by Holly MacKenzie
*I’m not actually implying that anything to do with LeBron is luck, I just liked the way the title sounds.
Bulls taking down the Celtics? Really? As I said yesterday, it feels more like April Fools day rather than St. Patricks day. I worked a night shift so unfortunately by the time I got home, all of the NBA action was over and I was stuck watching highlights and reading boxscores.
In other words… FILL ME IN.
Saw highlights of LeBron, though. My goodness. Really, what else is there to say?
I’ve been rooting for Dwyane and have been singing that DWADE FOR MVP song, but Bron is totally drowning me out.
43, 12, 8 and 4. No big deal. Just another win for the Cavs. 54 wins. Who thought we’d be here? Not this girl.
I think it’s inevitable. He will get that MVP award. I kind of hope that by saying those words, it puts the universe in motion and Wade follows this up with something ridiculous of his own tonight.
In case you needed the score, the Cavs took down the Magic, 97-93 and they needed some late game Magic from LeBron. That’s what I’ve been told, anyway. Bron also wore some pretty green and white shoes, I did catch a glimpse of those.
He scored 21 of the Cavs final 31 points and when his team was down one, in the final minutes, he drained a three in front of the Magic bench. He then knocked down free throws to close out the scoring. Rashard Lewis missed a three with 2.5 seconds remaining and the game was Cleveland’s. 30-1 at home. Winning is fun. Mo Williams added 21 points and Zydrunas Ilgauskas had 8 points and 11 boards for the Cavs. Dwight Howard led Orlando with 13 points, 15 boards and 6 blocked shots, but was almost invisible in the second half. Rafer Alston had 23 points and 5 steals and rookie Courtney Lee added 19 in the loss.
ATL killed the Kings 119-97 and Al Horford had a nice line of 23 points, 12 rebounds and 6 assists. Josh Smith had 21 and 10 and Joe Johnson added 20. The loss spoiled another nice line from Kevin Martin who finished wth 31 points on 14 field goal attempts from the floor and 15-17 from the line. The Kings shot 39% while giving up 55% shooting to the Hawks.
I’m lying. I caught 6.6 seconds of basketball.
6.6 seconds of great, but painful basketball.
6.6 seconds of Andre Igoudala killing the Lakers after Kobe hit a jumper to put LA up two. The Lakers deserve this loss, getting outscored 32-20 in the fourth and failing to use the foul they had to give with 6.6 on the clock. Philly wins, 94-93, thanks to s 20-2 fourth quarter run that was started by Donyell Marshall. Iggy finishes with 25 on the night as Pau had 25 and 11 for LA and Kobe was held to only 11 on 5-15 from the floor.
And with that loss, the Cavs currently own the best record in the league. First to 54.
Few more things about that Lakers game, Alvin Gentry twittered about it and called Igoudala the “real A.I.”. What’s that about? Also, post game, Donyell, made it a point to talk about how he works with his assistant coaches and stays in shape to be game ready, even when he isn’t playing. I thought he may have caught a glimpse of Lang’s Links from Monday.
Speaking of ugly shooting, Rodney Stuckey had a rough night against Dallas shooting only 5-19 from the floor as the Mavs picked up the two point win, 103-101. The Pistons were without Rip (strained groin), Sheed (strained calf), and Iverson (back). Afflalo started in Rip’s place and finished with 16 points as TayShaun Prince led the way offensively, scoring 28 on the night. The Mavs were led by Dirk Nowitzki’s 30, as Erick Dampier added 16 points and 13 boards.
While googling to see why Rip was out, I found this video.
You know what makes me sick about not watching games? I missed all of the Celtics/Bulls game and when I checked the box and noticed Leon Powe had played exactly 4:22 minutes and racked up exactly0 personal fouls, I felt ill. Could he have injured himself? Messed up his knee again? What happened? I checked twitter, didn’t see anything, emailed Russ, who hadn’t heard either. Eventually, a coworker found the info out on the internet (he suffered a knee bruise), but I hate that feeling of being in the dark.
Kinda makes you wonder how we managed before live stats and the internet. When the scores in the newspaper the next morning, or a radio station that covered your team would have to suffice.
The Bulls won that game against the Bulls, 127-121. John Salmons had 38 points on 14-20 from the floor to outshine Paul Pierce’s 37 in the loss. Brad Miller had 21/14/5 off of the bench and Tyrus Thomas added 18. Rajon Rondo scored 26 points to go with 10 assists and Kendrick Perkins added 14 points, 10 rebounds and 4 blocked shots in the loss.
The Spurs sat Duncan and still overcame a huge game from Kevin Love to take down the TWolves, 93-86. Love finished with 17 points and 19 boards, but the Spurs’ 24 points from Tony Parker, 15 from Roger Mason and 12 from Fabricio Oberto were enough to keep them on top. Sebastian Telfair added 17 as well for the Wolves in the loss.
Utah smoked Washington, 103-88. Carlos Boozer finished with 13 points and 15 boards while Deron Williams added 12 points and 8 assists, but also 8 turnovers. Kyle Korver added 15 off of the bench as the Jazz finished the game shooting 50% from the floor as compared to just 36% for the Wizards. Washington were led by 13 and 10 from Antawn Jamison, 9 points and 13 boards from Andray Blatche and 14 point efforts from Nick Young and Juan Dixon.
I think that’s most of the action that went down last night, or, the brief overview. I’d love to have the blanks filled in, if you would all be so kind to tell me what I missed. I’ll be back in about an hour or so. Catch you then.
Thrilling finish in L.A. last night, as the Sixers hung tough with the Lakers, and in the end escaped Staples with a win at the buzzer. According to several members of the hometown team, it should should’ve never come down to that.
Welcome to blame-ville, Trevor Ariza:
Lakers coach Phil Jackson seemed nonplussed that Ariza didn’t foul before Iguodala got the shot up. So did center Pau Gasol.
