With the NBA playoffs looming on the horizon, we've been hearing quite a bit of chirping from this year?s big names.
And much of it is coming from the star of the eighth-seeded team in the West.
Kevin Durant has led the Oklahoma City Thunder to its first-ever playoff appearance, but no time is too soon for him to play the no-respect card. … even when the criticism seems to be stemming from the fact that he gets too much respect from refs.
Still, players must find fuel for the fire wherever they can get it, especially when you are playing for the team given the unenviable task of facing last year's NBA champion. (Yes, the Lakers pulled a Celtics and limped into the playoffs with a 4-6 record down the stretch, but they're still the Lakers, and the Thunder are still the Thunder.)
The Durant Issues began not too long ago, when Kevin Garnett complained in a few choice words that the sophomore star's tendency to get to the line with alarming regularity is growing a bit suspect.
Durant wasn't happy when KG sounded off. Now that one of the most legendary coaches in the history of the league is chiming in as well, the fire is burning even stronger. And given the fact that the last time a No. 8 seed upset a No. 1 seed was in 2000, any extra motivation is certainly welcome for the underdog.
In other news, KG offers his life for another ring (kind of), Doc Rivers offers some insight into how he has been keeping his club clean despite the flu's attempts to take out the Celtics before the Heat get the chance and Sabres goaltender Ryan Miller refuses to wax poetic on his Olympic run in the name of the playoffs.
"Ever since KG said something, everybody's been questioning how I get to the line. I respect every coach, every player, everybody. I never say anything bad about anybody else or question why they do this or do that. So for them to say that about me, I don't even want to use no foul language."
–Oklahoma City forward Kevin Durant, in The Oklahoman, responding to Phil Jackson?s claim that Durant gets the superstar treatment from referees
"Whatever [head coach] Doc [Rivers] needs me to do. I told him if I have to die out there on the court, that's what it is. That's what postseason play's all about — giving everything you have. I'm no exception to that."
–Celtics forward Kevin Garnett, on NESN.com, on how far he?' willing to go to succeed in the playoffs
"All the hand-washing and all that stuff, none of that stuff has worked with our team so far."
–Celtics coach Doc Rivers, on NESN.com, on how he is keeping the team sanitary in light of the flu bug that has now claimed point guard Rajon Rondo
"I'm not going to sit here and reflect. Sorry. To start reminiscing now, it's going to make for a short postseason."
–Sabres goalie Ryan Miller, to The Associated Press, on his reluctance to reminisce about his role in Team USA?s remarkable Olympic run
"He only has 14. We're going to play him until he gets a tech, then pull him out."
–Rivers, on NESN.com, on playing Rasheed Wallace until he gets his 15th technical foul. Sixteen makes a player eligible for a one-game suspension.
?Manny's like an ex-wife who cheated on me and took half my money, and yet I'm always inexplicably happy to see him. ?Hey! You look great!??
–Bill Simmons, via Twitter
"Forget the Princeton offense — we should have been focused on defense.?
–Sixers center Samuel Dalembert, to the AP, after head coach Eddie Jordan was fired because of the failure of his offensive scheme
"I said at the start of the season if we don't win 60 games, we'll be disappointed, and we're disappointed in our team's effort at the end of the season. We really pooped our pants and looked it out there."
–Lakers coach Phil Jackson, to the AP, after his team lost six of its last 10 regular-season games heading into the playoffs, including Wednesday night against the Clippers
"Lord what am I doing wrong."
–Jets receiver David Clowney, via Twitter, after the team traded for Santonio Holmes, who will likely replace him
"@nflcommish Mr. Goodell the NY Jets are unfairly loading their team up with great players like the Yankees do, we need to stop this now!"
–Bengals receiver Chad Ochocinco, via Twitter, on the Jets' recent roster bolstering