The Sixers had a weird night Wednesday. They crushed the Bulls without James Harden, but Joel Embiid sat out the second half and wasn’t even on the bench. After a complete meltdown from Sixers Twitter, the team provided an update late in the third quarter ... then another as the game was ending.
The good news: the team is hoping to have its superstar duo available when the Sixers play the Warriors Friday night.
But they weren’t even at the center of the weirdest thing that happened in The Association last night. Let’s take a look around the NBA.
Mavericks plan to file formal protest after loss to Warriors
Mark Cuban vs. NBA officiating. As storied a rivalry as any.
The Warriors-Mavericks game Wednesday produced one of the strangest sequences we’ve ever seen. Coming out of a timeout, there was apparently confusion as to whose ball it was. The Mavericks thought it was theirs.
It was not.
The Mavericks came out of the timeout and weren't guarding the right side of the floor...— Action Network (@ActionNetworkHQ) March 23, 2023
Don't see this very often pic.twitter.com/iNiCIwIqsV
Dallas would go on to lose the game, 127-125. Pretty brutal for your opponent to get gifted two points in a game you lose by that margin.
Cuban took to Twitter to explain what the Mavericks believe happened.
For those wondering about the play with 1:54 to go on the 3rd, let me explain what happened. The ref called Mavs ball . The announcer announced it. Then there was a timeout . During the time out the official changed the call and never told us. Then when they saw us line up as…— Mark Cuban (@mcuban) March 23, 2023
The pool reporter got the perspective of the officiating crew:
NBA Referee Sean Wright comments to a pool reporter after the Warriors at Mavericks Game:https://t.co/TwR5dq0r2D— NBA Official (@NBAOfficial) March 23, 2023
Dallas is expected to file a formal protest of the game, but don’t expect much to come of that.
Mavs owner Mark Cuban says he indeed intends to file a protest with the league office in the wake of the sequence below.— Marc Stein (@TheSteinLine) March 23, 2023
Dallas unsuccessfully lodged a protest after a loss to Atlanta in Feb. 2020 — with Cuban subsequently fined $500,000. No NBA protest has succeeded since 2008. https://t.co/NplmVHjTBJ
Ja Morant makes his return
Ja Morant’s eight-game suspension ended earlier this week. The All-Star guard was suspended for “conduct detrimental to the league” after he was seen in an Instagram video brandishing a gun in a Denver-area strip club. He was eligible to return Monday but was held out with a “return to competition reconditioning” designation.
The 23-year-old came off the bench for the first time in his career Wednesday in a win over the Rockets. Morant finished with 17 points and five assists in just under 24 minutes of action.
He did not lose his athleticism during his absence.
Morant is one of the brightest young stars in the league. Let’s hope he’s learned his lesson and continues his career without incident.
Latest on Paul George, Zion Williamson injuries
The Sixers are not the only team dealing with injuries to stars at the worst possible time.
The Clippers’ Paul George took a nasty fall late in L.A.’s loss to the Thunder Tuesday.
Here’s the play where Paul George suffered what appears to be a leg injury. pic.twitter.com/k0JbXyrXvn— Tomer Azarly (@TomerAzarly) March 22, 2023
Initial reports indicate that PG probably got lucky it wasn’t more severe, but it will still cost him the rest of the regular season.
George is expected to be out for the rest of the regular season's nine games, but his timeline for a possible return in the playoffs will be clearer when he's re-evaluated. https://t.co/dggAJipTm9— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) March 22, 2023
The Clippers have handled their stars — George and Kawhi Leonard — about as carefully as any team possibly could. The Clips are clinging to the fifth seed, but sit just two games up on the Mavericks and Lakers, both currently in play-in spots, in the jumbled West.
The Pelicans are currently on the outside looking in at 12th, and they still don’t have a clear timetable for when/if star forward Zion Williamson could return.
Medical Update on Zion Williamson:— New Orleans Pelicans (@PelicansNBA) March 22, 2023
Following a re-evaluation on his right hamstring strain, Zion Williamson has been cleared to return to on-court activities. He will be re-evaluated in two weeks.
Williamson first tweaked the hamstring in a road game against the Sixers on Jan. 2. He’s missed New Orleans’ last 35 games. The Pelicans have gone 12-23 over that stretch and plummeted down the standings.
Frankly speaking, it sucks to see all these injuries to such great players right before the playoffs begin.