Barnes and Van Gundy fined fined because Dwight Howard is a foul mangnet

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Thumbnail image for Howard_game.jpgTwo games into the playoffs and Dwight Howard has racked up 10 fouls, five each game. Which has meant some extra time on the bench and some caution as he tried not to get ejected from games.

Howard likes the money he makes, so he hasn’t said a word. But his coach and teammates have gone all Phil Jackson trying to work the refs, both for this series and future ones. They got the same result — Stan Van Gundy and Matt Barnes each were fined $35,000 by the league today.

 FanHouse did a nice job of compiling some quotes.

“I just don’t see the other great players in this league on the bench all the time with foul trouble, especially on marginal calls. I just don’t,” said Magic coach Stan Van Gundy. “You’re sitting there on all of those, and you’re going, ‘Wow. Really that’s a foul?”.

“Dwight gets absolutely no respect, from the refs, from the league,” said forward Matt Barnes. “It’s crazy to see what they do to him every single play, and then he puts up his arms, and they call a foul. Hopefully, the refs will start letting Dwight be a little physical and stop calling such tick-tack fouls of him. You know, give him a chance to play.”

Barnes also used his twitter account to say, “let Superman play.”

Howard is so strong he gets fouled plays through it more than most. But he also uses that strength — sometimes doing things that could be called a foul — to get his position and a shot. A couple of the calls against him this series were borderline, but he gets away with things, too.

Howard picks up a lot of fouls anyway, he led the NBA with 287 personal fouls this season. But for the playoffs he really steps up his game — last season he averaged 3.4 fouls per game, but in the playoffs upped that to 4.4 per game. This season it was 3.5 per game in the regular season, but 5 each in his two games.

It’s a pattern, Dwight. It may not be them, it may be you.

Pelicans signing center Jerome Jordan

Marc Gasol, Jerome Jordan
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Through the first two weeks of training camp, the Pelicans have seen their frontcourt depth decimated by injuries to Alexis Ajinca and Omer Asik, both of whom are out for a few weeks. A deal with Greg Smith fell through after he failed a physical. Now, Yahoo’s Marc Spears reports that they’re signing former Knicks and Nets center Jerome Jordan as a short-term solution:

Jordan has only played 65 games in his career and hasn’t been spectacular, but the Pelicans need a body while their two centers are out. Anthony Davis will spend some time at center, but considering the contracts Asik and Ajinca got this summer, Alvin Gentry clearly plans on playing him at power forward as well, and they need a center to at least fill time before Asik and Ajinca get back.

Kevin Love unsure about opening-night return

Kevin Love
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He’s back in practice with the Cavaliers, but there’s still no clarity on whether Kevin Love will be available for the season opener. Love had shoulder surgery in April after suffering a torn labrum in Game 4 of the Cavs’ first-round series against the Celtics, and doctors initially gave him a timetable of four to six months for a return. The six-month end of that is right around opening night (October 27), but Love still doesn’t know whether he’ll be able to play against the Bulls—although he is hopeful.

Via the Sporting News‘ Sean Deveney:

“I feel pretty good,” Love told Sporting News. “As far as the opener goes, I am not completely sure. I’ll probably get with the doctors and see what they have to say. I know that my six-month post-op is coming up here pretty fast. As far as getting the strength back, getting the range of motion, I feel pretty good, so I am looking forward to getting into some more contact, getting into a rhythm and getting out there as quickly as I can.”

Love has been cleared for 3-on-3 practices, but not yet for 5-on-5. If it were up to him, he’d be back on the court, but he understands he needs to follow the rehab protocol for his injury.

“(Six months is) just a ballpark figure that has generally been thrown out there by anybody who has talked about the rehab process for this kind of an injury,” Love said. “I like to think that I am ahead of the game, but there’s different tests and the due diligence that the doctor will go through and the training staff will go through. So all I can do is go out there every day and attack my rehab and hopefully I will be able to go out there and help these guys as soon as possible.”

At the very least, the Cavs will be without Kyrie Irving (still recovering from knee surgery) and Iman Shumpert (out up to three months with a wrist injury), and probably Tristan Thompson too, unless his contract situation changes unexpectedly. So having Love available would be some much-needed good news. But it’s more important that Love (and everyone else) is healthy for the playoffs. If he’s not ready to play, there’s no need to rush back for an October game.