NBA notes: Thunder's Derek Fisher fined for flopping
Oklahoma City's Derek Fisher was fined $5,000 by the NBA on Monday for flopping in Game 5 of the Thunder's first-round playoff series against the Houston Rockets.
Fisher's fine was the result of a play in the second quarter when both he and teammate Kevin Martin fell backward onto the floor to take a charge against Houston center Omer Asik. Asik was called for an offensive foul on the play.
Fisher, who played for the Utah Jazz in 2006-07, became the second player to be fined under the NBA's new rules against flopping in the postseason. Indiana's Jeff Pendergraph was fined on Sunday.
In the playoffs, the NBA is fining players $5,000 for their first flopping offense, $10,000 for the second offense, $15,000 for the third flop and $30,000 the fourth time.
Also Monday, Chicago Bulls guard Marco Belinelli was fined $15,000 by the NBA for making an obscene gesture in the fourth quarter of a 99-93 victory at Brooklyn in Game 7. Belinelli made the gesture as he made his way back down the court after connecting on a 3-pointer that gave Chicago a 91-81 lead with 4:52 left in Saturday night's game.
Del Negro up in air
Coach Vinny Del Negro is proud of the Los Angeles Clippers' breakthrough season, even though he doesn't know if he'll be around for the next one. Del Negro's contract expires this summer after three seasons with the Clippers, who still haven't told him whether he's returning in the fall. He led the Clippers to a club-record 56 victories and their first Pacific Division title this season, but Los Angeles then lost to Memphis in six games in the first round of the playoffs.
The Clippers expect to decide Del Negro's future in the next several days, but Del Negro and vice president of basketball operations Gary Sacks gave no indication what's likely to happen after they meet with owner Donald Sterling.
"You're going to have your ups and downs during the season injuries, some tough losses but we've set every franchise record you can set in terms of a lot of things," Del Negro said Monday at the Clippers' Playa Vista training complex.
"So I'm proud of a lot of the things we did which had never been done," he added.
Del Negro is 128-102 in three seasons in charge of this long-struggling franchise, giving him the highest winning percentage (.557) for a coach in club history. He is the only coach to post consecutive winning seasons since the Buffalo Braves moved to California and became the Clippers in 1978.
Knicks don't measure up
The New York Knicks will not concede they have a "big" problem yet.
They know the Indiana Pacers have a size advantage, realize that Carmelo Anthony is going to get beat up banging against a bulkier body, and understand that a change to a lineup with a conventional power forward may become necessary.
Not now, but check back if they lose Game 2 on Tuesday night.
"I'm not saying I won't do that. But I'm just saying right now we've only got one game under our belt. ... The small lineup that we started didn't cost us," Knicks coach Mike Woodson said Monday. "And I don't consider Melo a small. You guys might, but I don't."
He is, though, when it comes to his matchup against the Pacers.
Listed at 6-foot-8 and 235 pounds, Anthony has a quickness advantage playing against power forwards, and he's big enough to defend many of them. But Indiana's David West is 6-9 and 250, playing his natural position he's been an All-Star at, and he's one of the toughest competitors around.
The Pacers outrebounded the Knicks 44-30 on Sunday in their 102-95 victory in the opener of the second-round series.
"We're a big, physical team," Pacers center Roy Hibbert said. "Their specialty is their offensive firepower and we've got guys that could hold down the paint and the perimeter, too. So we just try to make everything as hard as possible for those guys and use our length and athleticism."