HOLIDAY_JRUE

Jrue Holiday out with sprained foot

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Philadelphia 76ers point guard Jrue Holiday isn’t sure how he sprained his foot, but we should be able to safely eliminate “bowling injury” from the list. Holiday has been an absolute workhorse for the 76ers this season, leading the team in scoring (19), assists (9), and minutes (38.5). That type of court time is creeping into Luol Deng territory, and although Holiday is an incredibly durable player, it sounds like he may miss at least a few games with this injury. Here’s Dei Lynam from CSNPhilly.com with more on the injury:

“Sixers starting point guard Jrue Holiday has a sprained foot and will not play Friday night against the Pacers.

It’s Holiday’s first missed game of the season and the first game he’s missed because of injury since his rookie year.

Holiday played 40-plus minutes Wednesday against the Bulls and scored 26 points. He has no exact knowledge of when or what he did to cuse the sprain. His left foot is now in a walking boot.

“I really don’t,” Holiday said. “I actually have to go back and look at the tape. I remember mid-third quarter I felt it, but I really don’t know. The rest of that game I felt it a little here and there, but it didn’t affect the way I played.”

“It is pretty tender so I am just trying to rest it and get treatment and see what happens” Holiday continued.”

From CSNPhilly.com | Dei Lynam

The Sixers depend so heavily on Holiday offensively, and for the 18th best offense in terms of efficiency, being without Holiday for any extended period of time would be a major blow. Holiday is the only players on the Sixers roster who can break down a defense and create off the dribble, so Doug Collins will have to get awfully creative and attempt to feature Thad Young a little more without Holiday in the lineup. Young has been extremely good on both ends of the floor this year, but he’s not the type of guy you isolate twenty times a game and expect good things to happen.

Although it’s obviously not ideal to have your young rising point guard in a walking boot, the Sixers do have the opportunity to experiment with Evan Turner at the point guard for really the first time ever. Turner’s mid-range game has been a revelation this year, and his shooting and scoring numbers have spiked largely off those shots. Is it dangerous to get Turner out of his groove and shift his role from scorer to distributor? Possibly, but Doug Collins will likely go point-forward by committee, giving Dorell Wright some ballhandling responsibilities and backup point guard Maalik Wayns some run as well.

There aren’t many coaches better suited to keep the ship afloat than Collins, but let’s be real here. The Sixers should be in a year-long battle for a playoff spot out East just like last season, and with Andrew Bynum out indefinitely, they can’t afford to be without their best distributor and scorer for very long.

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.