“We shouldn’t have gotten to that point anyways,” Gasol said. “That’s the learning part of it, and also hopefully the fact that when there’s six seconds left and we have a foul to give, we can’t take that kind of a chance and let that guy take a three and win the game. At least put him on the line and make him earn it.”
For what it’s worth, Ariza acknowledged his mistake and said that he thought Iggy would attack the basket on the play. Guess again, Trevor.
Somewhere, Shaq is preparing a bitter reaction: “Magic C Dwight Howard is going … Hollywood? Howard told the Sentinel on Tuesday that he possibly will have a role in a movie this offseason and wants to pursue acting opportunities. ‘I’m a good actor,’ Howard said after the team’s shoot-around in Cleveland. ‘But that’s all for later [this summer].’ Howard, 23, is certainly animated and can mimic cartoon and celebrity voices. He would not be the first player from the Magic organization to land a movie part.”
The last time SLAM sat down and made an official “Greatest Dunkers of All Time” list, Kobe was No. 15 and Jordan was No. 2. But that was eight years ago.
This video doesn’t confirm or deny our assertion. It should be noted that the creator is a Kobe fan, but he’s not saying that Kobe is a better dunker than Michael or Michael is better than Kobe. He merely presents the evidence — the majority of the two’s greatest NBA dunks are here, and in good quality too — and asks, Who gave the rim more pain?
The similarities are striking, but this video highlights how drastically different the two were in the air. Kobe has more explosiveness, but Jordan has more hangtime and in-traffic pounds. You could feasibly pick any Jordan dunk to include in this list. Kobe has a smaller, but deadly, Hall of Fame. Watch the countdown and tell us: Were we right?
by Lang Whitaker
I just got chills watching this. Playoffs start April 18. I’m just saying…
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Under the setting Florida sun, just weeks before his fifth All-Star Game, Dwyane Wade stepped outside of the American Airlines arena to pose for this shot. Kids voices across the water could be faintly heard behind the snapping of Atiba Jefferson’s shutter and the flashing of the camera’s lights. Soft waves foamed against the pier as the crew quickly made use of the waning hours. Everyone had done this before; they were moving with a smooth economy. Wade breathed in the fresh Bay air with comfort. His third SLAM solo cover, he knew, would be a the best yet. He thought to himself what the headline would be–”Flashpoint,” which ran on the cover of Ish 87, was his favorite on any publication. Ever.
It was a perfect evening in one of the perfect cities in America. If there’s such thing as a SLAM curse, it wouldn’t happen this month, this year, he knew. After the lights and the cameras and the equipment were all stowed away, Wade took a deep breath… and went on to win yet another Player of the Month. — Ryne Nelson
Photo by Atiba Jefferson
Originally published in SLAM 66
Sixty-plus issues later and Kobe is still stuck at three trophies. Could this be the year that changes? Tune in. – Tzvi Twersky
And there’s talk of back surgery: “Danilo Gallinari’s once promising rookie season appears to be over. The Knicks announced early Tuesday that Gallinari is headed to his home country of Italy to see back specialists and that he may need surgery to correct a back problem that has affected him since July…This is potentially devastating development for the sixth overall pick of last June’s NBA Draft. There is no telling how long Gallinari will be sidelined should he require surgery. Moreover, there is no way of knowing if Gallinari will ever regain the form that made him the highest Knicks draft pick since Kenny “Sky” Walker was selected fifth overall in 1986. It is not common for 20-year-old world class athletes to have debilitating back injuries.
Gallinari missed the first three months of the season and has appeared in just 28 games. He’s averaging 6.1 points and shooting 44 percent on three’s. The Knicks had been encouraged by his shooting prowess and toughness. However, Gallinari has maintained all year that physically he is at about 60 percent.”
by Chris O’Leary
Just got word from Foot Locker that Nate Robinson will make a special St. Patrick’s Day appearance at the House of Hoops in Harlem (268 W 125th St) this afternoon from 4–5:30 to debut his green KryptoNate shoe’s retail release. For anyone in NYC who’s reading this and is physically capable of travel, considering what day it is, I hope you get down to House of Hoops to take part in this. As far removed as I am from the event, I’m hyped about it!
Also, anyone around 34th St. and 7th Ave in NYC can check out the Swoosh’s Nate-themed 80-foot billboard.
Press release is below.
BASKETBALL STAR NATE ROBINSON GREETS NEW YORK CITY WITH GREEN-THEMED ST. PATRICK’S DAY SURPRISE
“Nate the Great” Releases Coveted Nike Foamposite Lite Slam Dunk Shoe
WHAT: The David versus Goliath 2009 slam dunk showdown has become legendary. When Nate Robinson surprised the Phoenix crowd and international TV audience with a pair of neon green Nike Foamposite Lites to defeat Goliath the crowd was stunned. The hysteria over the shoe began immediately.
The luck of the Irish will shine in Harlem on St. Patty’s Day, March 17. For everyday basketball fans and sneaker heads alike the demand for the green Nike Foamposite Lite has grown to a fever pitch. The shoes have not been available in retail stores up to this point. The wait is finally over.
Nate Robinson will join forces with Nike and Foot Locker’s Harlem House of Hoops for an exclusive release event on St. Patty’s Day. The Nike Foamposite Lite established itself as one of the most memorable basketball centerpieces in recent memory and now fans can join in the action. To further support Robinson and his heroic victory, Nike recently unveiled an 80-foot billboard on 34th Street and 7th Avenue in New York City. The billboard, which displays an image of Robinson, reads “Leaps Tall Centers.”
WHO: Nate Robinson, 2009 Slam Dunk Champion
Nate’s Co-Star: Nike Foamposite Lite
The original Nike Foamposite was introduced in the late ‘90s. This classic has been updated and remains in line with Nike basketball’s drive for superior, lightweight innovation. The Nike Foamposite Lite features 5mm of total foam thickness, polyurethane upper and a Nike Zoom unit midsole. Top players such as Caron Butler, Carlos Boozer and Andre Iguodala also wear the Nike Foamposite Lite.
