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#pounditTuesday, January 25, 2022


Dirk Nowitzki takes out full-page ad thanking Mavericks fans

Dirk Nowitzki

Dirk Nowitzki has officially wrapped up his 21-year NBA career, and he accomplished the rare feat of spending the entire time with one team. It goes without saying that he built a strong relationship with the fans during that span, and that was reflected in the way he thanked them over the weekend.

Nowitzki took out a full-page ad in the Dallas Morning News on Sunday thanking Mavericks fans “from the bottom of my heart.”

Nowitzki received some outstanding ovations from opposing fans during his farewell tour this season, and he is one of the most respected players in league history. He was one of the main reasons the Mavericks won their first championship in franchise history back in 2011, and fans in Dallas will never forget it.

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DeMar DeRozan fined for throwing basketball at referee

DeMar DeRozan

DeMar DeRozan had to know he’d face some discipline for his actions during Saturday night’s Game 4 after throwing a basketball at a referee, and the league has come down quickly.

DeRozan was fined $25,000 for his actions, but will face no further consequences for his ill-advised basketball toss at referee Scott Foster in his team’s Game 4 loss.

The discipline seems about right. DeRozan was ejected for his actions and he’ll be lighter in the pocketbook for it, but that’s about it. The Spurs will hope for a better performance in Game 5, and DeRozan will aim to keep his composure a bit better.

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Matt Shoemaker likely to miss at least one start with knee injury

Toronto Blue Jays pitcher Matt Shoemaker can’t seem to catch a break when it comes to injuries.

Shoemaker sprained his knee Saturday while executing a rundown, and underwent an MRI. While the results of that are not in yet, the expectation is that he will land on the IL and miss at least a start.

Shoemaker has been plagued by awful injury luck, including an extremely frightening incident in the 2016 season. He has also had arm injuries since then. It’s even more frustrating, as Shoemaker had gotten off to a very good start with his new team, going 3-0 with a 1.57 ERA in his first five starts as a Blue Jay.

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Watch: Myles Turner posterizes Gordon Hayward with monster dunk

The Indiana Pacers were trying to stave off elimination in Game 4 against the Boston Celtics on Sunday, and Myles Turner did everything he could to inject energy into his team in the first half. That turned out to be very bad news for Gordon Hayward.

With the Pacers trailing 42-37 late in the second quarter, Turner abused Hayward with a massive dunk. Hayward never stood a chance of stopping it, but you have to give him credit for getting in the way.

The Pacers probably don’t have a chance of winning the series against Boston, but at least Turner left their fans with that highlight.

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NFL teams reportedly ‘dismayed’ with lack of WR talent in draft

Many NFL teams have placed a greater emphasis on drafting wide receivers early now that the league has become so pass-heavy in recent years, but that approach may temporarily change with this year’s draft.

An NFL front office source told Ben Volin of The Boston Globe that teams are “dismayed” with the wide receiver prospects in this year’s class, and the early part of the draft is expected to be dominated by defensive players. The 2017 NFL Draft tied the record for most defensive players drafted in the first round with 19, but that number could get into the 20s this year. A lack of talent at the receiver position is a big reason for that.

There is still some uncertainty over who the top wide receiver taken will be. Most analysts predict it will be former Ole Miss standout DK Metcalf, who has arguably the most impressive physical makeup of any player in the draft. However, Oklahoma’s Marquise Brown is also seeing his stock rise as he shows no ill effects from the foot surgery he underwent earlier in the offseason. Metcalf and Brown could end up being the only two receivers taken in the first round.

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Report: Nets feel Joel Embiid should have multiple flagrant 2 fouls

Joel Embiid 76ers

The Brooklyn Nets were furious with the officiating in their Eastern Conference quarterfinal against the Philadelphia 76ers, and now we know why.

According to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, the Nets are “livid” that Joel Embiid’s flagrant 1 fouls in Games 2 and 4 were not classified as flagrant 2s. This was apparently what led to Nets GM Sean Marks entering the referee locker room after Game 4, an act which earned him a fine and suspension.

In addition, Marks was attempting to back his team and the way they’re playing in the series.

