Now, just to add to the big comebacks and pressure shot in a fun series, we have some real bad blood between Dallas and Portland.
It stems from this play at the end of Dallas’ win to take a 3-2 series. With just 18 seconds left in a nine-point game, you usually see the defenders back off and the victorious team dribble out the clock. But Portland defenders kept pushing trying to force a turnover without fouling. Both teams were playing hard the full 48.
And with 15 seconds left Brian Cardinal set a hard screen that sent Blazers guard Patty Mills to the ground. And left him there for a few seconds. Watch the video by following this link. Cardinal leans into Mills to free up J.J. Barea. He flattens Mills when the game was essentially over. After the buzzer sounded Wes Mathews. Marcus Camby and Andre Miller jawed at Cardinal, DeShawn Stevenson jumped in and both sides did some posturing.
Mills said the Blazers players felt it was a “cheap” play by the Mavericks.
“I didn’t see it, I didn’t know anyone was there, but I was wondering why Barea was pushing the ball hard up the court,” Mills said. “But I found out why. He set it up (with Cardinal). He set it up….
“At that point in the game, I don’t know … I don’t know if you do that when you are up that much,” Mills said.
My read of the play — Portland kept defending hard, Amon Johnson in particular, and if you’re going to keep playing like that then Dallas should keep playing hard. So a hard screen gets set. If you don’t want to play that way then back up and don’t pressure the ball. That was not the vibe, so Dallas responded.
If you really don’t like it, win so you can set the screens at the end if you want.
Gordon Hayward dunks on Giannis Antetokounmpo, Thon Maker (videos)
The Lakers took on the salary of Jose Calderon this year so they could get a couple second-round picks from the Bulls (Chicago got him from New York in the Derrick Rose trade), but even with the previous regime in Los Angeles the aging point guard was never part of the future.
Sources told ESPN that it’s not yet a certainty Calderon will secure his release from the Lakers in the coming days, but the sides are indeed discussing the options as Wednesday’s playoff eligibility deadline nears….
Sources say that Calderon, if he winds up hitting the open market, would instantly become a target for both the Golden State Warriors and the Houston Rockets.
Cleveland may also have interest if their plan to land Deron Williams when he is bought out by Dallas goes awry.
Calderon, 35, was not part of the Lakers’ regular rotation, playing in just 24 games. He can still knock down a shot if he has space and can set his feet, and he still has a high hoops IQ and can see the floor, but his athleticism has faded, and that can leave him exposed. Particularly on defense.
Players are being waived now so they clear in time for teams to sign them by March 1, after that said players are not eligible for playoff rosters.
There are better players to hit the waiver wire in the coming days — D-Will, Andrew Bogut, Matt Barnes — but Calderon is going to land somewhere. He’d be a solid third point guard and veteran presence for a playoff run.
Marquese Chriss blocks Bobby Portis, who gets testy (video)
The time off during the All-Star break did Dwyane Wade some good.
The Bulls guard turned back the clock on Friday night, leading the Bulls with 23 points and topping it off with this dunk that proved to be the dagger, sealing a Chicago win. The Suns were convinced Wade was going to run the shot clock way down before making his move and they lollygagged into position — so he just blew past everyone for the poster slam.