Here is our daily look around the NBA — links to stories worth reading and notes to check out (stuff that did not get its own post here at PBT) — done in bullet point form. Because bloggers love bullet points.
• Derek Fisher says he has no plans to retire. I don’t think he’s the kind of guy who plans it, he’s the kind of guy who has it taken away from him.
• Celtics fans, you better not be hoping that the zone defense is your silver bullet, because it’s not.
• Report that Andre Drummond — the UConn big man who will go between 2 and 5 in the draft — has dropped 22 pounds working out since the season ended. You can look at that two ways. Some will say he is showing his potential and commitment. To me, I worry about guys that slacked off in the regular season then started working out and doing things right when the draft and money are on the line. What happens when they get their big deal and get comfortable?
• North Carolina’s Tyler Zeller is drawing Spencer Hawes comparisons.
• Another report Rihanna and J.R. Smith are dating. Well, not sure if dating is the right word. Again my two-word warning: Matt Kemp.
• The Pacers want Leandro Barbosa to return, but he is an unrestricted free agent and it depends on what the market will offer. The Pacers aren’t going to shell out a lot here.
• More Chicago spin on the Luol Deng situation — he won’t play in the Olympics because the insurance on him (with a bad wrist and a $13 million contract next season) is too high. Don’t bet on it.
• If your team needs the kind of player who takes shots that fans think are fun and makes coaches cringe, we have your man — the Magic have released Von Wafer.
The actual foul was hard but a bit of a fluke. Embiid went up to block the layup/dunk but Westbrook lost his dribble for a second, and the result was an airborne Embiid crashing into Westbrook. Hard. Was there a little bit extra in there? Depends on if you’re on Team Westbrook or Team Embiid.
Marcus Smart will be lucky if all he has to do is write a check to the league office. This is the kind of thing that can lead to a suspension.
Midway through the third quarter in Atlanta Saturday, Boston’s Smart picked up his second technical foul jawing with Atlanta’s DeAndre Bembry before a jump ball. That got him ejected. But it was when it charged back after Bembry rather than leaving the floor that the real trouble started.
Predicting the league office on fines/suspensions is like predicting a roulette table, but that looks like it could cost Smart a game. Smart had picked up his earlier technical arguing calls.
Boston came from behind to win Saturday in Atlanta, with Kyrie Irving leading the way scoring 32.
Marcus Johnson is a Milwaukee legend. He averaged 21 points a game in his seven seasons with the Bucks and is sixth on the all-time franchise list in points (10,980), is its all-time leader in offensive rebounds (1,468), is third in total rebounds (3,923), and made 4,546 during his time in Milwaukee. He is now a color commenter for the team.
Johnson will be the ninth Bucks player to have his number retired and the first since the team’s move to its new home Fiserv Forum.
Current Bucks legend Giannis Antetokounmpo told the Journal-Sentinel he was happy. Antetokounmpo turned to Johnson at points for help with footwork, post moves, and more.
“I’m really happy for him, I think he deserves to have his jersey retired,” Antetokounmpo said. “It’s amazing. He’s just sitting down there like a normal person, but this guy was one of the best players in the league when he was playing. … He’s a legend.”
Johnson won an NCAA national championship at UCLA under the legendary John Wooden before going on to an NBA career that included five All-Star appearances and three All-NBA teams.
Paul George hits game winner, lifts Thunder past 76ers 117-115
PHILADELPHIA (AP) —Paul George converted a four-point play with 5.1 seconds left, sending Russell Westbrook and the Oklahoma City Thunder to a wild 117-115 victory over Joel Embiid and the Philadelphia 76ers on Saturday.
George’s clutch shot capped a wild finish that included another memorable exchange with Westbrook and Embiid. Westbrook hit the floor out of bounds under the basket after a foul by Embiid late in the game, and Westbrook fouled out with 14.9 seconds remaining after he got Embiid while shooting a 3-pointer.
Embiid made all three foul shots, tying it at 113, and Jimmy Butler‘s driving layup put Philadelphia in front with 6.9 seconds to go. But George drained a 3 while being fouled by Butler and made the foul shot.
Philadelphia had one last chance, but Butler missed a 3-point attempt in the final seconds. The 76ers have lost 19 in a row to the Thunder.
George finished with 31 points, six rebounds, five assists and three steals. Westbrook had 21 points, 10 rebounds and six assists for Oklahoma City, and reserve Dennis Schroder also scored 21 points.
The Thunder had dropped five of six, including a 138-128 overtime loss against the Los Angeles Lakers on Thursday night.
Embiid, who was a game-time decision because of back tightness, had 31 points, eight rebounds and six assists. JJ Redick scored 22 points for Philadelphia, and Ben Simmons finished with 20 points, 15 rebounds and nine assists.
Oklahoma City led by as many as 16 points in the first quarter, but Philadelphia rallied in the second and trailed 59-56 at the break.