espnW: Boston Celtics
Before the balls start bouncing in the annual NBA draft lottery tonight (7 p.m. ET on ESPN), here are five fast facts you should know.
1. With a 25 percent chance, the Milwaukee Bucks have the best odds to win the No. 1 pick. The Philadelphia 76ers (19.9 percent) and Orlando Magic (15.6 percent) have the next-best opportunities.
2. Since the draft lottery changed to its present format in 1994, the team with (or tied for) the best odds has landed the No. 1 pick just three times in 20 years -- the 76ers in 1996, the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2003 and the Orlando Magic in 2004. Oddly, teams with the third- and fifth-best odds have won the most lotteries -- four times each.
3. Of the 13 teams in the 2014 lottery, the Cavaliers have received the top pick the most times at five (1971, 1986, 2003, 2011, 2013). The Utah Jazz, Boston Celtics, Denver Nuggets, Minnesota Timberwolves and Phoenix Suns have never had the No. 1 selection.
4. The Los Angeles Lakers are in the lottery for just the third time in history. They got the 10th pick in both 1994 and 2005.
5. Despite 19-year-old headliners Andrew Wiggins and Jabari Parker, 2014 has the lowest number of underclassmen declaring for the draft since 2003. Forty-five underclassmen declared, one fewer than last year and 35 fewer than the record 80 in 2010.
Celtics star Kevin Garnett has long been known to dish out some of nastiest trash talk in the league, his yapper getting more of a workout than his legs on game nights. This past week the big-mouthed big man was at it again, reportedly telling Knicks guard Carmelo Anthony that his wife LaLa Vazquez "tastes like Honey Nut Cheerios."
The pair's in-game jawing got 'em both a technical and the remark made Anthony so mad he sought out Garnett after the game, confronting him in the tunnel, outside the locker rooms and in the arena parking garage. Anthony's attempts to physically engage Garnett resulted in a one-game suspension for the Knicks star; he'll miss Thursday night's contest against the Pacers.
If the rumor mill is to be believed, Anthony and Vasquez are currently estranged, which may be why he got so incensed. Garnett's insinuation was certainly crass, but most ballplayers have heard enough trash talk to let a comment like that slide. In this case, perhaps it hit a little too close to home.
Boston coach Doc Rivers spoke out about the most publicized cereal-based insult since the Lucky Charms leprechaun ripped Notre Dame's effort in the BCS Title game (alright that didn't happen), denying reports that Garnett brought up Anthony's wife.
"(Garnett) does (know where the line is)," Rivers told a Boston radio station. "He does. I will say that. I've never heard him cross the line. And usually when he talks about guys, it's usually about their game or their team or what he thinks if the guy's a winner or loser."
There's no known audio of the incident, so it is possible that Garnett never compared LaLa to the center of a balanced breakfast, but history tells us the Boston big man might not know where the line is, after all. Back in 2010 he allegedly called Pistons forward Charlie Villanueva "a cancer patient." Villanueva suffers from alopecia, a virus that prevents hair growth.
The incident reflected poorly on Garnett and further built up his reputation as a win-at-all-costs, hit-em-where-it-hurts kind of guy. Needling Anthony over an alleged rocky patch in his marriage sure isn't nice, but if the goal was to take his focus off the game, it worked.
I don't endorse Garnett's tendency to hit below the belt, but I do think Anthony’s gotta get a thicker skin. Every game is as much physical as mental and in Monday night's Celtics’ win, Garnett won both those battles.