Ball Don't Lie - NBA

Each weekday morning, BDL serves up a handful of NBA-related stories to digest with your donuts.

Dan Steinberg, Washington Post: "I'm all for schedule integrity, but [Sunday's] meaningless (for D.C.) Wiz-Cavs game featured a coach ejection, DeShawn Stevenson (in velour or possibly velvet) heckling LeBron James from the bench, the NBA's best player hanging on the rim in frustration, massive fourth-quarter comeback, several last-minute potential game-winning possessions, repeated showings of this 'Crybaby' sign on the big screen, (a dramatic Wizards win) and LeBron's lengthy explanation of a crucial travel call against him. He said it wasn't a travel, and was actually a 'crab dribble.' He said it's one of his trademark moves, and that it's perfectly legal. Shockingly, at least one official, for at least one moment, disagreed." (Video via NBA FanHouse.)

Marc Berman, New York Post: "Knocking down speculation he wouldn't want Stephon Marbury on board because of a past rift, Kevin Garnett endorsed having the banished Knicks point guard join the Celtics. 'I'm not opposed to Steph,' Garnett said after the Celtics suffered a stunning 100-88 loss to the Knicks last night. 'I feel Steph has a lot of basketball left. I know his IQ is very, very high. He is one of the best point guards I've ever played with. I wouldn't be opposed to that. If Steph comes to this team and makes us better, I'm all for that.' Garnett and Marbury were teammates for two seasons in Minnesota and made the playoffs both years. The perception is Marbury left because he didn't want to play second fiddle to Garnett. Marbury told The Post recently that Garnett had nothing to do with his forcing himself out of Minnesota. Marbury said he had no desire to raise his family the next seven years in the cold climate of Minnesota and felt Minneapolis wasn't culturally diverse enough."

Frank Zicarelli, Toronto Sun: "Carlos Delfino is back on the Raptors' radar. During a halftime interview yesterday, general manager Bryan Colangelo, without provocation, mentioned the swingman's name as a possibility. Delfino left the Raptors last season as a restricted free agent, bolting to Russian club team Khimki BC in what is believed to be a three-year deal worth $12 million US. The Raptors can match any offer by opposing NBA clubs for Delfino, who emerged as a very productive reserve in his only season in Toronto."

Janny Hu, San Francisco Chronicle: "Corey Maggette's return from a hamstring injury likely will come with a new role. Warriors coach Don Nelson acknowledged Sunday that he is considering using his injury-prone forward off the bench, partly as a way of keeping him on the floor. 'His days of playing 40 minutes a game are over,' Nelson said after Maggette practiced again with the second team. 'For his body, his hamstring, less minutes are important for him. We've got to get him consistently playing, so if he feels good tomorrow, we'll see how that goes.' Maggette is on track to end his monthlong layoff against the Jazz tonight after testing his hamstring in scrimmages over the past week. He last played Dec. 6 and has appeared in only 16 of the Warriors' 35 games since signing in the offseason as a free agent from the Clippers."

Ross Siler, Salt Lake Tribune: "As frustrating as the Jazz's 19-15 start has been, general manager Kevin O'Connor can't ignore the fact that his five projected starters, all returning from a team that reached the Western Conference semifinals, have yet to play a single game together this season. Which is why O'Connor said Sunday that he is not 'actively pursuing' any trades and suggested the Jazz will wait and see what kind of team they will be until after Carlos Boozer returns from knee surgery next month. 'I'd like to see this team play together,' said O'Connor, who opted to bring back 13 players this season. 'Sometimes you can have injuries, but we haven't had our starting team ever on the court this year, and we're not going to for a while yet.'"

Broderick Turner, LA Times: "Agents often have the ear of their clients, giving the player advice on when to push through an injury and when to shut it down. With the rash of injuries the Clippers have, Coach Mike Dunleavy wondered what role, if any, the agents for the team's injured players have had in the players returning later rather than sooner. 'When guys get injured, typically you have agents that are going to tell them, 'There's no reason to hurry back. Make sure you're 110% healthy before you come back,'' said Dunleavy, also the team's general manager. 'I think that's one of the things you have to try and guard against. We don't ever want anybody coming back that has a chance of injuring themselves.'"

Rick Morrissey, Chicago Tribune: "The one Bull who can least afford to be making waves was at it again last week, splashing around, rocking the boat and doing everything but cannonballs in the murky waters of the red, white and black sea. If I were GM John Paxson, I'd throw Joakim Noah overboard as soon as possible. The truth about professional sports is that if you can play, you can get away with just about anything. In that sense, Noah's problem is a complete lack of awareness. He thinks he can play. And because of it, he gets himself in all sorts of situations he should avoid if he wants to have an NBA career that lasts longer than a few seasons. Noah supporters say he's a monument to hustle. No. He's the king of looking like he's hustling."

A. Sherrod Blakely, Flint Journal: "Sunday marked Tayshaun Prince's 365th consecutive start, which is tops among active NBA players. 'A big part of Tayshaun is he takes care of his body,' [coach Michael] Curry said. 'He makes sure he gets the proper rest. And soon as he gets any ankle pain, he gets treatment on it and stays on top of it. That's a big part of being able to play consistently, and play without missing games. Sometimes injuries happen, but preparation for those injuries and how you take care of your body really helps.'"

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