Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images

NBA fines Clippers $50,000 because Doc Rivers said Kawhi Leonard is healthy


Oh, what a tangled web we weave when first we practice load management.

The NBA has fined the Clippers $50,000 for “statements, including by head coach Doc Rivers, that were inconsistent with Leonard’s health status.” Meaning Rivers got the Clippers fined for having Leonard’s back and saying his player was healthy and daring to rest to stay healthy.

It’s a long winding road to follow the NBA’s logic on this one, but here we go:

The Clippers are resting Kawhi Leonard on half of back-to-back games this season, because that’s what Leonard wants and because we saw in Toronto last June what happens when you have a rested and healthy Leonard in the playoffs. This should be a surprise to absolutely nobody.

However, to do that and comply with league rules — especially for a nationally televised game like Wednesday night against the Bucks — the Clippers need to prove Leonard is not healthy enough to play both games. (For the record, both games in this back-to-back are nationally televised.) So, the Clippers doctors reported to the league office that Leonard has a knee issue — which he does. We saw it flair up during the playoffs last year, it’s partially him compensating for the quad tendon issue in his other leg. It’s exactly the kind of thing the Clippers and Leonard want to manage so it doesn’t become worse.

The league went public — in the face of some backlash about Leonard sitting out — and backed the Clippers’ doctors’ official position that Leonard is not healthy enough to play in back-to-backs.  Then Doc Rivers went and said this, trying to support Leonard (who doesn’t like his injury issues being aired publicly):

That, however, contradicted the league. Here is the full statement from the NBA.

“Following additional review of the LA Clippers not playing Kawhi Leonard in last night’s game against the Milwaukee Bucks, the NBA has confirmed that the team’s decision to sit Leonard for management of an injury was consistent with league rules.  The team has reasonably determined that Leonard is suffering from an ongoing injury to the patella tendon in his left knee and has been placed by the team at this time on an injury protocol for back-to-back games.

“The NBA has fined the Clippers $50,000 for statements, including by head coach Doc Rivers, that were inconsistent with Leonard’s health status.”

Just a few thoughts here:

• The NBA scheduled the Clippers with back-to-back nationally televised games — we all could have looked at the schedule before the season and known Leonard would sit this game out. (From the Clippers perspective, the Portland game against a conference rival and will matter more for seeding and potential tiebreakers, so that is the more important game and the one they would have Leonard play.) Don’t want him to sit, don’t schedule these back-to-backs.

• Rivers would say this every time and the Clippers would pay the fine every time just to show Leonard they have his back.

• Is Leonard healthy enough to play a back-to-back? If this were the playoffs he would go, but this early in the season why would the Clippers not keep his chronic issues at bay with some rest? Is this preventative maintenance? Absolutely. Is there anything wrong with that? No. Not if the Clippers are thinking title.

• As my friend Michael David Smith of Pro Football Talk Tweeted, Steve Ballmer is worth $50 billion, every time he checks the stock market on his phone his net worth has gone up or down more than $50,000. He doesn’t blink at this kind of fine.

Kawhi Leonard just destroyed Boston’s Daniel Theis on dunk

Leave a comment

Daniel Theis‘ play as a rim protector is one of the reasons Boston has a top-10 defense this season. He has anchored the Celtics’ defense in the paint.

Kawhi Leonard is a two-time Finals MVP, and if he wants to go to the rim nobody is stopping him. Theis found out the hard way.

After the game, Leonard was asked about the dunk and he responded in about the most Kawhi way possible.

This was the first game Leonard and Paul George played together and they combined for 42 points, and they both made key play down the stretch of a 107-104 overtime win.

It took Luka Doncic 25 minutes to put together 35-point triple-double (VIDEO)

Leave a comment

DALLAS (AP) — Luka Doncic scored 33 of his 35 points in the first half and had yet another triple-double to help the Dallas Mavericks rout the short-handed Golden State Warriors 142-94 on Wednesday night.

Doncic fell a point short of matching Dirk Nowitzki’s team record set Nov. 3, 2009, against Utah. In just 17 minutes, Doncic was 10 for 11 from the floor, making 6 of 7 3-pointers, and hit 7 of 8 free throws.

The second-year star from Slovenia had 22 points, five assists and five rebounds in the first quarter alone. He played only 25 minutes total, but still managed 10 rebounds and 11 assists.

Doncic was coming off a 40-point triple-double Monday night against San Antonio, and has an NBA-best seven triple-doubles in 14 games this season.

The Mavericks never trailed and tied a franchise record with 22 3-pointers while sending Golden State to its worst loss since a 1973 playoff game.

The Warriors, who ended a seven-game losing streak by beating Memphis on Tuesday night, are an NBA-worst 3-13. Their five-year run of at the top of the NBA has collapsed under a weight of injuries, with Draymond Green out Wednesday because of right heel soreness.

With Green out, Golden State dressed only eight players, none of whom suited up for the team last season when it made the NBA Finals for the fifth consecutive year.

Eric Paschall led the Warriors with 22 points.

Tim Hardaway Jr. added 20 for Dallas. Kristaps Porzingis had 14 points and 10 rebounds for his fourth-straight double-double.


Bulls’ Otto Porter Jr out 2 weeks with bone bruise in foot

Getty Images
Leave a comment

CHICAGO (AP) — The Chicago Bulls say forward Otto Porter Jr. has a bone bruise in his left foot and will be reassessed in two weeks.

The Bulls say a second MRI on Tuesday revealed the bruise, something “not apparent” on the first MRI.

“He had a second scan, and something showed up that didn’t show up on the first scan,” Bulls coach Jim Boylen told NBC Sports Chicago. “That’s tough, tough for him, feel bad for him. But we’ll treat him and move on.”

Chandler Hutchison had been filling in Porter’s spot in the rotation, but he is out indefinitely now with sore shins.

Porter, averaging 11.2 points in nine games, has been sidelined since he sprained his left foot at Atlanta on Nov. 6.

The Bulls were 4-10 with three straight losses heading into Wednesday’s game against Detroit.

Timberwolves’ new alternate uniforms resemble Minneapolis Lakers

AP Photo/Jim Mone

The Minneapolis Lakers’ history belongs to the Los Angeles Lakers. That’s why the Los Angeles Lakers claim the five championships the franchise won in Minneapolis and have worn light-blue Minneapolis throwbacks.

But Minnesota’s current NBA team – the Timberwolves – appear to be borrowing from that legacy.

The Timberwolves’ new alternate uniforms look awfully similar to the Minneapolis Lakers’ throwback:

Of course, the Timberwolves’ explanation contains no mention of the Minneapolis Lakers. The Timberwolves say the icy cool yet sky blue color … reflects the blue waters that are ubiquitous throughout the cities, namely the Mississippi River, which is outlined on the left side of the uniform.” It’s all about celebrating the Twin Cities – Minneapolis and St. Paul (MSP).

The best part: These alternates are officially branded as “City Edition” uniforms. The Timberwolves called theirs “Cities Edition.”