WHERE: House of Hoops by Foot Locker
268 W 125th St
New York, NY 10027
WHEN: Tuesday, March 17, 2009; 4:00 – 5:30 PM ET
by Glenn Smith
Tell me, what must Dallas do to get your respect? When it comes to Texas basketball, you give Houston all the love. We can only win so much. The NBA shows us love—DISD alone has over 11 guys in the NBA getting quality minutes. Every major basketball conference respects our toughness but, for some reason, no one loves us… but us. So we sent six teams down to the state tournament, and three came back as champions in their classification.
5A State Final
The finals had already been set—nationally ranked Strake Jesuit (37-0) vs. Cedar Hill (34-3) with the winner set to get a top-10 ranking in every major poll throughout the country. Someone should have told DeSoto they weren’t supposed to beat No. 6 ranked Strake Jesuit 48-44 in the state semi-finals.
With the stage set, a crowd of 9,000 marveled as David (Desoto) defeated Goliath (Cedar Hill) 59-47 in the “Battle of Beltline.”
“No one picked us to be here, but we had confidence in ourselves that we should be here,” said an exuberant junior Evan Washington.
The two schools, separated by six miles, used the state capitol to decide not only the state champion, but the King of the Metroplex. Trailing 22-20 going into intermission, DeSoto used an 8-0 run to start the third stanza and did not look back. Up by four with eight minutes before a state champion is crowned, championship-game MVP Dominic Bennett ignited a 12-0 run and gave DeSoto their first state championship since 2003.
4A State Final
How do you beat a team that likes to pressure the ball? You put more pressure on them. Houston Yates used “32 Minutes of Hell” in front of a frantic crowd of 15,521 to force 27 turnovers.
Kimball did what it could, when it could, but there was no answer for championship-game MVP Joseph Young who hit seven threes en route to 29 points as Yates defeated Kimball 94-78. Expect Yates to be a pre-season top-five team in the country next year.
3A State Final
Dallas Madison and Lubbock Estacado had been No. 1 and No. 2 for almost the entire season. What better venue to find out the state’s top 3A team than the championship game?
With less than seven seconds left in overtime, it was the ice cold free-throw shooting of championship game MVP Dominique Smith that sealed the victory for the South Dallas natives, 68-66. Madison finished the season on a 25-game win streak.
2A State Final
What beats a state championship? Back-to-Back championships!
Ponders raced out of the locker room in the old school University of Indiana candy cane sweats, and their play down the stretch was just as sweet. To the untrained eye, Ponder can appear to be a boring ballclub. To basketball enthusiasts, watching Ponder play is like watching your favorite rapper compose your favorite song. Like watching your big mama bake your favorite pie.
Ponder used old school fundamentals—triple-threat positions, head-fakes, reverse pivots and even the two-handed bounce pass. Ponder out-crafted a more athletic New Waverly team to claim back-to-back state championships, 51-39. It was the clutch performance of championship game MVP Isaiah Boxtell who led his team with 13 points and 5 assists.
by Ryne Nelson
Upon returning to Houston late last night, Landry was picking up some fast food when his car was side-swiped. As he got out to investigate the damage, shots fired from a car driving by, the second of which hit his calf.
The Houston Chronicle has the report:
Houston Rockets forward Carl Landry suffered a gunshot wound to his lower leg early this morning in a possible drive-by shooting or failed robbery near downtown, police said.
Landry, 25, was released after treatment at Memorial Hermann Hospital. A team spokesman said he suffered a flesh wound and is expected to be out of the lineup for one to two weeks.
The important news is that Landy’s OK–he was treated for a flesh wound and released from the hospital. But, all things considered, Landry got lucky. The gunshot was not life-threatening and it’s not even season-ending.
Donnie doesn’t need one of these shirts, it seems: “You always have a backup plan,” Walsh said from his Westchester office on the videotape, in which he answers submitted questions from fans. “I really didn’t know what the list of free agents were. It wasn’t like I was going after LeBron or this guy. It was just, we have to get in the free-agent market. The market in that year, I won’t have to pick all the players. The fact we’re under the cap will put you in much more flexible position and not strung out over a long period of time where you can’t do anything. That flexibility is what I’m focused on, not the who, when and where.”
… Well, still Shawn Marion: “Marion hasn’t played well, the Raptors’ disappointing season has only gotten worse and now Marion isn’t happy there, either. Some of it is the system, some of it is his teammates, but it doesn’t sound like he’s very much into staying after his contract ends this summer. At least not right now. ‘I’m pissed off; I want to win,’ Marion said after the Raptors fell to 2-8 since the trade. ‘I don’t want to go out there and lose every night. I didn’t come here for this. I didn’t expect this. We have a talented team, man. We have to pull together and help each other. We have to decide now if we’re going to fold it up or look in the mirror, make a stride, and get on with it.’”
by Marcel Mutoni
Tonight marks the return of one of the most popular athletes in the history of the Bay Area, as Baron Davis at last pays a visit to the arena he once ruled.
Many things have changed in Oakland, as the team legs out a disastrous season following the Davis trade to L.A. The leadership is questionable at best; guys are injured; some are being told they’re no longer welcome; and the GM has been cut off at the knees. Even Baron can’t explain it.
From the Contra Costa Times:
This is not what Mullin had in mind four years ago when he said his major goals were to assemble a team that could develop together and make the franchise more desirable to free agents. It worked for a while.
“All my NBA friends were talking about trying to come over,” Davis recalled. “Everybody wanted to come. It was the new look, kind of like Phoenix, except we were younger. We were up-and-coming. We were potent. Then … I don’t know … it just came apart.”
Sadly for Davis, his situation back home isn’t much better than the poisonous one he left behind.
