<span class="vcard">Kurt Helin</span>

Houston Rockets v Dallas Mavericks - Game Four

Dallas’ Rick Carlisle puts tape over mouth to avoid criticizing referees (VIDEO)

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After Game 3, Dallas coach Rick Carlisle was ticked about how physical the series with the Rockets had become.

“My hope is that in Game 4 – the one play that’s kind of an image stuck in my mind, and I just looked at it six times on the film, is the first play of the fourth quarter,” Carlisle said. “We’re scrambling like hell defensively, and Devin Harris is going to get the ball, and Dwight Howard throws him into our bench. He takes the ball, skips it over the top and Ariza gets a wide-open three.

“So, instead of us getting the ball, and a foul on Howard, it turns into essentially a 5-6 point swing. That stuff’s got to stop. The officials [have] got to get that stuff under control, because there’s too much physical stuff going on. Howard is throwing people all over the place. And that can’t happen in Game 4.”

Those comments cost Carlisle $25,000.

So when the referees came up after Game 4 (a Dallas win), Carlisle didn’t exactly take the high road but used some tape to save some cash.

Well played.

Rumor: Kevin Love out minimum of two weeks, will likely miss most or all of series vs. Bulls

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If someone tries to tell you “Cleveland will be fine without Kevin Love, he doesn’t fit in” you’ll know they weren’t watching Cavaliers games lately. Love has found a comfort level in the postseason, averaged 18.3 points and nine rebounds a game in the playoffs, and is shooting 47 percent from three. It may not be the role he envisioned, but Love is finding a role with the Cavaliers.

Or was. He got tangled up with the Celtics’ Kelly Olynyk, who locked Love’s arm and gave a yank, dislocating it.

The question now is how long Love will be out, and the Cavaliers are trying to sound optimistic, reports Brian Windhorst of ESPN.

Note that said “minimum” of two weeks, not two weeks. It is not uncommon for a shoulder dislocation to mean more than a month on the sidelines. But you can’t blame the Cavaliers for trying to be positive. Still, he likely will miss much or all of the series against the Bulls or Bucks.

Love being out could be an issue in the next round — especially when you factor in J.R. Smith is likely to miss at least a game and maybe more (he deserves multiple games) for his shot to Jae Crowder.

The Bulls, which are the favorite and lead 3-1 in the series, roll out a big front line with Joakim Noah and Pau Gasol, with Nikola Mirotic coming in off the bench. Cleveland could have used Love’s size and ability to pull some of that size out of the paint. The Cavs are going to ask a lot more of Tristan Thompson than they had hoped.

Injuries have played a big role though this entire season and into the playoffs, that’s not changing now.

But just how big a role in the case of Love we likely learn on Monday.

Monta Ellis, J.J. Barea pairing ignites Mavericks offense, gets Dallas Game 4 win over Houston

Monta Ellis, Trevor Ariza
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This result wIll be only stalling the inevitable at this point, but it makes you wonder: What if there had been no Rajon Rondo this series? What if it had been J.J. Barea and Monta Ellis in the backcourt from the start?

Barea came in and sped up the tempo of the Dallas offense. Monta Ellis clearly plays more freely without Rondo next to him. Rick Carlisle finally just went with his best lineup, and it worked.

Ellis put up 31 points, Barea had 17 points and 13 assists, Dallas owned Game 4 from the second quarter on and beat Houston 121-109, much to the delight of the Dallas home crowd.

Houston still leads the series 3-1. Game 5 is in Houston on Tuesday.

To have seen the start of this game, you would never have guessed the ending. The Rockets came out pounding the ball inside and getting the buckets they wanted — Dwight Howard was 5-of-5 in the first quarter, James Harden had 10 points on six shots (and he was attacking), and as a team the Rockets shot 68.7 percent. It was the kind of quarter where even when the Mavericks went to hack-a-Rocket and fouled Clint Capela he hit both free throws. At the end of one the Rockets were up 34-25.

Then everything changed. The second quarter started to feel like an elimination game, with some chippy play and Rick Carlisle picking up a technical for complaining to the refs. The Rockets missed five shots in a row, Howard went 1-of-9 from the free-throw line and Houston started to come apart (when teams go to hack-a-Howard he often gets passive). That plus some big plays from Monta Ellis and Barea pushing the ball in transition sparked a 28-11 Dallas run. By halftime, Dallas was up 61-53.

Then Dallas opened the second half on a 20-4 run. Houston shot 0-12 from the field to start the third quarter while Dallas hit 8-of-11.Dallas shot 67 percent in third quarter; they blew the game open and were never seriously threatened.

A lot of things went right for the Mavericks. Al-Farouq Aminu did a good job on James Harden, holding him to 24 points and a relatively quiet night. Dallas was strong on the offensive glass grabbing 37.2 percent of their missed shots. Dallas did everything well save hit their free throws (9-of-21).

The question is can they replicate all of that on the road? And can Kevin McHale make some adjustments to end the series Tuesday night and let his team get some rest while they wait for the winner of the Spurs/Clippers series?

Game 4 felt like the series we expected from these two teams, and Dallas showed Houston is going to have to earn Game 5.

 

LeBron James put on a pregame dunking exhibition in Boston, here it is in slo-mo (VIDEO)

Cleveland Cavaliers v Boston Celtics - Game Four
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The Boston Celtics fans got a show. No wins, but a show.

That started with their young Celtics, who were physical and would not back down against the Cavaliers (although this game got out of control with Kelly Olynyk’s yank on Kevin Love’s arm, then J.R. Smith’s suspension-level shot to Jae Crowder’s head). Boston would not go quietly into that good night.

Then there was pregame when LeBron James put on a dunking exhibition. Above you can catch out the highlights in slow motion, thanks to our friends at NBA.com.

Watch Chris Paul, Blake Griffin combine for big days to even Clippers with Spurs (VIDEO)

Blake Griffin, ,Chris Paul
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The Clippers needed their big stars to step up Sunday, or they were going to be in a very deep hole. They got it.

Chris Paul had 34 points on 19 shots, Blake Griffin had 20 points on 17 shots, and the Los Angeles Clippers looked like the best offense in the land putting up 114 points on the Spurs and evening that series at 2-2. Above you can check out what Griffin and Paul did.

Although the real star may have been Austin Rivers — his 16 points off the bench was the kind of depth the Clippers have been missing this series.