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Every day in the NBA there is a lot to unpack, so every weekday morning throughout the season we will give you the three things you need to know from the last 24 hours in the NBA. Here’s what you missed around the Association while you were off yelling at a mall Santa.

1) LeBron James had a first — he got ejected. Kevin Love and Cavaliers keep winning anyway. We thought we had seen everything from LeBron James during a Hall of Fame career, but we hadn’t seen this. LeBron drove the lane late in the third quarter against Miami, drove into the body of James Johnson then used the space created for a little running jumper that missed — LeBron wanted the call and didn’t get it (I’ve seen that call go either way, but LeBron initiated the contact). LeBron went over to complain to referee Kane Fitzgerald and must have said the magic word (not “please”) because the ejection was swift.
LeBron haters loved it. For example, Enes Kanter.

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Enes Kanter

King of Cleveland #HisFavoritePlayGround#StriveForGreatness
10:15 AM – Nov 29, 2017
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It also didn’t matter. Look at the score in Kanter’s Tweet — Cleveland was up 23 late in the third when this happened, Miami wasn’t coming back. The game was all but over. For the first time this season the Cavs won on the second night of a back-to-back, and Kevin Love was the reason — 22 first-quarter points on his way to 38 for the game, plus nine boards.
The Cavaliers have won eight in a row, and what has mattered during this streak is they have allowed just 100.4 points per 100 possessions — fifth best in the NBA in that stretch. What got the Cavaliers off to a slow start was lackadaisical defense, but they are starting to focus on that end, and with it they again look like an elite team. And that is with Isaiah Thomas expected back next month.

2) Blake Griffin has sprained MCL, likely out 6-8 weeks. The Clippers have some hard questions coming. Considering how ugly the injury looked when it happened, the fact that Blake Griffin “only” has a sprained MCL and will not need surgery has to be seen as good news. The Clippers have won three straight (after losing nine in a row) and with Griffin out, Patrick Beverley gone for the season, Milos Teodosic out until after Christmas, and Danilo Gallinari still sidelined, the question becomes can the Clippers keep their head above water and in the playoff mix until Griffin’s return is 6-8 weeks? As of now, the Clippers are only a game out of the last playoff spot in the West, but can they stay within striking distance without their best player and primary shot creator?

The bigger question is if not, do they try to trade DeAndre Jordan? What about Gallinari and other players who could have value? Is it time for a rebuild? When Chris Paul pushed his way to Houston, Los Angeles didn’t turn toward a rebuild — they re-signed Griffin to a max deal, got Gallinari, and in that trade landed Beverley and some depth with Lou Williams and Sam Dekker. The Clippers were going to stay a potential playoff team and rebuild on the fly.

However, they did it with a lot of players who have injury histories, and health was always a big question mark. Now we have the answer. Other teams are already calling about Jordan — as a high-priced rental (he is making $22.6 million this season, with a player option for $24.1 million next season) the market is small, and teams are not going to offer a lot in return, but they are calling. The Cavaliers are rumored (a deal centered around Tristan Thompson and a pick), with teams such as Milwaukee and, in a long shot, Washington coming up in rumors. Others are testing the waters as well.

In this situation a lot of teams would typically reach out to Jordan’s people through back channels to see if they can get him to opt in, or if they have a good shot at re-signing him (teams don’t just want the All-NBA center as a rental), but there is a complicating factor, as Bobby Marks of ESPN points out.
Bobby Marks

Hard part for teams that could be interested in DeAndre Jordan is that the All-Star does not have an agent. Hard to do any back channeling to see if DAJ is a short term rental or would commit long term.
7:24 AM – Nov 29, 2017
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Lawrence Frank, the guy with the hammer in the Clippers’ front office, has said he wants Jordan to be a “Clipper for life.” That’s nice. It’s what you say. But if Frank and the Clippers think it’s likely they lose Jordan as a free agent next summer, they need to make a trade. They need to get something back. And that could be the first domino in a Clippers’ rebuild… if Steve Ballmer is willing to go there. Remember he is trying to get approval for a new arena for the Clippers in Inglewood (right across the street from the Lakers’ old home at the Fabulous Forum) and that task gets a little harder with a rebuilding team that doesn’t feel like a huge draw. There are a lot of moving parts in Clippers trade talks.

3) Watch Devin Booker go off for 33 to lead Suns past Bulls. Maybe the biggest news out of Chicago Tuesday was that Nikola Mirotic attended the game, sat on the bench, and is back around the team after missing time with a broken face and concussion. He’s not speaking to Bobby Portis yet (the guy who gave him those injuries), but he is practicing with the Bulls again.

But that was not the most entertaining part Wednesday.

Devin Booker put up 33 points and drain five threes to lead the lowly Suns past the lowlier Bulls, and it just fun to watch this guy shoot and play.

