Every night the NBA can be a cold hard reality — there are winners, there are losers. It’s the nature of the game. We know you are busy and can’t keep up with every game, so we’re here to bring you the best and worst of the NBA each week night. Here’s what you missed while inventing a robot that plays beer pong….
Nicolas Batum. Not for what the Blazers guard did in the team’s win over Miami (8 points and 0-4 from three) but for his pregame warmup shirt.
As you can see Batum, who is French, wore a “Je Suis Charlie” shirt, which translates to “I am Charlie” and is a sign of support for the dozen people killed at the tragic attack at French satirical publication Charlie Hebdo in Paris — and the message also is one of defiance to the radicalized Islamic followers that the people of that nation (and the world, Je Suis Charlie trended everywhere on twitter) will not live in fear and censor themselves. Good on Batum.
Kemba Walker. Toronto’s Kyle Lowry deserves to be — and almost certainly will be — an All-Star this season selected by the coaches. (Note to Raptors broadcaster Matt Devlin — stop saying “hashtag NBA Ballot” after every time you say Lowry’s name. Just stop it. Even Drake finds it annoying.) But on Thursday night Kemba Walker just outplayed Lowry. Walker had 29 points (first game in four he didn’t break 30), he had 8 assists and 7 rebounds, plus with the game close late he hit the stepback three for the dagger. It was a huge night and the Hornets have pieced together a four game winning streak now largely on Lowry’s back.
Langston Galloway. It’s all about grabbing the opportunity while you can. With all the roster moves to clear out cap space by the Knicks, some guys are going to get opportunities. Galloway impressed the Knicks both at Summer League and on their D-League teams so he got a 10-day contract and made his debut in the loss to Houston Thursday — and he scored 19 points (and he got 31 minutes of burn in the extended garbage time game). Galloway looked good and earned a little future run.
Warriors star Draymond Green got suspended one game during the 2016 NBA Finals.
Brandon Ingram (four games), Rajon Rondo (three games) and Chris Paul (two games) got suspended longer for their roles in the Lakers-Rockets fight Saturday. But not long enough to appease Green.
Green, via Mike Media of The Mercury News:
“That was garbage,” Green said. “I’m never in favor of guys losing money. But I got suspended in the NBA Finals for attempting to punch somebody. Guys punching each other are getting two games or three games. I attempted to punch somebody, and not in the face, either.”
“It seems like a little bit of a double standard going around this thing,” Green told Bay Area News Group. “That’s just me, though. I could be wrong. I don’t got all the answers.”
Green received the lightest punishment of the four. The NBA agreed his offense was the least egregious. A simple ranking of each player’s conduct does nothing to prove Green’s point. This is just a matter of how to scale the differences. Even then, Green has a weak case.
Remember, Green wasn’t suspended directly due to his altercation with LeBron James. Green received a retroactive flagrant foul for the incident, and combined with his prior flagrants, that triggered an automatic suspension. If Green hadn’t already committed so many flagrant fouls in the playoffs, he wouldn’t have gotten suspended based on only the dustup with LeBron.
This really gets back to the earlier question: Why does the NBA suspend players? It’s self-sabotage for the league to keep good players off the court. Green hits on a good point about the extreme difference between suspending someone in the regular season and suspending someone in the playoffs. I’d favor enforcing (most, if not all) playoff suspensions during the following regular season. The league can still set its desired line without undermining the product on the court when it matters most.
The NBA has been impossible to ignore the first week of the season — and not just because players are spitting on each other and throwing punches.
Pace and scoring are way up, which has made the league even more entertaining.
A few teams — Denver, Milwaukee, even Detroit among others — have been very hot, while a couple of teams we thought would be good have stumbled.
Keith Smith from Real GM and Celtics Blog joins Kurt Helin of NBC Sports to talk about their early season impressions, and take questions/comments from listeners on Twitter. That means the Sacramento Kings and Atlanta Hawks even get some love. The Thunder defense… not so much.
We want your questions for the podcast, and your comments, email us at PBTpodcast@gmail.com. As always, you can check out the podcast below, listen and subscribe via iTunes at ApplePodcasts.com/PBTonNBC, subscribe via the fantastic Stitcher app, check us out on Google play, or check out the NBC Sports Podcast homepage and archive at Art19.
The general consensus to the NBA’s suspensions – Brandon Ingram four games, Rajon Rondo three games, Chris Paul two games – for the Lakers-Rockets fight: Too lenient for the Lakers.
Even Ingram said he expected a harsher penalty.
Dave McMenamin of ESPN:
Ingram started the incident by pushing James Harden, and then Ingram hostilely confronted a referee. Once Rondo and Paul began exchanging punches, Ingram came in swinging. Not long ago, Ingram would have received a longer suspension.
But under NBA commissioner Adam Silver, the league hasn’t cracked down as hard.
This comes down to a bigger question: Why does the NBA suspend players? Prohibiting good players from playing lowers the quality of the product on the court in future games. It’s at least somewhat self-sabotaging. To some degree suspensions are designed deterrents, though players often don’t consider the repercussions during heated moments. But suspensions are also about appeasing fans who want to see an orderly system that keeps players in check.
So, with so many people calling Ingram’s suspension too short, maybe the league failed here. On the other hand, the objections don’t rise to the level of outrage. Most people seem OK with Ingram’s suspension, even if they would have preferred longer.
I doubt Ingram – or any player, for that matter – feels emboldened to fight because he got suspended just four games. Silver has been more lenient because fighting has mostly disappeared from the league. If it became rampant again, David Stern-era penalties might return. That potential deterrent still hovers, and we’ll all move on fairly quickly from Ingram’s suspension while enjoying watching him play again soon.
So, this seems about right.
Rondo getting just three games for spitting on and punching Paul, though…
Rajon Rondo and Chris Paul got into it. Rondo’s girlfriend and Paul’s wife reportedly got into it.
And if that weren’t enough, Red Hot Chili Peppers singer Anthony Kiedis angrily challenged Paul during Saturday’s Lakers-Rockets fracas.
“California, show your teeth,” indeed.