Charlie Villanueva, you big baby


Charlie Villanueva, you big baby

By Mary Paoletti

I can't believe that "Villanueva versus KG" is still making headlines.
Reportedly, Danny Ainge is the latest to jump in front of the morality missile aimed at Boston headcase Kevin Garnett.

"There's one thing that I know for sure, and it's that KG would not offend cancer patients," Ainge said. "That makes no sense. It makes no sense on a lot of fronts. Not only is he experiencing it in his own family, but that's just not something I've ever heard -- in 30 years -- ever say, in trash talking."

Thanks for weighing in, Danny.

It's nice to have some more people over here with me on KG's side. My problem with Charlie's bawling is completely different, though. I bet Garnett really did say he looked like a cancer patient.

And I don't care that if he did.

Some prefaces before I continue:

My family is one of the millions affected tragically by the disease. I celebrated my 21st birthday by going home to Maine for my young aunt's funeral. She was a wonderful woman and I hold a grudge. A huge one. I hate cancer with a blind rage and nothing about it is funny.

I'm a die-hard, irrationally biased UConn basketball fan. UC is my alma mater and Charlie Villanueva played on a dominant Huskies team that wrecked opponents right before my adoring eyeballs.

I think Kevin Garnett is slightly deranged. Dude's a sharp dresser and all but he's loony.

So why take KG's side? Because it's trash talk and trash talk is part of the game. Garnett wasn't trying to offend cancer patients, he was trying to offend Charlie Villanueva and CV is a baby for crying foul.

"But it's cancer!" the conservative cry. "You just can't go there!"

Hey: good luck on the Some Topics Are Off Limits crusade. Do you really believe that there are acceptable degrees of meanness? Are these outlined in the NBA rulebook somewhere? I saw on TV that Gout is making a comeback. Is that one off limits too?

"Damn, Will Bynum! You so slow, you play like you got Gout."


It would be impossible to draw a line. Do you really think KG's comment was the worst ever uttered? Zinedine Zidane will tell you it wasn't. I once heard "I HOPE EVERYTHING THAT YOU LOVE DIES" hollered between rivals during a SyracuseUConn game.

And that was just two fans jawing.

Nobody should care or comment on trash talk except the guys running the hardwood and that's where it should be settled. Villanueva lost the battle by letting KG in his head. The NBA will lose if some trash talk turns into an even bigger affair.

As they say...

Kevin Durant's future a mystery as OKC collapses


Kevin Durant's future a mystery as OKC collapses

OAKLAND, Calif. - As Stephen Curry dribbled out the clock in a raucous Oracle Arena, Kevin Durant could only stand and watch.

The Golden State Warriors are heading back to the NBA Finals, while Durant's future in Oklahoma City is much less certain.

Two nights after blowing an opportunity to close out the defending champion Warriors at home, the Thunder got sent home for the summer when they lost Game 7 of the Western Conference finals 96-88 on Monday night.

Instead of becoming known as the team that knocked off the Warriors after their record-setting 73-win regular season, the Thunder will be remembered for a playoff collapse. They became just the 10th NBA team to lose a playoff series after taking a 3-1 lead and now head into an uncertain offseason with Durant eligible to become an unrestricted free agent in July.

If he does leave the only franchise he has played for in his nine-year career, he will do it having failed to deliver the championship to Oklahoma City. The closest the Thunder have gotten in Durant's tenure was when they lost the NBA Finals in five games to LeBron James and the Miami Heat in 2012.

They then lost in the second round the next season, in the conference finals in 2014 to San Antonio before missing the playoffs entirely because of an injury to Durant last year.

But under first-year coach Billy Donovan, Oklahoma City earned the third seed in the top-heavy Western Conference this season and then upset 67-win San Antonio in the second round. The Thunder followed that by winning three of the first four games against the Warriors, with a pair of lopsided wins at home.

But after losing Game 5 on the road, the Thunder blew an opportunity to eliminate the Warriors at home on Saturday night. Oklahoma City led by seven points with less than five minutes remaining but made only one basket and committed six turnovers down the stretch of a 108-101 loss that could haunt the franchise for years.

The Thunder responded on the road in Game 7 by taking a 13-point lead in the second quarter. But once Curry and Klay Thompson started hitting Oklahoma City with a flurry of 3-pointers, the Thunder had no answer. The Splash Brothers combined for 13 3-pointers as Golden State outscored Oklahoma City by 30 points from behind the line.

Oklahoma City's stars were no match. Russell Westbrook missed 14 of 21 from the field and shot just 36.8 percent in the three potential clinchers. Durant finished with 27 points but took only 10 shots in the first three quarters.

Durant did score seven straight points to cut an 11-point deficit to four with 1:40 remaining. But Serge Ibaka then fouled Curry on a 3-pointer with the shot clock running down, allowing Golden State to build the lead back to seven.

Durant then missed two shots and could only stare blankly when Curry ended Oklahoma City's season with a 3-pointer with 26.8 seconds left. Now the Thunder can only hope it doesn't end Durant's tenure in Oklahoma City as well.