Report: Andre Iguodala and Spencer Dinwiddie only players to attend meeting with referees

AP Photo/Mary Altaffer
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Update: Referees union:

It’s hard to see how helpful this meeting could have been, even if the size was by design. Andre Iguodala cares about his and the Warriors’ interests. Spencer Dinwiddie cares about his and the Nets’ interests. They’re not ideally positioned to convey concerns of players on other teams, though Iguodala’s place in the players union gives him some mass perspective.

 

As tension between players and referees has endured and maybe even escalated, a meeting between both sides during All-Star Weekend in Los Angeles drew a lot of attention.

The actual result sound underwhelming.

Ken Berger of Bleacher Report:

Three referees attended the meeting: Marc Davis, Jason Phillips and Brian Forte, two people briefed on the meeting told B/R. Among the other key participants were Michele Roberts, executive director of the National Basketball Players Association, and Lee Seham, general counsel for the National Basketball Referees Association, the people said.

Only two players attended, and neither one was a current All-Star: Warriors swingman Andre Iguodala, an NBPA vice president, and Nets guard Spencer Dinwiddie, the All-Star Skills Challenge winner, the people briefed on the meeting told B/R.

Only two players?

All-Stars LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, Paul George, Anthony Davis, DeMar DeRozan and Draymond Green have notably had problems with officials this season. This was a chance to address their concerns. Other players could have also gone to Los Angeles for the meeting.

However, All-Star Weekend is incredibly busy for All-Stars with sponsor events, media sessions and the actual game and contests. Other players relish the break and rare opportunity for a vacation. This meeting wasn’t necessarily well-timed, though it’s also possible there weren’t better options until after the season.

It’s easy to blame players for not showing up. It’s just not that simple.

Someone from the union probably had to be there, and I bet Iguodala was designated. I’m also not surprised Dinwiddie – nicknamed “The Mayor” and trying to carve out a more prominent place in the NBA – got involved. Hopefully, Iguodala can use his union post to convey diffusing information to other players.

But I wouldn’t count on improved player-referee relations this season. Too many players are convinced referees treat their team unfairly. (If they all think that, it can’t be true.) And too many referees are insensitive to the fact that players are in the midst of high-pressure competition during their interactions.

More meetings between players and referees could help and should happen. A better time would be next preseason, when referees could meet with teams as they travel around the country. That’d allow a far larger number of players to listen and be heard.

By the way, it’s fine there were only three referees at the meeting. Unlike players, who have their competing agendas, referees are essentially on the same team. A few officials can represent the whole group.

Watch Dinwiddie get ejected for elbow to Poole’s face; Mavs still win behind Doncic 41 points

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Dallas has gotten in trouble this season because of a lack of secondary shot creation behind Luka Doncic, so when Spencer Dinwiddie got ejected for an elbow to the face of Golden State’s Jordan Poole, it seemed like the Mavericks might be in danger of falling to the Warriors.

Doncic had other plans — and a 41-point triple-double.

The ejection happened early in the fourth quarter, when Dinwiddie drove the lane on Poole and, bringing the ball up, elbowed Poole in the face.

That was reviewed by the referees who ruled it a Flagrant 2. The league has cracked down on blows to the face and head — intentional or not — the past couple of seasons.

Dinwiddie being out just meant more Luka — and that was bad news for the Warriors.

Despite Doncic and his triple-double, the Warriors had a couple of chances in the final seconds. First, Stephen Curry got called for a travel.

The Warriors argued that call but got nowhere with the referees. But they got one more chance on a Klay Thompson 3 to tie, but it was just not their night.

The Mavericks got the 116-113 win. Tim Hardaway Jr. pitched in 25 points, including five 3-pointers for Dallas. Curry led the Warriors with 32.

Timberwolves’ Karl-Anthony Towns out 4-6 weeks with calf strain

Minnesota Timberwolves v Washington Wizards
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It’s not good news, but it looked like it could have been much worse.

Timberwolves big man Karl-Anthony Towns is out for weeks with a right calf strain, the team announced Tuesday following an MRI exam. Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN reports it is likely 4-6 weeks.

The injury occurred midway through the third quarter Monday when Towns started to run back upcourt and went to the ground without contact, grabbing his knee and calf. It looked scary — Achilles scary — and he had to be helped off the court.

Towns has averaged 21.4 points and 8.5 rebounds a game, and while his numbers are down this season — just 32.8% on 3-pointers — the team has struggled at times without him, particularly lineups with Rudy Gobert and Anthony Edwards together, an -11.8 net rating (in non-garbage time minutes, via Cleaning the Glass).

Kevin Durant on chasing MVP: ‘Not really, I’ve been there, done that’

Orlando Magic v Brooklyn Nets
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Kevin Durant carried the Nets to another win Monday night, scoring 45 points on 19-of-24 shooting, plus seven rebounds and five assists.

If you’re having an MVP conversation a quarter of the way into the NBA season, Durant has to be part of it: 30 points per game on 54.8% shooting (and a ridiculous 65.9 true shooting percentage), 6.6 rebounds and 5.5 assists a game, plus playing solid defense and being the anchor of the Nets. After his 45-point outing to get Brooklyn a win over Orlando, Durant was asked about MVP chants and the chase for the award and was clearly not interested.

Durant has MVP numbers, but so do Stephen Curry, Luka Doncic, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Jayson Tatum and others. If Durant is going to move to the front of the conversation, the first thing that has to happen is Brooklyn has to win a lot more games — 11-11 is not going to cut it when Tatum’s Celtics and Antetokounmpo’s Bucks have the two best records in the NBA. Winning games and finishing on a top-three team in the conference matters to some voters (and traditionally is one measure of an MVP).

Watch Herb Jones inbound off Pokusevski’s back, seal win for Pelicans

Oklahoma City Thunder v New Orleans Pelicans
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With 2.3 seconds left in the game and the Thunder down 2, they needed to steal the inbounds pass from New Orleans to have a real chance. That’s why when Aleksej Pokusevski walked on the court it looked like he was going to guard the inbounder, Herbert Jones.

Instead, Pokusevski turned his back to Jones, putting himself in position to step in front of anyone cutting to the ball to catch the inbounds. Except, Jones made the clever play to seal the game.

Pokusevski fouled Jones, who sank both free throws and sealed the 105-101 Pelicans win.

The Pelicans got 23-8-8 from Zion Williamson and picked up a win without CJ McCollum or Brandon Ingram in the lineup. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander continued his dominant start to the season and scored 31.