League warns Chris Paul, Anderson Varejao for flopping

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You had to know it was only a matter of time before Chris Paul got a flopping warning, the only question was when.

How about eight games?

Tuesday the league announced warnings for both the Clippers Paul and Anderson Varejao of the Cavaliers. These are the first offense this season warnings for the players, the second offense comes with a fine of $5,000 (James Harden got one Monday) and the fines climb slowly from there. No, that’s not much of a disincentive to flop, which is why you continue to see it.

Paul’s flop came Monday night against the Timberwolves in the third quarter (you can see the video on NBA.com). Blake Griffin had the ball at the elbow extended and wanted to get the ball to Paul down closer to the block but Ricky Rubio was fronting the pass. There was some light bumping going on then when Griffin made the pass Paul flops to the ground rather than make a play on the ball. It was a clear flop, it also worked — Rubio was whistled for the foul.

Varejao’s flop came Saturday night against Philadelphia (see the video here). In the first quarter Varejao was fighting for rebounding position with Lavoy Allen when Philly’s Thaddeus Young took a shot. Varejao had earned inside position and got a little push in the back, and Varejao shot forward on that like he was hit by a linebacker. The refs made the right move here by just ignoring it.

Expect Paul to get a fine this season, maybe a few. He’s one of the league’s more notorious floppers. And this slap on the wrist fines aren’t going to stop him if he thinks he can get an advantage for his team.

DeMarcus Cousins barrels in for powerful putback dunk over Bucks (video)

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When DeMarcus Cousins builds up a head of steam like this… poor John Henson (and kind of Khris Middleton).

This helped the Pelicans pull away for a 115-108 win over the Bucks last night.

Enraged Jason Smith restrained from Mario Chalmers (video)

AP Photo/Nick Wass
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During the Wizards’ win over the Grizzlies last night, Mario Chalmers tried to stop Jason Smith from shooting after Smith had been called for travelling. It’s a fairly common tactic, one pioneered by Kevin Garnett. Players don’t want their opponents to gain confidence by seeing the ball go through the net, even after play stops.

But Chalmers held onto Smith’s arm, and Smith took umbrage.

NBC Sports Washington:

I think it’s more likely, after halting Smith’s shot, Chalmers was trying to hold up Smith rather than yank him down. But I can’t know Chalmers’ intentions, and holding up a falling person by his arm isn’t very effective.

The double technical foul called seems about fair.

PBT Extra: Two months from trade deadline watch DeAndre Jordan and… Paul George?

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The NBA trade deadline got moved up this season to Feb. 8 so the league can avoid the spectacle of DeMarcus Cousins being traded during the All-Star Game and then doing an uncomfortable press interview afterward where he had to be told of the situation.

That means we are less than two months away from the trade deadline, and in this PBT Extra I look at the big names that could be on the market.

The Clippers seem likely to move DeAndre Jordan, the only questions are where and what will they get back? But three other teams have big decisions to make about their stars: Oklahoma City with Paul George, New Orleans with DeMarcus Cousins, and Memphis with Marc Gasol. Right now none of those guys are on the market, but that could change.

Trey Lyles dunks on Jayson Tatum then disrespects him far worse (video)

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Trey Lyles made a nice play in the Nuggets’ loss to the Celtics last night, driving by Jayson Tatum then dunking on him.

On the other hand, that swirl around Tatum’s head was not very nice at all.