Bradley Beal, Monta Ellis, Brandon Jennings, Trevor Booker

Bradley Beal’s flagrant foul on Monta Ellis downgraded


Bradley Beal was part of the Wizards duo (along with Trevor Booker) that committed a hard foul on Monta Ellis late in Friday’s game against the Bucks.

The contest had already been decided in Milwaukee’s favor, which is what made the contact look so bad at the time. Milwaukee’s Brandon Jennings took exception to the play, and came over to give Beal a two-handed shove as it appeared that Beal was leaning down to make sure Ellis wasn’t harmed.

Both players were ejected from the game — Jennings because of his role as firestarter of the altercation, and Beal because the foul was ruled a flagrant two by the officials, which comes with it an automatic ejection.

The league office has reviewed the play, and has downgraded the foul on Beal to a flagrant one. Michael Lee of the Washington Post has the particulars:

After reviewing the incident on Saturday, the NBA downgraded Beal’s infraction to a flagrant foul penalty one. Under league bylaws, Beal was eligible to get suspended and receive a fine of up to $50,000 after he was assessed a flagrant foul penalty two – unsportsmanlike contact defined as “unnecessary and excessive” – and an automatic ejection in the loss to Milwaukee.

But he didn’t get a suspension and his punishment has been reduced.

Again, it was likely the combination of the contact from both Beal and Booker was what sent Ellis crashing down so hard, and so awkwardly. It only makes sense to downgrade the foul.

As for Jennings, no word on a fine, and he didn’t receive a suspension, though he might as well have.

He played Saturday in his team’s loss to the Celtics, but managed just four points, five assists, and three turnovers in 42 minutes, while making just one of his 11 field goal attempts.

76ers tie NBA-record losing streak, dropping heartbreaker to Celtics

Isaiah Thomas, T.J. McConnell
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After a rare period of on-court competence, the 76ers led the Celtics by five with two minutes left tonight.

Then, Philadelphia snatched defeat from the jaws of victory.

The 76ers yielded a 9-0 run to close an 84-80 setback.

They’re now 0-16. Combined with their 0-10 finish to last season, that’s a 26-game losing streak – tied for longest in NBA history. Last year’s 76ers already shared the record.

Philadelphia is also in danger of the worst start to a season. The 2009-10 New Jersey Nets began 0-18, and last year’s 76ers won only one game sooner.

The 76ers will try to avoid the all-time longest streak at the Rockets on Friday. If that goes unsuccessfully, they’ll try to avoid matching the worst season start at the Grizzlies on Sunday. And if both fail, they could set the worst-start record against the Lakers on Tuesday.

76ers-Lakers – it’s shaping up to be a big one.

Timberwolves read mean tweets about themselves (video)

Flip Saunders, Karl-Anthony Towns, Tyus Jones
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The Timberwolves didn’t select the meanest tweets about these players, but credit Karl-Anthony Towns, Tyus Jones, Shabazz Muhammad and Zach LaVine for being good sports.

LeBron James: I’m healthier than a year ago


LeBron James received an injection in his back before the season.

It’s working.

Dave McMenamin of ESPN:

LeBron James now says he feels better than he did even a year ago.

“I feel better in the mornings; I feel better throughout the games; I feel better throughout the day,” James said before a Cavs shootaround Wednesday in preparation for their game against the Toronto Raptors. “It was a rough start to the season for me last year and for our team. Obviously the way we’ve been playing, a lot is predicated on my health and being able to lead these guys out on the floor and not from the sidelines.”

LeBron certainly looks healthier than he did at this point last year. He’s moving much better and giving more effort.

But comparing November to November means very little for the Cavaliers, who hope to play deep into June.

The key question: Did LeBron properly time his injection? There’s a limit on the number he can have in a year, and it takes time to recover after one. Cleveland doesn’t want LeBron to peak to early.

It’s good for the Cavs that LeBron feels better now, but his health in the playoffs remains the priority.

Report: Suns signing Bryce Cotton

Bryce Cotton
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Eric Bledsoe missed the Suns’ loss to the Spurs on Monday with a knee injury.

So, Phoenix is bringing in a reinforcement – Bryce Cotton.

Marc Stein of ESPN:

The Jazz waived Cotton before the season despite Dante Exum‘s injury leaving them with just two other healthy point guards. That says something about Cotton – but also Utah’s depth.

Cotton – who went undrafted out of Providence last year – is quick, varies his speed well and can leap. There’s reason to believe in his potential at age 23. But his 6-foot-1 frame limits him defensively, and he’s not much of a distributor.

Phoenix will rely on Brandon Knight and Ronnie Price at point guard if Bledsoe is unavailable. The Suns can also use fewer two-point guard lineups – giving more minutes at shooting guard to Devin Booker, Archie Goodwin and Sunny Weems.

Cotton provides insurance while Bledsoe is banged-up with what seems to be a minor injury. But he might have to show something to keep drawing an NBA paycheck once Bledsoe gets healthy.