Kurt Helin

Channing Frye, Trey Lyles ejected after late-game incident

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It got chippy late in Monday’s game, with Cleveland trailing Utah, because both teams were playing with “the playoffs are coming” desperation.

Then this incident happened. Trey Lyles had played well (he had a dozen points on the night) and got the ball out by the three point line with Channing Frye on him tight. Lyles swings elbows through trying to catch some space so he can face up, but one of them catches Frye right in the family jewels. Frye takes exception, and after the play walks over and head butts Lyles.

The referees ruled it was a flagrant 2 foul on Lyles for the unnecessary elbow, and he was ejected for it. Frye was given a technical, his second of the game, so he was gone. The bottom line is the refs got both guys off the floor following the incident.

My problem with this is that an official had called a foul on Lyles for the elbow already — a common foul. If Frye had not headbutted Lyles and just gone back up the court, this would have been forgotten. But once Frye upped the intensity, the referees seemed to look for a way to balance the scales.

It didn’t change the outcome, Utah hung on for a 94-85 win over Cleveland, which is huge considering the Jazz’s leading scorer Gordon Hayward sat this out with a foot issue.

Allen Iverson has nothing but praise for Stephen Curry

Allen Iverson
Associated Press
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Don’t put Allen Iverson in with those “get off my lawn” former NBA players more concerned about trying to protect the image of their era — and their egos — rather than enjoying what Stephen Curry is doing with the Golden State Warriors.

Iverson loves what he sees.

Iverson was at a Sixers Youth Foundation event and spoke to Brian Seltzer of Sixers.com about Curry.

Here’s the money part of the quote:

“He’s incredible. He’s different. He’s different. He’s something we’ve never seen. We’ve never seen this. It’s crazy to me, like just me being the biggest Michael Jordan fan, to see somebody come around like this. I have my idea of me being incredible, you know what I mean? But this dude right here, like it’s different. It’s a whole different monster, as far as his handle and the way he shoots? C’mon. You know you ain’t never seen nothing like this.”

We haven’t.

Barack Obama put it well, saying he’s having the most fun watching Curry that he’s had watching anyone since Jordan. That doesn’t mean that Curry is better than Kobe Bryant or Shaq or Tim Duncan or whoever, but he’s the most entertaining, engrossing player on the court since then.

Guys like this don’t come along often, and we should savor it.

Jamal Crawford says he would have signed to play in Seattle, but team moved

Seattle SuperSonics v Denver Nuggets
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In Seattle, plenty of fans are still angry that their NBA team was bought and moved to a smaller market. They rightfully feel screwed over by callous ownership, shortsighted local politicians, and NBA league office happy to make a point to other cities about helping fund new arenas.

Among those angry fans, Jamal Crawford.

The Clipper swingman and multiple time Sixth Man of the Year wrote and essay for The Cauldron at Sports Illustrated on how Seattle still misses a team — and how he wanted to play there.

“When the Oklahoma City Thunder played the Miami Heat in the 2012 NBA Finals, I was actively rooting for Miami. It had nothing to do with the Heat. It had everything to do with how much it stung to watch my hometown team, the Seattle SuperSonics, in the NBA Finals representing a different city.

“Since then, I’ve developed a strong friendship with Kevin Durant, so now I root for him to succeed — unless he’s playing my Los Angeles Clippers, of course. But back then, the pain of losing the Sonics was still fresh, and I couldn’t help but feel deep dislike for the entire Thunder franchise. I can tell you that most Seattle fans still feel that way….

“I was playing for the Knicks in 2008 when Seattle’s relocation to Oklahoma City was made official. I remember being in total disbelief. Sure, there had been rumors that ownership might sell the team if it didn’t get a new arena, but I never thought it would actually happen. The fans in Seattle are too passionate, too loyal — and the team had just been to the NBA Finals in 1996.

“It dawned on me immediately that I had already played my last professional game in the city of Seattle. It was an emotional moment, but mostly because it also sunk in that I’d never get a chance to actually suit up in a Sonics jersey. I just kind of took it for granted that my playing for the franchise was meant to be. At that point in my career, I had never even experienced free agency. There’s no doubt in my mind that I would’ve signed with Seattle had the team not relocated, but once again, it wasn’t meant to be.”

Nobody speaks for everyone, but Crawford sentiment is that of a lot of Seattle fans — they want the Sonics back.

Most of Crawford’s article is a plea for a team to return to Seattle. That almost happened when the Maloffs sold the Kings, but led by Adam Silver behind the scenes there was a push to give mayor Kevin Johnson a chance to save the team in Sacramento, and he did. Silver, and most owners, do not want to see teams move. I’m not sure if the Seattle/OKC situation would play out the same way today. Stern handled things differently.

There are no plans for expansion in the NBA. While some owners are listening to offers for their teams, those talks come with stipulations that the team remain in that market (and some of those markets new owners wouldn’t want to move out of anyway). All of which is to say, I’d love to see a team back in Seattle, I just can’t see it happening for a long time.

Report: Forget NFL, Nate Robinson signs to play in Israel

Charlotte Hornets v Los Angeles Clippers
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Having lost a step in his athleticism, Nate Robinson’s phone was not ringing for another NBA roster spot after the Pelicans waived him this season.

That had him dreaming of a shot in the NFL.

Instead, he’s taking is talents to Israel, according to the well-connected David Pick.

This was always the next logical step for the three-time dunk contest champion and fan favorite, either Europe or China.

Whether he could have played in the NFL is up for debate, but as an undersized 32-year-old rookie cornerback the odds were very, very long. Robinson’s lost step hurts him in the NBA, but he’ll still be one of the most athletic players in Israel (or any of the European leagues). Plus with more practices and fewer games, there is less wear on his body.

This is still Nate Robinson, I expect we will see some impressive highlights wherever he plays.

PBT Podcast: Utah Jazz talk with Jody Genessy

DALLAS, TX - FEBRUARY 09:  Gordon Hayward #20 of the Utah Jazz celebrates withTrey Lyles #41 of the Utah Jazz and Raul Neto #25 of the Utah Jazz after shooting the game winning basket against Zaza Pachulia #27 of the Dallas Mavericks in overtime at American Airlines Center on February 9, 2016 in Dallas, Texas. The Utah Jazz beat the Dallas Mavericks 121-119. 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 Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
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There has been no more injury riddled team this season than the Utah Jazz, with Dante Exum, Alec Burk, Rudy Gobert, Derrick Favors, and others missing all or part of the season (and this was recorded just before the announcement that Gordon Hayward will miss time due to plantar fasciitis). Jazz ownership should be happy they don’t pay the training staff by the hour.

Yet, with a month to go before the playoffs, most projection sites have the Jazz passing the Mavericks to make the postseason.

Jody Genessy of the Deseret News joins NBC’s Kurt Helin to talk all things Jazz, from Gordon Hayward to Quin Snyder. Plus they discuss ketchup potato chips.

As always, you can listen to the podcast below, or listen and subscribe via iTunesdownload it directly here, or you can check out our new PBT Podcast homepage, which has the most recent episodes available. If you have the Stitcher app, you can listen there as well.