D’Angelo Russell

Sixers To File Grievance Over Officating

4:26pm: The league acknowledged in its last two-minute report that Brunson and Josh Hart both fouled Maxey during the last-minute scramble. It also indicated Nurse should have been granted a timeout on the inbounds play, Bontemps tweets.

7:26am: Following their Game 2 loss to the Knicks in New York on Monday, the Sixers intend to file a grievance with the NBA over the officiating, a team spokesperson told Tim Bontemps of ESPN and Kyle Neubeck of PHLY Sports.

According to Neubeck, the 76ers’ list of concerns will include (but won’t necessarily be limited to) the following:

  • Two calls in the last two-minute report from Game 1 went against the Sixers.
  • The Sixers have been the most disadvantaged team in the NBA this season based on last two-minute reports, with a report compiled in early April indicating that 22 missed calls benefited their opponents and 11 benefited them, the worst such ratio in the league.
  • The Knicks included detailed referee information in their game notes for the first two games of the series (Twitter link), which Bontemps describes as “unusual.”
  • The Sixers believe they should have been awarded a timeout at multiple points during a key inbounds play and possession late in Monday’s loss (Twitter video link). They also believe Tyrese Maxey was fouled during the play, with Jalen Brunson grabbing his jersey.

That inbounds play occurred with 27 seconds left in the game and the Sixers holding a two-point lead. Head coach Nick Nurse appeared to briefly signal for a timeout just before Kyle Lowry inbounded the ball to Maxey, who was held by Brunson. Maxey fell to the floor with the ball as Nurse attempted to call timeout again, but the Sixers lost possession before a timeout could be granted, leading to a Donte DiVincenzo go-ahead three-pointer.

“Well, the first thing is obviously they score,” Nurse said in describing the sequence after the game. “We take a look at getting it in quick. We don’t get it in quick. I call timeout. Referee looked right at me. Ignored me. Went into Tyrese, I called timeout again. Then the melee started.

“I guess I got to run out onto the floor or do something to make sure and get his attention, but I needed a timeout there to advance it. Would’ve been good. But, couldn’t get it.”

Joel Embiid was even more blunt in expressing his displeasure with the officiating.

“Everybody was trying to call a timeout on the floor,” Embiid said, per Bontemps. “Me included. Coach on the sideline. But they didn’t give it to us. But, forget about the timeout. There’s a bunch of fouls. That’s f—ing unacceptable. …That’s on the frigging referees. I hate to put the game on them. But I am sure the two-minute report is going to come out and we are going to see what happened. … We fought for 47 minutes and whatever 20 seconds. For that to happen … that’s not OK.”

The Sixers weren’t the only team with complaints about the officiating after a tough Monday loss. As Dave McMenamin of ESPN writes, the Lakers also had gripes to share after losing to Denver 101-99 on a Jamal Murray buzzer beater.

Los Angeles was upset that a Michael Porter Jr. foul on D’Angelo Russell in the third quarter, which would have led to a pair of free throws, was overturned because the contact was deemed “marginal” (Twitter video link). Russell later tweeted, “That’s a foul we all saw it on national television.”

“D-Lo clearly gets hit in the face on a drive,” LeBron James said. “What the f–k do we have a replay center for if it’s going to go [like that]? It doesn’t make sense to me. … It bothers me. … And then I just saw what happened with the Sixers-Knicks game too. Like, what are we doing?”

As Fred Katz of The Athletic tweets, the Sixers’ grievance isn’t a formal protest of Game 2, so it won’t affect the outcome of Monday’s contest. It’s presumably just an attempt at gamesmanship on behalf of the 76ers, who will be looking to regain an edge in the series as the teams head to Philadelphia for Game 3.

For what it’s worth, Embiid remains very confident in his team’s ability to pull out the series despite facing a 2-0 deficit.

“We’re good,” Embiid told reporters on Monday, according to Bontemps. “We’re going to win this series. “We are going to win this. We know what we got to fix. We did a better job today, so we are going to fix it. We are the better team. We are going to keep fighting.”

