The scheduling powers that be have put the Western Conference Finals in cryostasis

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The NBA doesn’t care about you. It doesn’t care that you’ve become accustomed to a certain standard of basketball living in the playoffs, and that your week is built around the usual nightly postseason fare.

That’s why rather than schedule the Western Conference Finals to start at the tail end of this weak while the East Semis wrap up, the series between the Lakers and Suns won’t kick off until late Monday night. It’s all thanks to broadcast efforts to run both Conference Finals’ simultaneously, and while that may be great for scheduling symmetry, it leaves quite a break before the Suns and Lakers are able to run again after sweeping their second round opponents.

It’s impossible to say how it would affect either one of those Western Conference teams, as some squads respond positively to extended rest and others begin to rust. Either way, the shame is that we won’t know how the streaking Suns match up with the defending champs until next week.

Meanwhile, the Celtics and Cavs will provide the only entertainment in town, which is reason enough to root for a seventh game between the two Easter Conference rivals. Game 6 will provide LeBron and the Cavs their shot at redemption for the massacre in Game 5, but a winner-take-all Game 7 would be just the dose of basketball fans need to hold them over through the weekend.

Otherwise, we’re looking at the first substantial break in the action since the postseason began, and while that can only be a good thing for Steve Nash’s swollen eye, it’s not the best news for basketball junkies.  

Luka Doncic fined $10k for kicking ball into stands (video)

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Mavericks rookie Luka Doncic got ejected a few days ago for kicking the ball into the crowd, his second technical foul of the game.

That outburst also got him fined.

NBA release:

Dallas Mavericks guard-forward Luka Dončić has been fined $10,000 for kicking the game ball into the spectator stands, it was announced today by Kiki VanDeWeghe, Executive Vice President, Basketball Operations.

The incident, for which Dončić was assessed his second technical foul and ejected, occurred with 3:00 remaining in the third quarter of the Mavericks’ 111-99 loss to the Indiana Pacers on Jan. 19

Players usually get fined $25,000 for throwing something into the stands. But sometimes, they get just a $10,000 fine for that, seemingly if it appears they didn’t intend for the object to reach the crowd.

Did Doncic mean to kick the ball as far as he did?

Who knows? But it seems he got the benefit of the doubt here.

Mike D’Antoni: Not right NBA wouldn’t allow Rockets to trade Carmelo Anthony yesterday

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The Rockets signed Kenneth Faried, importantly to them, before their game against the 76ers yesterday. With Clint Capela injured, Houston needed another big against Joel Embiid.

But the Rockets had to open a roster spot for Faried. Their clear preference was trading Carmelo Anthony. Failing that, they’d release James Nunnally.

Houston agreed to deal Anthony to the Bulls but couldn’t complete the trade because the league office was closed, as is the norm on weekends and holidays (in this case, Martin Luther King Day). So, the Rockets dropped Nunnally, eating the remaining salary on his 10-day contract, increasing their luxury-tax bill and costing him the opportunity to play for a team that could use him.

Houston coach Mike D’Antoni, via Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:

“I don’t think it’s right,” Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni said of having to terminate Nunnally. “There’s ways (the league) could have facilitated it.”

What happened to the Rockets was fair in that the rules were clear and applied equally to each team.

But I agree with D’Antoni. Games don’t stop for weekends and holidays. The league office shouldn’t, either.

Teams should have more ability to change their rosters on the fly, because games come so quickly. Halting business for weekends and holidays is antiquated. This is a global, multi-billion-dollar operation now.

The NBA can afford to employ enough people who review trades not to overwork any of them. It’d create a better product and make the sport operate more smoothly.

Stephen Curry slips and falls on wide-open fastbreak, gets ball back, air-balls 3-pointer (video)

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See, the Warriors are fallible.

Though Stephen Curry‘s mishaps coming during a blowout win undercuts the point.

Jaren Jackson Jr. bullies Nikola Mirotic with dunk on him (video)

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Yes, the Grizzlies lost to the Anthony Davis-less Pelicans by 20 last night. Results like that are why there’s thought Marc Gasol could leave Memphis.

But at least plays like this Jaren Jackson Jr. dunk on Nikola Mirotic provide hope for the Grizzlies’ future.

Jackson is a skilled 3-point shooter and rim-protector. Add a mean streak inside offensively, and the rookie could really take off.