Each weekday morning, BDL serves up a handful of NBA-related stories to digest with your sore legs.
Benjamin Hochman, Denver Post: "It was the tweet re-tweeted 'round the hoop world. After the Nuggets' Game 4 loss at Utah, Nuggets guard J.R. Smith posted on Twitter: 'You play selfish you lose selfish that's all I'm saying about the game!' The Nuggets had only 13 assists in Sunday's Game 4 loss (Utah had 14 in the second half alone). Carmelo Anthony did attempt 26 shots, but he made half of them. And Smith, perhaps more than any other Nugget, is known for playing selfishly. Nuggets guard Chauncey Billups was asked Monday about the tweet and the team captain said: 'It's frustrating to lose, and people can say what they want, but at any rate, when we win, we win together.' Asked about Smith's tweet, Nuggets acting coach Adrian Dantley appeared visibly uncomfortable at the team's media availability Monday. 'I don't know what to say about that, there's always some comments made by a player. And usually when you lose a game, we're going to have that type of statements,' said Dantley, who is filling in for George Karl, still recovering from throat and neck cancer. Then, asked again about the Smith tweet, Dantley said: 'What do you want me to say? That he shouldn't have made that comment? I don't know. He shouldn't have made that comment.'"
Richard Walker, Gaston Gazette: "Amid reports in a Philadelphia newspaper and on a national Web site saying he would be leaving the Charlotte Bobcats franchise as soon as their playoff series with Orlando, Larry Brown reconfirmed what he's previously said -- with a bit of a wiggle room. According to Monday's editions of Philadelphia Inquirer and a Monday report on yahoo.com, Brown is considered likely to leave the Bobcats for the 76ers at the end of this season. Charlotte lost to Orlando Monday night to end a 4-0 Magic sweep of their Eastern Conference first-round playoff series. Brown was first linked to the 76ers' vacancy in March -- or when there was some uncertainty over whether or not Michael Jordan would become the Bobcats' majority owner. 'I think I've answered that for the last two months,' Brown said when asked to comment on the reports. 'I'm not coaching anywhere but Charlotte.' However, Brown did say he would discuss his future with his family and with Jordan, noting that he would be 70 years old before the start of the next season. 'Now, am I going to talk to my family and talk to Michael? Absolutely,' said Brown, who has two years left on a four-year coaching contract he signed with the Bobcats in May 2008. 'But I'm not coaching anywhere but for Michael if he'll have me.'"
Tom Enlund, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: "Milwaukee coach Scott Skiles and veteran Atlanta guard Jamal Crawford have occupied opposing benches during the National Basketball Association's first-round playoff series that resumed Monday night at the Bradley Center. But that wasn't the case during the 2003-'04 season. Back then, Crawford was in his fourth NBA season and was the leading scorer on Skiles' Chicago Bulls team that struggled through a 23-victory season and finished last in the Central Division. Crawford recalled this week how difficult that season had been for everyone involved but also said playing that one season for Skiles had left a lasting impact on him. 'He was a tough coach, but he was fair,' Crawford said. 'He was one of the best after-timeout coaches that I'd ever seen. He just wanted us to get better. If you defended and competed, he was fine with you. He was a great coach.'"
Paul Coro, Arizona Republic: "A month after coming out of a game because of a twinge in his back and numbness in his legs, Suns center Robin Lopez was on the court Monday, taking his first contact since then. Another checkup for Lopez's rehabilitation for a bulging disk cleared him for more work this week after a good week of running and jumping on the court. Lopez will not return this series but is a possibility to play if the Suns advance. 'As long as there's no setback, which there haven't been, you continue to ramp it up,' Suns General Manager Steve Kerr said. 'The biggest thing is for him to respond well to the activity.' Lopez did simple one-on-one work against center Dwayne Jones on Monday, with post-ups and box-outs. 'Don't kill him, but let him feel you,' Jones said of his instructions, adding that Lopez 'looked pretty fluid and active for what we were doing.'"
Nick Friedell, ESPNChicago.com: "Vinny Del Negro's future with the Chicago Bulls has been a hot topic in NBA circles for months, but his players don't want to think about the likelihood that their coach will be fired as soon as the season is over. Del Negro's deteriorating relationship with Bulls management has been well-documented, including a physical altercation with vice president John Paxson. The Bulls trail the Cleveland Cavaliers 3-1 with Game 5 on Tuesday in Cleveland. 'Those are things as players that we can't really control,' Bulls center Joakim Noah said after Bulls practice on Monday afternoon. 'I think our mindset is just to be ready for [Tuesday's] game. I think that we're in this all together. During the year, a lot of things happened. There's a lot of rumors, a lot of speculation. Some things are better kept internal, kind of like a family, or a frat. Kind of like that.' When pushed by a reporter that many fans may be wondering about Del Negro's future, Noah didn't open up. 'I agree with that,' he said. 'But that doesn't mean you guys have to know everything. As long as we fight every day on the court for you guys, what else do you need to know?'"
