You talkin’ to me? Jawing on rise in NBA playoffs

The Associated PressMay 5, 2013 

Talk is cheap in these NBA playoffs, and it seems as if everyone wants in on the act.

As the stakes grew in the first round, the venom being spewed became ever more toxic. Superstars are jawing at bench players. Reserves are picking fights with superstars. Coaches are accusing opponents of being dirty. Even Carmelo Anthony’s wife hasn’t been afraid to talk some serious trash.

“Try again,” La La Vazquez tweeted after Celtics reserve guard Jordan Crawford was caught on video hurling curse words toward Anthony at the end of Game 5 against the Knicks. “You on the bench for a reason.”

Ouch.

Conventional wisdom says that come the postseason, the showboating, chest-thumping and smack talking takes a backseat; that players need to focus too much on the game itself to have time to worry about getting into verbal battles with their opponents. But there has been plenty of playground swagger infused in the first round at NBA arenas throughout these playoffs, and it has come back to bite the barker more often than not.

The Knicks put a Madison Avenue spin boasting when they showed up to the Garden for Game 5 against Boston dressed in all black, planning on attending the Celtics’ funeral. All it did was breathe new life into a proud, veteran team, and the Celtics rolled over New York to force a Game 6.

Knicks-Celtics is far from the only series in these playoffs that would have been right at home being broadcast on HBO. Oklahoma City star Kevin Durant was seen pounding his chest and appearing to swear toward the crowd in Houston in Game 6 on Friday night, Golden State Warriors coach Mark Jackson accused the Denver Nuggets of playing dirty in their series and the referees were handing out technical fouls like Halloween candy in the testy Clippers-Grizzlies series.

The second round begins today when Oklahoma City plays host to Memphis in Game 1, and there are no signs of the chatter slowing down. Thunder center Kendrick Perkins and Randolph got into a confrontation during a game in November, one that allegedly carried into the back halls of the arena after the game.

When Randolph was asked about it later, he told reporters: “I play basketball. I don’t worry about all that. Perk’s all right. There’s a lot of bluffin’ going on the court. That’s all, you know? And I don’t bluff.”

The Grizzlies draped towels over the seats at their arena before Memphis closed out the Clippers. The gold towels had a slogan written in blue.

The slogan?

“We don’t bluff.”

FASTBREAKS

The Knicks are hopeful forward Amar’e Stoudemire, who has been sidelined since March 7 with a right knee injury, will be back for Game 3 of the playoff series against the Pacers on Saturday. … After a decidedly Clippers-like first-round playoff flop, Los Angeles now has to decide which of its six free agents to sign, the biggest being star point guard Chris Paul. Early reports indicate the Clippers will offer Paul the maximum deal of $107.3 million over five years. … Hawks general manager Danny Ferry said it’s too early to decide if he’ll renew coach Larry Drew’s contract.

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