NBA REVIEW – WEEK 8

PHOTO OF THE WEEK

Fabforum

The Lakers visited with President Obama at a local Boys and Girls Club in the Washington, DC area Monday — part of a ceremony for winning back-to-back championships. (Assistant coach Brian Shaw either didn’t receive or chose to ignore the “dark suit” memo.) 

QUOTE OF THE WEEK

“A coward, I was a coward. When you do coward stuff, you feel like a coward. I don’t care if it was done intentionally or by mistake, you’re still a coward. I don’t care how young I was. That’s not an excuse.” – Former Pacer Ron Artest talking about his troubled tenure with Indiana before Wednesday night’s game between the Lakers and the Pacers in Indianapolis. 

THEY SAID IT

“Absolutely not. What did they score? Like 70-something points. That’s 70-something reasons for him to complain.” – San Antonio Spurs forward Tim Duncan when asked after Sunday’s game whether head coach Gregg Popovich would be satisfied that San Antonio’s defense held Portland to 78 points.

“There’s nothing I can say. I have no comment on that. You just get to this point where it’s a fight every day. It’s a fight. You’re fighting unnecessary battles. I’m fighting unnecessary battles. It’s frustrating because I know and my teammates know I’m capable of getting it done, even dudes on the other team. It’s frustrating.” – Los Angeles Clippers guard Baron Davis on reports that he’s been taunted during home games by team owner, Donald T. Sterling.

“All kinds of stuff. Some stuff like, ‘Oh, dunk the ball.’ He owns the team. What do you want me to say? He’s my boss. He signs the check. He owns me. Not really, but you know what I’m saying. My rights to my basketball skills for five years.” Clippers center Chris Kaman confirming that teammate Baron Davis isn’t the only one heckled by the team’s owner, Donald T. Sterling.

“It was great basketball. It was a great Eastside barnyard knockdown, backyard scuffle, if you will.” – Boston’s Kevin Garnett after the Celtics beat the Knicks 118-116 Wednesday night for Boston’s 11th straight win.

“We definitely earned our respect, I guarantee you right now Boston respects us. We’re no slouch. We’re ready to play every night. Boston knows it.” – Knicks forward Amar’e Stoudemire.

“Well John Doe could, the way we’re playing. We’re hoping that John Doe would be a big guy.” – – Lakers coach Phil Jackson when asked if newly acquired veteran big Joe Smith could be of service to the Los Angeles Lakers front court rotation.

“Every single one, it seemed – the 8-year-old, the 9-year-olds – go left and they go right. The older ones shoot the jump hook with the left, and they shoot the jump hook with the right. You’ve got bigger kids who can shoot from the outside, who can handle the ball and play. A lot of young players that look like [Pau] Gasol, who are just so skilled. And now, you’ve got kids here in the States, 20 years old, who can’t do those things. Damn, you’ve got max players who can’t do that.” – Laker Kobe Bryant talking to Yahoo! Sports recently about watching young kids play basketball in Barcelona during the team’s pre-season European trip and the differences in the development of too many players in the States.

“I wasn’t that slow until you put a guy who is kind of slow [ Andre Miller] next to me. … Not to be controversial, but I was slow my rookie year.” – Portland’s Brandon Roy, on being called slow while playing hurt.

THE “CHILE, PLEASE” AWARD GOES TO…

“A top 10 all-time player, no question. Nobody can shoot like he can. No one can get off a shot like he can.” – Mavericks owner Mark Cuban when asked by radio talk show host Dan Patrick on how we will judge Dirk Nowitzki when his career is over. Kobe Bryant – quite possibly but Dirk “No D/No Rings” Nowitzki? I think not!

STORY OF THE WEEK

Magic trade for Gilbert Arenas, Hedo Turkoglu and Jason Richardson  

Do Magic’s big deals improve their lot?  

Until noon PST on Saturday, I was trying to decide between the Lakers meeting with the president, the return of Andrew Bynum or Bron Bron’s first game at Madison Square Garden since joining the Heat as the story of the week. Then, all hell broke loose with word of the monster 3-way trade between the Magic, Suns and Wizards that sent shudders through the Eastern Conference. After the smoke cleared, there was no further deliberation as to the week’s top story.