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DENVER — Whether passing or shooting, Nathan MacKinnon’s stick work has been at the centre of Colorado’s offensive surge.
MacKinnon had three assists, including one off a faceoff with a second remaining in the second period, and the Colorado Avalanche beat the Dallas Stars 3-0 on Wednesday night to remain nearly unbeatable at home.
Erik Johnson, Nail Yakupov and Gabriel Landeskog all scored off feeds from MacKinnon. Jonathan Bernier, starting in place of an ailing Semyon Varlamov, made 28 saves for his 15th career shutout and second against the Stars.
“I feel like as a line and as individuals we’ve all earned it,” said MacKinnon, who has 20 points in his last 10 games on six goals and 14 assists. “Lately we’re just even keel and coming out to play every night. Just trying to give our team the best chance to win.”
Colorado improved to 7-1-1 at home and 7-1-0 at the Pepsi Center, scoring at least three goals in each home game. An overtime loss Nov. 10 to the Ottawa Senators in Sweden officially counted as a home game for Colorado.
“When we bring our best we’re hard to contain,” MacKinnon added. “We want to make teams worry about us and not us worrying about them. The past month we’ve been doing that.”
Bernier preserved the shutout with several key stops, including a kick save that turned away a shot by Jamie Benn in the third period.
“I felt right off the bat we deserved that game,” Bernier said. “We outcompeted them, outskated them, and that’s what we wanted.”
Dallas, meanwhile, continued to struggle on the road. The Stars fell to 3-8-1 away from home and have just one win in seven road games against fellow Central Division teams.
“It’s disappointing,” goalie Ben Bishop said. “I don’t think any of us are very happy right now. We can’t keep coming on the road and having the same talk after every road game. We’ve got to dig within, look at ourselves in the mirror here and find a way to get wins on the road. We’re clicking at home, it’s just about finding that win on the road now.”
Stars coach Ken Hitchcock senses a certain mindset when his team plays on the road.
“There’s a different body language in our team between home and away. And that’s something we’ve got to change,” he said.
Ahead 1-0, the Avalanche tacked on another goal during a remarkable sequence near the end of the second period. MacKinnon won a faceoff with Benn and got the puck out to Yakupov, who was alone between the circles. Yakupov got off a powerful slap shot that rocketed past Bishop and into the net with a fraction of a second to spare.
“It bounced and then it kind of came to me and I just shovelled it back to him and he one-timed it,” MacKinnon said. “Those are fun because they are unexpected late in a period like that.”
Colorado added one more goal early in the third when MacKinnon picked up the puck behind the net and passed it out to Landeskog, who knocked it in as he skated across the slot.
After a scoreless first period, MacKinnon led a rush down the ice and dished the puck to Johnson, who wristed a shot from the bottom of the right circle that slid beneath Bishop’s pads at 3:02 of the second.
NOTES: MacKinnon leads the Avalanche in points (25) and assists (18). … Varlamov missed a second consecutive game because of illness. The Avalanche recalled G Andrew Hammond from Belleville of the AHL to serve as the backup goalie while Varlamov recovers. … Dallas C Martin Hanzal remains day to day with a hand injury. … Dallas G Mike McKenna was active as the backup to Bishop, with G Kari Lehtonen excused from the game due to personal reasons.

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CHICAGO — Artem Anisimov did his usual dirty work. He went to the front of the net and waited for an opportunity.
He was rewarded with his first career hat trick — against one of his former teams, too.

Anisimov scored three times in the third period, Nick Schmaltz had three assists and the Chicago Blackhawks cooled off the New York Rangers with a 6-3 victory Wednesday night.
“The puck goes in and the puck finds me in front. Something’s going to happen,” said Anisimov, who made his NHL debut with New York in 2009 and played in 244 games with the Rangers.
Alex DeBrincat, John Hayden and Jonathan Toews also scored for Chicago, which had dropped three of four. Duncan Keith had two assists and Corey Crawford made 25 saves, helping the Blackhawks bounce back from an ugly 7-5 loss to New Jersey on Sunday.
New York had won six in a row — the longest win streak in the NHL this season — and it carried a 1-0 lead into the final minute of the second period. But the Blackhawks grabbed control with four goals in 6:06, capped by Anisimov’s power-play slam through Henrik Lundqvist’s legs at 5:14 of the third.
“We didn’t play well in the second and third period,” Rangers coach Alain Vigneault said. “We got what we deserved.”
Rick Nash had a goal and an assist for the Rangers, who have scored at least three times in 11 of their last 13 games. Kevin Hayes and Mika Zibanejad also scored, and Lundqvist made 30 saves before he was replaced by Ondrej Pavelec at 6:32 of the third.
“It was a 10-minute stretch where we lost the game,” Lundqvist said.
DeBrincat started Chicago’s scoring spree with a wrist shot from the left circle at 19:08 of the second. It looked as if Lundqvist had made the stop, but the puck rolled out from under him and just across the goal line for the rookie’s fourth goal in the last three games.
“It was a huge goal for us,” Chicago coach Joel Quenneville said. “We had a good second period, did a lot of good things and then all of the sudden it gets us excited about the third.”
The Blackhawks kept up the pressure after intermission. Anisimov jumped on a loose puck in front and poked it by Lundqvist for a 2-1 lead just 67 seconds into the period. Hayden made a lunging play for his second of the season, and Anisimov delivered again to make it 4-1.
New York put a scare into Chicago with goals by Hayes and Nash, pulling within one with 8:04 left. But Schmaltz made a perfect pass to Anisimov for his ninth goal of the season, and Toews added an empty-netter at 18:30.
“Artie did a great job tonight,” said defenceman Cody Franson, who had two assists. “He moved it around pretty well. If we can simplify like that, put shots in the right areas, have guys go to the front, sometimes that’s all it takes.”
NOTES: Blackhawks forward Ryan Hartman returned to the lineup after he was a healthy scratch Sunday. Hartman has one goal and no assists in his last 11 games. … Rangers D Kevin Shattenkirk had his seven-game point streak snapped. … New York went 0 for 3 on the power play — all in the first period. It was ranked third in the NHL in power-play efficiency at 25.8 per cent (17 for 66) coming into the day.

