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Russell Westbrook: “I feel like I don’t get the benefit of the doubt” from referees

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Russell Westbrook is going to be writing a check to the league for this.

Westbrook was ejected from the Thunder’s Thursday night loss to Memphis when he argued a call and wouldn’t let it go. It what should be a surprise to nobody, Westbrook wasn’t going to let it go after the game either — he said he didn’t understand this ejection, and that the referees have it in for him anyway.

“Honestly, I don’t know, man. Honestly, it’s crazy to be ejected like that, especially when I didn’t do nothing. It’s just crazy, man. Especially for me, because I feel like I don’t get the benefit of the doubt most of the time, especially throughout the game with refs.

“I get so many techs just for talking. I can’t even say nothing when I’m getting hammered every time I go to the damn basket throughout the games and previous games. Not tonight, but every night. I just don’t get ref’d the same way as other people, and I don’t appreciate it.”

Someday, I would love a superstar to say “The refs are really fair with me, I get a lot of borderline calls to go my way, especially late in games.” But alas, they all feel persecuted.

Westbrook is averaging 10.8 free throw attempts per game, with the highest free throw rate (free throws attempts to shot attempts) of his career. None of that should be surprising considering the offensive load on him, and how much he attacks the rim. And in the NBA, the calls usually go to the aggressor.

Against the grit and grind of Memphis, maybe Westbrook was not getting the calls he wanted, but the reality is he’s a superstar and with that comes more attention from defenses. He gets fouled a lot on the attacks, he gets a lot of calls, but not as many as he’d like. Welcome to being a superstar. From Shaquille O’Neal through LeBron James, Kobe Bryant probably stretching all the way back to George Mikan, good luck finding an elite player who things they get the calls they should. Westbrook is going to have to learn to live with it.

And pay the fine when he complains like this.

PBT Extra: Three things to watch with Boston in wake of Hayward injury

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Gordon Hayward is going to have surgery on his ankle and leg, which should not be a surprise to anyone who saw the gruesome injury to his leg just 5:15 into his Celtics career. There is no timetable for his return yet, maybe he makes it back for the playoffs, but the Celtics are not going to rush him and he may well miss the entire season.

What next for Boston?

In this PBT Extra I cover the three things to watch for from Boston, which in the short term could mean the Kyrie Irving show. Longer term, not much changes.

Gordon Hayward addresses Celtics and fans from hospital bed (video)

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Gordon Hayward broke his leg early in his Celtics debut – a devastating injury. He’s preparing for surgery tonight, per Jeff Goodman of ESPN:

First – after a perfect introduction from Marcus Smart – Hayward addressed the Boston crowd from his hospital bed before tonight’s game against the Bucks.

Hayward:

What’s up everybody? Just wanted to say thank you to everyone who has sent me your thoughts and prayers. I’m going to be alright. It’s hurting me that I can’t be there for the home opener. I want nothing more just to be with my teammates and walk out onto that floor tonight. But I’ll be supporting you guys from here and wishing you the best of luck. Kill it tonight. Thanks, guys.

At least this nice moment (and an outpouring of support) came out of such a gruesome injury.

And if Smart keeps setting up his teammates so well, maybe the Celtics’ offense will keep humming.

76ers coach Brett Brown: Joel Embiid’s minute restriction could quickly rise

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Joel Embiid‘s minute limit of below 20 bummed out everyone (especially Embiid).

But good news could be on the way.

Keith Pompey of The Inquirer:

The 76ers look like a borderline playoff team, Embiid’s health the biggest variable. There’s a direct correlation between his ability to stay on the court and Philadelphia’s postseason chances.

Plus, he’s just so darn fun to watch. The more he plays, the bigger victory it is for every viewer not rooting for the 76ers’ opponent that night.

Report: Bucks have offered second-round pick as enticement for Rashad Vaughn trade

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John Henson was on the trade block. Greg Monroe seems permanently affixed there.

Another player the Bucks apparently want to deal? Rashad Vaughn, who was the No. 17 pick in 2015.

Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:

Milwaukee has been working to trade several players to clear salary-cap space, including guard Rashad Vaughn and center John Henson, league sources said. The Bucks have been willing to attach a second-round pick in offers for Vaughn, league sources said.

It’s unclear whether the Bucks are still as motivated to move Vaughn. They slid under the luxury-tax line by stretching Spencer Hawes. One-time target Richard Jefferson already signed with the Nuggets. A roster vacancy and cap savings might not matter as much anymore to Milwaukee.

But Vaughn has struggled in two NBA seasons. The Bucks might be better off trying to develop someone else, even a D-League player, over the 21-year-old Vaugh.

Vaughn is due $1,889,040 this season. He faces a $2,901,565 team option for next season, which his team must decide on by Oct. 31. It seems unlikely that will be exercised.

This is what happens when you draft players for the wrong reason.