Storms in Houston forced Dwight Howard to remain at arena with fans until 2:30AM after Game 4 win over Warriors


The Rockets were comfortably in control against the Warriors for the majority of their double-digit Game 4 victory, but there was no way fans in Houston would be leaving early with the game already decided.

Mainly because they were strongly advised against it.

Severe storms in Houston had plenty of fans stranded at the arena until the wee hours of the morning. And Dwight Howard, who lives a bit outside of the downtown area, was similarly stuck.

From Calvin Watkins of

Star center Dwight Howard was stuck at the arena until roughly 2:30 a.m. ET with his son because the highway he lives off was closed due to flooding.

Howard’s son played catch with several fans who were told to remain in the stands as the city was hit with a tremendous storm that shut down several highways and streets. …

“I live a block and half away from the arena, so I was able to get home pretty easily,” McHale said. “The last thing I heard Dwight was in the arena with some of the guys because he lives so far away. I think he was the last to leave.”

Howard could have remained in a players-only area in the locker room throughout, but credit him for hanging with the fans and bringing some joy to what was obviously an unfortunate situation.

Kyrie Irving back in Cavaliers lineup for Game 4 vs. Hawks


Kyrie Irving has missed the last two games for the Cavaliers while dealing with a knee injury.

Cleveland won both of them anyway, with Game 3 requiring an especially transcendent performance from LeBron James in order to get the job done.

The Cavaliers are holding what should be an insurmountable 3-0 lead in the series, so there seemed to be little need for Irving to get back out there if there was even a chance he wasn’t yet back to 100 percent. But it appears as though he’ll be back in the lineup for Game 4 as Cleveland attempts to close Atlanta out.

Marc Spears of Yahoo Sports:

Cavs guard Kyrie Irving is playing tonight with a 25-minute time limit, sources told Yahoo.

Obviously the Cavaliers can’t take anything for granted, and if Irving is in fact read to return, then he should be playing — at least in theory.

It’s just that knee injuries are tricky things, and if Irving should be forced to miss time because of it when Cleveland is facing the Warriors in the Finals as we all expect, then this decision to let him go in Game 4 will ultimately be substantially second-guessed.

NBA: No Game 5 suspension for Dwight Howard, flagrant-1 for hit on Andrew Bogut stands as called


Al Horford was ejected from the Hawks’ Game 3 loss to the Cavaliers for this.

J.R. Smith was ejected and suspended two games for this.

Dwight Howard received only a flagrant-one foul, with no ejection, for this.

One of these things is not like the others, but the NBA ruled that Howard’s hit on Andrew Bogut wasn’t as severe, and therefore won’t be subjected to any additional punishment.

From Ken Berger of

The NBA’s review of Dwight Howard’s contact with Andrew Bogut concluded that it did not rise to the level of excessive because Howard was trying to free himself from a tie-up with Bogut, president of basketball operations Rod Thorn told Tuesday.

“It was a very close call as far as I’m concerned,” Thorn said. “As Bogut is holding his arm down, Howard tries to extricate his arm. He doesn’t hit him with his elbow, by the way. He hits him with the back of his hand, maybe a touch of the wrist. To me, it was unnecessary, but I didn’t think it was excessive.” …

“Having been here forever and having done this stuff for a long time, I just try to look at each situation as it comes up,” Thorn said. “Obviously, we have all of the information from everything we’ve ever done before, plus tape and video of everything we’ve done before to fall back on. As far as the name of the player, I’ve never let that enter into it.”

This was extremely similar to the hit Smith was suspended for, but evidently, the league saw it differently.

The fact that Howard will be available for Game 5 is good news for Rockets fans, but most everyone else will view the ruling as being extremely inconsistent.

LeBron James posts triple-double, Al Horford ejected as Cavaliers take 3-0 series lead with OT Game 3 win over Hawks


Once Kyle Korver was ruled out for the remainder of the postseason, the prospect of the Hawks winning even a single game against the Cavaliers seemed highly improbable.

Once Al Horford was ejected in the second quarter of Game 3, that task became essentially impossible.

Atlanta battled throughout, and forced an overtime session. But in the end, Cleveland got the 114-111 victory, and took a 3-0 series lead that has the Cavaliers one game away from the NBA Finals.

