Apr 23, 2012; Memphis, TN, USA; Cleveland Cavaliers point guard Kyrie Irving (2) shoots the ball against Memphis Grizzlies forward Dante Cunningham (44) during the first half at the FedEx Forum. Mandatory Credit: Spruce Derden-US PRESSWIRE

Kelly's Korner: Irving Top Rookie, Steve Blake Death Threats and No Bosh in Miami


As the Miami Heat try and mount a comeback against the Indiana Pacers, Chris Bosh is sitting at home watching it with the rest of us. The Heat has said that Bosh is out indefinitely due to a strained a lower abdominal muscle that he suffered in Game 1 of the Heats Eastern Conference semifinal series.

Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-US PRESSWIRE

The original diagnosis was confirmed Monday after an MRI exam. Coach Erik Spoelstra and others have said that the injury could have been worse. But regardless of the seriousness of his injury Bosh won’t likely play again for the season. He was hurt late in the first half as he drove for a dunk and got fouled by Pacers Roy Hibbert.

But the foul more than likely played no role in the injury, as he fell forward to his hands and knees after landing and stayed down for a few seconds. He got up and made his free throw, but feel again on the ensuing possession, after that he left the game for evaluation. They still have LeBron and Dwayne; this will no doubt be an adjustment without Bosh. Ronny Turiaf has replaced Bosh for the rest of the series. Bosh so far has had a fairly upbeat attitude about his injury and sitting out for the series.

“This season has to be extended for me to play again,” Bosh said. “So that’s what’s on my mind.”

Irving Rookie of the Year

For many in the sports fans and broadcasters it was no surprise that the Cleveland Cavaliers rookie Kyrie Irving would be named the NBA’s Rookie of the Year, it was just a matter of when the official announcement would take place and by how much he would win. Well all answers were put to rest on Tuesday.

Irving scored a total of 592 points and received 117 first-place votes. Minnesota Timberwolves Ricky Rubio finished second with 170 points and Denver Nuggets Kenneth Faried finished third with 129 points with one first-place vote.

Irving ranked first in scoring with 18.5 ppg, field goal percentage of .469 and free throw percentage of .872, while placing second in assists with 5.4 apg and three point field goal percentage of .399. Among all players, Irving ranked tied for fourth in fourth quarter scoring with 6.4 ppg while shooting and .518 from the field. On top of winning Rookie of the Year, Irving has also won the Rookie of the Month for December/January, February and March and MVP of the BVAA Rising Stars Challenge at NBA All Star 2012 by scoring 34 points, including going 8 for 8 from beyond the three point line, and scoring a game high nine assists.

Death Threats for Steve Blake

May 18, 2012; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Lakers point guard Steve Blake (5) attempts a three point basket against the Oklahoma City Thunder during the second half of game three of the Western Conference semifinals of the 2012 NBA Playoffs at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-US PRESSWIRE

Los Angeles Lakers Steve Blake was a hero when he when he hit a huge 3 pointer during a victory over Denver in Game 4 of the first round. Then he scored a playoff career high 19 points in their Game 7 win over the Nuggets.

But the tables turned fast and ugly when he barely missed a potential go ahead 3 pointer with about 3 seconds left in the Lakers 77-75 loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder on Wednesday night. The third seeded Lakers already had blown a seven point lead in the final 2 minutes of regulation, and they fell into a 0-2 hole in the series.

As you would expect the fan reaction was negative, but some fans took it to disgusting new level. Blake’s family including his three children received death threats over Twitter.

“I let our security people know about it,” Blake said. “and kind of kept a record of what was said just in case, but other than that, try not to make a big deal out of it.”

He and his wife Kristen, were besieged on Twitter by the usual curses but it was the threats against his family that caused for some alarm. “People saying things I don’t even really want to repeat. It’s an unfortunate situation, but it’s the mental side of the game. You’ve got to be better than that.” Blake rarely tweets but his wife is a regular user of the social media site. “I hope your family gets murdered,” read one post that Kristen Blake re-tweeted with the comment, “Wow.”

Lakers Coach Mike Brown became visibly upset when asked about the threats and verbal abuse that Blake and Kristen suffered before Friday’s game, calling it “a doggone shame.” Brown is no stranger to vicious criticism after five years of coaching for the Cavaliers and one season with the Lakers. “Everybody has families. You don’t want to touch that,” Brown said. “That gets me emotional right there. I feel bad for him. … Steve is a tough guy.”

Oklahoma City Coach Scott Brooks concurred. “Doesn’t make sense,” Brooks said. “It is an important game for both teams, but it’s not that important. It makes no sense.” While this is absolutely uncalled for and a disturbing side to sports that hopefully will not come out again Blake is trying to move past this, “It is the unfortunate side of pro sports, everyone is criticizing, and sometimes people cross the line. But you’ve got to move past it, be the positive person, and I think that’s the approach me and my wife are trying to take with it.”

But Kristen Blake may have said it best, after blocking an astounding 500 users from viewing her account she tweeted, “I am deeply grateful & humbled by the outpouring of love, support, & most of all prayers for our family in light of recent events-THANK YOU!”

Other News and Notables

  • Choking is something that is not new in the NBA, but when you actually make the hand symbol for choking you have to offer up an apology. Lance Stephenson did just that as he mocked LeBron James for missing a free throw shot. “I was wrong and disrespectful to my teammates, the Miami Heat and their organization,” he told NBA.com. “I’m sorry that I did that. It was very disrespectful. I’ll never do it again.” As dry and generic as that was, James response was far from that. While James was unaware that he was mocked by Stephenson he was not so forgiving of his apology, “Lance Stephenson? You want a quote about Lance Stephenson?” James said after practice. “I’m not even going to give him the time. Knock it off.” While his comment was a definite low blow, James really got the last laugh when he and the Heat crushed the Pacers 101-93 with James scoring 40 points, 18 rebounds and 9 assists and have now tied the Pacers in this series.
  • The Minnesota Timberwolves Nikola Pekovic had surgery to remove bone spurs from his right ankle on Tuesday. Pekovic’s ankle problems had kept him out of eight games towards the end of the season. Dr. Martin O’Malley performed the surgery and Pekovic is expected to make a full recovery and be ready in time for the Wolves training camp. He enjoyed a breakout season before his ankle injuries started becoming a problem in March. He averaged 13.9 points, 7.4 rebounds and his 56.4 shooting percentage was the second best in the league. He quickly supplanted Darko Milicic as the starting center. Pekovic finished third in the voting for the Most Improved Player award.
  • A 12 year old Texas boy was suspended from school after shaving his head to resemble the San Antonio Spurs Matt Bonner. But after getting that suspension he scored tickets to a playoff game and got props from his favorite NBA player. Patrick Gonzalez was suspended for a whooping day from Woodlake Hills Middle School because the district deemed his $75 haircut a distraction. He returned to class Thursday after reluctantly shaving his head. Gonzalez says Bonner is his favorite player, noting they’re both redheads. Bonner, whose mother is ironically a teacher, says the school could have just moved Gonzalez to the back of the room if his haircut was really that bad. Bonner sent Gonzalez a message saying, “Keep supporting us redheads in the NBA.” Gonzalez’s story prompted the Spurs to give him and his family tickets to Thursday’s playoff game against the Clippers.