Each weekday morning, BDL serves up a handful of NBA-related stories to digest with your leftover turkey.
Kate Fagan, Philadelphia Inquirer: "76ers point guard Lou Williams underwent surgery Thursday morning to wire together his upper and lower jaws. Williams will miss eight weeks. Early in the first quarter of Tuesday night's loss to the Washington Wizards, Williams suffered the injury in a collision with Washington forward Antawn Jamison(notes). [...] 'I was spitting out blood every timeout, but I thought it was my tooth so I didn't think it was as serious as it was,' said Williams, who was averaging 17.4 points and 5.1 assists per game. 'I just continued to play, and there wasn't a lot of pain involved because I was playing on adrenaline obviously. But I knew something was wrong, just not to this magnitude.' After a sleepless, painful night in Boston, an X-ray taken of Williams' jaw initially revealed that fracture. 'What I wanted was something to numb the pain, something to help with the pain and continue to fight through,' Williams said of approaching the trainers on Wednesday morning. 'But you go through the protocol, the X-rays and this and that. And it came back, and there was a big line in my jaw, and that set the alarms off right there.'"
AP: "Shaquille O'Neal paid for the funeral of a 5-year-old North Carolina girl after being moved by national news coverage of the case of Shaniya Davis, who police say was kidnapped and killed. The Cleveland Cavaliers player was touched by the stories he saw and got in touch with the family to see what he could do to help, a spokeswoman for O'Neal said Thursday. More than 2,000 people attended the girl's funeral Sunday. Her body was found Nov. 16 beside a rural road. Her mother, Antionette Davis, who had reported the child missing six days earlier, is charged with human trafficking and child abuse involving prostitution. Mario McNeill is charged with murder, rape and kidnapping in the case. 'I was sitting at home watching it on the news and the story brought a tear to my eye,' O'Neal told The Cleveland Plain Dealer newspaper."
Ronald Tillery, Memphis Commercial Appeal: "[Jamaal Tinsley(notes)] was definitely feeling the wow factor of trying to find a gear that can only be found in professional basketball. 'I'm not at L.A. Fitness anymore,' Tinsley said with a sheepish grin, referring to the place he spent most of the 11/2 years he'd been out the league. Tinsley, though, is rounding into shape for the Grizzlies. The 31-year-old floor general, signed as a free agent nearly two weeks ago, is averaging 9.5 points on 47-percent shooting to go with 2.5 assists over the past two games. The Griz consistently logged about 22 minutes off the bench during that span. Tinsley's role will continue to expand with significant playing time as Griz coach Lionel Hollins is enamored with the former Indiana Pacers' savvy and calming influence. Those characteristics can only help the Griz as they continue a five-game road trip tonight at the Portland Trail Blazers. 'He can only get better, hopefully quicker than later,' Hollins said. 'It's just nice to have a veteran who understands. He's out there controlling things. His veteran leadership is what is important.'"
Dave Feschuk, Toronto Star: "... when [Jose] Calderon is on the floor, the opposing point guard is putting up a PER of 23.7, according to 82games.com. For an example of an NBA point guard achieving a PER in the neighbourhood of 23.7, think Steve Nash(notes), who the Raptors will see on Sunday when the resurgent Phoenix Suns come to town. In other words, Calderon is such a non-factor on defence he is making all of his opponents look like Nash. In a point guard's league, Toronto is a minus-6.4 in point-guard PER when Calderon is on the floor. A year ago, even with the awful Roko Ukic(notes) and Will Solomon(notes) backing up Calderon, the Raptors, as a team, were a plus-1.1 at the position."
Tom Powers, Pioneer Press: "Yes, this team isn't very good. And now it's official. In 21 seasons of Timberwolves basketball, this year's squad has gotten off to the worst start ever, 1-14, after Wednesday's 124-111 loss to the Denver Nuggets at Target Center. 'Obviously, we're cognizant of it,' Kurt Rambis said of the epic stretch. It should be noted, however, that '94-'95 team and the current Wolves squad are remarkably different. That '94-'95 team featured an interesting bunch of hooligans and crybabies. Rider was the head wacko. Christian Laettner, another beauty, was the second-leading scorer. Bill Blair was the zookeeper. Rambis has a bunch of solid citizens: humble, polite, friendly and not particularly talented."
