Barea Hinrich

First NBA flopping warnings go to J.J. Barea, Donald Sloan

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Congratulations J.J. Barea and Donald Sloan, you have gotten the historic first warnings from the NBA for flopping.

The league announced Monday that Minnesota’s Barea and Cleveland’s Sloan got warnings — there are no fines until their second offense (and then it is just $5,000 for the next offense).

The goal rather is to leak these and hopefully create some public humiliation (you know reporters are going to ask about this) that will keep guys from doing it in the future.

These are both pretty legit calls by the NBA.

Sloan has no room to argue. He was trying to pressure Chicago’s Kirk Hinrich as the Bull guard brought the ball up the court, and Sloan did get bumped on a Nazr Mohammed pick, but then he tried to sell the contact by looking like a second shooter in the grassy knoll took him out.

In Barea’s case, he was sliding with the ball handling Jimmer Fredette as he came across the top of the key, Fredette used his left arm to keep some space and while there was a little contact Barea threw his arms in the air and sold it well past the point of what the contact would have warranted. In this case Barea could argue he was throwing his arms up to keep his balance or that it wasn’t really that severe, but it was a pretty clear sell.

It will be interesting to see if this has any real impact as the season wears on, and particularly during the playoffs when more is at stake and players are willing to risk more.

Al Horford shows he still has hops dunking on Solomon Hill (VIDEO)

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That’s just nasty.

Atlanta’s Al Horford gets the ball out high, but within his range, so when he pump fakes Indiana’s Lavoy Allen goes flying by. That opens up the lane and Horford attacks it, Solomon Hill tries to cut him off, but Horford just finishes threw him.

Pacers and Hawks played an entertaining, close game Friday night.

Dwyane Wade shows he still has hops with dunk on Hornets (VIDEO)

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Dwyane Wade still has some springs.

In what may be his best dunk in recent memory, he shoulders Michael Kidd-Gilchrist to create space in transition, then gets up and throws it down before Nicolas Batum can get there for the block.

Not sure even Wade saw that one coming.

Reigning dunk champ LaVine: ‘I’ve got tricks up my sleeve’

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MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Minnesota Timberwolves guard Zach LaVine is heading back to All-Star weekend to defend his slam dunk title. And he says he has “a few tricks up my sleeve” after dominating the event last year.

LaVine will compete against Detroit center Andre Drummond, Denver swingman Will Barton and Orlando forward Aaron Gordon in Toronto next weekend.

LaVine was one of the breakout stars of All-Star weekend last year with his electric performance in the dunk contest. He says he debated about coming back and made his decision after strong encouragement from his fans.

If LaVine wins, he will become the fourth player in the 31-year history of the event to repeat as champion. Michael Jordan, Jason Richardson and Nate Robinson are the others.

Report: Blake Griffin has second procedure on hand, timeline remains unchanged

Blake Griffin
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Blake Griffin will still return to the Clippers some time in March (barring any setbacks).

That said, he had a second procedure this week to repair the boxer’s fracture in his right hand, reports Ramona Shelburne of ESPN.

Clippers forward Blake Griffin underwent a second procedure this week on his broke right hand, sources told ESPN. The procedure was a part of the original surgery last week, so sources said the 4-6 week timeframe for his return remains unchanged.

This might help explain why Griffin’s hand looked so swollen and scarred this week. But to be clear, this was a planned second procedure, not a setback.

Griffin suffered the fracture punching a Clippers’ equipment manager while everyone was out to dinner in Toronto recently, while Griffin was still sidelined with a quadricep injury. The Clippers have moved on, but it is likely the league will tack on a couple of game suspension for Griffin upon his return to health.

And no, the Clippers are not looking to trade Griffin in spite of this. So stop asking.