November 25, 2009
Each weekday morning, BDL serves up a handful of NBA-related stories to digest with your Maxell tapes.
Broderick Turner, L.A. Times: "[Shannon] Brown, a Lakers reserve guard, hasn't been invited to participate in the 2010 All-Star game slam-dunk contest in Dallas — yet. But the more the acrobatic, high-flying Brown throws down the electric dunks that have made him a YouTube sensation and a staple of ESPN highlights, the bigger the groundswell grows for him to be included in the contest. His teammates are in awe of his dunks and are pushing hard for him. Lakers fans go berserk when Brown defies gravity with elevates his 6-foot-4 frame before a dunk. As for Brian Shaw, he couldn't help but chide Brown about his dunking exploits. Shaw told Brown about his former Boston Celtics teammate Dee Brown(notes) (1991) and former Miami Heat teammate Harold Minor (1995) winning the dunk contest. Shaw even told Brown about his former Orlando Magic teammate Darrell Armstrong(notes) (1996) failing to win the dunk contest. 'When I had Dee the first year, he won it. Harold, I said, 'Every team I've been on, somebody won the slam-dunk championship.' He held up his end of the bargain,' Shaw said. 'Baby boy [Armstrong] kind of let me down a little bit. So I'm trying to get back on track.'"
Marcus Thompson II, Oakland Tribune: "Guards Monta Ellis(notes), Stephen Curry(notes) and Anthony Morrow(notes). Forwards Anthony Randolph(notes) and Vladimir Radmanovic(notes), and center Mikki Moore(notes). That's all it took, six players, for the Warriors to score their biggest win of the season, a 111-103 upset of the Dallas Mavericks on Tuesday night. Six guys, an assistant coach in the big chair and a spirited, unified brand of basketball. The Warriors came back from nine points down with just over six minutes left in the game to post their first winning streak of the 2009-10 season. That's four straight impressive performances since trading swingman Stephen Jackson(notes) to the Charlotte Bobcats. 'This win went out to our man in charge,' said assistant coach Keith Smart, who filled in for pneumonia-ridden head coach Don Nelson. 'Our guys pulled together for him.'"
Mike Monroe, S.A. Express-News: "It was one week ago that Spurs guard Manu Ginobili(notes) was declared out of the lineup for a week to 10 days with a mild strain of the left groin, but don't look for him in uniform when the Spurs play the Golden State Warriors tonight at the AT&T Center. 'Manu's out,' Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said before his team's Tuesday afternoon practice session. 'He's doing workouts, doing what he needs to do to rehab it every day, so it's getting better every day, but it's going to take more time. When he's ready, he'll play.' If the original timetable proves accurate, Ginobili should be back on the floor by week's end. The Spurs play the Rockets in Houston on Friday, nine days since Ginobili's diagnosis. They play the Philadelphia 76ers on Sunday at the AT&T Center."
Paul Coro, The Arizona Republic: "Just when you wonder if his well of creativity, athleticism and instincts is evaporating at age 35, [Steve] Nash taps into new ways to amaze. He leads a Suns team to a surprising 11-3 start. He plays like that two-time MVP of four years ago. He makes a pass he never has before. 'How does anybody see that?' Suns General Manager Steve Kerr said. 'That was a shocking play.' With Shaquille O'Neal(notes) out of his lane and court spacing restored, Nash has been as good as ever. He is averaging 11.6 assists, matching his career-best average, and shooting 52.4 percent, the second-best rate of his career. With a burning desire to improve, Nash drove himself to college basketball, the NBA and future Hall of Fame status. Five years ago, the worth of his six-year, $66 million contract at age 30 was challenged. He became MVP and the Suns surprised the league. Extending that deal to 2012 with $22 million more was questioned this year, until the team turned NBA darlings again. 'I feel just as good as I've ever felt,' Nash said. 'I'm not sure if that's true or not. Maybe I'm fooling myself but I don't know where the difference is, if there is one.'"
Jerry Zgoda, Star Tribune: "Help for the Timberwolves presumably will arrive next summer, when the team could have as many as three first-round draft picks and gobs of salary-cap space. Until then? With his team on a 13-game losing streak and one more loss away from the worst season start (1-14) in franchise history, Wolves boss David Kahn vows to follow the prudent path. 'It's very painful to have to take a position of inactivity,' he said, 'but I think we'd be doing a terrible disservice making some rash decisions about our team.' Kahn said he expects options to improve the team for this season and beyond will arise as the NBA trading deadline approaches. But that's not until February. Until then, he and coach Kurt Rambis say they will wait until Kevin Love(notes) makes his season debut next month and until Al Jefferson(notes) returns to full health, a process that could take until that trading deadline nears."