Lakers Notes: Davis, Reaves, Russell, Vanderbilt, Jokic

Anthony Davis could have some extra motivation for the remainder of the Lakers‘ first-round series against the Nuggets. Davis feels slighted that he wasn’t one of the three finalists for the Defensive Player of the Year award, he told ESPN’s Dave McMenamin.

“I’ll never get it,” Davis said. “They’re not giving it to me. The league doesn’t like me. I’m the best defensive player in the league. I can switch 1 through 5. I can guard the pick-and-roll the best in the league, from a big standpoint. I block shots. I rebound. I don’t know what else to do. I’m over it. I’m just going to do what I got to do to help the team win and try to play for a championship. Accolades and individual awards, I’m done with those.”

We have more on the Lakers:

  • Austin Reaves is hopeful that D’Angelo Russell remains with the team beyond this season, and his reasons go beyond the court, he told Michael Scotto of HoopsHype. “I want him to be around. That’s probably my best friend on the team,” Reaves said. “We hang out off the court and golf a lot together. We’re constantly in communication and play Call of Duty together. He’s been one of my closest friends since I’ve been in the NBA. Obviously, his basketball play speaks for itself with how talented he is and what he can do for our group. We need him to be at our best. When he’s playing at his best is when we’re playing at our best. Anything we can do or I can do to help him stay around, I’m definitely going to try to do that.” Russell holds an $18.7MM option on his contract for next season.
  • Jarred Vanderbilt is no longer wearing a walking boot, Jovan Buha of The Athletic tweets. Vanderbilt hasn’t played since Feb. 1 due to a right midfoot sprain. He went through some drills during the team’s shootaround on Tuesday but won’t play in Game 2.
  • Coach Darvin Ham admits it’s virtually impossible to keep Nikola Jokic in check, Buha adds in another tweet. “It’s like (bleep), I don’t know what to do. You just gotta go out there and try to be as disciplined as possible, aggressive and consistent. And have a next-play mentality, man. … Kid is a generational-type player,” Ham said.

Lakers Notes: James, Davis, Vanderbilt, Russell, Wood

Lakers All-Stars Anthony Davis and LeBron James submitted good-but-not-great outings in L.A.’s 114-103 Game 1 defeat against the Nuggets on Saturday, writes Dan Woike of The Los Angeles Times.

Guided largely by the efforts of those two stars, Los Angeles led Denver by as many as 12 points in the first half. James had 27 points on 10-of-16 shooting from the field and 4-of-5 shooting from the charity stripe, along with eight assists, six rebounds, a steal and a block. He also turned the ball over seven times.

Davis scored 32 points on 12-of-23 shooting from the floor and 8-of-9 shooting from the foul line. He also grabbed 14 rebounds, dished out five assists and blocked four shots.

No other Laker scored more than 13 points. Woike notes that Denver enjoyed distinct advantages in offensive rebounding and combined second-chance and fast-break points, which also seemed to help make the difference.

There’s more out of Los Angeles:

  • Backup Lakers combo forward Jarred Vanderbilt is in a walking boot as he continues to deal with a right foot injury, per Khobi Price of The Orange County Register (Twitter link). Los Angeles head coach Darvin Ham claims the boot is not a setback, noting that “everything’s still going to plan” with regard to Vanderbilt’s recovery.
  • Starting point guard D’Angelo Russell had been on a tear for much of the second half of the 2023/24 regular season, and seemed primed to avenge his forgettable showing in last year’s Western Conference Finals defeat to Denver with this first round rematch. He had a rough Game 1, however, scoring just 13 points on 6-of-20 shooting from the floor. Ham made a point to defend Russell after his uneven showing, per Dave McMenmain of ESPN. “D-Lo is a huge reason why we’re here in the first place,” Ham said. “I’m not going to bail out on my player just because he’s missing the shots that he normally makes. So same shots were going in against New Orleans [in the play-in tournament] and other games that he’s played in to help us get to this point. So it just wasn’t his night.”
  • Reserve Lakers big man Christian Wood is hoping to return in time for Game 3 of the series, when the action moves to Crypto.com Arena in Los Angeles, per Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link). He has been sidelined since a February knee surgery. Ham, however, cautioned that Wood “still [has] a couple boxes to check” before he can come back in this series, according to McMenamin (via Twitter).

