Evan Turner

Evan Turner, Sixers defend first place in Atlantic Division

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The winner of this contest was going to have the lead the Atlantic Division when the final horn sounded, so we expected a game with a playoff feel.

Instead, we got another lockout game — Boston looked tired and flat on the second night of a road back to back and got routed by Philadelphia, 103-71. Philly was home and motivated to defend the top spot they had all season, Boston just was not physically or mentally ready to challenge them.

We learned nothing about the fate of the Atlantic division in this one. We didn’t learn anything… well, that’s not true, we learned one thing:

Someone at a Philly newspaper should write a column every day saying the Sixers need to cut their losses and trade Evan Turner. Or that Turner has “undisclosed problems” that were holding back his play (something else that was published but team denied later).

Turner came out motivated, attacked the paint off the dribble from the start and finished with a career high 26 points on 19 shots, plus he had 9 rebounds. He looked like what the Sixers hoped they were getting with the No. 2 overall pick, not the player who has struggled to fit into Doug Collins system. He was hot early and sparked the Sixers blowout win.

Philadelphia came out more aggressive than they have seemed in recent weeks. Turner was the ringleader but all the Sixers were attacking the rim. Elton Brand was playing well, the Sixers got out and ran and before you could blink the Sixers were up 9 and had 16 of their first 20 points in the paint. That energy carried over all game as the Sixers were up 33-17 after one quarter. Boston had no energy to counter and shot just 36 percent for the quarter.

It got worse for the men in green. Boston was shooting 10-31 and had 21 points midway through the second, meanwhile Sixers went on a 14-0 run to pull away and lead by as many as 28. It was 55-33 Philly at the break as Boston shot 34 percent for the half. The Sixers missed too, but they had 11 offensive rebounds.

Boston looked like an old team in a condensed schedule ad is now in 0-6 on second game of road back-to-back. Paul Pierce had 16 but this was a garbage time fourth quarter where both teams just played their benches.

We really didn’t learn anything about the fate of the Atlantic Division in this game. We know both teams want to win it (as do the Knicks) because it means at least a four seed in the East, meaning you avoid Miami and Chicago in the first round. The Sixers had one good night, we’ll see if they can carry it over.

Same goes for Evan Turner.

One more look back: Top 10 clutch shots of season to this point

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The opening weeks of the season have seen some dramatic finishes — and for a Saturday night, why not watch a compilation of them? What else were you going to do? You’ve got 3:30 to sit through these.

Who got the top spot? Marc Gasol? Damian Lillard? Al Horford? John Henson? If we told you it would just destroy the surprise.

Like crossovers? Check out Top 10 handles of NBA season so far

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It’s not really fair if you ask Nemanja Bjelica to cover Stephen Curry in space, but it does make for a good highlight.

On a nice slow Saturday afternoon around the NBA, let’s take a look at the top 10 handles moves of the season so far, courtesy NBA.com. Of course, there is some wickedness from James Harden, Derrick Rose, and Chris Paul, too. But I’m good with Jordan Clarkson in the top spot.

Watch Giannis Antetokounmpo find Jabari Parker for the slam

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I want the Giannis Antetokounmpo and Jabari Parker combo to work better than it does. The Buck get outscored by 2.3 points per 100 possessions when those two are on the court together, with neither end of the court working terribly well.

And yet, there are flashes — like the play above — where you think this could start to work. It just may need more time (and getting Khris Middleton back in the mix would help).

Antetokounmpo is having a phenomenal season, and is making plays.

Draymond Green fires back at league: “It’s funny how you can tell me… how my body is supposed to react”

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It’s not hard to find out how Draymond Green felt after picking up a flagrant foul Thursday night when his leg flew up after a foul and caught James Harden in the face. Just go to his Twitter feed.

Saturday at Warriors’ practice, Green expanded on the subject, here’s the video via Anthony Slater of the San Jose Mercury News.

If you prefer to read are Green’s comments transcribed:

“I just laugh at it. It’s funny how you can tell me how I get hit and how my body is supposed to react. I didn’t know the league office was that smart when it came to body movements. I’m not sure if they took kinesiology for their positions to tell you how your body is going to react when you get hit in a certain position. Or you go up and you have guys who jump to the ceiling. A lot of these guys that make the rules can’t touch the rim, yet they tell you how you’re way up there in the air which way you’re body (is supposed to go). I don’t understand that. That’s like me going in there and saying, ‘Hey, you did something on your paperwork wrong.’ I don’t know what your paperwork looks like. But it is what it is. They made the rule. Make your rule. I don’t care. But if you’re going to say it’s an unnatural thing, an unnatural act, no offense to James Harden, but I’ve never seen nobody up until James started doing it that shoots a layup like this under your arm (sweeps arms in a demonstration). That’s really not a natural act either. That’s not a natural basketball play either. But, hey, if you’re going to make a rule, make a rule. But if you’re going to take unnatural acts out the game, then let’s lock in on all these unnatural acts and take them out the game. I don’t know. Let them keep telling people how their body react I guess. They need to go take a few more kinesiology classes though. Maybe they can take a taping class or functional movement classes. Let me know how the body works because clearly mine don’t work the right way.”

Two things.

First, Green should know that the ultimate hammer on NBA fines is Kiki Vandeweghe — former NBA player, two-time All-Star, who also coached in the league. You want a guy with a players’ perspective making the call? You already have it. And Vandeweghe played in a far more physical era than this one.

Second, the flagrant was not issued because of intent but because of the action — if you kick a guy in the face, it’s a flagrant foul. There’s no gray area here, and officials shouldn’t have to guess a player’s intent. When Green went up he was fouled by Harden, and to maintain his balance Green flailed his legs out, something he has done plenty and other players going back decades have done too. That doesn’t mean it’s not reckless. That doesn’t mean a player is still not responsible for his body. Ask soccer officials about this same issue — get your leg above the waist with other players around and it can be called a “dangerous play.” In the NBA, if your leg flies up and hits a guy in the face, it’s a flagrant foul. Whether or not you meant to do it.

Green knows the league is cracking down on this. He knows he’s a target. It’s on him to change. One would think the Finals would have taught him that lesson.