Warriors veteran big man Jermaine O’Neal called any talk of firing coach Mark Jackson “ridiculous” and “unfair” before offering a vote of confidence unique to his own NBA career. O’Neal is considering retirement, and if the 35-year-old were to decide to play next season, he said it would be because of Jackson and that the team he would choose would be the Warriors.
“It’s a couple reasons why I will come back,” O’Neal said Saturday. “This fan base, this organization is first class, and obviously my teammates are great, as well. But the No. 1 reason that I will come back and play another year is because of Coach Jackson. I’m absolutely, 100 percent positive about that. He makes it easy to come in this gym every day, and there’s not a lot of coaches that do that.”
Bobby Portis Apologizes to Bulls for Mirotic Fight
Bobby Portis has apologized to his Bulls teammates for getting into a fight that left Nikola Mirotic with facial fractures and a concussion. “He didn’t address us today, but he did address the team before so that was taken care of,” Bulls swingman Justin Holiday said after Friday’s practice.
Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg acknowledged that Portis’ apology took place during a team meeting but did not want to go into specific details about his message. “I’ll keep that between the team,” Hoiberg said, “as far as exactly what was said in that meeting.”
Source: Nick Friedell of ESPN
Joel Embiid Still Not Cleared for Back-to-Back Games
Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid said he has not been cleared to play back-to-back games and does not expect to be in the lineup Saturday at Toronto.
Embiid was in the starting lineup for the home opener Friday night against the Boston Celtics, scoring 11 points to go along with 14 rebounds in 28 minutes as Philadelphia lost 102-92. Asked after Friday’s game if he was OK with not playing Saturday night, Embiid replied, “Um I’m not OK with it but we have a plan in place and we have to follow it.”
Dennis Smith Jr. Out for Next Two Games With Knee Injury
Dennis Smith Jr. will miss at least two games due to swelling in the left knee that the Dallas Mavericks’ prized rookie point guard had surgically repaired two years ago.
Smith was a late scratch before Friday’s loss to the Sacramento Kings and will not travel with the Mavericks for Saturday’s road game against the Houston Rockets.
Source: Tim MacMahon of ESPN