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Erik Spoelstra once tried to follow unwritten rules of garbage time, and Hassan Whiteside got hurt

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MIAMI (AP) — The NBA has seen plenty of Garbage Time drama lately.

Often, Garbage Time – the final minutes of a blowout – is either forgettable, unwatchable or both. But it’s been noteworthy lately, with Phoenix extending a loss at Boston last month with fouls and time-outs so Devin Booker could score 70 points, JaVale McGee‘s late 3-point try earlier this week with Golden State drubbing the Wizards and Lance Stephenson‘s late layup in a Pacers blowout of the Raptors.

 

Shots aren’t always the issue. Miami’s Erik Spoelstra learned that during his first season as Heat coach, and the memory of what occurred on Dec. 26, 2008, has stayed with him.

The Heat were beating Chicago 90-77 with 31 seconds remaining. Spoelstra called a 20-second time-out just to get starters Dwyane Wade, Mario Chalmers and Udonis Haslem out of the game. And on the other bench, Bulls coach Vinny Del Negro, assistant coach Del Harris and some Chicago players were more than a little annoyed.

Spoelstra thought about calling time in a similar situation earlier this season to get center Hassan Whiteside out of the game. He didn’t, and seconds later Whiteside cut his right hand on a freak play and needed 13 stitches.

“Damned if you do, damned if you don’t,” Spoelstra said.

The latest episode came Tuesday, with Stephenson making an uncontested layup with 4 seconds left in Indiana’s 108-90 win over Toronto instead of running out the clock. The Raptors, predictably, were not happy and got in Stephenson’s face to let him know. Some on-court arguing ensued.

“Bush league,” Raptors coach Dwane Casey said.

“Tasteless, classless,” added Toronto’s P.J. Tucker.

Countered Stephenson, who apologized: “I didn’t mean no harm.”

Intent can be in the eye of the beholder.

Just ask Brooks, the Wizards coach knows all about the etiquette of Garbage Time. He will not use that term, for a very simple reason.

“I was in there a lot,” Brooks said.

Brooks, a reserve for all but seven games in his 10-year playing career, got an unwanted refresher course of sorts in Garbage Time when McGee jacked up a 3-pointer in the final seconds of a game that the Warriors were leading the Wizards by 22 points.

McGee took a shove to the chest from an annoyed Brandon Jennings, who felt it wasn’t in accordance with what’s proper in Garbage Time.

“Kind of disrespectful,” Jennings said of McGee’s shot.

If Garbage Time had an official set of rules, atop the list would be something about not disrespecting opponents. These days, not everyone is adhering.

“If you’re ahead in the game, there is no reason to shoot the ball,” San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich said. “We just sort of hold the ball. No use angering people or trying to show somebody up. … You should do whatever is sportsmanlike and courteous. No reason not to.”

 

Cleveland veteran forward Richard Jefferson was among many players who said everyone knows there’s a code for how to handle Garbage Time. And he’s been on both sides of that code.

There was a game in 2006 against Houston when Jason Kidd, now the Milwaukee coach, was one assist shy of a triple-double in the final moments of a decided game. New Jersey was up by 10, and the shot clock was off.

Jefferson volunteered to help Kidd out. He made a 3-pointer with 3 seconds left. Assist No. 10 was delivered, triple double wrapped.

“We’re just kind of standing around and he tosses it to me and I shot it and it goes in and the Houston Rockets were” angry, Jefferson said. “And J. Kidd was like, `Don’t worry, I’ll take the heat for it’ and walked off. It was a low-blow move, but I’ll tell you what, if my point guard asked me to do that, I’ll do it again.”

Heat point guard Goran Dragic has no problem with that.

He was taught to play the game the same way, start to finish.

“Back in Europe, there are different rules,” said Dragic, a native of Slovenia. “If there’s time on the clock, we play, we shoot it. In the States, there’s a different culture.”

The Warriors offered the Wizards apologies for McGee’s 3-point try, with coach Steve Kerr reaching out to Brooks by text. The Suns took a decidedly different tact after Booker’s 70-point outburst, which some players found a bit distasteful.

“So what? Do something about it,” Suns coach Earl Watson said that night in Boston. “Simple as that.”

There’s no perfect answer.

Sometimes, in Garbage Time, the only plays that get noticed are the questionable ones.

“Play the right way,” Memphis coach David Fizdale said. “If you’re always coaching guys to do that, you can always look at yourself in the mirror and get the respect of your opponents.”

AP Sports Writers Stephen Whyno in Washington, Michael Marot in Indianapolis, Tom Withers in Cleveland and Associated Press Writer Raul Dominguez in San Antonio contributed to this report.

One reason Markelle Fultz happy to be Sixers over Celtic? Philadelphia has Chick-fil-As

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For about a month, from the day of the NBA Draft Lottery until less than a week before the draft, it was assumed Markelle Fultz would be a Celtic. And he said he was good with that — he’s the No. 1 pick going to a 53-win team that is thinking title contention. That doesn’t happen often.

Then that top pick was traded to the Philadelphia 76ers, and suddenly Fultz was going to be paired with Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons. Fultz liked that a lot, and he liked the city a lot.

Why? Because they have Chick-fil-A restaurants. Check out what Fultz wrote in the The Players’ Tribune, an article titled “What’s Up, Philly.” (Hat tip Inceptions at NBA Reddit)

Then (Fultz’s agent) Keith hit me up and said, “New plan. Philly.”

I was just waking up. So I was like, “O.K., cool. Do they have Chick-fil-A there?”

