Ball Don't Lie - NBA

Each weekday morning, BDL serves up a handful of NBA-related stories to digest with your singing California Raisins cereal.

Mike Bresnahan, LA Times: "Sorry, Lakers fans. The Chicago Bulls' record-setting 72-10 campaign won't be topped this season. At least that's what Phil Jackson said Wednesday, and he'd probably know a thing or two about such success. He was the Bulls' coach when they set the NBA standard for victories in 1995-96. He wasn't being critical when he said the Lakers (15-2) wouldn't do it this season. Nor was he throwing in the towel by conceding it wouldn't happen. It didn't even seem like he was inspiring the team with a publicly delivered 'us-against-them' tactic. He might have just been telling the truth, at least from his perspective. 'I don't think there's any chance that we're going to get anywhere close to 70 wins,' he said. 'I'm not going to say that we can't win 60, but I don't think that there's a chance [at 70] -- and that's if everything goes well health-wise. Traveling in the West is just too difficult.'"

Brian Hanley, Chicago Sun-Times: "A day after Rose was named the conference rookie of the month, the Bulls broke out the ''Vote for Derrick Rose'' signs Tuesday, encouraging fans to help make him the first Bulls player to make an all-star team since Michael Jordan in 1998. The team likely will soon begin a rookie-of-the-year campaign for Rose, similar to the ''Brand X'' soap boxes filled with all things Elton Brand the Bulls sent out when he was the No. 1 pick in 1999."

Chris Mannix, "Five games, five Golden State losses and a more than 2:1 turnover-to-assist ratio. Maggette's selfish play hasn't gone unnoticed by other players. According to sources, after the final buzzer against Boston, Celtics forward Kevin Garnett turned to Maggette and shouted, 'Way to get your numbers.' 'He just puts his head down and goes to the basket,' an Eastern Conference scout said. 'He doesn't even look to pass.' Word from team sources is that the Warriors are already regretting signing Maggette to a five-year, $50 million deal last offseason. When Monta Ellis returns to the lineup early next year, Golden State will have to figure out how to spread the wealth among three players (Ellis, Jamal Crawford and Maggette) who aren't very good at spreading it."

Dan Bickley, Arizona Republic: "Though Porter has shown great patience, it's essential that he wrestle control of this situation, for his perception in the locker room, the league and in the Valley. Maybe he just did. He spoke with the team about the importance of unity and has spoken with Stoudemire privately. Porter would give no further details but admitted his Suns tenure has not gone 'as smooth as I'd have liked.' Between us, this situation between Porter and Stoudemire bears watching. Stoudemire didn't back off his inflammatory words, and I wouldn't be surprised if the Suns are shopping him, and others, just in case the season becomes toxic."

Paul Coro, Arizona Republic: "Suns center Shaquille O'Neal and point guard Steve Nash are expected back in the starting lineup tonight. If Nash wants to have the offense bolting and breaking, he has O'Neal's blessing. 'If we're going to run, we should stop talking about it and just do it,' O'Neal said. 'We don't need coach's permission to get a rebound and run. I'm going to be the one igniting the break because I'm getting most of the rebounds. It doesn't matter to me. I can play any style.' O'Neal apparently has heard the grousing internally and from fans about the Suns' offense being predicated more on O'Neal post-ups this season."

Elliott Teaford, LA Daily News: "Andrew Bynum wasn't happy about going to the bench midway through the fourth quarter of the Lakers' loss Tuesday to the Indiana Pacers. Coach Phil Jackson had a not-too-subtle and perhaps all-too-predictable response before the Lakers faced the Philadelphia 76ers on Wednesday. 'That's none of his business,' Jackson said. 'He just goes out and plays. That's his job. ... He's a kid, he doesn't know any better.' Bynum, 21, joined the Lakers' second unit in building a 16-point lead early in the fourth quarter against Indiana, but the Pacers cut it to seven when Jackson decided to go with his usual substitution pattern and bring back the starters halfway through the fourth."