It’s in the back of everyone’s mind: “That’s something we think about a lot,” admitted [Deron] Williams. “In the back of our minds - we don’t talk about it - but we know we might not have the same team coming back next year. While we have this team in tact we need to try to make a run at a title this year. It’s tough. We have a lot of guys coming up on contracts…Millsap, Boozer, Memo, Ronnie Brewer…guys are going to need contracts and it’s going to be tough to pay everybody. We leave that up to the front office, but everybody knows we want them back here. Everybody knows we want Paul back, we want Booze back, we want Memo back, Kyle, guys that can opt out. We want them all back.”
Milestone time for the Spurs’ coach: “Few coaches in the NBA are as allergic to personal praise as the Spurs’ Gregg Popovich. So it should come as no surprise that he didn’t even know Monday’s game against the Thunder marked a milestone in his coaching career. The game was Popovich’s 1,000th as a head coach, making him the 24th in NBA history to join that club. He is one of only seven to accomplish the feat with one team. Asked before the game if he attached any significance to the achievement, Popovich was momentarily confused by the question. ‘I didn’t know,’ he said. ‘So no, I guess I don’t.’ Upon further contemplation, however, Popovich did attach some meaning to the night. ‘It means having a good owner, a good GM and good players equals longevity in the NBA,’ Popovich said.”
by Holly MacKenzie
For all of those Raptor fans thinking they were about to witness a strong finish to the season, HA. Feels like April Fools rather than St Patricks day after seeing the 26-point loss to the Bobcats last night to follow the 23-point win against the Pacers. The Raptors were dreadful last night. Not much else to say besides that.
The most painful part was watching Sean May score on us twice in the fourth. Sean. May. Yikes.
Very interesting piece from Doug Smith on Coach Iavaroni coming to Toronto for a little visit. Thoughts on this?
I’d just like to point out, once again, that the Raptors were 8-9 when they let Sam Mitchell go. I still miss his morning shootaround stories.
Surprising sight of the night: Seeing Kenyon and Melo up off of the bench for most of the fourth quarter, cheering their teammates on, on the defensive end in their big win over the Nets.
With the loss, the Nets took a step back in their race for eighth in the Eastern Conference playoff race. The Bobcats inched a step closer, thanks to the Raptors.
Bounce back of the night: The Blazers taking down the Grizzlies after getting pummeled by Joe Johnson and the Hawks on Sunday.
I can’t remember whether or not I wrote about this in yesterday’s Post Up, but Devin Harris went down hard in the Nets loss to the Clippers Sunday night and was on the sidelines, with his arm in a sling last night in the Nets loss to the Nuggets. He will undergo an MRI sometime today to see what the deal is with his shoulder. Way to add insult to injury for NJ. Losing to the Clips after losing your All-Star. Ouch.
While Ron Artest was killing the Rockets in the first half of the game last night, he was able to turn things around at the break and scored all 18 of his points in the second half as the Rockets took down the Hornets. I thought New Orleans had this one under control and it’s yet another game the Rockets showed up for. I’ve been liveblogging this team quite a bit for The Score and they surprise me more often than not with their ability to hang with some of the best teams in the league despite being shorthanded.
Does anyone else have a hard time wrapping their head around the reality that is Tracy McGrady’s current situation? How can he be this broken down? He looked awful in that Adidas/March/Brotherhood commercial that came out last week.
How are your brackets looking, people? I have not started mine yet, but will be trying to make some important decisions tonight regarding who I’m rolling with. By now, you know who my pick to win it all is.
I’m really excited for Thursday. For as long as I’ve remembered, I’ve taken the opening day of Madness off from school (now work, I guess… Eeek), and settled in for a wonderful day of basketball. This year will be no different.
Sad to hear the news of Sean Williams getting arrested in Denver after allegedly throwing a computer monitor in a cell phone store after getting into an argument with a store clerk. Just getting called up from the NBDL recently, I can’t imagine what he was thinking. I’m sure the Nets can’t, either. Disappointing to hear, for sure.
Charlotte 112 Toronto 86
One night after defeating the Indiana Pacers soundly at home, the Raptors went on the road, donned their green uniforms again to face the Bobcats. This time there was no luck of the irish or anything else as Larry Brown’s rapidly improving Bobcats blew out the Raps, 112-86. Charlotte led 57-43 at the half and the Raptors couldn’t catch up in the second, falling behind by as many as 27 as they managed only 14 points in the final quarter. While they gave up 49% shooting to the Bobcats, the Raptors connected on only 38% of their own shots. Charlotte had 32 assists to only 12 turnovers while Toronto had more miscues (23), than assists (17). Gerald Wallace had 25 points, 9 rebounds, 5 assists and 3 blocks for the Bobcats while DJ Augustin had 15 points and 6 assists off of the bench, Raymond Felton added 14 points and 8 assists and Boris Diaw added 13. The Raptors were led by Chris Bosh‘s 18 points and 14 rebounds as Andrea Bargnani scored 13 and Shawn Marion added 12.
Houston 95 New Orleans 84
Ron Artest had a horrendous shooting night. He went 7-23 from the floor including 0-9 from beyond the arc, but woke up in the second half to score 18 after the break and somehow, the Rockets managed to get a big win against Chris Paul and the Hornets even though they were without Yao Ming. While the game was close in the first half and the Hornets went ahead by as many as 11 early in the third, Houston was able to ring off a 16-2 run that gave them a three-point lead which they were able to sustain as they headed into the fourth up, 67-64. In the final period, the Hornets made their push and went ahead by two, but the Rockets used an 8-0 run get back on top and the Hornets were unable to get stops down the stretch. Luis Scola had 14 points and 12 boards for the Rockets as Aaron Brooks scored 14 and Carl Landry and Von Wafer each added 12 off of the bench. Paul finished with 29 points, 11 assists and 6 steals for the Hornets as David West had 16 points, 13 rebounds and 4 blocked shots in the loss.
