Hamilton: Melo’s Only Mistake Was Taking It Off The Court


NEW YORK — On February 6, 1995, Vernon Maxwell, then a member of the defending NBA champion Houston Rockets, pulled a Ron Artest while Ron Artest was still just a 15-year-old, acne-faced sophomore at New York City’s La Salle Academy.

During the third quarter, with the Rockets trailing, 79-52, Maxwell did the unthinkable – he charged into the stands and punched Steve George, a 35-year-old fan, right in the kisser.

Commissioner David Stern’s hand wasn’t as heavy back then. Maxwell got a 10-game suspension and a $20,000 fine.

Maxwell was in the final year of his deal with the Rockets, and most around the NBA were sure he’d never play in the league again.

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News, Notes, and Rumors from around the NBA: March 29, 2012.

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  • Two of the league’s best offenses are in action tonight on TNT. The first game, a rematch of last year’s Finals, features the Dallas Mavericks visiting the Miami Heat (8 p.m. ET). Miami’s vaunted defense deservingly has gotten a lot of pub. The Heat, however, also ranks fourth in scoring, averaging 100.9 ppg, allowing for a robust +7.3 point-differential (second to Chicago’s . The second contest features the Los Angeles Lakers hosting the Western Conference-leading Oklahoma City Thunder (10:30 p.m. ET), which is pacing the league in scoring at 103.7 ppg. In order to score victories tonight, therefore, the Mavericks’ and Lakers’ defenses will have to contain two of the league’s most potent offenses. Good luck to both.
  • Miami shoots a league-best .480 from the field, ranks fifth in three-point shooting (.380), and sixth in free-throw accuracy (.776). What makes defending Miami so difficult is that the Heat shoots a high percentage from anywhere. According to NBA.com/Stats, Miami shoots .629 within five feet of the basket (ranks 2nd), .403 from 5-9 feet (7th), .447 from 10-14 feet (1st), .419 from 15-19 feet (5th), and .373 from 20-24 feet (13th). Perhaps the answer then is to force Miami into taking more shots from long-range. Good idea, but likely ineffective. That’s because the self-aware Heat has attempted only 614 shots from 20-24 feet, fewer than all but nine teams. What if a defense could force Miami into taking more shots from even farther away, let’s say 25-29 feet? Well, the Heat is shooting .386 from that distance, a better percentage than all but two teams.
  • As difficult as it is to defend the Heat, scheming against the Thunder perhaps is even more difficult. Oklahoma City shoots a league-best .480 from the field and .798 from the charity stripe, while ranking 10th from beyond the arc (.358). The Thunder shoots .637 from less than five feet (1st), .403 from 5-9 feet (6th), .408 from 10-14 feet (7th), .450 from 15-19 feet (1st), and .401 from 20-24 feet (4th). The Thunder is in the bottom third (23rd) shooting .316 from 25-29 feet, but has attempted only 525 shots from that distance, ranking 17th overall.

Stats & Stuff:

  • Dallas’ Jason Kidd will appear in his 1,308 career game tonight at Miami, moving him past Buck Williams (1,307) and into 10 place on the NBA’s all-time list … Dirk Nowitzki ranks 32nd all-time in three-pointers made with 1,252. He needs two to pass Clifford Robinson (1,253) for 31st place and five to pass Vernon Maxwell (1,256) for 30th all time.
  • Since entering the league in 2003, Miami’s Dwyane Wade has recorded 601 blocks, the most blocks by a guard during that span.
  • With a combined total of 52.0 points per game, Oklahoma City’s Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook form the highest scoring duo in the NBA. This season, the duo becomes the first pair of teammates in NBA history to each score at least 40 points on two separate occasions during a single season. On 10 occasions dating back to the start of last season Durant and Westbrook have each scored 30-plus points in the same game (9-1 record