Ball Don't Lie - NBA

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

Paul Coro, The Arizona Republic: "The last time Steve Nash(notes) sat out a game, the Suns beat the Los Angeles Lakers on March 1 for their best victory of the season. What are the chances of that? Lightning struck twice with Thunder in the building Tuesday night. With Nash staying home to heal up for Wednesday night's home game against Philadelphia, the Suns got 40 quality minutes out of Goran Dragic(notes) at the point, another 30-point game out of Amar'e Stoudemire(notes), continued efficient scoring from Grant Hill(notes) and one heck of a shot from Jason Richardson(notes). [...] Phoenix is 17-2 this season when Richardson scores 20. He also led the team with 13 rebounds. 'He (Sefolosha) took a reach, and I was like, 'OK, I've got to go to the hole,' and as soon as I released it I knew it was going in,' said Richardson, who thought he had not taken a game-winning shot since he played for Golden State three seasons ago. 'It's an incredible win.'"

John Reid, The Times-Picayune: "In front of a crowd used to seeing LeBron James(notes) dominate opponents at Quicken Loans Arena, New Orleans Hornets rookie shooting guard Marcus Thornton(notes) upstaged the reigning league MVP and current scoring leader Tuesday night. Thornton set a franchise record with a 23-point second quarter before finishing with a game- and career-high 37 on 15-of-22 shooting. Despite his career night, Thornton still ended up on the losing end as the Cleveland Cavaliers closed out the fourth quarter with a flurry to defeat the Hornets 105-95 before 20,562. [..] 'I was saying before the game that this might be a good night,' Thornton said. 'Coaches were telling me before the game that I was going to get a lot of shots in transition because the team doesn't get back well. I just took advantage of it early and the shots were going down. But I would have liked to had a W.'"

AP: "Recently acquired center Marcus Camby(notes) had to leave the Portland Trail Blazers' game against the New Jersey Nets with a sprained right ankle on Tuesday night. Camby was hurt when Nets center Brook Lopez(notes) stepped on his ankle as both waited for a rebound a little more than 5 minutes after the opening tip. X-rays were negative and coach Nate McMillan did not think the injury was serious."

Julian Benbow, Boston Globe: "At times last night, Eddie House(notes) found himself joking around with Rajon Rondo(notes) on the court, and at others he was making plays against him. Back at TD Garden almost instantly after being traded from the Celtics to the Knicks last week at the deadline, House got a standing ovation from the crowd of 18,624 fans. 'It was hard to stay serious at times, but it was a lot of fun,' House said. 'I was glad to see those guys. I wish the best of luck to those guys, best of luck to Nate [Robinson, who came to Boston in the deal], and best of success to those guys.' In the first quarter, a video tribute to House was played, flashing moments from the Celtics' 2008 championship run, and House did his best not to look before finally coming onto the parquet and giving a nod to the fans and his former teammates. 'I didn't want to stare at it,' House said. 'I saw it happening and I was getting ready to check into the game so I had to focus on what coach was drawing up. I didn't want to get lost on that and then come out on the floor and don't execute. I saw a little bit of it. That was a class move by the organization.'"

Bill Livingston, The Plain Dealer: "The lesson of Chicken Little is, literally, not to be chicken. The Cavs had three losses in a row until Tuesday night. They had two in a row at the start of the season. And they have a 44-9 record in-between. [LeBron] James scoffed at the whole issue. 'The sky is falling — three losses in a row — there are 82 games in the regular season. There are going to be ups and downs. We've had way more ups than downs. We're sitting here with the best record in the Eastern Conference and one of the best in the league,' he said. Minutes earlier, debris had fallen from the rafters. It was victory confetti, but if you ask around town long enough, it just might have been wine-and-gold-colored sky."