Oklahoma City 78 San Antonio 76
I didn’t see this game on my league pass (seriously, am I not getting certain games or am I just blind?), but from the looks of the boxscore, I wasn’t missing much. The Spurs had two quarters where they managed only 13 points. 13. That’s just gross. They had has many turnovers as they did assists (15). They shot just 58% at the free throw line and they somehow managed to lose despite each of their starters having a + while each of the Thunder’s starters had a -. I think I dodged a bullet missing that one. Kevin Durant had 25 points for the Thunder, Thabo Sefolosha had 12 points and Jeff Green added 10. The Spurs were led by Tony Parker’s 28 points while Tim Duncan had 14 points and 12 boards and Matt Bonner added 10.
Portland 103 Memphis 92
One night after a surprising victory against the Pistons, the Grizzlies didn’t have enough left over to take down the Blazers. While Memphis had won on Sunday afternoon, the Blazers were coming off of a blowout loss to the Hawks and were ready to right the ship. While the Grizzlies never led in the game, they were able to hang around until the start of the fourth and then their offense died as they were helpless against the Blazers who slowly extended to an 18-point lead, enough to sustain until the final buzzer sounded. LaMarcus Aldridge scored 22 points, Brandon Roy had 20 points, 9 assists and 6 rebounds, Travis Outlaw scored 18 off of the bench and Joel Pryzbilla added 13 points and 13 rebounds. The Grizz were led by OJ Mayo’s 21 points and 6 assists as Hakim Warrick added 15 off of the bench, Mike Conley scored 20 and Rudy Gay added 17 to go with 12 boards.
I’m not sure who this new guy is, but I like him a lot more than his predecessor: “As with the rare jump shot he made Saturday, Joakim Noah is taking his reduced playing time in stride. Since the Bulls traded for center Brad Miller on Feb.19, Noah has been more likely to clock 28 to 32 minutes than the 38 to 42 he often got before Miller arrived from Sacramento. ‘I’m feeling comfortable out there playing,’ Noah said after practice Monday. ‘Whatever it takes to win games, that’s all that matters. If that means sacrificing some minutes for the team when there’s a lineup that’s playing better, then so be it. If we’re playing better when I’m on the court, then of course I want to be out there. But sometimes you have to sacrifice for the team.’”
by Marcel Mutoni
As such, he’s going to shout, grab a computer monitor and smash it.
Sadly, none of the above is fictitious, as the Nets’ Williams was arrested yesterday following an incident at a mall in Denver.
The Star-Ledger reports:
Nets forward Sean Williams was arrested and charged with felony criminal mischief Monday after an altercation with a clerk at a cell phone store in a shopping mall 20 miles south of Denver. The 22-year-old Williams was also charged with disorderly conduct, a misdemeanor, according to Detective Sergeant Ron Pinson of the Lone Tree, Col., Police Dept.
The incident occurred at 2 p.m. Monday at the AT&T Mobility store inside the Park Meadows Mall. According to police, Williams had a verbal altercation with the clerk, and picked up a computer monitor and threw it. The monitor and other equipment was broken, causing damages estimated to be about $1,200 to $1,300.
Not to defend Williams’s actions or play devil’s advocate here (OK, maybe a little), but have you any idea how much AT&T charges for their 3G coverage? It’s friggin’ outrageous, man.
by Franklyn Calle
One of the top juniors in the nation has open up his recruitment once again, according to multiple reports. C.J. Leslie de-committed from N.C. State during the weekend after giving the Wolfpack a verbal during his freshman year. The 6-9 power forward might also be considering Memphis at the moment. Leslie is a Raleigh, North Carolina native who currently attends Word of God Christian Academy. N.C. State is down to one verbal commitment for the 2010 recruiting class in Ryan Harrow, a 6-0 point guard from George Walton Comprehensive H.S. in Georgia. The Wolfpack hold three commitments for the 2009 recruiting class in Lorenzo Brown-a 6-4 shooting guard from Centennial H.S. in Georgia, Scott Wood-a 6-6 shooting guard from Mario H.S. in Indiana, and Richard Howell-a 6-8 power forward from Wheeler H.S. in Georgia.
Nationally ranked power forward, Ben Clifford, gave Utah State a verbal commitment on Sunday. The 6-8 junior from South Jordan, Utah currently attends Bingham High School. Clifford became Utah State’s first commitment for the 2010 recruiting class. The Aggies have two commitments for the 2009 recruitng class in Preston Medlin, a 6-5 shooting guard from Hebron H.S. in Texas, and Nate Bendall, a 6-9 power forward from Salt Lake Community College in Utah.
by Ryne Nelson
You probably thought we forgot to create the SLAMonline NCAA Tourney group this year. The truth be told: We did. If it wasn’t for a chat from Holly this proud, three-year tradition would have gone kaput. After strolling to my desk in a semi-allergic daze this morning, I opened my GTalk and our conversation went something like this:
Holly: Hey Ryne, are we doing the SLAM bracket challenge this year like we did last year?
Ryne: Um… What Bracket challenge?
Despite this virtual cold bucket of water to my face, I knew all was right in the world. My week can’t officially begin without at least one early morning chat like this. My incompetence didn’t stop there, however, as I created three different Yahoo!!!! Pick ‘Em groups before learning I couldn’t include a “>” in the group’s description. Yet, born out of this confusion, I finally present you with the ‘09 SLAMonline Tourney Time! group that yee brave souls may join. I completed a bracket in exactly 1:24 minutes that I’m sure could compare with the best of ‘em. Don’t think so? Sign-up and prove me wrong.
The Group is entirely public, so feel free to invite friends, family, enemies, basically any basketball fan you know… and let’s get going on this stange mix of knowlege and luck!
