Danny Green’s summer vacation

Not to stereotype, but antique shopping would not seem to be high on the list of summer activities for a young NBA player having just signed a multi-million dollar contract on the heels of his breakout season.

(Can you imagine, say, DeMarcus Cousins scouring shops for the perfect 18th-century French armoire to set off his guest bedroom?)

That was one of the many things Spurs guard Danny Green did during a busy summer vacation in which he bought a home, vacationed in the Canary Islands, picked up boxing and headed to Moscow for an event with NBA’s Basketball Without Borders, where he also took time to take in the sights and, of course, shop.

“Not many crazy, interesting things happened during these trips, but it was good to experience different cultures. They do many things differently over there, such as using different terminology when measuring distance, height, weight, temperature, etc. I had a great opportunity to sightsee a lot in Russia and shop for antiques.”

Will be curious to ask the always-affable Danny about what he picked up. (Shipping costs from Moscow have to be ridiculous.)

Also included in the piece are Chase Budinger, Jimmer Fredette, Reggie Jackson and Mo Williams. Fredette had the best anecdote, recounting how he realized that the shoes he was signing for a young fan were actually a pair he’d thrown into the dumpster behind his dorm during his freshman year at BYU.



Screamin’ A. gets pwned

Nobody has ever accused professional loudmouth Stephen A. Smith of taking himself too seriously.

OK, lots of people have, and there will be even more after Smith failed to immediately grasp the satiric nature of a about an imaginary sex education conversation between him and his imaginary 9-year-old son:

Sensing the 9-year-old is now old enough to engage in a heated debate on the subject, Stephen A. Smith reportedly decided Monday that his son is finally ready for the sex argument.

“It’s a big milestone in every father-son relationship to sit your child down and dispute his pathetic ideas about the birds and bees,” said Smith, fondly remembering his own father belligerently talking over him when he got the sex argument as a boy. “He’s at that age where he’s starting to hear some things about sex at school, so it’s important for me as a parent to corner him on his logical inconsistencies and force him to admit he doesn’t have the experience to know what the hell he’s talking about.”

Smith said he is ready to have the argument as soon as his son gets home from school and can get in front of a camera.

Never one to let a perceived slight go unchallenged, Stephen A. responded in kind on Twitter.

It took about a half hour before the joke sunk in. :

Haaaaa. The got me. I didn’t know it was on Satire! Got it. Peeps got jokes. It’s cool!

On the subject of jokes, here’s a fantastic impersonation of Screamin’ A. from a few months back.

Prediction – as Ginobili becomes what he once was

Column by Buck Harvey

The Spurs will lose one of the first two games.

The streak will be over. And the playoffs will begin.

The Spurs will then face their fears, that their run has made them less prepared for a counter, and that the young Thunder talent will get additional lift. Then, they will need to win the kind of road game in Oklahoma City that they’ve won in all of their championships years.

What happens then, with Manu Ginobili, will decide that.

Both sides privately see reasons to be afraid of this scenario, and it’s telling of a Western Conference finals that should be compelling. The Spurs have not been this solid and facing an opponent as equally solid since the second round of the 2007 playoffs.

Just as that Suns series was memorable, this one should be as well.

That’s also the last time Ginobili was healthy through the playoffs. In every year since, from a busted elbow to a busted nose, his injuries have been the Spurs’ way of saying it just isn’t our year.

“We’re not going anywhere without Manu at 100 percent,” Tony Parker said as recently as this February, and something like it has been said every season since the last championship.

Now Ginobili is 100 percent, but his 3-point percentage in the postseason is closer to 25. He’s been helpful in the playoffs at times, but not the force he once was.

Combine the Big Three of both the Spurs and Thunder and rank them this postseason. Isn’t Ginobili clearly sixth?

Yet that also shows the power and depth of the Spurs. Just as Ginobili didn’t play a minute against the Thunder this season, yet the Spurs still won the season series and the No. 1 seed, the Spurs found another way to win.

The Spurs didn’t go just anywhere. In sweeping the first two rounds, they went to a place they’ve never been. Both Vegas and the national media embrace the Spurs as favorites.

All of which makes the Spurs’ staff uncomfortable. They think people have gotten caught up with the 18-game winning streak, and they can’t believe the perception that they could sweep the Thunder.

They also wonder if they are built as traditional champions are. Maybe, at best, the Spurs are the Pistons of 2004, a snug fit of pieces, when usually the best teams are the ones with the best players.

Their argument: The record books usually show someone such as Kevin Durant leading a team to a title, not someone such as Chauncey Billups.

“In my heart of hearts,” one Spurs assistant said, “we’re the underdogs.”

Maybe it’s nothing more than the Spurs’ appropriate fear amped up. Still, a Western Conference general manager with another team understands the Spurs’ concern. He predicts the Spurs will win, but he also thinks they’ve been too good for their own good.

“They’ve had no real hiccups,” he said. “But it’s unlikely they will go undefeated. So, at some point, it’s about how they respond to adversity.”

The Spurs won all of their titles because they responded. For Ginobili, this goes back a long way. In his rookie year, against the Nets, he helped overcome an earlier loss at home to break through on the road in Game 3 in the Finals.

The Thunder brass is familiar with all of this. Just as the Spurs find reasons to be afraid, so did an Oklahoma City staffer last week when he joked about Ginobili and his 3-point slump.

“You know he’s going to have a game,” he said, “when he hits about five in a row on us, right?”

Ginobili might not do that, exactly. But his gift has been to find another level, to get better when others get nervous. And he will have to do that again.

For the Spurs to win in 7.

Twitter: @Buck_SA

Western Conference finals (best-of-7)

Game 1: Sunday – Spurs vs. Thunder, 7:30 p.m. TNT

Game 2: Tuesday – Spurs vs. Thunder, 8:00 p.m. TNT

Game 3: Thursday – Spurs @ Thunder, 8:00 p.m. TNT

Game 4: Saturday – Spurs @ Thunder, 7:30 p.m. TNT

*Game 5: Monday June 4 – Spurs vs. Thunder, 8:00 p.m. TNT

*Game 6: Wednesday June 6 – Spurs @ Thunder, 8:00 p.m. TNT

*Game 7: Friday June 8 – Spurs vs. Thunder, 8:00 p.m. TNT

– All times Central
*If necessary