Of course, I ask the question in the headline somewhat facetiously. But some bizarre stuff has been happening around the beautiful borough of Brooklyn and this Nets organization, in light of the gut-wrenching Game 4 loss to the Philadelphia 76ers.
Sean Marks, the team’s general manager, is fed up with the way the officials have been calling these games, and he took that frustration to a level one NBA executive expressed was where a lot of colleagues would like to have gone.
He barreled his way into their locker room and let the zebras have a piece of his mind.
So where did that get him? Well, for starters, he’s, well, a NON-starter – for Game 5, that is. Marks is suspended for Game 5, although we are not quite sure we know what that means. Maybe he’s going to be barred from the Wells Fargo Arena as these teams take the floor – with the Nets trying to stave off elimination – at 8:05 PM ET.
In the NBA playoff betting odds posted at BetAnySports, the Sixers are laying quite a few points:
Philadelphia 76ers -8.5 (-108)
Brooklyn Nets +8.5 (-102)
Over 229.5 points -105
Under 229.5 points -105
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Marks, a former NBA center-forward, did his equivalent of what a baseball manager does when he throws a fit with the umpires and gets thrown out of a game. That is to say, he is attempting to communicate that he supports his players 100% and isn’t going to let them continue to be victimized by bad calls if he can help it.
There was a flagrant foul against Joel Embiid, who may have taken a cheap shot at Jarrett Allen. This ultimately led to Jared Dudley, who has already ignited a fire with some comments about Ben Simmons, shoving Embiid. Then Jimmy Butler got into a shoving match with Dudley, which got them both tossed.
What made Marks particularly upset was a non-call on Philly’s Tobias Harris, who fouled Allen toward the end and caused a turnover, which was critical in a game decided by three points. To add insult to injury, the NBA later came out and admitted they blew the call in that “Last Two Minute Report” they issue.
Marks also picks up a $25,000 fine, and then as if to pile on a little, Joe Tsai, one of the Nets’ minority owners, got hit with a $35,000 fine for a Tweet – supportive of Marks – in which he wrote, among other things, “NBA rules are rules and we respect that, but our players and fans expect things to be fair.” One Nets fan set up a GoFundMe page to help pick up the cost of Marks’ fine. We’re not sure about Tsai.
This is the kind of thing that could be a double-edged sword for the Nets. Sure, they are sending a great message to the players, and maybe even planting something in the officials’ heads. But they aren’t making any friends among the whistle-blowers either. So handicappers might want to be careful with that “angle.”
At any rate, the trash talk continues. Embiid has already declared the series to be “over.” One must say he’s earned his right to get mouthy, since he’s been scoring at what is essentially a point-a-minute pace in this series. Ed Davis, one of the people who could at least put a body on him, is questionable with his bad ankle. The hero may have to be Caris LeVert, who Kenny Atkinson decided to start in Game 4 and was rewarded with 25 points, on the heels of 26 off the bench in Game 3.
Joe Harris hasn’t had a three-pointer in a while; he’s being taken to school by the Sixers, JJ Redick specifically. And when these Nets aren’t able to hit those outside shots, they have a rough go of it, since they are shooting less than 37% when Embiid is out there. If the “glue guy” Davis can’t make post, things get even more difficult. We’d lean toward laying the points.
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