Andrew Bynum ejected for flagrant foul on Michael Beasley


Midway through the fourth quarter of the Lakers tougher-than-expected win over the Timberwolves on Friday, Andrew Bynum was called for a flagrant two foul for the contact he made with Michael Beasley. L.A. was up one with a little over six minutes remaining, and Beasley blew by Matt Barnes on the perimeter, drove baseline, and Bynum was there waiting.

Bynum led with his right elbow and met Beasley in mid-air, which sent the power forward crashing hard to the Staples Center floor. Bynum was (correctly, I believe) assessed a with a flagrant foul two, which means an immediate ejection. It also means that the league office will review the play to determine if it warrants additional disciplinary action in the form of a suspension. A slow-motion look at things shows that it likely should not.

At full speed, the play from Bynum looked worse than it was, because of the follow through with that right elbow. But that came after the contact was already made, and did nothing to make Beasley’s awkward fall any more damaging.

Phil Jackson described it like this:

“[Bynum] was going to go block the shot and he knew he was too late and so he just bumped him; he just gave up on the block but he didn’t try for the block,” Lakers coach Phil Jackson said. “But, Andrew’s [foul] looked bad and the kid fell hard.”

Let’s be clear: I’m in no way defending Bynum’s actions here, as both head coaches seemed to do afterward. It was anything but a smart play, and given the young center’s size and strength, he needs to be careful when giving these types of hard fouls, because the results can be scary. There’s even a correct way to do this, by jumping straight up with both arms extended and absorbing the player’s contact with the body. It will have the same desired effect — the opponent will go down hard, and think twice about challenging Bynum in the lane the rest of the game. Just don’t be reckless about it.

With that being said, this one, I think, was just a frustration foul from Bynum that went a little too far, and the consequence at the time — an ejection with about six minutes left in a one-point game — was punishment enough.

It is possible, of course, that the league will see it differently.

It’s not exactly accurate to say that Bynum has a history with these types of plays, but one that does come to mind was the fairly severe result of a similar play involving Bynum and Gerald Wallace back in January of 2009. That flagrant foul from Bynum sent Wallace to the hospital, for injuries that included a partially collapsed lung and a broken rib.

Bynum wasn’t suspended back then for the play on Wallace, and he shouldn’t receive a suspension now.

Sixers to retire Moses Malone’s number next season

Darryl Dawkins, Moses Malone

Kobe Bryant‘s pregame tribute video stole the show in Philadelphia, but Tuesday night was Moses Malone tribute night. The former league MVP and Hall of Famer passed away in September, and his legacy was honored by the Sixers during a halftime ceremony. During the festivities, Malone’s son announced that his No. 2 will be retired by the organization next season.

There’s no question that Malone, one of the greatest players in the history of the sport, deserves to have his number retired. The only relevant question is: why didn’t this happen years ago? The ceremony next season should be good, but it would have been better if they had done it when Malone was alive to participate in it. No Sixers player has worn No. 2 since Malone anyway, but it’s been over 20 years since he last wore a Sixers jersey. Why couldn’t they have found some time in those two decades to have a ceremony and hang a banner?

LeBron James with two-handed halfcourt bounce pass for assist (VIDEO)

LeBron James
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Perhaps LeBron James‘ most underappreciated skill has been his passing. He is rightly hailed as the most unselfish superstar of his generation, but being a willing passer is only part of it: he’s also as good at it as any point guard in the league. Case in point: this two-handed halfcourt bounce pass on Tuesday night, finding Richard Jefferson for an easy dunk:

Kobe gets great introduction, loud ovation in Philadelphia

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Kobe Bryant‘s relationship with his hometown of Philadelphia had its rocky sections — the Kobe’s Lakers beat the Sixers in the 2001 Finals, and then Kobe was booed during the 2002 All-Star Game —  but all was forgiven on Tuesday night.

In his final trip to Philly, he was given a framed Lower Merion High School jersey — that’s Kobe’s school, in case you forgot — and it was presented by Dr. J.

Then the fans welcomed him like you see above.

That pumped up Kobe, who scored 13 first quarter points on 5-of-10 shooting, his best quarter of the season.

Rumor: Nets testing trade waters for Bojan Bogdanovic

Bojan Bogdanovic, Otto Porter Jr.
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If you play for the Brooklyn Nets, and your name is not Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, expect you will come up in trade rumors this season.

First up on the block, Bojan Bogdanovic. The report comes from Mike Mazzeo of ESPN.

Bogdanovic is in the first year of a three-year, $11 million deal, which isn’t bad for a guy playing nearly 25 minutes a night and scoring 8.4 points per game. There is a lot of potential in his game, if developed in the right setting — he’s a good shooter out on the wing who works well off the ball. He seems to have regressed this season, but how much of that is due to the Nets and their guard play (and just generally struggling) is up for debate.

Is there going to be interest in him? Probably. As always, it is about the price, what the Nets will demand. Whether the Nets can get anything back they want is up for debate.

Right now a lot of GMs are testing the waters for players, judging the market. That is a long way from a trade happening. But don’t be shocked if the Nets make a deal or two before the February deadline.