Let’s just get this out of the way up front — Boston did not lose this game because they got five technical fouls. Their problems in this series are much larger than that and it only amounted to three Heat points anyway.
But still — five technicals. It was enough to get referees names (Ed Malloy and Danny Crawford) trending on twitter.
Doc Rivers, Ray Allen and Rajon Rondo each got one, plus there was one for defensive three seconds and one for delay of game when Kevin Garnett tapped the ball after a made basket.
Were they legit? Doc Rivers says no (from A. Sherrod Blakely at CSNNE.com)
“I know mine wasn’t. I can tell you that much. I don’t know how long I’ve been in the league, but that has to rank as the worst I’ve ever had. I would have loved to earn it.”
That will be a $25,000 fine for Rivers, no doubt. The league does not take kindly to you saying the referees blew it. But video of the call showed Rivers only saying “Come on, Eddie” to Malloy. It wasn’t technical worthy from what we saw (we don’t know what happened prior to that moment).
Allen had a bad call go against him then had the technical because of his reaction (one that was not playoff tech worthy). The delay of game came after a previous warning, but Garnett tapped the ball after it came through the net gently. It was technically a violation, but worse has gone unpunished.
In a rough game for them Boston came off as the frustrated team, and that focus was easily placed on the calls and not the team’s poor shooting from the outside or the host of other things that cost the Celtics the game.
Still, the Celtics should be frustrated. It was a little tight for an emotional playoff game. You got to let the guys play.
Just a suggestion for rookie Dejounte Murray: Don’t do this in front of Gregg Popovich. You may not like his reaction.
That said, the Spurs needed to get more athletic this off-season — landing Pau Gasol certainly didn’t help that cause — so enter first-round pick Murray, who pulled this off in a recent pickup game.
Murray is going to be brought along slowly in a backcourt where Tony Parker and Patty Mills will be splitting time at the point. Murray is more of a combo guard and is going to have to shoot a lot better than he did in college (28.8 percent from three) to get some run. But this is a situation where the Spurs can groom him, bring him along slowly, and see if they have another draft steal.
He’s certainly got the athleticism.
James Harden‘s defense is not as bad as its reputation.
Well, at least it wasn’t two seasons ago — his near MVP season he was in good enough shape that he could put in a respectable effort on that end and still handle his massive offensive load. There were still some mental lapses, but his focus was better and his improvement lifted the team defense. Last season, he regressed back to youtube “highlight” defense Harden — his conditioning was not where it needed to be, he didn’t expend as much effort on that end, and it showed.
Harden got a massive contract extension this summer, and Dwight Howard is Atlanta’s problem — now Harden has to lead the Rockets. By example. Corey Brewer told ESPN you’re going to see that on defense.
“I think this year he’s going to play better defense, We’re going to let the past be in the past. It’s the future of the Rockets, man. James is going to play defense this year.”
We’re all Missourians on this one: Show me.
Remember that the Rockets will be out and running — Mike D’Antoni is the coach now, and Daryl Morey is going to get the up tempo ball he wants (which Kevin McHale had them doing, but Harden didn’t like him so…). D’Antoni’s teams in Phoenix played better defense than their reputation — points per possession they were middle of the pack — but that has never been his focus.
Will Harden be able to run like he needs to on offense and still defend at a reasonable level?
If he can, it’s a big step toward the Rockets being a dangerous team in the West because if he does it others will follow. Otherwise, every Rockets game will be a shootout, which is entertaining but not going to get a team deep into the playoffs.
I can see the questions on Twitter/in the comments already so let me save you some time.
Because it’s summer.
Because it’s Drake (he’s a celebrity and an NBA hanger-on with some quasi-official position with the Raptors).
Because Stephen Curry did it, too.
Because what other hoops are you watching on a late August afternoon?
And besides, you clicked on it. You know you want to see it.
So here it is, Drake, hitting a halfcourt shot while doing a sit up. Enjoy.
Mario Chalmers was thriving with the Grizzlies after a midseason trade from the Heat when a torn Achilles ended his season.
Not the way Chalmers wanted to enter free agency.
Still unsigned, he says he’s progressing.
Can he go 100%, though? If not, when?
A few teams could use another point guard. If Chalmers shows his health, he belongs in someone’s rotation. But that might require taking a low-paying deal and working his way up from the third point guard spot – or even just onto the regular-season roster.