Labor Relations Board will not throw out players’ case

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It is a small victory for the NBA players, but it’s the first one they have gotten in a while in the labor negotiations.

Back early in the negotiations, before the lockout even started, the players union filed a complaint against the owners with the National Labor Relations Board, saying the owners were not negotiating in good faith. (The owners have filed the same complaint about the union.) One of the first steps the owners took was to call for the entire complaint to be dismissed.

This week David Stern made that plea but was shot down, the investigation of the complaint will continue, reports the New York Daily News.

Locked-out NBA players believe they scored a major victory Wednesday when the National Labor Relations Board denied David Stern’s request to have the union’s charge of an unfair labor practice dismissed…

Perhaps, but first, the players’ case has several more steps to go, and it’s being viewed by legal experts as a long shot to help them break the 106-day-old lockout.

“This is part of the theater of collective bargaining, and it’s one of the few weapons that the players have to put pressure on the owners during the lockout,” said Jay Krupin, a Washington, D.C.-based attorney with Epstein Becker Green and an expert on the workings of the NLRB. “The probability of an injunction being issued to stop the lockout is remote. But right now, having the NLRB look at its charge is one of the few things the players have going for them.”

This s not a major victory for the players, it’s a minor one. As noted in this story, every legal expert PBT has spoken to on the issue has called it a long shot that the NLRB would not only rule for the players but also go so far as to take the issue to court to get an injunction and stop the lockout. Yet this is the legal path the union has pursued rather than decertification (breaking up the union then filing anti-trust lawsuits against the league, which is what the NFL players did).

But at this point, it’s a victory and the players will take that.

Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook go head-to-head, literally (video)

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This sure didn’t look like just another game for Kevin Durant – and not only because the Thunder beat the Warriors for the first time since he left.

The 108-91 Oklahoma City victory didn’t look like just another game for Russell Westbrook (34 points, 10 rebounds, nine assists and four steals), either.

Harrison Barnes banks in game-winning, buzzer-beating 3-pointer (video)

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With the shot clock off in the fourth quarter and the game tied, Grizzlies big JaMychal Green put back Tyreke Evans‘ miss with a clutch flush. There’s a very fine line between ensuring the last shot and leaving time for an offensive rebound, and Memphis threated it almost perfectly.

Emphasis on “almost.”

The Grizzlies left the Mavericks 0.5 seconds, which Harrison Barnes used to bank in a 3-pointer – off a pinpoint bounce pass by Dennis Smith Jr. – to give Dallas a 95-94 win.

Heat snap Celtics’ 16-game winning streak

AP Photo/Lynne Sladky
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The Celtics didn’t have another comeback in them.

After overcoming a 13-point fourth-quarter deficit against the Mavericks on Monday to extend its winning streak to 16 games, Boston lost to the Heat tonight, 104-98. The streak ends as the NBA’s longest since the Hawks won 19 straight during the 2014-15 season.

The Celtics trailed Miami by 16 in the fourth quarter then cut the deficit to only one with three minutes left. But Dion Waiters hit back-to-back 3-pointers, helping the Heat pull away.

Goran Dragic (27 points) and Waiters (26 points) led Miami, which needed a reason to feel good after losing three of four to fall to 7-9.

The Celtics, on the other hand, still have a four-game cushion over the rest of the Eastern Conference. This might help them regain focus.

Serge Ibaka gets dunked on by Enes Kanter, hit in face by ball (video)

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Is Enes Kanter mad Serge Ibaka rifted with his family?

(No, not this family. That family.)