Kurt Helin

Goran Dragic gets elbowed in face, loses tooth, gets called for foul


General rule of thumb: If a guy swings his elbows through, catches you in the face and knocks out a tooth, the foul should not be on you.

Unless you’re Goran Dragic. In the third quarter of the Heat’s eventual win over the Hawks he was up on Al Horford near the top of the key, Horford swung his elbows through to create a little space and start his move going left, but he caught Dragic in the face. Dragic dropped to the ground quickly, and later they picked up part of his tooth off the court.

And the foul was on Dragic.

At least with that new $85 million contract Dragic should be able to afford a quality dentist.

Crawford’s late 3 in overtime lifts Clippers over Pistons

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AUBURN HILLS, Mich. (AP) — Jamal Crawford hit a 3-pointer with 12.4 seconds left in overtime and the Los Angeles Clippers beat the Detroit Pistons 105-103 Monday night.

Blake Griffin made a pair of free throws with 38.8 seconds remaining to put the Clippers ahead 102-101. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope tied it by going 1 for 2 from the foul line with 30.5 seconds left.

After Crawford’s basket, the Clippers fouled Reggie Jackson with 9.3 seconds left. He made the first shot, missed the second, and teammate Andre Drummond got two chances for a tying tip-in, but missed both.

Jackson missed a desperation shot at the buzzer.

Griffin finished with 34 points for the Clippers, J.J. Redick had 24 and Chris Paul put up 13 points and 12 assists.

Jackson finished with 34 points, 11 rebounds and seven assists. Drummond added 20 points and 15 rebounds.

Detroit led 91-89 in the last minute and Jackson added a pair of free throws to make it a four-point game with 33 seconds to go. Crawford hit two free throws, and Redick immediately fouled Drummond.

Drummond, who came into the game shooting 36.6 percent from the foul line, made one for a 94-91 edge with 25.5 seconds left. The strategy worked as Redick hit a 3-pointer with 19.6 seconds left, tying the game.

Jackson ran the clock down, but missed a 15-footer over Griffin at the buzzer.

The Clippers led 73-63 at the end of the third period. Jackson’s 3 gave the Pistons its first lead of the game with 6:42 to play.

Los Angeles missed 10 of its first 12 fourth-quarter shots. Griffin ended the streak with a vicious baseline dunk.

Caldwell-Pope, who played the entire second half and overtime, hit a 3-pointer to put the Pistons up 87-81 with three minutes left.


Clippers: Josh Smith, still reviled in Detroit for his poor tenure with the Pistons, was loudly booed when he entered the game and every time he touched the ball.

Pistons: Coach Stan Van Gundy picked up a rare technical for arguing a first-half call. … Six Pistons had one assist each in the first half while Detroit’s front court went 3 for 17 from the floor.


Denver’s Will Barton throws down fierce dunk on Rockets (VIDEO)

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Denver has struggled of late but they came out ready to play against Houston Monday night (and eventually got the win 114-108).

Nothing epitomized that more than Will Barton getting up and throwing it down hard over Donatas Motiejunas.

I knew Barton was athletic, but I didn’t know he had that in him. Barton’s having a good season in Denver, scoring 14.3 points a game with a PER of 19. But you don’t need to tell Houston about that, they saw what he can do first hand.

Warriors’ Harrison Barnes out at least another week

Harrison Barnes
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Win streak or no, the Warriors were always going to be cautious bringing Harrison Barnes back from his ankle injury. He’s too valuable to rush his return.

And that return is, at least, another week away after he was evaluated Sunday, “interim” coach Luke Walton told Monte Poole of CSNBayArea.com.

“He won’t play this week,” Walton said after practice. “It’s nice to have the schedule that we have right now. With only two games the whole week, it would be a good chance for him to get some more rest and we’ll re-evaluate him at the end of the week.”

Barnes is not only a starter for the Warriors but also he is an important cog in their deadly small-ball lineups. The Warriors are 5.8 points per 100 possessions better when Barnes is on the floor than off, plus he provides good defense and a lot of versatility (which is how the Warriors thrive).

Barnes rolled his ankle back on Nov. 27. Media members saw part of Barnes post-practice workout Monday, which included him dunking. He’s probably not that far away, but there is no reason to rush him back in December. However, I’d be surprised if he’s out for the Christmas Day showdown with Cleveland.


Report: Sixers talking to Shane Battier, Elton Brand about joining team

Shane Battier

One of the numerous criticisms of the Sixers bad-to-get-good process under GM Sam Hinkie was that they didn’t pay a couple of well-respected veterans to round out the roster to help teach the young players what it takes to be a professional. Critics pointed to Minnesota with Kevin Garnett, Andre Miller and Tayshaun Prince as an example of how to bring along youth the right way. The impact of these imaginary vets has been overblown — a couple of older guys in the locker room would not have kept Jahlil Okafor off TMZ — but it can show young players the level of dedication and commitment needed to thrive (or even stick) in the league.

Now that Jerry Colangelo is in the big chair in Philadelphia, suddenly the Sixers are talking to veterans, reports David Aldridge of NBA.com.

Other sources said the Sixers are talking to former star Elton Brand and NBA veteran Shane Battier about joining the organization, hoping to bring in guys with sterling reputations to serve as role models for the young players.

“Josh definitely wants to pick up the pace, but some of the people in the organization just don’t get it,” a league source said over the weekend.

There is only so much they should pick up the pace — and they certainly don’t want to make any moves this season that would have them winning a lot more games. The Sixers likely will have three and maybe four first round picks (depending on how the lottery balls bounce for the Lakers). They have Dario Saric who should come over from Europe in the next couple years. There are going to be a lot of young players with potential if Sam Hinke drafts well, the Sixers shouldn’t don’t want to throw that young talent away for mid-level veterans that win them 30 games. They are invested in the process and can’t pull out now.

But if it’s good PR to bring in Battier this season — and he certainly could be a good locker room mentor — then go ahead. Next summer spend some money wisely on leaders and young players with potential who can be poached (restricted free agents). Spend some money and assets, but don’t blow up the process. Patience will pay off.