First Cup: Monday
November, 12, 2012
By Nick Borges
- Mike Bresnahan of the Los Angeles Times: Mike D'Antoni, not Phil Jackson, will be the next coach of the Lakers. "We signed Mike D'Antoni to a multi-year deal," Lakers spokesman John Black said, mentioning the team's owner and top two executives. "Dr. [Jerry] Buss, Jim Buss and Mitch Kupchak were unanimous that Mike D'Antoni was the best coach for the team at this time." D'Antoni, 61, coached the New York Knicks last season and the Phoenix Suns before that. He will officially take over the Lakers within a week or two, depending how quickly he recovers from knee-replacement surgery. The Lakers will announce their new coach at a news conference as early as Tuesday but more likely later in the week. Bernie Bickerstaff will remain the team's interim coach for now. D'Antoni signed a three-year deal for $12 million. The team holds an option for a fourth year. Jackson was the overwhelming favorite to return to the Lakers until they heard his demands, which included a stake in team ownership, according to another person familiar with the situation. "He was asking for the moon," said the person, who also declined to be identified because they are not authorized to discuss the situation.
- Jason Jones of The Sacramento Bee: DeMarcus Cousins' decision to leave the locker room to confront a television analyst was costly. The NBA suspended the Kings' center for two games without pay Sunday for "confronting Spurs announcer Sean Elliott in a hostile manner" after Friday's loss to San Antonio at Sleep Train Arena. The suspension will cost Cousins $94,653. He was already in Los Angeles for Sunday's game against the Lakers but was not allowed to attend. … Cousins left the locker room, bypassing team officials to wait for Elliott to finish his broadcast. After returning to the locker room, Cousins said Elliott was "immature" for his comments during the game. Cousins' maturity has been questioned for years and is a reason he was available with the fifth pick in the 2010 draft, even though many scouts believed he was no worse than the second-most talented player in the draft. Kings coach Keith Smart said this incident shouldn't be seen as a sign Cousins isn't maturing. The center came to training camp in the best shape of his career and has worked to be less abrasive with teammates.
- Elliott Teaford of the Los Angeles Daily News: Blake Griffin swiped an errant pass with the Clippers locked in a tight game with the Atlanta Hawks on Sunday afternoon at Staples Center. He had nothing but open court ahead of him and a sellout crowd rose to its feet in anticipation of what was to come. How many revolutions would he make? How high would he leap? What degree of difficulty would be involved? Griffin disappointed all of the fans, including Shaquille O'Neal, who was seated in a courtside seat. Griffin jumped no higher than he needed to and dropped the ball easily through the basket as 19,060 fans groaned in disappointment. "I was going to dunk it," Griffin said after what might be the tamest of all of his dunks gave the Clippers a 63-60 lead with 42.4 seconds left in the third quarter. "I kind of just let it go. "I was wondering if I'd hear some boos, and the loudest was from Shaq." Talk about a tough audience.
- Chris Vivlamore of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution: Lob City turned into Turnover City for the Hawks. Atlanta committed a season-high 22 turnovers, 10 in the fourth quarter, en route to an 89-76 loss to the Los Angeles Clippers Sunday at a sold old Staples Center. Many of those turnovers led to uncontested layups as the Clippers went on a 26-5 run between the third and fourth quarters. Devin Harris hit a 3-pointer late in the third to put the Hawks up by one point, 60-59. Then 10:24 later, the Hawks trailed by 20 points, 85-65. Hawks coach Larry Drew said his team lost its composure. “I thought our guys followed our game plan for two and a half quarters,” Drew said. “Midway into that third quarter, it’s like we totally forgot what had put us in the position we were in. As I told them, on the road we have to be consistent, we have to be on the mark with all of our coverage’s.
- Geoff Calkins of The Commercial-Appeal: The Memphis Grizzlies defeated the defending-champion Miami Heat on Sunday 104-86. They won because — are you ready for this? — they hit everything from the outside. No, really. I mean it. Your Memphis Grizzlies hit everything from the outside. They hit 14 3-pointers. Ellington had seven all by himself. "I felt like I couldn't miss," said Ellington, which may be because he couldn't miss. He was 7 of 11 from 3. He had a career high 25 points. "If we shoot like that ..." said Mike Conley, not finishing the sentence. But if the Grizzlies shoot like that, they'll go 81-1.
