Mark Cuban goes to Dyckman… for about thirty seconds before lockout rules made him leave

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DyckmanPark has been as much of a hangout for NBA players opening classrooms on streetball courts as anywhere else. So much so that Mark Cuban decided to make a pit-stop by the place to see some basketball.

For about thirty seconds.

From ESPN.com:

The standing-room only crowd showed Cuban love as he entered with security flanking his every step. Cuban shook hands with the fans that were lined up behind a bench and the scorers table. The owner of the defending NBA champions posed for pictures and sat for a few minutes in a beach chair before departing.

As he was escorted out, the game’s emcee told the crowd on hand that because of NBA rules, Cuban was not allowed to stay any longer.

“I love anywhere where there’s basketball. Anywhere where there’s people coming out and having fun is always a good thing, man,” Cuban said as he exited the park. “I’m glad Greg (Marius, CEO of the EBC) brought me out to be apart of it. I wish I could stay.”

via Mark Cuban made an appearance at the Dyckman League in Washington Heights on Friday. – ESPN New York.

So, it’s really great that Cuban’s making an appearance and promoting basketball and willing to cross the line to where he knew there would be NBA players, even he was forced to leave.

Except…

Thing is, there have been published reports on how Cuban is part of the contingent of owners who have pushed hardest for the lockout, the relatively new owners who want to guarantee profitability by shifting the league’s course in terms of player salary structure to a hard cap and essentially enact nuclear winter to get what they want. The NBA’s official position, of course, is that the system is simply not sustainable and that a roll-back of the 57% BRI under the previous deal is part of what they have determined is necessary to stop the bleeding. Even if Cuban’s not part of that contingent, that’s the leading force from the owners, of which Cuban is a part of. So in the boardroom Cuban’s pushing to keep the players locked out and consequently the game on hold from the fans, and in front of the cameras, he’s hanging out with the Mavericks at the ESPY’s and making appearances at Dyckman Park before leaving as if it’s not his choice and he’s just doing what he’s told.

Listen, no one thinks more of Cuban as an owner than I do. He’s a smart, engaging personality that has pumped millions of dollars into the Mavericks to make them a winner. Seeing him with the trophy at the Finals in Miami after Game 6 was a highlight, it was validation to everyone who supports things like sports psychologists, advanced metrics, and entertaining owners who have their eye on the future. But Cuban seems to want to play both sides. The, pardon this, maverick owner who plays by his own rules and flirts with fines because of how close he is with his players, and the billionaire owner looking to kill a season in order to get what he wants, which is what he feels is a fair share of the pie.

If the reports are off, and Cuban’s not a part of that contingent, if he thinks the league should back off its hard line and settle a deal in the middle with the players, then this is totally off. But we’ll never know that because we don’t know where the owners stand. Transparency weakens their position, and it’s not something they should engage in. But that obtuseness comes with a price, and that price seems to be Cuban looking a little hypocritical.

But hey, I’m sure the hot dogs were nice.

(HT: IAmaGM.com)

Isaiah Thomas scores 33, Celtics beat Bulls 104-95 to tie series

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CHICAGO (AP) Isaiah Thomas scored 33 points, and the Boston Celtics beat the Chicago Bulls 104-95 on Sunday to tie their first-round playoff series at 2-all.

Boston blew a 20-point lead, but Thomas keyed a third-quarter run that put the Celtics back on top after Chicago briefly went ahead.

Gerald Green made four 3-pointers on his way to 18 points, helping the top-seeded Celtics return the favor in Chicago after dropping the first two games at home. Al Horford added 15 points and 12 rebounds.

Game 5 is Wednesday in Boston.

Jimmy Butler carried the Bulls with 33 points and nine assists. Nikola Mirotic and seldom-used Isaiah Canaan each scored 13 points, but Dwyane Wade finished with just 11.

Canaan made his first appearance since April 10, with Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg searching for help at point guard with Rajon Rondo missing his second straight game because of a broken right thumb.

