Ehe return of the fans to the stands and a gradual return to normalcy should have been good news for the NBA and for the world of sports in general. However, in recent days we have been able to verify that Old habits also have a place in this new post-pandemic life that we have had to live and many of those fans who have returned to populate the stands of Madison or Garden, still think that the money they pay for a ticket entitles them to absolutely everything. And no.
First it was the Westbrook popcorn, hours later a Knicks fan spit on Trae Young (everything is very hygienic these days) and today in the mythical Boston venue a Celtics fan left the Garden handcuffed after throwing a plastic bottle at Kyrie Irving as he headed to the locker room after leading the Nets to victory. An image that has gone around the world and that has ended with the fan handcuffed and expelled for life from the pavilion.
Measures that, however, they do not seem enough to ward off this type of behavior (or the racist insults that are still heard in some venues) outside the world of sports. The NBA, so firm and so avant-garde in some of its decisions, you have to do something to prevent what today are shameful images from turning into a disgrace still greater.
With agents as powerful as LeBron, Doncic or Irving himself doing the marketing work, images like those seen in the TD Garden spoil a product that reaches everyone. In both the good and the bad.
The Celtics tried everything in their power to try the impossible: stop Kevin Durant when inspired. The forward of the Nets once again demonstrated that he only has one objective between the eyebrows and that is the ring and for that he is willing to roll over anyone like he did with the Celtics with 42 points after scoring three of three from the triple and all 11 free throws of which he had.
Julius Randle he’s not having the best series possible against the Atlanta Hawks. The Most Improved Player of the regular season is hitting the Georgia team wall again and again and although in Game 4 gave his best face in this series (23 points) is still not the leader which has brought the Knicks back to the playoffs eight years later. ‘Julito’ has to react now if he wants his feat not to remain in bloom for one day.
When the ball burned the most and when a defeat could have thrown away not just a season but a project, Kawhi Leonard assumed command of the Clippers to get the chestnuts out of the fire with a great game. The forward signed an almost perfect match and went to the 29 points (11 of 15 in field goals), 10 rebounds, three assists, two steals and two blocks to tie the series against the Mavericks when things looked worst for the Angelenos.
Many times it is crossed out Tyronn Read as a coach who barely has a tactical impact on matches. Against the Mavericks he has shown that also can have strokes of genius with the blackboard and as it happened in the third game of the series, he was right to put on the court a quintet without ‘pivots’ and with Batum as the dominant man in the zone. A move that once again threw Rick Carlisle out of position.
Kristaps Porzingis’s performance in Game 4 of the series against the Clippers improved somewhat. However, the Latvian once again showed that the physical demands of the playoffs are great for him, agreeing with his critics. The Mavericks player scored 18 points, but was not able to impose his 221 centimeters against smaller players that limited him to only four rebounds.
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