Author: Brett Pollakoff

Washington Wizards v Atlanta Hawks

NBA says Kyle Korver didn’t travel on Hawks’ final Game 4 possession


Paul Pierce had a chance to once again be the hero for the Wizards in Game 4 against the Hawks, but his game-tying three-point attempt rimmed out with a few seconds remaining, and Atlanta sealed the victory at the free throw line on the ensuing possession.

But should the Hawks have gotten that chance?

Kyle Korver appeared to have committed a traveling violation upon receiving the inbound pass, before getting the ball to Paul Millsap, who was intentionally fouled and then knocked down two free throws to put the game officially out of reach.

Bradley Beal thought it was a travel, and so did plenty of others. But the league’s ruling, courtesy of the game’s Last Two Minute report, says that the no-call was correct, and that there was no violation.

“Korver (ATL) slides when receiving the inbound pass,” the report says. “Players that fall to the floor while holding the ball (or stopping) may not gain an advantage by sliding. No call is correct as no advantage is gained.”

Wizards fans would obviously disagree.

The falling to the floor part isn’t what people took issue with; it was the “sliding” before then, which appeared to show Korver taking multiple steps to get set after gaining possession.

The advantage may not have been one that could be measured in terms of Korver getting closer to the basket. But it’s a pretty large advantage for the play not to have been ruled a turnover, which would have given the ball back to the Wizards with one more chance to tie things up at the end of regulation.

Here’s why Taj Gibson deserved to be ejected from Game 5 (VIDEO)

Chicago Bulls v Cleveland Cavaliers - Game Five

Early in the fourth quarter of Cleveland’s Game 5 win over the Bulls, Taj Gibson was ejected for what the referees viewed as a kick to Matthew Dellavedova, who was on the ground after being pushed there by Gibson during a box-out situation.

While many believe that Gibson’s “kick” only happened because of the leg lock that Dellavedova had on him, the actions by Gibson earlier in the possession, when looking at the totality of the play, did in fact warrant the ejection.

Gibson is overly-physical with Dellavedova twice on the perimeter, as he attempts to screen for Aaron Brooks. He gets Dellavedova with an arm around the neck …


and then throws his shoulder forward to catch Dellavedova in the face …


before shoving Dellavedova in the back …


which caused him to hit the floor before the leg lock and kick ever took place.

Here’s a look at the entire possession.

The referees easily could have called Gibson for the foul on the screen, because he clearly launches his shoulder forward for maximum impact. Had this happened, there obviously wouldn’t have been any incident between the two players under the basket.

Now, should Gibson have been ejected simply for shaking his leg loose from Dellavedova’s grasp, no matter how bad it looked initially? Of course not. But given the way Gibson caused the altercation by his actions very early in the possession, I believe the ejection was warranted — although I don’t feel like Gibson is deserving of any additional punishment in the form of a fine or suspension.

[Photos via Tom Read]

LeBron flies in to reject Derrick Rose’s game-tying shot (VIDEO)


The Cavaliers held on for a critical Game 5 victory over the Bulls to take a 3-2 lead in the best-of-seven series, and not surprisingly, it was largely due to the play of LeBron James.

Chicago battled back from a 17-point fourth quarter deficit to trail by just two with under a minute to play, and after a missed three from Kyrie Irving, Derrick Rose had a full head of steam coming down the floor in transition.

It appeared as though Rose would be able to get close enough for an uncontested runner from a few feet away, but as he elevated for the shot, James came flying in seemingly out of nowhere, and hung in the air long enough to swat the ball out of bounds.

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LeBron finished with 38 points, 12 rebounds, six assists, three steals, three blocked shots — and zero turnovers.

Dr. J won’t return to represent Sixers at Draft Lottery

julius erving draft lottery

Julius Erving represented the Sixers at the Draft Lottery last year, but he won’t return to do so again on May 19.

The reason for this seems logical enough, in that Erving will be out of the country when the proceedings take place.

But given how things played out the last time around, his absence is probably for the best.

From Tom Moore of

Julius Erving won’t be representing the 76ers at the May 19 NBA Draft Lottery because he’ll be in China, according to Sixers CEO Scott O’Neil.

O’Neil said in a Monday text message that the team’s management was “still discussing internally” who it would be. Erving was onstage at the nationally televised event a year ago when the Sixers landed the Nos. 3 and 10 picks. …

Among the candidates to replace Erving are former Sixers star Allen Iverson (O’Neil didn’t respond to a question about Iverson being a possibility) and young big men Nerlens Noel and Joel Embiid.

Erving admitted to not knowing what was going on when the Sixers were revealed to have the 10th pick in the draft, because the team was slated to pick second if the odds remained intact.

What Erving missed was that the Sixers had two first-round picks, thanks to the Jrue Holiday trade the summer before, and 10th was exactly where that second one was supposed to land.

“When I saw 10, I was perplexed,” Erving said. “What the heck? We’ve got the second-most ping pong balls and we’re 10? I almost felt bad, but then (Orlando Magic representative) Pat Williams gave me the light, and when they started announcing what had happened and that we had the tenth pick, then it was OK.”

Let’s hope that whoever gets the nod this year for the Sixers is well-informed of the possibilities.

LeBron doesn’t test sore ankle at shootaround, says ‘I’ll be ready to go’ for Game 5

LeBron James

LeBron James rolled his ankle late in the third quarter of Game 4 against the Bulls, but was able to continue to play and ultimately knock down the game-winner to get his Cavaliers even in the best-of-seven series.

“I rolled it pretty good,” James said afterward “I haven’t had an opportunity to see the replay, but I know I rolled it pretty good when I stepped on D-Rose’s foot in transition. I wasn’t coming out. I felt it on the floor for a while, and I just took my time. I was not coming out not only because of the position our team was in but because of who I am as the leader of the team. I was going to fight through it no matter what.”

James is planning to fight through it again in a pivotal Game 5, and while it’s one thing to tighten up your laces and play through the pain on adrenaline, it’s quite another to try to do so after the swelling has set in following not more than a couple of days’ rest.

LeBron didn’t test the ankle at the morning shootaround, but insisted he’ll be ready by tip-off Tuesday night.

From Dave McMenamin of

“It makes no sense [to test it in the morning],” James said to reporters. He wore sandals, leaving the heavy wrap on his ankle in plain sight. “I’ll give it a test tonight.” …

James said, though, the ankle would not stop him from playing in Game 5. “It’s been better, but it’s been worse,” James said. “So, I’ll be ready to go tonight.” …

“When you’re dealing with injuries, you just find other ways to help the team, and I think we both are going to do that tonight.”

James was referring to himself and Kyrie Irving, the latter of whom is dealing with multiple injuries, but is also planning to play regardless.

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On the Chicago side, Pau Gasol is a gametime decision for the crucial Game 5 contest.