Things took a little longer to get heated between the Bulls and the Heat in Game 3 than they did in Game 2, but the first ejection of the night came much faster.
Early in the second quarter with the Bulls holding a three-point lead, Nazr Mohammed committed a hard foul on LeBron James just as he crossed half court. It’s unclear why Mohammed chose this course of action; the only thing we can think of was that maybe he was trying to stop a transition opportunity from the Heat by intentionally fouling (a common tactic in European basketball), though Miami didn’t appear to be in a strong position to force the action at the time.
After Mohammed’s hard foul, James made sure to toss Mohammed to the floor after the two became briefly tangled up. The official was right on top of the play, and correctly whistled James for a technical foul, even before Mohammed reacted by shoving James to the floor with two hands.
Boneheaded plays by Mohammed all around, as the foul itself wasn’t really a great decision — and the shove, even less so.
Mohammed was ejected for his actions, leaving the already shorthanded Bulls even more depleted from the standpoint of available players.
This was the second extracurricular incident in a game that was less than 15 minutes old. Joakim Noah shoved Chris Andersen in the first quarter, after Andersen fell on top of Nate Robinson following the blocking one of his shots.
Craig Sager to get third bone marrow transplant thanks to anonymous donor
McGary has battled injuries his two seasons in the league and got on the court for only 72 minutes total last season for the Thunder (he played in more games and put up solid numbers in the D-LEague). He was not part of the future there regardless. He’s an undersized five trying to play the four and what he brought as a rookie — energy — was not enough as a sophomore.
McGary will make $1.5 million this season. He may be tough to move because he’s suspended for the first five games he’s eligible to play next season for failing the league’s drug policy (five games is the standard suspension for testing positive for marijuana three times). Maybe a team looking to develop players will give him a shot, but there is little trade value for him.
Dwight Howard is shooting 19-footers to improve his free throw stroke
The challenge is form and reps are not the problems for Howard — or DeAndre Jordan or Andre Drummond or others — when it comes to hitting free throws. Anyone who says “why don’t they just practice the shot” doesn’t pay attention, these guys put in a lot of work on the shot. Pregame and in practice (I’m Los Angeles based), Jordan probably hits 65 percent from the line. At least.
The problem is mental. That can be a tougher hurdle to clear. Maybe taking 19 footers and knocking them down will have Howard feeling more confident at the stripe this season.
But we’re going to need to see it to believe it. Just like we’re going to have to see a rejuvenated Howard in Atlanta before we believe this season will be different from the last few.
Report: Veteran big man Jason Thompson agrees to deal in China
Until this season, Jason Thompson had never been to the playoffs. He spent seven seasons in Sacramento before getting traded to the Warriors last offseason, and then signing with the Raptors midseason when Golden State waived him to make room on the roster for Anderson Varejao. His NBA days appear over, at least for now. International basketball reporter David Pick reports that Thompson has agreed to a deal to play in China.
Source: NBA veteran Jason Thompson, split last season with Warriors and Raptors, finalized a deal in China with Shandong.