Detroit at Miami

Chris Bosh says league needs to ‘revisit what flagrant foul means’ after losing physical battle with Pacers


LeBron James was on the wrong end of the whistle on two particularly physical plays during the Heat’s loss to the Pacers on Wednesday, and when it was over, Chris Bosh was the one speaking up on his team’s behalf.

James has been here before, obviously, and wasn’t interested in having his comments become a lightning rod after a disappointing but ultimately meaningless regular season loss. Bosh, on the other hand, seemed to be lobbying for his team, with a matchup between Miami and Indiana almost assured to take place during the postseason.

From Jason Lieser of the Palm Beach Post:

Indiana reserve Ian Mahinmi took James down from behind on a drive to the basket. Somewhere in that crash, James took a hit to the nose and began bleeding. He broke his nose in late February at Oklahoma City and was unsure how much damage was done to it tonight.

“Our guys are getting punched in the face, man,” Chris Bosh said. “We’re getting punched in the face and clotheslined out there and we’re getting two shots and then we get an offensive foul call and it’s a flagrant. I guess maybe we need to really decipher what flagrant means because I don’t feel like they were going for the ball in plenty of situations.

“If you can come down and clothesline somebody, it’s open season and people are gonna get hurt. I don’t know. We’re gonna have to revisit what flagrant foul means. They had one and we had none even though LeBron got punched in the face and clotheslined. I guess it was a play on the ball.”

The play involving Mahinmi was physical, but not worthy of a flagrant because Mahinmi let go after making the initial contact, and James hit the deck of his own volition.

The one where LeBron was called for the extremely rare flagrant offensive foul was a little bit different; yes, his elbow landed squarely on Roy Hibbert’s face, but was there any intent there, or did Hibbert put himself in a position to receive that contact?

Bosh isn’t necessarily wrong, but talking about these plays makes it seem like the Pacers have the Heat thinking about something other than basketball. And that can only benefit Indiana when they meet again on April 11, and then again (as we all expect) at some point in the playoffs.


76ers tie NBA-record losing streak, dropping heartbreaker to Celtics

Isaiah Thomas, T.J. McConnell

After a rare period of on-court competence, the 76ers led the Celtics by five with two minutes left tonight.

Then, Philadelphia snatched defeat from the jaws of victory.

The 76ers yielded a 9-0 run to close an 84-80 setback.

They’re now 0-16. Combined with their 0-10 finish to last season, that’s a 26-game losing streak – tied for longest in NBA history. Last year’s 76ers already shared the record.

Philadelphia is also in danger of the worst start to a season. The 2009-10 New Jersey Nets began 0-18, and last year’s 76ers won only one game sooner.

The 76ers will try to avoid the all-time longest streak at the Rockets on Friday. If that goes unsuccessfully, they’ll try to avoid matching the worst season start at the Grizzlies on Sunday. And if both fail, they could set the worst-start record against the Lakers on Tuesday.

76ers-Lakers – it’s shaping up to be a big one.

Timberwolves read mean tweets about themselves (video)

Flip Saunders, Karl-Anthony Towns, Tyus Jones
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The Timberwolves didn’t select the meanest tweets about these players, but credit Karl-Anthony Towns, Tyus Jones, Shabazz Muhammad and Zach LaVine for being good sports.

LeBron James: I’m healthier than a year ago


LeBron James received an injection in his back before the season.

It’s working.

Dave McMenamin of ESPN:

LeBron James now says he feels better than he did even a year ago.

“I feel better in the mornings; I feel better throughout the games; I feel better throughout the day,” James said before a Cavs shootaround Wednesday in preparation for their game against the Toronto Raptors. “It was a rough start to the season for me last year and for our team. Obviously the way we’ve been playing, a lot is predicated on my health and being able to lead these guys out on the floor and not from the sidelines.”

LeBron certainly looks healthier than he did at this point last year. He’s moving much better and giving more effort.

But comparing November to November means very little for the Cavaliers, who hope to play deep into June.

The key question: Did LeBron properly time his injection? There’s a limit on the number he can have in a year, and it takes time to recover after one. Cleveland doesn’t want LeBron to peak to early.

It’s good for the Cavs that LeBron feels better now, but his health in the playoffs remains the priority.

Report: Suns signing Bryce Cotton

Bryce Cotton
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Eric Bledsoe missed the Suns’ loss to the Spurs on Monday with a knee injury.

So, Phoenix is bringing in a reinforcement – Bryce Cotton.

Marc Stein of ESPN:

The Jazz waived Cotton before the season despite Dante Exum‘s injury leaving them with just two other healthy point guards. That says something about Cotton – but also Utah’s depth.

Cotton – who went undrafted out of Providence last year – is quick, varies his speed well and can leap. There’s reason to believe in his potential at age 23. But his 6-foot-1 frame limits him defensively, and he’s not much of a distributor.

Phoenix will rely on Brandon Knight and Ronnie Price at point guard if Bledsoe is unavailable. The Suns can also use fewer two-point guard lineups – giving more minutes at shooting guard to Devin Booker, Archie Goodwin and Sunny Weems.

Cotton provides insurance while Bledsoe is banged-up with what seems to be a minor injury. But he might have to show something to keep drawing an NBA paycheck once Bledsoe gets healthy.