Kevin Durant says he doesn’t understand transition taking the wrong rule

Kevin Durant says he doesn’t understand transition taking the wrong rule

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The NBA’s rulebook is constantly evolving, and one of the biggest changes this season is the addition of a rule against transition fouls.

Also known as the Euro foul, the league has explained that carrying fouls occur “during a transition scoring opportunity or immediately after a change of possession and before the offensive team had the opportunity to advance the ball.”

The rule is enforced when an opponent does not play the ball to stop a scoring opportunity in transition. The offensive team is awarded one free throw, which may be attempted by any offensive player who is in the game at the time of the foul.

Transition scoring is up from 112.3 points per 100 possessions last season to 113.5 points per 100 possessions this season, per Cleaning the Glass. But the call has led to some controversy, like when the Warriors played the Grizzlies on Christmas Day:

Golden State’s Steve Kerr was shocked his team was called for a take foul when they intentionally fouled Memphis big man Steven Adams during the third quarter of Sunday’s game, and as a result, Desmond Bane got a free trip to the charity stripe.

Kerr argued with the referees and he was called for a technical foul.

It makes sense why Kerr was confused. Transition take fouls are still not called very often. Defensive three-second violations are slightly more common even though that rule was instituted two decades ago.

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NBA referees have called 102 transition take fouls so far this season, via PBPStats, which equates to about 0.10 calls per 48 minutes. That means each team can be called for a transition-taking foul around 8 times per season.

Brooklyn’s Kevin Durant has yet to commit a transition foul — but he has drawn one. He tweeted it the ugly rule is still confusing to him tooeven though he is a two-time NBA Finals MVP.

The decision to call a take foul when Golden State hacked Adams might have been the right callalthough it doesn’t do much enforce the spirit of the rule.

Anyway, it’s probably not a good thing that someone as important to the league as Durant doesn’t have a full understanding of the rule yet.

Tip-off

Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Some NBA goodness from across the USA TODAY Sports network.

The Lakers constantly double-teamed Luka Doncic when they played the Mavericks on Christmas, and it almost worked … until he destroyed them. Here’s why:

“Doncic is the player who sees the most double team possessions per game, via NBA Court Optix. Even when he is not double-teamed, he is defended very tightly. He has made 57 field goal attempts where the nearest defender is within two feet, which is the third most in the NBA.

Los Angeles clearly intended to catch Doncic in the pick and roll, which they did on 7 possessions in each half of the game, according to Synergy. By comparison: That’s far more often than how opponents typically guard Doncic, who previously had been caught on 2.6 ball screens per game.

The problem with trapping Doncic on ball screens, however, is that it tends to leave his teammates wide open.

Doncic is also one of the best playmakers in the NBA, and he’s smart enough to make adjustments. Unselfish enough to pass out of tight coverage, he was excellent dishing up hard double-teams in the post and during possessions when caught in the pick-and-roll.

Although double coverage on Doncic was the reason the Lakers won the first half, it was also the reason they struggled in the second.

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One to watch

(Photo: Sarah Stier/Getty Images)

(All odds via Tipico.)

Cavaliers (-130, -2.5) vs. Nets (+110), O/U 220.5, 7:00 PM ET

Kyrie Irving, who won a title with the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2016, returns to play against his former team. The Cavs and Nets have nearly identical records near the top of the Eastern Conference standings and this game would be a better choice for Christmas Day than the Knicks vs. 76ers.

Shootaround

ESPN

— 76ers’ Shake Milton hit the most absurd half-court buzzer beater and it was a Christmas miracle

— Aaron Gordon had a season-best dunk in an overtime win on Christmas for the Nuggets

— James Harden takes up the report on the Rockets, says he is committed to the Sixers

— HoopsHype’s overall mock draft looks at the top prospects after Victor Wembanyama, Scoot Henderson

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