As a reminder, the league’s anti-flopping rules are largely toothless. There is no penalty for the first warning, and the fines for subsequent offenses are extremely small in relation to players’ salaries.
A total of 25 different players have received warnings this season, while just two of them — P.J. Hairston of the Hornets and C.J. Watson of the Pacers — have been caught twice, resulting in fines of $5,000 apiece.
Lakers eliminated from playoffs, team’s earliest elimination in 54 years
With the New Orleans Pelicans defeating the Brooklyn Nets on Tuesday, the Lakers were officially eliminated from the playoffs. This marked the Lakers’ earliest elimination since the franchise moved to Los Angeles before the 1960-61 season. This will also mark the second consecutive season the Lakers will not make the postseason, including the seventh time in franchise history. …
The bad news might keep on coming. The Lakers currently have a .258 winning percentage, the worst in franchise history. The Lakers are also only 10 more losses away from finishing with a worst record than last year’s team that went 27-55, the team’s worst in L.A. franchise history.
This doesn’t mean much in the grand scheme of things, of course — anyone who’s paid attention to the NBA at all has known the Lakers would miss the playoffs, essentially from the beginning of the season.
And, at this point, losing is preferred in Los Angeles, because the only way the Lakers keep their draft pick is if it lands somewhere in the top five. Otherwise, it goes to the Sixers.
But it is a reminder of just how far the franchise has fallen, and statistics like these will serve as a nice source of schadenfreude for the team’s many detractors.
Amar’e Stoudemire rips Mavericks teammates after blowout loss to Cavaliers
Amar’e Stoudemire didn’t have to join the Dallas Mavericks.
He could have cruised with the Knicks for the remainder of the season, while collecting the entire amount owed to him on his contract before then leaving as an unrestricted free agent this summer.
Instead, Stoudemire left money on the table — $2.5 million to be exact — to join what he believed would be a playoff contender. But after a 33-point home loss to the Cavaliers, the team’s fifth in its last seven games, Stoudemire ripped his new teammates for a lack of focus during this recent slide.
“I came here to win, and we’re [4 ½] games out of being out of the playoffs, which is unacceptable,” Stoudemire said after the Cleveland Cavaliers cruised to a 127-94 win over the Mavs at the American Airlines Center. “This is something we can’t accept. We’ve got to find a way to refocus. We’ve got to key into the details of the game of basketball.
“We can’t cheat the game. We can’t screw around in games and practices and joke around all the time and figure we’re going to win games. This is the pros. It’s the highest level of basketball. We’ve got to act that way.”
Stoudemire has only been in Dallas for 11 games, and the team’s record during that time is just five wins against six losses.
It’s unclear if Stoudemire has the juice in the locker room at this stage of his career for his words to carry any weight; he’s averaging 11.4 points and 3.5 rebounds for Dallas in 17.5 minutes per contest. But as a veteran now in his 13th season, he’s not going to have any reservations about speaking his mind.
LeBron plays without headband for first time since his rookie season
The night started off aesthetically disorienting. LeBron James took the court for tipoff without a headband for the first time in more than a decade — since a preseason game against Detroit in his rookie season, to be precise.
James famously played without a headband in the 2013 NBA Finals, but only for a late-game stretch after it was knocked from his head.
Against the Mavericks, James finished with 27 points on 10-of-14 shooting, to go along with seven rebounds and eight assists in just 29 minutes of action — in a game Cleveland won by 33 points.
LeBron gets the chase down block on Chandler Parsons (VIDEO)
This one sequence early in the Cavaliers’ 127-94 win in Dallas pretty much summed up the night for the Mavericks.
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With Chandler Parsons running the break, LeBron James eyes him from half court, and sets him up perfectly to come away with the chase down block. The scramble for the ball leads to a Cavaliers break the other way, and after a missed shot from the perimeter, no one keeps track of Timofey Mozgov, who glides in for the offensive rebound and the uncontested slam.