Kurt Helin

Doc Rivers fined $15,000 for losing it on officials in Brooklyn game

1 Comment

That’s about as mad as you will ever see Doc Rivers.

He was frustrated, the Clippers had blown an 18-point lead and were deep into the first overtime (which they lost in a second OT), when he walked past half court to protest a call by Lauren Holtkamp. She calmly listened to him and walked him back to his side of the court, understanding that late in games coaches need to blow off some steam. However, crew chief Kenny Mauer rushed in from the other side because he heard — or, at least thought he heard, Rivers denies it — the coach swear at the Holtkamp. Mauer gave Rivers a technical, and Rivers just lost it, and picked up another ending his night.

In a surprise to nobody, including Rivers, the league fined him $15,000 for “verbal abuse towards a game official and not leaving the court in a timely manner after his ejection.”

No doubt Rivers left his side of the court, but that’s not why he got the technical. Mauer overreached. He tried to protect a fellow referee, who it turns out didn’t need protecting. Then again, Mauer had a rough game overall that night.

PBT Podcast: Kings talk, Western playoff race breakdown with James Ham of CSN Bay Area

demarcus cousins
Getty Images
Leave a comment

Ask fans around the league — or some front office types — about the Kings and the questions are trades: Is DeMarcus Cousins available yet? Rudy Gay? Omri Casspi?

But the Kings haven’t given up on making the playoffs this season. On the one hand, they are 7-11 — with one rain out — which is not impressive, but still they remain just two games out of the final playoff spot in the West, and the bottom of that conference can shake out a lot of ways.

We break down the Kings’ growing pains under Dave Joerger, talk trades, and break down the playoff race in the West with James Ham, the Kings Insider for CSN Bay Area, in this latest PBT Podcast.

As always, you can check out the podcast below, or listen and subscribe via iTunes (check there to see all the NBC Sports podcasts), subscribe via the fantastic Stitcher app, check us out on Google play, or check out our new PBT podcast homepage and archive at Audioboom.com.

PBT Extra: Nerlens Noel about to return, but how long does he stay in Philly?

3 Comments

Because their frontcourt wasn’t crowded enough, the Philadelphia 76ers are about to get Nerlens Noel back from injury. Remember he missed the start of the season to rehab his left knee, but now he’s about to go down to the D-League for a rehab assignment and soon will be up with the main club.

And Brett Brown is going to have to get him minutes, because the Sixers are trying to showcase him for a trade, something I discuss in this latest PBT Extra.

This is mutual — Noel wants out, and the Sixers want to move him. There are rumors of interested teams (Toronto and Portland are potential destinations that seem to get the most buzz around the league), but right now any interested GM wants to see Noel on the court, playing in games, looking healthy, then the conversations about potential deals will start to get more serious. But make no mistake, they will get serious — Noel will be traded before the February 23 deadline.

Three things we learned Wednesday: Pistons beat Celtics, winning games, about to get healthy

Associated Press
2 Comments

Just a word of advice to our readers: This holiday season designate a driver, call a cab or Uber/Lyft, but don’t drink and drive. For a lot of good reasons. Including avoiding having to listen to Nickelback. Now, on to what we learned Wednesday around the NBA.

1) Pistons beat Celtics, finding ways to keep head above water as Reggie Jackson’s return nears. The Detroit Pistons played some of their best basketball of the season Wednesday night. A bottom-10 team in assisted shots, the Pistons moved better off the ball and found the open man more often. It all started with Ish Smith at the point, who has had a couple nice games in a row and Wednesday was pushing the pace, was curling off picks beautifully, and hit 75 percent of his shots to finish with 19 points, eight assists and eight rebounds.

Also, the Pistons just hit shots — Boston dared Detroit to shoot from the midrange, and the Pistons took advantage and knocked down the looks. Shot charts don’t get much better than this.

Pistons shotchart

Here is why wins like this really matter for Detroit: The Pistons are still without Reggie Jackson, their star point guard and the catalyst for their offense (he has a strong pick-and-roll chemistry with Andre Drummond). Jackson had knee and thumb issues (he got PRP treatments for both before the season) but has been back at practice recently and should be cleared for a return soon. At the time it was announced he would miss the first month or so of the season, we said the Pistons just needed to keep their heads above water until his return. With the win over Boston Tuesday Detroit is 10-10 and tied for one of the final playoff slots in the East. They did more than just survive, they put themselves in a good position, once Jackson gets back and is settled (conditioning may take a little bit) this team will be poised to make a run up the East standings.

