Dan Feldman

NBA: Spurs got away with key foul in win over Mavericks

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Gregg Popovich ripped his Spurs after they beat the lowly Mavericks by just five Monday, storming away from his postgame press conference and then returning just to add that Dallas should have won.

He might have been right.

With the Mavericks down one, Harrison Barnes missed with 15 seconds left. Manu Ginobili grabbed the defensive rebound – with the help of David Lee, who got away with loose-ball fouling Salah Mejri, according to the NBA’s Last Two Minute Report:

Lee (SAS) clamps the arm of Mejri (DAL) and affects his ability to retrieve the rebound.

The Spurs were in the penalty, so a correct call would’ve sent Mejri – who’s about a 60% free-throw shooter – to the line for two attempts.

Instead, Dallas began intentionally fouling, and San Antonio pulled away for a 96-91 win.

Report: Rockets pull Donatas Motiejunas’ offer

Donatas Motiejunas, Kenneth Faried
AP Photo/David Zalubowski
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Donatas Motiejunas let his $4,433,683 qualifying offer expire, but the Rockets still left a $7 million-guaranteed deal on the table for him. A key for Houston? Signing Motiejunas by the end of the day, so he’d be trade eligible before the trade deadline, which is three months away.

Apparently, Motiejunas waited too long to accept.

Marc Stein of ESPN:

Motiejunas remains a restricted free agent. He can sign with the Rockets directly or an offer sheet with another team that Houston can match.

The only difference is that the Rockets are offering less now. They almost certainly haven’t pulled every offer. Even if they couldn’t trade Motiejunas this season, they’d surely love to have him for the minimum. We don’t know the new standing offer, but it’d be illogical for there not to be one.

This was the risk of declining the qualifying offer for Motiejunas. I was surprised Houston still offered $7 million guaranteed, but we don’t know the overall terms of that offer. It could have still been extremely team-friendly (with multiple lower-paying unguaranteed years).

Now, Motiejunas doesn’t even have that, and the standoff continues.

President Barack Obama: Michael Jordan ‘more than just an internet meme’

SPRINGFIELD, MA - SEPTEMBER 11: Michael Jordan to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame speaks during an induction ceremony on September 11, 2009 in Springfield, Massachusetts. 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 Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
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Barack Obama awarded Michael Jordan the Presidential Medal of Freedom, and that’s supposedly the highest civilian honor.

But Obama offered Jordan the highest praise imaginable:

He’s more than just a logo, more than just an internet meme.

Rick Carlisle on inspiring 2-11 Mavericks: ‘We could all be digging ditches’

LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 08:  Head Coach Rick Carlisle of the Dallas Mavericks reacts to an officials call during the first half of a game against the Los Angeles Lakers at Staples Center on November 8, 2016 in Los Angeles, California.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 Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
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The Mavericks are an NBA-worst 2-11 (yes, worse than the 76ers, who are suddenly “just” ordinarily bad). Gregg Popovich just tore into his Spurs for beating Dallas by just five. Several Mavericks are hurt, making it difficult to snap a six-game losing streak.

But as Dallas coach Rick Carlisle pointed out, it could be worse.

Eddie Sefko of The Dallas Morning News:

I guess.

There’s nothing wrong with appreciating how fortunate anyone is to play or coach in the NBA. I’m just not sure that will have the team raring to go against the Clippers tomorrow.

Grizzlies’ Mike Conley: ‘Very frustrating’ never to make an All-Star game

Memphis Grizzlies guard Mike Conley (11) gestures after making a 3-point basket in the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Houston Rockets, Friday, Nov. 20, 2015, in Memphis, Tenn. (AP Photo/Brandon Dill)
AP Photo/Brandon Dill
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Grizzlies point guard Mike Conley is building a case to become the best player never to make an All-Star game.

Rather than carry that distinction, it seems he’d rather just make an All-Star game.

Conley, via Jerry Zgoda of the Minneapolis Star Tribune

“It’s very frustrating, but I know my team feels like I am, I feel like I am that All-Star-caliber guy,” said Conley, whose Grizzlies on Saturday played the Wolves for the third time already this season. “I just have to keep playing like that and get better as each year goes by.”

I understand Conley’s frustration. It’s easy to examine his career and believe it should have produced at least one All-Star appearance.

But it’s much more difficult to point to a certain year and a specific Western Conference All-Star and say, “Conley deserved it over him.” Absent that, any griping is moot. The Western Conference has produced great guards over his career. That might be frustrating, but that’s reality.

Besides, All-NBA should be treated as a more meaningful honor than an All-Star appearance, anyway (not that Conley has made an All-NBA team).