Indiana Pacers head coach Frank Vogel complains to an official during the second quarter of Game 1 of their first round NBA Eastern Conference basketball playoffs against the Orlando Magic in Indianapolis

Pacers coach Frank Vogel fined for planting seed in refs’ heads


There will be no working the referees through the media before the series starts.

That is what the NBA essentially said when it came down Saturday with a $15,000 fine for Pacers coach Frank Vogel less than a day before his team opens the second round against the Heat.

Vogel started trying to plant a seed in the officials minds last week when he said the Heat flopped more than any team in the NBA, adding:

“It’ll be very interesting to see how the referees officiate the series and how much flopping they reward. . . . Every drive to the basket they have guys not making a play on the ball, but sliding in front of drivers. Often times they’re falling down even before contact is even being made. It’ll be interesting to see how the series is officiated.”

It might be a price Vogel is willing to pay if he gets a few calls. While his team is better than people think he’s and the Pacers are going to need every break to go their way to have a real chance in this series.

The NBA was passing out other fines on Saturday:

• Atlanta’s reserve big man Ivan Johnson was fined $25,000 for flipping off some Boston fans during Game 6 of that series. Yes, Ivan, Boston fans can be obnoxious, still can’t flip them off. Even when they deserve it. Just one of life’s many rules.

• Hawks co-owner Michael Gearon was fined $35,000 for suggesting that Kevin Garnett is a dirty player. Hate to tell you this Gearon, but this isn’t libel and truth isn’t a defense. Here are the exact comments:

Last night, we are playing this old physical team. They are old. I know what happens when you play basketball, old guys foul. [Kevin] Garnett is the dirtiest guy in the league. We are playing Boston last night and they had two fouls the whole first half. We had five times that and we’re athletic.”

KG said those comments fired him up and were behind him dropping 28 on the Hawks in the closeout Game 6. So well done, a fine and you got your team eliminated. That’s a hard to pull off daily double.

Pelicans signing center Jerome Jordan

Marc Gasol, Jerome Jordan
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Through the first two weeks of training camp, the Pelicans have seen their frontcourt depth decimated by injuries to Alexis Ajinca and Omer Asik, both of whom are out for a few weeks. A deal with Greg Smith fell through after he failed a physical. Now, Yahoo’s Marc Spears reports that they’re signing former Knicks and Nets center Jerome Jordan as a short-term solution:

Jordan has only played 65 games in his career and hasn’t been spectacular, but the Pelicans need a body while their two centers are out. Anthony Davis will spend some time at center, but considering the contracts Asik and Ajinca got this summer, Alvin Gentry clearly plans on playing him at power forward as well, and they need a center to at least fill time before Asik and Ajinca get back.

Kevin Love unsure about opening-night return

Kevin Love
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He’s back in practice with the Cavaliers, but there’s still no clarity on whether Kevin Love will be available for the season opener. Love had shoulder surgery in April after suffering a torn labrum in Game 4 of the Cavs’ first-round series against the Celtics, and doctors initially gave him a timetable of four to six months for a return. The six-month end of that is right around opening night (October 27), but Love still doesn’t know whether he’ll be able to play against the Bulls—although he is hopeful.

Via the Sporting News‘ Sean Deveney:

“I feel pretty good,” Love told Sporting News. “As far as the opener goes, I am not completely sure. I’ll probably get with the doctors and see what they have to say. I know that my six-month post-op is coming up here pretty fast. As far as getting the strength back, getting the range of motion, I feel pretty good, so I am looking forward to getting into some more contact, getting into a rhythm and getting out there as quickly as I can.”

Love has been cleared for 3-on-3 practices, but not yet for 5-on-5. If it were up to him, he’d be back on the court, but he understands he needs to follow the rehab protocol for his injury.

“(Six months is) just a ballpark figure that has generally been thrown out there by anybody who has talked about the rehab process for this kind of an injury,” Love said. “I like to think that I am ahead of the game, but there’s different tests and the due diligence that the doctor will go through and the training staff will go through. So all I can do is go out there every day and attack my rehab and hopefully I will be able to go out there and help these guys as soon as possible.”

At the very least, the Cavs will be without Kyrie Irving (still recovering from knee surgery) and Iman Shumpert (out up to three months with a wrist injury), and probably Tristan Thompson too, unless his contract situation changes unexpectedly. So having Love available would be some much-needed good news. But it’s more important that Love (and everyone else) is healthy for the playoffs. If he’s not ready to play, there’s no need to rush back for an October game.