Jax is getting T’ed up at almost twice the rate as he was ‘06-’07, his previous high season in technical fouls. How’s that for a fancy little stat? Jackson’s two-tech ejection in yesterday’s loss to the Suns put him over the 16-technical limit, tying him with Rasheed Wallace for this season’s complainer crown.
by Michael Tillery
R.I.P. Bill Davidson. Your teams were your mirror…lock, stock and barrel. The city of Detroit as well as true fans of the NBA will remember what you have given us forever more. Thank you sir. I wish your family peace.
That the Sixers defeated the Bulls 104-101 behind Thaddeus Young’s career high of 31, Andre Iguodala’s 25 and Andre Miller’s 13 assists added to the once in a life time moment. I was glad to be here. Being from the area, there were many events held in the Spectrum that I attended with my family, friends and dates. An era is gone. Since Julius Erving was a huge part of this building’s history, a lot of the following words have him in mind.
I will not let his legacy die.
It’s funny but when I initially heard the Spectrum was closing, it was against these same Bulls. That was the night the Bull Wonder…Derrick Rose put Andre Miller’s lower extremities in traction way before Kobe hustled beneficiary benefits for the relatives of broken ankles.
So I circled the date.
Just to put the night in a personal and most proper perspective, March 13 is the anniversary of my Mom’s death.
No, no don’t get it twisted. This is nothing sad. She was alive when my first Spectrum memories were made so how could this day be bad? I just wanted to give you a reason why every moment of this night is burned into my physical and mental frame and mainly, because of this:
“And now…No. 6…Dr. J…Julius Errrrrrrrrrrving!”
Even if you weren’t from around here you’ve heard that once in a lifetime, we all miss you Dave Zinkoff, player announcement.
Could Zink have been the first Hip Hop hypeman?
He changed the game…No…he created the game. Your emotions were stirred oh so nicely when Doc’s name was heard over the loud speakers. Those words probably stole a lot of teams’ soul before the rock was tossed in the air because when it came down…it was trouble.
You see Kobe’s basketball grandfather loved it when you jumped nonsensical. He hung in the air so long and so strong he could probably buy you and your girl dinner before those red on white Converse leathers hit the floor. Yeah…you were dreaming and when you finally woke from your Doc dinner fantasy, the crowd sobers you with stupid noise as your coach is yelling at you passionately—saliva flying but without sound. You shake the cobwebs only to see No. 6 stroll jazzy up the floor to give Mo Cheeks dap with those colossal hands of his.
The crowd roars as Zink chomps at the bit just for the chance to say the legendary memorable fantastic once again.
No one spoke with Doc but here’s some of the conversation he and I had at the Finals in Boston. I wanted to put Doc’s career in perspective. It seems that over the years his stamp on the game is slowly being erased in nothing but Mike imagery. If there was no Doc, his absence would have altered Mike’s game and there subsequently would be no Kobe because the natural emulation of Michael.
SLAM: Do you think they (Magic and Larry) appreciate that when they came into the League you were in the twilight of an amazing career and when they left, Mike was there? Now it’s Kobe. We talked about this when you were in Philly. Could you elaborate more on that historical connection?
Julius Erving: There are certain players in the history of the League…when you mention their name…Elgin would be in that category…the Hawk (Connie Hawkins)…Dr. J…Michael Jordan…Kobe Bryant. You are talking about the individuals more than the teams. Their individual approach to the game certainly overshadowed the team.
It’s so important for players of that gift to find a way to adapt and adjust and make less more. Kobe has done less this year so the team can do more. They don’t need him to score 81 points any given night. It still might happen over the course of the season, but if it happened in one of these playoff games they probably wouldn’t win that game.
SLAM: With that being said Julius, you didn’t have to develop a jumper as early as Mike and certainly not as early as Kobe. Is that because the team dynamic has changed over the years?
JE: My game evolved in three different stages. Obviously the first five years in the ABA, then the first five in the NBA and then the last six years. I was almost three different players because I had to adjust and adapt. Obviously when we got Moses in ‘83, there was a significant adjustment, but I always played the same position of small forward.
Michael moving to the back court and Kobe who played swing man, those guys were viewed as guards, so hence the evolution. Guards control the game now.
I was the first guy since Oscar Robertson in 1965, who was a non-center to win the Most Valuable Player Award. There was a time in there where the forwards…myself, Bird, Magic to a degree because he was a big guard who played all the positions…were the focus of the League and its championship teams. They had to have that guy, but now it’s the guards.
Magic spearheaded that. Michael moving to the back court and developing a three point shot adding range to his game. In his first five years he posted up more, played the wing, played the corners.
When I was in the ABA I shot threes. I was all over the court. It was a freewheeling and different scenario.
In Philadelphia…especially with Gene Shue…it was a major adjustment. I was willing to do that for the good of the team. We won fifty some odd years in my first year in Philly and went to the Finals (losing to Portland). It validated that it was the right thing to do even though individually I could score at will and on anyone but resting in the fourth quarter was not an option.
SLAM: Doc, I talked to Mo that same day and asked him why he didn’t pass you the ball on that last basket in ‘83. What do you think he said?
JE: (Laughs) I don’t know because I was most definitely calling for it. What did he say he didn’t see me? He just…(laughs more). He didn’t see me. I was yelling.
SLAM: Yeah, he said he didn’t see you.
JE: Usually, you didn’t have to yell at Mo. Darryl Dawkins…(Kobe interrupts to whisper something to Doc)…said Mo had the “Doc eye.” It wasn’t working that day (laughs). I didn’t know he could dunk like that.
But, but…this time Mo Cheeks isn’t there to give him the aforementioned “Doc eye.”
He perfected the hesitation dribble way back. Was it his signature?
The son of the Chicago steal was fired unceremoniously on December 13, 2008…the day a mixture of fan frustration mired in March 13 fan and history unfriendly insensitivity. How could he not be here? I wonder if he and Andrew Toney spoke in the days leading up to the closing—the humble unemotional beings they are—and if the hypothetical conversation had a relevant tint of anger? If not, I’m angry for them. How could they not be here?
