You might have missed what went down in the NBA this weekend because of March Madness, and we don’t blame you. But if you haven’t caught up yet, now’s a good time.
You’re bracket was probably busted long ago, and the NCAA tournament doesn’t pick back up until Thursday anyway, so why not use this time to get the lowdown on the NBA? Here are six takeaways from the weekend that was.
Houston Rockets center Dwight Howard was caught using stickum—an adhesive used to improve grip, which is illegal in the NBA—during Saturday night’s game against the Atlanta Hawks. From the Atlanta Journal-Consitution‘s Chris Viviamore:
As Howard was about to check back into the game, he sprayed his hands at the scorer’s table with a can covered in white tape – apparently to hide its contents. He entered the game as Paul Millsap was at the free-throw line and grabbed the ball after a made first attempt. When Millsap got the ball back it clearly had a foreign substance on it.
“I’ve never felt the ball like that ever,” Millsap said after the game. “It was sticky. It was like super glue or something was on there. I couldn’t get it off my hands. It was the weirdest thing ever.”
Official Monty McCutchen grabbed the ball and went to each bench to issue a warning, saying ‘Stickum is illegal in the NBA.’ After first going to the Hawks bench he made his way toward the Rockets bench. Rockets coach J.B. Bickerstaff slid in front of the can, still at the scorer’s table. McCutchen noted he knew what Bickerstaff was hiding.
No penalty was enforced. The can was then removed from the scorer’s table by a member of the Rockets’ staff. According to one person, the team did not produce the spray can when ask for it later by an official.
The Vertical‘s Chris Mannix says “it’s unlikely the NBA issues a stiff punishment, if it issues any at all.” After the game, Howard admitted to using stickum every game for the last five years, per the Houston Chronicle‘s Jonathan Feigen.
“I don’t know why people are making a big deal out of it,” Howard said. “I do it every game. It’s not a big deal. I ain’t even tripping.”
Pelicans shut down Anthony Davis for remainder of season
Anthony Davis will miss the remainder of the season, New Orleans Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry told reporters Sunday.
We’re going to shut him down. He’s done for the year,” Gentry said. “It’s unfortunate, but he’s got an issue with his shoulder that he’s played with the whole season. It’s amazing when people talk about him being soft or whatever; they don’t understand that he’s played through a situation with his shoulder the entire season.
Davis has a torn labrum in his left shoulder and a left knee injury, which he suffered Friday against the Portland Trail Blazers. He will undergo surgery for both.
He has an issue with his knee that we’re going to get corrected,” Gentry said. “I think for us, we have to look at things long term, and we have to look at what’s best for the future of our franchise. For that reason, he won’t play anymore this season.
It’s something that needs to be done and needs time to heal,” Gentry said of the knee injury. “The same thing with his shoulder. I’m sure you can find out from the doctors or the trainers, but I don’t really want to get into it and try to explain all the aspects of it (from a medical expertise standpoint).
Even with the injuries, Davis still managed to play in 61 of 68 games and averaged 24.3 points and a career-high 10.3 rebounds, which were nearly identical to his numbers last season. The three-time All-Star is the fifth New Orleans player to be out for the season, joining Quincy Pondexter, Tyreke Evans, Eric Gordon and Bryce Dejean-Jones.
Matt Barnes suspended one game for trying to enter Bucks locker room
The NBA announced it had suspended Memphis Grizzlies forward Matt Barnes for Saturday’s game against the Los Angeles Clippers without pay for trying to enter the Milwaukee Bucks locker room and “verbally challenging” forward John Henson after both players were ejected from Thursday’s game in Milwaukee.
Henson blocked Barnes’ shot with 5.5 seconds left in the game and was assessed two technical fouls for taunting, which resulted in his ejection. Barnes also received a technical foul and was ejected for “continuing to use obscentities.”
Memphis coach Dave Joerger said he learned of Barnes’ suspension about two-and-a-half hours before game time Saturday night, but would’ve liked to have known Friday night or Saturday morning, so that he could adjust his game plan to Barnes’ absence.
This is Barnes’ second time getting punished by the league this season. He was suspended two games by the NBA in January for a physical altercation with then-New York Knicks coach Derek Fisher at the home of Barnes’ ex-wife in Los Angeles.
Spurs continue their home dominance against Warriors
The San Antonio Spurs extended their home winning streak over the Golden State Warriors to 33 straight regular-season games after beating the defending champs 87-79 on Saturday. For the Warriors, that’s second-longest road losing streak against a single opponent in NBA history, according to Elias Sports Bureau.
MVP frontrunner Stephen Curry was held to 14 points and 1-for-12 shooting on 3-pointers. LaMarcus Aldridge, who was limited to five points and three rebounds in the previous meeting against Golden State on Jan. 25, bounced back with 26 points and 13 rebounds for the Spurs, who won their 44th straight game at home in the regular season.
The league’s top two teams will meet two more times in April.
Dwyane Wade joins 20,000-point club
Miami Heat guard Dwyane Wade became the 41st player and ninth active player to score 20,000 points. He reached the milestone Saturday night in the third quarter of Miami’s 122-101 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers.
“I always thought, I don’t know why, that 20,000 just seemed good,” Wade told The Associated Press. “When you’re in the NBA and they say you scored 20,000 points or whatever, that’s a small group, and I wanted to be in that category. Obviously, because of what I’ve chosen to do, giving up some of those opportunities, missing a lot of games, my style of play, to reach that point for me is big.”
Wade, a three-time champion and 12-time All-Star, has averaged 23.71 points for his career, which ranks fifth among active players.
Dirk Nowitzki puts himself into elite group of 37-year-olds
The Dallas Mavericks’ 132-120 overtime win over the Portland Trail Blazers on Sunday was highlighted by Dirk Nowitzki’s season-high 40 points, his first 40-point game since 2014. According to Elias Sports Bureau, Nowitzki is one of only four players in NBA history to score 40 points after turning 37. The other three are Michael Jordan (eight times), Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (4) and Karl Malone (2).
“We’ve all got to enjoy whatever time we have left to watch him, whatever number of years it is, because it’ll go by quickly. You won’t see another one like this – ever,” Dallas coach Rick Carlisle said after the game, per ESPN‘s Tim MacMahon.
Nowitzki has scored 20 or more points in eight straight games and is averaging 22.7 points since the All-Star break.