Great news: West's season has been quiet

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Delonte West is completely unique in every conceivable way. Beyond his personality, though, West’s life has some equally unique — at least by NBA standards — challenges; West was diagnosed with bipolar disorder, a fact which became public in the aftermath of a pretty bizarre incident involving West, a motorcycle, and three guns.

The memory of that event is easy to recall. After all, West was arrested just prior to this season, and the details are certainly memorable. His arrest and his diagnosis, though, have slipped out of NBA consciousness without incident. There hasn’t been a series of Pullitzer-winning pieces about West’s struggle with his disorder and daily victories in spite of it. It’s not because those victories and struggles aren’t there, but because West and the Cleveland Cavaliers have handled West’s specific case perfectly.

From Brian Windhorst of the Cleveland Plain Dealer:

The Cavs, who look to continue their eight-game winning streak when they close their trip against the San Antonio Spurs tonight, have enjoyed plenty of successes during this season. But perhaps a major, if overlooked, accomplishment is the team effort that has helped West become more balanced emotionally. That includes work West has done himself.

…The team has constantly protected West, who has declined all interviews since media day in September. There is little or no talk of his ongoing battle with a mood disorder, which West has said is bi-polar disorder. There is no mention of West’s pending court case in Maryland on gun charges. Just a quiet but diligent following of a process that West’s teammates, West’s doctors and West himself follow on a daily basis.

…West still has rough days and there almost certainly with be more to come. But getting West mostly stabilized and playing well again has so far been a remarkable accomplishment by a wide range of team officials and doctors.

That includes the management done by general manager Danny Ferry, head coach Mike Brown and his assistant coaches, athletic trainer Max Benton, director of team security Marvin Cross and several other doctors and therapists who have worked with West privately on an intense level.

“He’s got a nice support staff around him,” Brown said. “Including some other people behind the scenes. There’s a lot of support there for him and there will continue to be. He’s a part of our family and we take a lot of pride in trying to take care of everybody.”

There have been plenty of situations where NBA teams appear to mishandle atypical situations, but the Cavs not only appear to be reacting appropriately in terms of giving West the support he needs, but also in protecting him from extended media coverage. There will eventually be a day for West’s story to be documented, and to an extent it already is. But the additional probing and questioning that comes with significant media coverage probably isn’t something West needs to be dealing with right now. Thanks to the Cavs’ understanding of the situation, he doesn’t have to.  

Isaiah Thomas rewarded on epic flop with offensive foul call vs. Heat

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Why do NBA players flop on defense? Because it works.

While there is less of it than there was a couple of years back β€” when the NBA made a big show about calling more flops and warning (then eventually fining players a pittance) for the move β€” it still exists. Case in point, this impressive one from Isaiah Thomas of the Lakers on Tyler Johnson of the Heat Friday night (hat tip AminElHassavag at NBA Reddit).

Was there a little contact, sure, but Thomas fell back like he was shot by the second gunman on the grassy knoll. He exaggerated the contact, which is the definition of flopping. Thing is, he got the call (the ref who made the call, from his position, might only have seen the contact and not necessarily the extent of exaggeration, but that’s where the other officials need to step in).

Not that everything went Thomas’ way Friday night.

Suns’ Marquese Chriss, Jared Dudley fined $25,000 each for knocking down Ricky Rubio


Marquese Chriss and Jared Dudley got off light.

There should have been suspensions involved for the cheap shots leveled on Ricky Rubio by the pair during Thursday night’s blowout Jazz win. Instead, the pair were fined $25,000 a piece by the league Saturday for this incident.

Rubio has a knee contusion from the incident Jazz coach Quin Snyder confirmed, however, Rubio is available to play Saturday vs. the Kings.

Dudley was given a flagrant 2 and ejected at the time, Chriss was handed just a flagrant 1 for his escalation. I don’t completely buy Dudley’s explanation here either β€” I think they were pissed Rubio stepped over a down Chriss to inbound the ball and made him pay for it β€” but he did own up to it being excessive.

So to be clear, if you throw a haymaker and miss β€” as Aaron Afflalo did recently β€” that’s a two-game suspension. But if you throw or body check a player to the ground, that’s just 25 large, no time missed. Players wanting retaliation will take note of that.

Roulette tables are less random than the NBA’s enforcement policies.

Check out Terrance Ferguson’s acrobatic layup vs. Clippers (VIDEO)


It was supposed to be an alley-oop.

However, Raymond Felton‘s pass was low. And not just a little low, a few feet low.

Oklahoma City’s athletic rookie Terrance Ferguson was leaving the ground as the pass was thrown, meaning he had to make an in-air adjustment β€” and the results were spectacular.

Corey Brewer continues to be key, scores 22 as Thunder beat Clippers 121-113

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OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) β€” Five starts, five wins for Corey Brewer with the Oklahoma City Thunder.

The recent addition scored 22 points and matched a career high with six steals to help the Thunder beat the Los Angeles Clippers 121-113 on Friday night.

The 32-year-old Brewer was bought out by the Los Angeles Lakers late last month, allowing Oklahoma City to pick him up as a free agent. As a starter with the Thunder, he is averaging 14.8 points in the shooting guard spot vacated when Andre Roberson ruptured his left patellar tendon and had season-ending surgery.

Brewer said it has been easy to fit in because he played college ball for Thunder coach Billy Donovan at the University of Florida.

“I won’t say it’s surprising,” Brewer said. “It’s a comfort level. I keep telling everybody, coach Donovan makes me feel really comfortable. I won two national championships with the guy. It’s just his demeanor and the faith he has in me that makes the game easier.”

Oklahoma City’s Russell Westbrook had 16 points, 10 rebounds and 11 assists for his 22th triple-double of the season and the 101st of his career. Brewer said playing Westbrook’s up-tempo style has been fun.

“Yeah, I love to run,” Brewer said. “That’s my game. I can run all day, so having Russell Westbrook pushing on the break just running to get a layup – it’s easy.”

Paul George scored 19 points and Steven Adams added 18 points and 14 rebounds for the Thunder, who swept all three games from the Clippers this season.

Oklahoma City, one of several teams in the race for the No. 3 seed in the Western Conference playoffs, won its fifth straight and clinched a winning season. It was the start of a difficult closing stretch against mostly teams in playoff contention.

Adams created problems for the Clippers all night.

“He’s a good basketball player,” Clippers coach Doc Rivers said. “I almost think that’s a slap just to call him and energy player because he is a skilled basketball player with high IQ and is just extremely physical. It seems like every time we got a big stop, he got it back for them, so you just have to give him credit.”

Tobias Harris scored 24 points and Austin Rivers added 23 for the Clippers, but the Thunder scored 31 points off Los Angeles’ 23 turnovers. DeAndre Jordan had 11 points and 21 rebounds.

“They are fifth in the league for fast breaks,” Clippers coach Doc Rivers said. “You don’t turn the ball over. You turn the ball over that many times, you’re going to lose the game.”

Brewer and Adams carried the load in the first half, scoring 14 points each to help the Thunder take a 63-56 lead.

Terrance Ferguson got a 3-pointer to rattle in early in the fourth quarter to give the Thunder a 94-87 lead. He later caught a pass in midair around his waist, and then kicked his legs out and hesitated before making a reverse layup to bump the lead to 96-88.

Westbrook clinched the triple-double on a rebound in the fourth quarter. His mid-range jumper gave the Thunder a 116-107 lead and forced a Clippers timeout, and Oklahoma City maintained control from there.