Here is our daily look around the NBA — links to stories worth reading and notes to check out (stuff that did not get its own post here at PBT) — done in bullet point form. Because bloggers love bullet points.
• When Amare Stoudemire fouled out of Game 5 in Miami Wednesday, the Heat PA announcer in the building said “He has been extinguished from the game.”
• Notice on that same play, Stoudemire fouled out by running over Shane Battier. After the call Stoudemire walks over the prone Battier, extends his hand to help his opponent up, then just pulls it away and walks off.
• A look at which teams are getting the most free throws attempts per possession in the playoffs — or, who is getting the calls. Memphis tops the list with the Heat second, the Hawks and Bulls are on the bottom. What can you take away from this? The teams that pound the ball inside and attack the rim get the calls, the teams that settles for jumpers do not. Same as it ever was.
• The NBA is launching official Pinterest and Tumblr accounts during the playoffs. Got to say that the NBA gets social media.
• Remember when Kobe Bryant put up his plastic mask for auction to raise money for charity? Someone paid $67,000 for it. Yes, you read that right.
• Don Nelson, the 71-year-old Hall of Fame coach, will get his college degree this week. And I thought it took me a long time to graduate.
• Coach Scott Brooks is looking for ways to keep the Thunder from getting bored while waiting for the next round. I sense a Fruit Ninja contest coming….
• The Hornets Jarrett Jack was supposed to be down for a couple of months back when the team shut him down April 9.
• Mickael Pietrus has a connection with the fans in Boston.
• Dan Gilbert thinks his Cavaliers can make the playoffs next season. Stop laughing, he means it.
• Expect Earl Clark to pick up his option with the Magic.
• “Where the Wild Things Are” as read by Christopher Walken.
When De’Aaron Fox and Malik Monk declared for the NBA draft, they jumped in with both feet, hiring agents.
A third Kentucky freshman, Bam Adebayo, took a more cautious approach – until now.
Jon Rothstein of FanRag Sports:
Adebayo is a borderline first-round pick.
He’s a ferocious dunker. All his best skills – motor, explosiveness, physicality – come together to produce slams.
But Adebayo is an underwhelming shot-blocker and rebounder, and those same tools should translate. That speaks’ to his focus.
He has a center’s game. But at 6-foot-10 with a 7-foot-1.5 wingspan, does he have a center’s size? Adebayo can’t step away from the basket or handle the ball, so if he can’t bang with NBA centers, he’s in trouble.
The Rockets were trying to protect a two-point lead as they inbounded with 7.8 seconds left in Game 4 against the Thunder on Sunday, and James Harden wanted the ball. So, the Houston star pushed off Alex Abrines.
The play still turned chaotic – Russell Westbrook tipping the inbound pass and Eric Gordon recovering the loose ball – but it never should have gotten that far. Harden should have been called for an offensive foul, according to the NBA’s Last Two Minute Report:
Harden (HOU) pushes off Abrines (OKC) to create space during the inbound.
A correct call would have given Oklahoma City the ball down two with 7.8 seconds left and a real chance to tie or take the lead.
Instead, the Thunder had to intentionally foul Gordon, who hit two free throws to effectively ice a 113-109 Rockets win. Houston now leads the first-round series, 3-1.
The Cavaliers outscored the Pacers by just 16 points in their first-round series – tied for the narrowest margin ever in a four-game sweep. (The Warriors also outscored the Washington Bullets while sweeping the 1975 Finals.)
So, each Cleveland-Indiana game was close, including Sunday’s Game 4, which the Cavs won 106-102.
LeBron James hit a 3-pointer with 1:08 left to put the Cavaliers up 103-102, and they added a few free throws after intentional fouls to produce the final margin. But LeBron travelled with 1:14 left while making his move to get that 3-pointer, according to the NBA’s Last Two Minute Report:
James (CLE) moves his pivot foot at the start of his dribble.
A correct call would’ve ended Cleveland’s possession and given Indiana the ball with a two-point lead. Instead, the Pacers had only one possession before they had to begin intentionally fouling.
Would Indiana have won if the travel were called? Probably, though the odds would have been only slightly better than a coin flip.
Would the Pacers have won the series if the travel were called? Probably not. No team has ever overcome a 3-0 deficit, and even a Game 4 win was far from guaranteed with a travel call. But they might have at least felt better about not getting swept.
“Give all praise to Norman Powell with his energy, his athleticism, his passion, just everything he brought to us this series.”
That was Kyle Lowry talking about what his Raptor Norman Powell, who put up a career playoff best 25 points in the Raptors’ Game 5 win. Powell played good defense on Khris Middleton and drained some deep threes to help Toronto pull away in this one. Lowry was so impressed after the game at a press conference he told the media to ask Powell questions, not him.
Oh, and Powell threw down some huge dunks, too. Just check out the video.