Pacific Notes: Beal, Ellis, K. Jones, Russell

Suns guard Bradley Beal admitted that the finger he injured on his right hand last month is still far from 100%, but told reporters on Thursday that he has gotten more comfortable playing with a wrap on his ring finger and dealing with the pain (Twitter video link via Gerald Bourguet of PHNX Sports).

“It’s definitely a little, I think, partially torn, sprained, whatever they want to call it,” Beal said. “I haven’t had an image on it in weeks. The swelling’s not going anywhere, that’s one thing the doc said, he said you’ve kind of gotta deal with it, so I’m cool. I’ve been shooting it alright, so I’m not going to mess with it.”

Beal made just 3-of-11 shots from the floor in his first game back from the injury on March 27, but has been on fire since then, averaging 20.3 points per game on .582/.683/1.000 shooting in his last nine outings. He made all six of his attempts from beyond the three-point line in Sunday’s regular season finale that clinched Phoenix’s playoff spot.

Here’s more from around the Pacific:

  • Keon Ellis went undrafted out of Alabama in 2022 and barely played at the NBA level during his first season with the Kings, but he has emerged as a crucial role player in Sacramento in his second year, earning a promotion to the standard roster and a spot in the starting lineup. Jason Anderson of The Sacramento Bee takes a look at how Ellis has boosted the Kings’ defense and helped make up for the loss of both Kevin Huerter and Malik Monk. “Obviously, when guys go down, it’s hard to just fill in that type of scoring, two guys (Huerter and Monk) who basically average 15 points,” De’Aaron Fox said. “… But I think since they’ve been out, having someone like Keon stepping into that starting lineup and being able to guard the best guys in this league, and doing a great job on guys as well, obviously helps us as a whole.”
  • Kai Jones‘ new contract with the Clippers includes a non-guaranteed minimum-salary team option for 2024/25, Hoops Rumors has confirmed. Even if Los Angeles picks up the option this June, Jones’ $2,196,970 salary for next season wouldn’t become guaranteed unless he remains under contract through January 7.
  • Last season’s series vs. Denver was a forgettable one for D’Angelo Russell, who averaged 6.3 points per game on 32.3% shooting and lost his starting job in Game 4, but he told reporters he’s not treating the Lakers‘ rematch with the Nuggets differently than he would any other playoff series, writes Dave McMenamin of ESPN. “There’s no extra preparation for me,” Russell said. “Been preparing all year for whoever we would see in the postseason. Obviously, y’all make it a Denver-D-Lo thing, but I’m ready to compete.”

Lakers Notes: Davis, Vincent, Russell, Nuggets Matchup

After missing the final six minutes of the Lakers‘ victory over New Orleans on Sunday due to back spasms, star center Anthony Davis was able to play 40 minutes in Tuesday’s rematch with the Pelicans. The play-in tournament win secured the No. 7 seed in the West for L.A.

Davis said he was physically limited during Tuesday’s contest, as he was still experiencing the spasms, but he thinks the extra time off ahead of Saturday’s Game 1 in Denver will allow his back to heal, per Dave McMenamin of ESPN.

I think the way it affected me the most is just as far as moving, going to get offensive rebounds and things like that,” Davis said. “Just my presence at the rim, it was just tough. But we got it done. We got it done. And I have a couple days now to kind of get it back to normal and get ready for Saturday.

I feel like I’ll be 100 percent as far as the back come Saturday.”