Chris Tomasson, NBA FanHouse: "The trade deadline has passed. And also soon will the flurry to sign players bought out by the March 1 deadline in order to be playoff eligible. But even after that there will be hope for at least one team that needs more depth in the post. Big man Mikki Moore(notes) is on the mend. Moore's agent, Mark Bartelstein, told FanHouse on Tuesday that Moore, who had surgery Dec. 18 to repair a right heel spur, should be fully healthy by mid-March and ready to return to the NBA. 'He's a veteran guy who's got valuable playoff experience, and he can help a team,' Bartelstein said. He can sign with any NBA team until the end of the regular season, and be eligible for the playoffs. If they don't get a big man who gets bought out, the Denver Nuggets are expected to show interest in Moore. The Nuggets, who are looking for addition size for a possible playoff battle with the Lakers, came close to getting Moore after he was bought out last February by Sacramento, but he eventually opted to sign with Boston."

Ronald Tillery, MCA: "Second-year center Hamed Haddadi's(notes) sudden appearance last Sunday has earned him a supporting role. Griz coach Lionel Hollins announced Tuesday night that Haddadi would supplant rookie Hasheem Thabeet(notes) as the backup to starting center Marc Gasol(notes). 'I just made a decision that I'm going with Hamed just like I made the decision that I'm going with Marcus (Williams at point guard),' Hollins said. 'You just feel something and you want to see something and you want to change. You run with it and see what happens. How long will this last? I don't know.' Haddadi entered the game for Gasol with 11:06 remaining in the second period. [...] The 7-foot Iranian displayed an immediate contrast to Thabeet. Haddadi played credible defense against Lakers forward Pau Gasol(notes). 'I want to give Hamed a shot. He's done well in practice. And then he goes in the game and does a little bit better than I expected,' Hollins said. 'I want to see if he can continue to do that. Everybody has to earn playing time. We're at that stage of the season where we've given a lot of guys an opportunity. We need to give other guys opportunities.'"

Jonathan Feigen, Houston Chronicle: "Rockets guard Trevor Ariza(notes) will be out for the remainder of the week, missing games against the Magic, Spurs and Jazz, with a severe left hip pointer. He underwent an MRI on Monday and will be re-evaluated next week. Guard Kevin Martin(notes) will move into the starting lineup, coach Rick Adelman said. Ariza has been battling the injury since Feb. 6 and missed the Rockets' next game against Miami. He left Saturday's game after re-aggravating the injury but returned and played Sunday in New Orleans."

Michael Wallace, Miami Herald"Despite being around Dwyane Wade(notes) for nearly two seasons, Michael Beasley(notes) could never really appreciate the load the Heat's marquee player carries each night. That is until now. 'It's tough,' Beasley said of being a marked man entering Tuesday's game against the Minnesota Timberwolves. 'D. Wade does this every night. But it's fun. I'm not going to lie. Teams nag you more. They play you different.' Beasley was reminded again how difficult that process is. With Wade missing his third consecutive game to recover from a calf injury, Beasley struggled as the center of attention in Miami's 91-88 loss at AmericanAirlines Arena."

Doug Smith, Toronto Star: "Because coaches and players like to keep opponents guessing in all kinds of ways, the word around practice on Tuesday was that they would wait until today to see if Chris Bosh(notes) can go tonight. Well, let's get this out of the way now: There's a greater chance you'll play tonight than he will. No practice Monday, no practice Tuesday, no game Wednesday. Simple as that. Of course, some miracle could occur but I'm pretty sure it won't."

Jason Jones, Sac Bee: "Spencer Hawes isn't injured. But when he showed up Tuesday evening at Arco Arena, his No. 31 jersey wasn't hanging in his locker. Hawes, the Kings' third-year and sometimes-starting center was inactive for Tuesday's game against the Detroit Pistons. 'I saw where he's having a hard time understanding his role,' said Kings coach Paul Westphal. 'He should understand it (after) tonight.' Westphal said there was no specific reason for putting Hawes on the bench. Hawes has been vocal at times this season about his fluctuating minutes and changing roles. In a story that ran in Tuesday's editions of The Bee, Hawes said this of Westphal's substitution patterns: 'All year we've kind of been dealing with that,' he said. 'When you think you have kind of gotten over that hump, it comes back up again. That's the philosophy, so you've just got to deal with it.'"

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