David Leon Moore, USA Today: "For the last two games (or weeks, or months), Los Angeles Lakers fans have been waiting for their defending NBA champs to flip a switch or push a magic button. But what if there is no switch or button? What if, when it comes to the Lakers in April of 2010, what you see is what you get? More evidence to what has been ailing the Lakers -- and what can fix it -- should come Tuesday at home, where they will fight for their playoff lives in Game 5 of their first-round Western Conference series against the thundering Oklahoma City Thunder. The series is tied 2-2. 'We can't afford to lose this game,' Lakers forward Pau Gasol said. 'We need to send a message to them that you might be playing well, you played well at home, but that's all you're going to get.'"
ESPNDallas.com: "Word just came down from the league office that there will be no further punishment handed out to Eduardo Najera for his his hard foul on the Spurs' Manu Ginobili in Sunday's Game 4. Najera was assessed a Flagrant 2 foul, which results in an automatic ejection and is reviewed by the league. Another Flagrant 2 on Najera would result in an automatic one-game suspension."
Jeff Rabjohns, Indianapolis Star: "While watching warm-ups for Saturday's Eric Gordon Super Shootout, the former North Central High School and Indiana University star addressed a number of topics. First on his agenda is the USA Basketball national team camp in June, where he'll be in the pipeline to possibly make future Olympic teams. Team USA architect Jerry Colangelo told reporters in February that it is important to incorporate players such as Gordon into the 2010-12 National Team program. USA coach Mike Krzyzewski told reporters he was excited about working with 'some of the most promising and exciting players coming up through the USA Basketball program.' Gordon's company includes Kevin Durant, Derrick Rose, Russell Westbrook and the Indiana Pacers' Danny Granger. 'That's really exciting,' Gordon said. 'Not too many guys have a chance to do that. I'm excited to be a part of it. Playing against the best guys in the world and in our league, it's good to put that on your resume.'"
Julian Benbow, Boston Globe: "Ray Allen didn't rest much Sunday night. The three free throws he missed near the end of the Celtics' 101-92 Game 4 loss to the Miami Heat made sure of that. He wanted to come straight to the gym as soon as he touched down in Boston, but he hadn't seen his family since he left for Miami. So he was left for a night with his thoughts. 'I actually wasn't worried about the free throws themselves,' Allen said. 'I was just thinking about the game.' It was a loss in which all the little things seemed to pile up -- turnovers, layups, free throws. 'The things we could have done better,' Allen said, 'that's all part of the game - missed layups, missed free throws. You can't beat yourself up over it. It's just one of those things where you get down, you just try to figure out a way to be prepared.' Allen put up 150 free throws when he got to the practice facility yesterday. He made 145. After that, he and his teammates looked at game tape from the day before. What was supposed to be a 20-minute film session stretched to an hourlong look in the mirror. 'There was a lot of stopping and starting, then explaining and re-explaining,' said Celtics coach Doc Rivers. 'That happens when you win sometimes, too. But I thought we needed to watch the film.'"
Bruce Jenkins, San Francisco Chronicle: There were times, during his run as the Warriors' owner, when Franklin Mieuli would simply disappear. Nobody in the team offices had the slightest clue where he was. It generally wasn't too far, maybe a hangout in San Francisco or an Italian fishery in Santa Cruz, but it was necessary, he once said, 'when I'm just over my head and need time to think so I don't blow the whole banana stand.' To hear his critics around the NBA in the 1960s, Mieuli was forever on the verge of disaster. They couldn't quite figure out this raging eccentric in the funny clothes, and they couldn't believe such a man had so much influence in Bay Area sports. Today, as we mourn his passing, we remember the whole package -- but more so the man than the deeds. So many of today's NBA owners conjure up a sleazy connotation, but Mieuli crafted moods of conviviality and decency. He was a connoisseur of wine and whiskey, a man whose choice of drinking companions -- Bill Rigney, Pete Rozelle, Ron Fimrite, Pete Newell -- represented the essence of good taste and hilarious storytelling. He's the man who had 'The City' stitched onto the Warriors' uniforms because that's how people referred to San Francisco during his San Jose upbringing. The man who slept on a sailboat docked alongside a San Francisco pier; burned incense in his office; hung chandeliers in the Cow Palace; jumped right into team huddles during games; and was known to show up anywhere in disguise, complete with elaborate hats, capes and fake mustaches. He's the one who laughed the hardest when Harry Jupiter, his wonderfully good-humored P.R. man, made the bar-side crack, 'Screw-ups that others manage on impulse, you produce after great thought.' So how could he possible survive in such a high-profile job? 'People believe in me,' he said. 'I have that faculty.'"