Near the end of the third quarter of Wednesday night’s contest between the Blazers and the Clippers, Chris Kaman received a flagrant foul for shoving Chris Paul to the floor, after which a brief altercation ensued.
As the league weighs its options in terms of additional punishment for Kaman in the form of a fine or possible suspension, Kaman took to Twitter to post a picture of exactly what prompted him to take matters into his own hands.
1) James Harden drops 51 reasons he should be MVP. More and more it feels like the MVP race is down to two men (although Russell Westbrook keeps making his case, keep on reading this post). Tuesday night Stephen Curry put on a show and sent a vine viral (and created a Chris Paul meme). Wednesday night it was the James Harden show as he scored a career-high 51 points, going 8-of-9 from three to get there. It was vintage efficient Harden — he only took 25 shots, but he hit his threes and got to the free throw line 13 times. He had 16 points in the first quarter, 17 in the third and 10 in the fourth to help hold off a feisty Sacramento team that had DeMarcus Cousins going off (keep reading).
We’ve got to acknowledge Cousins, who took advantage of Dwight Howard being out (resting half a back-to-back) and scored 24 points, grabbed 21 rebounds and dished out 10 assists on a monster night. That’s just a second career triple-double for Cousins.
2) Chris Paul takes over, drops 41, may have earned Clippers home court in the first round. This was maybe the Clippers best win of the season — second night of a back-to-back on the road, having just lost to Golden State, and needing this game to both maintain their playoff seed and keep home court in the playoffs. The Clippers were down by as many as 19 in the second quarter, but Los Angeles went on a 25-7 fourth quarter run — something partially inspired by Chris Kaman shoving Chris Paul to the ground — to take the lead and get the 126-122 win. The Clippers didn’t do it with defense, they did it with an unstoppable offense, and that was led by CP3 in point god mode, scoring 41 and dishing out 17 assists.
3) Russell Westbrook scores his 10th triple-double of the season, but Dallas wins a 1980s throwback game, 134-131. Up tempo, high scoring, not a ton of good defense? It must have been 1980s throwback night in Oklahoma City, with the Thunder playing the role of Doug Moe’s Nuggets. Westbrook did his best, giving us another triple-double with 31 points, 11 rebounds, and 11 assists. It wasn’t efficient — he shot just 31.3 percent — but Westbrook put up the numbers that kept OKC in the game and spark a comeback that had the Thunder ahead in the fourth. They just couldn’t stop Chandler Parsons, who had 13 in the fourth quarter for Dallas.
4) Evan Turner records triple-double, and Boston wins…. but so do the Nets thanks to Brook Lopez. Almost lost in all the other big performances Wednesday night, Evan Turner recorded a triple-double for Boston — 13 points, 12 assists, and 11 rebounds. Boston easily beat the fading Pacers, 100-87. The problem for the Celtics is the Nets got a put-back bucket from Brook Lopez with two seconds left to lift Brooklyn past New York 100-98. The Nets/Celtics/Heat race for the final couple playoff slots in the East remains fascinating — Brooklyn and Miami are tied for the seven and eight seeds at 34-40 (with eight games left) while Boston is half-a-game back at 34-41. This could go any way the last couple weeks of the season.
5) Nowitzki reaches 28,000 points. Congratulations to the greatest European player ever in the NBA, and the best shooting big man ever. Only seven players have reached the 28,000 point plateau, and Dirk Nowitzki is one of them.
Portland’s Chris Kaman shoves Chris Paul to ground, starts altercation (VIDEO)
This all happened just as the Clippers were starting their comeback that would eventually turn into a high scoring win for Los Angeles, 126-122, behind 41 points from Chris Paul. In fact, this helped fuel that comeback.
Just as the third quarter was winding down, Portland’s Chris Kaman pulled down an offensive rebound only to have Chris Paul take it away from him, and in the process Kaman got an inadvertent shot to the family jewels.
In frustration, Kaman shoved Paul out of bounds. That earned Kaman a flagrant one foul and also will earn him a healthy fine (maybe a suspension, although not likely, it’s just hard to predict the league’s justice system). The regular foul and flagrant turned this into a four-point swing for the Clippers.
The other part of this that the referees looked at was LaMarcus Aldridge knocking “Big Baby” Glen Davis down, but this was a good no call by the refs. Davis started to go after Kaman after the shove; Aldridge was trying to step in between and keep him away, Davis was a little off balance and went down pretty easily. This wasn’t a shove or an escalation.
In the end, the Clippers will take the win because it improves their chances of having home-court advantage in the first round.
For fun, listen to the difference in how this was called by the two announcing teams. Above is the Clipper call, here is the Trail Blazers’ call.