Kurt Helin

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Matt Barnes fined $35,000 by league for saying sometimes violence is the answer

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“Violence is never the answer, but sometimes it is. And unfortunately, it happened. I don’t regret it. Like, man to man knows who’s wrong and who’s right.”

That was Matt Barnes speaking about his run-in with Derek Fisher at the home of Barnes’ estranged wife back during training camp. Barnes was suspended two games for the incident — the players’ union is appealing that trying to get Barnes his $64,000 in game checks back — and the topic came up again when Barnes’ Grizzlies took on Fishers’ Knicks this week.

Those comments will cost Barnes another $35,000 in fines, the league announced this week.

“Matt Barnes’ comments condoning violence do not reflect who we are as a league or the character of our players,” said Kiki VanDeWeghe, Executive Vice President, Basketball Operations for the league, in a statement. “His words are unacceptable and entirely inconsistent with the core principles of this game and the NBA.”

The NBA is protective of its image; Barnes had to know the fine was coming when he said it.

I’ve always gotten along well with Matt Barnes, he’s been forthright in our dealings, and he does fantastic work with vision charities in the off-season. That said, I think Barnes gets off on the light side here — what he did was abuse. Not with Derek Fisher, that sounded more like an assault legally, but police chose not to arrest him. I mean with Barnes’ estranged wife — trying to control behavior through physical violence is the definition of abuse, and that’s what Barnes was doing here. For a league that would like to avoid that stigma, I’m not sure it came down hard enough on Barnes.

Watch Ben Wallace’s jersey retirement ceremony in Detroit

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Ben Wallace, the anchor on defense for the 2004 Pistons that won the title and the teams for years on either side of that who were a force in the East, deserved to have his jersey in the rafters at the Palace in Auburn Hills.

Now he’s got it.

The Pistons retired his jersey on Saturday night with a touching ceremony; we thought we’d pass it along.

Stephen Curry hits three standing on Pistons’ center court logo

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The Detroit Pistons outplayed the Golden State Warriors Saturday night and handed the Warriors their fourth loss of the season. Detroit earned that win at home, and it was perfect timing to do it on the night Ben Wallace got his jersey retired.

But the shot of the night went to Stephen Curry — he knocked down a three while still standing on the Pistons’ center court logo. That is just ridiculous.

Curry had 38 on the night, but the Warriors couldn’t defend the Pistons and Curry did not get enough help on offense.

Jae Crowder hits Celtics’ game winner, John Wall misses layup to tie

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It was a well-designed play by Brad Stevens, but, even more, a good recognition by Jae Crowder and a fantastic pass by Marcus Smart that gave Boston the game winner Saturday night.

As good as that play was, there was the surprise at the other end of John Wall missing a layup that could have tied it after he had sped coast-to-coast for the chance. Kelly Olynyk makes Wall alter the shot, but it is still makeable (Wall is shooting an above-average 62 percent in the restricted area this season. It didn’t fall this time.

With the win Boston remains the eight seed in the East and is now two games up on the Wizards for that final playoff spot.

Cavaliers’ Matthew Dellavedova tops poll naming league’s dirtiest players

Cleveland Cavaliers' Matthew Dellavedova (8) keeps the ball from going out of bounce during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Golden State Warriors Friday, Dec. 25, 2015, in Oakland, Calif. Golden State won 89-83. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
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Matthew Dellavedova‘s play came under scrutiny during the playoffs last season, when he rolled up on the ankle of Atlanta’s Kyle Korver (injuring him and sending him out for the series) and locked Taj Gibson‘s leg up and got him ejected when Gibson tried to kick out of it. Cavs’ fans liked to call him scrappy, but the rest of the league was debating whether he was a dirty player or just reckless.

Players apparently think dirty.

Broderick Turner of the Los Angeles Times polled 24 players about who was the dirtiest in the league and Dellavedova “won.”

Dellavedova received 13 votes. Oklahoma City center Steven Adams was next with seven votes. Golden State center Andrew Bogut (5), Memphis forward Matt Barnes (4) and Oklahoma City forward Serge Ibaka (2) rounded out the top five.

“Wow! Delly and Bogut are both from Australia,” an Eastern Conference player said about the tally. “How about that! Delly is kind of dirty and he does cross the line. But I don’t even think it’s even close with Bogut. Dellavedova is a little bit wild and out of control.”

A few people backed Dellavedova on that count, calling him more reckless than dirty.

“He ain’t dirty. He just plays hard,” said an old-school East assistant coach. “See, guys resent people that play hard because they don’t want to play hard. So if a guy plays hard, he’s dirty. He’s not dirty. He just plays hard. People question the play he made in the playoffs against Korver. I just think it was poor judgment.”

If you’re a player, and you see a guy who you fear could injure you and alter your career, are you going to draw a distinction between dirty and reckless? Coaches can, I’m not sure players see it that way. That said, the players agreed that the extra shots from Adams and particularly the plays from Bogut are calculated and try to throw their opponent off their game.

It should be noted that the top three players are two Australians and one guy from New Zealand (Adams). Also, notice that the teams with these guys at the top — Cavaliers, Thunder, Warriors — are also among the five best teams in the league.