Author: Brett Pollakoff

Russell Westbrook

Russell Westbrook has league-leading 15th technical foul rescinded


Just 57 seconds into Sunday night’s contest between the Thunder and the Suns, Russell Westbrook picked up a technical foul, his league-leading 15th of the season.

There didn’t appear to be much to it — see for yourself.

Westbrook went over to check on teammate Kyle Singler, who had just been decked on a drive to the basket, and must have said something to the official; my wild guess is a profanity-laced plea for a flagrant foul to be called.

The referee was offended enough by whatever was said to whistle Westbrook for the technical, but the league has rescinded it, reports Royce Young of

This is important, because had this one stood, it would have meant a one-game suspension for Westbrook once his next technical foul was received.

He remains at the top of the leaderboard in this category, tied with Markieff Morris of the Suns at 14, though the count resets once the postseason begins.

The technical fouls have cost Westbrook a total of $41,000 in fines to this point of the season.

Lance Stephenson says he doesn’t regret free agent decision to sign with Hornets

Chicago Bulls v Charlotte Hornets

It’s been a rough season for Lance Stephenson in his first year with the Hornets, but that doesn’t mean he regrets choosing to sign with Charlotte as a free agent last summer.

From the Associated Press:

Lance Stephenson doesn’t regret his decision to sign with the Hornets as a free agent, even though this season has been a huge struggle for the five-year NBA veteran.

Not at all,” Stephenson said. “I love this system. I love my coaches. I love my teammates. Some people come into systems and fit right in. Some people it takes time. I feel like with me, I’m going to take time.” …

“I think the biggest thing for him is he’s 23 and this is the first time he’s gone somewhere different,” Hornets head coach Steve Clifford said. “He’s played for the same team and same coach for four years with the same basic offensive and defensive structure.”

The Pacers made a five-year, $44 million offer to Stephenson in hopes that he’d stay, but he took a contract with the Hornets that’s only guaranteed for $18 million over two years, with a team option for a third season.

Stephenson was not only choosing more money on a per-year basis in Charlotte, he was betting on himself to play his way into a more lucrative deal once this current contract was finished.

He’d have to actually play, though, in order for that to happen.

If Stephenson can remain positive even after the disastrous turn his career has taken this season, that would certainly be a good sign. He has the talent to be a key player on a very good team, even if his skill set isn’t one that has him ready to be a star just yet.

Stephen Curry crosses over Chris Paul a second time (VIDEO)

Stephen Curry, Chris Paul

By now you’ve seen the devastating move that Stephen Curry unleashed on Chris Paul during the Warriors’ Tuesday night win over the Clippers.

Paul was shaken so badly by it that he was dropped to the floor, where all he could do at that point was watch helplessly as Curry’s shot splashed home. (Hey, at least he had a sense of humor about it afterward.)

But it wasn’t the only time that Paul was victimized by Curry that night. This crossover wasn’t quite as vicious, mainly because of the distance between Curry and his defender. It still had Paul just guessing, however, and freed up Curry to hit the wide-open shot.

[via Amin Elhassan]

Report: LeBron James calls the plays, Cavaliers coach David Blatt repeats them to team

Cleveland Cavaliers v Los Angeles Lakers

The Cavaliers have posted a record of 29-7 since Jan. 15, so the early-season talk surrounding head coach David Blatt and whether or not he was a good fit for the roster has largely subsided.

But that doesn’t mean he’s completely in charge.

One of the reasons LeBron James came back to Cleveland was for the amount of control he could have over the team, both on and off the court. And it appears as though he’s taken over the play-calling duties from his coach — even if Blatt is trying desperately to make it seem as though he’s still in command.

From Brian Windhorst of (via Deadspin):

“The Princeton offense that David Blatt installed in the preseason, they just threw that out. What typically happens—and this has been happening for like three months now—is LeBron will take the ball, and LeBron will call the play. David Blatt will see what play LeBron calls, and he will repeat it to the team. That happens on a regular basis.”

“I’ve lost track of how many times David Blatt has said something this year and LeBron has directly contradicted it within 45 seconds,” Windhorst added, via Larry Brown Sports.

As long as the Cavaliers are winning, these tidbits about what may or may not be going on with the coaching dynamic will remain relatively buried, at least as far as the team’s true decision-makers are concerned.

But if Cleveland should suffer an earlier-than-expected postseason exit, then all of these stories about Blatt and just how much hold he has on things will be taken more seriously into consideration.

Blake Griffin: ‘Home-court advantage is just not there for us’

Blake Griffin

The Clippers have lamented their lack of a home-court advantage since very early in the season.

And with the playoffs a little more than two weeks away, it appears as though nothing has changed.

Blake Griffin joined Chris Paul in going on the record publicly to state the obvious, which is that fans from other teams tend to invade the Staples Center and make their presence felt during Clippers home games against the league’s top teams.

From Arash Markazi of ESPN Los Angeles:

“Home-court advantage is just not there for us,” Griffin said after the game. “If that’s how it feels in the playoffs, it’s not looking good.”

Warriors fans made Staples Center sound more like Oracle Arena on Tuesday night. They loudly cheered every made basket by Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson, and chanted “M-V-P” when Curry was at the free throw line, causing several Clippers players to look up into the stands and shake their heads.

“I don’t know what we could do, but it would be great if it wasn’t that way,” said Griffin, who had 40 points in the loss. “It’s kind of like when we play the Lakers. I don’t know, maybe worse. It’s one of those things where it would be great if it wasn’t like that.”

Back in November after losing to the Bulls at home, Paul said “Tonight somewhat felt like a road game. It ain’t no secret. It’s not the first time.”

Los Angeles remains a Lakers town, despite the current level of disparity between the two teams. That’s part of the problem with sharing a city and an arena with one of the league’s most storied franchises, and unfortunately for the Clippers, they’re going to have to overcome this obstacle and find a way to earn success in spite of it for many, many years in order to gain a passionate fan base all their own.