Here’s more on the Lakers:

  • Gabe Vincent only appeared in seven regular season games in 2023/24 due to knee issues after signing a three-year, $33MM deal with the Lakers as a free agent last summer. However, he appears to be finding his rhythm entering the playoffs, writes Khobi Price of The Southern California New Group. Vincent finished with nine points (on 3-of-6 shooting), four rebounds and a steal in nearly 18 minutes on Tuesday. “Just his toughness, his grit, his ability to make shots,” head coach Darvin Ham said. “And like I said, that will come. As his legs get stronger and stronger underneath him, his shot-making will increase as well. He has this quiet toughness about himself. Whatever you need him to do, he’s gonna do it. He’s gonna make sure he executes it and starts with defense with him. The defense, diving on the floor, everything, he’s a hell of a competitor.”
  • In an interview with Marc J. Spears of Andscape, D’Angelo Russell said becoming a father in September 2022 helped him focus on the things that mattered most to him, both on and off the court.
  • McMenamin and Kevin Pelton of ESPN examine why the first-round series with the defending-champion Nuggets will be an “uphill battle” for the Lakers, writing that Denver’s frontcourt size and skill presents a unique issue for L.A. While many of their games have been close, the Nuggets have dominated in the clutch against the Lakers, going 8-0 in their last eight matchups, including last season’s sweep in the Western Conference Finals.

Southeast Notes: Russell, Johnson, Griffin, Gueye, Miller, George

The Magic may take a run at D’Angelo Russell in free agency this summer. The Athletic’s Jovan Buha, who covers the Lakers, has heard that Orlando would be the biggest threat to sign away the combo guard (hat tip to Jesse Cinquini of LakersDaily.com).

“Orlando is the team that — talking to people with the Lakers, talking to people outside the Lakers — Orlando is the team that probably gives them the most concern in terms of a potential suitor,” Buha said.

Russell would give Orlando’s backcourt an offensive boost. He’s averaging 18.1 points and 6.4 assists per game while shooting a career-best 41.9% from deep this season. Russell holds an $18.7MM option on his contract for next season and can become an unrestricted free agent by turning down that option.

We have more from the Southeast Division:

  • Hawks forward Jalen Johnson will return to action on Monday night against the Bulls, The Athletic’s Shams Charania tweets. Johnson, who is averaging 16.1 points, 8.6 rebounds and 3.5 assists per contest, has been out since March 18 after suffering an ankle sprain against the Lakers. The Hawks currently hold the final spot for the East’s play-in tournament at No. 10 in the conference.
  • Several other Hawks players still require more time to come back from their injuries, the team’s PR department tweets. AJ Griffin (right high ankle sprain) has progressed to individual basketball activities and will be re-evaluated in seven-to-10 days. Mouhamed Gueye (right UCL sprain) has progressed to full contact workouts, while Onyeka Okongwu (left big toe sprain) has resumed individual basketball activities. He will also be re-evaluated in seven-to-10 days.
  • Hornets rookie forward Brandon Miller has labeled Clippers forward Paul George the “Greatest Player of All-Time.” Miller got a chance to match up against his idol on Sunday, contributing 22 points, six rebounds and four assists in 40 minutes during Charlotte’s 12-point loss. George paid back Miller with a compliment, according to Roderick Boone of the Charlotte Observer. “He’s got a ton of game, and a ton of talent and I’m in his corner,” George said. “So can’t wait to see him fully blossom and be one of those guys that carried the league for a long time.”

Lakers Notes: James, Vincent, Russell, Davis, Castleton

With the Lakers fighting for the best possible postseason spot — most likely in the play-in tournament — LeBron James says his injured ankle may not always allow him to suit up the rest of the way.

I got to be smart with it,” he said, per ESPN’s Dave McMenamin. “If I’m not healthy, or [anywhere] close to being healthy, then it’s not good for our ballclub anyway. It’s not good for me.”

James posted a triple-double — 23 points, 14 rebounds, 12 assists — in Wednesday’s victory over Memphis. He sat out the previous game vs. Milwaukee.