Dave D'Alessandro, The Star-Ledger: "Lawrence Frank was surprisingly calm after his team lost to Washington Tuesday night, because he holds steadfast to the time-honored rule that you cannot exaggerate success or overreact to failure. [...] 'Right now, we're staying with where we're at, and we'll continue to evaluate it,' said Frank when asked whether it is practical to stay with Yi Jianlian and Bobby Simmons as his starters. 'Those guys are starting. And I'm not planning on any changes in the immediate future. At the same time, we'll evaluate the team's play and individual play and make the appropriate decisions. Don't forget, you don't always start your five best players. You try to find a mix and flow of guys who fit best.'"

Sekou Smith, Atlanta Journal-Constitution: "The invitations won’t go out for at least a month or so, but if Hawks forward Marvin Williams gets an offer to participate in the 3-point shooting contest during All-Star Weekend he’ll gladly accept. After making just one of his 10 3-point attempts from a year go, Williams is one of the top 10 3-point shooters in the NBA — he’s tied for ninth at .474, while teammate Mo Evans leads the team and ranks fourth at .500. 'Without a doubt I’d accept,' Williams said ... 'You go out there and make them all or you miss them all. Either way, that would have to be the experience of a lifetime.' Williams would have the ideal coach if he does make it into the field. He has been working overtime this season with Hawks shooting consultant Mark Price. They do a drill at the end of practice that is like the 3-point shooting contest but without the ball racks."

Brian Windhorst, Cleveland Plain-Dealer: "Ben Wallace is now a free agent, at least when it comes to shoes. Last year when he was a member of the Chicago Bulls, Wallace launched a partnership for a signature shoe and clothing line with Steve & Barry's. Like Stephon Marbury, Wallace joined up with the discount sporting goods retailer to offer low-priced shoes and apparel. One of 11 children, Wallace grew up in a family where money was tight and was pleased he could be part of an effort to offer low-cost shoes. Like with Marbury, though, the good intentions did not work out. 'Things didn't happen the way they said they would,' Wallace said. 'They didn't produce all the pieces they said they would.'"

Jason Smith, Memphis Commercial Appeal: "Though he has yet to reach the all-star status of his older brother, Memphis Grizzlies center Marc Gasol can boast to brother Pau that he will have his jersey retired in Memphis. That is, his old high-school jersey. Gasol, who played at Lausanne from 2001-03 while Pau was still with the Grizzlies, will become the school's first student-athlete to have his or her jersey retired during a special ceremony at halftime of the Lynx's Dec. 11 game against West Memphis Christian. Gasol, now in his rookie season with the Grizzlies, is the first Lausanne athlete to play a professional sport."

Ivan Carter, Washington Post: "Since the Wizards relieved him of his coaching duties last Monday and replaced him with Ed Tapscott, Eddie Jordan has enjoyed the Thanksgiving holiday with friends and family, attended his children's karate workouts and basketball
practices, and even rooted for his former team from the comfort of his living room couch. 'I watch the games with my son Jackson and we cheer every time they make a shot,' Jordan said in a phone conversation. 'I'm pulling for them and wish them the best.' If Jordan harbors any hard feelings about the team's decision to fire him so early in the season, he's hiding them well. Jordan, who was under contract through next season and is owed approximately $8 million, declined to go into detail about what led to his dismissal or discuss statements made by Wizards President Ernie Grunfeld and owner Abe Pollin."

Marc Berman, New York Post: "Cuttino Mobley is strongly mulling a medical retirement because of an enlarged heart condition and could make the announcement tomorrow, according to a person familiar with the situation. Mobley, 33, still has one more heart test left today in Minnesota. It had been reported that Mobley had signed a waiver with the Clippers to release them of liability if he had heart problems. If Mobley, obtained in the Zach Randolph trade from the Clippers, retires, it would free open a roster spot and save the Knicks about 75 percent of the $18. 9 million left on his pact because of insurance. Mobley, who gets all the money, was obtained more for his contract that expires after next season than for his game. According to the source, Mobley helped initiate the extra testing following his failed physical. 'He's not really focused on basketball, his main concern is his health,' the source said."

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