Mike Brown taking Andrew Bynum’s latest ejection in stride

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Andrew Bynum was ejected early in the fourth quarter of the Lakers loss to the Rockets on Friday, and by all accounts, it was a situation that should have been completely avoided. Bynum already had picked up one technical foul, and after scoring on a strong post move inside, he turned to the Houston bench and demonstratively let them know just how pleased he was with his accomplishment.

That was enough to get him tossed in the referees’ eyes. In the eyes of Lakers fans, Bynum’s act is growing tired, and the majority wish the team would step in and do something about his recent behavior, which seems to be lacking maturity and growing more defiant by the day.

Lakers head coach Mike Brown, however, in speaking before his team was set to face the Suns in Phoenix on Saturday, didn’t seem overly concerned.

“Obviously I talked to him about it, but you take it in stride,” he said. “We’ve had other guys, from Josh McRoberts to Matt Barnes to myself get kicked out. It’s part of the course of the season, in my opinion. You hope it doesn’t happen, because we need everybody to be there on the sidelines, and obviously we needed Andrew last night. But the NBA fines you for getting the first tech, the NBA fines you for getting the second tech, and then you go from there and hopefully it doesn’t happen again.”

Bynum was ejected the last time L.A. played the Rockets too, and of course, there was the benching that took place after he launched an ill-advised three-pointer early in the shot clock. But there won’t be any type of internal suspension of the team’s All-Star center, an idea that Brown laughed off as being as ridiculous as it sounds.

“Then I should have suspended myself, and I should have suspended Josh McRoberts, and Matt Barnes, and my good buddy Gregg Popovich should be suspended 16 times a year because of his tirades, and I could go on down the line,” Brown said. “I think if it’s a problem or it gets out of hand, where a guy gets kicked out multiple times, then maybe. But (Bynum) doesn’t even lead our team in technicals. So, do I suspend him when he’s maybe fourth or fifth … I don’t know if that makes sense.”

As for his discussion with Bynum and what his big man’s reasons were for his actions, Brown declined to share those details. Bynum didn’t speak to reporters after the game on Friday, and it was the same in Phoenix before the game Saturday.

Brown did say that he stressed to Bynum the importance of not taking himself out of games like this in the future. And he believes, at least for now, that his message has been received.

“He gave his reasoning; you can ask him what his reasoning was,” Brown said. “He gave it, I said OK, and we moved on. Again, he knows that we need him on the floor. He knows that we needed him on the floor Friday night. For me to sit here and continue to beat a dead horse on it, it’s not going to do me any good or him any good once you get your message across.”

Kevin Durant gets into Twitter debate with reporter over White House comments

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Kevin Durant became the latest Warrior — joining Stephen Curry, Andre Iguodala, and Shaun Livingston, that we know of — to say he would not visit President Donald Trump’s White House as NBA champion. Which is all kind of moot because it’s unlikely the White House invites them and outspoken Trump critic/Warriors coach Steve Kerr and his players any way. (The White House’s biggest concern should be that Kerr accepts the invitation and uses that platform to challenge the president’s policies and style in front of him.)

Durant’s comments led to plenty of talk on sports talk radio and around the sports world online about whether a player or team should decline an invitation from the president. It’s not a new debate, Tom Brady denied that politics is why he didn’t visit Barack Obama’s White House (although I’m not sure many believed him), but KD’s on a big stage now so it became a talking point.

Former ESPN reporter Britt McHenry questioned a player not visiting the White House, and Durant responded, leading to a little Twitter back-and-forth.

Durant had previously Tweeted in response “by doing the opposite, I am inspiring more people” but that Tweet was deleted.

There is no one correct way to protest a person/policy/action, McHenry may see things differently, but Durant has chosen to stay away. That’s valid — traditionally these “champions to the White House” things are tedious photo ops with a few bad jokes thrown in. Having a hoops fan/player in Obama in the White House made the NBA visits more entertaining the past eight years, there was some trash talk, but still, they are largely just a public relations moment. If KD doesn’t want to play the PR game with Trump, that’s a legitimate response.

This has all been a tempest in a teapot. Until/unless the White House actually invites the Warriors to come, it’s all kind of moot.

Dwight Howard on Hornets’ coach Clifford: “It’s a great feeling when somebody believes in you”

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Dwight Howard‘s game is much better than his reputation among fans.

He’s not the Defensive Player of the Year/All-NBA/MVP candidate level player he was back in Orlando, but Howard is still one of the best rebounders in the game, he’s strong defensively, and he’s an efficient scorer inside. He’s a quality center, if he plays within himself and is used well. His perception as a guy who does not take the game seriously and held back Houston and Atlanta in recent years has validity (he plays better in pick-and-roll than on the move, but wants the ball in the post), but the idea he is trash is flat-out wrong. He’s still good.

Howard wants to change his reputation, rewrite the final chapters of his career, and told Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN that Steve Clifford’s Charlotte Hornets are the place that is going to happen.

“The other places I was, the coaches didn’t really know who I am,” Howard told ESPN. “I think that they had perception of me and ran with it. Cliff knows my game. He knows all the things that I can do. I’m very determined to get back to the top. It’s a great feeling when somebody believes in you. They aren’t just saying it; they believe it. It really just pushed me to the limit in workouts: running, training, everything. I want to do more.

“In Orlando, I was getting 13-15 shots a game. Last season, in Atlanta, it was six shot attempts. It looks like I’m not involved in the game. And if I miss a shot, it sticks out because I am not getting very many of them. But I think it’s all opportunity, the system. I haven’t had a system where I can be who I am since I was in Orlando.”

Howard averaged 8.3 field goal attempts per game in Atlanta, which is about five a game below his peak. Last season 75 percent of Howard’s shots came within three feet of the rim — is is not there to space the floor, however, he can still move fairly well off the roll and is a good passer for a big.

Last season, 28 percent of Howard’s possessions came on post ups, and he averaged a pedestrian 0.84 points per possession on those. On the 21 percent of shots he got on a cut, he averaged a very good 1.36 PPP. When he got the ball back as a roll man (again on the move), it was 1.18 PPP. The challenge long has been Howard is better on the move but doesn’t feel involved unless he gets post touches, and if he doesn’t feel involved and engaged he’s not the same player.

Maybe Clifford can make this all work with some older plays where Howard feels comfortable.

Charlotte, with Howard in the paint and on the boards, should get back to being a top 10 NBA defensive team, not the middle of the pack as they were last season. Clifford is better than that as a coach, and Howard is an upgrade in the paint (on both ends). Charlotte should be a playoff team again in the East.

But it all will come back to Howard. Fair or not. And Wojnarowski is right, this is Howard’s last best chance to write the ending he wants to his career.

Friday afternoon fun: Watch James Harden’s 10 best plays from last season

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James Harden had a historic season in Houston.

Since it’s Friday afternoon and your sports viewing options consist of watching guys about to be cut from NFL rosters try to impress, why not check out Harden’s best plays from last season. It’s worth a couple minutes of your time.

Mavericks sign Jeff Withey to one-year contract

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Jeff Withey‘s ex-fiancée accused him of domestic violence, but he was not charged.

That frees him to continue his basketball career, which he’ll do in Dallas.

Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports:

The Mavericks could use another center, even if they re-sign Nerlens Noel. Salah Mejri is the only other true center, though Dirk Nowitzki will now play the position.

Withey is a good rim protector. Just don’t ask him to do anything away from the basket.

Dallas annually brings excess players to training camp and has them compete for regular-season roster spots. Whether or not his salary is guaranteed, Withey will likely fall into that competition.