It certainly wasn’t easy.

LeBron James opened the game by missing his first 10 shots — the first time in his career, regular season or playoffs, that it’s ever happened. He found other ways to impact the game, however, setting up his teammates with on-point passes, or crashing the boards when shots were missed.

James was laboring overall, and may have been dealing with the effects of a season’s worth of minor bumps and bruises beginning to take their toll. He finished with his 12th career playoff triple-double — 37 points, 18 rebounds, and 13 assists, while launching a career-high 37 shots.

The Hawks were in this one for most of the contest, and even seemed to have control of it at times. That changed for a stretch late in the second quarter, though, when Horford was ejected for appearing to throw an elbow at Matthew Dellavedova after the two had gotten tangled up, and Dellavedova had already fallen to the floor.

This play was reminiscent of the one that involved Dellavedova and Taj Gibson in the previous round of the playoffs that saw Gibson get ejected. The final action by both Gibson and Horford may or may not have been worthy of the flagrant-two all by itself, but when looking at the plays in their entirety, a case could certainly be made.

With Horford, he had Dellavedova with a Kelly Olynyk arm-lock that caused the two to fall to the floor in the first place. Dellavedova fell awkwardly into Horford’s leg, the same way he did in (inadvertently) taking Korver out for the remainder of the playoffs. Horford obviously felt it was intentional, and retaliated. But Dellavedova may have flashed back to Kevin Love’s season-ending injury when Horford had a hold of him, and could have felt justified in attempting to inflict some damage. Either way, the call by the officials — while harsh, controversial and appearing initially to be the final nail in Atlanta’s coffin — seemed to be correct.

The Cavaliers led by as many as 10 points in the fourth, but couldn’t put the Hawks away. Atlanta played with a level of desperation that Cleveland couldn’t match, and had a chance to win it at the end of regulation. But hero-ball in isolation is not this Hawks team’s strength, and Jeff Teague dribbling down most of the final 17 seconds remaining before launching (and missing) a tough three-pointer at the buzzer wasn’t the best use of Atlanta’s resources.

In the overtime session, the difference was James.

LeBron scored his team’s last five points, hitting a corner three with 36 seconds left to give his team the lead for good, before sealing the victory with a driving bank shot going to his left to give the Cavaliers a three-point lead which would remain in place when the final buzzer sounded.

It was an incredible effort by the shorthanded Hawks. But this game will ultimately be remembered for the brilliance of LeBron James, and the way he was able to overcome a career-worst start to finish with an historic effort that put his team one win away from a trip to the NBA Finals.

Stephen Curry glares at heckling Rockets fan, tells him to ‘sit down’


Stephen Curry had everything working in the Warriors’ blowout Game 3 win over the Rockets, and that included playing the villain role to perfection.

As Curry drained shot after shot, some of them while being particularly close to the courtside fans, eventually he grew tired of hearing their taunts.

From Ken Berger of

“It’s fun, playoff basketball, and you get hecklers — guys up close who paid a lot of money for those seats and want to get their money’s worth,” Curry said after dropping 40 points on the Rockets in a 115-80 evisceration of Houston that gave Golden State a 3-0 chokehold in the best-of-7 series. …

Trevor Ariza’s nose was practically in Curry’s mouthpiece, but he still got it off — and it still went in. Curry turned to the fan — the look of astonishment on the face of his female companion was the stuff of Deadspin glory — removed his mouthpiece and glared.

“I don’t even remember what he said,” Curry said. “A four-letter word I can’t repeat. That’s when I turned and said, ‘Sit down,’ just having fun with him. If they want to talk, hopefully they can take some back.”

Besides Draymond Green’s occasionally loud mouth, there’s really not much for the casual fan to dislike about these Warriors. Curry is as clean as they come, and the style of basketball Golden State plays, even though it’s defensive-oriented, is extremely entertaining to watch.

A little attitude from Curry adds some well-deserved spice to this team, and if he continues along this path, it’s going to be particularly interesting to see which way the majority of fans lean in what appears to be an impending matchup in the Finals against a Cavaliers team that features LeBron James.