NBA

Celtics and Heat play with 'heavy heart' after Blake decision, Capitol Hill riot

By Sports Desk January 06, 2021

The Boston Celtics and Miami Heat played "with a heavy heart" after highlighting the different treatment of protesters in the United States.

Players kneeled ahead of the clash at AmericanAirlines Arena before the game went ahead.

It came in response to riot on Capitol Hill and after no charges were brought against the police officer who shot and seriously injured Jacob Blake, a black man, in Kenosha in August last year.

A statement from Heat and Celtics players read: "2021 is a new year, but some things have not changed.

"We play tonight's game with a heavy heart after yesterday's decision in Kenosha, and knowing that protesters in our nation's capital are treated differently by political leaders depending on what side of certain issues they are on.

"The drastic difference between the way protesters this past spring and summer were treated and the encouragement given to today's protesters who acted illegally just shows how much more work we have to do.

"We have decided to play tonight's game to try to bring joy into people's lives. But we must not forget the injustices in our society, and we will continue to use our voices and our platform to highlight these issues and do everything we can to work for a more equal and just America."

Supporters of United States president Donald Trump stormed Capitol Hill as Joe Biden's election victory was due to be certified.

At least 13 people were arrested, police said.

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    Joel Embiid felt LeBron James should have been ejected for a foul during the Philadelphia 76ers eventful victory over the Los Angeles Lakers on Wednesday. 

    Embiid contributed 28 points as well as six rebounds and four assists as he played 38 minutes in Philadelphia's 107-106 triumph - a result that handed the Lakers just their second loss in 10 outings. 

    The center also picked up a flagrant foul for an elbow on Anthony Davis not long after James had been assessed one himself, having made contact with Embiid during an attempted dunk in the third quarter. 

    In obvious pain after landing flat on his back, the three-time NBA All-Star was not as effective down the stretch during a dramatic finish that saw the Lakers roar back to take a late lead, only for the 76ers to snatch the win thanks to a Tobias Harris shot with three seconds left. 

    Speaking to the media after the game, Embiid made clear LeBron should have been given a flagrant 2, which would have ended his involvement in proceedings. 

    "That's a very dangerous play," Embiid said. "I guarantee if that was me, I would have probably been ejected from the game. 

    "When you compare that to the one that I got, which I thought I didn't really hit him, I didn't elbow him. I might have touched him. But I don't think it deserved the flagrant, if you're going compare those two. 

    "Those are tough plays, and I just thought, you know, it should've been a flagrant 2."

    Embiid revealed how his sore back - an injury that has troubled him during this season - did not allow him to contribute as he would have liked down the stretch, the Lakers producing a 13-0 run to edge in front before Harris' game-winning shot.

    "I missed a couple shots. I just didn't have the legs. Not because I was tired, which I wasn't, but my back just didn't allow me to dominate the way I've been doing in fourth quarters," Embiid said. 

    Having seen his team improve to 13-6 for the season, 76ers head coach Doc Rivers revealed his immediate concern when seeing Embiid go down on the court, though insisted James was only making a "physical play", rather than anything more malicious.

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    James finished with 34 points and six assists during his 39 minutes, while Davis had 23 points. The Lakers will aim to bounce back when they travel to the Detroit Pistons next.

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    Oklahoma City Thunder 102-97 Phoenix Suns
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    No player's journey to the NBA has ever been easy. Christian Wood's may just have been the hardest. 

    An undrafted player that was waived several times, including by a team in China, Wood has remarkably ascended into the upper echelon of the league behind a stellar first season in Houston.  

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    Undrafted in 2015 after two seasons at UNLV, Wood, 25, was given a chance by the Rockets but was never offered a contract. He made his NBA debut with the 76ers in 2015-16, averaging 3.6 points in 17 games but spent most of the season with Delaware in the G League. 

    Wood appeared in 13 games for Charlotte in 2016-17 but was let go after that season and then played for the Mavericks' and Suns' summer league teams in 2017.  

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    Despite putting up impressive numbers in the G League for Philadelphia in 2017-18 and then Milwaukee the next season, Wood only played in 13 games for the Bucks and averaged 2.8 points.  

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    Wood will have a difficult time becoming an All-Star in a stacked Western Conference but that his name is even being mentioned among the NBA's elite is rather incredible for a player that the mighty Sturgeons had no use for. 

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