Andrew Bynum ejected for flagrant foul on Michael Beasley

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Midway through the fourth quarter of the Lakers tougher-than-expected win over the Timberwolves on Friday, Andrew Bynum was called for a flagrant two foul for the contact he made with Michael Beasley. L.A. was up one with a little over six minutes remaining, and Beasley blew by Matt Barnes on the perimeter, drove baseline, and Bynum was there waiting.

Bynum led with his right elbow and met Beasley in mid-air, which sent the power forward crashing hard to the Staples Center floor. Bynum was (correctly, I believe) assessed a with a flagrant foul two, which means an immediate ejection. It also means that the league office will review the play to determine if it warrants additional disciplinary action in the form of a suspension. A slow-motion look at things shows that it likely should not.

At full speed, the play from Bynum looked worse than it was, because of the follow through with that right elbow. But that came after the contact was already made, and did nothing to make Beasley’s awkward fall any more damaging.

Phil Jackson described it like this:

“[Bynum] was going to go block the shot and he knew he was too late and so he just bumped him; he just gave up on the block but he didn’t try for the block,” Lakers coach Phil Jackson said. “But, Andrew’s [foul] looked bad and the kid fell hard.”

Let’s be clear: I’m in no way defending Bynum’s actions here, as both head coaches seemed to do afterward. It was anything but a smart play, and given the young center’s size and strength, he needs to be careful when giving these types of hard fouls, because the results can be scary. There’s even a correct way to do this, by jumping straight up with both arms extended and absorbing the player’s contact with the body. It will have the same desired effect — the opponent will go down hard, and think twice about challenging Bynum in the lane the rest of the game. Just don’t be reckless about it.

With that being said, this one, I think, was just a frustration foul from Bynum that went a little too far, and the consequence at the time — an ejection with about six minutes left in a one-point game — was punishment enough.

It is possible, of course, that the league will see it differently.

It’s not exactly accurate to say that Bynum has a history with these types of plays, but one that does come to mind was the fairly severe result of a similar play involving Bynum and Gerald Wallace back in January of 2009. That flagrant foul from Bynum sent Wallace to the hospital, for injuries that included a partially collapsed lung and a broken rib.

Bynum wasn’t suspended back then for the play on Wallace, and he shouldn’t receive a suspension now.

NBA confirms Rajon Rondo spit at Chris Paul, hands out suspensions after fight

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With the NBA dissecting video from Saturday night’s game between the Houston Rockets and Los Angeles Lakers like the Zapruder film, it was only a matter of time before we saw suspensions handed down for Chris Paul, Brandon Ingram, and Rajon Rondo.

On Sunday, the league announced its decision.

After reviewing tape, the NBA determined that Rondo did indeed spit on Paul. Ingram was seen as the initial instigator, and thus was served with a heavier sentence.

The finally tally was:

  • Four games for Ingram
  • Three games for Rondo
  • Two games for Paul

Here’s the relevant details per the NBA’s release.

Via NBA:

Ingram has been suspended for aggressively returning to and escalating the altercation and throwing a punch in the direction of Paul, confronting a game official in a hostile manner, and instigating the overall incident by shoving Rockets guard James Harden. Rondo has been suspended for instigating a physical altercation with, and spitting and throwing multiple punches at, Paul. Paul has been suspended for poking at and making contact with the face of Rondo, and throwing multiple punches at him.

We have been waiting on these suspensions largely to see how the NBA would discipline one of the first actual fights in some time. A maximum of four games seems a little light to me. Carmelo Anthony was suspended for 15 games in 2006 when he clocked Mardy Collins during a fight between the New York Knicks and Denver Nuggets.

Rondo only getting three games despite having spit on an opponent is also pretty wild. That’s crazy disrespectful and I would not believe you if you tried to tell me that this bad blood will end here.

Both the Lakers and Rockets will miss some of their most important players as they start duking it out in the tough Western Conference.

Russell Westbrook wears Craig Sager-inspired Jordan 1s

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The second anniversary of the death of NBA broadcasting legend Craig Sager is on Dec. 15 of this year, a span that has seemed too quick for those of us who grew up watching the colorful sideline reporter.

Sager passed in 2016 due to complications from leukemia, and the outpouring in his memory since from those around the NBA has been significant. While Sager is no longer with us, his memory lives on.

Saturday against the Los Angeles Clippers, Oklahoma City Thunder guard Russell Westbrook pay tribute to Sager’s memory with a pair of custom Air Jordan 1s inspired by Sager’s famous sideline attire.

Via Twitter:

Sager was known for wearing crazy patterns, everything from hounds tooth to polka dost to tartan. I think Westbrook’s shoes paid fitting homage to Sager’s sartorial flair.

Perhaps Jordan would be willing to join forces and put the shoes on the market to benefit the Sager Strong Foundation? I’m sure these would sell well and come at a premium.

Karl-Anthony Towns misses free throw as Mavs fans chant ‘Jimmy Butler’

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Jimmy Butler is still a member of the Minnesota Timberwolves, largely for reasons that are beyond the capacity of most rational NBA fans.

Butler continues to play with a team as they enter the beginning part of the season, although owner Glen Taylor and his front office are professing to still be looking for a suitable trade partner.

Meanwhile, the tension between Butler and teammates Andrew Wiggins and Karl-Anthony Towns must be palpable. It certainly has affected Towns at least in one way, as the Timberwolves big man missed a free throw after Dallas Mavericks fans chanted Butler’s name during one of Towns’ trips to the line

Via Twitter:

It’s hard to say whether Towns missed that free throw simply because of the chance or because sometimes guys miss free throws. Towns is an 84 percent shooter from the charity stripe, so you’d expect him to miss one once in a while.

Things continue to be weird in Minnesota, and this odd homeostasis can’t last for long.

Video appears to show Rajon Rondo spitting at Chris Paul

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Did Rajon Rondo spit on Chris Paul?

That’s the question everyone’s asking after Saturday night’s big brouhaha between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Houston Rockets which led to several objections and coming suspensions from the league office.

Various angles have been analyzed at length on social media, and indeed it was always apparent the NBA viewing public-at-large would get to the bottom of things. Around 9 a.m. on Sunday morning, we came to our logical endpoint.

Thanks to this new video, it does appear that Rondo spit at Paul.

Via Twitter:

The NBA league office is still reviewing the tape, but according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski they appear to have the clip in question in hand.

There are a lot of factors to consider when it comes to the coming suspensions. First, how much Brandon Ingram will be penalized for instigating the entire thing with his shove in the back of James Harden. Ingram also came in with a flying punch to Paul’s face that might be looked at a bit more severely.

Second, both Paul and Rondo landed punches, but if Rondo indeed did spit on his competitor that’s a level of disrespect — not to mention responsibility for making the first move against Paul — that might get him a tougher sentence.

We haven’t seen a real fight in the NBA in some time, where actual punches were landed and things got more serious than just guys running between tunnels underneath Staples Center. How the league punishes these guys this early in the season will dictate to us in the future how they feel about this kind of tension spilling over into violence.