As the editor of InsideHoops.com, I make more money in a month than Shaquille O’Neal makes in a year. I write this while flying on my private jet to visit one of my 29 mansions. Still, even compared to me, NBA players live a life of luxury. It’s also possible I’m hallucinating. Anyway, the Toronto Star (Dave Feschuk) reports:
In L.A. last night, for instance, the Raptors stayed at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel, an ultra-luxe crash pad to pop-culture deities from John Lennon to Julia Roberts. The place is opulent enough that Jim Labumbard, Toronto’s veteran media relations guru who’s forgotten more nights in five-star hotels than most of the rest of us will ever experience, recalls bunking in a Wilshire suite lavish enough to have a bathroom on either end of its acreage. “Two bathrooms?” said Chris Bosh, the Raptors all-star, shrugging as though he’d know exactly what to do with such extravagance. “Have two baths, man.” If NBA players have grown blasé about their luxury lifestyle, consider that it’s been more than 20 years since the Detroit Pistons led the move to now-universal private-charter air travel. And even Sam Mitchell, the 43-year-old former player, can scarcely recall the days when a veteran had to pay a premium to secure his own room on the road. In this every-man’s-an-island league, a spacious room of one’s own is now an inalienable right written into the collective bargaining agreement.
Being an NBA player is cool.
The Boston Globe (Frank Dell’Apa) reports: Larry Brown has returned to the area where his professional coaching career started. Brown, now leading the Bobcats, guided the Carolina Cougars in the American Basketball Association for two seasons (1972-74). But Brown nearly became a Celtics assistant two years ago. “It was very close,” Celtics coach Doc Rivers said. “He said yes. That’s about as close as you can get. But, like I jokingly said, it was a Larry yes, not a sign-on-the-document yes. I knew what was going on, though. His wife’s parents were not doing well. He knew it was a tough decision. He said yes but he may not be able to do it. He just thought at the end of the day he needed to be at home. “He would be a great guy to lean on, he would have been great. I would have loved him. He is overqualified, that’s why I would have loved him. He’s a great mind, and the more you’re around him, the more you understand that.”
The AP reports: Zach Randolph needed only two games to make an impact with the Los Angeles Clippers. The former New York Knicks forward had 27 points and 13 rebounds, and helped fuel a pivotal fourth-quarter run with eight consecutive points, leading the Clippers to a 97-96 victory over the Miami Heat on Saturday night. Al Thornton also had 27 points and grabbed eight rebounds to help Los Angeles snap a four-game losing streak… Baron Davis, playing despite a stomach virus, had 15 points, nine assists and five rebounds… Dwyane Wade had 26 points, 11 assists and six rebounds for Miami, but the NBA scoring leader missed a desperation a 3-pointer as time expired.
The AP reports: Sixth-man Jason Terry scored 24 points and the Mavericks pulled away in the third quarter to beat the Sacramento Kings 101-78 on Saturday night. One night after ending a five-game losing streak against the Lakers, the Mavericks won again on the road. Josh Howard missed his fifth straight game because of a sprained ankle, and Jerry Stackhouse was back in Dallas nursing an injured heel that has kept him inactive the last eight games… Dirk Nowitzki had 19 points and eight rebounds to help the Mavericks even their record at 8-8 with their sixth road win of the season. Reserve Devean George scored all 13 of his points in the second half. Beno Udrih had 13 points, nine assists and seven rebounds and John Salmons had 10 points for Sacramento. The Kings have lost six straight and nine of 10. The Kings also have dropped six in a row at home for the first time since 1998, two shy of the franchise record.
The AP reports: Devin Harris had 34 points and six assists and the Nets beat the Jazz 105-88 on Saturday night, giving New Jersey its fourth win in five games… Vince Carter added 22 points, Yi Jianlian added 11 points and Bobby Simmons scored 10 for New Jersey, which wraps up the road trip Sunday night at Phoenix. The Nets outrebounded the Jazz, outscored them inside and prevented Utah’s fast break from getting going… Utah was without All-Star forward Carlos Boozer (thigh) for the sixth straight game and lost Andrei Kirilenko to an ankle injury in the second quarter… Paul Millsap led the Jazz with 20 points and 10 rebounds. Williams had 10 points and 13 assists and Mehmet Okur had 10 points and 11 rebounds as three Utah starters had double-doubles, but the bench contributed just 22 points and 11 rebounds.