Steve Bulpett, Boston Herald: "Just to be clear on this, Allen Iverson(notes) is not walking through that door. But the possibility is something the Celtics have considered — and could revisit. Danny Ainge always has been a fan of Iverson, and he tried very hard to get him here in the summer of 2006 and the season that followed. A number of times, the Celtics president of basketball operations was in talks with the 76ers before Iverson was shipped to Denver. Now, after parting ways with Memphis, Iverson is a free agent. The Knicks were said to be interested but decided against it. To acquire Iverson, the Celts would have to cut or trade a player, but they haven't gotten close to that question. 'We have had internal discussions about (Iverson),' Ainge said yesterday, 'but a decision like this has to be unanimous, and it wasn't.'"
T.J. Simers, L.A. Times: "When [Kobe ]Bryant declared himself a free agent a few years back, [Donald] Sterling went after him. At one point, [Mike] Dunleavy told Sterling he had worked out a deal to sign Bryant. 'I drove from my house in Malibu to the Four Seasons in Newport Beach to meet Kobe and Kobe said I didn't need to say anything because he was going to be a Clipper,' Sterling says, a day later learning Bryant had been convinced by Jerry Buss to remain with the Lakers. Sterling says he remains committed to winning, despite the black cloud that seems to hang over the organization, calling it 'sad and embarrassing,' the fact his team has enjoyed only two winning seasons in the 25 it has been in L.A. 'I can visualize a Clippers parade,' he says. 'I'm telling you, I will win. I promise you that. I will find the combination. How long am I going to live? Forever? I will do whatever it takes. I think the Clippers can pay more than any team in America. We have unlimited resources. I'd be thrilled to pay [$121 million as the Lakers will do this season] and do it tomorrow, if I could only sign quality players who warranted it.' Told most fans would never believe such a thing, he says, 'I will pay for quality but not reward journeymen. I'm always asking the coach, 'Is there anyone special out there we can get?''"
Frank Isola, New York Daily News: "Ron Artest believes that the Knicks' 2010 free agency plan has one fatal flaw: many of today's top NBA stars are afraid to play in New York. 'I think people need to stop being scared and go to New York,' Artest said Tuesday. 'They're scared. They're so scared of the pressure and the media. I'm like, pardon my language, but I'm like, — the media and — everybody that's putting pressure on you. That's how I would take that.' 'That's why I went to St. John's,' Artest continued. 'People were like, 'Don't go to St. John's because you don't need the distractions.' I was like, 'I'm going here because I want to go here.' If I wanted to play for the Knicks, I would play because I wanted to play and I wouldn't feel no pressure from anybody.'"
K.C. Johnson, Chicago Tribune: "It's an unconventional time to write this, but anybody overly concerned about the Bulls getting blown out by the Lakers, Nuggets and Trail Blazers in succession shouldn't be. Oodles of legitimate concerns surround the Bulls: John Salmons'(notes) shooting percentage; Derrick Rose's(notes) limited penetration; injuries forcing heavy minutes upon a shortened rotation. It's possible coach Vinny Del Negro had a hair out of place at Monday's morning shootaround too. But losing to teams that clearly are above the Bulls' class shouldn't be that alarming. This — pick a verb — may bother, annoy, frustrate the most diehard of Bulls fans, but this season isn't going to end with an NBA Finals at the United Center. And a 6-7 mark with one starter injured and Rose only recently showing flashes of attacking the rim consistently because of his own health issues isn't that surprising for a team that, after all, finished .500 last season. The Bulls have played the second-toughest schedule in the NBA thus far, with opponents winning more than 60 percent of their games. And upcoming games against the Jazz, Bucks and Cavaliers will do nothing to alter that trend."
Perry A. Farrell, Detroit Free Press: "Some front-line scoring would help the Pistons' backcourt, which has carried the load so far this season. Off-season acquisition Charlie Villanueva(notes) is about the only scoring threat in the post for the Pistons, who get a bulk of their points from guards Ben Gordon(notes), Rodney Stuckey(notes) and Will Bynum(notes). Ben Wallace(notes) (3.6 points) isn't supposed to score. His assignment is to play defense, rebound and set the tone with his energy. Rookie Jonas Jerebko(notes) isn't much of an offensive threat. Kwame Brown(notes) has been getting limited minutes and Jason Maxiell(notes) is an effort guy off the bench and not a true scorer. Gordon, Stuckey and Bynum combine to average 51.3 points per game — 55% of the team's offense. 'We obviously have talented guards,' Villanueva said. 'I don't think that's the problem. I think we need to concentrate more defensively.'"