Mason Plumlee blocks LeBron James’ game winning dunk attempt (VIDEO)

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Mason Plumlee?

Mason Plumlee.

Down one with the game on the line Miami got the chance to score in transition after a Joe Johnson missed three (the Nets won in part because of a great iso-Joe play on LeBron not long before). Ray Allen got the rebound, gave the ball to LeBron James, who saw Rashard Lewis fill the lane on the break and cut to the basket like a textbook. LeBron hit Lewis with a pass, Lewis went to the basket and drew three Nets defenders, so he passed out to LeBron who went up for the dunk and…

Plumlee rejected him.

That was a good no call by the refs. I know LeBron (and Heat fans) expect him to get that call at home with the game on the line, but the referees made the right call.

First off, Plumlee got ball first and any contact with the hand or wrist after that was incidental and did not impact the shot, this was not like hitting a guy shooting a jumper. Remember that when the ball is in your hand then the hand is considered part of the ball if there is contact with it. As for Plumlee’s off-hand making contact with LeBron, this is from an official NBA page on rule interpretation:

Inside the lower defensive box, a defender may use an extended forearm at anytime to maintain his position against a payer with the ball. At no time may the forearm be used to dislodge, reroute or impede the offensive player.

It was a good block, and the Nets win 88-87 to sweep the season series.

Nets fans, don’t for a second think that sweep means you will beat the Heat in a seven game series, the playoffs are a different animal than the regular season. But enjoy the win. And the block.

Watch Lonzo Ball’s 29 point, 11 rebound, 9 assist game Friday night

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This was more of what fans expected from Lonzo Ball.

After a rough first game against the Clippers — with Patrick Beverley in his face all night — Ball found plenty of room to operate against the soft defense of the Phoenix Suns. With room to operate Ball had 29 points, 11 rebounds, and nine assists — just one assist short of a triple-double. He helped the Lakers pull away to a lead in the third then hold on for a 132-130 win over the Suns.

Ball wasn’t terribly efficient, 12-of-27 shooting, but he was 4-of-9 from three, he played with great pace, he was decisive, and was finding guys with his passes. It was a step forward, even if it was against a sad defense (Eric Bledsoe can be a good defender, but he has seemed disinterested in recent years).

Ball and the Lakers are going to be up and down this season, the goal is for there to be more ups near the end of the season.

LeBron James rejects Giannis Antetokounmpo at the rim

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Through the first couple games of the season, Giannis Antetokounmpo has put up impressive numbers — he dropped 34 points, 8 rebounds, and 8 assists on the Cavaliers Friday night.

But the Cavaliers still have LeBron James.

He had 24 points and 8 assists, leading Cleveland to the win.

LeBron also reminded the Greek Freak just how good a rim protector he is. Few people can slow Antetokounmpo on the drive, but LeBron is one of them.

Is it too early to root for a Cavs vs. Bucks playoff series?

Hawks’ DeAndre’ Bembry out with fractured wrist

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In their season opener Wednesday, Atlanta second-year man DeAndre’ Bembry came off the bench and played 17:45, scored six points and was +13 on the night. It was a good start to his career.

But now he is going to miss some time with a fractured wrist.

Bembry underwent an MRI, which revealed a fracture in his right wrist, the Hawks announced Friday. He will return to Atlanta with the team (the Hawks lost to the Hornets Friday night) and will meet with team doctors at the Emory Orthopaedics & Spine Center on Monday. His status will be updated after that.

“We just may play some other guys more, we may use some of the young guys,” Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer told the AP before Friday night’s game. “We’ll just figure it out tonight and as we move forward. I don’t think there’s anything guaranteed for anybody, it’s unfortunate for DeAndre’ and for us.”

 

Danny Ainge says Celtics will apply for Disabled Player Exception

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It’s not likely Gordon Hayward returns this season. His agent said as much, although a return in March is not out of the question. (It’s better PR wise for the Celtics to say he is out for the season, then if he returns early great, it’s better than setting a deadline he doesn’t meet.)

With that, the Celtics are going to apply for the Disabled Player Exception, which could help them land a replacement player, Danny Ainge told Gary Washburn of the Boston Globe.

President of basketball operations Danny Ainge told the Globe on Friday the club is applying for the Disabled Player Exception, which would provide the Celtics $8.4 million to pursue a player to fill Hayward’s roster spot.

“We’re in the process of doing that,’’ Ainge said. “We have a while to do that. There’s no urgency, but we will apply for that.”

There are limits to what that money can get the Celtics. The money is the same as the mid-level exception, the Celtics can go over the cap to use it, and the player can be obtained via free agency or trade. However, the player must be in the last year of his contract.

It gives the Celtics options. It also does not mean Hayward cannot return, it only means NBA-approved doctors determined he is not likely to return before a mid-June deadline.