Dan Feldman

Los angeles Clippers head coach Doc Rivers reacts to a play during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Dallas Mavericks Friday, Dec. 23, 2016, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
AP Photo/Jae C. Hong

Doc Rivers: No more technical fouls, and Clippers must follow my lead

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The Clippers’ whining and complaining and arguing with referees is so entrenched in their culture, it’s literally a family activity.

Through Wednesday, the Clippers ranked second in the NBA with 24 technical fouls this season. (The Suns led the league with 29.)

Clippers coach Doc Rivers vowed to change that mindset.

Rivers, via Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times:

“I told them, ‘That doesn’t represent us,’ ” said Rivers, who has six technicals, second-most of the coaches in the league, and three ejections. “I have to be the leader of this team, so my actions have to come first. … We’re reversing this. I’m getting no more, and I’m holding everyone accountable.”

“There are other teams that complain as much as us, and there are times as a coach when I have to do my job,” said Rivers, who was fined $15,000 for verbally abusing a referee and not leaving the court in a timely manner after he was ejected from a Dec. 1 game against Brooklyn.

“I’m not gonna change. I’m gonna be feisty and fight for my team every night. But I also want us to be better. I started well [Wednesday]. No techs.”

I appreciate Rivers pointing the finger at himself first, but it doesn’t bode well that he can’t even declare his intention to stop getting technical fouls without also saying he won’t change and pointing out other teams complain just as much. He just can’t help being petty – and neither can Chris Paul or DeAndre Jordan.

There are pros to this approach. Rivers sets a tone of competitiveness, and his players know he has their back. There’s also a culture of perfectionism the Clippers demand not just from officials, but from themselves.

But the Clippers have long gone too far with their referee interactions. Their complaining becomes distracting, and the technicals cost them valuable points.

Good for Rivers if he gets the team to change, but I’m skeptical.

At least one player says he’s on board, though.

Austin Rivers, via DiGiovanna:

“For the rest of the year, I’m not getting any more [technicals],” Austin Rivers said. “I’ve never been a guy to get a lot of technicals. I guess it’s just emotion. We’re competitive. We just have to channel it in a better way.”

LeBron James: ‘We gotta get a point guard. It’s my last time saying it’

CLEVELAND, OH - OCTOBER 25:  LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers in action against the New York Knicks on October 25, 2016 at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)
Jamie Sabau/Getty Images
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The Cavaliers are trading for Kyle Korver, who will help them with his 3-point shooting (no matter how weirdly you want to describe it).

But LeBron James isn’t satisfied.

LeBron, via Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com:

“We still got a couple more things we need to do,” James said Friday, when asked if Cleveland’s pending trade with Atlanta for Korver was a “championship move.”

“We gotta get a point guard,” James said. “It’s my last time saying it. We need a point guard.”

The Cavaliers have a hole behind Kyrie Irving, a key reason LeBron is playing 37.1 minutes per game – his most since his return to Cleveland – despite Tyronn Lue stating a plan to rest LeBron more. LeBron often runs the point with the second unit and probably wouldn’t mind easing his load. At this point, he sounds irritated it hasn’t happened yet.

The only other point guards on the roster were Kay Felder and Mo Williams. Felder is a 5-foot-9 second-round rookie who mostly hasn’t looked ready for the NBA, though his scoring has been fine as a rotation member the last few games. His distributing is nearly invisible, though, as he focuses on just one element of his game at a time. Williams – reportedly included in the Korver deal – stuck around just to get paid, not actually play.

The Korver trade will reportedly open a roster spot, so the Cavs could simply sign a point guard once it’s completed. Perhaps, they eventually deal for a better backup point guard. But just getting a viable option to take minutes from LeBron for now would be a good start.

Matt Bonner retires with hilarious self-deprecating video

2014 NBA Finals - Game Five
Andy Lyons/Getty Images
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Tim Duncan. Tony Parker. Manu Ginobili. David Robinson. Sean Elliott.

Matt Bonner.

One of the six players to spend 10 full NBA seasons with the Spurs – Bonner – has announced his retirement.

Bonner, whom the Raptors drafted in the 2003 second round out of Florida, had a fine 12-year career as a stretch big. He became the only New Hampshire-born player in NBA history, won a couple championships in San Antonio and never took himself too seriously.

Danilo Gallinari disagrees with Michael Malone’s leadership criticism, Nuggets coach apologizes

Denver Nuggets head coach Michael Malone, front, reacts with forward Danilo Gallinari, of Italy, after he was called for a technical foul while facing the San Antonio Spurs in the second half of an NBA basketball game Thursday, Jan. 5, 2017, in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
AP Photo/David Zalubowski
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Nuggets coach Mike Malone bemoaned his team’s lack of veteran leadership – a strong public indictment of Mike Miller, Jameer Nelson, Wilson Chandler, Darrell Arthur and Danilo Gallinari.

Gallinari, via Harrison Wind of BSN Denver:

I don’t agree with that. That’s definitely not the problem of this team. Every veteran on this team can agree with me. So, I don’t agree with that.

Malone, via Christopher Dempsey of The Denver Post:

“The only thing I’ll say regarding that – and I apologize to our veterans – anything that’s going on in our locker room should be left in the locker room,” he said prior to the Nuggets’ game against San Antonio Thursday night. “So I failed in that regard the other night. I let my frustrations after that loss get the best of me.”

“We have a great group of guys,” Malone said. “I’ve talked to guys one-on-one. We have so many young players on this team, I want to make sure our young guys are staying positive, staying in the right direction. And we do have good leadership. Last game I was frustrated with that, but as I mentioned, that shouldn’t have come out in the media. I think our locker room is tied together.”

If this is an isolated incident, the Nuggets can probably move on with Malone’s apology. The loss to the Kings was frustrating, and players can likely relate to Malone reacting in the heat of the moment after a tough loss.

But if there were already fissures between Malone and his players, this could exasperate those problems.

Most of all, Denver – which has lost four straight – just needs a win for everyone to feel better.

Cavaliers coach Tyron Lue: LeBron James and Kyrie Irving will get Kyle Korver many ‘butt-naked shots’

korver lebron
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Kyle Korver is joining the Cavaliers – meaning he’ll get a ton of open 3-pointers playing with LeBron James, Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love.

Or put another way…

Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com:

Kyle Korver is going to come off the bench when he joins the Cavs, coach Tyronn Lue said on Friday.

Lue called Korver’s coming 3-pointers “butt-naked shots,” meaning he’ll be wide open playing with James and Irving.

OK then.