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CUBAN VS. REFS, PART ONE MILLION: In what has become one of the league’s most storied rivalries over the years, Mark Cuban has declared war yet again on the state of NBA officiating, and he wasn’t shy in doing so. After an incorrect goaltending call, a review and a putback bucket pretty much ended Dallas’ chances of earning a win against Atlanta on Saturday, the Mavs’ owner took to Twitter and unleashed on the league’s officials, going off on a rant that culminated in Cuban saying that the level of NBA refereeing has been bad for 20-odd years now. He also believes a huge issue is the fact that retired referees are the ones training the new batch of refs, which is a “blind leading the blind” situation.
The Mavs will protest the ending of the game in hopes of being allowed to replay the final 9.7 seconds of the game since they believe it was a clear misapplication of the rules. This isn’t the first official protest this season either, as Houston also submitted one following a Harden dunk being disallowed cost them a game against San Antonio earlier in the year. Even besides that, there was also a very clear missed goaltending call at the end of a nationally televised Portland-Utah game in which Damian Lillard should have gotten two points following a blatant Rudy Gobert goaltend.
That’s all to say: Maybe the way Cuban went about voicing his complaints about NBA officiating was a little too strong and he could have done it in a more professional manner, but the underlying point he was trying to make is difficult to disagree with. For what an incredible game basketball is, too often these days the focus is taken away from the league’s amazing players doing awesome things and placed on poor refereeing instead, and that’s a travesty; the league needs to find a way to improve its officiating.
YESTERDAY IN THE ASSOCIATION: Yesterday’s matinee showing was an intense matchup between Boston and Los Angeles, one that saw the Lakers take the victory 114-112. LeBron James hit the contest’s most important bucket and did it in a manner that you could almost hear him say Kobe as he faded away and hit the jumper, while Jayson Tatum dropped 41 in one of the most impressive showings of his young career.
Meanwhile, the Bucks clinched a playoff berth yesterday, breaking the record for the fastest clinch in league history. Solid season they’re having over there.
SIGNING OFFICIAL: The rich get richer, as yesterday it became official that Markieff Morris is now a Laker. Morris’ shooting and defense should give L.A. a solid boost to their second unit.
WARRIORS TAKE FLYER: Former No. 4 overall pick Dragan Bender has bounced around the league some thus far in his career, and his latest landing spot is with the Warriors, who signed him to a 10-day contract over the weekend. He’s still just 22 years old, so it’s a solid gamble for Golden State.
SIMMONS DOWN: The Sixers are reportedly worried about the lower-back injury that Ben Simmons has been carrying, and he’s going to undergo further testing before the team decides what to do with him.
LOTTERY PICK SPEAKS: We talked to 2019 lottery pick PJ Washington, who discussed what his early impressions of the NBA are. The Kentucky product says he actually finds the pro game has been easy for him to transition to so far.
ONE ON ONE: Our own Alex Kennedy was joined by former No. 1 overall pick Greg Oden for an interview over All-Star weekend, and the 7-footer really opened up on a variety of topics, including the bust label he carries and his battles with depression and substance abuse.
SAYING BYE: With Kobe and Gianna Bryant’s memorial set for later today, ESPN went in-depth on what the enormous loss is like a month after the tragic accident. We’re definitely all still coping, particularly those who were close to the legendary 2-guard.
BRIGHT FUTURE: Hawks legend Dominique Wilkins is, unsurprisingly, a huge fan of Trae Young, and thinks the young guard has all the makings of a future superstar. Hard to disagree with that.
BOUNCE BACK: The Grizzlies put 2017 No. 4 overall pick, Josh Jackson, through an extensive special program before calling him up to the main roster, and it seems to have paid off, as Jackson handled it well and is now helping Memphis with his solid play.
SALARY QUIZ: WHO’S THIS NBA PLAYER? 🤔
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