Archive for January 14th, 2008

Chauncey Billups On The Knicks:

The question was put to Chauncey Billups after Detroit was beaten by 24 points on Sunday at MSG.

“Are the Knicks really as bad as their record indicates?”

“No, no, no,” he replied adamently.  “They’ve got some really good players over there.  Really good players.  For them, it’s just about finding the right mix.  They are as talented as anyone in the league -from 1 to 15.  But, talent [alone] don’t win too many games around here.  You’ve got to become a unit.  That’s what makes a great team.  

“When I got here [2002], Detroit already had what it took to be a great team; that’s the reason I came here.  I felt like I was one of the players who could continue what they had going on.  The year before, they had won 50 games.  They had the Coach of the Year in [Rick] Carlisle, Sixth Man of the Year in Corliss [Williamson], and Defensive Player of the Year in Ben [Wallace].  They were on the way up; personally, I was on my way up, too.  I thought it would be a perfect marriage.  As soon as I got here, man, I realized the culture in this locker room, and how Joe Dumars did it.  There’s a trickle-down effect.  I have believed that ever since.

[Note: Dumars would win Executive of the Year the following season]. 

“I don’t know what [the Knicks] have got going on over there.  So, I can’t speak for them.  But, they have talented players, and they’ve got a coach in Zeke, who has seen every battle, and every war.  They can learn from him.  That’s all I know.  I’m on the outside looking in.  I can’t speak for anything else, to be honest.”     

          

“The bright spots still come from our younger guys, in terms of their energy and effort.  How long will it be [before we are successful] ?  I can’t answer that.  What we will continue to try to do throughout the remainder of the season is set the standard of work ethic in terms of who plays out on the floor, and how hard they play.  If we can continue to try to build on that, and find players who just want to give all out effort on every single play, future generations will reap the benefits from this culture we are trying to build here.  Hopefully, there will be a championship that follows that, but we have to build a culture.”     

Heat deny Zo retirement

SportsTicker reports: Alonzo Mourning’s retirement is off just hours after the Miami Heat center made it official. A spokesman for the Heat said a story erroneously was placed on the team’s web site Monday confirming that Mourning will call it quits. The 37-year-old Mourning, who entered his 15th NBA season saying it would be his last, saw it cut short when he tore the patella tendon and quadriceps tendon in his right knee on December 19.

Random Thoughts on Isiah, Knicks

Recently, Isiah Thomas said the NBA is geared toward smaller, quicker teams.   Thomas, with a propensity for going against the grain, decided it was prudent to team Zach Randolph and Eddy Curry.  Thomas’ statement seems to contradict his logic, so it shouldn’t surprise anyone that Randolph’s acquisition has defied expectations.

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More on Curry and Randolph.  It seems to me that there is only one tangible resolution for working these two in the line-up.  Play them separately, and have D Lee on the floor with Curry to protect the boards.  It is clear that Randolph and Curry each need the ball to be effective.  While neither one passes particularly well, at least they’ll both be interested parties instead of watching what the other will do.

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I asked Thomas two questions over the last two pre-game conferences, and each question was promptly rejected by the coach.  On Friday, vs. the Raptors, I wondered [aloud] if he has any intentions of playing Wilson Chandler or Randolph Morris any time soon.  I thought it was a fair question. 

“Not right now,” Thomas said without much thought. 

After all, Thomas did tout these kids as 1A and 1B among his draft picks.  With the Knicks currently at 10-26, and not on the playoff map, wouldn’t he want to know if these guys can play?  

If they haven’t shown much during practice, it could be because some athletes are just better ’game’ players than ‘practice’ players.  So, why not give ‘em some playing time?  There is absolutely nothing to lose -aside from more games, which the Knicks will more than likely do anyway. 

Same ol’ story.  The guy with the big contract will usually get the big minutes.  If Thomas feels obligated to play the guy who makes more, that’s certainly his perrogative.  

But, keep in mind, that during Lee’s breakout season [2006-07], he was the second lowest paid player on the Knicks.

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The other question was asked yesterday, before the tip vs. the Pistons. 

“Have you regretted any moves in assembling this present roster?

“We can talk about that in the summer,” Thomas replied.  “Not tonight.”

I’ll be there to ask the question again.  But, will he be there to answer?

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Andrew Bynum out at least 8 weeks

After MRI tests and an examination by team doctor Steve Lombardo of the Kerlan-Jobe Orthopaedic Group earlier today, it has been determined that Lakers center Andrew Bynum suffered a subluxation of the patella and a bone bruise of his left knee in last night’s game. Bynum is expected to be out a minimum of eight weeks. Bynum is expected to make a full recovery.

Bynum suffered the injury with 8:52 remaining in the third quarter of last night’s 100-99 win over the Memphis Grizzlies.

Bynum, in his third year in the NBA, is averaging 13.1 points, 10.2 rebounds and 2.1 blocked shots per game.

Cavs extend Mike Brown’s contract

The Cleveland Cavaliers today extended Head Coach Mike Brown’s contract. The announcement was made today by Cavaliers General Manager Danny Ferry. The Associated Press reports that the deal is a two-year contract extension lasting through the 2010-11 season.

Brown is the winningest head coach in Cavaliers history with a .592 winning percentage (119-82). Brown has also won more playoff games (19) than any coach in Cavaliers history. The Cavaliers won their first Eastern Conference Championship last season and became one of only five teams to win at least 50 games in the last two seasons (Dallas, Detroit, Phoenix, and San Antonio).

“Mike Brown brings his high character, work ethic and talent as a coach with him to work every single day. He has been, and will continue to be, important to our continued growth as a basketball team as we work towards a championship,” said Ferry.

Brown became the 17th Cavaliers Head Coach on June 2, 2005 and became the first Cavaliers head coach to win a playoff series in their first season. Brown came to the Cavaliers after serving as the associate head coach of the Indiana Pacers for two seasons and as an assistant coach with the San Antonio Spurs for three seasons, including the Spurs 2003 World Championship season.

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Andrew Bynum hurt

Los Angeles Lakers center Andrew Bynum hurt his left knee (not his ankle) Sunday night in the third quarter of a game against the Memphis Grizzlies.

Bynum had gone up for a rebound, and there was some sort of contact with Lamar Odom. Bynum’s left knee turned in awkward fashion. Teammates had to help him reach the locker room.

It isn’t known how seriously Bynum is hurt. Let’s hope he turns out OK. He’s been a terrific story this season and a key to Lakers success.

11:33 p.m. ET update: Unofficial, unconfirmed word is that an X-ray was negative, meaning there’s no broken bone, but his MRI will be tomorrow. When there’s an official word we’ll update this blog entry.

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