NBA

NBA playoffs 2021: Gobert 'thrown off' by Mitchell absence in Grizzlies loss

By Sports Desk May 24, 2021

Rudy Gobert admits he was 'thrown off' by the Utah Jazz's decision not to play Donovan Mitchell in Sunday's 112-109 loss to the Memphis Grizzlies in Game 1 of their NBA playoffs first round series.

Following Utah's morning shootaround on Sunday, Mitchell had declared himself ready to return from an ankle injury which had kept him out since April 17.

However, the Jazz confirmed in their official injury report pre-game that he would miss out again with a "right ankle sprain", much to the surprise of Gobert and team-mate Bojan Bogdanovic.

!It was a big surprise," Gobert said post-game. "I try to stay out of all this because it's just going to give me a headache.

"When you wake up, you get ready for a game and you find out that your star player is not going to play, it throws you off a little bit."

Bogdanovic, who top-scored with 29 points for the Jazz including a series of last quarter three-pointers, added: "Of course we miss him, especially in the playoffs. We all know how good he is.

"I mean, I don't know what happened, honestly, with the decision for him and the medical staff to keep him out. You should ask him."

Jazz coach Quin Snyder admitted pre-game that Mitchell did not agree with the medical staff's decision.

"It's reflective of what a competitor he is and how bad he wants to be out there and is looking forward to being out there," Snyder said.

Speaking about the defeat, Snyder added: "I thought we competed, I didn't think we executed on the level that we need to in this moment in the playoffs. I think our guys know that. We know the things we need to do better."

Dillon Brooks had a game-high 31 points for the Grizzlies, while Ja Morant added 26 in the pair's playoffs debuts.

"For us to be able to come out and get a win on the road in the first game in that environment is big time for us," Morant said. "We can't wait to go back to Memphis to return the favour with our fans."

Related items

  • Brooklyn Nets owner Joe Tsai appears to side with his front office after Kevin Durant ultimatum Brooklyn Nets owner Joe Tsai appears to side with his front office after Kevin Durant ultimatum

    Just hours after reports came out detailing how Kevin Durant gave the Brooklyn Nets an ultimatum about his future with the franchise, team owner Joe Tsai has sensationally thrown his support behind general manager Sean Marks and head coach Steve Nash.

    In a report from The Athletic's Shams Charania, it states Durant had a meeting with Tsai on Monday where he reiterated his trade request, as well as the bombshell that he will refuse to remain with the team unless Marks and Nash are both fired.

    Durant, 33, is about to enter the first year of his four-year, $198million contract extension with the Nets, meaning there is no way for the two-time NBA Finals MVP to literally force his way out. To leave Brooklyn, the team will need to trade him, and there is no guarantee that is in their plans, despite Durant's requests.

    In a clear statement of where his loyalty lies, Tsai tweeted: "Our front office and coaching staff have my support. We will make decisions in the best interest of the Brooklyn Nets."

    The Athletic's report also revealed the Nets "engaged in conversations with almost every team in the league" after Durant's initial trade request, but no team has been able to meet their asking price, which is said to be one of the biggest in NBA history.

    The Boston Celtics, the Toronto Raptors and the Miami Heat are mentioned as the three teams most likely to aggressively pursue a trade, with 25-year-old Celtics wing Jaylen Brown considered the best player being included in negotiations.

  • Durant demands Marks, Nash axe for Nets stay Durant demands Marks, Nash axe for Nets stay

    Kevin Durant has doubled down on his stance that he won't play for the Brooklyn Nets, at least as the organisation is currently constituted. 

    In a meeting with franchise owner Joe Tsai, Durant demanded that either he be traded to another team or that the Nets fire the pairing of general manager Sean Marks and head coach Steve Nash, The Athletic reported Monday. 

    Durant and Tsai spoke in London over the weekend, and The Athletic reported that the tone of the meeting was professional. 

    Durant has four years and $198 million left on the contract extension he signed last summer but made his trade demands public over a month ago on June 30. 

    The 12-time All-Star set the NBA world ablaze by demanding a trade, but no team has been able to pull off the massive deal to bring Durant to a new contender. 

    Earlier this summer, Durant said that he wanted to end up either with the Miami Heat or the Phoenix Suns, but the Nets now have some hope of keeping the two-time Finals MVP. 

    That is, if Tsai is willing to upend the franchise's leadership structure. 

    Durant, who will turn 34 before the start of next season, has played a total of 90 regular season games since signing with Brooklyn in 2019. 

    The much-anticipated trio of Durant, Kyrie Irving and James Harden played only 10 games together.

    Harden was traded for massive question mark Ben Simmons, Irving's future is unclear, and now the Nets are now at a massive organisational crossroads. 

  • WNBA star Brittney Griner sentenced to nine years in Russian prison WNBA star Brittney Griner sentenced to nine years in Russian prison

    WNBA star Brittney Griner was found guilty of drug possession and drug smuggling with criminal intent and sentenced to nine years in a Russian prison on Thursday.

    Judge Anna Sotnikova reached her verdict quickly, which also included a fine of 1million rubles, rejecting Griner's apology and plea for leniency for bringing less than a gram of cannabis oil into the country more than five months ago.

    United States president Joe Biden called the sentence "unacceptable".

    While the war in Ukraine continues to cause tension between the US government and Moscow, the US State Department is now expected to negotiate a prisoner exchange with Russia, and a conviction was necessary before the process of organising a swap could begin.

    An eight-time All-Star with the Phoenix Mercury and widely considered one of the greatest players in WNBA history, the 31-year-old Griner was arrested in Moscow's Sheremetyevo International Airport on February 17 for carrying vape cartridges containing cannabis oil in her luggage. She was returning to Russia, where she has played since 2014 during the WNBA offseason.

    The WNBA and NBA issued a joint statement after the sentence was handed down.

    "Today's verdict and sentencing is unjustified and unfortunate but not unexpected, and Brittney Griner remains wrongly detained," the statement read.

    "The WNBA and NBA's commitment to her safe return has not wavered, and it is our hope that we are near the end of this process of finally bringing BG home to the United States."

    At her trail on July 7, her lawyers argued that Griner was using the cannabis for medicinal purposes to treat chronic pain sustained over the course of her career.

    While on the stand, the two-time Olympic champion said she accidentally packed the cartridges and was unaware cannabis oil was outlawed in Russia.

    "Today, American citizen Brittney Griner received a prison sentence that is one more reminder of what the world already knew: Russia is wrongfully detaining Brittney," Biden said in a statement.

    "It's unacceptable, and I call on Russia to release her immediately, so she can be with her wife, loved ones, friends, and team-mates."

© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.