- Joseph Goodman of The Miami Herald: Mario Chalmers didn’t want to talk about it. The Heat plays the Houston Rockets on Monday at Toyota Center but Chalmers wanted no part of speaking about his matchup with Rockets guard Jeremy Lin. “I just want to play the best I can in every game I play in,” said Chalmers when reminded of his dominance of Lin last season after Lin skyrocketed to stardom with the Knicks. Lin is averaging 12.3 points, 5.2 rebounds and 6.5 assists for the Rockets through their first six games. He had seven points and eight assists in Saturday’s victory over the Pistons. On Friday against the Grizzlies, Lin had three assists and four turnovers. Lin, of course, is only half of the Rockets’ revamped lineup that makes Monday’s game one of the most anticipated for the Heat in the first half of the season. The James Harden trade reshaped the Western Conference just before the beginning of the season and the Heat’s players have been looking forward to their trip to Houston ever since.
- Kristie Ackert of the New York Daily News: It was the crash that Avery Johnson hopes is heard around the NBA. With just over five minutes to play in the Nets’ 82-74 win over the Magic Sunday at the Barclays Center, Deron Williams rose up for a 3-pointer. With Magic guard E'Twuan Moore getting too close to him, Williams had no room to come down cleanly and crashed to the floor. He stayed down and grabbed his left ankle. It left both Johnson and Williams scared and angry. “The defense is moving under him a little bit more, he’s not getting level ground to come down. That’s something I know the officials will continue to evaluate,” Johnson said. “He’s not coming down clean enough on his shots, but I think he’s fine.” Johnson said he was obviously extremely nervous as Williams, the point guard the Nets signed to a five-year, $98 million contract, stayed on the floor holding his ankle as play continued at the other end of the court. Williams said he felt a flash of pain initially, but he waited, slowly retied both his sneakers and it was gone. Williams, 28, walked with a slight limp after the fall, but finished the game.
- Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel: No two players on the Orlando Magic roster receive more criticism than Jameer Nelson and Hedo Turkoglu. Fans occasionally fault Nelson because of his defensive shortcomings and because he's not a pass-first point guard. The disapproval of Turkoglu typically centers on his inconsistency and his lack of rebounding. On Sunday, however, their teammates needed them. The Magic felt the ripple effects of Nelson's and Turkoglu's injuries throughout an 82-74 loss to the Brooklyn Nets at brand-new Barclays Center. Their absences stunted an offense that already had little margin for error and forced coach Jacque Vaughn to give extended minutes to inexperienced replacements. "Those are two veterans who have played basketball a long time," Vaughn said. "It's putting added pressure on the other guys." Without Nelson and Turkoglu to space the floor, opposing defenses find it easier to swarm power forward Glen Davis, who scored 19 points but went just 9 of 21 from the field and had a pair of shots blocked. Without Nelson, second-year guard E'Twaun Moore played 40 minutes for the second game in a row. Without Turkoglu, rookie Maurice Harkless, whom coaches would prefer to bring along slowly, needed to play almost 11 minutes. Orlando lost its fourth consecutive game.
- Berry Tramel of The Oklahoman: The Kevin Martin/James Harden comparisons aren't likely to end anytime soon, so no reason to fight it. In fact, here's another way K-Mart mimics Harden. Things just go better for the Thunder when Martin is in the game. Harden always brought a certain something to the court. Sometimes scoring, sometimes passing, sometimes just the feeling that all hands were on deck. Now it's the same with Martin. The Thunder routed the Cavaliers 106-91 Sunday night downtown, and K-Mart entered the game only twice. Both times, the landscaped quickly improved for OKC. … “It's been a long time waiting to play on a team like this,” Martin said after what has become his typical Thunder game — 16 points on 6-of-9 shooting, plus five rebounds and three assists. “Just a great group of guys from the organization to the players. Opportunities like this, you never know when you're going to get them so you have to take advantage.” Martin said there's been no surprises. The Boomers have been exactly what they looked like to Martin from afar.
- Mary Schmitt Boyer of The Plain Dealer: Byron Scott is hanging a "Help Wanted" sign after the Cavaliers' 106-91 loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder on Sunday evening at Chesapeake Energy Arena. The beleaguered coach is one step short of running an ad in the classifieds or holding open tryouts to find somebody, anybody, to join Daniel Gibson on the team's unproductive second unit. With rookie backup center Tyler Zeller still out with a concussion and fractured left cheekbone, Gibson shouldered the load again Sunday. Ironically, thanks to Gibson's 16 points, the Cavs' second unit outscored the Thunder's, 29-22. Of course, that didn't matter after Russell Westbrook's 27 points and 10 assists and Kevin Durant's 26 points and eight rebounds helped Oklahoma City improve to 5-2. "The biggest thing is, I'm just looking for somebody besides Boobie Gibson to step up off the bench," Scott said after the Cavs dropped their third straight to fall to 2-5 overall, 1-4 on this six-game trip that ends Tuesday at Brooklyn.