A crispy chicken sandwich for breakfast. It’s kind of like my good luck charm. Keith never got back to me about that important question. So I found out for myself. I googled it immediately.

Philly does have Chick-fil-A. It has six, actually. Seven if you count the one at the airport. Boston has zero Chick-fil-As, for what it’s worth.

Are restaurants becoming a new recruiting tool? “I know you’re thinking of signing in San Antonio, but we have far more Chipotle’s per capita.” “There’s a Cheesecake Factory just down the street from our practice facility.”

I give it four years, max, before Fultz switches to a slightly healthier breakfast choice, at the requestion of Philly’s training staff.

Warriors newbie Jordan Bell gets call from Draymond Green

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OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Jordan Bell knows he will most certainly get an earful from Draymond Green come training camp as a Golden State Warriors rookie.

Green came looking for him on draft night with a FaceTime attempt after acquiring his new teammate’s digits from general manager Bob Myers. But Bell – out with friends celebrating – didn’t answer because the number was unfamiliar.

Bell decided he would text back instead.

“I was like, `Who is this?”‘ Bell recalled Friday, when he was formally introduced and given his new No. 2 Golden State jersey at team headquarters.

“He didn’t reply so I called the number and said, `Who is this?’ Then he was like, `Yo, I FaceTimed you, hang up right now and FaceTime me right back, don’t call me,”‘ Bell said. “I FaceTimed him and he didn’t answer. I was like, all right. I waited like five seconds and I called him back FaceTime and he answered … and we started talking about it. He was like, `Enjoy this night, celebrate, it only happens once, but after this time we have to get back to work, we’re trying to get rings over here.”‘

The NBA champions began the night Thursday without a draft pick but acquired Bell in a trade with the Bulls. The 6-foot-9 forward and Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year out of Oregon was the 38th overall selection by Chicago.

Bell had been upset he dropped so far in the draft, then everything changed once the Warriors made a move for him. Green was drafted 35th overall out of Michigan State in 2012 and still has a chip on his shoulder about it. In fact, he can name every team in order and its selection above him that draft year.

“Draymond will be a fun challenge for you,” Myers said. “Draymond texted me as I was driving home and he said, `What the’ and then expletive `is your problem’ to me? So you can fill in the blank. Then he said, `I have to hear about this’ expletive `on the internet, you didn’t’ expletive `tell me about it.’ So I couldn’t text and drive so I called him and I said, `OK, all right, calm down.”‘

Green demanded he be able to talk to Bell, so Myers obliged with the new rookie’s contact info.

Green’s teammates are accustomed to his intensity. He even yells at them from time to time.

“He’s like our team mom in a way,” joked Myers. “He’s the one that you have to kind of get through him.”

 

Rumor: Cavaliers could wait to chase Dwyane Wade, Carmelo Anthony after buyouts

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The first reaction to hearing Jimmy Butler was traded to Minnesota on draft night was “the Bulls only got what back?”

The second reaction was “does Dwyane Wade still opt in?”

Yes, he does, and as he said there are 24 million reasons to do so. Hard to argue with that logic. Which leads to the next question: Will the Bulls buy him out? Or, more likely, when will the Bulls buy him out?

Carmelo Anthony could be in the same boat. Phil Jackson wants to trade him but Anthony has a no-trade clause. The number of teams willing to give up anything for ‘Melo where he would waive that clause is very, very limited. You might be able to count them on one finger. And that might be generous. So a buyout could be in order.

Which leads to this interesting note from Brian Windhorst, via Marc Stein, of ESPN.

This makes sense for the Cavaliers. They need roster upgrades and they are capped out. They tried to find a deal to move Kevin Love to get space to chase Jimmy Butler or Paul George, but those three team deals never came together in part because of a lack of trade value for Kevin Love. Adding either or both of these two players to the roster for minimum salaries while giving up nothing is a perfect scenario.

Wade, obviously, has played with LeBron. Even though he is not the player he once was, if his knees are rested he is capable of stretches of fantastic play that can help carry a team. He would be another offensive weapon in a deep arsenal of weapons the Cavaliers have stockpiled.

Anthony would be the same in some ways — he remains a strong scorer in isolation (sets the Cavaliers run more than any other team in the league) and he makes difficult shots. The problem would be elite teams — Golden State, Boston, etc. — could expose his defense against the pick-and-roll. Still, he would be an upgrade if nothing is surrendered for him.

There’s a lot of “what if” still to happen before we get to this. However, the idea of one or both of these guys being in Cavaliers uniforms by the start of next playoffs is not out of the question.

Alec Peters’ tearful reaction to being selected what NBA Draft should be about

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The NBA Draft production in Brooklyn is entertainment. It’s glitz. There’s stage with changing graphics. The NBA Commissioner comes out and announces the picks, then guys who have realized for a while now they would fulfill their dream of playing in the NBA come up on stage in their expensive suits, put on a baseball cap from their new team, shake the Commissioner’s hand, and next get interviewed on national television. It all feels rehearsed and staged, with very little feeling genuine.

I prefer how it went for former Valparaiso star Alec Peters better. He was in his hometown, with family and friends, unsure if his name would be called until just before it happened at spot 54 — and he still didn’t believe it until he heard it.

That is authentic.

The Suns are a good place to land for a young man wanting to develop and prove he belongs in the league. Peters is a 6’9″ power forward who shot 36.9 percent from three. Can he develop into a stretch four/pick-and-pop threat? He’s got a high IQ and will need to prove he can hang with NBA bigs, but he’s going to get his chance.

(Hat tip Ball Don’t Lie)