Dan Gilbert calls something (probably officiating in Heat loss) ‘complete and total joke and tra’

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Despite surrendering 25 first-quarter points to LeBron James, the Cavaliers surprisingly stayed competitive with the Heat in 100-96 loss last night.

But there are apparently no moral victories in Cleveland. (At least publicly. With Kyrie Irving injured and playoff hopes slipping away, I wouldn’t be shocked to see the Cavaliers embrace tanking).

At the end of the game, Cavs owner Dan Gilbert expressed his dissatisfaction with… something.

Gilbert not finishing what he started? Consider me shocked.

“I PERSONALLY GUARANTEE THAT THE CLEVELAND CAVALIERS WILL WIN AN NBA CHAMPIONSHIP BEFORE THE SELF-TITLED FORMER ‘KING’ WINS ONE”

You can take it to the bank.

Oh, where was I?

Right, last night’s game. If it’s unclear what Gilbert meant, his next tweet provides a strong clue.

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First of all, I’m never a fan of simply citing free-throw and foul stats without context – as if those should be equal. Some teams deserve more calls than others.

To start, because the Cavaliers trailed late, they thrice fouled the Heat. Remove those, and the disparities – 6-3 on free throws, 6-2 on fouls – no longer seem so egregious.

But that’s still not enough context. The Heat are more talented and more athletic than the Cavaliers, a combination that typically does and should lead to drawing more fouls.

In addition to a correctly called Tyler Zeller moving screen, here are the circumstances that led to Cleveland’s five other fouls:

  • Chris Bosh caught a pass wide open in the mid-range and got a full head of steam heading toward the basket
  • Norris Cole was on the verge of breaking ahead in the open court
  • Chris Andersen caught a pass right at the rim
  • LeBron caught a pass through traffic while cutting full speed toward the basket
  • LeBron drove by Alonzo Gee, who was caught flat-footed

Want to avoid getting called for so many fouls? Defend better. The Cavaliers were whistled so often because they put themselves in poor position to defend without fouling.

Of course, it’s not just the called fouls that swing games. It’s the uncalled fouls, too. In that regard, Gilbert has at least one legitimate gripe:

Gilbert being right, though, won’t prevent the league office from looking into these complaints. Maybe Gilbert can claim the first tweet referenced something else and the second tweet just stated facts, but it’s going to be an uphill battle to avoid a fine from Adam Silver.

Willy Hernangomez ‘mad’ about falling from Knicks rotation

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Knicks president Steve Mills started his second tenure talking about rebuilding and listed Willy Hernangomez as a core piece.

But Hernangomez, coming off an All-Rookie first-team season, barely played in New York’s season-opening loss to the Thunder– drawing scrutiny.

Then, he didn’t play at all in a loss to the Pistons – eliciting a strong reaction from Hernangomez himself.

Hernangomez, via Fred Kerber of the New York Post:

“The same. I’m still mad,” Hernangomez said. “I cannot help the team win if I’m sitting on the bench. Two games in a row. It’s tough. I have to wait my moment. I cannot say nothing more.”

The Knicks are moving in different directions. Management is talking about building for the future. Coach Jeff Hornacek, who was hired by previous president Phil Jackson, is trying to win now.

There’s a fine line between developing Hernangomez through playing time and making him earn his minutes. Enes Kanter and Kyle O'Quinn might be better right now.

But being marginally better this season won’t get the Knicks anywhere meaningful except lower in the lottery. On the other hand, even on rebuilding teams, winning is most important to a coach’s job security. Earl Watson implemented the Suns’ tanking scheme, and look where that got him.

Hornacek is backed into a corner, and now one of the team’s most important young players is publicly expressing his displeasure. It’s the latest troubling sign in a locker room already suspicious of Hornacek.

Report: Eric Bledsoe requested trade from Suns before season

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Suns guard Eric Bledsoe tweeted yesterday:

In light of Phoenix’s 0-3 start and Earl Watson getting fired yesterday, that sure looks like a trade request. Still, there’s risk in making assumptions about vague tweets.

John Gambadoro of Arizona Sports 98.7:

Why wouldn’t Bledsoe want out? The 27-year-old is in his prime and stuck on a young team that would rather tank than play him.

It’ll be interesting to see how Bledsoe explains the tweet. He previously paid lip service to his situation in Phoenix, but it appears he’s ready to open up. On the other hand, public trade requests typically draw fines from the NBA.

Another Hornets backup PG injured

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Hornets backup point guard Michael Carter-Williamsout.

Nicolas Batum, who handled a lot of playmaking with Charlotte’s second units – out.

Julyan Stone, another Hornets backup point guard – out.

Hornets release:

The Charlotte Hornets announced today that guard Julyan Stone has suffered a Grade 2 strain of his left hamstring. The injury occurred in practice on Sunday, Oct. 22 and he did not travel with the team to Milwaukee.  Stone is listed as out for tonight’s game against the Bucks and his expected recovery time is estimated at four to six weeks.

The Hornets have been outscored by an astounding 35.8 points per 100 possessions without starter Kemba Walker, producing an offensive rating of just 61.4. That’s in just 23 minutes, but the problem dates back to last season, when Charlotte was outscored by 7.0 points per 100 possessions with a 100.7 offensive rating sans Walker.

Now, the Hornets have little choice but to turn to rookie Malik Monk. Monk is a scoring guard, but his 6-foot-3 size means he has at least worked on playing point guard. Is he ready to play the position full-time for a team eying the playoffs. Probably not, but he’ll just have to do his best to keep Charlotte afloat in the few minutes Walker rests.

Report: Suns also fire three assistant coaches

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The Suns fired Earl Watson just three games into the season – the second-earliest firing in NBA history.

They didn’t stop there.

Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:

Firing assistant coaches during the season has become Phoenix’s m.o. I’m just not sure what it accomplishes.

Were Watson, Nate Bjorkgren, Mehmet Okur and Jason Fraser all so bad at their jobs? If so, why did the Suns figure that out simultaneously?

Were the firings designed to shake up a losing team? If so, wouldn’t ousting Watson have been enough?

Will Phoenix replace those assistants? If not, will the team have the resources to properly train its players?

The Suns are filled with young players who need coaching, particularly skill development. This move looks like it will put them further behind.