Ball Don't Lie - NBA

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

Benjamin Hochman, The Denver Post: "Carmelo Anthony was playing so well Thursday night that, dare we say, he didn't need any rest. [...] 'I wanted this game so badly tonight,' Anthony said. 'I wanted to be aggressive tonight. It was a must-win. I wanted to bounce back after the two losses. After everything that was going on, it was good to come out and have a good game.' The Nuggets, you might have heard, suspended Anthony for Tuesday's game at Detroit, because in the previous game, Karl tried to sub Anthony out of the game and Anthony refused. Anthony said next time his coach asked him to leave a game, he would run to the bench, and sure enough, with 10:55 left in the fourth — and Denver up 13 — Anthony scurried to the bench, much to the delight of his laughing teammates. 'I thought it was funny,' Karl said. (video via FanHouse)

Ira Winderman, South Florida Sentinel: "The debate no longer is an abstract to Dwyane Wade. Yes, the Miami Heat guard said, he should be mentioned alongside Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James and Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant in the Most Valuable Player discussion. 'Where I came from last year, people were writing me off,' Wade said of his injury-plagued season that ended with the Heat a league-worst 15-67. 'You've got some people who call it a two-man race, and you've got some people who say, 'Don't forget about D-Wade.' I'm just happy to be in the discussion.' [...] In a rare moment of MVP candor, Wade said he has given serious reflection about how the honor should be determined. 'Most Valuable player to his team, simple as that,' he said."

AP / Palm Beach Post: "A day after Shaquille O'Neal called his former coach with the Miami Heat 'a master of panic' and 'a frontrunner,' [Stan] Van Gundy responded by jokingly calling O'Neal a 'very sensitive guy.' He said everyone needs to 'consider the source' before taking the comments too seriously. The Magic coach said he didn't take O'Neal's remarks personal, but admitted O'Neal may have gone too far — even for his usual jokes. 'That's not his normal comments,' Van Gundy said after Orlando's practice Thursday. 'Obviously I struck a nerve and hurt his feelings. Shaq's a very sensitive guy. If I hurt his feelings, I'm sorry.'"

Paul Coro, The Arizona Republic: "The out-for-the-season diagnosis for forward Amaré Stoudemire initially left a sliver of hope that the Suns star could return for the playoffs should they qualify. Out means out. And 'season' means, 'See you next season.' 'Not this season, not at all,' said Dr. Pravin Dugel, the Valley eye surgeon who operated on Stoudemire's detached retina two weeks ago. 'The Suns have the same goal — to make sure he can resume his career. It's very difficult to explain to anyone how serious this is. It's more serious than any knee or ankle surgery. The healing is excruciatingly slow and delicate.'"

Carlos Monarrez, Detroit Free Press: "Pistons guard Allen Iverson might not miss the whole two weeks doctors have suggested he use to recover from a sore back. [...] 'He doesn’t think that he’s going to have to be out the entire two weeks,' Curry said. 'He wants to get out there as soon as possible. So, hopefully with the treatment and the rest, he’ll feel better and we can get him out there as soon as possible.' [...] 'Yeah, he’s been consistent with that,' Curry said of Iverson’s willingness to come off the bench. 'He doesn’t want that to be a story because so many people, and I’m not saying just locally, but so many people are taking it and twist it because say he’s disappointed to come off the bench, just as Rip was.'"

Bob Wojnowski, Detroit News: "I'm sure the Pistons and their fans are feeling pretty good without Iverson, having won three straight. But come on, let's not pretend Iverson's quick-burst scoring can't be useful, and let's not turn him into some gigantic scapegoat, either. He's played hard, he just hasn't fit, and it's not entirely his fault. [...] Here's the key point, the one that will determine how much time Iverson, 33, still has in this league: If he really has matured and just wants to win, this is his chance to prove it. If he's just a chemistry-killer because of his need to control the basketball, this will cement that reputation, or diminish it. The Pistons and Iverson should do everything possible to make this work because the unique skills that gave him the third-highest scoring average in NBA history (27.7) remain intriguing. He can provide elements the Pistons have lacked, a change-of-pace dimension in tight playoff games. Besides, they only have him for the rest of this season, so why not drain every drop of energy out of him?"

Tim Kawakami, San Jose Mercury News: "I think we have at least a partial explanation for Don Nelson's strange, two-game bench-a-vet policy: Nelson is looking to redo the Warriors' backcourt and wants to encourage benchee No. 1 Jamal Crawford to opt out of the final two years and $19.4 million of his deal, according to two NBA sources. Stephen Jackson was benched in the next game, just to make it look like Nelson wasn't singling out Crawford. And the bench-a-vet policy abruptly stopped there. Will Crawford take Nelson up on the suggestion? In this NBA economy, it's hard to see Crawford giving up almost $20 million in guaranteed money, and even harder to see how he'd get heavy interest when his own coach is leading the downgrade in value."

Mary Schmitt Boyer, Cleveland Plain-Dealer: "... it was 204 days ago the Cavs traded [Joe] Smith to Oklahoma City as part of the three-way deal that brought Mo Williams from Milwaukee on Aug. 13, 2008. After being used sparingly by the Thunder, the 33-year-old Smith asked for and was granted his release, cleared waivers and rejoined the Cavs just in time for Friday night's game at Boston. t will be Smith's first visit to TD Banknorth Garden since the Cavs lost Game 7 of the Eastern Conference semifinals there last spring. Smith said that loss lingered with him a long time."

Dave D'Alessandro, Newark Star-Ledger: "Those from the glass-half-full camp may suggest that the Nets could easily be on a five-game winning streak right now. The other camp would say that they should be 2-3, if not for a half-court fling that beat the buzzer by a nanosecond against Philly 11 days ago. Either way, this much is obvious: The margin for error is now so microscopic that the Nets cannot afford to start a guy who isn't pulling his weight — which is why they're impatiently tapping their organizational foot when it comes to judging Yi Jianlian. One may even infer that Lawrence Frank, who in comparison with other coaches has a bottomless reservoir of patience, is running out of it. 'We're trying to get that uptick we saw prior to him getting hurt,' the coach said Thursday from Orlando, Fla., where his team plays the Magic Friday. 'At the same time, we're in a playoff race, and you're going to do whatever it takes to win the game — while still trying to develop him as a player. It's not easy.'"

Lance Hornby, Toronto Sun: "Shaquille O'Neal got lots of mileage from his RuPaul line about Chris Bosh, but the Raptors star didn't see the humor at being compared to the cross-dressing singer/model. Bosh came home from the trip still stung by O'Neal's jab, that came after he wondered aloud why officials let the flamboyant O'Neal get away with three-second violations during his 45-point outburst in last week's win by the Phoenix Suns. 'I didn't laugh or anything, it wasn't funny,' Bosh said yesterday at the Air Canada Centre. 'I was kind of upset with that. He has been around the league for awhile and I expected a lot more professionalism out of him. I thought we were cool. Whatever.'"

New York Post: "Nets' backup center Sean Williams will not be prosecuted for trespassing, according to the Boston Herald. Williams was arrested on Feb. 15 for trespassing at his former school, Boston College. Williams was an invited guest of men's basketball head coach Al Skinner, but the college had a no trespass order for Williams since May 2008. Williams was kicked out of BC in 2007 for rules violations. Williams did not comment after today's proceedings in Brighton District Court, but his attorney said he hopes to get back in the 'good graces' of the school."

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