NBA REVIEW – WEEK 15

PHOTOS OF THE WEEK

Paul Pierce

Kobe Bryant poured in 41 points, but Paul Pierce’s 32 helped carry the balanced Celtics past the Lakers last Sunday.

 Antonio McDyess

San Antonio forward Antonio McDyess, right, gets past Lakers guard Kobe Bryant and scores the winning basket on a tip-in at the buzzer, lifting the Spurs to an 89-88 victory over the Lakers on Thursday at Staples Center. (Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times / February 3, 2011) 

QUOTE OF THE WEEK

“I was talking to my teammate and he decided he wanted to put his 2 cents into it. I’m a quiet guy, a laid-back guy, but I’m not going to let nobody talk trash to me. He’s on a good team now, so he thinks he can talk a little bit. There’s a lot of fake tough guys in this league and he’s one of them.” – OKC Thunder forward Kevin Durant after drawing a rare technical foul for jawing with Miami’s Chris Bosh in the first quarter of their game last Sunday.

THEY SAID IT

“I never panic. It’s just fuel to get better. Would we like to win these games? Absolutely. But the point is to continue to get better.”  Lakers guard Kobe Bryant sounding exasperated at a reporter’s question after Sunday’s home loss to the Celtics.

Michael Wilbon on ABC’s pregame show for its Sunday NBA doubleheader, didn’t exactly smother viewers in hype: “These are the dog days — I’m sorry, but they are — of the NBA season.”

“We have to do something. The Lakers are not responding and two things showed me that — the Miami Heat Christmas game and then the Boston Celtics game [on Sunday]. When you don’t get up for your two biggest games during the season and you have flat performances, then you have to start looking at trade possibilities to improve the team and bring some energy to the team and bring some new life to the team.” – Magic Johnson saying on Tuesday, a day after Los Angeles Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak said he would consider a trade amid the team’s recent struggles, that the Lakers need to make a deal to improve a team he believes isn’t good enough to win a championship.

“It’s just a different world — the camaraderie of the game, the amount of money that we have, the mentoring of people that are involved. I don’t want to talk to agents. I don’t want to talk to ‘Wild Wild West.’” “I’m sorry, I want to talk to you,” said Denver Nuggets coach George Karl of his rapport with Carmelo Anthony. “If you and I want to go out to dinner, that’s fine, I’ll make time for that. But I’m not going to go out with you and ‘Wild Wild West’ and a couple of other guys.” While discussing his relationship with his star player, Karl repeatedly misnamed Anthony’s friend and consultant for CAA, William “Worldwide Wes” Wesley.

“They are putting this guy on every ESPN highlight. Yeah, it’s cool because fans want to see that, but you isolate him from his team. Especially … he ain’t made nobody better. It’s basically his rookie year, as an All-Star? LeBron James didn’t make an All-Star team as a rookie.” – Blazers guard (and former Clipper) Andre Miller to the Oregonian newspaper complaining about Clipper rookie Blake Griffin being chosen as a Western Conference reserve for this month’s All-Star Game over Miller’s teammate LaMarcus Aldridge among others. Miller added that he wasn’t “a hater.” Miller might be just a tad bit more believable if not for this incident earlier this season Andre Miller destroys Blake Griffin  that earned him a one-game suspension. If nothing else, it should make the next meeting between these teams just a little more “interesting” to say the least.

Cleveland’s J.J. Hickson, when the Cavaliers were one loss shy of losing their 24th game in a row, the all-time record: “They say you can’t win ’em all, but in the same light, you can’t lose ’em all, either. So if we stay [focused], I think we can get a couple of wins before the season’s over.”

Carmelo Anthony, who spurned contract-extension offers from Denver: “If I sit here and tell you I’m willing to lose $15 [million] to $20 million, then I’d be lying to you. But at the same time, this has never been about the money. In my career so far, I think I’ve made enough money. Now I can focus on just trying to win a championship. That’s the only thing that’s on my plate and on my mind right now.”

Orlando’s Ryan Anderson, on teammate Dwight Howard: “Sometimes it looks like he’s playing against high school kids out there. Actually, all the time it looks like he’s playing against high school kids.”

Howard, on statements he made when he was younger about growing up idolizing Boston’s Kevin Garnett: “Not anymore.”

BLAKE GRIFFIN SHOT OF THE WEEK AWARD

Blake Griffin Dunk Video: Watch Clippers Star’s Windmill Dunk vs. Bucks  

Blake Griffin Performance Recap  

STORIES OF THE WEEK

Cavaliers, on pace to tie losing-streak record, make losing fun

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 “I really don’t know how much more of this s**t I can take.” 