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GREEN BAY, Wis. — The Green Bay Packers have waived Martellus Bennett, bringing the tight end’s short tenure at Lambeau Field to a surprising end.
General manager Ted Thompson announced the move on Wednesday after practice.
The Packers cited a “failure to disclose a physical condition” for making the move. Bennett practiced on Tuesday after the bye last week before going on the injury report with a shoulder injury.
He didn’t play in the 30-17 loss on Monday to the Detroit Lions after being listed as doubtful for the game.
Bennett also posted on Instagram during the bye week a message that indicated he was thinking about retirement.
“After conversations with my family I’m pretty sure these next eight games will be the conclusion of my NFL career,” he wrote. “To everyone who has poured themselves and time into my life and career. These next games are for you. Thank you.”
Bennett signed with the Packers as an unrestricted free agent last off-season and started seven games. He had 24 catches for 233 yards. Bennett dropped a few passes, but was an asset in the running game.
Bennett was listed as having not practiced on his last day with the team on Wednesday.
The injury would have kept him out of Sunday’s game at Chicago, which is where Bennett calls home after spending the 2013 through 2015 seasons with the Bears.
“Martellus Bennett will not practice this week, he will not be available for the game,” coach Mike McCarthy said before Wednesday’s practice.
“I know he was in here yesterday, there’s a number of opinions that he’s working through, he met with our medical staff yesterday, so they’re still going through the process, but he will be out against Chicago.”
Bennett’s agent, Kennard McGuire, declined comment.
During the season opener against Seattle, Bennett was one of three players who knelt for the national anthem. He is the brother of the Seahawks’ Michael Bennett, who has sat during the anthem.
In free agency, Bennett got a three-year, $21 million contract that included a $6.3 million signing bonus. Bennett had base salaries of $900,000 this season, $3.6 million (plus a $2 million roster bonus) in 2018 and $5.65 million in 2019. The Packers could go after the prorated amount of that signing bonus, $4.2 million.
With a Chicago-based family and a passion for art and creativity, the 30-year-old Bennett was asked during training camp if he had considered retiring after winning a Super Bowl with New England last season.
“I think when I stop loving the preparation is when I will give it up because that’s the most important part, whether that’s working out or watching film and studying and taking notes,” Bennett said in camp.
“Once I feel like my preparation goes down, I feel like that’s when I will walk away. I think that will happen before my body gives out.”
The Packers have two other tight ends on the roster in Lance Kendricks and Richard Rodgers. Both have had 50-catch seasons. Kendricks has caught eight passes for 126 yards and one touchdown while Rodgers has caught four passes for 43 yards.

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Eric Bledsoe is still a Phoenix Sun.

He doesn’t want to be. The Suns are trying to trade him, but they have not found an offer near their liking (and likely will not at the price they are asking). The Suns sent Bledsoe away from the team, so he sits at home — his trade value slowly diminishing — while the Suns try to find a trade partner.

Trying to regain some leverage in the situation, Suns GM Ryan McDonough is trying to play it cool, like he’s not in a rush. Here’s what he texted Scott Bordow of azcentral.com sports.

McDonough said by text message Monday that he had no timetable for a potential Bledsoe trade. It’s been speculated that Phoenix could wait until Dec. 15, when players who signed as free agents in the offseason are eligible to be traded.

“We are open to doing a deal whenever the best offer presents itself,” McDonough said. “Any other comments or thoughts from me would be pure speculation at this point.”

That’s precisely what McDonough should say, but know he wants to get a deal done sooner rather than later.

The Suns reportedly want to attach Tyson Chandler to a trade, although that doesn’t make a ton of sense because teams will offer less quality to Phoenix if they have to take on a bad contract. The Suns, who have the cap room, would be better off shipping Bledsoe to a team that will send a bad contract back to Phoenix and with it a better asset (for example, Denver will give up a better younger player in a deal if they can send Kenneth Faried or someone like that back with him).