The AP reports: LeBron James expects his team to look to him late in close games. The Cleveland Cavaliers certainly did Saturday night. James scored 11 straight points for Cleveland late in the fourth quarter and finished with 32 in the Cavaliers’ 97-85 victory over the Milwaukee Bucks… Zydrunas Ilgauskas added a season-high 23 points and 17 rebounds to help Cleveland win for the 13th time in 14 games. Michael Redd returned after missing 14 games with a right ankle sprain to lead the Bucks with 20 points in 35 minutes… Richard Jefferson had 19 points for Milwaukee, and Ramon Sessions had 16. Ridnour had 15 points, all in the second half.
The AP reports: Who needs Tracy McGrady? Seldom-used reserve Luther Head scored 21 points in place of the injured All-Star and the Houston Rockets used balanced scoring to beat the San Antonio Spurs 103-84 on Saturday night. Ron Artest added 16 points and eight rebounds, Yao Ming and Rafer Alston scored 12 points apiece, and Luis Scola added 11 for Houston, which had all five starters in double-figures for just the second time this season. Alston also had six assists, and reserve Shane Battier scored 15 points. The Rockets finished with 22 assists… Tim Duncan shook off a bad start to score 17 points for the Spurs, who had held their last 11 opponents under 100 points. Tony Parker had 15 points and seven assists in his second game and first start since missing nine games with a sprained ankle.
The AP reports: Kevin Durant and the Oklahoma City Thunder snapped their long losing streak with a timely game against the Memphis Grizzlies. Durant scored 30 points, and Jeff Green added 22 to help the Thunder end the losing streak at 14 with a 111-103 victory over Memphis on Saturday night… Russell Westbrook had 12 points for the Thunder, and Damien Wilkins and Desmond Mason finished with 11 each. O.J. Mayo led Memphis with 30 points, while Rudy Gay and Marc Gasol had 16 each… The Thunder had come close to ending the winning streak in a couple of games recently, losing on a last-second shot against Minnesota on Friday night and dropping a 99-98 game against Phoenix last Tuesday night. This time, they were able to stop the skid by closing out the game.
The AP reports: With the game still close early in the second half, Carmelo Anthony and Chauncey Billups made sure Denver didn’t need another late comeback. Billups scored a season-high 27 points in three quarters, Carmelo Anthony added 25 points and 10 rebounds, and the Nuggets beat Minnesota 106-97 on Saturday night. Denver closed with a 21-6 run in the fourth quarter to beat Minnesota 90-84 in Denver on Nov. 16. Anthony had the go-ahead dunk in that game. This time he and Billups keyed a 14-0 run midway through the third quarter to help Denver open a 80-63 lead. Billups said it was the team’s best quarter since he arrived in a Nov. 3 trade… Randy Foye scored a season-high 25 points to lead Minnesota. Al Jefferson had 20 points and 13 rebounds, and Kevin Love had his first career double-double with 18 points and 12 rebounds. Love averaged 5.8 points in his previous nine games.
The AP reports: Chris Duhon had a franchise-record 22 assists, David Lee had career highs of 37 points and 21 rebounds, and New York rang up a record-setting 82 points in the first half in a 138-125 victory over Golden State on Saturday night… Duhon set Lee up for numerous dunks against the defenseless Warriors, who completed a winless five-game Eastern trip and looked as if they couldn’t wait to get home. One of the slams, with 3:11 remaining, allowed Duhon to break Richie Guerin’s franchise record of 21 assists set Dec. 12, 1958… Al Harrington, traded from the Warriors to the Knicks last week, added 36 points and 12 rebounds. Wilson Chandler scored 16 points for the banged-up Knicks, who used only seven players… Corey Maggette led the Warriors with 32 points and 12 boards. C.J. Watson scored 23 points.