NBA FrontPage: Sefolosha Acquitted, Matt Barnes Fights, Klay’s War

Last April, Thabo Sefolosha was celebrating a franchise record 58th win for the Atlanta Hawks at a nightclub in Chelsea. In the early morning hour his encounter with New York police left him battered, bruised and dragging behind him a broken leg. Arrested for disorderly conduct, resisting arrest and obstruction of government administration, Sefolosha spent the night in jail. Then he had to have surgery on his broken leg, missing the entire playoff season.

He was offered a plea bargain of community service which he turned down, choosing instead to clear his name in a four day trial where he testified that he obeyed police instructions but it was the police who were the aggressors. Sefolosha was giving a homeless man a $20 bill when, according to his testimony, he was pushed, pulled, kicked in the leg and crumpled to the ground. Later he was handcuffed, taken to jail and charged with three misdemeanor counts. A jury of six, four women and two men acquitted him on Friday of all charges and Sefolsha said afterwards, “I can put this behind me knowing my name has been cleared.”

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The last love triangle the NBA was witness to was in 1996 when Jason Kidd thought he had something going on with singer Toni Braxton only to have his teammate Jim Jackson swoop in. It broke up a young and talented Mavericks team because it just got a little too gossipy once it was made public, killing all the vibes and goodwill in the locker room. Kidd who was the Mavericks star was the punch line to a series of jokes and was humiliated. For his part in the triangle, Jackson was traded.

The Matt Barnes- Derrick Fisher throwdown was more dramatic than what happened to Kidd because there was an actual fight in Redondo Beach, Calif. with Fisher reportedly getting the worst of it, scratches on his face. As in the Kidd triangle, Barnes and Fisher were, at one time, teammates. Barnes was a little ticked that Fisher was hanging out with his estranged wife, unaware they had been quietly dating for three months. Barnes, alerted by his kids that Fisher was present, drove 15 minutes, got into a confrontation, did a total Matt Barnes thing and then had to face the story being talked about it and laughed about on social media. Fisher was the victim and Barnes comes out looking like a hot head who can’t control his emotions and it’s those kids who have to watch the adults act like children.

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When he was at Washington State, Klay Thompson was caught with marijuana. His father, former NBA player Mychal Thompson, was livid. He had raised Klay to be on the right side of morality and the law, to do the right thing, to think of consequences, to keep a low profile. There was a story circulating that in the first few years as a professional, Klay turned over his paycheck to his father and his father gave him an allowance. He didn’t want Klay to blow all his money. How much of that story is true? Probably some of it but not all. Still, it points out how involved the elder Thompson is in shaping his son’s behavior.

So, when his father heard Klay go at the Clippers and Doc Rivers in this war between the two clubs that started a couple of years ago with some hard fouls to Blake Griffin’s head, he must have been ready to deliver one of his lectures.

Klay used to be the quiet one. Now he is a NBA champion so he has bragging rights. He didn’t particularly like when Doc Rivers said the Warriors were lucky to win the title since they didn’t have to play the Spurs and Clippers in the playoffs.  Klay took it as further disrespect and wasn’t going to let it go. His reply was classic.

“That sounds pretty bitter to me. If we got lucky, look at our record against them last year. I’m pretty sure we smacked them. Didn’t they lose to the Rockets. So that just makes me laugh. Weren’t they up 3-1. Tell them I said that too. I wanted to play the Clippers but they couldn’t handle their business.”

The teams play twice in November, on each other’s home floor. It’s going to be epic.

photo via llananba