First Cup: Tuesday

November, 10, 2009
11/10/09
8:58
AM ET
  • Ronald Tillery of The Commercial-Appeal: "From talk radio to message boards to water coolers in the workplace, Allen Iverson's departure has been controversial and a hot issue. The Griz sold additional tickets and ratcheted up their marketing campaign based on Iverson's arrival as a free-agent signee in September. Lionel Hollins said he understands why fans might be upset about the Iverson situation but it's his job to keep the team focused and geared toward having a successful season. 'We still have the same goals and aspirations,' Hollins said. 'Allen Iverson has to do what's best for him and his family. If it doesn't involve playing with the Grizzlies, then it doesn't. If it does then we'll keep trying to figure it out and get it going in the right direction. As I said when we started, it's a process. I said all along I want to get better and better each day, and be better than we were last year. We've got a long ways to go to get to that level but we're working at it.'"
  • Mark Murphy of the Boston Herald: "Allen Iverson’s troubles in Memphis, with the aging star weighing retirement against the prospect of coming off the bench, highlight the crossroads that most NBA players in their early 30s have to face. 'It depends on the player -- you can or you can’t do it,' said Rasheed Wallace, who has made that transition in his first year with the Celtics. Wallace, though, can’t speak for his former Detroit teammate. 'I haven’t talked with him since this summer,' Wallace said after yesterday’s practice. 'But I’m pretty sure that it’s tough for him.' The key to moving from starter to reserve, according to Wallace, is accepting the decline in one’s abilities. 'I’ve already accepted that I can’t jump no more,' he said. 'I’m not as athletic as I used to be. But when you lose that step or two, you have to pick up that step or two in your head. It’s an adjustment, but one that I’ve made before. It depends on the mentality of that person. It can be an advantage or a disadvantage. You have to be able to step into a game and catch that flow.' "

  • Tim Kawakami of the San Jose Mercury News: "Brace yourselves, folks, I think the volcano's ready to blow. When it does, everything else we've seen and heard from the Warriors this season will seem rinky-dink in comparison. I'm not just talking about the Stephen Jackson Issue, though Jackson's agent re-ignited the lava flow this week by launching a broad attack against Don Nelson to ESPN.com. ... You see, the Jackson affair is just the warm-up percolation, however it is resolved, if it ever is. I'm also talking about the Monta Ellis Issue, which has been building for months. I'm talking about the Anthony Randolph Issue, which Nelson continues to stoke. I'm talking about the Andris Biedrins Issue. The Corey Maggette Issue. The C.J. Watson Issue. The Team-Is-Lousy Issue. I'm talking about all of the issues, all of these players in various states of unease and unhappiness, jammed together in one hothouse locker room, ready to explode. Mostly, I'm talking about owner Chris Cohan, team president Robert Rowell and Nelson, struggling to keep a lid on the combustion. Which, of course, will only make the detonation bigger when it happens."
  • Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle: "Rockets coach Rick Adelman greeted each round number the way many coaches do, attaching no more meaning to the one win that pushed his total to some milestone than the hundreds he had collected to get there. Then he hit win No. 864 on Friday, and it was different. That was Jack Ramsay’s number, and with his next victory, Adelman will surpass the win total of the coach who gave him his first NBA coaching job. The number meant nothing. The individual who held it meant so much. 'When you hit milestones like 500, 600 or 700 wins, that’s something that indicates you’ve had good teams,' Adelman said. 'But if I’ve matched him, to me that’s a personal milestone that means something, because he’s one of the best coaches ever in this league. So when you attain that status equal to him as far as wins -- not as a coach but as wins -- it just makes you feel pretty good. Because I know what kind of coach he was, and I was around him a lot, and that means a lot to me.' "
  • T.J. Simers of the Los Angeles Times: "The Clippers apparently have so many rock heads on their team the organization has taken to putting up signs everywhere in Staples Center this season to remind them, 'It's game time.' In yet another daring move, they also have this printed on the hallway wall outside their locker room: 'We are what we repeatedly do, excelling, then, it is not an act, but a habit. Aristotle.' We already know they don't listen to Coach/GM MikeDunleavy -- you think they're going to pay attention to a guy who might be a soccer coach for all they know? A new season, and the Clippers come back with the same depressing story line, yahoo radio guy, lots of injuries and a druggie in their locker room just to remind Clippers' fans they will always settle for the bottom of everyone else's roster. 'You're a clown,' Ricky Davis is telling me before Monday night's game and he's the druggie -- suspended last season for testing positive. It takes a lot these days to get anyone to attend a Clippers game, and the last thing they need is a reminder of the very worst kind of players the NBA has to offer."