2) Russell Westbrook gets fourth straight triple-double, earns Thunder an overtime win. Russell Westbrook is very good at this basketball thing. After that, we’re kind of running out of superlatives for the guy, who continues to put up numbers at a historic pace every night, including another triple-double of 35 points, 14 rebounds, and 11 assists Wednesday.

But it’s not just the raw numbers, it’s he is lifting this team to wins — everyone in the state of Oklahoma knew Westbrook was going to get the ball and would be hunting or a three to force overtime late Wednesday against the Wizards, and yet he still made the play.

The Thunder are now 12-8 and look like a solid playoff team in the West. And that’s all about an above-average defense and a whole lot of Westbrook carrying the offense.

3) Kings/Sixers postponement leads to Boogie moping, Tweet of the season from Joel Embiid. Good on the Sixers, the Wells Fargo Center, and the NBA for not trying to force a game to be played on an unsafe floor. Blame the Flyers, the building, nature, Trump, whoever you want it doesn’t matter, the NBA couldn’t play in these conditions. No date has been scheduled for a makeup yet, by the way, but expect early January.

The situation did let the two star big men from the game be comedians.

First, there was DeMarcus Cousins doing some serious, two-handed mopping.

Then there was what might be the Tweet of the season from Joel Embiid.

Julius Randle makes late layup to help Lakers edge Bulls 96-90

Getty Images
Leave a comment

CHICAGO (AP) — The Los Angeles Lakers needed a basket, and Julius Randle wanted the ball.

Coach Luke Walton loved the whole thing.

“If it’s a one-on-one situation with space, we feel very confident that he’ll win that matchup,” Walton said.

Got it done in a big moment Wednesday night.

Randle made a strong move against Nikola Mirotic for a tiebreaking layup with 45.1 seconds left, and the Lakers held off the Chicago Bulls for a gritty 96-90 victory.

Randle had 13 points and matched a career high with 20 rebounds as Los Angeles bounced back from a 105-88 loss at New Orleans on Tuesday night. Lou Williams and Jordan Clarkson scored 18 points apiece, and Larry Nance Jr. finished with 12 points and 11 boards.

“Our guys just played hard, stayed mentally locked in,” Randle said.

Randle’s drive and layup gave Los Angeles a 92-90 lead. After Jimmy Butler missed on the other side for Chicago, Williams went 1 for 2 at the line with 20 seconds to go.

Butler then missed another 3 and Randle and Nance combined for three foul shots to help Los Angeles hold on.

“Our guys have proven that when their backs are against the wall they can step up for a challenge,” Walton said. “They did it tonight. That’s a great win against a very talented team.”

Butler had 22 points on 4-of-18 shooting for the Bulls, who were hoping to build on a 4-2 road trip. Dwyane Wade, who was listed as doubtful after getting some dental work on Tuesday, scored 17 points, and Robin Lopez finished with 10 points, nine rebounds and a career-high eight blocked shots.

“It was an ugly game,” Wade said. “We have to find a way to win those games. No excuses.”

The Bulls used 40 points from Butler to beat the Lakers 118-110 in Los Angeles on Nov. 20. But the Lakers held the Bulls to 35.2 percent shooting in the rematch and enjoyed a 60-46 rebounding advantage.

“I think the missed shots definitely affected us,” coach Fred Hoiberg said. “You can’t let that happen. That and rebounding has to be your constant.”

BANGED-UP LAKERS

It was an impressive response from Los Angeles after the team announced before the game that Nick Young strained his right calf muscle in Tuesday night’s loss to the Pelicans, sidelining the guard for two to four weeks.

The Lakers also were without guard D'Angelo Russell, who missed his sixth straight game due to left knee soreness.

GOOD START, BAD FINISH

The Bulls led by as many as 14 in the first quarter before settling for a 28-17 advantage after one. But the Lakers rallied in the second and it was tied at 47 at the break.

“We stopped rebounding. We stopped getting to loose balls. A lot of stuff,” Butler said. “It changed in their favor and they caught us slipping.”

TIP-INS

Lakers: Randle leads the team with five double-doubles this season. He has 39 double-doubles in 99 career games. … It was Los Angeles’ first win at the United Center since a 96-87 victory on Dec. 15, 2009. It had dropped five in a row in Chicago. … The Lakers committed 24 turnovers, leading to 26 points for the Bulls.

Bulls: F Doug McDermott (concussion protocol) missed his seventh consecutive game. … Butler has scored 20 or more points in his last 11 games, setting a career high. His previous best was six in a row. … Chicago dropped to 8-1 this season when its opponent scores fewer than 100 points. … The Bulls matched a season high with 15 steals.

 

Jay Cohen can be reached at http://www.twitter.com/jcohenap