Pistons’ Villanueva to appeal fine for foul on Kings’ Thomas

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Detroit’s Charlie Villanueva doesn’t really get it.

He was ejected with a Flagrant Two foul then was fined $25,000 for the foul he committed on the Kings Isaiah Thomas. Later Thomas called Villanueva a dirty player.

Villanueva both denied that and told the Detroit Free Press he plans to appeal the fine.

“Dirty player? Not at all,” Villanueva said. “He saw an open lane, I tried to block the ball and he’s 4-foot-11, a 100 pounds wet so he looks bad. I’m not a dirty player. I didn’t try to hurt him at all.”

Villanueva said he plans to appeal. Pistons coach Lawrence Frank scoffed at Thomas’ assertion.

As I said when we first posted the video of the ejection, this struck me as a foul on the borderline of worthy of an ejection. It was a hard foul but I didn’t think there was intent to injure.

He can appeal if he wants, but that’s not likely to go anywhere. To remove the fine from a flagrant-two and ejection is to say referees made a mistake with the initial call, and the league is not going to do that here on a borderline call.

Physical therapist: LeBron James should have missed six months

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The Lakers initially called LeBron James day-to-day with the groin injury he suffered on Christmas.

He missed more than five weeks.

Maybe he should have sat even longer.

Karen Joubert, via Complex Sports:

Maybe LeBron returned too soon. This injury allowed that, even if it put him at risk of reaggravation if not fully recovered.

Maybe LeBron just healed especially quickly. Even among world-class athletes, he is an elite athlete.

Maybe Joubert is exaggerating. People tend to do that with LeBron’s body.

There’s plenty of room for interpretation, but it sure looked like LeBron was still hobbled.

What does this mean for LeBron and the Lakers going forward?

The pessimistic spin: LeBron did lasting damage to his body by returning so soon. This (failed) attempt to get the Lakers into the playoffs this season will undermine him in the future.

The optimistic spin: LeBron has still been excellent these last few weeks. If he gets fully healthy during his longest offseason in 14 years, he should be even better next season.

Kyrie Irving on whether returning to Cleveland means something to him: ‘Not at all’

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Kyrie Irving spent his first six seasons with the Cavaliers. He developed into a star with them. He won a title with them, even hitting the championship-winning shot.

With Irving’s Celtics playing in Cleveland tomorrow, Irving reflected on his time there.

Jared Weiss of The Athletic:

Irving is so clearly over the Cavs.

He was probably over the Cavs even while playing for them.

Lakers fan barely moves net while making halfcourt shot (video)

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The Lakers have had a rough season.

Last night went pretty well, though – especially for one fan.

The Lakers beat the Kings, and this fan swished a halfcourt shot to win $45,000.

CJ Fogler:

The Lakers need more outside shooting. Maybe they could turn to some of their fans.

Giannis Antetokounmpo drives past/through all the Cavaliers for dunk (video)

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Giannis Antetokounmpo is undeniable.

Watch this video. He’s the only Bucks player in sight on the court. All five Cavaliers appear. Antetokounmpo dunks anyway.

He dribbles past Jordan Clarkson then through David Nwaba and Tristan Thompson. Nik Stauskas and Brandon Knight are shading close enough to narrow his potential path. None of it matters.

Antetokounmpo scores inside unlike anyone anyone we’ve ever seen.