The Celtics led by 20 in the second quarter and were still up 10 in the third when Chicago scored 12 straight. The Bulls went ahead 65-63 on Robin Lopez‘s hook shot with 4:35 left in the quarter.

Thomas answered with back-to-back layups and scored 10 points in a 12-0 run that gave the Celtics a 75-65 lead, and they withstood a push by the Bulls early in the fourth.

With Thomas and Green each scoring 16 in the first half, the Celtics carried a 57-46 lead into the break.

Butler led the Bulls with 17 in the half. But the offense struggled in a big way with Rondo unavailable. Jerian Grant started and went to the bench after about five ineffective minutes. Michael Carter-Williams then picked up two quick fouls, forcing the Bulls to go with Canaan in the first quarter.

The Celtics, meanwhile, led 41-21 early in the second quarter. But things started to turn after Canaan stole the ball from Marcus Smart and scored on a layup.

Smart feigned throwing the ball at Butler. The two came nose to nose, resulting in technical fouls for both players, and the Bulls started to shoot their way back into it.

Mirotic hit a pair of 3-pointers and scored eight in the quarter. Bobby Portis cut it to 52-42 with his basket late in the half, and Butler hit two free throws with 22.6 seconds left to make it 57-46.

RONDO FINED

The NBA fined Rondo for attempting to trip Boston Celtics forward Jae Crowder from the bench in Game 3. Crowder jawed at the Bulls’ bench after hitting a jumper and Rondo extended his leg as Crowder walked by.

TIP-INS

Celtics: Thomas was just 1 of 9 on 3-pointers but made 12 of 13 free throws.

Bulls: Butler made 19 of 23 foul shots after failing to get to the line in Game 3. … Canaan was inactive for the first three games.

LeBron James swats Thaddeus Young on yet another chasedown block (VIDEO)

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LeBron James is The King, but he’s also the king of chasedown blocks in the NBA. During Sunday’s Game 4 matchup with the Indiana Pacers, the Cleveland Cavaliers star dropped the hammer yet again on an unsuspecting opponent.

The victim this time was Pacers forward Thaddeus Young, who was out on a 2-on-2 break with LeBron trailing.

To be honest, Young should have known better than to try this.

Via Twitter:

Cleveland completed the series sweep on Indiana with the win, 106-102.

Robin Lopez helpfully stopped to tie Jae Crowder’s shoe (VIDEO)

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Why did Robin Lopez tie Jae Crowder‘s shoe during Sunday’s Game 4 between the Boston Celtics and Chicago Bulls? We may never know. Perhaps he was just helping the Celtics forward after he tossed him to the ground? Or maybe he’s just doing weird Robin Lopez things?

In any case, Lopez helpfully stopped to tie Crowder’s shoe after it came off during a battle down low early in the third quarter at United Center.

Here’s how it went down.

Via Twitter:

I still have no idea.

Noticeably frustrated, Russell Westbrook gets prickly with reporter after loss to Rockets (VIDEO)

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The Oklahoma City Thunder and Houston Rockets played an ugly game down the stretch on Sunday. The Rockets employed a hack-a-Andre Roberson strategy, while the Thunder played sloppy and often poorly with Russell Westbrook out of the game.

The latter was the subject in question when Oklahoman reporter Berry Tramel spoke with Westbrook and Steven Adams at a postgame press conference following the Game 4 loss, 113-109.

Tramel’s question — whether the Rockets got a boost when Westbrook was off the floor — was directed at Adams, but the Thunder MVP candidate couldn’t let it go.

Snapping at Tramel, Westbrook told him not to split them up.

Via Twitter:

Tramel’s question is legitimate, and one of the overarching themes of this series thus far. Westbrook’s response is pretty far off the mark, but it did tell the story of how he’s feeling going away from Chesapeake Arena down 3-1.

Game 5 is on Tuesday in Houston.