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.
The second round was supposed to be when things got exciting. Instead, the San Antonio Spurs put on an absolute clinic at home, blowing out the Oklahoma City Thunder, 124-92 to take a 1-0 series lead.
Just about everything went in for San Antonio, particularly for LaMarcus Aldridge and Kawhi Leonard, who combined for 63 points. How dominant were they?
Aldridge in particular got anything he wanted against the Thunder. Oklahoma City’s stars were quiet, with Kevin Durant scoring just 16 points and Russell Westbrook 14. San Antonio controlled the game from the start and Oklahoma City never recovered from the opening punch.
It’s hard to imagine Durant and Westbrook are this ineffective again, and hopefully the rest of this series will be a little more competitive. But the Spurs did what the Spurs do, and did nothing to shake the feeling that they’re the favorites to win the west, now that Stephen Curry‘s status is unknown.
ATLANTA (AP) A year ago, Atlanta’s magical season ended with a resounding sweep by Cleveland in the Eastern Conference final.
Now, the Hawks have another shot at LeBron James and the Cavaliers.
Feeling confident after an opening-round victory over Boston, the Hawks returned to practice Saturday to begin preparations for the best-of-seven series.
Game 1 is Monday night in Cleveland.
The Hawks were the top-seeded team in the East last season after a record 60-win campaign. It didn’t do them much good against the Cavaliers, who steamrolled Atlanta in four straight games.
Even though they slipped to 48 wins and fourth in the conference, the Hawks actually sound a bit more confident heading into this matchup, largely because of their improved defense and rebounding.
For the second consecutive year, the Warriors have lost their lead assistant to another team. When the Pelicans hired Alvin Gentry during last year’s playoffs, Steve Kerr promoted Luke Walton to associate head coach and added former journeyman big man Jarron Collins to the bench. Now that Walton is headed to the Lakers as their next head coach, the Warriors will go outside the organization to find a replacement, according to ESPN.com’s Marc Stein. And one name that will likely not be in the mix is David Blatt, who very nearly became an assistant under Kerr in 2014 before being offered the Cavaliers’ head job.
Given Walton’s success this season as interim head coach while Kerr recovered from back surgery, this will undoubtedly be the most attractive assistant job in the league.
In the last few years, NBA head coaching salaries have skyrocketed, and new Lakers coach Luke Walton is no exception. According to the Los Angeles Times‘ Mike Bresnahan, Walton is getting $25 million over five years, which is the same as Steve Kerr’s deal with the Warriors, now-former Knicks coach Derek Fisher’s deal in New York, and Fred Hoiberg’s deal with the Bulls.
This kind of money has become standard for head coaches who don’t also have front-office power. Tom Thibodeau and Stan Van Gundy both get between $7 and $8 million annually to do both jobs. Given how good Walton’s current situation with the Warriors is, the Lakers probably had to be on the high end of the coaching spectrum to get him to leave.