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Friday, November 15, 2019

Basketball

Jimmy Butler hints he had issues with 76ers

Jimmy Butler

The Philadelphia 76ers seemingly wanted to keep Jimmy Butler when he became a free agent last year, but things went sour between Butler and the organization at some point.

Butler alluded to a behind-the-scenes issue with the Sixers that helped lead him to joining the Miami Heat this past offseason, but wouldn’t go into detail.

“Stuff just don’t work out. Nobody knows what really went on in Philly and we’re going to leave it that way,” Butler told Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports. “But it was a great opportunity for me.

“Just go with your gut. You’re not dumb. All of that will come out whenever it’s time. Right now is not the time. I’m locked in with this. I’m happy, man. I’m smiling and my guys want me to be here, my organization wants me to be here, I want to be here and we’re going to ride this thing until the wheels fall off. I’m not saying Philly wasn’t great, man. We had some really good players. I talk to Joel [Embiid] damn near every f—–g day. It’s a brotherhood, man. I love that guy. I’m going to always have his back and I know he’ll always have mine.”

It’s anyone’s guess what the issue was. One thing reported at the time was that Butler wanted a five-year max and the Sixers didn’t even come close to offering it, so it could be as simple as that. Butler wants to be respected and can be a bit touchy over perceived slights, so a lot of things could have happened behind the scenes to rub the forward the wrong way.

David Fizdale defends RJ Barrett’s heavy minutes, calls load management ‘crap’

David Fizdale

Tom Thibodeau may no longer be in the NBA, but his spirit lives on in New York Knicks head coach David Fizdale.

After the Knicks suffered a 113-92 loss to the Sacramento Kings on Sunday, Fizdale defended the heavy minutes he was giving to rookie star RJ Barrett.

“He’s got the day off tomorrow,” said Fizdale, per Mike Vorkunov of The Athletic. “We gotta get off this load management crap. Latrell Sprewell averaged 42 minutes for a season. This kid’s 19 years old. Drop it.”

Barrett, who is averaging 17.7 points and 6.5 rebounds per game so far this season, played a whopping 41 minutes on Sunday, despite the game being a blowout from the first half onward. That brought his total on the year to 37.1 minutes per game, and he now leads the league in total minutes played.

While Barrett should indeed be getting significant playing time so that he can develop, there is a balance to be struck between that and not trotting him out unnecessarily in noncompetitive situations. All told, this is not the first time that Fizdale’s game management has come into question.

Fan who punched Pelicans assistant Joe Boylan banned from NBA games

Manuel Garcia punch Joe Boylan

A fan who punched New Orleans Pelicans assistant coach Joe Boylan has received a severe punishment from the NBA.

According to a report from The Athletic’s Shams Charania, the NBA informed teams that the fan has been banned from all NBA, WNBA G League and 2K league events.

The fan, Manuel Garcia, was caught on video punching Boylan at the end of the October 26 game between the Pelicans and Rockets in Houston.

Garcia was charged with assault and is out on bond. He appeared in front of a judge on Friday and asked for more time in finding an attorney. ABC13 in Houston says he received a new court date in December.

Seth Curry has great reaction to NBA admitting blown call in Mavs’ loss to Lakers

Seth Curry

A missed call in the closing seconds of the fourth quarter cost the Dallas Mavericks their game against the Los Angeles Lakers on Friday night, and Seth Curry had the perfect reaction to the league admitting their mistake.

The Dallas Mavericks guard was held by Lakers big Dwight Howard on the final possession of regulation, enabling Danny Green to get open for a game-tying triple as time expired. The Mavs went on to lose 119-110 in overtime.

On Saturday, the NBA admitted in their last two-minute report that Howard should indeed have been whistled for an offensive foul with 3.5 seconds left. In response, Curry tweeted “surprise surprise lol.”

The Lakers had no timeouts left, and the dead ball would have allowed Dallas to get their best free throw shooters on the floor, effectively sealing the game.

Instead, the Mavs picked up just their second loss of the season, which had to be especially bitter since they literally left their blood on the court.

Stephen Curry still wants to compete in 2020 Summer Olympics

Stephen Curry
Stephen Curry’s broken left hand does not appear likely to change his mind about playing in the Olympics next summer.

Curry’s father Dell told Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated that the guard still has every intention of making himself available for the Olympics in Tokyo despite his injury.

“Absolutely. That was definitely a goal coming into this year. He wants to play in the Olympics,” Dell Curry said Friday. “This is a little setback, but hopefully it’s a goal he can strive for through his rehab.”

Curry will be re-evaluated in three months. That will be around the start of February. He should be okay if he gets back toward the end of the NBA season, which appears likely. After that, it’s going to be up to Team USA coach Gregg Popovich.

Nets coach Kenny Atkinson explains use of Dennis Scott sign

Kenny Atkinson went viral on Friday for a poster he threw up during his Brooklyn Nets’ 123-116 win over the Houston Rockets on Friday night.

Atkinson’s Nets were trying to protect a lead in the final minute and did not want to allow the Rockets to shoot their way back into the game with 3-pointers. On the sideline, he was seen holding up a poster that featured a picture of Dennis Scott. Scott, who is nicknamed “3-D”, wore jersey No. 3 and was known for being a 3-point shooter.

The message from the Nets’ coaches seemed to be pretty clear: no threes.

Atkinson explained after the game that they used the cards to help the team communicate defensive schemes. He said the use of Scott’s photo was their way of having some fun with it too.

The plan worked well enough. The 3-2 Rockets were brutal on threes, going 12/48. James Harden was 2/16 and Russell Westbrook was 1/6. Letting Houston shoot threes seemed to be a winning strategy on Friday night.

Luka Doncic injures head in collision with Dwight Howard

Luka Doncic

Luka Doncic spent the end of regulation on the bench during Friday night’s game between his Dallas Mavericks and the Los Angeles Lakers after hurting his head in a collision with Dwight Howard.

Doncic bumped the back of his head against Howard and was in clear pain.

Even though Doncic’s head was bothering him, he did not immediately exit the game. In fact, he stayed in to assist on a go-ahead 3-pointer for Dorian Finney-Smith.

Doncic did head to the bench with 6.4 seconds left and iced his head while his team was able to tie the game. The youngster was on the court for the start of overtime but did not look comfortable and even went down a minute into the extra period after being struck again, though he remained in the game.

Doncic entered the game averaging 25 points per contest this season. He had a triple-double in the game.