  • Jason Jones of The Sacramento Bee: "Omri Casspi is winning over fans in Sacramento with his style of play. One person who isn't too fond of Casspi is Golden State Warriors forward Stephen Jackson. ... Apparently Jackson doesn't think Casspi will be a 'factor' in the NBA and didn't want to be asked about the Kings' rookie. If Casspi bothers Jackson after two meetings, one in the preseason and Sunday's game, isn't the rookie already a factor? I asked Casspi if he had fun playing against Jackson. Casspi said he has 'fun playing basketball' but didn't seem bothered that Jackson doesn't seem to like him."
  • Mary Schmitt Boyer of The Plain Dealer: "The only 'Shaq Vs.' that Cavaliers fans are interested will come Wednesday night when Shaquille O'Neal faces off against Dwight Howard and the Orlando Magic. ...The main question is whether coach Mike Brown will double-team Howard, a move O'Neal made clear would be unnecessary in his very first press conference here -- a sentiment he repeated after practice on Monday at Cleveland Clinic Courts. 'We're not going to double,' O'Neal said. 'I'm sure they are going to double. We've just got to play hard.' Asked if he concurred with O'Neal's game plan, Brown smiled and said, 'That's Shaq's idea of the game plan. He's been around long enough. He's got four rings and 17 years. So he's got a good feel of what's going on.' "
  • Chris Lott of MLive.com: "Detroit Pistons guard Will Bynum spends plenty of time in the office of coach John Kuester after practice. 'I know all the pictures and everything in his office now,' Bynum said, smiling. 'For real. All this (North) Carolina stuff, Dean Smith. I've been in there a little bit too much.' Spending time with the coach is part of the learning curve for a young point guard, and the Pistons have two of them in Rodney Stuckey and Bynum. Stuckey averages 16 points, six rebounds and 3.7 assists as the starter, and Bynum averages 11 points and a team-leading 4.1 assists off the bench. 'We do have young point guards that are trying to get a sense of what I want to accomplish, and they've worked real hard,' Kuester said. 'They're the focal point of what we're trying to get accomplished all the time in our game plan, offensively and defensively, so there's a lot of dialogue.' "
  • Tom Enlund of the Journal Sentinel: "The Milwaukee Bucks have played only five games. Still, the numbers don't lie. The Bucks are giving up 85.2 points per game. They are the only team in the league that has yet to yield 100 points in a game. And they are off to the best start in franchise history for points allowed after five games. Not bad for a franchise that has not been known for its defense over the past several years. Coach Scott Skiles said there are several factors involved. 'Preparation, hard work, everything,' he said. 'We work very hard at it. The guys are getting good at our schemes. We're contesting shots very well. We've been good on the defensive board. So all the factors you need if you're going to do that, we're doing them all fairly well right now.' "
  • Mike McGraw of the Daily Herald: "Tribune columnist Rick Morrissey showed up at practice carrying an old copy of his sports section and a jar of salsa. Apparently on draft night 2007, he wrote that if Joakim Noah becomes a useful player within three years, he’ll eat his column with salsa. Well, Noah had 21 points, 16 rebounds and 4 blocks in Saturday’s win over Charlotte, so Morrissey actually showed up to eat the column. I didn’t see it happen, but the stunt was videotaped and I’m sure the two-year old newsprint was delicious."