We have more on the Lakers:

  • Barring a last-minute setback, injured guard Gabe Vincent is expected to return to action on Sunday in Brooklyn, reports Shams Charania of The Athletic (via Twitter). One of the team’s major offseason acquisitions, Vincent has been out since December 20 after undergoing knee surgery, Charania notes. He has only appeared in five games this season.
  • Guard D’Angelo Russell believes the Lakers may have more quality players than they know what to do with at times, he told Michael Scotto of HoopsHype. “I think we’re much better than our record,” he said. “We match up, adjust, and do all these different things in the flow of the game. The problem is we’ve got 12 different guys that can be out there. When that random group of five is out there, the familiarity with what we’re trying to do is on the fly. A lot of teams have five or six guys that know they’re always going to have an idea who’s going to be in and where’s this and that.”
  • The team gave Anthony Davis, who is a battling a knee injury, the night off on Wednesday, Khobi Price of the Orange County Register notes. Davis played 52 minutes in the double overtime win against Milwaukee on Tuesday.
  • Two-way big man Colin Castleton made a brief cameo against Memphis. He had not appeared in an NBA game since Feb. 14 due to a fractured wrist.

Lakers Notes: Russell, Vanderbilt, LeBron, Davis, Reaves

D’Angelo Russell‘s strong play over the past few months – including 22.0 PPG and 6.8 APG with a .449 3PT% in his last 31 games – has made turning down his $18.7MM player option for 2024/25 and testing free agency a more viable option for the Lakers‘ point guard. However, he tells Michael Scotto of HoopsHype that his preference would be to remain in Los Angeles.

“I’d love to be here and continue to give it a run and be where my feet are now,” Russell said. “Obviously, I’ve been on the other side of it, and I’ve been through the roller coaster of free agency and having to sit back and wait. I’m looking forward to not having to worry about that. I’ve been blessed enough to put myself in this position with my play. I’m definitely planning on taking advantage of that. When that time comes, I feel that everything will play out how it’s supposed to play out.”

Even if he decides against picking up his player option, Russell could return to the Lakers, who would hold his Bird rights in that scenario and would be in a good position to sign him to a new contract.

Here’s more on the Lakers:

  • Lakers forward Jarred Vanderbilt, who has been out since February 1 due to a left foot sprain, is ramping up his conditioning but has yet to be cleared for contact or to participate fully in practices, head coach Darvin Ham said on Tuesday (Twitter link via Jovan Buha of The Athletic).
  • LeBron James sent a text message to TNT’s Chris Haynes prior to Tuesday’s game, confirming that his absence vs. the Bucks was about managing his ongoing ankle soreness rather than any sort of setback (Twitter video link). “With my injury, I have to be very strategic and smart of how I manage the rest of the season with my ankle/foot in order to get to the finish line,” James wrote. “Whatever line that lies ahead.” According to Haynes, the expectation is that LeBron will be available against the Grizzlies in Memphis on Wednesday.
  • With James out on Tuesday, Anthony Davis stepped up in a big way in Milwaukee, logging nearly 53 minutes and putting up 34 points and 23 rebounds in a double-overtime road win, writes Dave McMenamin of ESPN. Austin Reaves chipped in with a 29-point triple-double to help lead the team to the comeback victory. “I just think we’re an unpredictable team,” Russell said. “So depends on which team you get, depends on which team we are defensively, offensively as a unit. Some guys are better than others (some nights). Some guys have bad nights. It just depends on what team we’re going to be. When we’re in full effect like tonight — obviously, no Bron — but, I think we’ll be hard to beat.”

Lakers Notes: James, Davis, Russell, Vincent, Reddish

The Lakers are in ninth place in the Western Conference standings, three games behind the sixth-place Kings to avoid the play-in tournament. With ground to make up in the playoff race, LeBron James was locked in against the Hawks on Monday, racking up 25 points, seven rebounds and 10 assists in 29 minutes. The Lakers recorded a 31-point victory.

“Just setting a tone, trying to set a tone,” head coach Darvin Ham said of James, per Jovan Buha of The Athletic. “It’s money time right now. We have no time to waste. It starts with our two captains.”

