Report: NBA suspends Mavericks’ public-address announcer

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Stephen Curry beat the Mavericks with a game-winning jumper last week, but the Golden State-Dallas game hit a controversial turn before that point.

On the possession prior, Jermaine O’Neal deflected Monta Ellis’ shot as the ball headed down toward the rim – an apparent goaltend. Except the officials ruled it a clean block.

Mavericks fans were, justifiably, upset.

The NBA even admitted the referees blew the call.

But that didn’t appease a fanbase cheering for a team teetering the playoff line. Especially not Mavericks public-address announcer Sean Heath, who tweeted:

https://twitter.com/theseanheath/status/451196442695065601

https://twitter.com/theseanheath/status/451201637697081344

https://twitter.com/theseanheath/status/451210413854560256

https://twitter.com/theseanheath/status/451221758029201409

https://twitter.com/theseanheath/status/451241714674446336

https://twitter.com/theseanheath/status/451485933410344960

Heath has a history of tweets criticizing the league and its referees:

https://twitter.com/theseanheath/status/439619979437039617

https://twitter.com/theseanheath/status/446504562183000066

https://twitter.com/theseanheath/status/447938858814930945

https://twitter.com/theseanheath/status/449392267090878466

Tim MacMahon of ESPNDallas.com:

The NBA issued a two-game suspension to Dallas Mavericks public-address announcer Sean Heath due to tweets criticizing officiating, multiple sources briefed on the situation told ESPNDallas.com.

The suspension will begin Saturday night, when the Mavs face the Phoenix Suns in the final home game of the regular season. Heath will complete the suspension either in the first home game of the playoffs or next season’s home opener, depending on whether the Mavs advance.

Games are refereed by fallible human beings. Mistakes happen, and it’s unreasonable to expect perfection (at least until we get Pablo Torre’s Robot Revolution). Errors aren’t necessarily part of some game-rigging conspiracy.

They’re just mistakes, and Heath is just whining.

That makes him no different than many fans.

What does make him different: He collects a paycheck by working for one of the NBA’s teams. The league has every right to punish employees who publicly criticize it. And when the complaints are so unfounded and rooted in obvious bias, Heath won’t get my sympathy.

Russell Westbrook on Rockets laughing at Andre Roberson missing free throws: ‘Probably the guys that don’t play’

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The Rockets bench made a big production when an intentionally fouled Andre Roberson kept missing free throws in the Thunder’s Game 4 loss to the Rockets yesterday.

Russell Westbrook stuck up for his teammate.

Royce Young of ESPN:

Westbrook:

I didn’t see it. I didn’t see it at all. Probably the guys that don’t play, probably over there the ones laughing, if I had to guess.

Good guess. It appears Montrezl Harrell and Bobby Brown – whose only playing time this series came late in Houston’s blowout Game 1 win – led the jeers.

But the most important thing for the Thunder is Roberson making his free throws. They need him on the court to defend James Harden, which exposes him to hacking. If Westbrook deflecting attention onto the Rockets’ benchwarmers helps Roberson at the line, great. But if not, the Rockets will keep having reasons to laugh.

Magic Johnson winks at bringing Paul George to Lakers

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Paul George-to-the-Lakers rumors have swirled for a while.

New Lakers president Magic Johnson will only fuel them.

Asked how he’d interact with the Pacers star to avoid tampering if they ran into each other, Johnson said on Jimmy Kimmel Live:

We’re going to say hi, because we know each other. You just can’t say, “Hey, I want you to come to the Lakers,” even though I’m going to be wink-winking like [blinks repeatedly]. You know what that means, right?

In explaining how he’d avoid tampering, Johnson probably tampered. Accidental tampering appears to be his specialty.

The Collective Bargaining Agreement says team employees can’t permissibly “induce, persuade, or attempt to entice, induce or persuade, any Player who is under contract to, or whose exclusive negotiating rights are held by, any other Member of the Association to enter into negotiations for or relating to his services or negotiate or contract for such services.” But the league arbitrarily enforces tampering, so who knows whether he’ll be punished?

Johnson almost certainly could have gotten away with the hypothetical conversation he laid out. But going on television and describing it — even as fantasy, even not directly to George — could constitute tampering in itself,

If Johnson helps attract George to Los Angeles, it’d well be worth it. At least he’s trying something.

Report: Austin Rivers returning for Clippers-Jazz Game 5

Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images
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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.