NBA: NOV 16 Pistons v Lakers

Friday And-1 Links: Discussing coming out in the NBA

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Here is our regular 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.

• Statistically speaking, there is somebody playing in the NBA right now who is a closeted gay. Probably more than one. What would it take for them to come out publicly? Kevin Arnovitz of ESPN explored the idea with the best and most thoughtful piece of sportswriting I saw this week. A must read.

• Anthony Davis was held out of Friday night’s Hornet scrimmage against the Rockets because of a sore groin. It may not be serious but it is something to watch.

• For the Rockets, Kyle Lowry sat out that same game.

• Why might the Lakers get off to a fast start? How about a soft early schedule.

• Kevin Garnett is handing out Celtics rookie nicknames — Jared Sullinger is “Sully.”

• This video shows Amare Stoudemire and Carmelo Anthony saying they don’t think their chemistry is really an issue and everything is just hunky-dory.

• I really like the Thunder’s new alternate jersey (which leaked first in NBA 2K13) but they spelled Thunder wrong.

• This is a Q&A with Dwyane Wade talking about his jump from Jordan Brand shoes to his new deal with Chinese firm Li-Ning.

• Here is LeBron James defending the price of his sneakers (which got misreported as too high by many media outlets, it’s only $300 if you include the Nike+ tracking chip).

• Here’s some insightful thoughts on Kobe Bryant potentially retiring in a couple of years.

• Chris Douglas-Roberts is trying to make the Lakers, and the early buzz is he stands a good chance with the way he’s played. Here is an interesting Q&A with him.

• Going after offensive rebounds does not mean you have to sacrifice defense.

• DeShawn Stevenson is really pissed at Deron Williams.

• “Big Baby” Glen Davis has released a new song that is a lot about Glen Davis.

Here’s a Q&A with the Heat’s Rashard Lewis.

• Manu Ginobili (foot issue) and Patty Mills (ankle) sat out for the Spurs against the Nuggets Friday.

• Marvin Williams talks about living up to expectations, and says the only expectations that matter are his own.

• Why the concerns about the Bulls bench? Because they were 1-of-21 shooting in the fourth quarter of the team’s exhibition game Tuesday night.

• Brad Miller is an avid hunter, and if you are one of his friends he’ll text you pictures of his kills.

• And here are the Clippers Trey Thompson,Caron Butler, Trey Thompkins and Ryan Hollins going through a seasonal haunted house at Universal Studios in L.A.

NBA: Kenneth Faried got away with foul on decisive basket in Nuggets’ win over Bulls

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The Bulls’ biggest loss Friday was Jimmy Butler to injury. His absence certainly contributed to a loss to the Timberwolves the following night.

But Chicago also lost to the Nuggets on Friday, and perhaps that wouldn’t have happened if the game were called correctly down the stretch.

With Denver up two points and 21.1 seconds remaining, Kenneth Faried offensively rebounded a free throw and scored. The Bulls then intentionally fouled down the stretch, and Faried and Danilo Gallinari added a few free throws in the Nuggets’ 115-110 win.

One problem: Faried should’ve been called for offensively fouling Taj Gibson on the key putback, according to the NBA’s Last Two Minute Report:

Faried (DEN) extends his arm into Gibson (CHI) and dislodges him, affecting his ability to retrieve the rebound.

This was a huge swing. Instead of Taj Gibson – a 69% career free-throw shooter – going to the line for two attempts with Chicago down two points, Faried put the Nuggets up four. Even if Gibson split at the line, the Bulls would have been in significantly better shape.

As usual, we can’t know what would’ve happened if this call were made correctly. But it significantly set back Chicago.

NBA considering if jump-on-back foul should be flagrant foul

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The video above is an intentional foul — Chris Paul jumped on the back of Dwight Howard. The same thing has happened to Andre Drummond.

Is it a flagrant foul?

The Boston Celtics tweeted this out on Sunday.

The NBA was quick to let people know that this is just something under consideration — there has been no change in the rules. This may well be where the league is headed, but it’s not there yet.

The NBA defines a flagrant foul as “unnecessary contact committed by a player against an opponent.” To me, leaping on a player’s back like that qualifies. (A flagrant two foul is “unnecessary and excessive contact” and leads to an ejection; this is not that.)

Jared Dudley — one of the more vocal players on union issues — added a good point.

Consider this part of the coming changes on the intentional fouling rules period. But this one tweak could come much faster.

NBA: Foul on Cavaliers that sparked Celtics’ comeback called in error

Cleveland Cavaliers' J.R. Smith makes a move on Boston Celtics' Evan Turner (11) during the third quarter of a NBA basketball game in Boston Tuesday, Dec. 15, 2015. (AP Photo/Winslow Townson)
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The Cavaliers were in great shape against the Celtics on Friday, leading by four points with seven seconds left.

Then, it all went so wrong for Cleveland.

J.R. Smith was called for fouling Evan Turner on a made layup, cutting the margin to two points. Turner missed the free throw, but the ball went out of bounds off the Cavs. Then, Avery Bradley made a buzzer-beating 3-pointer to give Boston the win.

Rewind, though, and an incorrect call drove the sequence, according to the NBA.

Smith shouldn’t have been called for fouling Turner, per the Last Two Minute Report:

Smith (CLE) makes incidental contact with Turner’s (BOS) body as he attempts the layup.

If this were officiated correctly, the Cavs would’ve had the ball and a two-point lead with 5.9 seconds left. That’s not a lock to win – they’d still have to inbound the ball and make their free throws – but it’s close.

Cleveland is definitely entitled to feel the refs wronged them out of a victory.

Report: Kevin Durant has “done his due diligence on the Bay Area”

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Kevin Durant has not made up his mind about what he will do as a free agent this summer. Until his playoff run ends, whenever that may be for the Thunder, his focus will be on bringing a title to Oklahoma City.

But even he admits he can’t help but think about free agency a little.

The buzz around the league is Golden State is at the front of the line if Durant decides to leave OKC, and he has done some research, reports Marc Spears of Yahoo Sports.

The Warriors play in front of an intimidating Oracle Arena crowd and are expected to debut a new San Francisco arena in 2019. Durant has quietly done his due diligence on the Bay Area, too, sources told Yahoo Sports.

His people — specifically agent Rich Kleiman and personal manager Charlie Bell — would be stupid not to have done some research on not only Golden State but on every other team he might consider: Houston, Miami, Washington, both teams in Los Angeles, the Knicks, and on down the line. Golden State, playing with Stephen Curry, certainly would have its attractions.

I’m still in the camp that Durant signs a 1+1 deal to stay in Oklahoma City (meaning he can opt out after one more season, in 2017), and it’s all about the cash. While he could get 30 percent of a $90 million cap this summer (about $27 million a season to start), with one more year of service in 2017 Durant could get 35 percent of $108 million ($37.8 million to start). That’s a lot of cash. Plus he gets one more chance at a ring with Russell Westbrook and Serge Ibaka, who both are 2017 free agents.

But you can be sure whatever Durant decides, it will be well researched and thought out. And he’s not going to announce it in a live special on ESPN.