We have more on the Lakers:

  • Anthony Davis had 22 points, 15 rebounds and six assists in a team-high 31 minutes on Monday. He returned after missing three games due to a left corneal abrasion. He played without any protection on his eyes after consulting with medical specialists, according to The Associated Press. “Obviously (I would have) if the doctors had told me I needed it, but I didn’t need it,” Davis said.
  • D’Angelo Russell has made 183 three-pointers this season, tying Nick Van Exel’s franchise record. Russell is shooting a career-best 41.9% from beyond the arc this season. “It’s just really cool,” he told ESPN’s Dave McMenamin. “I said I don’t want to underdo it, understate it, overdo it. I just feel like it’s really cool to just be a part of something like that. I think I did something like that in Brooklyn, as well. Just to get credit for your game and what you work through and showcase it every night.”
  • Gabe Vincent still plans to play this season and his nearing a return, barring any setbacks, Marc Stein tweets. Vincent underwent arthroscopic surgery on his left knee in late December. Vincent was cleared for non-contact work last week.
  • Cam Reddish practiced on Wednesday and Ham expects him to play on Friday against Philadelphia, McMenamin tweets. Reddish hasn’t played since March 8 due to an ankle injury.

Pacific Notes: Davis, Russell, Thomas, Gordon, Curry, Green

Lakers center Anthony Davis was forced to leave Saturday night’s game against Golden State because of an eye contusion, writes Dave McMenamin of ESPN.

The injury occurred in the first half when Davis was accidentally hit in the face by Trayce Jackson-Davis while making a layup. He was able to play a few more minutes, but was eventually removed and declared out for the second half.

Davis suffered from impaired vision and his eye was swollen shut, a source tells McMenamin (Twitter link). He will be monitored tonight and Sunday before a determination is made about whether he can play Monday against Atlanta.

While there’s no indication that this will be a long-term injury, ESPN’s Bobby Marks points out that Davis is just shy of the 65-game minimum needed to qualify for postseason awards and All-NBA honors (Twitter link). He was at 64 games before tonight, including the finals of the in-season tournament, but he only played 12 minutes and the league requires at least 15 for the game to count toward the total.

Davis is averaging 24.7 points, 12.4 rebounds, 3.6 assists and 2.4 blocks, so he’s a strong candidate for one of the All-NBA teams if he qualifies.

There’s more from the Pacific Division:

  • D’Angelo Russell‘s $18.7MM player option for next season gives him a lot of leverage in deciding his future this summer, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski said on NBA Countdown (video link). Russell has become a major part of the Lakers‘ offense during the second half of the season, averaging 22 PPG and shooting 44% from long distance over the past 27 games. Wojnarowski points out that if L.A. wants to make a significant trade at the draft, the organization may need Russell to pick up his option and agree to go wherever he’s dealt.
  • Isaiah Thomas, who’s joining the Suns on a 10-day contract, is expected to eventually receive a standard deal to fill the team’s final roster spot, tweets John Gambadoro of Arizona Sports 98.7 FM. Gambadoro doesn’t expect the 35-year-old guard to become part of the rotation, but he’ll serve as insurance heading into the postseason.
  • Eric Gordon was able to play 22 minutes on Friday night after missing the Suns‘ previous two games with a left knee contusion, notes Duane Rankin of The Arizona Republic. Rankin expects Gordon, Royce O’Neale, Bol Bol and Drew Eubanks to form the core of Phoenix’s second unit for the rest of the season.
  • Stephen Curry and Draymond Green both returned for Saturday’s game, giving the Warriors a fully healthy roster for the first time since November, observes Sam Gordon of The San Francisco Chronicle. Curry missed three games this week with a sprained right ankle, and Green sat out Wednesday’s contest due to lower back stiffness. “I still believe we’re very capable of rattling off a string of victories, and you just don’t know what’s going to happen above you,” coach Steve Kerr said.