Now, If the Knicks can just add ‘Melo…Face it, they have to add him now.

AROUND THE ASSOCIATION

Lakers visit with President Obama, spend time with local Boys and Girls Club | Lakers Blog | Los Angeles Times

President Obama and the Lakers

(Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images / December 13, 2010)

President Obama receives an autographed banner from the Lakers, who spent time with the president in Washington, DC, a day before their game with the Wizards.

NBA: Erik Spoelstra has Miami Heat on track  

Boston Celtics’ core leads group of title favorites for 2010-11  

Clippers Owner Heckles Baron Davis While Sitting Courtside

Bill Plaschke: Clippers owner Don Sterling really ought to be heckling himself

Game-Winner – Yahoo! Sports 

Paul Pierce scored 32 points in the Celtics' win over the Knicks.

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Thank you, thank you very much.”

Knicks don’t have best shot at ‘Melo  

Kravitz: Artest still regrets letting down Pacers  

Los Angeles Lakers’ Kobe Bryant touched by high school gym dedication  

Amar’e Stoudemire upstages LeBron James at James’ own party  

King James rules New York’s Garden

The whole “Party with the King” thing is one bad incident away from being shut down by Pat Riley and the Heat. I mean, it’s his EIGHTH year in the league and he’s still having parties, other than on special occasions, during the season? Why?

ON THE NBA: Jeers all around for the Donald  (Sterling, not Trump

NBA coast to coast  

Video: Michael Vick Steals The Spotlight @ Sixers Vs Lakers Game

All things being equal (money), Vick would be absolutely INSANE to leave Philly!

Lakers visit with President Obama (Photo Gallery)

THIS WEEK’S “WHAT THE HELL DID BLAKE GRIFFIN JUST DO?” MOVE

YouTube – Blake Griffin amazing 360 layup vs Pistons (Dec. 17, 2010)

DUNK OF THE WEEK (HELL, MAYBE THE DECADE)

J.R. Smith Dunk Against Spurs Enters Pantheon Of Great 2010 Slams (VIDEO)

CHUCK’S CHALK TALK

Free at last, thank God Almighty, I’m free at last! Well, until the spring semester starts on February 7th. I’ll never, ever take 16 units again!

Funny how an 11-game winning streak can take an embattled young coach, let’s call him Erik Spoelstra just for the hell of it, and turn him into a wise leader of men in less than three weeks.

Well, we have an answer to the question I asked in Week  4 – “Who returns first: Andrew Bynum, Greg Oden or Jesus?” Anyone brave (or foolish) enough to bet on Oden before Jesus?

Steve Nash misses Amar’e Stoudemire more than Stoudemire misses Nash.

The Heat are getting hot at the right time as they prepare to roll into Staples Center for their Christmas Day showdown against the Lakers who got Andrew Bynum back just in the nick of time.

Speaking of Bron Bron, isn’t Spike Lee a little too old to be dressing like this

We get it, LeBron. Miami is nicer, you didn't want to play with Amar'e. Fair enough. Now we must break you. <br><br> King James has some words for No. 1 New York fan Spike Lee at half-time of Friday night's Knicks-Heats game at the Garden. Celebs are coming out in droves for the local NY teams, especially the resurgent Knicks. Check out the other big names cheering on the Big Apple's home teams ... <br><br> Follow our galleries on Twitter <a href="http://twitter.com/NYDNPhotos" target="_blank">@NYDNPhotos</a>

on any date other than October 31? 

Could the Bulls be looking at the retired Rasheed Wallace as a possible replacement for the injured Yoakim Noah (out for 8-10 weeks after thumb surgery this week)? I’m almost giddy with joy at the thought of ‘Sheed coming up against the association’s new “Zero-Tolerance” policy on whining about calls and any true NBA fan should be too.

