Kings to start Dalembert over Cousins

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According to James Ham of The Purple Pajandrum, Kings coach Paul Westphal plans to start veteran center Samuel Dalembert over rookie DeMarcus Cousins now that Dalembert is healthy:

“I am going to change the line.  Hopefully it will be the last time this year.  Now that Sammy’s healthy, I think he is the right fit to start with Carl, Beno, Omri  and Tyreke.  This is something that we always envisioned doing, we just haven’t been able to do it until now.”

“It’s good to have a defensive oriented player in the front court.  It’s good to have experience.  It’s good to mix up our post threats, meaning that our two best post players are Carl and DeMarcus.  When they start together, it’s like- which one do we throw it to.  Well, if we can bring DeMarcus off the bench, throw to him when he’s in there and then throw to Carl when he’s in there.”

Cousins, whose reputation as something as a head case followed him from college to the NBA, seems to be taking the news in stride and thinking team-first:

“I thought it was a great idea and I think it will really help the team.  I won’t have to start the game off and I’m still learning.  Coming in off the bench, I can see how aggressive the game is so I can know how aggressive to be and not be.  I’ll get the feel of the game a lot better.”

I think this is a good move for the Kings — it’s important for a player leading a second unit to be able to create scoring opportunities for himself, and that’s an area Cousins excels in and Dalembert most assuredly does not.

Cousins has averaged 13.4 points and 6.4 rebounds over his first five NBA games, but has only shot 43% from the field and picked up a foul every five minutes, both of which suggest Cousins is going through some to-be-expected growing pains. Hopefully the move to the bench will take some pressure off the ulta-talented Cousins and give him time to make the necessary adjustments in his game.

Warriors complained of no water in showers in Cleveland

Michael Hickey/Getty Images
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The Cavaliers are clearly frustrated.

Did someone in Cleveland take out that frustration on the Warriors after they beat the Cavs last night?

Chris Haynes of ESPN:

Players were complaining about there being no hot water in the visiting locker room showers. When they walked in, they could be heard screaming in discomfort. Most of the players emerged shivering from taking a quick wash-off.

“Man, they got to do something in ‘The Q.’ Somebody call Bron!” Kevin Durant yelled, referring to LeBron James.

No one seemed angry; the situation was more humorous.

That’s the right approach. Whenever the hot water is out in a visiting locker room, the finger is pointed at the home team for sabotage. Sometimes, heating systems just fail.

Giannis Antetokounmpo assists fastbreak dunk with football-style long snap (video)

AP Photo/Nick Wass
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Giannis Antetokounmpo is scoring more in the post, the basketball analogue of football’s trenches.

Apparently, he’s taking the comparison to the next level.

In the Bucks’ win over the Wizards yesterday, Antetokounmpo played the part of a long-snapping center to set up Khris Middleton in transition.

NBC Sports Washington:

Report: James Harden, Chris Paul and Gerald Green were holding back Trevor Ariza in back hallway

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Rockets players James Harden, Trevor Ariza, Gerald Green and Chris Paul reportedly went through a back hallway to confront Austin Rivers and Blake Griffin in the Clippers’ locker room after last night’s game.

That’s one version of the story, at least.

But it apparently isn’t the only one – at least when it comes to Harden’s, Green’s and Paul’s involvement.

Lee Jenkins of Sports Illustrated:

A hallway runs between the Clippers locker room and the visitors locker room, where players from opposing teams often see each other and catch up. According to a Rockets source, Ariza was waiting on Griffin, and when the game ended he charged from the hallway into the Clips locker room. When Rivers spotted Ariza near the entrance, according to the source, he said: “Let his b—– a– come in.” Ariza then turned his attention to Rivers.

ESPN reported that Ariza was flanked by three teammates—Harden, Paul and Gerald Green—but their purpose was unclear. “They were holding Trevor back,” the source said.

Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:

Harden was sitting out his seventh straight game with a strained hamstring on Monday night, and Rockets sources believe that he’ll be ready for a return to the lineup on Thursday night against Minnesota.

Austin Rivers challenging Ariza is juicy, but the type of thing people say during altercations. The rest of this sounds like the Rockets trying to position themselves ahead of the NBA handing down punishments.

If they were just trying to restrain Ariza, then Harden, Paul and Green shouldn’t be fined or suspended. But if Harden is suspended, he could serve his penalty Thursday – even if the Rockets are fibbing about him being ready to play (though they at least previously laid the groundwork for that one).

There’s a lot for the league to untangle.

Russell Westbrook ejected (video)

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Russell Westbrook jumped from fifth to second in the NBA in technical fouls in about two seconds.

The Thunder star received two technical fouls and an automatic ejection late in Oklahoma City’s win over the Kings last night, leaving his nine technical fouls behind only Draymond Green‘s 11.

Westbrook got hit in the face on a drive, but instead of a foul being called on Sacramento, Westbrook was whistled for travelling. That’s quite a turnaround from the expected call to the actual call, so I understand why Westbrook was so upset. But I also wouldn’t be surprised if Westbrook said something that warranted ejection. Thunder coach Billy Donovan also got a technical foul in the sequence.

Fred Katz of The Norman Transcript:

The league used to crack down on that more with public fines, but the Thunder have skirted the rule this season.