LOS ANGELES — Not much went right for Dwight Howard on Sunday night.
He picked up two fouls in 3:40 of the first quarter and spent the rest of that quarter on the bench. He picked up a third in the second quarter (and a technical foul), and by the time he picked up the next couple in the third the Clippers had been blown the game wide open.
Then early in the fourth Howard picked up a sixth foul for a bump on Blake Griffin in transition. In frustration he threw the ball at the referees feet (and may have said something as well).
He got a quick second technical and was tossed. He was gone anyway with the sixth foul.
“It’s frustrating,” Howard said after the game of his foul trouble. “I’m emotional playing in the playoffs, I want to win so bad, you know it’s frustrating. I just have to keep a more even keel.”
At least he didn’t have to hang around and watch the painful fourth quarter of a 128-95 Clippers wins. Rockets’ fans wish they didn’t have to watch it, either.
Austin Rivers show continues in LA, he scores over Dwight Howard (VIDEO)
But near the end of the second quarter LeBron sprained his ankle when Derrick Rose stepped in to take a charge in transition.
“I rolled it pretty good,” LeBron said after the game. “I haven’t had an opportunity to see the replay, but I know I rolled it pretty good when I stepped on D-Rose’s foot in transition. I wasn’t coming out. I felt it on the floor for a while, and I just took my time. I was not coming out not only because of the position our team was in but because of who I am as the leader of the team. I was going to fight through it no matter what.”
I’d have ruled that a block. Bulls’ fans no doubt see it differently.
But should those kinds of step-in charges even be in the game? Mavericks’ owner Mark Cuban says no.
That's why we shouldn't let 2ndary defenders take charges. Step in charges have become a basketball play. It shouldn't be. #changrtherule
All through Game 3 Saturday it seemed like Memphis’ big men could get the ball wherever they wanted, which usually meant deep in the post. Combine that positioning with guys like Festus Ezeli being asked to stop Zach Randolph for stretches, and you end up with Z-Bo scoring a team-high 22 points on 9-of-15 shooting.
Randolph had the kind of big game the Grizzlies need from him this series. He hit shots close to the basket but also was 4-of-4 from the right side midrange.
He’s a problem the Warriors don’t quite know how to solve yet. They need to figure it out — and start hitting the looks they get as well — quickly, or we are going to all have to listen to Charles Barkley say “you can’t win shooting jump shots” for another year.
Jimmy Butler reiterates he intends to remain with Bulls this summer
But the dreams of other teams’ fans — and a few front offices — will not die easily. You can be sure some other teams will reach out and try to make a max offer to Butler (the Bulls just have the right to match). The question is will he sign any of those offers and put the Bulls on the clock? Maybe, if the franchise changes coaches, he would think about…