Bad moment in announcing – the other day I heard a reporter say that Kobe Bryant is leading the “Western Conference and the entire NBA in All-Star balloting” and all I could think was, “Well, if he’s leading the ‘entire NBA’, doesn’t that include the Western Conference?”

THE WEEK AHEAD

Do I really have to remind anyone with the sense God gave a seedless grape that the Lakers are playing the Heat at Staples Center on Christmas Day? Here’s Mark Heisler’s take on the “Staples Showdown”, Saturday at 2 p.m. PST. TV: ABC – Good thing I mentioned it or you might have missed it, if you blasted into space or whatever it takes to get away from ESPN. There hasn’t been such hype since Shaquille O’Neal’s return as a member of the Heat on Christmas 2004, with the Lakers 14-11 — en route to 34-48 — so he and Kobe Bryant could hate on each other as a Yuletide treat. Showing how far the NBA has come, there’s actual basketball to hype. This matchup is looking better with Andrew Bynum back and Miami stomping on 11 opponents in a row. The Heat still figures to have problems with big elite teams like Boston and the Lakers. The Lakers don’t even know what their problems are, not having played any of the NBA’s top six teams, but it hasn’t been a duckwalk.

MY TEN NON-NBA THOUGHTS OF THE WEEK

1. President Obama pulled off a back-door second stimulus while no one was paying attention and got the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” before Christmas.

2. I’m having a hard time trying to decide which is more annoying: the incessant ringing of the Salvation Army bells or Sarah Palin.

3. Does Rex Ryan really expect us to believe that a mere strength and conditioning coach acted on his own, without anyone above him in the “chain-of-command” saying a word to him, in the lining up of five inactive players in the infamous “Tripping Nolan Carroll” incident? Since when does someone in that position on ANY team get involved in game strategy on his own?

4. Why do I get the feeling that Mike Shanahan is just f**king with Donovan McNabb now?

5. The bestest (yes Mrs Thornhill, I know that’s not a word) thing about this Sunday’s NFL games will be seeing the various cheerleading squads in their holiday attire. natalie10r14v011

6. As a life-long Dodger fan, whenever I read about another retread free-agent being signed by GM Ned Colletti this off-season, my mind wanders back to this scene from the 1989 classic, Major League:  Guy in Bar [Looking in the newspaper at the Indians’ starting lineup]: Ricky Vaughn? Willie Hays? I haven’t heard most of them. Mitchell Freidman? Construction Worker: Who are these f**kin’ guys?  Groundskeeper #1: [In Japanese] They’re sh**ty.

7. All jokes aside, what the hell happened to Dave Chappelle?

8. I swear on all that’s holy, if The Fighter doesn’t live up to its sterling reviews and recent award nominations when I see it next week, I’m going to find out where Mark Wahlberg lives and go there and kick his a**…Upon further review, I probably won’t.

9. There’s no way the “Two Johns” – Branca and McClain – squeeze out 10 decent new Michael Jackson albums.

10. Stay classy Bob Feller.

RANKINGS! WE’VE GOT RANKINGS! (my comments in italics)
Mark Heisler’s NBA rankings

December 18, 2010

Tribune Newpapers

Records and statistics through Friday (last week’s ranking)

1. Spurs 22-3 (2): If Lakers think they’re the same creaky Spurs, think again. Google “Flying Under The Radar” and the Spurs logo will pop up.

2. Celtics 21-4 (1): Rondo hurt again, starting to look like Kobe last season. And look how that turned out for him and the Lakers.

3. Heat 20-8 (4): Celtics escape Knicks. Heat toy with them for 11th win in row. Christmas Day looks a lot more interesting again.

4. Lakers 20-7 (10): Bynum’s return means Gasol’s minutes drop, scoring goes up. If Pau Gasol’s smile gets any bigger, he’s going to need an extra face.

5. Mavericks 21-5 (3): Lakers had enough trouble in West draw when they were best by far. Call me when/if they ever beat the Lakers when it truly matters.

6. Thunder 19-8 (6): Durant at 41 percent on Dec. 1, 50 percent since, and they’ve won 14 of 18. It’s about time they stopped reading last season’s press clippings and got back to business.

