Wednesday, March 26, 2008
First Cup: Wednesday
- David Aldridge of The Philadelphia Inquirer: It's no coincidence that the young players began to blossom once Stefanski was hired to replace King. While Stefanski's only official move thus far was dealing guard Kyle Korver to Utah for guard Gordan Giricek (who has since been waived), he's had an impact behind the scenes. At his urging, coach Maurice Cheeks expanded his playing rotation, and so far the 76ers' young players have handled playing important minutes down the stretch. When the youngsters play, the 76ers have one of the most athletic rosters in the league, able to force turnovers and get out and run. 'What [Stefanski] has done is change the style of play,' says a Pacific Division pro scout who has seen the Sixers play several times this season. ... The best stat that may describe the team's turnaround is this: the 76ers have won the second half of back-to-back games 13 of the last 15 times. That's a remarkable number."
- Jason Quick of the Oregonian: "The season of the Blazers star is now in question after [Brandon] Roy left the game at the end of the first quarter with a right groin strain, then returned midway through the second quarter, only to leave again for good minutes later after aggravating the injury. The severity of the injury is still unknown. However, the way in which it happened -- Roy landed awkwardly while defending a three-point shot at the first quarter buzzer -- and the nature of groin injuries, left coach Nate McMillan fearing the worst. 'That injury could be awhile,' said McMillan, acknowledging that groin injuries can take up to a month to heal. 'I don't even want to think about that.'"
- ESPN.com's Marc Stein: "After playing just nine games back in the Bay Area, Webber is retiring. New problems with the surgically repaired left knee that has plagued him for the past half-decade have prompted Webber to leave the game, not even two months after he returned to the team and city where the most famous face from Michigan's famed Fab Five began his NBA career. The Warriors have called a press conference for Wednesday morning so that the 35-year-old, undeniably one of the game's most versatile big men at his peak, can formally announce his plans."
- Fran Blinebury of the Houston Chronicle: "After one season with New York in 2003-04, Mutombo was told by then-general manager and now head coach of the Knicks Isiah Thomas that the day had come, and that blunt message has driven him for the past four years. 'It's still a wound,' Mutombo said. 'My wife and I still talk about it. It's still a bit sad to see the commissioner coming and all those people coming to celebrate the 17 years of my career and accomplishments and you look back and say that about (four) years ago, I had a guy tell me that I couldn't play basketball no more, to go to the beach and onto vacation. That's the same guy who's losing his job tomorrow. ... I never said nothing (to Thomas),' Mutombo said. 'The last time we played at the Garden (Jan. 9), my wife asked me to go shake his hand, to just forgive him. I went and shook his hand and I told him, 'On behalf of my wife, I want to shake your hand and I forgive you for everything you've done to me.'"
- Marcus Thompson II of the Contra Costa Times: "[Referee Bob] Delaney was not a rogue in Monday's blunder. His co-officials, who had a much better angle, are at least accomplices for allowing him to go through with such blatant misjudgment. Both Olandis Poole and Luis Grillo were in position to see Lakers guard Derek Fisher pull Ellis to the ground with four seconds left on the clock in overtime and the Warriors down 121-119. Most important, charge the NBA with accessory after the fact because Tuesday came and went without testimony from the league office. No apology. No admission it was the wrong call. No disclosure of Delaney's evaluation."
- Mike Bianchi of the Orlando Sentinel: "This season, give me the upcoming NBA playoffs over the ongoing NCAA playoffs. Put away your pompoms and admit it: The story lines in the NBA are infinitely more interesting than college basketball this season. Don't get me wrong, I love college basketball. I love March Madness. And admittedly nothing can touch the sheer drama of the NCAA's one-and-done format. But let's be honest, most fans who watch the NCAA Tournament couldn't name five college basketball players. They watch for the spectacle, not the sport. It's more about what's happening on their bracket than what's happening on the floor."