 Blake Griffin’s high-flying dunks turn him into top entertainer

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Blake Griffin has quickly become the next great L.A. entertainer with his high-flying dunks. 

The Point Forward » Posts Artest wants a trade … wait, no he doesn’t  

artest-trade-2.jpg

“I’m soooo confused!!!!!”

AROUND THE ASSOCIATION

Carmelo Anthony saga will prove how well Nuggets know their star  

Byron Scott Has Been Through Worse Than Cavs Losing Streak  

Walsh Eager to Finish Rebuilding Knicks, if They Let Him

Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak says he’s thought about making a trade  

Magic Johnson: Los Angeles Lakers may need deal to bring ‘new life’  

Larry Bird’s job safe through season’s end, Pacers owner says

Larry Bird determined to keep Pacers’ options open with new CBA

LeBron James still remembers Orlando critics when he joined Heat  

Disgruntled Ron Artest Desires Trade Out of Los Angeles

Nets Won’t See Progress Until Stars Can See Brooklyn  

Zach Randolph’s Quiet Stardom  

Four Celtics but no Love among All-Star Game reserves  

Retro style of Durant, Rose pushing NBA into new era  

Bulls’ Noah on schedule for rehabbed thumb  

Naming Blake Griffin, Kevin Love to West All-Star team was an easy call  

Shaq preparing for end game

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

CHUCK’S CHALK TALK

Whenever Lakers star Kobe Bryant makes comments like this when responding to a reporter’s question – “Don’t know, don’t care. People that criticize can kiss my ass. I don’t give a shit,” Kobe said in a post-practice interview. “I really don’t. I keep the train moving, we’re going to keep on moving, and in June, they’ll say nothing. But now, it’s good talk.” – I can’t help but think of a kid raised in the wealthy suburbs of Philadelphia trying to sound like a tough guy.

The Warriors’ Monta Ellis may not be an All-Star this year Ellis helps headline All-Snubbed team   but, he’s a shoo-in for the All-Tat team.

Did you know that with LeBron James last season, the Cavaliers were the first team to win 40 games? Well, they were and this year, without him, they were the first team to lose 40.

The Bulls have their annual “Ice Capades” trip in November which mean they’re never home for Thanksgiving, the Spurs have their annual rodeo trip every February and now it’s time for the Lakers and Clippers to make their annual Grammy Awards trip which this year runs even longer because of the All-Star Game being at Staples Center. Grammys force Lakers, Clippers, Kings to the road  

Key thing to remember when you decide to mock your opponent in their own building – Dwight Howard, Magic Mock LeBron Before Losing To Heat  – win the damn game. But, this was funny!

Blake Griffin’s Poster Children THERE ARE ENOUGH OF THEM TO FORM A SUPPORT GROUP are  this close to having a Facebook page of their own.

This is the Blake Griffin blog for Clipper nation: Quake Griffin

It’s about time One-of-a-kind Jerry West gets a statue is all I have to say about this! Congratulations to “The Logo”.

THE WEEK AHEAD

Lakers at Boston on Thursday, 5 p.m. PST. TV: TNT.

Expect another slugfest when the 2010 NBA finalists meet for a second time this season

They should get John Madden to help do the color commentary on this one, as in: “OOF! BIFF! SOCK!”

The Celtics, the roughest team around before going from fireplugs to thundering herd, barely got physical with the Lakers last Sunday while outrebounding them by 13.

So if the Lakers aren’t ready, this might not be pretty … and if they are, it still might not be pretty.

Of course, ferocious as they are, the Celtics are no longer embattled and the Lakers, casual as they are, are.

The problem is, as it was in Thursday’s loss to the Spurs when the Lakers played hard, that one team was coherent and one was not.

However, it’s true: You’re never as good as you look when you win or as bad as you look when you lose.

RANKINGS, WE’VE GOT RANKINGS! (my comments in italics)

By Mark Heisler, Tribune Newspapers

Spurs move back into top spot of the Times’ NBA rankings

Celtics are No 2; Lakers drop two notches to No. 5.

RANKINGS, COMMENTS THROUGH SATURDAY

GRAY PANTHERS RULE

1.- SAN ANTONIO (42-8) Forget Lakers, the race they’re focused on now is with Celtics. (2) Sneaking up on a shot at another ring.

2. BOSTON (37-12) Scary part is they’re built for playoffs, when they get days off. (1) Unless old age and/or injuries or until someone finally breaks KG’s jaw.

