Rip Hamilton ejected five minutes into Lakers/Pistons game

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How you feel about Rip Hamilton’s ejection less than five minutes into the Lakers game against the Pistons is like a Rorschach test for how you feel about the NBA’s new “respect for the game” enforcement and use of technical fouls.

At the 7:01 mark of the first quarter, Hamilton was whistled for his second foul on a Kobe Bryant turnaround jumper. Hamilton said some things to referee Derrick Stafford, but was not demonstrative about it. Stafford gave him a technical.

After that Hamilton continued to talk to Stafford and again was not demonstrative but this time used some foul language. Quick second technical and he was gone.

As you can expect, Pistons fans were up in arms, both in the arena (as tweeted by Chris Lott) and on twitter.

Favorite crowd comment to heckle the refs after the ejection: “You are incredibly insecure.”

What was more interesting was the reaction from the traveling army of Lakers writers (compared to most teams media entourage they are an invading army). Dave McMenamin of ESPNLosAngeles tweeted the same reaction I did at home:

Stunned that Rip Hamilton just got ejected for that. He wasn’t even looking at the ref or disrespecting his personal space. Sick of the rule

But Kevin Ding of the Orange County Register responded differently.

It was not unfair: Stafford let Rip yell right at him once w/o tech. Rip should’ve stopped there … or not gone profane at him after 1st T.

And that’s what it comes to, because the lines are never seemingly in the same place. There is no consistency of enforcement game to game (or often within games). Hamilton was not demonstrative, was not inciting the crowd or screaming that loudly (some courtside media did not hear it). On the other hand, should referees have to deal with that kind of language and treatment at all under the new rules?

Where is the line? Where you put it depends on your personal feelings and tolerances. Just like the referees. Which is to say it is all over the place.

Rockets’ Clint Capela on Warriors: ‘I expect to beat them’

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During the 2014-15 season, Rockets star James Harden said the Warriors “ain’t even that good.”

Golden State went on to reach the last three NBA Finals, twice beating Houston in the playoffs, and win two championships.

The Rockets have since re-tooled around Harden, Chris Paul and several quality role players and are in first place. Houston looks like the biggest threat to the Warriors in the Western Conference.

Rockets center Clint Capela on the Warriors, via Dave Schilling of Bleacher Report:

“I expect to beat them,” Capela says.

That’s a fine sentiment. Saying it publicly is another matter. Not even Harden did that a couple years ago. He was recorded during a pregame team huddle.

There’s a fine line between self-fulfilling confidence and providing bulletin-board material to the opponent. There’s already some animosity between the teams stemming from the Stephen Curry-Harden MVP race in 2015, and it has bubbled since. No matter how harmless Capela’s remark might have been intended to be, it’ll be met contentiously in the Bay Area.

PBT Extra Player of the Week: Victor Oladipo

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Oklahoma City traded for Victor Oladipo out of Orlando to be their third scorer, behind Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook. It didn’t exactly work out that way, Durant bolted town and when Westbrook went off Oladipo was looking for a place to fit in.

That place turned out to be the Pacers.

Oladipo has been playing like an All-Star this season with Indiana, and last week he was key in snapping Cleveland’s 13 game win streak, then turned around and dropped 47 points on Denver. For the week he averaged 35.7 points a game, shot 45.7 percent from three, plus grabbed 7.7 rebounds per game.

That will get you named the PBT Extra Player of the Week.

Watch Pacers fan boo Paul George during introductions (video)

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Paul George – who told the Pacers he’d leave in free agency, prompting them to trade him to the Thunder – expected boos in his return to Indiana.

Pacers fans delivered.

They’ve also booed him every time he has touched the ball, which will certainly persist.

John Wall returns for Wizards-Grizzlies

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WASHINGTON (AP) — Point guard John Wall was in the Washington Wizards’ lineup Wednesday night against the Memphis Grizzlies after missing nine games with a sore left knee.

Coach Scott Brooks said Wall would play in the mid-20-minute range, perhaps a bit more.

The Wizards (14-13), currently in first place in the Southeast Division, went 4-5 in Wall’s absence.

“He such a force offensively,” Brooks said of Wall. “He’s a two-way player and he’s one of the few guys in the league that can find open 3-point shooters going 100 miles an hour in transition.”

Wall, 27, is averaging 20.3 points and 9.2 assists per game.