Like it was the Zapruder film, Cavaliers and Celtics fans have been poring over the footage from the thumb injury to Shaquille O’Neal. And, as they always do (for some odd reason), the conspiracy freaks have found a new cause:
Glen Davis intentionally hurt Shaq’s thumb.
Well, at least it’s something to distract the conspiracy folk from the CIA and JFK for a couple days. The Boston Herald breaks it down (via Jeff at the OG of NBA blogs, Celticsblog).
An extended video from the game shows that the Cavs actually had a second offensive possession before O’Neal was removed from the game. The video shows Davis grabbing at O’Neal’s thumb, and the exchange clearly happened after the initial injury.
Clearly Big Baby is going after the thumb on the possession after the injury, but it’s hard to where any actual damage happens. However, when Shaq gets the ball on that possession is when he calls time out.
It seems a bit like the JFK assassination to me in that people are trying to prescribe far more complex and sinister motives when the most simple of explanations is likely. But people love their conspiracy theories.
Of course, if Davis really did aggravate Shaw’s injury and take him out of the game, LeBron James and the Cavaliers should send him a box of chocolates as a thank you. The Celtics were up 11 and beating Cleveland down until Shaq got inured, the Cavaliers had to go small and they just ran over the Celtics.
The CIA term for that is blowback — the unintended consequences of a covert action. Although, to think the outcome was blowback is thou think there was a conspiracy in the first place.
LeBron James says he doesn’t see Cavaliers-Warriors as rivalry
“We don’t look at it as a rival,” James said. “They’re a great team. They’ve been the best team the last couple years, last three years.”
“It’s just the next game, it’s Golden State,” James said. “They’re a helluva team, like I said the best team in the league and they’ve been that way the last three years, four years, however long it’s been, I’m not quite sure. But, listen, you guys know, we don’t put all our eggs in one basket for one game.”
LeBron just doesn’t want the Cavs to become comfortable. They’ve beat Golden State in four straight games – the last three of the 2016 Finals and on Christmas – and could extend the streak to five today. Beating a rival that frequently is a cause for celebration, and celebration leads to contentment. LeBron would rather keep Cleveland focused and hungry. Hence, saying the Warriors aren’t a rival.
Andre Drummond hits 3-pointer from inside Pistons’ own 3-point arc (video)
But Booker’s last four – which put Phoenix up for good – came directly after incorrect calls, according to the NBA’s Last Two Minute Report.
First, Booker drew a (legitimate) foul on Pau Gasol with 1:08 left and made both free throws. The problem: One second before that, Suns center Tyson Chandler should have been called for offensively fouling Tony Parker, according to the league:
Chandler (PHX) sets the screen on Parker (SAS) and makes leg to leg contact that affects his ability to defend the play.
That would’ve ended Phoenix’s possession rather than allowing Booker to get to the line.
The other missed call in the two-minute report is trickier, because it directly benefitted the Spurs but indirectly benefitted the Suns.
Manu Ginobili got away with travelling with 59.1 seconds left, according to the league:
Ginobili (SAS) moves his pivot foot.
But he coughed up the ball moments later anyway, and – thrilled to gain possession with a live-ball turnover rather than a dead-ball turnover – Booker turned the miscue into a fastbreak dunk.
Rather than debate how to evaluate San Antonio getting away with a travel and it ultimately helping Phoenix more, let’s stick to just the uncalled Chandler offensive foul. That netted the Suns two points. Their lead when the Spurs began intentionally fouling? One.
Russell Westbrook puts up 20th triple-double of season, lifts Thunder past Kings (VIDEO)
Through 41 games — half the season — Russell Westbrook is averaging 30.8 points, 10.7 rebounds, and 10.5 assists a game. Those numbers are insane, particularly considering his 42 percent usage rate. He has to put up numbers and do so fairly efficiently or the Thunder stand no chance of winning — and he has the Thunder on pace for 48 wins this season.
The Thunder picked up another of those wins Sunday night knocking off the Sacramento Kings behind Westbrook’s 20th triple-double in 41 games — 36 points, 11 rebounds, and 10 assists. The video highlights are above.
It’s going to be fun watching him and James Harden go back-and-forth in the MVP race for the next few months.