<span class="vcard">Dan Feldman</span>

Blake Griffin: ‘A situation among friends escalated’

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Blake Griffin broke his hand, reportedly punching a Clippers equipment manager.

The staffer was Matias Testi, according to Sam Amick of USA Today. Griffin and Testi have posted photos of each other together and looked like friends.

Griffin:

I initially rolled my eyes at Griffin apologizing to everyone but Testi. But Griffin expressed his regret, and if that apology is coming/has come, it should probably be in person anyway.

Joakim Noah, out for season and entering free agency, says he hopes to re-sign with Bulls

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CHICAGO (AP) — Joakim Noah expects to make a full recovery from shoulder surgery. Beyond that, the Bulls’ veteran center is not sure what the future holds.

Noah attended practice Tuesday after returning to Chicago on Monday night following surgery in New York last week to repair a dislocated left shoulder.

He said doctors believe there is a “very good chance” he will make a full recovery. Whether he suits up again for the Bulls is another issue.

The 30-year-old Noah is in the final year of a five-year, $60 million contract and is set to become an unrestricted free agent. Before the injury, there was talk the team would explore dealing the eight-year veteran before the trade deadline.

“I hope so,” Noah said when asked if his goal is to play for Chicago next season. “I’m not trying to focus on the future. I had season-ending surgery last week. But this is all I know. I’m looking forward to seeing what the guys are doing. Right now, it’s just all about taking a step back, just focusing on getting healthy.”

The 2014 NBA Defensive Player of the Year, Noah has been bothered by a variety of injuries in recent years that have affected his performance when he was able to suit up. He was moved to a reserve role by new coach Fred Hoiberg and didn’t exactly embrace the switch.

Noah is averaging a career-low 4.3 points and 8.8 rebounds in 21.9 minutes. Unless he makes a quick recovery or the Bulls advance in the playoffs, his final appearance for Chicago might have been when he ran off the court after he got entangled with Dallas’ JaVale McGee on Jan. 15.

Noah was playing his fourth game back after initially injuring the shoulder Dec. 21 against Brooklyn. An MRI at the time revealed a small tear, and he sat out nine games.

“It’s not easy,” Noah said. “But I know there’s people out there who it’s a lot harder for, so I’m not complaining. These are my cards right now. It’s all about how you bounce back.”

The Bulls have fought through a variety of injuries in an up-and-down season. They’re fourth in the Eastern Conference at 25-19 and have dropped seven of 10 since a six-game win streak.

Their next seven games are on the road starting with Thursday’s matchup against the Los Angeles Lakers, and it’s not clear if Derrick Rose will be available for that one.

Hoiberg said the point guard was still sore after leaving Monday’s loss to Miami because of lower back spasms and right hamstring soreness. No MRI was scheduled for Rose, who did not take contact in practice. If he is not available, Aaron Brooks figures to carry the load at point guard.

Rose missed nearly the entire preseason because of an eye injury and has struggled to approach the form that made him one of the NBA’s most explosive players before a series of knee injuries.

The Bulls also have been without their best shooter and a major stabilizing force with Mike Dunleavy Jr. sidelined all season following back surgery. He went through a full practice on Tuesday.

The injuries, along with the adjustment from the defensive-minded Tom Thibodeau to the offense-oriented Hoiberg, have contributed to the sort of inconsistency that has allowed the Bulls to beat Cleveland on Saturday and lose to Miami two nights later.

“There’s times when we’re really good,” Hoiberg said. “We’re a really good basketball team when things are going well. It’s finding that consistency when we hit that rough patch.”

Kobe Bryant (shoulder) out against Mavericks

Dallas Mavericks' Dirk Nowitzki (41) of Germany defends as Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant (24) finds room to the basket for a shot in the first half of an NBA basketball game, Friday, Nov. 21, 2014, in Dallas. The Mavericks' Chandler Parsons watches from behind. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)
AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez
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Kobe Bryant‘s streak of games played – his second longest of the season – will end at seven.

Lakers:

The Lakers have struggled with or without Kobe, who’d been playing through injury. They’ve dropped six straight.

Kobe’s absence doesn’t change the outlook tonight. The Mavericks remain big favorites.

There was a little buzz about the final meeting between Kobe and Dirk Nowitzki. Turns out, that was in November.

Clippers coach Doc Rivers: Blake Griffin’s 4-6 week timeline ‘unrealistic’

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In a statement attributed to Doc Rivers (and Steve Ballmer), the Clippers said Blake Griffin would miss 4-6 weeks after throwing a punch.

A couple hours later, Rivers contradicted that.

Rivers, via Ben Bolch of the Los Angeles Times:

OK then.

If Griffin is suspended by the NBA, the Clippers are incentivized to say he’s healthy as soon as possible. Suspensions typically begin only once a player is ready to play.

Rivers’ comments, while probably honest, make it more difficult for the Clippers to have Griffin’s injury-caused absence and suspension to overlap.

NBA: Hornets’ Troy Daniels got away with travelling before game-winning 3 against Kings, but…

Charlotte Hornets guard Troy Daniels, second from left, who made the game-winning 3-point basket, is congratulated by teammates, P.J. Hairston, left, Marvin Williams, third from left, Kemba Walker, fourth from left, and Nicolas Batum, of France, right, after the Hornets beat the Sacramento Kings 129-128 in double overtime in an NBA basketball game Monday, Jan. 25, 2016, in Sacramento, Calif. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)
AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli
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Hornets guard Troy Daniels hit the second biggest shot of his career last night, a game-winning 3-pointer in double overtime against the Kings.

One problem: He should’ve been called for travelling.

NBA’s Last Two Minute Report:

Daniels (CHA) moves his pivot foot prior to releasing the jump shot.

A correct call would’ve given Sacramento the ball with a two-point lead and 11.5 seconds left. The officials’ error probably determined the game’s winner.

But before the Kings grab their torches and pitchforks, they ought to realize they might not have even held that lead without other blown calls.

With Sacramento down two late in the first overtime, Cousins drew a Frank Kaminsky foul with P.J. Hairston also defending the Kings center. But it shouldn’t have been a foul, according to the NBA:

Kaminsky (CHA) maintains legal guarding position and legally contests Cousins’ (SAC) layup attempt. As Cousins attempts the layup he initiates any contact with Hairston’s (CHA) arm.

Cousins made a pair of free throws to force a second overtime.

Daniels missed a 3-pointer early in the second overtime, but the NBA ruled Rajon Rondo should’ve been called for a shooting foul:

Rondo (SAC) walks under Daniels (CHA) and does not allow him the room to land following his jump shot attempt.

The Hornets came up empty on that possession. Surely, three free throws from Daniels would’ve netted more points.

To be fair, a fourth missed call in the final 12 minutes went in Charlotte’s favor.

Later in the second quarter, Willie Cauley-Stein was called for offensively fouling Kemba Walker. The whistle was incorrect, according to the NBA:

Hairston (CHA) pushes Cauley-Stein (SAC) as he attempts to set the screen causing him to continue moving into Walker (CHA).

A correct call would’ve given the Kings another chance to score against Charlotte’s defense, but that’s all. This one doesn’t rate as nearly as impactful as the missed foul call on Daniel’s 3-pointer.

You could argue how to spin these admissions from the league.

It would have been hard for the Kings even to reach the second overtime – let alone build a two point lead with 11.9 seconds left – if this game were called correctly.

But, once the game progressed that far, it would’ve been even harder for the Hornets to win if Daniels’ travel were whistled.