Ball Don't Lie - NBA

Each weekday morning, BDL serves up a handful of NBA-related stories to digest with your blueberry-orange French toast.

Chris McCosky, The Detroit News: "... the Pistons will be without Wallace in Orlando Friday. He picked up his 15th and 16th technical fouls and will be suspended. Wallace was playing as well as he had in six games. He scored 12 of his 16 points in the third quarter and hit a 3-pointer to put the Pistons up, 67-65, early in the fourth. That's when the trouble started. He missed three straight shots. With the score tied at 71, he had a defensive rebound slapped away by the Hornets' Sean Marks. The ball went to David West, who scored the putback. Wallace argued that he was fouled and referee Bill Kennedy slapped him with a technical foul — his 15th. He got No. 16, which brings an automatic suspension, 27 seconds later. Kennedy called another foul on Wallace and Curry subbed him out. Wallace wanted to stay in the game and was angry when he went to the bench. Fans were on him good and he flipped a towel into the stands — automatic technical foul and ejection. Before leaving, Wallace hurled another towel in the direction of Kennedy, which could cost him an additional game and certainly more money." (video via Need4Sheed)

More McCosky: "... the evidence continues to pile up that the Pistons are better without Iverson, and Richard Hamilton said he's done coming off the bench. The Pistons were down, 20-11, when Iverson left, eight minutes into the game. They rallied almost immediately, with Hamilton leading the way (24 points). Their energy was better, they competed harder, the offense ran smoother — they just seemed more cohesive. Coach Michael Curry dodged the issue of a lineup change, but Hamilton didn't. 'I said I would come off the bench as long as we win,' Hamilton said. 'But we've been losing. We are 4-12 with me coming off the bench. Something's got to give. Something's got to change. I am on board with doing whatever for the team but coming off the bench and we're not winning, that's something totally different.'"

K.C Johnson, Chicago Tribune: "Three games hardly constitutes a trend. But the player who clearly appears most affected by the arrival of the new Bulls is Luol Deng. Not only has Deng seen his playing time cut from 34 minutes 39 seconds to 23:31 to 30:53 over the last three games, the fifth-year forward failed to score in the first half Wednesday and finished with just nine points. In one stretch, Deng sat from the 3:34 mark of the first to the 3:53 mark of the second as John Salmons thrived. For the second straight game, Salmons played the entire fourth quarter and more minutes overall than Deng, who played 6:34 in the fourth. 'It's been tough figuring out the system and then we had the trade, so you have to adapt to what's going on,' Deng said. 'I just have to figure it out.'"

Ivan Carter, Washington Post: "Before last night's game against Philadelphia, interim coach Ed Tapscott said he understood Arenas's hesitance. Arenas came to the arena early for a workout and left before the game began so he was not available to expand on comments he made Tuesday. 'Given the circumstances, I can understand not wanting to build up expectations that can't be fulfilled,' said Tapscott, who at Arenas's request had been covering for the three-time all-star by deflecting questions about practice. 'He's in a tough position having been out and trying to work through this the right way. He's been in that situation in the past and had setbacks. We want to make sure this time that we handle this absolutely correctly in terms of his health and welfare. That has to be a priority for us.'"

Dave D'Alessandro, The Star-Ledger: "How's this for a twist: They actually won a home game they absolutely had to win. They also smashed a rival for a postseason berth that they absolutely had to beat. And they did it with a defensive tour de force that only the good teams usually have in their fourth-quarter arsenal. They barely resembled the Nets you've come to know and (barely) tolerate, and that was the most encouraging part of their 111-99 rout of Chicago Wednesday at Izod Center, which moved them within one game of eighth place in the Eastern Conference."

Ira Winderman, South Florida Sentinel: "Udonis Haslem can't walk, at least not with typical ease. He has trouble with stairs. And there has been more than one occasion these past few weeks when he nearly went onto the court still wearing his omnipresent heating pad. 'Waking up in the morning? Stiff. After the game? Ice,' the Heat power forward says. 'They gave me the option to do the MRI and all that. I turned it down.' In recent games and weeks, it could be argued that Haslem has been hurting the Heat. Five times in the past six weeks, there have been five or fewer rebounds. Six times over that span there have been eight or fewer points, including two Sunday in Orlando. What is undeniable is that Haslem is hurting."

Sekou Smith, AJC: "Admit it, the Hawks are a must-see TV train wreck you simply can’t do without. Sure, they make you crazy. They dip when you think they should be soaring and win when all logic suggests otherwise. But that’s why they’re your team. That’s why you can’t divorce them. They’re the team we all love to hate. [...]The infuriating thing about this team is that they don’t give you this kind of gutsy effort for 48 minutes every night - and some of that is due to the fact that daredevils like Mario West don’t get to go crazy but once every three weeks or so and some of it is due to the fact the connection that was forming early on this season has been lost. And that should bother you to no end."

Ailene Voisin, Sac Bee: "Jordan, who occasionally accompanies the Bobcats on the road, joined the team before tipoff and sat along the baseline, feet from the visitors bench. What was hilarious was that, while none of us were even aware he was in the building, a Kings publicist walked along press row in the first quarter, informed us of where Jordan was sitting, but said he was not to be approached for interviews. Well, whatever. In the cramped visitors locker room afterward, while some of us were talking with former Kings high flyer Gerald Wallace, Jordan came out of the training room, snuck up and grabbed me from behind. After we shared a few private words, he started yucking it up with the crowd of reporters, as playful and boisterous as I have ever seen him. I wonder if — years removed from the spotlight — he misses this stuff?"

Don Seeholzer, Pioneer Press: "Kevin McHale insists he isn't thinking that far ahead, but Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor said he wants him back as coach next season. Taylor left no doubt during a telephone interview Wednesday that he would like McHale to remain on the bench and doesn't see him returning to his former role as vice president of basketball operations. 'I think we're beyond that,' Taylor said. 'I think Kevin has taken over coaching. I don't think he's making a decision of going back to that or not. I think the decision that he will make is he said he'd commit with this team to coach them (this season). I think that's the direction that he's chosen, I've chosen, and I think that's the direction that we're looking at. I anticipate that he will be here in coaching.'"

Doug Smith, Toronto Star: "[Shawn] Marion has returned with the Raptors and instead of getting all wistful about what was and what might have been, he's taking a decidedly low-key approach to tomorrow's Toronto-Phoenix game. 'It'll be cool, my mother's going to meet me out there, I've got old friends out there,' Marion said in anticipation of his return. 'We're going to be out there for two days, I'm going to relax and enjoy my old friends and just enjoy the city.' Marion, who has spoken of being 'shackled' by a relatively pedestrian offence for almost a season in Miami, is enjoying a renaissance not unlike the Suns themselves."

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