Mario Chalmers suspended one game for swinging forearm at Dirk Nowitzki (VIDEO)

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When you think of the league’s most physical players, Mario Chalmers isn’t a name that immediately jumps to the top of the list.

But after his ejection on Friday for swinging a forearm to the face of Dirk Nowitzki, Chalmers has racked up enough flagrant foul points in the early part of the season that the next one will land him a league-mandated suspension.

And that would be on top of the one-game suspension that was handed down by the league on Saturday. Chalmers will miss Miami’s next game in Charlotte against the Bobcats.

From Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel:

With Friday night’s ejection for his forearm to the head of Dallas Mavericks forwardDirk Nowitzki, Chalmers now has four points in the NBA’s flagrant-foul system. By rule, a player is suspended for the next game once he exceeds five points.

With each Flagrant 1 foul counting for one point and each Flagrant 2 counting as two, Chalmers put himself on the precipice of suspension with Friday’s Flagrant 2, a call that came eight days after Chalmers was assessed a Flagrant 2 for an elbow to the neck of Los Angeles Clippers forward Blake Griffin.

Chalmers seemed to be earnest in explaining what happened. To hear him tell it, he was simply trying to free himself from Dalmbert, and the shot to Nowitzki was simply collateral damage.

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“Dalembert had my arm so I had to get my arm free,” he said of his swinging motion. “There was nothing intentional about it. I didn’t even see Dirk.” Chalmers tried to tell the same to the officials before he left the floor. “I just told them, ‘Look at the replay and look at Dalembert holding my arm,’ ” he said. “That’s all I said to them.”

The hit on Griffin was absolutely a flagrant two — Chalmers left his feet and delivered a forearm to Griffin’s neck, so it’s tough to buy any excuses there. The one that caught Nowitzki could indeed have been accidental, and the explanation Chalmers gave seems to make sense.

But clearly, the league didn’t see it the same way.

Report: Austin Rivers returning for Clippers-Jazz Game 5

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There have been bigger injuries in the Clippers-Jazz first-round series: Blake Griffin‘s toe, Rudy Gobert‘s knee and Gordon Hayward‘s stomach.

But Clippers guard Austin Rivers has yet to play due to a strained hamstring.

It sounds as if that will change tomorrow.

Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports:

This is neither as big a deal as the Clippers will make it out to be nor as meaningless as Rivers’ many detractors will claim.

The 6-foot-4 Rivers will provide an important defensive upgrade on the perimeter. The Clippers haven’t successfully hidden Jamal Crawford and Raymond Felton, allowing Utah too many quality looks. Here how the Jazz have shot when defended by each, per NBA.com:

  • Crawford: 18-of-36 (50%), including 7-of-17 on 3-pointers (41%)
  • Felton: 13-of-24 (54%), including 5-of-8 on 3-pointers (63%)

Rivers needn’t be great to help behind Chris Paul and J.J. Redick.

Rockets bench hams it up over Andre Roberson missed free throw (video)

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Russell Westbrook might not want to talk about his supporting cast distinctively, but it’s a real issue for the Thunder, who trail the Rockets 3-1 in their first-round series.

Even Andre Roberson, who has impressively defended James Harden, brings a glaring weakness: free throws. Roberson is 2-for-17 from the line in the playoffs, including 2-for-12 in Game 4 yesterday. Houston even repeatedly intentionally fouled him late.

It was agonizing for all but the most partisan Rockets supporters – though even Houston’s bench, while at least implicitly mocking Roberson, appeared put off that he missed yet again.

Isaiah Thomas: ‘Mentally and emotionally, I’m not here’

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Isaiah Thomas previously explained his emotions in a statement, but the Celtics guard spoke publicly yesterday for the first time since the death of his sister in a car crash just before the playoffs.

Thomas, via A. Sherrod Blakely of CSN Northeast:

“Mentally and emotionally I’m not here,” Thomas said after Game 4, the first time he has spoken publicly since his sister’s death. “So I just feed off of what the guys give me. They give me a lot of confidence. I can’t do it without those guys. They believe in me. Being here is what makes me sane and makes me feel somewhat normal through these tough times.”

Thomas has played well for Boston, which won twice in Chicago to even its series with the Bulls, 2-2. It’s remarkable considering the heavy emotional burden and extra travel, going to Seattle for his sister’s funeral then joining the Celtics in Chicago.

His teammates have clearly rallied around him, and that surely helps. But I can’t even imagine how he’s simultaneously handling such a tragic family situation and the biggest games of his career.

Kyrie Irving knocks flamingo from Pacers fan’s hands (video)

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Pacers super fan Matt Asen brings his lucky flamingo to each game.

He also annoyed the heck out of Kyrie Irving by trying to hand it, rather than the ball, to the Cavaliers guard.