The NBA off-season is long and arduous, but any day that brings us a picture of Tim Duncan swimming with a playful and exuberant whale is a good one.
Spurs coach Gregg Popovich doesn’t believe the league went far enough.
“It’s unsportsmanlike, it’s childish, it’s inappropriate,” Popovich said. “There’s no place for it.”
“I think they got off easy,” Popovich said.
“What if that shot costs a playoff game because somebody does that?” Popovich continued. “Maybe that affects a coach being fired. Maybe a franchise winning a series. So if you think about it, maybe it’s worth it for 5 or 10 thousand to go do that.”
For the league to send a sterner warning about such antics, Popovich suggested steeper fines of $250,00 for the team and $50,000 to $75,000 for an offending coach.
“Everybody would sit their ass down,” Popovich said.
Regardless of circumstances, it’s notable that Popovich sided with the NBA against a fellow coach – especially over an incident that didn’t directly involve the Spurs. Most coaches, even those who share Popovich’s opinion, would stay out of it. Popovich and Lowe are both represented by the same union, which ostensibly tries to protect coaches’ paychecks. It’s one thing to criticize the highly unpopular president. It’s another to lash out at someone with whom you have a shared financial partnership.
Beyond that, Popovich is right. Coaches encroaching onto the court should be eliminated. Popovich’s claim of it being unsportsmanlike rings a little hollow, considering his own behavior. But coaches toeing the sideline to distract players detracts from the quality of the game and is unsafe. There are plenty of reasons to loath the behavior beyond it offending sensibilities.
That said, Popovich has the wrong plan to eliminate it. His proposed fines would be overly punitive to lower-paid assistant coaches – and still worth the tradeoff in certain situations.
The better solution: Call technical fouls, which the league acknowledged should’ve happened with Lowe. That eliminates all cost-benefit analysis and punishes teams directly within the game if they cross that line.
President Donald Trump’s press, secretary Sean Spicer, lied about about the number of people viewing Trump’s inauguration. Spicer’s “alternative facts” have turned him into a laughingstock – and a couple NBA coaches are participating in mocking him.
Clippers coach Doc Rivers got Spicer on Saturday. Dan Woike of The Orange County Register:
Talking to a group of roughly a dozen reporters, Rivers joked it was OK to inflate the attendance figures. “The largest media crowd in NBA history came to see me today, and I really appreciate it,” he said with a laugh.
Then, Warriors coach Steve Kerr took his turn. Kerr was introduced as “former Orlando Magic star” before Golden State’s game in Orlando yesterday. He scored 122 points in 47 games with the Magic.
Sean Spicer will be talking about my Magic career any second now. Yeah, 14,000 points, greatest player in Magic history.
Lakers coach Luke Walton called the Lakers’ 122-73 loss to the Mavericks yesterday “embarrassing for us as a team, for us as an organization.”
At 49 points, it was the most lopsided loss in franchise history. Moreover, it came to 15-29 Dallas, the NBA’s fourth worst team.
The league hadn’t seen a loss that big to a team that bad in 24 years.
Here’s every game ever decided by at least 45 points, plotted by scoring difference and the victor’s full-season win percentage (or to date for the Mavericks and Warriors, who beat the Trail Blazers by 45 earlier this season). The Lakers’ loss yesterday is marked in purple:
Here are more details of similar games, which appear in the black box:
|March 18, 1972: Portland Trail Blazers 133, New York Knicks 86||47||18-64 (.220)|
|February 20, 1976: Chicago Bulls 130, Portland Trail Blazers 74||56||24-58 (.293)|
|January 2, 1993: Sacramento Kings 154, Philadelphia 76ers 98||56||25-57 (.305)|
|December 29, 1992: Sacramento Kings 139, Dallas Mavericks 81||58||25-57 (.305)|
|January 22, 2017: Dallas Mavericks 122, Los Angeles Lakers 73||49||15-29 (.341)|
|February 1, 1983: Chicago Bulls 129, Houston Rockets 76||53||28-54 (.341)|
|February 27, 1992: Charlotte Hornets 136, Philadelphia 76ers 84||52||31-51 (.378)|
The Lakers’ loss isn’t the worst in NBA history. Four teams have lost to worse teams by bigger margins, and a couple lost by more to barely worse teams.
But, barring a Dallas turnaround, the league hasn’t seen a loss like this in quite some time.
The NBA acknowledged the attention-grabbing officiating error late in the Bulls’ win over the Kings on Saturday: DeMarcus Cousins shouldn’t have been called for fouling Dwyane Wade, who hit the go-ahead free throw with 14 seconds left.
But before Sacramento claims the referees cost it a win, the Last Two Minute Report reveals a more significant missed call that favored the Kings.
Cousins should have been called for travelling with 56.3 left as he drove for a basket, according to the league:
Cousins (SAC) moves his pivot foot. The official is looking for any illegal contact and does not pick up the pivot foot.
The non-call directly allowed Cousins to score two points. Wade made only one free throw.
The officiating errors in the final two minutes helped the Kings more than the Bulls.
(Sacramento center Kosta Koufos also got away with a shooting foul on Jimmy Butler with 37.8 seconds left, according to the league, but Robin Lopez tipped in Butler’s miss, anyway. The Bulls weren’t shorted any points on that possession.)