Dan Feldman

Devin Harris throws nasty forearm at Jordan Bell (video)

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Jordan Bell agitated the Mavericks with a late showoff dunk earlier this season.

In the the Warriors’ win over Dallas on Wednesday, Bell remained a pest by brushing Devin Harris.

Harris responded by winding up as if he were going to punch Bell, but connected with only his forearm, not his fist.

Bell was called for a personal foul, Harris a technical foul.

I would have thought Harris would be in line for an additional penalty from the NBA, a fine or maybe even a suspension. Then again, I also thought he would have gotten more than a technical foul within the game.

Referee tells Zaza Pachulia that Warriors got delay of game ‘because you shot such a bad shot’ (video)

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In the Warriors’ win over the Mavericks last night, Zaza Pachulia – while being fouled – biffed a shot off the bottom of the backboard. As Pachulia readied for his free throws, Golden State was called for a delay of game. Pachulia asked why.

Referee Scott Foster

Because you shot such a bad shot. You deserve that delay of game.

If you swished it, it’s not a delay of game.

I’m pretty sure Foster was joking. Pachulia laughed. It seemed the delay of game was actually due to the Warriors’ substitution.

And maybe Foster and Pachulia have a relationship where Foster knew Pachulia would take the remarks with good humor.

But even close friends can’t always tell when each other are in joking moods. It’s not worth risking a misread of the situation here.

Tensions appear to be high between players and referees. I believe one reason is referees not understanding their role on the court.

Players are in the heat of competition. Referees are not. Referees should be mindful and respectful of the difference.

Though this obviously didn’t amount to anything serious, I think it’s indicative of a greater problem.

Kristaps Porzingis: ‘I’m tired. I’m tired. I’m so tired right now’

Patrick Smith/Getty Images
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When the Knicks traded Carmelo Anthony, the immediate question in New York became: Was Kristaps Porzingis ready?

Ready to be the face of the franchise in the NBA’s largest market? Ready to be the offensive focal point? Ready to lead his team?

The early answer appeared to be a resounding yes. The Knicks started 6-4, and Porzingis averaged 30 points per game while shooting 51% from the field and 38% on 3-pointers. He established himself as a Most Improved Player candidate.

But New York is 2-7 in its last nine games while Porzingis is averaging just 19 points on 36% from the field and 25% on 3-pointers. He missed a game in that span, one of six he has already missed this season.

After the Knicks lost to the Wizards last night, Porzingis revealed a problem.

Porzingis, via Marc Berman of the New York Post:

“I’m tired, I’m tired, I’m so tired right now,’’ Porzingis said in the visitors’ locker room at Capital One Arena. “I have one day to rest my legs and get back and play better and have more energy and try to bring the team’s energy up. We’re in a tough stretch. The mental part doesn’t help at all. When it’s mentally tough, you don’t have it in you.’’

That’s not encouraging.

Porzingis has already shown problems with durability. He missed 10 and 17 games in his first two NBA seasons. He faded late both years even when on the court. He primarily plays power forward rather than his otherwise-optimal position of center, because he can’t handle the physicality.

Porzingis is just 22. He should get stronger.

But, in the meantime, this is a major impediment to the Knicks winning.

Paul George: If Thunder build foundation and are trending up, it’d be ‘stupid’ to leave

AP Photo/Jae C. Hong
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Paul George said he’d be “dumb” to leave the Thunder if they reached the conference finals or upset the Warriors.

Russell Westbrook doesn’t want to take that chance. He called a championship the sales pitch he wants to deliver George entering free agency.

But now George – who keeps at least hinting at a future with the Lakers – is moving away from setting such distinct lines.

George, via ESPN:

“I’ve got a lot to think about,” George told ESPN before the Oklahoma City Thunder’s 133-96 win over the Los Angeles Lakers at Staples Center. “This summer will be huge. I’ve got a lot to think about. If we’re trending, if we’re going in the right direction, if I feel there is something that we’re building, and there’s a foundation — it would be kind of clueless, just stupid on my behalf to up and leave.

“I’m very conscious that we’re only together for a year so far, and we continue to go in an upward trend. It’s best to stick with what we have and work on building. So, I wouldn’t say it’s championship or bust, or championship and I’m out. It’s all about building. If I like where we’re building or the level that we’re going at, it would be stupid to walk away from that.”

Whether Oklahoma City has built a foundation and in trending upward will probably be in the eye of the beholder. In this case, only George’s assessment will matter.

A key question: What will George set as the initial baseline? If it’s the Thunder’s slow start this season, they already look on track. If it’s their five-game, first-round loss last season, that looks achievable. If it’s the conference finals George already twice reached with the Pacers, that’s a much higher bar.

George has committed to Oklahoma City for the rest of this season. No matter how he precisely decides, whether he stays beyond will clearly depend on how the Thunder perform in the playoffs.

Report: Spurs tried ‘really, really hard’ to trade for Kyrie Irving

AP Photo/Tony Dejak
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When Kyrie Irving requested a trade last summer – which would take him from the Cavaliers to the Celtics – the Spurs were reportedly among his preferred destinations. In fact, according to one report, San Antonio was his top choice.

And the Spurs were interested. San Antonio even reportedly made an offer.

But lots of teams proposed Irving trades. Some of them were surely lowball offers.

How seriously were the Spurs about trading for Irving?

Adrian Wojnarowski on ESPN:

San Antonio tried really, really hard to make a trade for him. And that was the initial goal, to play for Pop. It wasn’t about big market.

I’m not sure how close the Spurs could have come to landing Irving. They had only one elite asset – Kawhi Leonard, whom they weren’t trading. Their next-best player, LaMarcus Aldridge, would have created a logjam with LeBron James, Kevin Love and Tristan Thompson.

Perhaps, San Antonio sought a three-team trade. That always makes a deal more complex and therefore less likely to happen, but the Spurs could have tried hard to complete one.

It would have been fascinating to see Irving – who can be high-maintenance – play under Gregg Popovich. It’d also be interesting to hear why the Spurs believed Irving would fit. Irving being the rare young star to become available would be enough for most teams, but in San Antonio – where an especially high premium is placed on culture – that alone wouldn’t have been enough.

Maybe it would have worked seamlessly. Irving is fitting in well in Boston. But whether he would have meshed with the Spurs is a fun “what if?”.