  • Ira Winderman South Florida Sun Sentinel: "Michael Beasley took his game to new heights at Monday's practice. With braids out and 'fro full extended, the second-year Miami Heat power forward figured he measured in 'at about seven foot one.' Whether the 'fro remains in place for Tuesday night's game against the visiting Washington Wizards is another story. 'I haven't decided yet,' he said with a smile of the unkempt billow. 'I don't know.' But Beasley, about to make his seventh start of the season, appreciates that he has to play bigger than he has in recent games. After grabbing 23 rebounds in his first three games, Beasley, who generously is listed by the Heat at 6-9 1/2, has 11 in the last three. That's four fewer than guard Dwyane Wade over the same span, 17 fewer than small forward Quentin Richardson. 'I've been kind in an offensive funk, missing my first couple of shots and pretty much my whole game has been off,' he said. 'It's me. There's nothing going on. I've got to get back to doing what I do.' "
  • Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel: "People who wander through the desert hope to stumble upon an oasis. Thirty-seven-year-old Grant Hill plays basketball in the Arizona desert and he's found the fountain of youth. Hill missed 374 games during his disastrous seven-season tenure with the Orlando Magic, but he has enjoyed a career resurgence with the Phoenix Suns. He played in all of the Suns' games last season, and he's played a significant role in his team's strong start this fall. 'My daughter gave him the name 'Benjamin Button' last year,' Phoenix Coach Alvin Gentry said. 'He seems to be going the other way.' Hill looked relaxed in his visit to Orlando last week to face the Magic. Working with Phoenix's renowned training staff has rejuvenated him. Aside from the specs of white that dot his dark goatee, he more closely resembles the player who started his NBA career in Detroit than the one who hobbled throughout most of his time with the Magic. 'There were times last year where I did things and I'm running down the court [and I say to myself], 'Man, I haven't done that since I was in Detroit,' ' Hill said."
  • Benjamin Hochman of The Denver Post "Tonight is the fifth game of the Nuggets' road trip, but Kenyon Martin spoke Monday as if it's the fifth game of a playoff series. 'I'm going to play, man -- no matter how I feel,' said Martin, who sustained a left leg bruise on Friday in Miami. 'We lost two games in a row. Bottom line, we've got to stop the bleeding. I think my presence on the court will go a long way.' The power forward left the Miami loss in the second quarter, and he watched Saturday's loss at Atlanta from the sideline. Barring any setbacks, he will play tonight at Chicago, where the Nuggets (5-2) have lost the past three seasons. 'We've got to get back to playing the way we're capable of playing,' said Martin, who is averaging 10.0 points and 6.3 rebounds. 'Not playing was so frustrating, man. I put a little bit of that burden on myself.' "
  • Paul Coro of The Arizona Republic: "The Suns did not play like a team worthy of superlatives in the first half Monday. They finally looked tired on this 4-1 trip that covered seven days. Phoenix reverted to the old Suns, shooting 1 for 11 with Steve Nash out, and trailed by 12 at halftime. But there is a chip among these players. It's not about proving people wrong. It seems to be more about proving the 2008-09 team wrong. 'It stung last year not do to well,' Nash said. 'That's why you saw a lot of guys in Phoenix in August trying to get ready for the next season. No one wants to be a loser and not make the playoffs. We're motivated to be as good of a team as can be. I'm sure we're not one of the top talents in the league, but we've got good depth and grittiness that has made all the difference in the world along with having a singular vision from the start.' "
  • Jenn Abelson of The Boston Globe: "With a championship-caliber squad on the floor, the team is stepping up its digital game for devotees who can’t get enough of Pierce, KG, Rondo, and Ray on television and can’t score tickets to TD Garden. The team recently began distributing exclusive locker room footage on YouTube, and last week launched 3-Point Play, an interactive stats prediction game for fans on the Celtics’ Facebook page. The Celtics are also sending Twitter messages, including quotes from press conferences and team events, to 21,000 followers and using the social networking site to offer seating upgrades at games. These efforts augment GameTime Live, an application available at Celtics.com that features real time scores, tweets, and blogging with supporters throughout the world. The team beta-tested GameTime Live during the 2009 postseason, and more than 50,000 unique visitors checked it out during the triple-overtime loss to the Chicago Bulls in Game 6 of the first round. 'Now that we’re at this sold-out state, it’s more difficult to get into the game and fans can’t get tickets,' said Rich Gotham, the team’s president. 'We want to make sure we don’t forget about those fans. We want to keep them interested and keep them loyal.' "

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