Friday, November 9, 2012
First Cup: Friday
By Nick Borges
- Eddie Sefko of The Dallas Morning News: Jason Kidd’s legacy will always be part of the Mavericks. They will see their old pal in a New York Knicks uniform Friday night as they visit Madison Square Garden. Owner Mark Cuban and many others would tell you they thought Kidd would be back with the Mavericks this season and that he betrayed the Mavericks by moving elsewhere. That’s an arguable point, and maybe flat-out wrong. They should be glad he isn’t here. Kidd, 39, sent the Mavericks kicking and screaming into the future. If he’d come back, they would have been compelled to stay with the same, plodding style that was good enough for a championship in 2011 but quickly became stale last season without J.J. Barea, Tyson Chandler and others returning. Now, with a 4-1 start and lots of positive things going on with the roster, the Mavericks have turned the page and moved on. The future is now. … It was, and is, always about “us” with Kidd. But what Cuban and the Mavericks have to get over is the fact that Kidd left. That was his prerogative in free agency. The only thing the Mavericks can do to vent any leftover frustration is to beat him.
- Doug Smith of the Toronto Star: No, I don’t for one second think they should even consider retiring No. 15, Vince was the most gifted player in franchise history and he put the team on the map and was responsible for its greatest success. Maybe there is a way for them to honour him with the 20th anniversary coming around, maybe there’s a Ring of Honour or somesuch for Carter and, perhaps, four others as the top five of the first 20 decades. But retire the number? No way. Shouldn’t even think about it. And this whole thing about him coming back somehow to end his career with the Raptors? Well, what did you expect him to say but yes? If he wants to play after this deal is over, and he will have reached his 15-year goal at the end of this (you can read about that here) but why would he limit his future possibilities by saying no? That would make no sense.
- Ray Richardson of the Pioneer Press: Brandon Roy is off to a sluggish start. But the three-time NBA all-star wants to clarify two things: his knees are fine, and he's not about to panic. Roy has not contributed significantly to the Timberwolves' 3-1 start. He is shooting 26.6 percent and averaging 5.7 points, both career lows. Though he has started all four games, he has not played in the fourth quarter the past three games, and he's been passive with his shooting. Roy had more assists (9) than shots (6) in the Wolves' win over Orlando on Wednesday night, prompting one more clarification. "My thing was to not come out and make a splash right away but to be ready in the later months," Roy said Thursday, Nov. 8, after a Wolves practice. "I just need to get my legs back. My legs are still a little heavy. My shot's been off. Once I get my legs back, the game will get easier."
- Darnell Mayberry of The Oklahoman: Russell Westbrook again said something tonight that he’s repeatedly said in the past. KD’s the go-to guy down the stretch. It’s a stance Westbrook always has maintained and one that throws dirt on anyone who tries to claim Westbrook wants to be the man. “It was his time,” Westbrook said of Durant in crunch time. “Everybody knows that’s his time. And he took his time and got the shots he needed.” Maybe that’s what’s in play here. Maybe Durant is letting Westbrook do his thing for three quarters and taking the reins in the fourth. Maybe that’s something the two stars have agreed to so there can be harmony. How else can you explain Durant simply watching Westbrook throw up shot after shot throughout the first three quarters tonight, missing more than 70 percent of them? Durant literally did nothing. He didn’t demand the ball. He didn’t make a fuss. He didn’t even appear to try to corral Westbrook. He just jogged up and down the court, as Westbrook continued to shoot until his heart was content. Harmony, however, was seen and heard in the locker room following the victory.
- Jason Quick of The Oregonian: I miss LaMarcus Aldridge. Oh, I get to see him every practice, and every Trail Blazers game. But I haven’t seen the old Aldridge. The All-Star Aldridge. The one who plays both inside and outside. This was supposed to be a season when coach Terry Stotts and his offensive creativity would expand Aldridge’s repertoire. But so far - and granted, it’s only five games into the season - all we have seen is Aldridge revert back to the jump-shooting big man of his early years in Portland, when he was chastised for being soft. I’m not against Aldridge shooting jump shots. He is a terrific outside shooter. But long-range jump shots shouldn’t be his bread-and-butter. In a salty postgame interview Thursday after 7-for-17 shooting night, Aldridge said he doesn’t believe he is shooting too many jumpers. “I don’t,’’ Aldridge said. “Obviously you do, you asked the question.’’
- Monte Poole of the Bay Area News Group: The news that Bogut's left ankle will keep him out of the lineup for "a week to 10 days'' is the team's greatest fear and undoubtedly blurs the vision for the immediate future. Ten days might be optimistic. Three weeks might be more like it. If I'm the Warriors, I'll take that. If I'm coach Mark Jackson or general manager Bob Myers or owner Joe Lacob, I'll take Bogut averaging 25 minutes in 65 games over Ellis averaging 35 in 80. None of these three men, to be sure, have any misgivings. Five games into the season, we've seen enough of the 7-foot center to comprehend the potential of his value, enough to convince some skeptics of the trade that a healthy Bogut is making the Warriors better than they were before his arrival. That's true, in spades. There is no reason, not yet, maybe never, to regret making that trade with Milwaukee last March. Quite simply, the Warriors had more reasons to trade Monta than they had reasons to acquire Bogut. … While this news is cause for Warriors and their fans to hold their breath, it's no reason to sound alarms, nor does it rationalize wishing they'd go back to being what they were: Irrelevant, constantly in search of size and going nowhere in today's NBA.
