In the Bulls-Heat playoff series last spring, Nazr Mohammed got involved in an altercation with LeBron James. While LeBron dribbled, Mohammad fouled him, and as they were tangled, LeBron pushed Mohammed to the floor. At that point, the basketball play ended. Mohammed got up and shoved LeBron, who was already looking at a referee while pleading his case, and LeBron fell to the floor.
LeBron got a technical foul, and Mohammed was ejected – a disproportionate punishment for disproportionate acts. Mohammed was more in the wrong,* and he was treated as such.
But don’t worry. Mohammed holds no grudge with LeBron.
Host David Kaplan asked Mohammed what an off-court confrontation between Mohammed and James would go like in a post-shove world, but Mohammed didn’t wnat to make a big deal of it.”I’d say ‘what’s up?’ I’d give him the head no,” Mohammed said..” I’ll speak to him as much as I did before the so-called incident. There’s no hard feelings.”
That’s mighty gracious of Mohammed, but it’s pretty pointless. If anyone should have hard feelings, it’s LeBron. He’s the one who was hit with a cheap shot.LeBron, because of his stature as the game’s top player, has more people gunning for him. I don’t know whether LeBron is still bitter with Mohammed, but the Bulls center isn’t the first player to attempt to make his mark by coming at LeBron. I just have no idea what Mohammed as getting at now.*At least in terms of committing violations. Strategically, he might have been right.
LeBron James says he doesn’t see Cavaliers-Warriors as rivalry
“We don’t look at it as a rival,” James said. “They’re a great team. They’ve been the best team the last couple years, last three years.”
“It’s just the next game, it’s Golden State,” James said. “They’re a helluva team, like I said the best team in the league and they’ve been that way the last three years, four years, however long it’s been, I’m not quite sure. But, listen, you guys know, we don’t put all our eggs in one basket for one game.”
LeBron just doesn’t want the Cavs to become comfortable. They’ve beat Golden State in four straight games – the last three of the 2016 Finals and on Christmas – and could extend the streak to five today. Beating a rival that frequently is a cause for celebration, and celebration leads to contentment. LeBron would rather keep Cleveland focused and hungry. Hence, saying the Warriors aren’t a rival.
Andre Drummond hits 3-pointer from inside Pistons’ own 3-point arc (video)
But Booker’s last four – which put Phoenix up for good – came directly after incorrect calls, according to the NBA’s Last Two Minute Report.
First, Booker drew a (legitimate) foul on Pau Gasol with 1:08 left and made both free throws. The problem: One second before that, Suns center Tyson Chandler should have been called for offensively fouling Tony Parker, according to the league:
Chandler (PHX) sets the screen on Parker (SAS) and makes leg to leg contact that affects his ability to defend the play.
That would’ve ended Phoenix’s possession rather than allowing Booker to get to the line.
The other missed call in the two-minute report is trickier, because it directly benefitted the Spurs but indirectly benefitted the Suns.
Manu Ginobili got away with travelling with 59.1 seconds left, according to the league:
Ginobili (SAS) moves his pivot foot.
But he coughed up the ball moments later anyway, and – thrilled to gain possession with a live-ball turnover rather than a dead-ball turnover – Booker turned the miscue into a fastbreak dunk.
Rather than debate how to evaluate San Antonio getting away with a travel and it ultimately helping Phoenix more, let’s stick to just the uncalled Chandler offensive foul. That netted the Suns two points. Their lead when the Spurs began intentionally fouling? One.
Russell Westbrook puts up 20th triple-double of season, lifts Thunder past Kings (VIDEO)
Through 41 games — half the season — Russell Westbrook is averaging 30.8 points, 10.7 rebounds, and 10.5 assists a game. Those numbers are insane, particularly considering his 42 percent usage rate. He has to put up numbers and do so fairly efficiently or the Thunder stand no chance of winning — and he has the Thunder on pace for 48 wins this season.
The Thunder picked up another of those wins Sunday night knocking off the Sacramento Kings behind Westbrook’s 20th triple-double in 41 games — 36 points, 11 rebounds, and 10 assists. The video highlights are above.
It’s going to be fun watching him and James Harden go back-and-forth in the MVP race for the next few months.