to get him back on the court in time.

“It’s tedious work. You come in and you just do the same thing over and over again,” he said. “And there’s days where you’re just like, ‘This (bleep) is not even working.’ But you gotta trust in this person putting you through these exercises.”

Cousins went on to explain that “the physical part wasn’t the hard part. It’s everything mental that comes with it.”

“I had to dig deep,” he said. “I had to do some soul-searching.”

After playing just eight minutes off the bench in Game 1 of the NBA Finals, Cousins started Game 2 and had 11 points, 10 rebounds, six assists and two blocks. And because of injuries to teammates, he played more minutes — 28 — than expected.

Nichols asked Cousins if he thinks his body will be able to hold up over the series, especially if the depleted Warriors need to lean on him even more.

“The body can take you wherever your mind goes,” he said. “If I can do it in my mind, I think my body will follow.”

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