The first round of the NBA postseason usually isn’t the most exciting. Every now and then you get a crazy series, but the opening round is also when you see a lot of sweeps and lopsided games. While the 2017 playoffs have gotten off to a fairly entertaining start on the court—thanks largely to the ineptitude of the Eastern Conference—most of the league’s heat has been saved for postgame press conferences.
Seriously, what has gotten into these guys? Here’s a quick rundown of some of the most blunt moments only a couple games into the playoffs.
Paul George Hates Everyone
Pacers star Paul George has been fed up for months. Throughout the regular season he gave quotes lamenting his team’s energy, effort and focus, while also complaining about the way management handled his trade rumors. George has saved some spicy meatballs for the postseason, too. After Indy’s Game 1 loss to the Cavs, when George was double-teamed and missed a wide-open Lance Stephenson under the hoop, he criticized C.J. Miles for taking a potential game-winner. After a Game 2 loss, George went after Stephenson, criticizing Lance for not keeping his emotions in check while on the court.
I understand why George is frustrated. He’s playing incredible basketball but his team keeps falling just short. But come on, how soon until PG-13 has gone after everyone on his team? “Myles Turner’s hair is a distraction.” “Thad Young doesn’t look like a Thad.” “St. Elmo’s would have better steaks if they used the reverse-sear method of cooking.” No wonder his teammates don’t want to pass him the ball for the last shot.
Doc Rivers Thinks You’re Dumb
The Clippers are not only dealing with a tough Jazz team in Round 1, but they also must deal with the specter of a massive overhaul this summer. So you could perhaps sympathize with Doc Rivers after a Game 1 loss to Utah, when he went off on a reporter who asked a rambling question about L.A.’s final possession. Someone tried to ask Doc if he considered running down the clock while down two points so that the Clippers could have had the last shot of the game. A disheveled Rivers, tie askew and voice hoarse, was having NONE of it.
“Why would you ever do that?” an incredulous Rivers asked back to the reporter. “If you miss the game is over. That makes no sense. That is, like, the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard. When you’re down two, you try to score.”
The last line is my favorite part here. That’s when Doc really insults the intelligence of the reporter trying to have a civil back and forth. Why aren’t the Clippers selling, “When you’re down two, you try to score” T-shirts yet?
David Fizdale vs. The World
Speaking of t-shirts, the king of the first-round press conference blowup is Grizzlies coach David Fizdale. Fizz, as he’s lovingly known around the league, is refusing to get rooked by NBA refs. The rant, which cost Fizdale a cool $30K and birthed the phrase “TAKE THAT FOR DATA,” is best enjoyed in video form.
Here’s my issue with Fizdale’s rant: He cites numbers that don’t add up for a reason. He keeps mentioning how the Spurs had fewer shots in the paint but more free throws than Memphis. [Slides glasses up nose] Well David, the Spurs would have had more field goal attempts in the paint if your team didn’t foul so much. Trips to the free-throw line that aren’t and-ones don’t get recorded as field-goal attempts. That would help explain the disparity Fizdale is ranting about.
I love the Grizzlies, and Fizdale is awesome. He should complain about the refs as much as he wants, but Memphis was in trouble in this series as soon as Tony Allen got hurt and Chandler Parsons misplaced his knee.
Those are just a few examples of great press conference moments from the first week of the playoffs. We haven’t even had someone accuse LeBron of being in his feelings yet. When the stakes get higher, we can only hope coaches and players keep bringing the takes.