- Chris Vivlamore of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution: The Hawks are about to get fire tested. For here come the Heat. The defending NBA champions will give these new-look Hawks an indication of just where they stand early this season. With back-to-back dramatic victories, a short-handed road win over the Thunder and a comeback home victory over the Pacers, the Hawks have shown some resiliency. That resolve will be challenged against the Heat and their Big Three of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh and a strong supporting cast. … Larry Drew said he has yet to decide on a starting lineup against the Heat, who have won three straight against the Hawks. He he is still deciding whether to go with a smaller, quicker unit as he did against the Thunder or a bigger group as he did to match up against the Pacers.
- George Richards of The Miami Herald: Although it’s not an official stat kept by the NHL, defenseman Brian Campbell led the Florida Panthers with 28 secondary assists last season. Like the NHL, the NBA doesn’t keep track of those type of assists either. Yet it’s safe to say LeBron James would lead the Heat if they did. James recorded eight assists in Miami’s 103-73 victory over Brooklyn on Wednesday night but could have had more had he not looked ahead and dished off to an open teammate who then fed and even more open teammate for the bucket. In basketball talk, this is called a “hockey assist.’’ In hockey, up to two assists are awarded for each goal. Some hockey fans argue basketball has it right by awarding just one assist per basket. Still, the so-called hockey assist is a good indicator of a strong passing team. … The term “hockey assist’’ hasn’t been uttered by the Heat publicly much this year although players say it is talked about a lot inside the locker room and at practices. James said the art of looking for the early pass is something that was taught to him as a youth; Wade said current Indiana University coach Tom Crean stressed the hockey assist when both were at Marquette.
- John Reid of The Times-Picayune: After sitting out the previous two games with a mild concussion, New Orleans Hornets rookie forward Anthony Davis could be cleared to play for Friday night's game against the Charlotte Bobcats, according to sources close to the situation. Davis said after Thursday's practice that he is no longer experiencing recurring concussion symptoms such as headaches but continues to undergo tests required in the NBA's strict concussion policy. ``I feel good,'' said Davis, the No. 1 overall pick in the June NBA draft.
- Steve Bulpett of the Boston Herald: Kevin Garnett will face no further penalty from the NBA after being called for a technical foul in the fourth quarter of Wednesday’s 100-94 victory against Washington. Garnett was called for the tech when he used his left elbow to disengage from Wizards forward Kevin Seraphin, who was called for a foul. The NBA office reviewed the play yesterday and decided the technical would stand and that no greater penalty would be levied. Celtics coach Doc Rivers was not expecting a problem from the league investigation. “I didn’t even think it was enough for a tech,” he said.
- Howard Beck of The New York Times: In a digital era in which judgments are rendered in rapid-fire, 140-character blasts, there is no time for explanation, no room for nuance and little use for patience. So Deron Williams is pretty sure the world is ready to bury the Nets, even if he is willfully ignoring the chatter. “I haven’t checked Twitter in like a week because of that,” Williams said Thursday, a day after the Nets absorbed a 30-point loss in Miami to fall to 1-2. “It’s how things go.” It is the price the Nets must pay for the magazine covers, the television series, the sterling off-season reviews and the weeks of unbridled hype. It is the cost-of-living increase that comes with moving from Newark to Brooklyn.
- Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle: Though James Harden and Jeremy Lin are at their best when running pick-and-rolls in the middle of the floor, Carlos Delfino said the Rockets have struggled with becoming too predictable by running pick-and-rolls early in the shot clock. They have wanted to have more ball movement and cutting and then work the pick-and-roll. “We become too predictable sometimes,” Delfino said. “Just because we know we have a guy like James creating and Jeremy, even if you are going to finish with pick-and-roll, from my point of view, you should be able to get another play before that pick-and-roll happens. It’s better to finish with a pick-and-roll in the last 10 seconds than the first five or 10 seconds, because the defense is already set.” The Rockets said that running a more free-flowing offense will come as they become accustomed to one another.
- Jason Reid of The Washington Post: If you like top-notch basketball, don’t waste your time on the Washington Wizards. Only three games into a new season, the winless Wizards again find themselves at the bottom of the NBA standings. Their history indicates they’ll probably stay there. But if you’re a Wizards supporter (yes, there are still some) or simply a sports fan channel surfing for a hoops fix, then the Wizards do have something to offer. It’s all a matter of how you look at things. We’re happy to provide a viewing guide. The first step to enjoying Wizards games? Forget the scoreboard even exists. … The Wizards say they intend to become winners. Until their plan takes shape, we’ll just have to celebrate the little things. That’s all the Wizards ever give us.
- Tony Bizjak and Dale Kasler of The Sacramento Bee: Citing anonymous sources, the Virginian-Pilot newspaper reported Thursday that a representative of the Sacramento Kings met recently with the Virginia governor about the possibility of moving the team to Virginia Beach. A press secretary to Gov. Bob McDonnell declined to comment. But Virginia Beach Mayor Will Sessoms told The Bee a professional team is "very interested" in a move to that city. He refused to name the team or comment on any meetings. Sacramento Kings co-owner Joe Maloof simply said "no" Thursday when asked by The Bee whether the team had a recent meeting with the Virginia governor. Maloof offered no elaboration.
- Benjamin Hochman of The Denver Post: Only one team in the NBA is worse at making free throws than Denver. That's the Cleveland Cavaliers. The Nuggets, through five games, have shot a ghastly 64.4 percent from the foul line. Traditionally, backcourt players are better foul shooters. That's not the case with the Nuggets' backcourt starters. Iguodala is shooting 69 percent, while Ty Lawson is shooting 56 percent. He missed all four attempts on Wednesday.