Clippers violate NBA’s concussion policy, play Austin Rivers with concussion

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The nasty truth about concussions: Player suspected of suffering a concussion often pass a medical evaluation shortly after whatever caused the suspicion.

How do you treat those players?

If they have a concussion, re-inserting them into the game would be dangerous. If they don’t have a concussion, keeping them from the game would hinder their team.

I believe players should be kept from returning to participation the day they’re suspected of having a concussion, even if they clear initial testing. The risk is just too great. The NBA’s concussion policy allows them to return.

That’s a value judgment, one where I and the league disagree.

But the absolute minimum is properly testing players suspecting of having a concussion as soon as possible, and the NBA’s concussion policy demands that. We can differ on protocol after a passed test, but sometimes, players fail the initial test. It’s imperative that test be done in accordance with the league’s policy.

Yet, that too often doesn’t happen.

The Cavaliers didn’t immediately evaluate Kevin Love after he showed numerous concussion symptoms in Game 2 of last season’s Finals. The Lakers had Larry Nance Jr. play through visible concussion symptoms before removing him from play to evaluate him.

And the Clippers failed to properly test Austin Rivers for a concussion during Saturday’s game against the Pelicans.

Rivers took an elbow to the head from Terrence Jones in the third quarter and went to the floor. Rivers didn’t look well and held his hands to his head. The Clippers realized something was wrong, removing him from the game. He continued to look distressed on the bench, clutching the towel he draped over his head.

And apparently, the Clippers made the completely logical judgment: Rivers might have suffered a concussion. We know this because Clippers coach Doc Rivers said Austin was tested for a concussion on the bench and passed the test.

So, Austin returned to the game to start the fourth quarter and soon lost his bearings. It was a scary sight, and the Clippers wasted no time getting him out of the game then.

Again, the NBA’s policy will allow concussed players to sometimes play. They just must pass an evaluation prior to returning.

The problem was Austin’s evaluation. The concussion policy says (emphasis mine):

If a player is suspected of having a concussion, or exhibits the signs or symptoms of concussion, he will be removed from participation and undergo evaluation by the medical staff in a quiet, distraction-free environment conducive to conducting a neurological evaluation.

The bench at an NBA arena during a game is not a “quiet, distraction-free environment conducive to conducting a neurological evaluation.”

Would the Clippers have identified Austin’s concussion if they tested him in the locker room? We’ll never know. Perhaps, his symptoms were delayed and wouldn’t have registered there either. But that environment would’ve given doctors the best chance to correctly diagnose him.

I don’t believe the NBA’s concussion policy goes far enough, but when not even that is followed, it puts players at far too great of risk.

Chicago does humor with “Beauty and the Bull” snapchat musical

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The Beauty and the Beast movie is both a hit and ripe for satire. Or just amusing spinoffs.

Enter the Chicago Bulls, with Benny the Bull mascot and Robin Lopez pitching in on a musical takeoff of the film promoting the team.

Well played Bulls.

LeBron James drives through Wizards defense, dunks on

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Even when they are getting beat — and the Cavaliers have some issues to shake out before the playoffs start — there are a couple times a game that LeBron James makes a play that is stunning.

For example, splitting defenders out high with his dribble then going in and dunking on Ian Mahinmi. LeBron did that Saturday night.

The Wizards beat the Cavaliers and Cleveland has issues that are bigger than LeBron’s goggles (Boston can tie Cleveland for the top spot in the East with a win Sunday), but never doubt LeBron’s explosiveness.

Raptors’ Patrick Patterson taunts Mavericks’ bench after three, Rick Carlisle talks back (VIDEO)

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Toronto handed Dallas its 41st loss of the season Saturday night, which means with the Mavericks’ next loss their streak of winning seasons will come to an end at 16.

Toronto was talking a lot of smack while getting that win. At least Patrick Patterson was when he was draining corner threes in front of the Mavericks’ bench. On the one above, Patterson chirps and coach Rick Carlisle goes back at him verbally. They both pick up technical fouls for their trouble.

I’m surprised this doesn’t happen a little more during games, there’s a lot of talking down there

Serge Ibaka, DeMar DeRozan lead Raptors past Mavericks, 94-86

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DALLAS (AP) — DeMar DeRozan and Serge Ibaka scored 18 points apiece, and the Toronto Raptors clinched a playoff berth after their fifth straight victory, 94-86 over the Dallas Mavericks on Saturday night.

The Raptors, who came back from 15-point deficits to win each of their last two games, made it a little easier on themselves Saturday. Toronto scored the game’s first seven points and never trailed in dealing the Mavericks’ playoff hopes a damaging blow.

Harrison Barnes scored 23 points for Dallas, which missed 18 of its first 22 3-pointers and finished just 7 of 28 from behind the arc.

Patrick Patterson added 14 points for Toronto, including a perfect 4 for 4 on 3-pointers.

The Mavericks fell four games behind Denver for the final playoff spot in the West.

Toronto led by as many as 16 points in the first half and by 15 early in the fourth quarter before a 10-0 Dallas run made things more interesting.

Dorian Finney-Smith‘s free throws with 7:57 to go brought the Mavs within 79-74, the closest they had been since 7-2 early in the game. But Ibaka made consecutive jumpers to restore a nine-point lead, and Dallas got no closer than six after that.

The Raptors had their biggest lead at 42-26 in the first half. Barnes scored Dallas’ last 11 points of the half to help cut into the lead, but Toronto led 54-44 at the break.

J.J. Barea‘s long 3 at the third-quarter buzzer again brought Dallas within 10 at 74-64.

TIP-INS

Raptors: Coach Dwane Casey said he was hopeful that guard Kyle Lowry would return from wrist surgery before the end of the regular season. “I know he’s doing a lot of conditioning, a lot of work to keep his body in shape,” Casey said. “Just let him rehab, let him do his thing and trust our medical people.” Lowry has missed the last 16 games. . Toronto was also without starting forward DeMarre Carroll due to a sore lower back. P.J. Tucker started in his place.

Mavericks: Seth Curry with 11 points and Yogi Ferrell with 10 were the only other Mavs in double figures. . Nerlens Noel started his second game in a row at center for the Mavericks, who have gone to a big lineup. They’ve moved Dirk Nowitzki to power forward, Barnes to small forward and Curry to point guard.

STREAK IN JEOPARDY

The Mavericks took their 41st loss of the season. Their next loss will end the NBA’s second-longest streak of .500 or better seasons – currently at 16 seasons. Their last sub-.500 season was 1999-00, when they finished 40-42 and Mark Cuban became owner of the team in January 2000.

San Antonio has the longest streak of .500 or better seasons with 20, including this season.

ABOUT THURSDAY NIGHT

Cuban couldn’t resist giving his opinion on Barea’s ejection from the Mavericks’ victory over the Clippers on Thursday night. Barea was called for a flagrant 2 foul for pushing Blake Griffin, a player with a 10-inch height advantage over Barea.

“I just feel bad for Blake,” Cuban said. “It’s hard to come back from a knockout like that. We sent flowers to his family, condolences. I can only guess that he’s going to be drinking through a straw for a long, long time.”