Train wreck warning: Sixers may bench Iverson

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NBA_iverson_small.jpgUpdate 5:09: Looks like the show will be delayed, the Sixers organization just announced that Iverson will miss the next two games for the team (a back-to-back before the All-Star break in Minnesota tonight and Toronto tomorrow). He will be expected by the NBA to at least be around on All-Star weekend (remember, the league once fined Michael Jordan for missing a Friday event, they are serious about having everyone there so the corporate sponsors feel important). Please check back after the All-Star break to resume this crash.

12:20: Hey, pull up a chair and grab some popcorn — there’s a train wreck a comin’ and you can have a front row seat. Let us head to Philadelphia and talk Allen Iverson.

But after Monday’s practice, which Iverson again missed due to his daughter’s illness, (Sixers coach Eddie) Jordan wouldn’t commit to Iverson starting when he comes back.

“That’s a topic we have to discuss,” Jordan said.

Later, Jordan said, “We’re going to talk about that as a staff. We’ve had some of those discussions. We’ll cross that bridge when we cross that bridge.”

That bridge has more explosives under it than the one over the river Kwai. In Detroit last season and Memphis to start this one, Iverson destroyed locker room chemistry and became a big distraction when he didn’t start. He can’t fathom sitting behind a lesser player, and in his mind most players remain lesser. And he’s not going to be quiet about it.

Of course, Jordan is right, the Sixers are better when Iverson is out — they are 3-0 in this stretch without him, all against playoff teams. The new starting backcourt of Willie Green and rookie Jrue Holiday give the Sixers better defense, better size and guys working within the flow of the offense.

Iverson can still play in this league — in his last seven games he is averaging nearly 14 points but on a very Iversonesque, inefficient 40% shooting. Andre Iguodala has a couple more assists a game than Iverson. He remains a gunner. That is the kind of player that can be a big boost off the bench.

If said player will go to the bench. Iverson will not go quietly into that good night. So pull up a chair and enjoy the coming train wreck.

Warriors pose for photos with Jahlil Okafor’s dad’s ‘FREE JAH’ shirt

AP Photo/Chris Szagola
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Jahlil Okafor‘s father has not been shy about speaking out on his son’s behalf. NBA players are advocating for the 76ers to grant Okafor, who’s out of the rotation and on an expiring contract, his desired trade or buyout.

When both join forces…

Kevin Durant, Draymond Green and Stephen Curry appear to really enjoy Chukwudi Okafor’s shirt. That doesn’t mean they’re necessarily calling on Philadelphia to do anything. But they hadn’t to know how it’d be perceived.

It’s easy to predict free agents will avoid the 76ers as a result of the Okafor situation, but few anticipate getting stuck similarly. Players overwhelmingly value money, winning, role and location. If Golden State’s stars are applying any external pressure, it shouldn’t really move Philadelphia more than anything that has already been said and done.

A couple of Lonzo Ball’s triple-double assists look dubious (video)

Harry How/Getty Images
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Lonzo Ball draws outsized attention because his father, LaVar Ball, lures onlookers and because the rookie plays for the high-profile Los Angeles Lakers.

So, when Lonzo gets a triple-double – like his 11-points, 16-rebound, 11-assists game against the Nuggets yesterday – it draws scrutiny.

Mo Dakhil of The Jump Ball:

The NBA defines an assist as a “pass that directly leads to a basket. … An assist can be awarded for a basket scored after the ball has been dribbled if the player’s pass led to the field goal being made.”

I wouldn’t describe either of those passing as leading directly to a basket. Ball’s teammates each hold the ball for a moment after receiving the pass then take two dribbles against set defenses.

But assists are subjective, and the Lakers aren’t alone in offering a home-court scorekeeping advantage.

Kyle Neubeck of Philly Voice

So, criticize/laugh at the Lakers. But your favorite team probably manipulates assists in its favor, too.

Robin Lopez and T.J. Warren exchange contact, heated words (video)

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Robin Lopez whacked T.J. Warren in the head while chasing an offensive rebound. Warren didn’t like that, so he ran to the opposite end of the court and shoved Lopez to the floor. A heated confrontation ensued, though it didn’t escalate beyond yelling.

Warren received a flagrant foul, and Lopez was hit with a technical in the Suns’ 113-105 win over the Bulls.

Lakers blow 5-on-1 fastbreak (video)

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Corey Brewer is better at finishing fastbreaks than leading them.

Nice defense by Emmanuel Mudiay, too.

But at least the Lakers won.