THE YOUNG, THE RESTLESS, THE LAKERS

3. MIAMI (36-14) Modern-NBA-in-a-nutshell rocks Magic’s world on its own floor. (4) Still not big enough upfront to beat Boston in a 7-game series.

4. DALLAS (35-15) In Dirk we trust: 1-3 upon his return, 8-0 since, winning in Boston. (9) Must shake “soft as Charmin” tag to be taken seriously as a title threat.

5. LAKERS (35-16) Stick a fork in them . . . oh, it’s Feb. 6? Make it a salad fork. (3) On an emotional see-saw all season long. Current roadie could make or break the season for them.

6. CHICAGO (34-15) Up past bedtime or not, East’s hottest team is on a 25-6 run. (5) And Noah’s almost back.

7. OKLAHOMA CITY (33-17) Small forward for the ages: Durant just scored 47-40-33-43. (8) Need a legit “Big” to go deep into playoffs.

8. ATLANTA (33-18) Needed a rest: Johnson averaged 26 last month post-elbow surgery. (10) Coach Larry Drew has been distracted by Larry II’s departure from Carolina.

9. ORLANDO (32-19) Might need another blockbuster. (7) Ya think?

10. NEW ORLEANS (32-20) Wheels come off: Okafor, Ariza out, Paul playing with ankle sprain. (6) And yet, they extended the Lakers Saturday night.

YOU STILL HERE?

11. DENVER (30-21) Lost three of five, one to Anthony’s almost-teammate Nets. (12) This ceased being interesting weeks ago. Anthony now just annoying.

12. MEMPHIS (27-25) One for Lionel Hollins: Went 8-1 amid Randolph, Mayo trade rumors. (15) It’s called “coaching.”

13. UTAH (30-22) Rolling and tumbling: Losses to Wizards, Nets started 3-9 skid. (11) This has to be Sloan’s last year, right?

14. PORTLAND (27-24) End, or new beginning, is near: Miller on block as Blazers go 2-4. (13) I’m playing the world’s smallest violin for this a**hole.

15. NEW YORK (25-24) Flattening out, but 41-41 means some JV East team must go .667. (14) The Seahawks of the NBA?

16. PHILADELPHIA (23-26) Not bad for a team that finished last season 5-21 and started 3-13. (18) I sure hope that’s not their marketing slogan!

17. PHOENIX (23-25) Just went 8-4 as Gortat blew up, but Memphis got a bigger bounce. (16) Nash gone soon?

18. HOUSTON (24-28) At least Rockets can still scare the daylights out of the Lakers. (17) That’s an ever-growing list this season.

19. CLIPPERS (19-30) They’re 14-9 since 5-21 start — but 22 of last 33 are on road. (21) Yeah, but these are not your father’s Clippers!

20. GOLDEN STATE (22-27) Curry averaged 19 last month, first in which he didn’t miss a game. (22) And somehow I think A.C. Green’s consecutive games played record is secure.

21. INDIANA (20-27) Honeymoon suite: 3-0 under ex-assistant Vogel since O’Brien axed. (24) So?

22. CHARLOTTE (21-29) Assistant Charles Oakley revives Kwame Brown. OK, intermittently. (19) Talk about a miracle. I’m not sure Jesus himself could raise Kwame from the dead.

23. DETROIT (19-32) A 7-6 run puts Pistons in East playoff race, such as it is. (23) See #15; apply here.

24. MILWAUKEE (19-30) Going wrong way: 1-4 with Jennings back, with home loss to Pistons. (20) Papa Was A Rolling Stone.

HAVE TO TAKE KINDERGARTEN AGAIN

25. SACRAMENTO (12-35) If few others grasped Kings’ potential, the Lakers just did. (25) No kidding.

26. NEW JERSEY (15-36) Next turning point: 4-1 after ending Anthony talks . . . 1-4 since. (26) “The Anthony Talks” sounds like CNN’s coverage of an ongoing news story.

27. WASHINGTON (13-37) Hit Wall: Point guard prospect of the ages at 38% since Dec. 1. (27) “Dougie” this.

28. TORONTO (14-37) Amir Johnson at 18 and 10 in last five. Raptors are 1-13 in last 14. (29) See #21; apply here.

29. MINNESOTA (11-39) KG, a head shorter: Love is Timberwolves’ first post-Garnett All-Star. (28) Best All-Star marketing video EVER!

30. CLEVELAND (8-43) Cavaliers’ 24th loss in a row makes history; 1-33 since ‘Bron’s return. (30) Could they reverse-match the 1971-72 Lakers 33-game winning streak?

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