Marks and the Nets have a point on Embiid’s Game 2 flagrant, considering he himself felt he should have been ejected for it. Despite this, the league opted against retroactively upgrading it. The Nets’ case on Embiid’s Game 4 flagrant is a lot weaker, however.

The series has been a very combative one, and apparently Marks and the Nets are fine with that. They just want it officiated more tightly, especially in Embiid’s case.

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Nets’ GM suspended for entering referee locker room after Game 4

Game 4 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinal between the Brooklyn Nets and Philadelphia 76ers was heated on the court, and it seems that spilled over after the game in a certain way.

The NBA announced Sunday that Nets general manager Sean Marks had been fined and suspended for a game for entering the referee locker room after his team’s 112-108 loss in Game 4.

It’s not clear what, specifically, had Marks angry enough to try to access the referee locker room. His team saw a lead slip away late as they fell behind 3-1 in the series, and that came after things got heated between the two teams on the floor. The stage is set for a very intense Game 5 as the Nets try to fend off elimination.

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Did Paul Pierce intentionally drop Jalen Rose’s trophy?

Paul Pierce

The cast of ESPN’s “NBA Countdown” has a segment throughout the season where they place friendly wagers on things that might happen during games, and Jalen Rose was crowned the “Friendly Wagers” champion for the 2018-19 season. However, he may have to deal with a bit of delay with receiving his trophy.

On Saturday night, Paul Pierce dropped Rose’s hardware on the floor while presenting it to him. The trophy broke, and it looked like Pierce may have intentionally fumbled it.

Pierce apologized and said he felt terrible, but you could hear Rose jokingly saying he did it on purpose. The emojis the Boston Celtics legend included in his tweet about it were also suspect.

Hey, we know Pierce is a competitive guy who hates the idea of someone else being better than him at something, so perhaps he just couldn’t bring himself to hand over that trophy.

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Giants GM seemingly takes shot at Odell Beckham over ‘culture problem’

Odell Beckham

Dave Gettleman has not been the most popular man in New York since he took over as the general manager of the Giants last year, but he is standing by the controversial moves he has made while trying to rebuild the team. In particular, he clearly feels he had no choice but to trade Odell Beckham Jr.

In an interview with Steve Politi of, Gettleman spoke about how “teams win championships” and all players need to be on board with the organization’s philosophy. He added that his critics are missing the point of why he made certain trades this offseason.

“There’s more to it that just collecting talent.” Gettleman said. “There is a cultural thing to it that’s critical. I have not been on a team that’s gone to a Super Bowl that’s had a culture problem.”

Politi followed up by asking Gettleman if he had a culture problem in New York.

“Not any more,” the GM said.

It’s hard to view that as anything other than a shot at Beckham. While the Giants also made some other big moves like trading star pass-rusher Olivier Vernon, Beckham is a polarizing figure who was openly critical of Eli Manning and the Giants’ coaching staff. Ownership essentially told him to shut up and play last year, and there have been numerous reports that Beckham became a headache in New York.

After he was traded to the Cleveland Browns, Beckham mocked the idea that he became a cancer with the Giants. Time will tell if the move works out, but Gettleman continues to preach patience. As long as ownership is willing to grant him that, it doesn’t really matter what the fans think of his approach.

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Tommy Pham has harsh comment about game-ending blunder

Tommy Pham

Tommy Pham submitted an early candidate for boneheaded play of the year in the Tampa Bay Rays’ loss to the Boston Red Sox on Saturday night, and he made no excuses for the mistake after the game.

Trailing 6-5 in the bottom of the ninth inning, the Rays had two outs and runners on first and second. They were a single away from tying the game and an extra-base hit away from potentially winning when Pham was picked off at first base by Red Sox catcher Christian Vazquez.

Pham was clearly caught sleeping, and he probably would have had a much better chance of being called safe if he simply attempted to dive back to the bag. He didn’t, and he had a very harsh assessment of the mental lapse after the game.

For a player who has been critical of his team’s fans in the past, getting picked off at first to end a potential ninth-inning comeback is not a good look. At least Pham owned up to it.

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