Sorry to say it Mr. Snider, but you could have made this happen. Think about the young fan who would have asked his father who No. 10 and 22 were…hypothetically growing and balling and eventually falling into your lap in the 2018 Draft and ultimately becoming the greatest basket scoring assist man ever.
Shame on you for depriving us all of that not so illogical fantasy, for when that pass futuristic is no looked and the pill just bounces out of bounds…out of sight…out of touch…I hope you remember just how bitter the tastes is as you catch a case of Mo Strangler acid reflux.
“I was looking forward to getting a chance to see him and talk to him a little bit before the game. We check up on each other from time to time through text messages. That was my first coach, so I definitely don’t want to lose touch with him. I want to keep that going. He was a good person. Coming into this league, I didn’t know anything about him, but he was like that father who put me up on his shoulders and let me know that I could actually play in this league. I take things with me that he has instilled in me and I miss him dearly.”
Good words Thad the Young one. Think of it this way Thaddeus…you scored a career high of 31. Take away your uniform number and what do you have?
The No. 10. That’s tribute enough.
There was something about this place that took me back to way before the EST’s new wave afro rocked us like only Philly Hip Hop can. The crowd was Brian Dawkins being introduced electric. You couldn’t help but to feel it. One by one past Philly greats were introduced by comedian and great Zinkoff impersonator Joe Conklin. With each applause the crowd grew louder and louder until that legendary whirly dervish appeared from out of the tunnel and the place temporarily fell back to 1983.
The 80’s music (Thad laughed at me when West End Girls played because I knew the words). The old school scoreboard where you could actually see the pixels which made images resemble legos. That Spectrum logo. The smallish press room and even smaller underbelly tunnel leading to the locker rooms that had the feel of a coal mine—loud drips and everything.
Damn was this grand…
When Derrick Rose fell low in reverse for a sickdiculous two handed jam that made the grand ladies in attendance give the stinky face, you knew this night had meaning. His dunk was a reminder the time travel illusion I allude to was no more real than all the real fake Doc afros blowing in a Cheeks led fast break wind. There was no ankle breaking tonight. Andre Miller ripped Pooh’s crossover on a couple of occasions—leading to dunks on the other end—and finished with 13 assists.
SLAM: Dre, how do you connect with a night even though you personally have no connection with the building?
Andre Miller: I was a Laker fan, Mike. I followed it. I enjoyed watching the Lakers/Sixers rivalry. I was young at the time, but I understood what was going on. So, having the opportunity to play here? I enjoyed it.
Ahh the nostalgia. Ooooh, there’s Sonny Hill…a true Philadelphia Freedom institution not a Rocky one. Hmmm, I wonder what he has to say about all of this? What are his seminal moments here I thought to myself? Does he miss Wilt not being here?
Maybe I should ask him, huh?
Sonny Hill: This speaks volumes about the leadership of the organization because when I walked in I could just feel it. You could just feel the building. Then over the course of the game…and leading up to how it ended…that brought back memories of the good times when we were the one of the favorites in the League.
I’ve been around for a long time, so I have a lot of memories. I started my broadcasting career here in 1969. I did that with Andy Musser. It’s good to see him back here. He made it possible for me to be who I am in the broadcast industry. I did the championship game where Doc and Magic were matched up on Mutual Radio. I was instrumental with getting Wilt’s number retired. I was also instrumental in getting Hal Greer’s number retired because of the rift he had with the organization.
Wilt was here in memory. Because of the closeness I had with him, that memory is there. As they say, he’s larger than life. Although he’s no longer living, he’s still larger than life up there (points to the sky). There’s always an ambiance of the Big Fella because he is truly…the one and only Big Fella.
SLAM: Sonny, just for the record because I know who are going to say because of previous conversations, who is the greatest player in NBA history?
SH: Wilt! It’s not even close. Do you know what Oscar Robertson said?
SLAM: Nah, what?
SH: The record book does not lie. He owns the record book.
I didn’t see a shade of Celtic green anywhere in the house…and that’s a good thing…but damnit if I didn’t see Michael Bivins chillin’ next to the Bulls bench. Poison by Bell Biv Devoe was a signature 1990 club track and his presence here tonight was apropos nevertheless.
Let me get an entertainer’s perspective. Every time I see him he tells me to tell SLAM’s Ryan Jones hello.
Michael Bivins: I spent most of my time in this building selling it out with concerts. I remember the rivalry. I feel like I’m a part of history. It’s a historical building. It’s not that I hate on the Sixers, I just wanted to be here and see it go down. I’ve been in here many nights performing, so it means something.”
SLAM: What you have going on now, bruh?
MB: I’m here for the 100.3 music conference, but I feel lucky to be a part of history and be here tonight. Also, I’m trying to get in SLAM magazine for my street ball tournament.”
Andre Iguodala is most definitely one of the best in the L in terms of the crowd pleasing fast break bang. His ferocious dunks are his trademark and the Sixers are known to have someone who could fit this dynamic since Julius spoiled us all.
SLAM: If you think of it Dre, you are that high flyer Philadelphia covets. What team did you like growing up?
Andre Iguodala: I was a Bulls fan.
SLAM: Did you watch any video of Doc’s game?
AI: A little bit. I was too young to follow him. I was a MJ fan but you definitely saw Dr. J in Jordan so you understand the comparisons people make.
SLAM: Put this win in career perspective. Is this a win you will always cherish because of all the nostalgia?
AI: Oh definitely. I got a souvenir I have in my bag that I can take with me. I will frame it and it’s something no one else can say they are a part of as far as being on that court during the last game here.
World B. Free is still a fixture around these parts. He interacts with the community to give the fans a chance to speak with a former NBA player during games here. His rainbow jumper was so sick it made the crowd wet and jump back when the rock smacked the net.
SLAM: World, what’s it like for you to grace this building once again?
