With under two minutes to play in Dallas on Friday, the Celtics had cut a 12-point fourth quarter deficit down to just five. But an unfortunately-timed injury to Courtney Lee allowed the Mavericks a possession that ended with a wide-open three-pointer from O.J. Mayo, which pushed the lead back to eight and essentially sealed the victory for Dallas.
Lee was down for quite some time, after suffering an ankle sprain that required him to be carried off the floor by two of his teammates.
That’s as far as the sympathy went, however, as both Doc Rivers and Jason Terry weren’t exactly pleased that Lee’s injury prevented him from competing on that critical possession.
“I was hoping he could get up because we needed him to get up,” Rivers said, via A. Sherrod Blakely of CSNNE.com. “It was the damnedest play. You’re making a run, you’re down five and you got a guy laying on the floor. It felt like it took 40 seconds.”
Terry was far more critical, and his remarks can be seen near the end of the video clip above.
“Get your ass up,” was Terry’s thought. “If your bone ain’t sticking out of there, I don’t know. I don’t know how he’s feeling right now, but I mean, we were trying to win the game.”
Lee said afterward that the pain had subsided, to the point where he was hopeful he may even be able to play in his team’s very next game. That won’t go very far in helping his case with Rivers or Terry, who obviously weren’t happy with Lee for staying down so long with the game hanging in the balance.
Three Things to Know: LeBron James racks up third straight triple-double
Every day in the NBA there is a lot to unpack, so every weekday morning throughout the season we will give you the three things you need to know from the last 24 hours in the NBA. Here’s what you missed on Sunday while practicing your ax throwing in Paris…
1) LeBron James has third straight triple-double… and sends equality message. Back in the 2008-09 season, LeBron James strung together three consecutive games of triple-doubles, the season he went on to win his first MVP award. Despite 61 career triple-doubles, he hasn’t had a string like that since.
Until now. LeBron put together three again this week, the most recent coming at the expense of the Washington Wizards on Sunday, a team that had no answer for his playmaking skills. James finished the game with 20 points, 12 rebounds and 15 assists. It wasn’t the most efficient LeBron scoring performance of his career (8-of-23 shooting overall, 2-of-7 from three, his legs looked a little tired on the back-to-back) and he was playing too much in isolation (nearly twice as many possessions as in pick-and-roll). However, down the stretch he was a fantastic playmaker, finding teammates — such as finding the cutting Jeff Green and Kyle Korver — and doing what it took to lift his team to the 106-99 win (Cleveland’s has won five straight and 18-of-19).
LeBron was also sending a message while playing in our nation’s capital: He wore one black and one white of the LeBron 15s, with the word “Equality” on the back of both of them. Good on LeBron, I love that he has found a voice and is comfortable using it.
2) Cavaliers sticking to plan even if he seems ready: Isaiah Thomas should join Cavaliers after the first of the year. Patience. It’s a virtue. Cleveland’s end game is to have another elite playmaker and scorer on the floor in late May and (hopefully) June, not for Christmas Day (no matter who is on the schedule).
Meaning that despite the face Isaiah Thomas is working out and says he and his injured hip feel ready to return, it will be 2018 before he officially pulls on a Cavaliers jersey and takes the court.
Cavaliers All-Star guard Isaiah Thomas is targeting the first week of January for his season debut with Cleveland, league sources tell Yahoo.
Thomas has made significant progress from his hip injury, has confidence he could play now, but plan has been set to ensure he returns for long run this season. Cavaliers face Portland, Boston and Orlando in first week of January. https://t.co/Nea7J7GJzl
This is the smart play by the Cavaliers, who have racked up enough wins not to need to push him. That said, LeBron is carrying a heavy load — he’s played more minutes than anyone in the league so far, and this is his 15th NBA season — and the Cavaliers need to get him some help and rest so he is fresh for the postseason.
3) Detroit ties a franchise record with 17 made threes in win over Orlando. The Pistons are not exactly a great three-point shooting team: They average a middle-of-the-pack 29.3 attempts per game (31.6 percent of their attempts), but at least hit them at a healthy 38.3 percent clip. Detroit does a good job at least of getting corner threes up and knocking them down.
Sunday they were knocking everything down, hitting 17-of-34 threes to tie a franchise record for the most made threes in a game. Anthony Tolliver led the way (5-of-7 from deep) with Reggie Bullock pitching in 4-of-5.
The Pistons have snapped out of their seven-game losing streak to win three in a row now, including a quality win over the Pacers on the second night of a back-to-back.
Heat forward James Johnson expected to miss 7 to 10 days
MIAMI (AP) The Miami Heat will be without starting forward James Johnson for at least two games and probably more after bursitis was found in his right ankle.
Johnson left Miami’s win over the Los Angeles Clippers on Saturday with ankle pain, and an MRI performed Sunday led to the bursitis diagnosis. Johnson is not traveling with the team for its trip for games at Atlanta on Monday and Boston on Wednesday.
The team says Johnson could miss seven to 10 days, which would also mean his status for home games against Dallas on Dec. 22, New Orleans on Dec. 23 and Orlando on Dec. 26 is in some doubt.
Johnson is averaging 10.9 points and 5.2 rebounds for the Heat this season.
LeBron James wears one black, one white LeBron 15 shoes with “Equality” on back (VIDEO)
LeBron James notched his third-straight triple-double on Sunday, this one coming against the Washington Wizards. But before the game, the story was all about how James was voicing a silent protest — in Washington D.C., no less — by wearing a special version of his shoes.
LeBron took to the floor wearing his LeBron 15s, but this player edition had the word “Equality” on the back of them. James wore one black shoe and one white shoe.
James wore the black versions of this shoe in the Cleveland Cavaliers’ opener to start the season.
The Carolina Panthers are up for sale. Owner Jerry Richardson said he would sell the team late on Sunday following an announcement by the NFL that Richardson was under investigation for “workplace misconduct”. The NFL’s investigation and Richardson’s decision to sell was preceded by a report from SI saying Richardson had paid out settlements amid sexual harassment and racial slur claims.
Combs — that’s Diddy, you to and me — has previously voiced his interest in being involved with the NFL, and after seeing that Richardson would be selling the team, jumped at the chance to boost his profile. Combs tweeted that he wanted to buy the team, and that’s when Curry joined in.
I would like to buy the @Panthers. Spread the word. Retweet!
Naturally, Curry is from Charlotte and went to both high school and eventually college in the area, playing at Davidson. He’s an avid Panthers fan and has been on the sideline for the team publicly many times over the years.
Curry being part of an ownership group for the Panthers would be pretty wild. Perhaps Charlotte Hornets owner Michael Jordan would like to join in? It seems like they would have the liquidity and credit availability between the three of them to get the team.
Then again, the asking price for the Panthers could be north of $2 billion. The last team to be sold was the Buffalo Bills in 2014 for $1.4 billion. In September, Forbes released a valuation for the Panthers that put them at $2.3 billion.
Might need to get a few others involved in this one.