Michael Wilbon, The Washington Post: "All the ingredients for a lost season are in place. New coach, new systems of offense and defense, four new players, two players returning after long layoffs, hideous early-season losses, dissension before Thanksgiving and most unsettling, a deceased owner who has been the face of the franchise for more than 40 years. The Washington Wizards, from the top of the pyramid to the 12th man, had every reason to spend Thanksgiving worrying. The players say they will dedicate this season to Abe Pollin, but the issues confronting the team appear greater than a jolt of inspiration alone can solve. The squabbles from last week, most notably between Gilbert Arenas(notes) and Caron Butler(notes), are the outward expressions of the frustration of having the third-worst record in the Eastern Conference and the fourth-worst record in the NBA after one month of play. The Wizards were supposed to be so much better than 4-9, what with three former all-stars, so many proven starters and established role players. What they are is lost. They don't have an identity as a team yet, don't know how they fit individually in Coach Flip Saunders's way of playing."
Mike Wells, The Indy Star: "Mike Dunleavy compared his smooth-looking jump shot to riding a bike: You never lose it once you have it down.The toughest part for Dunleavy, who has played in 18 games in the past 17 months, is getting into shape and working on his timing. The Indiana Pacers swingman is slowly getting those aspects of his game back, and with that said, Dunleavy could soon be making his long-awaited season debut. 'I'm really close,' Dunleavy said. 'At this point I would say it's day-to-day.' The Pacers host the Dallas Mavericks tonight at Conseco Fieldhouse. Dunleavy is not expected to play. Some members of the Pacers organization have become quite eager for Dunleavy to return, especially with the uncertainty regarding Danny Granger's(notes) sprained left medial collateral ligament. 'I anticipate he should not be out much longer and, I would say based on what Danny's situation is, I would suspect he needs to get back to the court,' coach Jim O'Brien said."
Ross Siler, Salt Lake Tribune: "As Kyle Korver(notes) noted this week, he's never been out as long in his NBA career as he has since undergoing knee surgery last month. Now in his seventh year, Korver never had missed more than eight games in a season before this one. Although he'd hoped to return in the coming days, Korver will have to wait a little longer. He said Thursday that Cybex testing showed he still has strength to regain in his hamstring and quadriceps following surgery. As a result, Korver will cease court work for a week and focus on rebuilding strength in his leg. Korver said he would need to test at 75 percent to be 'borderline' to play; his quadriceps was 70 percent and his hamstring 56 percent. 'It's frustrating because I wanted to be back before then,' Korver said, adding that his muscles likely weakened when wasn't able to practice in the preseason due to the swelling in his left knee."
Ted Kulfan, The Detroit News: "[Ben] Gordon went down hard during on his left ankle and sprained it during Wednesday night's game. He's listed as day-to-day, but it's unlikely Gordon will play tonight against the Los Angeles Clippers. If that's the case, he will join Richard Hamilton(notes) (severely sprained right ankle) and Tayshaun Prince(notes) (small ruptured disc) on the sidelines. Coach John Kuester wouldn't speculate as to who would replace Gordon after Wednesday's game — the Pistons didn't practice on Thanksgiving — but Austin Daye(notes) started the second half in place of Gordon against the Cavaliers. Interestingly, Kuester wants to stress defense right now with so much offense missing. 'One of the things that can't happen is that players feel pressure to do more than they're capable of doing,' Kuester said. 'We just need to continue to play, continue to defend, and if anything, I want them to feel a sense of urgency not so much offensively as defensively.'"
Mike Monroe, S.A. Express-News: "It was no surprise that Spurs guard Roger Mason(notes) Jr. was singled out for praise from coach Gregg Popovich after he helped the Spurs get past the pesky Golden State Warriors on Wednesday night at the AT&T Center. It was moderately amazing Popovich didn't mention the hot shooting that produced Mason's season-high 17 points. 'Everybody just thinks of Roger as a shooter, but he had a really good floor game,' Popovich said. 'He played good defense against tough scorers, and at the other end, he penetrated, he passed, he found open people. He did a good job.' Mason had five assists and six rebounds in the Spurs' 118-104 victory and took a share of the work that cooled off Golden State's red-hot Monta Ellis(notes), who finished with 42 points — but only had four free throws in the fourth quarter. 'I'm definitely trying to show more than just shooting,' Mason said. 'Playing good defense, passing the ball, getting some rebounds. That's what I have to provide for the team.'"
Mike Baldwin, The Oklahoman: "With three guards sidelined by injuries, the Thunder will use James Harden(notes), Thabo Sefolosha(notes) and possibly Kevin Durant(notes) as the backup point guard tonight. Kyle Weaver(notes), who filled the role Tuesday at Utah, suffered a separated shoulder in practice Wednesday and will be sidelined indefinitely. Kevin Ollie(notes) (knee) was encouraged by results from an MRI but was to meet with team officials before determining whether arthroscopic surgery is necessary. Shaun Livingston(notes) recently underwent arthroscopic knee surgery and will be sidelined another two or three weeks. Power forward Nick Collison(notes) (knee) will miss his third consecutive game but could return soon once swelling subsides. On Thursday, the Thunder signed free-agent point guard Mike Wilks(notes)."