7. Jazz 18-8 (5): Okur back, but they need a big who blocks shots, not makes 3s. You mean like Carlos Boozer?

8. Magic 16-9 (7): Close to acquiring Arenas after averaging 88 in 1-5 swoon. See “Story of the Week” above.

9. Bulls 16-8 (8): Noah, right there with Rose in importance, out 8-10 weeks. First he broke the unicorns on the Ark and now his thumb.

10. Hornets 16-10 (11): Lost 9 of 13 before coming from 23 down to win in Sacramento. So?

11. Nuggets 15-10 (12): Trying to win ‘Melo back, last thing they need is Knicks rise. That very loud noise you just heard was the door slamming shut on ‘Melo’s Nuggets career.

12. Hawks 17-11 (13): Joe Johnson back early; now to raise shooting over 41 percent. I never knew he was gone.

13. Knicks 16-11 (9): Hold the rivalries: 14-1 run ends in home losses to Celtics, Heat. Don’t worry Knick fans, ‘Melo’s coming!

14. Suns 12-14 (15): There goes the neighborhood: Nash leaves game with neck injury. And soon he’ll be leaving for good.

15. Trail Blazers 13-14 (14): Hits keep coming: Roy’s knee forces him out again. EXACTLY what was the deal they made with Satan to beat the Sixers in 1977.

16. Bucks 10-14 (17): Back from injury, Gooden gets 20 off bench as they end Mavs streak. Dwight Gooden is playing basketball?

17. Pacers 12-13 (16): Collison averaged 19 as starter as rookie, 13.5 as sophomore. Maybe they should consider holding him back this spring. 

18. Rockets 11-15 (19): Devastating as it is, began post-Yao transition in ’09 Lakers series. Not to say that Yao’s been hurt a lot (even though he has), rumor has Portland giving serious consideration to retiring Yao’s number as an honorary Blazer.

19. 76ers 10-16 (21): Look who joined East playoff race after 3-13 start. Yeah, like it really matters after Saturday’s conference-altering trades.

20. Memphis (12-15) Something’s wrong when you go 3-0, then no-show in Houston. (18) Well, duh. 

BOOM BOOM, OUT GO THE LIGHTS – I want you to stop for a few minutes and think about this: Take the two best players from each team below and disperse them throughout the teams above. Now, THAT’S a league!

Ok, back to reality.

21. Charlotte (9-17) Who imagined this could happen? Oh yeah, everyone but MJ. (20) Like MJ’s ever around. Now, if this team were in Vegas or the Bahamas…

22. Toronto (10-17) Trouble is missing Bosh as a rebounder: Bargnani at 5.6. (22) I just don’t care anymore.

23. Golden State (9-16) With magic time over, will they break up Smurf Backcourt? (23) Why not?

24. New Jersey (7-20) Laker wannabes get Vujacic who at least brings celebrity fiancé. (27) Yeah, like Maria Sharapova’s actually going to show up in Newark.

25. Clippers (6-21) Inspired by tough love from owner, got elusive first road win. (28) Somewhere Joe Jackson is smiling.

26. Detroit (8-19) One for Kuester: Only Cavaliers may have less talent. (29) Not exactly a marketing slogan, is it?

27. Washington (6-18) Oh oh: Flip Saunders says Wall’s knee will never ‘be pain free.’ (26) Flip is a great first name for a comedian or the guy who shines your shoes in the lobby, not a legitimate NBA coach.

28. Cleveland (7-19) Now 0-10. On bright side, Gilbert didn’t post anything last week. (25) His wife took away his internet connection for a week.

29. Minnesota (6-21) Love, Beasley, Wes Johnson, Flynn–how do they lose so many? (24) Uh, because they usually score fewer points than the other team?

30. Sacramento (5-19) Almost got elusive sixth win. I almost got that elusive date with Pam Grier back in 1975, but you don’t see me bragging about it publicly. Oops. 

JUST FOR THE HELL OF IT

Actress Tatyana Ali

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