World B. Free: As a rookie, we had our bomb squad. The first time I had an opportunity to play with Doc and George McGinnis? It was unbelievable for me. I remember one moment when Doc came here the year after George McGinnis arrived, the crowd was electric. The NBA merged with the ABA and of course it was a sellout crowd. They used to smoke in this building so when they introduced the starting five it was like coming out of the smoke at a concert. When Zink introduced Doc—before he got it all out—a fan ran right down this isle right here and ran dead onto the floor and put a doctor bag right in the middle of the Spectrum logo. Security rushed him out because no one knew what he was doing.”
SLAM: Wow that must have been crazy. I wonder if my Pop was here. In competitive terms, what are some of the games you remember most?
WBF: I remember playing the Boston Celtics here. Boston used to always beat Philly. When I arrived [the Sixers] were 7-63.Our turnaround was when George McGinnis became the man. We were playing Boston—trying to get into the playoffs—and down by 11 or 12 points with about 3 minutes left and ended up winning. I was going nuts on it and had about 17. It was a helluva game. The crowd was going crazy. Everybody had these kind of hats on (he points to his derby). Darryl Dawkins was dunking from everywhere. He was the man. If you missed the layup line, you missed the show.”
SLAM: Your jumper was as unique as we’ve ever seen in the League. What was up with that arc?
WBF: The reason why I put so much arc on the jumper was this: In high school, I had a 44 inch vertical leap but I saw this guy who could shoot the ball way up in the sky. I wasn’t the tallest guy but I knew I could get them with my jumper if I could just get it over them. It started rolling like that and I perfected it. (We laugh and almost simultaneously say “Rainbow!”)
Franklin Edwards, who was a second year player on the championship squad, is standing at half court with a smile that was straight cheeeese. I could feel his thoughts drift back to those seminal moments of his NBA life. He was at peace but I had to capture the moment:
Franklin Edwards: The memories of this place…the camaraderie of the team and just as importantly, the organization. I’ve always felt our team had a love affair with the Philadelphia fans. Tonight is a great honor to be among them again.
We were so focused. A lot of people don’t understand. When you come out early and say the only goal you have is to win a championship, there’s a lot of pressure on you to do it. We did that early and to be able to accomplish that is just an unbelievable feat. A lot of teams don’t get that chance.
SLAM: What’s ironic is a lot of organizations get to multiple Finals or Super Bowls and blow up the organization after what are deemed failures when they don’t get over the hump. That’s stupid. Most teams are sitting their behinds home watching your organization on TV wishing they were you and you help them out by settling back into the pack? How absurd.
FE: Yes, before I got here the Sixers had to battle Boston and then the Lakers and couldn’t get over the hump. I think we knew we were a good team before we got Moses. Moses was the final piece. He gave everyone in the organization and in the city confidence to say that now we have that missing piece. The year before we got outrebounded terribly in the Finals. Moses was the leading rebounder in the League, so we knew we would control the boards.
SLAM: Finally, what’s going through your head right now? Just being here.
FE: It’s unbelievable. Just a rush of memories. Everywhere you go, there’s a rush of memories. This used to be a place where teams in the NBA feared coming regardless of who they were. The Philadelphia fans mad that happen. Whenever I come to this area I think of how it must have felt to come in here and play against us.
Sixers assistant Aaron McKie is from Philly and earns the distinction of playing his high school ball here, collegiate ball at Temple, some great Sixers years—culminating with the 2001 Finals appearance—and finally coaching here. He is the fabric.
SLAM: Aaron, you are from here. What is this moment like for you growing up when the Sixers were spectacular?
Aaron McKie: I really didn’t get a chance to see a lot of games here because my family couldn’t afford it, but of course I watched on TV every chance I got. For me, this moment means a lot because I played some college games here. Big Five games here. We played some Atlantic Ten Championship games here. This place is big. My dream was to one day play in the Spectrum (Derrick Rose walks by to greet Aaron and I and talks a little smack). My dream came true when I played her during my rookie season. I didn’t play here a lot of years because I played across the street. It’s symbolic that I grew up watching the guys who competed here on a regular basis and be a part of it all by coaching. It’s surreal. I can’t even put it into words. You grow up watching your idols and you get an opportunity to work with them. Coaching under Maurice Cheeks. I’m out here with Moses Malone. I’ve sat down and talked to Dr. J about things.”
SLAM: Who was that dude on the ’83 squad?
AM: All of them man! Maurice Cheeks, Doc, Bobby Jones, Moses Malone…you can go down the list. Growing up, you had your favorite team wherever you were from. When you played youth league ball, everybody had those numbers and those jerseys (Sixers greats). Everybody wanted Doc of course and if you got that No. 6 you were Dr. J. that day. If you had No. 10 you were Maurice Cheeks. It’s a special night–not only for myself, but for a lot of others.”
SLAM: Is it bittersweet not having Mo Cheeks here?
AM: It is. He’s supposed to be a part of this. ’82-’83? As an organization though, it’s a business. When times aren’t going right in the business, management feels there are decisions that have to be made. Coach (Cheeks) prepared us for things like this. As my mentor and as my boss, he told us you get hired to get fired. Unfortunately it came at a time where all of this (Spectrum closing) is tied in.
I look off and thought I saw a ghost. Coach! Coach….damn! It was all a dream…
I look off and thought I saw a ghost. Coach! Coach….damn! It was all a dream…
He ain’t here. He ain’t coming. What a bunch of bull sh*t.
Thank you coach for what you gave the Philly fans. You were an incomparable measure of Philly competiveness, excellence, leadership and pride. Sorry you had to be disrespected twice here—one being told you’ve been traded by a reporter in the parking lot and the other being fired from a team that hasn’t quite changed in the standings as a change is supposed to elicit. Mo Cheeks you were a bulldog. You gave me advice when I asked stupid questions and always had time for me when there was none. I’m that kid asking his father who No. 10 was but I caught that no look pass, twirled the ball in my hands, looked around the empty Spectrum and will write about the history of moments like these until the history is mine.